Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey and Leek Vegetable Chowder - A Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe

So, I belong to this co-op of sorts that sources organic and locally grown
fruits and veggies... and they deliver your order TO YOUR DOORSTEP!!

Yes. You read correctly: DELIVER.

If you live in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Columbus or Dayton,
I highly suggest you check out Green B.E.A.N. Organic Produce and Natural Groceries at:

ANYHOO...  The point of this being, sometimes I forget to adjust my order,
so they send me what is in season and such.  This means
I often end up with some kind of vegetable I would NEVER buy EVER.

Thus, the leek in this recipe. 
Not that I have anything against leeks. 
I just never cooked with them.

I had to watch videos on how to prepare them.
(Thank God for the World Wide Web)

My sister hosted our Thanksgiving dinner, but I ended up with one of the legs of the turkey as well as a few pieces of white meat. 

That's a lot of meat for a single gal.

Full disclosure: I don't know that I've ever knowingly eaten much dark meat.
(Growing up I was raised to dislike it.
But I never tried it.
So how could I know I didn't like it?
Turns out it's not bad at all!)

Today was a big flop around the house day.
(It's 6:30, and I'm still wearing what I slept in last night...)

In other words, I was not leaving the house for anything. 

When it came time for dinner, 
I decided to get a little creative.
Here's what I came up with:

(Recipe Grace request: I didn't measure a lot of stuff cuz I was using what I had.
Please forgive the "couple of shakes of" ingredients.
It really does give you, the chef, more control over the recipe.)

Turkey and Leek Vegetable Chowder: A Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe


                                       - Leftover Turkey (I used meat from one leg and about 6 oz of turkey 
                                       - One leek (leaves removed, rinsed and sliced)
                                       - 2-3 large carrots diced
                                       - 1/4 of a medium sized onion diced
                                       - 2 TB olive oil
                                       - 5 new potatoes diced into small pieces
                                       -  1 cup of frozen peas
                                       - 32 oz of low sodium chicken broth
                                       - 2 cups of water
                                       - Garlic Powder
                                       - Thyme
                                       - Onion Powder
                                       - 1 cup fat free half and half

                                       - Salt and Pepper to taste


                                    1. Sautee leeks, onions and carrots in olive oil in a large sauce pan 
                                        on medium heat. Stir occasionally.
                                    2. When the vegetables start getting soft, add turkey, potatoes, 
                                        chicken broth and water.
                                    3. Add about 1/2 tsp of thyme.
                                    4. Add about 6-8 shakes of onion powder.
                                    5. Add about 6-10 shakes of garlic powder.
                                    6. Turn heat on high and bring the mixture to a boil for about 10 
                                    7. Lower to medium heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
                                    8. Add peas and fat free half and half until the soup starts to 
                                        simmer again.
                                    9. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

                             Additional Notes:
                                     - I don't know if this is thick enough to qualify as a "chowder." 
                                    - Add a couple of tablespoons of corn starch or puree some of 
                                      the potatoes, leeks and carrots before adding the half and half.
I served mine with a baked cheese sandwich (on homemade white bread) 
and some NFL football.

It turned out quite well! 
(I have a feeling it's going to taste even better tomorrow after the 
ingredients have time to, like, blend or whatever 
the correct term is. hehe)

If you try this, let me know what you think!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Hash - First Recipe

I'm embarrassed to admit that I throw out a bit of food.

(In my defense, I'm single.  I oft have grand delusions
of making many different recipes during my week.
Then I get busy and am not home.
Or I eat out with friends... only to have my fresh foods spoil).

Earlier today I had a migraine and came home from work a little early to sleep it off.
Then I didn't feel like going out to get some food.
Then I realize, "Hey, self, you have a fridge filled with fresh fruits and veggies. 
Here's a novel idea... make something with them!"

Then I thought "Self, that is a GREAT idea! Whatever shall I make?"
Then I remembered that my friend and co-worker Mike was warming up some amazing
looking dish his girlfriend made 
of kale, sweet potatoes, potato and carrots.
She calls it Winter Veggie Hash 
(or something like that).

Inspired by this dish, I decided to get a lil' crafty in the kitchen.

Here's what you'll need:

                                            -  One large sweet potato - peeled and diced into small pieces.
                                            -  One large baking potato - washed and diced into small pieces 
                                                   (no need to peel if you don't wanna.)
                                            -  Two large carrots - peeled and diced
                                            -  1 medium onion diced into small pieces.
                                            -  2 tsp of cumin
                                            -  1/8 tsp cinnamon
                                            -  3-4 TB olive oil
                                            -  Salt to taste

                                 1. Place all items but salt in a large sauce pan or skillet on medium.
                                 2. Place lid pan.
                                 3. Stir frequently until sweet potatoes are soft (between 30-45 minutes.
                                 4. Add salt.
                                 5. Serve.

It's pretty good! 

Not my best recipe, but not bad. I'll probably be tweaking it in the future.
BUT! It's healthy, filling and would probably make a really good
side dish with some kind of meat.

(I realize this is not the best endorsement, but I like things VERY flavorful - more so than many others. Like I said... it'd make a great companion dish, in my humble opinion.

Hope you kinda like it too! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll Reindeer Craft for Little Kids (and Big Kids Too!)

After three and a half years of her being on this earth, my niece had her first sleepover at my house over the weekend.
Earlier in the week we discussed what she wanted to do:
1. Make reindeer.
2. Have Pizza.
3. Watch a movie.

As soon as she got here, we started making pizza dough in my bread machine.
Best pizza dough recipe I've tried, so far.
(Probably cuz there's beer in it.
I like beer. 
A lot.)

Here's the recipe if you're interested:

Anyhoo... Back to the craft.  While the dough was.... like... becoming dough, we had about an hour and a half to kill.

We killed the time by making reindeer.

 Here's what you'll need:
                      1. Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls (cut into size of TP rolls).
                      2. Wobbly Eyes
                      3. Red and black felt, paper, pipe cleaners,

                            (or any material suitable for a reindeer nose).
                      4. Brown craft paint
                      5. Paintbrushes
                      6. Craft glue
                      7. Glue gun
                      8. Small hole punch.
                      9. Christmas picks

First, you'll start painting your toilet paper rolls.

While my niece was painting, I went through my box of Christmas picks and found some branchy-lookin ones that could pass as antlers. 
(My niece really liked the sparkly ones the best. I did too!).

I cut off pieces of the branches and paired them with branches of similar shape and sizing.

While she finished painting the rolls, I punched holes in the toilet paper rolls, covered the ends of the sparkly branches with hot glue and inserted them in the holes.  

(This was tricky cuz the glue was on high heat and would sometimes start making the plastic branches very malleable. Just had to be patient and hold them in place when needed.
If there were pictures of this step to see... you'd certainly recognize the
"I'm burning my fingers on hot glue" grimace on my face.)

After I got done(burning my fingers on hot glue) putting the antlers on, it was time for the wobbly eyes.

My niece was able to do this part by herself for the most part, but still asked me to do some with her.

She found a battery operated candle and decided to have a reindeer campfire before adding their noses. 

(I don't care who you are.  This is cute!)

Once their noses were added, I started adding smiles and even eyelashes on some. 

The niece wanted to make a girl reindeer, too.

(Can you guess which one she worked on?

All in all this was a very simple project, and the niece had a little seasonally relevant
memento of the evening with Auntie Chelle.

Oh! The movie we watched was Emmit Otter's Jug-Band Christmas.
I'm pretty sure I liked it more than she did,
but! She had a great time.

That's really all that mattered!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jingle Bells. Batman Smells.... Not really. But I'll Bet He's a Crafter When He's Not Saving Gotham City!

I came across this clever idea last year that had bells in a shadow box.

I just had to do it.
(with my own flair, of course)

It was really quite simple.

I got the frame from IKEA, the bells from Michael's (40% off), and a big pad of Christmas scrapbook paper (also 40% off).

Using the matte that came in the frame as a guide, I cut the sheet down into a  9x9 piece of paper.

I poured the bells into the frame and then put the scrapbook paper and the backing on.

(Holy moly... totally off subject, but there is this CRAZY wicked 
thunderstorm going on just outside my 
window.  There was just this big, loud, ominous roll of 
thunder, flash of lightening,wind and pounding of the rain 
against my window, 
and it freaked me out a little bit.)

Where was I.... OH!  The Batman Smells Project....

... And wa-lah. Little craft project semi-completed.... 

 But it's missing something.


I just can't figure out what.........

I'll let you know when I figure out what the missing what is.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Project Nightmare

Have you ever gone into a project thinking it would take about, like, 10 hours total?

(Cuz, seriously, how long could it take to scrape a
 few layers of gazillion year-old paint off
of a gazillion year old porch?
 I mean, so much of it is practically
 BEGGING to be scraped off.)

Aaaah….. you’ve got to appreciate the positive thinking one has at the beginning of a new makeover project.

(Positive or Delusional, me thinks more delusional)

I wanted to paint my porch, but wanted do it the “right way,” by taking the existing paint off first. So I bought some environmentally paint stripper.

(One layer of the 5 or 6 came up.)

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I had to bring in the big dogs and bought some seriously hardcore, heavy-duty, environmentally unfriendly paint stripper. 

(It eats through up to 15 layers of paint, ya know!)

One more layer pulled up. Other areas bubbled up.  Mostly, the paint just got gummy.

(Eats through 15 layers my arse. DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!)

So I bought a paint eater.  It’s cool.. but it didn’t remove the stinking paint very quickly.

After slaving away for so many hours, I needed some instant gratification, so I painted my door.
(It was the temporary home improvement fix I needed!)

Autumn was quickly approaching and I was running out of time. So, I finally just decided to paint over the remaining paint.

Here are the results. I’m pleased with the outcome. I am not pleased that it took me a gazillion hours to get it done. 

Next on the agenda: Project Scary Bedroom.  Wish me luck folks.  I'm going in!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Last week a dear friend of mine had his heart broken when his girlfriend unexpectedly broke up with him. This made him very sad, and me sad for him.
(insert sad face here)

Having gone through my own heartbreak earlier this year, I have some experience in dealing with such an event. 

Only problem… he lives a gazillion miles away from his friends and family.

So I did what any care package sending person would do....
I sent him a Break Up Survival Kit care package.

"What does a Break Up Survival Kit include," you may be asking. Here's what his included:
·       Tissues

·       Easy Mac and Cup o’ Soup packets: (cuz he’s gotta eat, even though he prolly doesn’t feel like cookin’)

·       Instructions to watch every available episode of Parks and Recreation (cuz everyone needs some break up tested and approved tv fare to get through the darker days)

·       Gum (for those times he must brush his teeth but doesn’t want to get off the couch. Simply wipe plaque and food residue off teeth and then pop in a piece of gum for that “just brushed” feeling)

·       Baby wipes (for those times he must bath but doesn’t want to get off the couch. Simply wipe body off for temporary funk removal. This should only be done in extreme circumstances. Bathing is the primary recommendation)

And my most favorite part… and his too:
·       A body pillow… but not just any body pillow. This body pillow has pictures me and some of our friends ironed on either side (so he can cuddle with people who love him)

Once he finally received it, he loved it. Said it made him laugh and smile and feel better about things for a few minutes.

Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kinda Like A Turtle

When I was a little girl, I loved turtles... collected turtle figurines and stuffed animal turtles. LOVED turtles. My mom cross-stitched this little turtle thing for me,  
 (Yes, back in the day when people were crazy for cross-stitch)  

And it said:  
Slow and Easy, 
That's my style, 
I get there, but it takes awhile.  

Fast forward to today, August 23rd, 2011. And it's kinda like my mom was, like, clairvoyant. My projects, well, they never get started and finished in a weekend. 
 (At least not most of the time)  

More like months. 
Sometimes years. 
I don't know why. 
It's not sheer laziness.  
(Although sometimes it is) 

9 out 10 times some grander master plan unveils itself.  
(Which usually saves me time and money) 

  I have determined I'm gonna be in my house for awhile,  
(stupid tanking real estate market) 
and I'm ok with that. 

But I'm gonna make my house some place I'd really like to live. 
Sans the new kitchen. 
Dying for a new kitchen. 
But I need stupid windows first. 
(Yep, you heard me right. 
Stupid windows. 
Can't cook with a window.) 

  So, I figure it'd be fun to document the trials, tribulations, and successes of turtle-paced decorating and home restoration. 

Cuz lemme tell ya, sometimes it takes awhile. 
(I'm a busy gal)  

But I also like to do non-home improvement things like paint, doodle,  
(The type you make with a pen, not in the potty) 
  craft, and cook. I love to cook. 
(Hence the no new kitchen pity party)  

And lucky you! 
You get to go on the journey with me. 
If you want to. 

(You don't have to)
(But it'd be real nice if you did) 
(Cuz I'm cool)
(And assume you're cool too) 
(We can be cool together

And now I'll start trying to figure out how to make a template. 
While watching the new 90210 on mute.  
(Don't ask me why on mute. 
I don't know. 
It just is. 
I learned long ago to stop trying to understand myself) 

Ok, that last part is a lie. 
I do try to understand myself. 
But not right now. 
Right now, I'm gonna take a bath.