Monday, September 10, 2012

Short, spicy and cheap!

I haven't been posting much lately.  Every time I wanted to work on something I realized I needed to go and pick something up.  Let me explain.  My town is located about 20 minutes from Charlotte, NC and as you know the Democratic National Convention was there last week.  Every time I needed to go and get a few supplies, the stores were located in a section of Charlotte in which the traffic was ridiculous or the roads were closed due to the President and First Lady being in town.  I know this was great for our area, but I am glad the DNC is gone!  Now, we can all get back to normal.

With that being said, I didn't get accomplished last week what I wanted  so I am going to post a very easy and short recipe for Homemade Taco Seasoning!  I saw this on the internet last year, but failed to write down the source.....didn't think I needed to since I wasn't blogging at the time!  We had homemade Taco Salad last week and I used this.  I keep it on hand and it is so much better than the little packages you get at the grocery store.  Plus, it doesn't contain MSG (which I am very allergic to)!!  I hope you enjoy!

This is my spice rack.  I got the bottles from Crate and Barrel
several years ago and use a label maker.  I love it!

Here are the ingredients:

Missing are the red pepper flakes.  The container on the
end is the result of all these lovely spices!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

2 tablespoons  cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Simply combine all the ingredients together and
store in an airtight container.  You can opt to not use
the red pepper flakes if that is too spicy for you and
you can change the amount of chili powder to
suit your taste.  Use 1 tablespoon per pound
of ground beef.

When we make our homemade taco salad, we simply combine the seasoning with the ground beef, add some kidney beans, whole kernel corn, sliced olives and get it good and hot.  Then we just layer lettuce, corn chips, homemade salsa, shredded cheese, a little Catalina dressing and top with  sour cream.  It is one of my family's favorite go to meals and so very simple.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Monday and enjoy the fall-like temperatures!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An obsession, a symbol, something good to eat or all of the above???

Can you guess what this post is about?  All of us Southern girls know that the pineapple is a symbol of Southern Hospitality.   I have an obsession with pineapples.  I love to eat them and I love to decorate with them.  (I have even been trying to get the picture above to post with my signature at the bottom of each post, but to no avail.)  Here is a warning....there are quite a few pictures!  I didn't realize I had so many things with pineapples on them until this post.

My first pineapple was a plate from my sister that she gave me at Christmas.  It came from a shop in Charleston, SC.   The paperweight with the floating pineapple and the "Welcome" was given to me by my daughter.  I also have a Willow Tree figurine holding a pineapple given to me by a dear friend years ago.  I have these on a chest with two lamps and a mirror and it is the first thing you see when you enter the front door.  

After these, the rest is history.  Here are a few things in the house with the pineapple symbol.

I couldn't resist the frame to put
a picture of my sweet baby Lucy.
This is a very old chair
that I had covered in
black pineapple fabric
and put it in the dining room.
I used the same fabric from the chair
in the dining room to make
pillows for the Bergere chairs
in the den.

I don't even remember where this
was purchased, but I like it in the
bookcases in the den.

I bought this at the Southern Living
Show in Charlotte, NC  several
years ago and hang it over a
door in the kitchen.

This bench was a wedding gift over
30 years ago by a co-worker.  I found
the pillows at various locations and
have it placed in the foyer.

I actually think this came from
Hancock Fabrics and the contents
change with the seasons. 

Another pineapple plate over the
door in the kitchen leading
to the screened porch.

Just a "Welcome" pillow
hanging from furniture
in the kitchen.

I even incorporated the pineapple
in the master bedroom with custom made
shams and comforer from
Calico Corners
I promise, it is the middle!

And the reason for the post is this cute as a button container I ordered from One Kings Lane last week.  It came in yesterday, and I couldn't wait to find a home for it.  For all of you wives and moms out there, we all know that as soon as the hubby and kids walk in the door, all the papers go on the island in the kitchen or the kitchen table.  This was driving me crazy and I had to figure out something.  When I saw this in my daily email from One Kings Lane, I knew I had to have it.  Where did I put it you ask?  The perfect place:

The hubby's "loose change" drawer
is right underneath.  No excuses!

There you might be an obsession, but I think it is a pretty obsession!  I hope everyone has a great day!

Friday, August 31, 2012

What a week!

It has been a rough week in our household.  Not only has the end of summer cold/sinus thing been going around (which is why there hasn't been a new post) but the hubby has been getting ready for his first college game of the season.  He is a college and high school football official with games on Friday nights and Saturdays.

The hubby doesn't look like this
but I can't post a pic of him
per the league restrictions

However, this week his first game was a Thursday night game.  He was so excited.  It is now Friday morning and the good news is he is on his way home - Yay!  The bad news is he is coming home with a dislocated shoulder and an orthopedic appointment this afternoon. I am so sad about this because he is very good at what he does and he absolutely loves it.  You wouldn't believe all the preparation during the summer for the season.  Needless to say, his season may be over before it ever gets started.....will see this afternoon.

He does have a sling and now has
a smile because I gave him one
of my pain pills from my last surgery!!

On another note, I am a fan of Robin Roberts and Good Morning America.  Yesterday was her last for awhile as she gets treatment for MDA.  With that being said, I want to leave you with this prayer that she and her family have grown with - I think I will adopt it for myself.

The LIGHT of God surrounds me,
The LOVE of God enfolds me,
The POWER of God protects me,
The PRESENCE of God watches over me,

I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Monday, August 27, 2012

What's for Dinner??

I trust everyone had a very good weekend!  The weather here was absolutely beautiful and just a hint of Fall in the air.  So refreshing from the heat and humidity from the last several months.  Unfortunately, the humidity and the heat are back for the end of the week.

This is the beginning of an exciting week in our house as the hubby has his first college game of the season in Tennessee on Thursday night (he is a college/high school football official), a high school game on Friday night and our Clemson Tigers play Auburn this week for their first game.....GO TIGERS!!!  This means I only have to cook, at the most, 3 times.

My family generally eats out on the weekends (whenever there is someone home besides me) and then I cook during the week.  We did, however, grill some hamburgers last night that were so good......just good hamburger meat mixed with some Hidden Valley Ranch dressing.   So good!   This morning, I was trying to get myself out of bed and was thinking about what to fix for dinner tonight.  I decided to use the slow cooker because I wanted something really, really easy.  Also, we haven't had any pork lately so pork chops was the meat of choice.  This is the easiest recipe and so good.  Here are the ingredients for our dinner tonight:
Only the chops, soup, onion, and dressing go into the crock pot

.....and the pot to cook them in.....

I mixed my soups and ranch dressing together with about a cup of water and poured that into the bottom of the slow cooker, added some chopped onions on top of that:

gotta love the Clemson glass in the background

and then layer the chops on top of the onions....that's it!  How easy is that!!  I put this on about noon and will let it cook on high for the remainder of the afternoon.  It really is very good.  The asparagus will be roasted with some cheese on top and we may have some creamed potatoes as well.  An easy, easy dinner for a Monday night.

My husband has a bit of a sweet tooth and likes to have something sweet for after dinner.  My mother-in-law gave us some peaches over the weekend so I thought about a very easy cobbler.  Here are the ingredients:
Imagine there is an 8 oz. block of cream cheese here as well!

As luck would have it, I thought I had 8 oz. of cream cheese in the fridge but can't seem to find I guess I will be making a trip to the grocery store!  Here is the recipe for the cobbler:

Combine the Yellow cake mix, 1/3 cup butter and 1 egg and mix well.  Take half of this mixture and press into a baking pan (I use a glass Pyrex dish).  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, slice peaches into small pieces.  Mix your softened cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla together until smooth.  

Spread your peaches over the crust when it comes out of the oven, pour the cream cheese mixture over your peaches, then sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top.  Bake for an additional 30 minutes and then cool for 30 minutes.  

We serve ours with ice cream but you can certainly use a whipped topping of your choice or simply eat it on its own.  A perfect ending to a great meal!  Enjoy!!

Now....what about Tuesday night....hmmmm.....

Friday, August 24, 2012

Finally!! A new kitchen floor!

We have lived in our house for almost 20 years.  A little background......we needed a house with a formal living room because I had acquired a sofa from my grandmother that I didn't want to store.

It's Oliver and Poogan's very place to rest!
The house was in dire need of updating, to my standards anyway.  I will have to dig out pics of all of that for a later post.  Anyway, with two teenage girls, we realized we needed more room and we didn't even use the living room.  What to do you say?  Well, here goes:  we changed the living room into the den, the den into a formal dining room, and the tiny dining room into a study, which is where the grandmother's sofa is now.  During that process, we also changed all the flooring from carpet to hardwoods.  All of this was done in a 5-6 year process.  (Lot's of other things were done as well....will show later.)  As for the poor kitchen, nothing had been done in there at all except for some painting over some horrific wallpaper with pink and purple hydrangeas (that refused to come off)....I can hear the ooohhh's now!!...and painting over very, very, very dark stained cabinets.  The floor in the kitchen, laundry room, and half bath had vinyl that must have been at least 25 years old. was pretty bad!  By the way, did you get the part about having two teenage girls earlier?  Do you know how expensive girls are?  That is why we didn't get to the kitchen floor until the last month or two.  That, and the fact I couldn't decide what I wanted.  I wanted hardwoods but I also wanted something lighter.  In the meantime, several years ago, I decided to take on a project of painting over my kitchen floor.  I loved it!

This is what the floor looked like after I painted.  Cute puppy!
Anyway, I had once found some hardwoods that had this very same pattern and color and decided that is what I wanted to use.  Once we decided to do the floor, I could no longer find that hardwood.  I was not happy.  (I didn't know about Pinterest and other methods to save the brand.)  After reading some blogs, I found a floor I could live with for awhile in case I changed my mind.  The Yellow Cape Cod had replaced her dining room floor with a floor from Sam's Club and it was perfect.  The next day, the hubs and I went to Sam's, looked at the Select Finish flooring and bought it.  It is not expensive, it has wide planks and it sounds like real hardwood when you walk on it.  We love it!

The hubs removing the shoe molding on the old floor
The first plank going down!

And here is the onto counter tops, appliances, hardware....does the list ever end???

I hope everyone has a great weekend and enjoy this weather before the rains from Hurricane Isaac descend upon us!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Table Runner made to look like grain sack fabric

A month ago or so, we decided to put down a new kitchen floor and repaint the walls.  Well, you know what happens when you do need to change everything!  Well, almost everything....or at least add some things!

I was in HomeGoods looking around to see what they had and found a table runner that I fell in love with.  It resembled grain sack fabric - which, apparently, is all the rage right now.  I wanted it really badly, but decided to pick it up next time I was there.  Stupid me!  As most everyone knows, if you don't buy something when you see it at HomeGoods, it probably (won't!!) be there when you go back.  And guess what??  After going to two different stores....nowhere is the table runner to be found:-(  So, as I usually do, I decided to make one myself.  I found a blog that shows how to make your own grain sack table runner.  I knew how to make the runner, I just didn't know what kind of fabric.  Most everyone, was suggesting Muslin, but all the muslin I could find was too thin and really didn't look like grain sack.  As I was visiting my local Hancock Fabrics, I found some Osnaburg fabric that looks almost like the grain sack fabric that is so ridiculously expensive.  The Osnaburg was only $2.09/yard!!

With all of that being said, I will now pull out my Frog Tape, my red or black fabric paint (can't decide which color) and will make my own table runner.  I am very excited and will post pics once it is done!  Here is a pic of the fabric:
Osnaburg Fabric
And here is a pic of the inspiration I found at Pottery Barn:
(This one would cost $39 plus shipping and tax.  Mine will be around $6 since I only have to pay for the fabric.....I already have the Frog Tape and the paint.  I would say that is a good deal!)

Please visit the blog, Musings from a French Cottage to see pics of her table runner.  I hope everyone has a wonderful afternoon!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The making of the perfect place for a nap!

I had my family read my first blog yesterday and they were actually impressed.....except for the one mistake my hubby had to point out!   Such is life.

As I said earlier, the porch is my haven but the best part is the bed swing.  I love perusing the web and had seen many kinds of these bed swings but with very hefty price tags.  After seeing my husband build a very cute changing table for our new granddaughter and seeing how well he did building the porch, I thought to myself.......why not get him to build the bed swing!  That turned out be a great idea and this is what came of the idea:

The perfect place for a nap

Mind you, it didn't always look like this.  It was just a basic swing with nothing on it.  Hence, the next to make it look pretty.  I continued my perusing of the web and found several sites in which I could order mattresses with fabric for the outdoors as well as pillows, etc.  Did I use those sites.......NO!   They were super expensive and I wasn't willing, nor prepared, to spend that kind of money.  The perusing continued and I had a great idea.  What if I could find a mattress and put a waterproof cover on it?  This area of the porch doesn't have any rain or wind issues so that has worked like a charm.  I found a nice mattress at IKEA and a waterproof cover at good ol' Wally World.   I was making progress.  

Next came the pretty stuff.  If you live in the Charlotte, NC area and you can sew (or know someone 
who loves you a lot and willing to sew for you), then this is a must go-to place, Mary Jo's.  I found outdoor fabric for $11.99/yard and made my own mattress cover with piping and Velcro closure for easy cleaning.  Viola! The beginning of the pretty stuff.  But, I still needed pillows.....lots of pillows.  Besides, I am female and we do love our pillows.  I ordered some bolsters the sizes I needed, found coordinating outdoor fabric at Mary Jo's and made the bolsters and two 26" pillows.  I pulled the smaller pillows from other parts of the house and ordered the beautiful "Bee" pillow from Ballard Designs (a favorite catalogue of mine ).  So, there you have the bed swing!  By the way, I'm not the only one who loves it......check these pics out:

This is the precious angel that calls me Lolly

Lucy with her favorite person in the world, Papa - AKA my hubby!

Our daughter using the swing for naptime!
This bed/swing is truly a place for rest and relaxation.  As soon as the awful heat and humidity goes away, you know where you will find me!

Have a blessed day everyone!