Thursday, October 31, 2013

Decorating with Vintage Linens

The bathroom needed a quick curtain when I finally retired some defective plantation blinds.  I loved the idea of using vintage doilies, cut work, etc. to decorate simple curtains and took a piece out of my stash for this quick fix.  

I really like cafe curtains.  They provide ample privacy, plus they’re easy to open and let in plenty of light and air when desired.  I was inspired from a photo where doilies had been randomly sewn onto similar curtains.  My bathroom also has an open space in the sink cabinet where the laundry basket is kept behind two matching vintage pillowcases.  

The lace at the bottom was handmade.  None of my collected pieces of vintage linens are in perfect condition though I have made an effort to keep them carefully laundered.  I feel that the faint stains, worn areas, and other imperfections give the pieces charm—a story.  It is hard to believe there was a time when women would have the knowledge, time, and inclination to make beautiful, comforting, and useful decorations for their home.  I am glad to find any way I can to incorporate such history into my own home.

I am looking for more ways to use my stash of hand-made finery.  Share your ideas of how to use vintage pieces like the ones I have shown.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pinterest Recipes I've Tried (and my adaptations)

For the past couple of weeks, I have been using recipes I found through Pinterest to make meal preparation a little more interesting.  All of these recipes have been quite a success, though I did make a few modifications now and then.  (One time I forgot to turn on the crockpot.  All that was in the pot was potatoes and spices, so I made the meal on the stove instead to make up for lost time.  That was the Slow Low Country Boil).  I did not take pictures of each of these meals because it had not occurred to me to write about this experience.  But I saw that one person had a Pinterest board for pins she had tried.  I want to do that too!  I would like to share my thoughts on the following pins (and to remind myself of any adaptations I would make).  

Here is my Pinterest Board:

Visit Heather's profile on Pinterest.

Skillet Rosemary Chicken 2-24-14
Words cannot describe how delicious and how easy this recipe was!  I used dried rosemary because that is all I had, and I just put all the herbs, spices, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and pulsed it real good.  I even forgot to place the chicken in the lemon mixture before browning the skin in the skillet, so I basted the chicken really good after I placed it on my mushrooms and potatoes.  I wanted to use up some Idaho potatoes and they worked fine.  I couldn't find anything at Walmart that said cremini mushrooms so I used the cute little white ones.  Those were the best tasting mushrooms I literally have ever had!  And the potatoes turned out very tasty as well.  I only cooked four thighs and all the ingredients fit perfectly in my skillet.  I keep my iron skillet well-seasoned so everything slid out like it was supposed to and I feel the skillet really added to the flavor.  I HIGHLY recommend this recipe.  I can't tell you how good it is to find a thigh or leg recipe that's out of this world like this one.  I collect these recipes because legs and thighs are more economical to buy than white meat.  You can find a great chicken leg recipe I made right HERE.

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Here is a picture of the Breakfast Burritos.  They were sooooooooooooooooo good!  They were actually better after reheating them in the microwave than they were fresh.  The cheese just got so gooey good.  I can see this being a must have on any kind of trip, especially a camping trip.  If your family likes to eat breakfast, these breakfast burritos are a must-have in the freezer.  I really love collecting and preparing a month-full of dinners at one time and now I plan on doing the same with breakfast foods. 
I did about a half-recipe to try the recipe out for the first time and I recommend doing that because there is a lot going on at one time.  It might be good to have a helper like a child who likes to grate cheese and stir the hash browns or lightly warm the tortillas.  I chickened out at the last minute and did not put the spinach in with the eggs—but I will try it next time because I really love spinach. 

Taco Pizza

The Taco Pizza was amazing!  It turned out just like the picture (so I did not need to take a picture anyways).  The only thing I would do different is to remember to kind of toss the chopped tomatoes on a paper towel because it made the pizza a little wet in some places.  We did not have leftovers, but if you did, you would not want any sogginess on the pizza.

Outback Green Beans

I made the Outback Green Beans and they were very good.  This is a great recipe if you can get garden fresh green beans because store bought is just not the same.  I steamed my green beans and they would have been perfect if I had remembered to stir them in the steamer so they get the same amount of doneness all over.  Also, I would only make a half recipe of the sauce.  However, I imagine using the extra sauce on chicken for another meal would be delicious.

Forgotten Chicken

The Forgotten Chicken was very interesting.  The rice turned out beautifully.  However, I do not happen to like using Lipton Onion Soup Mix as a seasoning on top of the chicken as the recipe instructs.  It was too overpowering for me and I only used half a packet.  I believe using my own special seasoning blend would be even better because my blend brings out the best flavors in chicken and the two condensed cream soups have plenty of flavoring as well.  My own seasoning blend recipe can be found HERE but basically consists of salt, course pepper, celery salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.  I use it so much that it is kept combined in a shaker to use whenever I need.  This recipe will definitely be tried again with the minor change.  What a great way to use Minute Rice brown rice which is supposed to be healthier.  I also recommend this recipe as a comfort meal to take to someone.

 Skinny Slow Cooker Chicken

Skinny Slow Cooker, Chicken and Mushroom Gravy

The changes I made to Skinny Slow Cooker, Chicken and Mushroom Gravy was to use boneless thighs instead of skinless chicken breast filets.  I believe this change made the recipe even better than it already was, plus it was cheaper.  You could combine thighs and legs if you wanted to.  The herbs and spices with the oil (I used light virgin olive oil instead of canola) made the chicken so delicious.  When I make this again, I am not going to bother with the gravy.  The chicken makes its own wonderful broth and I felt adding canned broth and making a gravy was unnecessary.  I put the chicken and mushrooms on top of Minute Rice brown rice and the family gobbled it right down.

Slow Low Country Boil

The Slow Low Country Boil, (the one I forgot to turn the crockpot on for), was truly restaurant quality.  The cost was moderate and the meal was even better than a comparable one we had at Red Lobster a few weeks before!  I even found Red Lobster biscuit mix at Walmart and had my husband whip them up to go with the meal.  He never cooks and they turned out beautifully.  This is a fabulous meal.  We made it with frozen corn on the cob halves and just left them as halves, although they would have been prettier if I could have followed the recipe with shucked corn cut into four pieces.  Ya’ll definitely try this one because it would really impress guests!

Cheese Steak Sandwiches

One of my fav’s was the Cheese Steak Sandwiches.  Fall is a great time of year to figure this one out.  I am going to give a few more details because the pin does not have much.  I had never made cheese steaks before and was a little nervous.  The recipe calls for cheap steak and that is what I got!  Look at the pictures on the pin to get an idea what the steak should look like at the store.  Then slice it pretty thin, discarding the fat. 
I cooked it in its own juices with the onion and salt and pepper on medium heat until its own juices were almost gone and then I put the French onion soup in there and brought it to a boil, lowered the heat to medium-low, and put the lid on the pan.  Being Southern, I wanted to slow-cook the steak in the soup until the meat was very tender. 
I used two pieces of American cheese for each hoagie sandwich, doubling the cheese, and tearing in half so every part of the sandwich had cheese.  These sandwiches were going to be cheesy!  They were so good, I felt like such a glutton! 
My family said they were better than any restaurant sandwich they had ever had, and my daughter has actually been to Philly and had an authentic Philly Cheese Steak.  This is definitely a great meal for football fans.

Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas

Okay now for Crock Pot Chicken Fajitas.  I loved this recipe because it said you could use thighs.  I was skeptical and up to the challenge of trying fajitas made with thighs.  This recipe was out-of-this-world!  It made a lot and there was NOTHING left folks!  This is definitely the one to do for teenagers and guys—a really easy recipe for after church or Saturday college football in front of the tube.  

How have the recipes on Pinterest been working out for you?  I find most of them fairly reliable but I have also had my share of disappointments.  Let me know!


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