Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tortilla Pie Recipe

I found this recipe in a magazine a while ago, and it's an easy to make vegetarian dish. You can make it as spicy as you wish. Handy Man wants me to add jalapeno peppers next time...yikes!

Once again, my final "presentation" looks less than desirable, but I swear it's good!

Tortilla Pie
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin (you can add more, I make it 2 tsp)
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 can (15 to 19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 burrito-sized tortillas (those are the larger ones)
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 450. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray (don't forget this step!) I just used my non stick Silpat pad on a baking sheet.

Place a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add frozen corn, green onions and cumin; cook for 3 minutes or until corn thaws. Remove skillet from heat, stir in salsa and beans.
(I didn't have any green onions this time, but I swear it didn't taste much different without them.)
Place one tortilla on cookie sheet, top with a layer of bean mixture and some cheese. Don't let everything get too close to the edges, or it will all glop out. It glops out later when you cut it and eat it, but just don't get too close now.
Add another tortilla, top with another layer of bean mixture and cheese. Top with a third tortilla. Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Take it out and sprinkle some more cheese on top, and reheat for about a minute until cheese melts.

Transfer to cutting board (this is tricky, I use a large spatula for this), and sprinkle with cilantro if desired. With sharp knife, cut into wedges to serve. Good with sour cream.
See, all the toppings glop out when you cut into it, and eating it is super messy! In the magazine photo, it looks all perfect, with perfectly stacked layers and such. I just know they are GLUING everything together or something.

Anyway, it's wicked good with some sour cream. You can cut it into smaller triangles for an appetizer, or have it for a meal, it's pretty filling. Try it out!

Linking to: Not so Homemade/ Remodelaholic/ It's a Blog Party /All Things Related/Sew Much Ado/It's So Very Cheri/Fingerprints on the Fridge/Frugal and Fabulous Design/Between Naps on the Porch/Blue Cricket Design/Finding Fabulous

Full Printable Recipe:

Tortilla Pie
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp ground cumin (you can add more, I make it 2 tsp)
1 1/2 cup salsa
1 can (15 to 19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 burrito-sized tortillas (those are the larger ones)
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 450. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray (don't forget this step!)

Place a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add frozen corn, green onions and cumin; cook for 3 minutes or until corn thaws. Remove skillet from heat, stir in salsa and beans.

Place one tortilla on cookie sheet, top with a layer of bean mixture and some cheese.

Add another tortilla, top with another layer of bean mixture and cheese. Top with a third tortilla. Bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through. Take it out and sprinkle some more cheese on top, and reheat for about a minute until cheese melts.

Transfer to cutting board (this is tricky, I use a large spatula for this), and sprinkle with cilantro if desired. With sharp knife, cut into wedges to serve. Wicked good with sour cream.

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Basket Organizing

I love baskets. We use them all over our house. We have cheap ones and nicer ones, but there are baskets in every room. Since I have organized under the first floor bathroom sink and my sink, I thought it was time to organize under Handy Man's sink.

It wasn't too bad. I just tossed a few things, and consolidated everything into the basket.

Guys don't have as much "bathroom junk" as girls do. Well, maybe some do. But not Handy Man.

I will use the plastic basket to organize things in the pantry, I think. That's a project (and a blog post) for another day.

I'm wondering why there is baby powder under Handy Man's sink. We don't use it, and we don't have a "baby" around anymore. Yet, I didn't toss it. I don't know why. I think I should have gotten rid of it, but there it sits. I think it was unopened.. But why is it in Handy Man's basket? Who knows?

It was probably bought in 2001...when Handy Baby was born. (ICK! Does powder "go bad?")

I think it's time to go back up and get rid of that baby powder.

Have you ever found something and thought "WHY did I keep this?"

Linking this up to: The Pumpkin Patch/Someday Crafts/The Shabby Chic Cottage/A Little Knick Knack

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Antique Hand Mirrors

After we renovated our downstairs bathroom...I was looking for something to place on this wall. We decided to hang up these antique hand mirrors that we had purchased over the years. We originally saw the idea years ago in Country Living Magazine.
We found some plastic mirrors in green and ivory, and also some wood mirrors. I also have some silver plated hand mirrors that I am going to use in another room.

Once I figured out where I wanted each mirror to hang on the wall, Handy Man hung up screws. He then put plate hangers on the backs of the mirrors to hang them on the screws.

I liked the idea of having them hung at all different heights. I used seven of them here, to take up a good amount of space, but so that they wouldn't overwhelm the room. We get lots of comments from guests about the mirrors. I think they are a bit unexpected, but fun.

These antique hand mirrors aren't usually very expensive; most sell from $15 to $40, depending on condition and material. We collected these over a long period of time, without even knowing what we would do with them! I was just drawn to them, and after we saw the Country Living article, we put them up in a grouping in our last house. We did the same here.

I still watch for antique hand mirrors when we go to antique stores (along with vintage Fiesta dishes, of course). Is there anything that you watch for, or collect, when looking in antique or consignment stories?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

$3 Pillows!

We have a sage green couch that we bought when we moved into this house (late 2005). Over the last few months, I decided that I wanted to buy some pillows for the couch. I felt like it needed a little "something."

I looked in several different stores, but couldn't find much that I liked. I did find some nice pillows in Target, but I didn't feel like paying $20 EACH for pillows. No. Way.

One day, Handy Man came home from Lowe's with some supplies for the shed project. He also came home with these cranberry color pillows. Just the size and color I wanted! They have just the right amount of softness and fluffiness.

I keep forgetting that Lowe's has some Home Decor items, since it seems like we are always in the hardware or lumber aisles. Keep that in mind next time you are at a Lowe's.

Upon looking at the receipt though, Handy Man discovered that he had been overcharged for the pillows. They were originally $15 each, but marked down to $7.50. He thought they charged him $7.50, but they charged him $15 instead. Since we needed something else at Lowe's (we spend half of Rob's paycheck there, I swear), we went back. 

We asked them to refund us the price difference. The customer service desk person called to check the price, and they had been marked down to $3 EACH! I guess they had been marked down even further during the day. So we ended up paying just $6 for the two pillows.

I love a bargain! Have you found any great bargains lately? Tell us about them.

Linking up to: Finding Fabulous/The Shabby Nest/Remodelaholic/It's a Blog Party/ Tales from Bloggeritaville/ Beyond the Picket Fence/
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating/Coastal Charm

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Organizing Under my Bathroom Sink

I have a basket under my bathroom sink that holds a lot of "stuff." I've been meaning to organize it. I had some smaller baskets in here, but I took them out to use elsewhere. So this got to be a jumble.

I took the cloth liner out of the basket to wash it because it was pretty grimy. I bought these small 3" x 9" Rubbermaid containers to help me organize the basket.

I tossed some things, and I moved a few things elsewhere. Isn't that much better? Ahhhhhh!
I still need to clean out under Handy Man's sink, but he doesn't have nearly as much "stuff" as me.

Linking up to: Sew Much Ado/It's So Very Cheri/ The Shabby Chic Cottage/ Somewhat Simple/ Everything But the Kitchen Sink/ Remodelaholic/Organize and Decorate Everything/Under the Table and Dreaming/The Crazy Domestic/The Inspired Room

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lemon-Blueberry Bundt Cake

I just made this recipe from All You Magazine. It looked wicked good, and uses blueberries and lemon flavor, mmmmm. Last week, Handy Boy and I picked blueberries with Magdalena and niece. Magdalena and niece had picked before, but this was our first time picking blueberries, can you believe that?

This is the picture of the cake from All You Magazine:
Doesn't that look pretty? Needless to say, my cake did NOT come out looking like this. Forget about the garnishes, my cake didn't look nearly as nice, and of course my glaze didn't look that nice, either! However, it was still sooooo good. If you like any kind of blueberry dessert, or desserts with glaze, you have to try this one.

I cut it up and sent most of it to work with Handy Man, so we wouldn't devour the whole thing ourselves. Here's what one single piece of my cake looked like:

Here's the recipe. It has a lot of ingredients, so look it over carefully. And of course, you'll need a bundt pan. I was looking for an excuse to make a bundt cake anyway, I hadn't touched our bundt pan in ages! You'll need a sifter as well.

Lemon-Blueberry Bundt Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups blueberries

- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 2 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a Bundt pan with melted butter.

Sift 3 cups of flour with baking powder and salt into a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, vanilla and buttermilk.
In a second large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add about 1/4 of flour mixture, followed by 1/4 of buttermilk mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Repeat, alternating dry and liquid ingredients, until batter is thoroughly combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Transfer batter to pan, spreading evenly.

Bake until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. (My oven runs hot and I baked only for 50 minutes.) Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then unmold cake.

Make glaze: Mix confectioners' sugar, buttermilk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Glaze should be pourable; if it's too thick, add lemon juice, 1 tsp at a time, until it reaches desired consistency. Pour half of glaze over warm cake. Let cool for 1 hour, then pour remaining glaze over cake and serve.

This cake has a lot of ingredients, but it was well worth it!

Linking up to It's a Blog Party/All Things Related/Someday Crafts/Fingerprints on the Fridge/Funky Junk Interiors/Between Naps on the Porch/I Heart Naptime/It's So Very Cheri/Today's Creative Blog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Shed Project Continues...

The shed project is slowly but surely coming along...as we get the money to work on it, and as we feel like working on it. It's a nice change from renovating a room in the house where you feel like you have to work on it all the time, because it causes a huge mess inside. Not this time. It's in the backyard, and la-la-la, I can't see it if I don't want to!

Rob put some fine mesh between the side walls and the roof, to help keep out tiny critters and bugs.

Handy Man used his drill to pre-drill holes for screws, and the miter saw to cut the lengths down. He was using composite material that is plastic, but looks like white painted wood. Low maintenance is the way to go.

I got up on the ladder and held up one end while he screwed the trim boards into place.

The shingles are all up: Handy Man used Owens Corning architectural shingles. The trim boards around the roof are up...next, Handy Man will put double doors on the shed. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Storage Units: Do You Have One?

I recently came across a very interesting article in the New York Times about storage facilities in the United States: NY times article

It's an interesting article about how people store things (and sometimes forget about them) in storage facilities all over the country. I know that it seems like everywhere we drive, we see tons of storage facilities. And they seem to keep popping up everywhere.

Twice when Handy Man and I moved, we had a gap in between leaving our old house and buying our new one. The first time, we looked for a storage facility, and there were no openings in any facility in the surrounding area. We ended up storing our things in a neighbor's garage. He had one garage bay open, and we had to make it all fit into that spot. Our stuff was piled up to the ceiling.

The next time we needed storage, we used my parent's garage and basement (thanks Mom and Dad)! We were dirt poor from not being able to sell our second house, renting a new house, and had to move twice. We also weren't sure about where we would end up moving.

The article says that while storage units were first built to help people through transitional periods (like a new marriage, divorce, moving, deaths), as time went along, people began to use them for overflow of personal items. 

With the recent recession, many storage units are going into foreclosure. The contents of the units are auctioned off. A lot of the stuff inside the units is "junk", according to the owners of the storage facilities.

This part of the article was really striking to me. It says:

The Self Storage Association notes that, with more than seven square feet for every man, woman and child, it’s now “physically possible that every American could stand — all at the same time — under the total canopy of self-storage roofing.”

Wow! Just let that sink in for a moment.

Do you have a storage unit? If so, can you try to clean it out, especially if you don't use the items and probably never will? It would be a good way to cut out an extra bill. Did you ever use a storage unit for a transitional period in your life? How did it work out?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

So, Who is Ready for Halloween?

Yesterday, Handy Boy and I were in Rite Aid, and I saw a worker putting out some HALLOWEEN CANDY. Yes, candy corn and snack sized Halloween items. Already.

I still have to buy Handy Boy some school supplies. I know, nothing like waiting until the last minute. Thankfully, the list is short, and I already have some of the supplies needed at home. I think it's a bit weird, though, to be looking for school supplies near Halloween Candy!

I'm not a fan of really hot weather, but I'm just not ready for fall yet. We are having too much fun doing "summery" things. Last summer in New England, it POURED most of the summer, and it really limited a lot of the things we wanted to do. I think we are trying to make up for it this summer. School starts soon, and there are still a few more things I wanted to squeeze in first, but I think we are going to run out of time.

Are there any home or yard projects you want to finish before back to school time (if you have kids?). Many states have started school already. Please write in the comments section about which projects you want to complete before fall really starts. I refuse to believe that fall starts when they put out the Halloween candy!

There are several projects that I want to complete before school starts. I need to order some photos for scrapbooking, do some actual SCRAPBOOKING, organize a few areas of the house, and put some photos of our old houses up on this blog.

Yikes. I'd better get crackin'.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Paint Mistake in the Kitchen

When we first moved into this house, every room was painted white. We're not a fan of white walls, we love color! I was starting to get really sick of the white walls, and decided to paint the kitchen. I really labored over which color to use, and finally decided on a sage green that we had used in a bathroom in our previous house.

Big mistake! The color had looked great in the bathroom in our previous home. But in this house? YUCK!
The same color here turned into a cool minty green. I hated it! Halfway through painting, I knew it was a mistake. However, Rob convinced me to finish and that we just needed to get used to the color. That's the last time I listen to him about a color! Ha!

When we renovated the kitchen further (see more info here), I repainted the kitchen in a light, beige color. MUCH better!
Don't be afraid to make a mistake painting a room. Yes, it takes time and some money to do over, but paint is relatively inexpensive. We lived with the green color for a while, but it just didn't work in our kitchen. The size of the room and the lighting in this room was different, so the color looked different.

Have you ever made a painting mistake? Did you re-paint, or are you still trying to decide?

Linking up to Between Naps on the Porch/The Girl Creative/Remodelaholic/It's a Blog Party

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stairway Remodel, Before & After

I recently came across some photos of our stairway renovation. I can't believe this was completed in fall of 2007. It seems like we just did it!

Some of these photos are so embarrassing! Oh well. There used to be drywall on the left of the stairs, and a low, odd looking piece of wood trim. To the right, there was a WALL that we demolished. Yes, a whole wall. We pulled that down, to make the two rooms at the front of our house more open.
You can see Handy Man's legs and feet here, ha ha!
What a mess it was, knocking down that wall. I guess I didn't take any photos of that part of the project. There was drywall dust everywhere! Then we took a break from renovations and I had to look at this ugly, carpeted staircase for a while. Yuck!
It's not that I hate carpet, but this was all dirty and worn out, and we just prefer wood floors and stairs.
Handy man started working on the treads. I was getting so excited at this point!
I painted the risers with a glossy white paint.
There was a lot of drywall patching and painting to do on this side.
And then...the handrails...Didn't Handy Man do a great job? This would have cost a fortune if we hired someone to do it. Although the materials for this weren't cheap, at least we didn't have to add labor costs.
Hey, you can see our Christmas tree in the background in this one! We finished it in fall 2007, but it wasn't until December that I realized that I needed to take finished photos.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wicked Good Blueberry Muffins

'Tis the season for fresh blueberries, and I recently made these wicked good blueberry muffins. It's a fairly standard muffin recipe, but the fresh blueberries make all the difference. The little bit of lemon peel adds an extra something to them, as well.

Blueberry Muffins
1/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.

Stir until just moistened; add blueberries and lemon peel and fold into batter.

Line muffin pans with paper cups (I just sprayed my pans with cooking spray), fill 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, August 9, 2010

Decluttering Challenge for a Monday - Spices

When I was cooking last week, I decided that my bin with spices needed some help. I previously organized them by putting small labels on the top of each jar. (I used a Word document, and just cut the labels out and taped them on...don't laugh, this was before I had my label maker!)

I never liked the idea of having a whole drawer taken up with spices, like those specialty drawers...so I didn't ask Handy Man to make one for me. We've been using this cheap plastic bin for years, and it works for us. The only problem was that it was difficult to figure out which spice was which; we had to lift each one up to see what it was. It drove me crazy after a while, which is why I added the paper labels.

I looked through this bin again last week and, yeeeesh! It needed help. I tossed out some spices that were expired, added a few more labels, washed out the container, and put them all back.

The little plastic bags in the back are spices from a friend's garden. She put labels on them before she sent them to me.

This is much better! I just slide the bin into a small cabinet, and it doesn't take up much space.

Do you have some spices that need cleaning up? This is a small project that won't take long. If you store your spices upright like this, it's worth labeling the tops so you can find what you need quickly.

Linking this up to: A bowl full of Lemons/
Between Naps on the Porch/Organize and Decorate Everything/It's a Blog Party/A Little Knick Knack/House of Grace/

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Men and Their Tools

A few weekends ago, we were in Lowe's. While walking through the aisles, I saw this HUGE tool box and had to take a picture of it.

Then I noticed that there were stereo speakers in this tool box! Speakers...really?

I saw another tool box that actually had a mini fridge in it, too! What is it with men and their tools? Handy Man has lots of tools and tool boxes, but he doesn't have anything like this...yet.

Here he is, picking up a ladder stabilizer. This was to help him build the roof on the garage. He already had a large ladder, but needed a stabilizer for it. I managed to push him out of the store before he could buy anything else.

In the meantime, I'm really having a fun time finding other decorating and organizing blogs. I posted my sink organizing post over on Organize and Decorate Everything. I'm getting really addicted to other organizing blogs. I need to stop reading all these blogs and do some more organizing of my own!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sharing this on: It's a Blog Party

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Resources About Vintage Fiesta

I have added an article to our Fiesta Ware page: Resources About Vintage Fiesta Ware. I have listed some resources about vintage Fiesta that we like: some web sites, and a book that we like to use.

Did you know that there is even a film documentary about Fiesta collectors? Who knew!

I'll be adding to that section over time. If anyone has some good suggestions, please email us.

Does anyone here collect Fiesta, or dishes of any kind?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Decluttering Challenge for a Monday: Under the Sink

Last Monday, I talked about our decluttering journey, and I also talked about my plans to clean out under our downstairs sink. I bought this three-drawer container to help organize.

Before: I had soap, cleaning materials, extra toilet paper, and Handy Boy's toiletries under the sink. I've been meaning to get it organized for some time. Lots of wasted space here!

After: Aaahhh, this is better. Some of the smaller items are in the three drawer container, and there is more room for extra toilet paper.

Do you have an area that needs to be organized? Try looking under your sink(s) and see if they need any work.

Today, I'm linking up to another great blog, Between Naps on the Porch. She is hosting Metamorphasis Monday, where you can see some great Before and After photos. Scroll down to the end of the post to see all the great projects. I'm adding this organizing project to the post.

Also linking to: A bowl full of lemons
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