Friday, March 30, 2012

I just couldn't stand the suspense.... (kitchen progress)

so I have to share a picture!  I'll be the first to admit I've always been terrible when it comes to suspense or surprises.  I mean I can keep something quiet if need be (case in point... my husband still does not know exactly what I did while in the USAF because I couldn't tell him) but I'll be the first to admit I do NOT mind knowing the end of a book or even a movie.  So not showing pictures of the kitchen just wasn't an option for me.

The base cabinets and drawers are drying before they get primed. And the cabinets on the right?  Well I took down the paper to see which look I prefer.  Any thoughts? And what about a black stove?  (It would be the same stove just painted black with the high heat spray paint we already have.)

And do you know what I found tucked far back in the corner of the "pantry" cabinets (uppers on right side)?
Pasta!  Cute organic "elk" pasta!!  (Yes in these here parts we call those "elks" MOOSE!)  Aren't they adorable?!  Two of my children thought they were "cool" but the third wasn't available for comment.  I can hardly wait to mail one packet off to friends of ours in Alaska... that way they can have moose pasta with their moose meat!

And these little lovelies... well I had a few pennies left from my birthday money and stumbled across them on etsy.  I just love mushrooms!  Especially cute little retro salt and pepper shakers!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm painting.... yippee!!

and am so excited about it!  Yesterday started out a little rocky with me have a pity party and complaining about, well, life but after a nice chat, a little inspiration & some quick cleaning the day was looking much brighter.  So.... I am now painting!  We have had the paint for quite some time but being a bit trepadicious about the whole project I didn't proceed until I was absolutely sure.  The kitchen is a wreck, for sure!  But do you know what?  It doesn't matter! :)  Meals were prepared in advance, the cabinets are emptied and sorted,  gifts have been packaged (treasures tucked away in forgotten corners) and paint is drying as I type.

And the most exciting news!!  My folks will be out for Ian's graduation at the end of May!  I am not sure how long they will be staying but I do miss my Mom!  Yes that is one of the reasons for the flurry of activity..... aside from it being spring.  My Mom's visit and Ian's graduation!  Besides we have now lived here long enough to really have a feel for the house and to figure out what works best both inside and out.  :)

Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Yard sale finds.... unearthed

Do you remember when I told you about this wonderful yard sale we visited last fall?   The gorgeous detailing on the old iron bed?  Or the adorable chair (which is currently hanging in our garage!)  Since last October the "vintage" picnic basket has sat next to "the" desk by the front closet, ignored, neglected.  It had turned into just another dropping point, a place half finished projects and supplies for proposed projects to languish, unheeded, ignored.... So today I decided to drag said picnic basket out, clear off her top and take a peak inside... And do you know what I found?  These lovelies!

Do you remember when salad dressings and such came pretty bottles such as these?

And these!

Some of the bottles not shown would be the lovely glass cranberry mold, the Mrs. Butterworth's syrup bottle (one of which has gone missing!), and miscellaneous ones without lids which are currently soaking.

Yes, my refrigerator will once again have its shelves graced with homemade salad dressings but this time they will be not only be a feast for the palate but for the eyes as well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Still here....

I am still here!  Plugging along..... :)

cooking from the pantry:  we are actually having to restock things now.  all frozen veggies, fresh fruit, and most of the frozen meat has been used in enchiladas, soups, salads, goulash, muffins, breakfast cakes, and tacos (no photos as the ravening hoards descending upon the food quicker than I could I get to the camera... and maybe just maybe I forgot to take pictures before calling them to the table.  and yes we have a no picture policy once everyone is called to dinner) and we also have some ready to eat meals in the freezer now......
        -frozen partially cooked pizza crusts
        -shredded beef/chicken taquitos
        -1 lb packages of shredded chicken
        -2 cup packages of enchilada sauce and pasta sauce
        -frozen green chile
        -chocolate chip cookie dough logs
        -numerous 2 cup containers of the most delicious chicken stock!

         -upper cabinet doors removed, awaiting painting (temperatures dropped and humidity rose so they maybe off a few more days.)
          -interiors of two cabinets painted white
          -stemmed glassware hangers hung (trust me that was no easy feat but my dear sweet husband worked on it and overcame all the obstacles such as cabinet bottoms which won't hold a screw....)
           -mixing bowls, serving bowls, and my favorite platter have now moved into the kitchen proper!  (no more traversing kitchen into dining "room" to get the necessary "equipment.")

          -finally figuring out how to easily turn arms and legs for more of these little darlings.

(inspiration: Raggedy Ann & Andy made for me by my Grandma Rose back in '75)
        -turning these little gems into barrettes and pins
        -making more flowers for pins/barrettes/headbands
        -washing fabrics to make into shopping bags/purses

in the works:
        -getting ready for spring break.
        -contemplating graduation.
        -organizing seeds for planting, weeding garden beds in preparation for planting
        -working on an article for a new e-zine.
        -contemplating a "booth" at the farmer's market
        -contemplating an etsy shop
        -spray painting everything that doesn't move too fast,
        -And last but NOT least cleaning the house and clearing out more clutter.  (took another load to the consignment shop plus one to the thrift store.)

Hope you are having a wonderful week and enjoying the spring weather (and wonderful fall weather for those who live "down under"!)   NOw I'm off to tackle the laundry room and the dining room table as it looks like the thrift store as well as our closets blew-up! :)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

LInky Followers Blog Hop... part deux

Cheri is hosting her weekly Wednesday Linky Followers Blog Hop and I'd like to ask you to join along!
I know many of you are wondering why I am doing this a second time but I have to admit last time I was a bit slow to get on the "band wagon."  In fact it was only within the last few hours of that particular Linky Followers Blog Hop that I signed up.  So this time.... I joined in much earlier in the game!

If you haven't already heard of Linky Followers, it is a new and FREE "tool" offered as an alternative to Google Friend Connect for those who do not have Blogger blogs.  However it is nice to have both tools available.  If you want to join Linky Followers, please feel free to click here or or via the widget on my sidebar.

I have to admit I love this blog hop!  I have to admit I am truly amazed at all of the incredible talent and creativity out there.  And inspiration?  Well the list goes on and on of all the truly inspiring blogs I've encountered!  So please join in the blog hop!  It is a great way to get out there and invite others over for a visit.  And to make new "friends" in the process!  So stop on by!

So here is how the party works:
1. You must have the Linky Followers tool in your sidebar to participate.
2. You must follow the person who has the party on their site as a thank-you for hosting.

3. Just add your Blog Button to the Linky Party
4. Then grab the Blog Hop code.  You will find the code right under the Linky Party where it says CLICK HERE TO ENTER.  Right under that it says: WHAT IS A BLOG HOP? Get the code here.
Click on the GET the CODE HERE and enter it onto your post.  Simple as pie!
5. Then you follow other bloggers (as many as you would like) and leave each one a nice little note letting them know you are following along and ask them to follow your blog as well.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

My Panera souffle substitute.... pantry challenge

 My Panera souffle substitute aka what I eat when I am really craving Panera's baked souffles.  Recently I have been hankering ANYTHING and EVERYTHING from Panera but we all know I am working hard to use what is in our "pantry" and freezer.  If I were completely honest I would have to admit that in a moment of weakness over the weekend we ordered Papa John's pizza.  Could I have made it better?  The pepperoni?  Yes!  The bbq chicken?  NOT on your life!  OH my it is like crack pizza!  That is definitely going to have to be one of those on special occasions type deals!!  Did the whole family like it?  NO but then very rarely does my whole family like the same pizza.  Okay to be fair they ALL like pepperoni but it is something I only tolerate.  I used to ADORE pepperoni pizza but that was back when I made it myself from pepperoni that was made by a local farmer.  That was the BEST pepperoni EVER!!  But we moved....

Sorry I digressed.  Yes it has been one of those days.  Or maybe I should say one of those weeks/months.  March is being kinda wonky, not just the weather but everything that is going on as well.  But that is another post for another day... or maybe for not at all.  Nothing serious, just busyness that is starting to wear but will soon be over! Thank you Lord for the strength to go on from day to day!! (and for carrying me along when I don't have the strength!)

Now back to my Panera substitute.  You all know I've been working on using what we have as well as adding more whole foods too.  So earlier this week I had the opportunity to pick up some organic kale for a really good price.  Rather than head out to Panera (even though it is a gorgeous day out and a drive would be nice) for one of their lovely souffles I decided to whip up this little beauty.

This little dream is chock full of lightly sauteed, finely chopped kale, crumbled bacon (freezer), a stale croissant broken into bits (freezer) (whole grain bread works nicely as well), salt & pepper to taste, crumbled cheese (freezer)(I used some Gouda we had on hand) and one egg lightly beaten with a 1 tbsp of heavy cream (it was leftover from another recipe/freezer.)  Then I popped this treat into the microwave for 1 & a half minutes at 30 second intervals.  (It may take you less time but ours is a small, low wattage microwave.)

And this is what I was greeted with moments later!  It's great with a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice!
Next time I will add a bit of sauteed onion and maybe a touch of garlic.  Or maybe substitute the kale for some roasted asparagus which I make up in batches to keep on hand in the spring.... I am the only one who likes asparagus so I enjoy it when it comes into season each spring. 

This week so far:
1 whole chicken cooked... fauxtisserie style, 1 whole chicken... cut apart, and bones from both as well as bones in freezer= 3 quarts homemade chicken stock, dinner, sandwiches, and shredded chicken for enchiladas

1 family pack pork chops (freezer), bacon (freezer), dried cranberries (pantry), dried mushrooms (pantry), rice (pantry... last of 50 lb bag)= pork chops, rice, and salad with warm vinaigrette for dinner plus enough for a batch of New Mexico green chile.

peaches, mixed fruit, old jam (freezer, old but good)= individual peach crisps and more fruit roll-ups

stale bread/croissants (freezer)= breakfast "souffle" and individual peach crisps (crumbled with butter/cinnamon/sugar for topping)

Hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather!!  Thank you for following along and I hope you enjoy all the different ideas for using up what is in the pantry and making the most of what might be on hand. :)