Thursday, September 30, 2010

Easy Shepherd's Pie

I was asked to share fall recipes by sissy and Mom, so here's another comfort food go-to.

This is really easy if you brown a bunch of ground beef when its on sale and freeze it in smaller packages.

You will need:

1 lb ground beef (turkey or chicken could work too)
1 lb bag mixed veggies
1 envelope instant mashed potatoes
1 jar gravy

Brown your beef.

Thaw the veggies a little bit. Prepare mashed potatoes according to package directions.
In the pan you browned your beef in, or a bowl, mix together- beef, veggies, gravy.

Pour into a greased casserole dish.
Spread potatoes on top, making sure to go all the way to the edges to seal.

Bake in 350 degree oven 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with your favorite salad.

This can be made ahead and baked. I have used veggies that were frozen solid, it just takes longer.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Almost-wordless Wednesday. This was a view I had driving home from the grocery store Monday, in the rain, after a VERY long day. It was perfect encouragement.

Mexican Lasagna

How do you do Mexican that's healthy, easy, and fast?

Monday night I had a craving for Mexican. Here were the criteria I needed to meet:
1. Easy- I'm tired after work, and don't want a ton of effort into dinner. No four course meals here. Julia Child lives somewhere else.
2. I wanted it baked. I'm having a use the oven craving for some reason.
3. I needed it to be healthy and have veggies.
4. No cheese. a) healthy and b) Prospective Prince Charming "Z" doesn't eat cheese.

So this is what I came up with:

1 lb ground turkey
1 bag frozen pepper and onion blend
1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms
1 can black beans
2 cans enchilada sauce
Packaged taco seasoning, or make your own with garlic salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano and onion powder. (there are scads of recipes on the net)
Desired taco toppings- mine were cheese, tomato, avocado, sour cream and salsa

To Prepare:

Brown your turkey in a nonstick skillet.

Add veggies and cook until soft. ( I did this in two separate pans, because I needed them for another dish, but I'd do it in one if this was all I was cooking for).

Once soft, sprinkle with taco seasoning to taste and stir. Do not add liquid.
Drain and rinse your beans.
Add your beans into the skillet. Stir like crazy until it's all combined.

Turn the oven on to 350. Spray an 8x8 casserole with no-stick spray.

Pour some enchilada sauce in the bottom of the casserole. 
Layer tortillas to cover.
Put in the beef/ veggie/ bean mixture.

Pour enchilada sauce on top

Top with a layer of tortillas, some salsa, and enchilada sauce.

Bake in the 350 oven for like 20 minutes until everything is hot and happy.

Serve topped with your favorite taco toppings.

Serves 4-6 people.

Changes to  make:

If your family likes cheese, add it in on top of the beef mixture in each layer, with more on top.
If your family doesn't like beans, or veggies, leave them out. You can change the veggies to what you like too.
You can use red or green enchilada sauce, salsa, tomato sauce. Something wet.
You can use whatever tortillas you have or like.

This can totally be prepared ahead, frozen, and baked another time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Meet Annie

I have never bought anything at a thrift/ consignment/ Goodwill before. But I've been searching for a new chair for my desk at home.

This weekend, I found Annie. She was only $20, and has lovely lines. She needs a facelift though.

Meet Annie "before":

Stay tuned for Annie After

Monday, September 27, 2010

A beach Recap for Sissy

Apparently, my sister is all into me blogging. Since she asks like twice a day where "her" blog post is.

I have several half finished projects, so I will for now, post a recap of last weekend's beach trip.

We walked on the beach. I saw seashells.
We saw boats at lunch.
We took a family photo.

There was also lots of wine and gossip involved, fresh seafood, and chocolate. Overall, a perfect trip.

We also:
Made mini cakes

And worked on a duvet cover for Sissy. She and Mom finished it after I left.

Princess Meremere helped
And so did Alex

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A big thank-you

I wanted to take a minute and give a big THANK YOU to Sarah at Ooey Gooey Daily News for the help, advice, and encouragement on my blog.

Sarah and I knew each other way back in high school, and I totally blog-stalk her! She's one of the inspirations behind my blog.

I'm so excited for her and hubby J and cute little fur babies as they live their newly-wed life together!  If you don't already read her, go check her out!

And THANKS Sarah!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mini Cakes

Sissy has been begging for me to write a post on the mini cakes we made last weekend.  I was inspired to do this after seeing I Design's post about her monogrammed cupcakes.

We made chocolate cake using this recipe from a very old Southern Living Weddings magazine I had years ago.  We made half a recipe.

To get the mini cake size, we used mini cake pans.

And filled them half full

We filled them with raspberry jam, and frosted them with chocolate buttercream frosting (and added a little Chambord for flavor)

We made dark and white modeling chocolate from this recipe.

Modeling chocolate is actually easier than I thought. Melt chocolate, stir in corn syrup, and let harden in the refrigerator.  Don't cheat and use the freezer to cool faster- it freezes and then you have to let it thaw. (learned the hard way)

We rolled the chocolate out like pie crust. Spray your cutting mat or countertop with cooking spray so the chocolate doesn't stick.  I learned this the hard way too.

Then I took a cleaned rubber stamp and stamped a design onto the chocolate. 

Then I cut it out using a cookie cutter.

And carefully placed it on top of the frosted cake

Repeat the process with the second chocolate color and a different stamp.

And Ta-da! It looks like this beauty:

Everyone thought these were very yummy!

Linked to:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Painted Serving Tray

Besides the ceramic tile trivet, I made my sister a serving tray for a hostess gift for my recent visit to Charleston. This is not really a tutorial, because it is EASY-PEASY!

Take your hot self to the craft store, like Hobby Lobby.
Get a cart. You're gonna need it if you're anything like me. Gather your supplies
    Unpainted Wood tray
    Paint in desired colors for tray and for design
    Paint supplies if you do not have them already
    Polycrylic spray
    Stencil of desired choice
Take them home and get ready.

I recommend sanding the tray to be sure it is COMPLETELY smooth. I didn't and wish I did. 

Paint the tray. I tried spray paint, but it would have taken 10,000 coats, and I'm not that patient. So at 10 at night, the leftover white paint from the bathroom came out.

After that's completely dry, tape your stencil on.

Paint the stencil with the accent color. Carefully pull the stencil off.

Let it dry. NO, it's not dry yet, so don't touch it.

Polycrylic that baby.

Give her away. Make another to keep her for yourself.

You can totally mod-podge fabric or scrapbook paper or a rub on scrapbook saying or one of those peel and stick vinyl lettering things for your walls on the bottom instead of a stencil.  Young House Love used the pour-on acrylic resin instead of polycrylic, which if you plan on heavy duty use might be smart.

I' m linking up to:


Monday, September 20, 2010

Ceramic Tile Trivet Tutorial

The holidays are coming people! Do you know what this means?? HOLIDAY DINNERS!

And do you know how hard it is to find trivets to put all those hot dishes on?  Seriously, they're impossible to find!

So what's a girl to do, but make her own?

I started with these nice big 10x 13 ceramic wall tiles I stole repurposed from work. 

Clean them really well with rubbing alcohol so they're clean and grease free.

Then, I did two different finishing options.

Finishing Option 1: Fabric

For this one, I cut some fabric slightly bigger than the tile.

Brush Mod-Podge over the surface. Lay your fabric on top, and smooth out so no wrinkles.

Flip the tile over, and mod podge the fabric over the back to wrap it.

Let dry.  Brush on three more coats of Mod-Podge on top of the fabric, letting dry between coats.

Finish with an acrylic finish (I used spray, you could use a brush on though).

Now, for the back. I took cork squares (or you could use the rolled cork, I had squares on hand), and cut to fit the back of the tile. Hot glue that baby down. You can use craft glue or Gorilla glue if you have it and think it'll hold better.

Ta-Da! Your finished trivet, all ready for the holiday dinner table.

Finishing option 2: Decorative Stencil

Take that cleaned tile.

Center your stencil on the tile. Tape it down so it doesn't move on you.

Use Craft paint to dab, not brush, paint onto the stencil.

CAREFULLY remove the stencil and let dry.

Protect with acrylic.

Now, for the back. Take that cork square (or rolled cork, or felt), and cut to fit the back of the tile. Hot glue that baby down.

Another one done! Don't you feel so proud of yourself?

This could be done with any size tile. You could also use felt on the back, but I think cork absorbs any heat transfered better. And it's softer on the table.

Lots of ladies out there in blog-land have used a similar technique for coasters using 4x4 tiles. Like:

Homemade Mamas
Crafty Chic Mommy
A Little Bit of Everything

I linked to these parties:

Craftastic Mondays 
The DIY Show Off


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