Monday, May 24, 2010

Painted Canvas Tote Bags

I received a bunch of canvas material from a friend. Looking to do some painting on canvas, I thought I would make some canvas tote bags, with the whimsical type of  decorating that I enjoy doing.

1 1/2 yard canvas, handles,
sewing machine, thread.
Assorted acrylic paints

 I used the same pattern  that I used on the painted child's rocking chair  April 2010 blog. The angel pattern is by Shara Reiner, Angel Thyme Designs. I like her designs because not only are they perfect for beginners, but the designs are versatile. .
 With being  green  conscience being in it's trendy to carry your cloth reusable canvas tote bags.

To make canvas tote cut a 20 by 35 inch square of canvas. Cut a 3 by 2 notch on each side. Refer to the picture. Cut 2 of these one will line the tote, the other will be the outside of the tote.
Fold canvas in half, fold tops over 1 inch. Attach straps with pins. Sew all the way across the top.

Sew sides of tote first. Then  sew the bottom , it will make a wide bottom tote.

Illustrated here.

Here is another design on this tote bag.The out side of the bag is to the left, the inside of the bag (or the lining )is on the right side of the picture. Place the liner tote inside the outer tote. Pin together and sew.

Finished tote.
This finished tote has the Noah's Arc design.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Easy , quick side dish. Oven roasted potatoes. If your a potato fan you will enjoy this one. I serve these oven roasted potatoes with dinner, or for breakfast with eggs and bacon.. The outside texture is crispy, the inside is tender. The herbs make it savory.

5 medium potatoes peeled, and rinsed.
1/4 cup olive oil,
salt to taste,
black pepper to taste,
  fresh rosemary about 2 sprigs,
1/4 teaspoon paprika
 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese,
 in the absence of fresh herbs, substitute Italian seasonings.

Peel and cut potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes, rinse well,make sure you dry potatoes thoroughly .

Add olive oil over potatoes, mix to coat all the potatoes.

Add the rest of ingredients, salt, black pepper, fresh rosemary(or substitute Italian seasoning 1 teaspoon if you don't have fresh herbs)
place on a metal cookie sheet. one layer deep, on high rack in oven.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees bake 15 minutes turn potatoes over add the cheese at this time, bake another 15 minutes. The potatoes should be crispy on the outside, while tender when squeezed..

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Easy Peach Cobbler

 One fine summer day I whispered " Oh Lord it would be so nice to have peaches." To my surprise God heard me. We have lived in this home since  2002. We live in the Smokey Mountain area, which is not conducive to peach trees
. Being that our garden was located in our front yard, we had several obstacles we had to go through. One of them was this big tree which we had to duck under to get to our garden. Come to find out it was my miracle peach tree.
Tall, healthy, and fully loaded with peaches. Amazing that after living here for 8 years, we had not noticed the peaches before.
 I have several recipes that I will share with you. This one is a very easy one. It has few ingredients. The texture is crispy, and tender, yummy served with vanilla ice cream warm.


1 cup flour all purpose
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
1 stick real butter
1 can peach pie filling or home made peach filling I will give you recipe for that.

For peach filling homemade style, peel peaches by heating up large pot of water. Have large bowl with ice water waiting. Drop peaches no more than 3 at a time to boiling water for

 1 minute. Remove peaches plunge into ice water bath for several minutes. Peel, and cut . Place in medium sauce pan with 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons corn starch. Bring to a boil, it will thicken to a pudding consistency set aside for cobbler recipe.

In large bowl mix by hand with large wooden spoon flour, milk, sugar, baking powder,

and salt.

a small bowl melt stick of butter in microwave oven. Pour into 13x9 baking pan.


order of this is important. Next pour batter on top of melted butter in a back, and forth pattern. Do not mix butter, and batter together.

Next dot peach pie filling randomly on top of batter and butter. Remember do not mix
Should resemble this. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or till lightly browned. Enjoy while warm with vanilla ice cream on top.

Here is my tree, as you can see my peaches are starting to grow it is early in the season.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicken Flautas or Chicken Tacos

Our family has this controversy whether this recipe is tacos or flautas. We have always called them tacos, but I guess in the restaurant you would order flautas .
 This is another one of those quick easy recipes. The texture is crispy, light, and delicious . I serve them with sour cream, and Franks Red Hot Cayenne Sauce. Yummy see if you can eat just one.


3 White chicken breasts skinless boneless
2 carrots diced
2 garlic cloves
2 soft chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup orzo pasta, or rice
4 cups water
corn tortilla
serve with sour cream and Franks Red Hot Cayenne Sauce

Place chicken, carrots, garlic, bouillon, onions, salt, and 4 cups of water into a large pot with cover. Poach chicken on medium low heat with vegetables for 30 minutes.
After chicken breasts are cook allow to cool.  With 2 forks pull apart meat. Season with salt, and pepper. Add some of the chopped onions to this mixture.

In the mean time put about 5 tortilla in a zip lock bag to heat in microwave oven for 40 secs. The tortillas will be manageable soft, and very hot. This will allow you to be able to roll the tortilla up with out them splitting on you.

Take a bit of the chicken mixture lay it at one corner and roll it up.
I like to roll them all up before I start to frying. Add toothpicks on the sides to hold them together. Place frying pan with 4 tablespoon of oil heat to moderate hot temperature.  Fry till golden brown, turning over with tongs.

Save 1 cup of chicken pieces, to add to the soup. Add the 1/2 cup of pasta, or rice boil for 25 minutes more till pasta cooks. Now you have chicken soup to go with the tacos. Two for the price of one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chicken Fried Rice

What do you do with left over rice/ Of course chicken fried rice. Since we normally eat for 2 , but cook for 4 I usually have left overs which I try to reinvent for another meal. My husband enjoys stir fry of any kind. This is a great way to  use up left over rice, I guess I could make rice pudding too, but that's for another blog. This is a very nutritious complete meal, it really stretches a buck.

Here is the left over rice, break up the rice so it' not in a clump.
Ingredient: left over rice, chopped celery, chopped onion, chopped carrots, chopped broccoli, chopped green peppers, chopped chicken, oil, 2 eggs.

Add about 1 tablespoons of oil to hot frying pan( I don't own a wok). Cook chicken rapidly salt and pepper to taste. Set aside into another plate.

Add 1 tablespoons of oil. and fry all the vegetables for about 3 minutes. Set aside with the meat.

Now this is where the fun begins. Scramble the 2 eggs add to 2 tablespoons of oil. Swirling the eggs around so to break them up.

Then return all the ingredients, heat thoroughly. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cuban Rice

Have you ever had Cuban rice?  It's almost like Spanish rice, but different. It can stand alone as a complete meal for those vegetarians, or vegans.
The best rice is always cooked in a heavy bottom pans, with a good lid.
One of the secrets to cooking good  rice is to resist the inkling to take a peek, for at least for the first 20 minutes.


2 cups white rice
1 cup salsa homemade or store bought
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
Tomato paste
2 chicken bouillons I prefer the soft type
1 15.5 ounce can black beans (rinsed and drained)
3 cups water

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to your pan. At medium high heat, toss bell peppers, and onions saute till they soften. Add rice and fry till the rice changes color.

Add the rest of the other ingredients, back beans, salsa, bullion cubes(smash between your finger to powder state) tomato paste, and 3 cups of water

Stir well to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated, other wise you'll get salty parts, and unsalted parts to the rice. When rice starts to boil, place lid on pan. Do not peak for at least 25 minutes. As the water evaporates the texture of the rice changes from firm cylinder shape to a irregular puffy shape.

If the rice still is undone after 25 minutes, add 1/2 cup more of water and cook for 8 more minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to Make the Perfect Pork Roast

My husband refers to himself as a meat head , which means I better have meat on the table with every meal I make to satisfy his cravings.
I have figured out how to make the perfect pork roast, by trial and error. The thing which is a must is to brine, brine, brine, what brining does it gets the bad taste out of pork. It also keeps the meat tender, and juicy. I have 2 ways to make this dish. You can make it in the oven if you like crispy bits, or in the crock pot.
  1. Pork butt (don't know why it's called that since it's a shoulder)
  2. Salt
  3. Large spaghetti pot
  4. Shallow baking dish.
  5. Herb rub
  6. Aluminum foil
Herb rub
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons sea salt

To brine pork cover meat with water in large pot. Add 1/2 cup of salt. Store in ice box over night. In the morging drain the water.

Massage rub into pork .

Add enough wine to cover the bottom of the pan about 1/2 cup.
Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Lower temperature to 300 degrees bake for 3 hours till pork falls apart. Depending how big your roast is you may need more time. Enjoy! Let me know how yours comes out.

Natural Flower Caddy

I was looking for a way to decorate the house for my Mother's .Day celebration. Now that I am older I find that I really enjoy the beauty of having live flowers around. I saw this really cute idea on the Martha Stewart Wedding tape. I made natural flower caddies to hold the flower arrangements, I used the Mountain Laurel leaves which, I have an abundance of. They are large waxy leaves on one side and dull on the other. The contras is beautiful left in the natural, or spray painted like I did this ones to match my decor. 

Materials needed:

Wet foam
Dry foam
Plastic wrap
Floral pins
Green leaves
Gold spray paint
Fresh flowers of your choice.

 Cut out a smaller square out of one of the foam pieces leaving an inch border around all four sides of the the square.. Stack the cut out block on top of the block that is not cut.

Secure with toothpicks. Line the top square with plastic wrap,this is to make it water proof. Cut the wet green foam to fit inside the dry green foam.
I have Mountain Laurel growing in my yard.  You can use orange leaves, magnolia leaves what ever large waxy leaves you have available. Cut bottom half of leaves. Roll side of leaves in pressing them into place.

Pin them on your foam caddy side. Pinning the first leaf on the top side of the caddy. Then the middle, and finally the bottom.

The bottom leaves were rolled, and pinned sideways all in one direction. I also decided to spray paint my leaves gold, but you may choose to let them be natural, depending on your party theme.

Let me know what you think.