Tamale Casserole

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Ole! I found this recipe for Chicken Tamale Casserole on Buns In My Oven’s website here:

http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2012/03/23/chicken-tamale-casserole/

I don’t know if I’ve featured any other recipes from her site, but I recommend it-it’s one of my favorite cooking sites! Anyway, back to this recipe. It’s very easy to put together and easy to have the ingredients on hand so that it can be a go-to meal on the fly. I used ground turkey because that’s what I had in my freezer, and only had cheddar cheese, so I used that exclusively. IMG_1441

The original recipe recommended adding fresh cilantro to the finished product, but I chopped up some avocado and put it on top instead. Either topping would be great. The base layer, which is cornbread with some tasty ingredients, gets almost pudding like with the addition of the enchilada sauce on top of it.

This dish tasted GREAT! I hope you guys try this out and enjoy it as much as I have.

Felt Flower Wreath

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IMG_1487I have been wanting to make this wreath for quite some time. It’s a very easy project.

To make the felt flowers, cut strips of felt of varying lengths. The width of the strips should be about 1/2 inches; if you cut them larger, then fold them in half (lengthwise) as you roll them up. You simply roll up the strips until you get the size you desire; then, pin it closed with a straight pin. To make the wreath, I hot glued them to the grapevine wreath.

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Baby Burp Cloths

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IMG_1420I remember seeing a blog post (eons ago) about making homemade burp cloths. The blogger (forgive me, I don’t remember) had used chenille fabric and flannel. When I went searching for chenille fabric, none was to be found. One store told me that “no one” wants it anymore so they no longer carry it. So, I used plain fleece in place of the chenille fabric. I thought the fleece would be absorbent and soft, so it could substitute nicely. The finished size of my burp cloths is 11″ X 20″.

IMG_1424I made some boy themed and some girl themed ones. It’s an easy project to sew and have on hand for the next baby in your life 😉

Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Casserole

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Today’s recipe was inspired by this post/recipe :

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/broccoli_cheese_casserole/print/

I changed the recipe to include some pasta, so it would be more of a main dish. I think this recipe could also be used for brunch or breakfast too.

IMG_1494Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. broccoli, cut up-stems removed
  • 4-6 strips of cooked bacon
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 cup cream (I used fat-free)
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups cooked pasta (I used whole wheat small shells)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 2 quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Steam the broccoli until just cooked, when it’s bright green and cooked but still crisp. If you would like, you can use the remaining water used to steam the broccoli to cook the pasta. Drain the broccoli and pasta, and cool slightly. Meanwhile, mix eggs, flour, milk, cream, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Add in crumbled goat cheese and chopped bacon, as well as the pasta and broccoli and finally the cheddar cheese. Pour mixture into prepared dish and bake for 35-45 minutes, until egg is fully cooked. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Knitted Baby Blanket

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While this wasn’t one of my most recent projects that I’ve completed, it’s been sitting around for a long time waiting for me to weave in all the ends, and that took me a long time to get to. It’s finally finished now, and I love it.

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The pattern is here (free):

http://www.knitandcrochetnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2-202-knitbabyblanket_patternREV3-20-10.pdf

I used the recommended Red Heart Yarn, FYI. The pattern was easy to learn and remember, and knitted up nicely; remember, I’m a beginner, so you can do it too!

Here is a close up of the white pattern:

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Quick Candle Surround

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IMG_1378For those of you who have some old photo negatives laying around gathering dust, this is an easy project to whip up. I cut my negatives to length (long enough to go around the tea lights, with a little extra room so that the tea light can “breathe” a little and enough for a small overlap when gluing) and then glued the ends together. I used an all-purpose glue, and held them in place with binder or paper clips, while drying. Once they’re dry, they can be used. It would be fun to have these if you were doing an Academy Awards party. I used mine at a family dinner, and the family couldn’t resist pulling them apart to try to figure out what the pictures were. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to you!

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Broccoli Orzo Salad

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How about something healthy to start off May? I recently made this Broccoli Orzo Salad and it’s a great way to get your broccoli and avocados!

photoI’m not sure why the orzo in my picture looks purple, I assure you it is not really that color!

I adapted the recipe I found in this cookbook: http://www.amazon.com/Super-Natural-Every-Day-Well-Loved/dp/1580082777

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 c. whole wheat orzo
  • 5 cups broccoli, cut into florets
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 c. walnuts, toasted and then cooled
  • 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • avocado

Cook the orzo in salted, boiling water. Before draining, reserve 1 c. cooking liquid, then drain pasta and set aside. Steam the broccoli until just cooked-it should be a bright green. Drain broccoli and run cool water over strainer to stop the cooking process. Take half the broccoli (cooked) and combine it with the garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and nuts in a food processor. You are making broccoli pesto. you will need to add some olive oil to the pesto to make it a good consistency. Combine the pesto, orzo and whole, cooked broccoli together. Add reserved pasta cooking liquid as needed, to loosen the mixture up. Add salt as needed. At this point you can refrigerate the salad for later use.

When serving, bring to room temperature. Add diced avocado and combine well. If you are not consuming the whole amount at one time, add the avocado to each serving, as eaten. Otherwise, the avocado will turn brown.

Enjoy!

“Cow” Baby Blanket

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I had been wanting to try one of the newer (ok-to me they’re newer) soft fabrics. For some reason I thought that the fabric would be much thicker, and make it more challenging to sew, but I was completely wrong. I found this adorable cow fabric and knew I had my project!

IMG_1342After cutting out the size I wanted (large enough to use, but small enough to grab and throw in the car, throw over a stroller for a spring walk) I pinned the two fabrics (right sides together-see photo) and sewed around the outside edge. Turn right-side-out through a small opening, and then sewed a finished edge around the whole blanket. When sewing the finished edge after turning the fabrics make sure you sew the opening you used for turning right side out.

IMG_1389This picture shows the finished product. Cute cows on one side and soft fabric on the other.

And the bottom photo demonstrates what happens when you put sewing project on the floor in my house-there is always a curious feline around to inspect!

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Onion Panade

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I found this recipe for Onion Panade (bread and onions) here:

http://glutenfreegirl.com/2013/03/the-joy-that-awaits-her/

But my version is considerably different-much less liquidy and much more oniony than the original.

  • 3/4-1 c. beef stock
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large sweet onions, sliced thin
  • 1 t. dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • whole grain bread, sliced thin (day old bread is fine)
  • 1 c. Romano cheese, grated

IMG_1415Heat oil over medium-high heat and add onions. Cook until the onions are carmelized, stirring occasionally. Should take close to 60 minutes. In the last five minutes of cooking, add salt, pepper and dried rosemary.

While onions are cooking, prepare glass pie plate with non-stick cooking spray and cover bottom with bread; break pieces to fit, if needed. Sprinkle light layer of Romano cheese over bread. Layer cooked onions on top and pour stock on top of dish just until bread is saturated and stops absorbing stock (you don’t want an excess of stock in dish). Top with remaining Romano cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is piping hot. Let rest five minutes before serving.

I enjoyed this dish-if you’re looking for a similar taste to French Onion Soup, but don’t want soup, then this side is for you!

Cat Coke Crate

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IMG_1371Many years ago, on a trip to Shipshewanna, I had purchased a vintage Coke crate. I’ve lugged it from residence to residence, and it’s never had a true purpose. For many years it sat on top of my kitchen cabinets, but recently, I decided it needed to serve a new, more useful purpose. This decision really came about because I had some extra glass drawer pulls from an estate sale. Don’t see the connection? Ahhhhhh…..so I had purchased a large collection of glass drawer pulls, and most of them were small, which is what I was desiring. However, within the group there were four large, glass drawer pulls. They sat on my dining room table for a long time. Then I got sick of looking at them, and wanted to get rid of them use them for something creative and ingenious. Enter the purposeless Coke crate. I thought-hey, that would make a nice cat bed with the right accessories.

I started by drilling four holes in the bottom of the crate so that I could secure the glass drawer pulls. Position your drawer pulls on the bottom of your crate, to see where to position the holes for the pulls. Once the holes are drilled, and the drawer pulls are screwed in, you’re half-way there. If you’re putting this on carpet, you don’t have to do anything, the glass pulls will slide well; if you’re putting this on wood, or a hard floor, I suggest putting some felt protectors on the bottom so they don’t scratch your floor.IMG_1404

At this point, if you wanted to stop and use the crate for a cute storage or display case, you certainly could. Then you’d be done with the constructing part of this project, and the rest of us will be jealous 😉

My initial second step was to find an old pillow and this crazy-cool vintage pillow case (in ticking) that I had, but the girls didn’t want anything to do with that. They wouldn’t even step foot paw in there. I think it was too poofy and full, but they didn’t really share their concerns with me. I replaced the pillow with some plaid flannel, and they like that well enough. Although, truth be told, they hadn’t been using it and I was thinking of converting it to book storage, when lo and behold, Ally decided to nap in there this past Sunday. I guess it will remain a cat bed for a while longer…