Monday, May 23, 2011

Portable Window Greenhouse

What do you do with your old windows? We replaced our windows in our home, couldn't bare to throw out those beautiful drafty windows.
 There was a lot of craftsmanship that went into those wooden frames. It's a green idea to reuse old things, and give it a new lease on life.
Here's an idea make a portable window greenhouse.

I like the way it looks in the front yard. Very shabby sheik, I'm thinking of hanging some flowers in it. What do you think of this idea?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Diy Coffee Table Redo

One of the things that I enjoy doing is taking a piece of furniture, and changing it. The most inexpensive way, with more bang for your buck is to repaint.. Since folk art is popular, and easy to reproduce, it's a great place for a beginner to start. There are plenty of books with patterns at stores like Micheal's. The book I got this particular pattern was Better Home and Gardens Painting Furniture and Accessories.

Sand paper
Large paint brush
# 5 round brush
3/8 angle brush
# 0 liner brush
6 inch glazed ceramic tile for paint mixing
Flat edge painting knife
Assortment of 2 oz paints made by Americana, Folk Art, and Delta
Blue Haze, Blue Mist, Napa Red, Buttermilk,Antique Gold, Antique Green, and Black
Tracing paper
Matte finish spray
Stylist tool
Water pail for rinsing brushes

Start by selecting the piece of furniture your redoing. I have chosen a coffee table. First sand the table all over. Using a wet cloth remove all dust from furniture. Also see furniture make over for more information.
Paint the table with the large paint brush in black.
Copy pattern to tracing paper. Tape into place, with white transfer paper under neath. Redraw pattern onto coffee table.
The main colors are based in first, to shade you side load with the darker colors, to high light you use the lighter colors.

  • I took the liberty to do some free flowing leaves around the edges of the table, once you get brave try it, it will  give you  painting a free form look.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lavender Baby Sweater with Hoodie

We have a new baby, or I should say grand baby arriving soon,. There is nothing that compares to the joy of having grand babies. I have been combing the net to find easy baby patterns, and once again I can state that  has some adorable free patterns on line. Pink Lemonade Hoodie

What I liked about this pattern was, the way it came together. The sleeves are made first. then set to the side while you make the body of the jacket from bottom up. The sleeves are then attached and the whole sweater is knitted together to give it a neat look. The shoulder is then narrowed by decreasing the stitches. The hood is then added to finish the jacket.

The one variation I did to the pattern was to make the opening of the sleeve smaller, by casting on 29 stitches instead of the 36 which the pattern called for.

Cheese Crepes with Blackberry Sauce

That time of year has come once more,one day we as a nation set aside to honor our mothers. One of my mothers favorite breakfast meals is cheese crepes with blackberry sauce. My dad use to do most of the cooking when I was a kid.. Being Italian, and from the region of Bari where the best cooks come from. My dad liked to experiment with food, just as I do. Most of his meals were great, except for the occasional flop like garlic muffins.

Crepes ingredients:
3/4  cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon oil
dash salt

Crepe filling:
24 oz small curd cottage cheese
zest of one orange
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Blackberry Sauce
3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon instant clear gel, or cornstarch

For crepes place milk, flour,egg, sugar, oil, and dash of salt in large bowl, using a whisk beat well. Set aside. Heat a lightly greased  6 inch non stick frying pan. Spoon 1/8 cup of batter, swirling to cover the pan. Cook till the crepe browns, turn over, and cook for 1 minute more.
For crepe filling place cottage cheese, orange zest, almond extract, and sugar in a bowl, stir together. Place cheese filling on one side of cooked crepe.

After folded , fry in tablespoon of butter, till lightly browned.

Blackberry sauce should be made to night before. Place blackberries in medium sauce pan with sugar. Bring to a boil for 30 minutes. Strain though a sieve to remove the blackberry seeds. Return to sauce pan with the addition of corn starch, simmer for 5 minutes or till the sauce thickens. Remove , from heat when cooled place in ice box over night to serve  with the cheese crepes. enjoy!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup

It's May here in Virginia, and we're still using our fire place to keep warm. Sitting in front of the fire with a bowl  of warm spicy sausage lentil soup,  yum it doesn't get much better than this. I use to make lentil soup a lot when my boys were growing up, because I just like the flavor of lentils. My son Dany remarked one time he thought it was punishment. That really made me chuckle since that was not the case at all. I just plain liked lentil soup. I think Dany would even like this version.

  1. 1/2 cup dry lentils
  2. 3 Premo Hot Italian Sausage links cut into small bit size bits
  3. 1 teaspoon dry fennel
  4. 1  mini cubes Knorr garlic seasonings
  5. 1 mini cubes Knorr onion seasonings
  6. 3 carrots diced
  7. 3 sprigs of celery diced
  8. 4 cups water
  9. 2 mini cubes Knorr tomato 
  10. 1/2 cup chopped green onion saute in 1 tablespoon butter
  11. 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
  12. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  13. 2 potato cubed
  14. 5 cups water
  15. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning 
  16. 1 teaspoon dry basil
In a crock pot place all ingredients.  Cook on high for 8 hours. Serve with crusty bread . Enjoy!

Mustard Chicken

Chicken, chicken, chicken there are so many ways to fix this economical bird. Here's a new version of fried chicken without the fried. Since the chicken is baked on a cookie rack, above a flat cookie sheet so the air circulates under the meat. The results is a deep fried crispiness with out the frying part.

  1. Cut chicken, dark or white meat
  2. 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  3. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  4. Enough salt to salt chicken
  5. 3 garlic cloves minced finely, I use a rasper
  6. 1 cup corn flakes crumbs, they sell them already done or you can mash your own corn flakes
  7. Cook sheet with rack

Rinse chicken with cold water under the sink pulling off any extra fat. Pat dry with paper towel, this simple little step helps meat to get brown. Salt  liberally. Set to the side.

In a bowl mix Dijon mustard, rosemary, and minced garlic well. 
Dip chicken into mustard mixture, making sure the whole outside of chicken is covered.
Roll into the corn flakes crumbs covering top, and bottom of chicken. Knock off excess crumbs.
Place chicken in a rack made this way. The foil on the bottom make for quick, and easy clean up. The rack on top keeps air circulating with gives this recipe a fried taste.

Place chicken on top, leaving enough space in between to allow the chicken room to cook properly. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, turning meat over. Then lowering oven to 350 degrees for another 30 minutes chicken juices should run clear, when chicken is done. Enjoy!

Mother's Day Bacon Quiche

I don't know if you have eaten a lot of quiche, I have it's women's food. What's not to like about quiche it has the meat group, bread group, vegetable group, and dairy group all in one package. I have tried many recipes, but I find the recipe my son Junior shared with me is my favorite. There are few ingredients, with plenty of flavor.

  1. 5 large eggs
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  3. 1 1/4 cup sour cream
  4. 6 strips of bacon cooked till crispy
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  8. 1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  9. 1 store bought or homemade pie crust

 Place crust in pie pan,  pierce crust with fork bake  425 degrees for 8 minutes in oven. Take out allow to cool.
Break cooked bacon onto partly cooked pie crust.
Sprinkle the shredded cheeses onto the bacon.
By hand mix the sour cream, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. pour into pie shell.
Bake for 30 minutes, at 350 degrees the top will be browned, test for done by inserting a butter knife in the center, if it comes out clean it is done. Don't forget to wrap the outside crust with tin foil, this prevents the rim of the pie crust from over cooking.
Try is bacon quiche recipe I'm sure it will become one of your favorites too. Enjoy!