Simple and Cheap Kitchen Window Upgrade

Tension Rod ($2.39)
Hanging Pots (3 @ $.99)
Potted Herbs (3 @ $2.49)

Total: $12.83

Kitchen Window

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Seems So Obvious

The kitchen in our rental home is large, functional and much nicer than your average rental kitchen.  Although the landlord had clearly anticipated that the original red accent stripe might  not be agreeable to everybody and at some point had it painted black, the stark white blacksplash still lacked a little je ne sais quoi.

Before Tea Before

I just thought it needed a little upgrade – a temporary, cleanable “can be removed without a trace” upgrade.  While I originally thought wall decals would be the “go to” method for this project, I couldn’t find any available pattern (despite an extensive Etsy search) that fit my 3″ x 3″ tiles.  So, as per usual, I improvised.

Using the same method I use to create my china, I created waterslide decals and applied them in various places along the tiles.  The result is a pattern that fits my decor, and the decals can be completely removed from the tile without a trace.  They leave no residue, no sticky substance, and no discoloration. The decals could be sealed making them permanent.  I will, however, need to be cautious in not using anything abrasive to clean the tile, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will hold up to the heat behind the stovetop.

The entire project took about an hour, including creating the template, printing the tiles, cutting them out and applying them.  My boyfriend took one look and said “Huh, why did you never do that before?  Seems so obvious…”

After Stovetop

 

After Whale

After Skull

After Mango

 

So These Happened

Another easy dessert … well seemingly easy …  easy prep anyway, but I find brownies impossible to cook perfectly.  I’m not sure if it’s my oven or my ineptitude.

I stumbled upon this recipe Caramel & Chocolate Chip Brownies with Pretzel Crust undoubtedly while scrolling thru Pinterest and while mine didn’t come out nearly as pretty … they sure came out downright delicious!

Cotton Pickin’ Cornbread

I’ve been buying an awful lot of rotisserie chickens lately. I can stretch one out for many meals. And we tend to eat rather light during the week in my household.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call this recipe “light” however … but it sure was yummy.

My dear friend Alicia sent me the recipe

Chicken & Corn Enchilada Casserole

First Layer                                         Second Layer
1 Can of Corn                                      1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 Can Cream of Corn                           1 cup shredded cheese
8oz Sour Cream                                   1 cup enchilada sauce
1/2 cup Ricotta
1 Package Corn Bread Mix

Mix all together all first layer ingredients in a casserole dish
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until firm
Take out of oven, poke fork holes all around it
Pour 1/2 Cup of red enchilada sauce.
Top with Shredded Rotisserie Chicken and shredded cheese
Put back in oven until cheese melts

…I don’t know how people take pretty pictures of casseroles … they are what they are afterall…

I topped it with my “Eyes Closed Guacamole”  RECIPE HERE

I would cut this recipe in half the next time because it feeds and army and there was only 2 of us to eat it, although it did feed us for several days.

Quick Fix Dessert

I like baking, and making desserts – but when we have house guests, I don’t concentrate on extravagance or elaborate desserts – I want ones I can make on the immediate so that there are always a plethora of treats. Of course, these were gobbled up faster than the 10 minutes it took me to make them.

I found the recipe for Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Treats scrolling thru Pinterest.  They were ridiculously easy to make.  I would hesitate to use foil in the future, and replace it with parchment paper because the foil stuck in places, but I would not hesitate to make them again as they were a real crowd pleaser.  I also molded them in a pie plate because all of my other pans were in use … so they aren’t nearly as pretty as the original … but who doesn’t want to eat a pie slice with their hands I say?!

Pulled Pork Sliders

It’s no mystery to anyone that knows me that my go-to meal for large dinner parties is my pulled-pork tacos (RECIPE HERE).  Recently, however, I cooked way more than even my big dinner crowd could finish.  It was really win/win though because I froze half of what was left for a future meal and then strained the sauce from the remaining pulled pork – added some bottled BBQ sauce – spooned them onto mini Kings Hawaiian Sweet rolls (that I had buttered and browned in the oven) – and then topped them off with shredded purple cabbage (which I would add to everything if I thought I could get away with it) creating the most delightful (messy-as-all-hell-but-so-delicious) sliders.

That’s Cheesy

We recently had house guests and while I love having a house full of people, it’s a challenge to come up with family friendly (more particularly kid-friendly) meals to feed a bunch of people. Plus, I actually like to visit with my guests as opposed to spending all my time in the kitchen. So I plan ahead and shop ahead to make sure I have all the ingredients on hand I’ll need.

My boyfriend’s kids love my Mac n’ Cheese, so I paired it with Pepperoni Pizza Muffins (follow link for the recipe) I found via Pinterest for a delightful crowd pleasing, comfort food style meal.


This is my Mac n’ Cheese recipe:

1 lb shell macaroni
1 cup dried bread crumbs (Italian style)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
5 TBSP butter
1/2 Cup all purpose flour (though I often times substitute wheat flour)
6 Cups whole milk
1 8oz container Ricotta Cheese
4 Cups grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Spray 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • Cook the macaroni until almost tender. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  • In a small separate bowl combine bread crumbs and olive oil and set aside.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat melt the butter.  Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes.  Still stirring constantly, slowly add the milk and cook for about 5 minutes continuing to stir constantly.
  • Add the Cheddar and Ricotta and stir until think and creamy-about 5 more minutes.
  • Combine sauce mixture with macaroni.
  • Transfer to baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes or until golden and bubbling slightly around the edges.

Tropical Afternoon Delight

We had a house full of guests this weekend which left me cooking and baking various family friendly foods and desserts. One of the weekend’s favorites (declared by my boyfriend’s son as perhaps the best dessert I’ve ever made –  yea me …) was the simplest recipe ever found HERE and while I followed the recipe as is, I would consider using a graham cracker crust the next time for a more perfect tropical dessert.

Thrill of the Thrift – Whale of a Cookie Jar

Found this on a thrifting hunt last year… it’s worth twelvity gazillion dollars more than I paid for it (Cost-$3.00 / Worth-$200.00+) … I may be buried with it … unless a sibling needs bail … you can take the girl outta New England…but, well…you know…

It’s a vintage Metlox Poppytrail cookie jar circa 1950-1970.  They apparently also came in royal blue and I shall be keeping my eyes peeled for that one too.

Cuz I Eats Me Spinach

Mondays are a glass half full/half empty sort of scenario in my opinion – they can be looked at as the beginning of a fresh new week, or the anti-climactic ending to a nice weekend. I, like so many others, am not a huge fan of Mondays but, more particularly, I hate cooking on Monday nights.  I mean I went to work all day – haven’t I done enough?!  However, scouring Pinterest I stumbled across a recipe for Spinach Burgers (original recipe found HERE) and it seemed easy enough for a Monday night.  I had to make slight edits to the original recipe because I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and came up with my own…

Spinach Cakes

1 bag of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and well drained)
2 eggs
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c diced onion
1/4 c sundried tomatoes
3/4 c parmesan bread crumbs
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

1 tsp minced garlic

Combine all ingredients.  Form into patties.  You can cook them following the original recipe through the link above, but I cooked mine on my Forman Grill – oh yeah, I have one of those – and they came out perfect.  I served them as a side to turkey burgers with ginger dressing and a grape tomato and cucumber salad.