Sunday, January 22, 2012

Not so Nasty

A friend got a nice Espresso dining set when she first got married. Now a little over 7 years, and 3 bouncing baby boys later, the white cushions are no longer white. Recently I was at her house for lunch, and she was completely embarrassed to have me sit at her table. Since I have done many small home improvement projects over the years, I knew an inexpensive and quick way to have it looking like new again.

You can accomplish this with some basic tools. Fabric, Scissors, Staple Gun and Staples, Hammer, Screw Driver, and about 2 hours.
*I started by removing the cushions from the chairs. This set simply had 3 screws per chair.
*Then I rolled out my fabric, and cut pieces that where a few inches wider that the cushion was wide and thick. Since her boys are still toddler/preschoolers we went with an easy to wash cream vinyl from a local fabric warehouse.

* Start by placing 1 staple in the center of each side.

*Then place a staple in the center of the corner

* You can either fold the fabric at the corner and secure with a staple, or do as I did. I chose to ease the fabric around the corner, I put one staple about 1 inch to the left of my center staple. Then push down the fabric in the center and staple, then pushed down the fabric between those staples and staple again.

*Continue that process until you have completed the corner. Then you continue stapling in the middle of 2 staples, repeat until you finish the sides and other corners.

*Trim the excess Fabric. Be sure that your screw holes are visible for reattachment.

*Use a hammer on any staples that didn't completely go into the wood. (FYI - use staples short enough that you will not feel them on the other side when you sit down!)
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quick and Easy Freezer Recipes

I've been thinking for the past few days that I should do some freezer cooking today. So when I made my weekly run to the grocery store for the girls Saturday morning donuts, I made a quick trip through the meet department to find some deals. I grabbed some B1G1 chicken packages a coffee and 2 donuts.  When I freezer cook I try to use up food that I have been meaning to eat, once it is prepared in an easy to eat way it doesn't last long. (ie. zucchini I froze this past fall, the ground turkey I got a GREAT deal on etc..) Here is was I made. (I still have a slow cooker full of chicken that I will deal with tomorrow. So stay tuned.)

I started with dough for cinnamon rolls in the bread machine so that I would have time for 2 batches.

Then I split the 2 packages of chicken.
Placing the legs, and wings in a stockpot on the stove and simmered for about 4 hours
2 cups of sliced carrots
1 cup of diced onion
some salt and pepper
8 cups of water
3 chicken bullion cubes

In the slow cooker I placed the thighs and breasts while in a saucepan I sauteed 1 cup sliced carrots, 1/2 cup diced onions and poured over chicken. Then seasoned with GrillMates Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours.

After 4 hours when the stock was ready I removed the chicken and split the broth into 2 pots. I pulled the chicken off the bone and grabbed some Mexican seasoned chicken breast slices I had leftover. In the first pot I used the chicken from the stock to make. Zucchini Chicken Soup (I had some dried Tortellini from Sam's Club that I used instead of the refrigerated. I did have to add extra chicken broth because of it though). In the second pot I made Chicken Tortilla Soup (Again I modified with the leftover taco chicken meat, I also had a can of tomatoes with green chilies already in it so I skipped the Jalapenos, since I am freezing I will ad the lime slices, fried tortilla strips, and mozzarella cheese when I thaw and serve later.)

We ate our choice of soup for lunch and then froze the rest in Tupperware containers to thaw at a later date.

The girls wanted to make cookies. So we also did a double batch of Mixed Chip Cookies. (like chocolate chip, but using up the half bags of different chips I already had open.)
1/2 c. butter (2 sticks)
1/2 c. shortening
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
partial packages of white chocolate, milk chocolate, semi-sweet, and butterscotch chips.

I made a double batch so I could bake some to enjoy today, and then I scooped cookie sized balls onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan, flash froze then stored the uncooked dough balls in a freezer bag. We like our cookie fresh from the oven and this way we can bake a few at a time.

I rounded out the day with a new recipe for a veggie packed 'healthy' meatloaf. I pre-made the sauce and froze in a snack sized Ziploc bag so that it would be ready when I wanted it. (I had green peppers on hand and not red so I made a substitution.) I froze in a loaf pan then removed and placed in freezer bag for longer storage.

We had chicken from the slow cooker with some veggies for supper, and I will make that into meals tomorrow....
****Update**** I got lazy so we used the slow cooker chicken for supper 3x! Just paired it with some cooked veggies. One time I did try this sauce I saw on PBS's American Test Kitchen