Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade Bread

i guess i've lost my mind...i've totally turned into betty crocker...i just can't quit cooking...i should be doing some projects really...i've thought alot the past week about how much time i spend online and how much time i don't spend doing what i really should be doing...i'm trying to be a better mother and wife...if you are reading here looking for projects, i promise they will be back...i'm just trying out some new things..i've loving this new way of cooking...preparing meals ahead of time is so nice...right now i have a loaf of bread in my bread machine...that is the topic of this blog post...

i just discovered a new site called www.budget101.com and if you click on the link it will take you to the site and the recipe that i'm cooking...

there are literally thousands of recipes on the site...mixes, recipes, a forum, etc...your mind will completely shut down when it sees what it has to offer...

White Ranch Bread Machine Mix

3 1/4 cups Flour
1/3 cup Dry Milk
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Powdered Ranch Dressing Mix, in small baggie
2 1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast, (or single packet, seperate from other ingredients.)

Mix first 4 ingredients well and place in ziploc bag, vacuum seal bag or jar,
add baggies of dressing mix and yeast to top


Pour The following in the bottom of your bread machine pan:
1 pkg mix
1 1/8 cup Water
1 Egg, beaten
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

Set your bread maker:
Regular, Basic, or Wheat with light/medium setting as you prefer.

cant wait to try it..

Monday, January 30, 2012

Freezer Cooking

for the past few days i've been obsessing over freezer meals...i stay so busy that i need a break in worrying about what i'm gonna cook...my 14 year old plays soccer and she has practice 5 days a week until 530...my 9 year old gets out of school at 335...3 days a week i babysit...never the same hours...my 18 year old will be playing softball pretty soon...they are active in church also...the 4 year old i babysit goes to school also...i sometimes have to take her and pick her up...there are days that i make 6 trips to "town"...thats what we call it in the south...LOL...i live about 15 minutes from where the kids have all of their activities...so, as you can see i want to pull my hair out on occasions...

i did some research online to find some easy meals that would handle the freezer...the thing that worries me about this is the fact that my food might not come out like i want it too...hopefully the ones that i made today will hold up to the test of time...i started out easy to see if we like it and if it works...

all of the recipes were found at Freezer Meals For Us unless otherwise stated...

Quick and Easy Chinese Chicken by Cassie

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3/4 C. ketchup
1/4 C. soy sauce
1/2 C. firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. white vinegar
1/4 C. chopped onion
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp seasoned salt

Place the chicken in a 1-gallon freezer bag. Combine the remaining ingredients, stir well, and pour over the chicken. Label and freeze.

To serve, thaw and bake in a 9x13 pan, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, our until the chicken is done, turning chicken over after 30 minutes, and basting occasionally 

i didn't take photos of everything...this is just some of the ingredients that i used...you should have seen the kitchen when i got finished..too ashamed to post that one...looked like a tornado hit

Chicken Cordon Bleu by Amanda

6 chicken breasts (I used 5 really big ones, because I couldn't get any more to fit in the pan!)

6 thinly sliced ham
6 slices swiss cheese
1/2 c. cream of chicken
1/4 c. sour cream
1 Tbsp dijon
1c. sliced mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp  sea salt (or Kosher salt)
1/2 t pepper
2 scallions, chopped

Directions: Place chicken in pan, cover each chicken with 1 piece of ham, and 1 piece of swiss cheese. Combine rest of ingredients in seperate bowl and mix well. Pour over the the chicken in pan. Sprinkle with scallions. Cover with foil and freeze.
Cooking directions: Thaw completely in fridge. heat oven to 375. bake, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes (depending on oven). 

Beef Stir Fry by Maggie (from SavingDinner.com)

In a sandwich sized bag labeled 'BROTH' place mixture (that has been mixed):
1/2 c. chicken broth
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 2 pressed garlic cloves)

In quart-sized bag labeled "Meat and marinade" place:
1 1/2 lb. boneless beef sirloin tip, sliced in strips
1/2 c. teriyaki sauce

In gallon sized bag place:
6 c. frozen veggie stir fry mix (I usually do 7-8 cups for the meal groups)

Put other two bags into gallon bag and seal.  Don't forget to write on the gallon bag-

Beef Stir Fry
2. Discard meat marinade and stir fry meat in 2 TBSP olive oil
3. Add frozen veggies and stir fry until tender crisp (about 5 minutes)
4. Add broth and fry till sauce has slightly thickened. 
Serve with crunchy chow mein noodles or rice

Chicken Pot Pie

When invited over for Sunday dinner at my friend's house, I was curious as to what she would serve our family of nine and her family of 12. We arrived and she already had a big pot heating on the stove and lots of biscuits in the oven. Since then I've served this to large groups from a crockpot to save the worry over scorching the whole thing. This is best made with whatever you have on hand. I often save back about a 1/2 cup of any frozen vegetable from a bag just for this very thing. Also this is a great way to use leftover turkey or roast.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8-12
Cost: Approx. $7.50

3 chicken breasts ($2.50)
2 cans of cream soup ($1.00) I prefer cream of chicken or potato
1-2 cups broth ($.25)
1 diced onion ($.25)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4-1/2 cup of any fresh vegetable finely chopped ( today I used carrots, celery)
1/4-1/2 cup of any frozen or canned vegetable (today I used corn and peas)
2 cans of big biscuits ($2.50) or make your own for lots less

Boil chicken breast while cooking onion and fresh vegetables in butter. When vegetables are still slightly firm add cream soups and broth and heat through. Dice meat and add to mixture. Add canned or frozen veggies and heat 10 minutes more on low heat or place in crock pot. Serve over split biscuits.
Make twice as much and bag it for the freezer. It reheats nicely.
this next recipe was from another blog called Life As Mom.. its called lawnmower taco...

Lawnmower Taco

1 pound ground beef or turkey
1-2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken or beef broth
9 ounces tortilla chips, crushed
2 cup grated cheese
For day of serving: shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, black olives
In large skillet, brown ground beef. Stir in taco seasoning. Sprinkle flour over top. Stir to combine. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens. Grease 9×13 inch baking pan. Place 1/2 of crushed chips across bottom of dish. Layer with half the meat sauce and then half the cheese. Repeat layers: chips, meat, cheese. If cooking right away, place in 325° oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly.
If making as a freezer meal, do not bake. Instead, cover with foil, label, cool, and freeze. On serving day, thaw casserole and follow baking directions, adding up to 10 to 15 minutes baking time, depending on how cold or frozen the casserole is at the start.
Serve with toppings.
i also cooked some taco meat with seasoning and just some plain ground beef...i need about 4 more hands and i understand why alot of freezer meals are prepared in groups...but i did come up with this handy dandy solution to putting the meat in the bag...
i clipped a clothes pin to my measuring cup to hold it open...kinda redneck huh...
i will update when i see how this goes...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What We Are Having For Dinner

just one more quick post for the day...i couldn't decide what to cook for dinner so i headed over to pinterest...i found this one from Jamie Cooks It Up ...Its called crispy cheddar chicken...i think its pretty good so thats why i'm sharing...

4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley

1   14 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter
1. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. 
2. In a small food processor grind up the ritz crackers. 
3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk then the cheese and finally the cracker crumbs. 
5. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. 
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 
8. Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken. 

uh oh...somebody ate some already...
hope you enjoy :)

My Most Viewed Posts of 2010

i know, you don't have to say it..i can just imagine what you are thinking reading this post at the end of january...but i just happened to look at my stats today...

i am obsessed with my page views...now, don't take that the wrong way...i'm no where near being one of the "famous" bloggers, but i like to know that people are reading my posts...i only look at my stats about once a week...i just like to know that my blog is growing and i'm getting my name out there so that maybe oneday my dream of doing this sort of thing for a living will come true..i'm getting very close to 15,000 page views!! so here are my top five posts of 2010...  

my most popular post ever...this goodwill dress form was a big hit...i need more projects like this...

although this is one of my first big blogging projects, this was not my first piece of furniture...i treasure this piece and will probably never be able to sell it... 
this was a hated piece around my house! i love the color...the husband hated it...i'm in love with turquoise and my bff got this as a gift...
this was a complete shock! i enjoyed making these frames...i got help from the hubby on this one...they were easy and cheap to make and i gave some as christmas gifts...i would have totally loved getting one of these from someone...i just can't believe that i got this many views...
last but not least, one of my early on projects...this was a fun one..i got to distress and glaze, which i was learning to do..a few people have tried to buy this from me...i like it too much though...
hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Start Of Laundry Room

last year i laid new tile in my laundry room when i did my kitchen...i also painted in there but that was about the extent of it...i mean, its a laundry room...what do i do in there?? things i don't want to do like wash and fold laundry...

now that i'm a blogger and a pinterst addict, i see alot of laundry rooms i like...if i have to go in there i guess i might as well make it look nice...

my goal for this week was to clean things out and organize better...i keep all of my craft things in there...lots of paint, brushes, etc...i also use it to store some of my stockpile items...yes, i do coupon...not as much now as i did before that "awful" show started...

now that i have everything organized, i can move on to better things...below is what i started  yesterday...

i've very excited about this!! i'm always excited about projects...this is my first time at stenciling...i'm by no means a pro...this took some practice to get the hang of it...i had to wipe off several of them before i could get my paint right...in the beginning i was putting too much paint on...a little paint goes a long way...
i can't wait to share more of this project...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dishwashing Detergent Canister

i'm trying to get my BFF on the frugal pathway...my BFF husband is laughing about it...he said, what are you gonna do next?? separate your toliet paper and make 2 rolls?? no, not hardly...i'll stick to my scott tissue...

as you might know, i make alot of my own homemade cleaners...i started out with the laundry detergent...moved right along to the dishwashing detergent...i've been using it for about 8 or so months...i've tried several different recipes..the one that i'm using now is the best for me...i have very hard water...

i decided to surprise her and make the detergent and a canister to put it in...since i'm broke (and she is too) i'm making it out of a coffee can...you might think this is super cheap...it is super cheap...i paid  NOTHING for it...

the idea is to get her to use it and like it...and save her tons of money...and my BFF husband tons of money...i couldn't just send it home with her in an ugly old coffee can...

i measured the can, which was about 6 inches high...i then cut some wrapping paper that i had previously bought at the dollar tree...i mod podged it on...printed and cut a label...podged it on...

this post is for the super frugal crafter...LOL...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Clementine Crate

you know what i hate?? when i find something online and i don't pin it for later...i tried to use my memory but you know how that goes...

i saw the cutest little crate that was made out of a clementine box...i didn't even know that oranges came in a wooden box..i thought i wouldn't find one either...i had to go by my mother in laws house the other night and she had 4 of them stacked in her garage!! and since she loves me so much i got all of them...

here is the before...

and the after...painted all of the bare wood black...slightly sanded...drilled holes and added handles...
just a little project...since i have 3 more i might try something different...

thanks for reading about my little crate....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Kitchen

i wanted to show a few pics of my kitchen...since i don't have great pics or alot of before pics i will just let you see what i got...i moved in here 13 years ago...the house was built in 1974 and alot of it is still the same as it was then...since the majority of my life i've been broke, i've had to learn to decorate the cheap way...keep in mind, this is the house i grew up in...so the old is getting old quick...my parents now live in the "nice" house...LOL..

so don't die laughing at this before...a stool was left beside the counter...she used it to get up there...see the look on her face...priceless!! notice the backsplash...it was yellow..i had already painted the cabinets at this point..no before on those...they were just ugly wood...i tried really hard to clean them and make them look better...i like the black alot...this was a very large job and i did it wrong...not holding up...way before my blogging days...i also lacked the painting knowledge then...

here is a picture of the same wall...minus the dog...i installed this tile myself...the first time i ever did it..don't look too close though...you will see all of my flaws...i used the cheapest tile that home depot had...i bought a tile cutter and made all of the cuts myself...the hubby was at work when i did this...he was very surprised...see the yellow on the right hand side?? its gone

here is the paint i used...don't be jealous...i paid three cents for it...i got 3 of the tester pots...i still have one that i didn't open..got lucky on this one...my daughter helped me pick the color...was just sick of the bright yellow...
i should be ashamed...or shot for posting this of myself..i found this on my computer that was taken along time ago..as you can see, i know how to cook something that comes out of a can...anyway, i have since painted my fridge, the door and trim, and the wall...
here is the same view without  me being silly...not sure the name of the color but it has a greenish tint...i won't paint another refrigerator...it looks awful...i painted the handles with paint made for plastic but it hasn't held up...i believe that its from greasy hands touching it...disgusting...i guess it was worth the effort though...i had to keep the vintage rooster picture...it came out of a tavern...i painted the EAT also...supposed to be an anthro knock off..
wanted to share this one last photo...this was while i was in the process of laying my tile...just peel and stick but looks alot better i think...you can see the finished backsplash too..

thanks for reading

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Word Of The Year....

i've been trying to figure out why everyone is posting this..i had no idea that The Lettered Cottage was hosting a link party for the word of the year...i only read 2 posts and decided that i had to do this...

let me start off my saying that i have only been blogging since may 2011...i've been doing home improvement projects for as long as i can remember...i only wish that i would have taken more pics of the things i have done...

as i was beginning to write this, i sent my husband a text and asked him how he would describe me...my blog, my work, everything i do..he immediately texted me back the word creative...maybe i am sometimes, but create is what i do..i'm not always creative...i do have my own ideas but sometimes i use other projects to give me inspiration...

the word i picked is determined...i feel like that is a good description of me...i created this blog without anyones help...i had no friend bloggers...no one lead me in this direction..i really didn't know that much about blogging...i knew that it was a way to share with others what i was doing...the main reason for me to create it was because i wanted to do furniture painting and restoration...its been almost 1 year since i did that first piece that gave me the bug..it hasn't really worked out for me in the way i wanted it to...i haven't given up though..i'm still as determined as ever to keep going...

since i'm the determined person that i am, i created a Facebook page and a Pinterest to help get my name out there...so far my blog is growing, i'm doing ok on facebook, and have quite the following on pinterest...

although my "business" is not doing that great, my name is getting out there...i'm now known as the person that does the furniture...LOL...thats a start i guess...but i will remain determined for as long as i am blessed to be able to do it...

thanks for taking the time to read about me
Linking Up To:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update On Yard Sale Chair

back during the summer i bought a chair at a yard sale for $10...you can read about it Here ...everybody hated it and complained that i bought the ugliest chair in history...now i have it sitting in my living room...its become quite the chosen "one" to sit in...my husband has pulled it over by "his" fireplace...also another family member has made it his favorite place to sit too...

Tom the cat..in his favorite position
i can't understand why they love it so much...we have nice leather recliners to sit in but they always chose the old beat up chair...my kids friends come over and someone always sits in the chair..then they ask why their butt sinks down to the bottom...the reply they get is, my mom redid that chair and you might fall through..haha very funny...believe me, i have enough old tshirts and other junk stuffed in there that nobody should fall through it...LOL

until next time,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monogram/ Anniversary Date Picture

finally!! after weeks of not crafting i'm back...i was sick with a sinus infection but i don't want to talk about that...i want to share something i made today...

several months ago i found a project on pinterest that i wanted to make for christmas presents...things didn't work out like i had planned...it was a craft failure...here is the link from Delightfully Noted and it shows how to make a family sign using tile backsplash...i went to home depot and bought some tile that was on clearance...some dollar tree frames....wooden letters and numbers...she says to glue the tile onto white cardstock and i didn't have any...thats the part that didn't work...it flopped over...and i almost cried...i planned something else and this is what i came up with...

first of all, i have a bad problem with pictures...i do have a REAL camera...and i use it..i just am not patient enough to use the card reader cause i'm always so excited to post new projects...so, thats why i use my trusty camera phone...

i took some leftover scrap book paper that i used on the Picture Frames that i made last month..i cut it to fit the frame..i then cut a piece of poster board that i bought after the craft failure and mod podged the houndstooth onto it..i plan on trying the tile project again but making it work this time...i painted the letters, numbers, and frame black...just one coat...i then lightly sanded it to get a distressed look...put everything back together and glued the letters onto the glass...hot glue isn't the greatest thing for this project...a few letters fell off to start with..maybe i didn't mash them down enough...its hanging up now and they are still intact...the family likes it!!

Thanks for stopping by!!