Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Casseroles and Welsh Cakes

I've been busy doing some baking and cooking. There's nothing like something warm on a cold snowy day. I find I cook a little differently in the winter.

It's been a while since I've shared any recipes so I thought I'd share a couple with you today. My husband thinks it's a little bizarre that I blog about my recipes but as I always love a good recipe and I know of one reader who tries out every recipe I post. Her family loves them. I don't share anything fancy...just recipes that my large family will eat.

Welsh Cakes

Welsh Cakes are sweet little cakes that are about 2.5" across. They are cooked on top of the stove, very much like a pancake but they are sweeter and pretty much the equivalent of a scone. Even my non-raisin-lovers like these. I actually ended up hiding the last three so that I could take a picture of them. Speaking of which...I picked up this gorgeous little oblong plate on sale at Pier 1 the other day. Isn't it purdy?

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Beat egg with fork. Add milk and egg to mixture. Stir in raisins. Roll out 1/4 inch thick onto floured surface. Cut into 2.5" rounds with cookie cutter or glass. Fry in frying pan over medium heat. Brown on both sides. Pan should allow drops of water to sizzle but not bounce around on pan. Remove to cooling rack.

Taco Rice Casserole

Everyone in the house will eat this and it's a great casserole to make ahead and then cook when you need it. This one is just ready to go in the oven. I serve it with tortilla chips and a salad and it's great for a potluck.

Taco Rice Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 package of taco seasoning mix or Taco Seasoning Blend below
1 1/2 cups water
8 ounces of tomato or spaghetti sauce
3 cups rice, cooked
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

taco chips

Brown ground beef, onion and green pepper. Drain excess fat. Add taco seasoning and water and simmer for at least 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and cooked rice and spoon into baking dish. Top with grated cheese. Bake at 350°F until hot and bubbly. Immediately before serving, top with broken taco chips.

And because packaged Taco Mix doesn't agree with me, I found this recipe for some that tastes just the same but will cost much less. It takes only a minute or two to put together.

Taco Seasoning Mix

1 tbsp onion flakes
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp corn starch
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix together. Makes the equivalent of one package of taco seasoning mix.

Happy cooking!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's a Beautiful Thing

One sheet of drywall.

How could one sheet of drywall be such a beautiful thing?

Because it means progress!

The insulating is done. The vapour barrier is up as you can see.

The wiring is done and the old aluminum wiring replaced with new copper. Don't mind those two remaining dangling wires. They are for speakers in the ceiling. So excited on this one as it means no more speakers flanking the sofa.

Here's a full shot. Did you notice that strange looking contraption in the bottom left corner? I'm telling you THAT is a beautiful thing. I've helped install more gypsum board than I ever wanted to. It is super heavy! And ackward! If you're planning on drywalling a ceiling this would be money well spent. It's a fifty dollar rental for the day at Home Depot but depending where you live, I'm sure you could get it cheaper. We gladly paid it though. It saved me a massage appointment for my back. It saved us the cost of paying someone to help board this difficult ceiling. Yep. Money well spent. It's not pretty but in my eyes, a beautiful thing.

Look how great it works on the angle...

And finally.... one sheet of drywall leads to another...

and another...

and another...

et voila...

the ceiling is done.

Or at least ready to be taped.

I finally feel like we're getting somewhere. And that's a beautiful thing.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Keeping it Together and a "new" magnetic board

Some weeks just fly by...just like my last one. I was feeling a little guilty that I didn't have a project to share but then I reminded myself, this should be about having fun and fitting into my life as I know it. Priorities are something that I believe everyone struggles with. How do I get everything done?

Here's the reality: you just cannot do everything you want to. I don't know if you've noticed a little quote I have on my sidebar. It's there because it is something I need to continually have to remind myself.

I forgive myself for all the things I don't have time to do.

I'm not quite sure where this came from. Someone had clipped it out of a magazine and put it on the bulletin board at my massage therapist's office. I just had to write it down.

This is something I try and teach my kids as well. Having one perfectionist daughter can make for lots of stress when all the school assignments arrive at the same time. Once again it's all about priorities, getting the most important things done and forgiving yourself for the rest.

I did finally get around to one project that will help keep me organized and it's been one I've had on my to do list for months. I had this metal sign I picked up at Michael's in my kitchen before my reno. I loved it but hanging it above my sink was not a great plan as it ruined the decorative paper on the sign. I knew I could make it over though so I kept it. Here's what I did this afternoon...

To start I peeled off the loose edges off the sign and then sanded off any bumps in the paper. I wanted to be able to get a good bond.

I actually got pretty excited about putting this project together quickly so this is a photo from another project I have yet to share but it uses the same idea. I used the Claudine Hellmuth Multi-Medium as an adhesive. You can also use things like ModgePodge or collage glue but I used what I had on hand and it worked well. Just brush on your surface generously and apply the paper quickly and smooth out any air pockets or wrinkles. It should dry quite quickly.

I used a patterned paper by Graphic 45 for this project. I cut it down to size and after adhering and drying, I sanding the edges for a distressed look. A sanding block is a great tool I use a mini one by Tim Holtz but you can use a larger one from the hardware store as well.

For this project I also stamped and inked up a quick tag to embellish the simple project. By layering the inks I came up with an almost exact match for my paper. Most of the stamps are from a stamp set I designed for Cornish Heritage Farms called On the Desk.

And here's my final project all hung up on a little piece of wall in my kitchen. Because the board is metal, I'm going to make some coordinating magnets and hang up photos or important notes I can't forget about.

That's it! Just breathing a little bit of new life into an old piece using things I already had on hand. I'm lovin' it! I'm so glad I found a little beauty here today.

Have a beautiful day!


This post links up with Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special.