Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Fajitas Made Easy

These fajitas are so simple and delicious and are a real favorite with the entire family! The recipe is chock full of vegetables and gives hubby and middle child their beloved mushrooms. Oldest and youngest child love peppers. I love all three.

But even better, these fajitas are nutritious and provide a good dose of vegetables in a delightfully palatable way. This particular recipe is easily adjustable. I just use about 4 ounces of chicken per person. I also find this recipe a great way to load up on the vegetables. One of the grocery stores that I use has all of the veggies pre-cut. I usually always buy pre-cut mushrooms because, to me, they are worth the slightly more expensive cost. This time, I used the pre-cut fajita vegetables.

I cook everything on a griddle and try to keep each type of food separate.

  • 4 ounces chicken per person, cut into small pieces
  • An assortment of thinly sliced veggies (Pepper,Onion, Mushrooms)
  • Lime juice
  • Salt-free chiptole seasoning
  • Tortilla
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Salsa
Preheat the griddle to 375. Spray or lightly oil the griddle. Place the chicken in one row, mushrooms in another and onions and peppers in yet another row. Sprinkle the lime juice and chipotle seasoning over all of the food. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink.

To assemble the fajita, heat a tortilla until just warm (about 15 seconds, depending on your microwave). Add chicken and vegetables to the center of the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and top with salsa. Delcious, nutritious and simple!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Valentine Wreath

After putting away the Christmas deorations, the house seems a little empty. I thought it would be good to add a little life to my front door and celbrate Valentine's day. I spent $3.99 on the red, sparkly Styrofoam heart. I purchased the small hearts and the Styrofoam disc. I had the hot glue, grapevine, red sparkly circles and ribbon at home. I originally was planning to use some white, heart-shaped Christmas ornaments that I bought at after Christmas clearance. They are what started the project, but I ended up not using them in this wreath. Instead, I think I will place them throughout the house because I have a dozen of them.

Do you decorate your house for various holidays?

Here are the materials and instructions that I used to create this Valentine's Day wreath.

Materials needed
  • Approximately 3 feet of wired ribbon
  • Styrofoam disk
  • Valentine hearts of different sizes - I used one large (6") heart and a "bouquet" of small hearts
  • Other red sparkly decorations
  • Woody or mossy fill
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun
Step 1: Create the ribbon

Step 2: Attach the ribbon to the Styrofoam disk by digging the pipe cleaner ends into the Styrofoam. Then hot glue it into place. If you think of the Styrofoam as being divided into quadrants, I placed this ribbon in the center of the bottom right quadrant.

Step 3: Attach the largest heart to the center of the top left quadrant. I dug out a small hole and filled it with hot glue. I held the heart in place for about a minute to let the glue harden.

Step 4: Cut two sections of the grapevine. I used 1 circumference of the grapevine for each section. I placed one end of a section of grapevine in the top right quadrant of the Styrofoam. The other end stays loose to provide some dimension. I placed one end of the second section in the lower left quadrant of the Styrofoam.


Step 5: Begin to fill in the smaller hearts and other red filler. I cut the smaller hearts and filler apart and added in to create dimension

Step 6: Glue the woody or mossy fill to hide the Styrofoam and other glue "blobs". Hang on your wall or door. I used a 3M Command Strip on the front door and actually hot glued the Styrofoam to the command strip to add stability. This wreath is light weight, so it probably needs the stability in the wind.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tame Those Electronics

I recently spent my first day thrift store shopping. I visited 5 or 6 shops in my community. I was on the look out for a way to tame the electronics for the TV in our Living Room. I found this walnut buffet that is from 1921 at a St. Vincent de Paul store. The best part is that this buffet only cost me $37.50. The store was having a 25% off sale! There is a small chunk missing and part of the veneer on the top has started chipping. I think that with a little TLC, this should be a beautiful piece. I have thought of painting this black. Purists might flinch at doing this, and I will admit that I wonder if I should try refinishing the wood. I think that this would be lovely in black paint with some antique gold handles instead of the white ceramic, 80's style knobs.

I also am contemplating changing the small middle drawer front so that it opens to hold the receiver and DVD player. Finally, I need to do something with the cords, perhaps harnassing them in the back. I am excited for the weather to warm up so I can move this baby outside and start her makeover.

Here is the sewing table that used to hold all of the electronics.

What fun it was to look at old furniture and think of ways to give it a new life.  I'll post pictures of the end results.
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chili Baked Potato

Chili
This is an easy yet delicious chili recipe. The baked beans give it a slight sweetness to counter the spice in the chili beans and seasoning packet. We put it on top of a small baked potato with a little bit of shredded cheese. What a great winter meal.
  • 1 pound lean hamburger meat
  • 1 can chili beans (medium heat)
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 can petite cut tomatoes
  • 1 package of chili seasoning
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup spicy tomato or vegetable juice (you decide how thick you want your chili)
  • Shredded cheese (optional)
  • Baked potato (optional)
NOTE: I tend to use all of the approximately same size of cans, typically the small ones.
Brown the hamburger meat in a dutch oven. Add the remaining ingredients. Let simmer over medium heat until bubbly, stirring periodically. Serve over a baked potato if desired.

Chili over a baked potato

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Improvement Goals for 2012

It seems that there are so many ideas and projects, yet so little time! My goal for 2012 is to keep things simpler this year, and that these simple things can add up to a big (and delightful) result. Here are a few of my home improvement projects:

I pulled the pink desk from my neighbor's garbage - I offered them money, but they were excited to get rid of it. I am thinking a tealish-blue or a black.
Pink desk resued from the neighbor

Then there is the kitchen. I need to complete the trim and touch up the cabinets as well as the metal painted hardware.
Oh, my dear kitchen needs a little TLC!

I love this dresser. It is a great storage place for my piano music. The sides need fixed, the paint needs updated. Should it be creamy white, black or espresso?
Dresser in my living room

Ahhh... The tv stand. It is French provincial sewing machine that I decorative painted a few years ago. All of the electronics are a jumbled mess. I need to find a way to streamline all of the electronics and cords.

What to tackle first...

Those are just a few projects I would like to tackle in my house this year!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pasta with Spicy Italian Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms

    This is a tasty and simple recipe that the entire family loves! If you have really picky eaters, you can finely chop the veggies with a food processor before cooking. I have also cooked the veggies seperately, too.
  • 1 package of bow-tie pasta (or your favorite pasta
  • 1 package of Spicy Italian Sausage (either pork or turkey), sliced into approximately 1/2" slices
  • 2 peppers, sliced into thin slices
  • 1 onion, slice into thin wedges
  • 1 package of pre-sliced mushrooms
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
Pasta:
  1. Boil water according to pasta instructions. While waiting for the water to boil, begin the sauce.
  2. Cook pasta according to pasta instructions.
Sauce:
  1. Coat a skillet or a large saucepan with non-stick cooking spray and pre-heat the skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place the peppers, onions, mushrooms and sausages into the skillet and cook until the sausage is no longer pink.
  3. Add the pasta sauce.
  4. If you have picky eaters, you can cook the vegetables seperately
Hot and steamy delicious-ness

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Beautiful Ingredients!

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