Friday, March 30, 2012

Grilled Chicken Rigatoni Florentine

Yes, this post is late today... you gotta problem with that?

You know what, that's not fair.  I've been watching a lot of 'Mob Wives' on VH1 and it leads me to believe I'm a tough cookie. WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT?

I made another Pinterest recipe.  It was pretty good, but I think I could have shortened the ingredient list and saved some time if I changed it up a bit.  At any rate, you can find the original pin here.  I changed up the ingredients from the original pin, so here goes:

2 Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
3/4  lb Dry rigatoni
8 oz Frozen spinach, thawed
8 oz Heavy whipping cream
2 cups Milk, 2%
4 oz Sour cream
1 cup Italian five-cheese blend (Kraft makes this, feel free to substitute your favorite Italian cheeses here)
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1 Tbsp Canola or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp All-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Garlic salt
1 tsp Kosher salt

Grill the chicken and set it aside... after you grill something, you let it sit for a few minutes for the juices to redistribute.  I learned that watching the Food Network.

Do you see those juices redistributing? Oh, they're doing it, alright.

The next step in the recipe is a bit too... cumbersome for my tastes.  I feel like I could have made a simple Alfredo sauce in place of part of this and it would have tasted the same.  I didn't really think about it beforehand though, so I followed the pinned recipe and made it like this:

Boil the pasta until it's just shy of al dente.  Drain it in a colander and add the thawed spinach.  Toss to mix the pasta and the spinach.  In a saucepan, add the butter and the oil and heat on medium until the butter is melted.  Add the flour and whisk it... this is called 'making a roux'. I tell you this because I had never known there was a term for this until a few years ago and I want to educate you... because I love you.  Add the cream to the pan and bring it to a boil, stirring as you go.  Add the milk, salt and garlic, still whisking... then add the cheese and mix until the cheese is gooey and yummy.

Once that's done, add the pasta/spinach mix and toss it a bit.  Cut up the chicken and throw that in the mix too... everybody's in the pool.

Put it in a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

It's pretty good... but a simple alfredo would have been easier and I think it would have tasted just as good.  I'll make this again and it will take me a lot less time if I do that.  At any rate, I cleaned my plate.  'Cause I'm a good girl.

Thrifty Crafty Girl

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Addicted to My Sewing Machine

Seriously... I'm hooked on this thing.  I'm sewing scraps of fabric that have no purpose.  You will have to perform some sort of intervention soon.  Send me to the Singer Clinic for sewing machine dependency.  It's for my own good.

I decided to be productive this week and sew something I could actually use.  I know, so genius, right?  I needed some hotpads... I keep using dish towels to put under hot casserole dishes and then, after dinner, I cannot recall where I put my dishtowel.  Senility, thy name is Priscilla.

I had plenty of fabric and insul-batting scraps lying around, so I went to work.

I used a casserole pan to decide what size hotpads I should make... then I cut the fabric to size and started pinning the batting to one piece of the fabric.

So simple, I shouldn't even bother with a post.  But, I bother.  Because I love.

I pinned the top fabric to the batting and bottom fabric...

And then I sewed.  And I did it with a wild look in my eyes... hair flying everywhere... maniacal laugh escaping my mouth.  It was just like Frankenstein, but less gross.

BOOM.  Hot pad.  It took about ten minutes from start to finish... my kind of project.

Thrifty Crafty Girl

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Being An Award-Winner Is Exhausting.

Man.  I am a total celebrity.  I mean, I've been nominated for a super-prestigious award.  No, you know what? I wasn't even nominated, they just gave me this thing.  'Cause I'm so awesome.

My husband just asked how my head fits through the front door.  WHAT'S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN, TOUGH GUY?

Michelle over at Simplify, Live, Love gave me this award.  She's super-awesome too... you need to check out her blog.

Here are the RULES for the Versatile Blogger Award-
1. Add the award to your blog.
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention seven random things about yourself.  (see below)
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I have added the award to my blog. Check.
2. Hey, Michelle... thanks a bundle! Because of you, I have learned what versatile means! ;). Check.
3. Seven random things about myself... this isn't hard.  I have so many strange and random characteristics. How should we do this? Alphabetically? Chronologically?  Since it's supposed to be "random" things, I suppose that random is a good order.  For your entertainment, here is some randomness:

I am a budgeter.  A for real, hard-core, budgeting master.  I know where every single penny that we earn goes.  If I'm being honest, most of those pennies are going toward milkshakes. DON'T JUDGE ME.

I love "The Office" and watch all the episodes religiously on Netflix... but my favorite show of all time? "The Golden Girls".  Seriously, it's just as funny today as it ever was... watch it, you'll thank me later.

Both of my parents are deaf so I know sign language.  Which is nice.  Except, I stutter while I sign.  Really... I can't describe it any better, I stutter while I sign.  I'm such a weirdo.

I'm not a sporty girl.  I played softball for several years as a child and they were always impressed if I ever caught or hit a ball.  They were not often impressed, sadly.  And I can't watch sports too much, because I get all hyped up and then I have an anxiety attack.  I'm ridiculous.

I am ridiculously into politics.  Since this isn't a political blog, I won't tell you which side of the aisle I lean, but I can't watch the news without getting all facts-stating and eye-rolling.  I really wish I didn't care, but I REALLY CARE.

I have to wear socks all the time.  I've told you before that I even sleep in my socks... I get really unhappy if I'm not wearing socks.

My favorite candy bar is Snickers... I won't turn down a Twix bar though.  Oooh, or a Mr. Goodbar.  To heck with it, I just like candy.

Seven random things... check.

4. List the rules.  See rules above. Check.
5. Award this to 15 bloggers.  This is a tricky one.  I have a lot of blogs that I love... I think I'll give this to bloggers that I think we should keep our eye one... 'cause they're awesome and deserve a little recognition.

1) Kathe over at Kathe With An E. She's a fellow Goodwill shopper and she always finds way better stuff than I do.
2) Meg at Nutmeg Place.  She's got a great tutorial on making a window cornice, you'll love it!
3) Katie at ...for Lauren and Lauren. She has a sister and a sister-in-law named Lauren.  And so she made a blog for them.  Which is way super-nice.
4) Carol over at Are We There Yet?  You've got to see the kitchen she remodeled... she hasn't shown the final pictures yet, but the before pictures are great.  The wallpaper alone is enough to give you nightmares.
5) Deborah over at confessions of a craigslist junkie.  I love Craigslist but I can't ever get the good stuff in time.  It's probably because Deborah has already gotten it.  She's that good.
6) Aunna from Rips In My Jeans.  She's working on redoing her apartment on a budget and so far, it's looking pretty good.  Give her a visit!
7) Kirby from Kirb Appeal.  She has porch envy and so do I.
8) Sarah at Renewed Upon A Dream. You've gotta love anyone who is obsessed with pinwheels.
9) Michelle Paige at Michelle Paige.  She gave her blog her name... and I wish I could do that, but my name isn't as melodious as hers.  I shall now be changing my name.
10) Sara from Sara's Closet.  She just redid a craigslist chair and it is amazing.  Seriously, check her out.
11) Lorie at Reading Confetti.  She has great ideas for keeping kids busy... which I am interested in... since my 3-year old IS INTO EVERYTHING AND I HAVEN'T HAD A MOMENT TO MYSELF SINCE HE'S BEEN BORN.
12) Karen at Somewhat Quirky.  I can't even describe to you why I love her blog... go check it out and you'll love her too, I guarantee it.
13) Karin from Yankee Doodle Designs. She has great projects and she makes you believe you can do them to... you've gotta love that.
14) Ange from Decorating the Dorchester Way.  I love to read her blog.  It seems like she actually knows what she's doing, which is refreshing for me since I clearly don't.
15) Amy at While Wearing Heels.  First, because I envy any woman who does all the things we have to do and wears heels while doing it, and because she made an amazing 'The United Scraps of America' project that you have to see to believe.  I am in awe of her skills!
16) Mar at Our Marvelous Clan.  She just got back from vacation and I am jealous.  

Yes, that is 16... I might add some more.  Being given an award makes you feel drunk with power. I AM THE QUEEN OF THE INTERNET.

Gracious... that was hard.  Mostly because there were lots of other blogs I wanted to give this to... I don't like having to narrow things down.  At any rate, that step... check.

6. Comment on their blogs to inform them of their awesomeness... which I'm off to do now. Kinda-check.

Thrifty Crafty Girl

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Home Organizer That I Organized Myself.

I love organizing.  I love reading about organizing.  I love looking at things to buy that would help me organize.  And then I see the price.  That, I don't love so much.  Especially since those things, while they are great, would need some tweaking before it could properly be used to help the chaos I call my life.  So I said, 'hey there gorgeous lady... why don't you make your own little organizer?'  And then I did it.

I sketched out a plan onto some paper... all my best projects start out on scrap paper, it seems.  I wanted something I could hang above my desk that would have a space for a couple of folders, a slot for my menu calendar and a pocket for outgoing mail.  And then I found some super-duper fabric.

Do you see that fabric? Loves.  I have such a problem with color... in fact, I purchased some black and white polka dot fabric to do this project because I was certain I would never have the guts to ACTUALLY PUT SOME COLOR INTO MY LIFE.  I'm happy to say that the black and white polka dots did not get used.

I laid out my folders and calendar to get a general idea of how big I wanted the whole thing to be.  For the calendar at the top, I used a sheet protector.

I wanted to secure it without using a clip at all... this was an easy solution.

I used my new sewing machine to sew all the pockets.  For the calendar, I wanted to hide the edges of the sheet protector, so I sewed some ribbon on top of it... so easy.

Once I had all the sewing done, I cut a piece of poster board to the right size and hot glued the fabric to it.  That gave it a little stability.

I'm sure these pictures aren't terribly helpful to figure out how to do this... It's hard to take a picture of myself sewing and I don't trust the husband with the camera.  He has fumble-thumbs.  Here's the finished project (which I LOVE):

Now, I have a folder with the bills I need to pay, a folder for my blog project details, and a pouch for my outgoing mail.  Oh, and a space for the monthly menu... since I make the grocery lists at my desk, it's much easier than going to the fridge to check the menu.  Now, I don't have to get up. Ever.  Bliss.

Thrifty Crafty Girl

Friday, March 23, 2012

Crockpot Chicken. A Whole Chicken.

It's another Pinterest recipe.  What did we do before Pinterest? I can't even remember.  I think we were all eating cardboard and looking toward the horizon with tears in our eyes.

I found this pin and thought it was worth a try.  Instead of making the rub myself, I just used a packaged rub, which I got on sale which made me very happy.  I like to say 'which'.

This packaged rub is a 'bag and season' sort of thing... since I cooked the chicken in the crockpot, I had the bag leftover.  So I made up a game called 'watch mommy walk around with an unused cooking bag, unsure of what she should do with it'.  I don't like to brag, but I totally won.

I rubbed the chicken with the seasoning... I gave that bird the massage of its life.

I sprayed the crockpot with some non-stick cooking spray, then I plopped the whole bird into the crockpot.

I put the lid on the crockpot and set it on low.  After about 6 hours, the internal temperature of the chicken said it was done and so did my husband who was hungry and impatient.

This was pretty good... the skin wasn't crispy, which did make me sad.  I loves some crispy skin.  But since it was in a crockpot, I shouldn't have expected it.  It was really moist.  And yummy.  I ate more than I should have.  And it was so simple.  Give it a try!

Thrifty Crafty Girl

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm Bob Vila.

It's great when you get new stuff.  I mean, I got this new sewing machine and I'm loving it... the hubs won't let it sleep in the bed with us though... the big meanie.  And since we don't have a crafting room (I weep about this nightly), I needed a little space for my sewing machine and the Silhouette.

I bought a 2' x 2' sheet of wood.  It's pine.  As if I know the differences between wood.

As you can see, I drew lines on it.  I needed four pieces of wood, each 6" wide and 2' long.  Since the wood was already 2' x 2', this was simple.  The hubs cut it up and I put it together using wood glue and finishing nails.

 I used the free paint I got from Ace Hardware (THEY'RE GIVING IT AWAY AGAIN ON SATURDAY!) and gave it a couple coats of paint.

I bought some trim at Lowe's and spray painted it white and used wood glue to attach it to the front.

And just like that, I became a carpenter.  I think I have enough experience to build an entire house, complete with a deck.  I just need A LOT of sheets of 2' x 2' pine.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
Linking up at... Catch a Glimpse ButtonSeven Alive

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bunk Bed Fort

The hubs bought me a sewing machine.  'Cause he was tired of hearing me whine loves me.  Since I needed a project to break in that bad boy, I asked my seven-year old what he thought I should make.

It's always hard when a seven-year old learns that a sewing machine can't make spaceships.

His next pick was easy enough: a curtain for the bunk bed.  The boys have a bunk bed and they are constantly playing on it.  They call me in the room often to tuck a blanket into the top bunk so it will hang down over the bottom bunk and the whole thing becomes a fort.  So, I went to the fabric store, seven-year old in tow, and we found nice fabric that wasn't 'girl-ish'.  The reward for his efforts was that I took him to see "The Lorax" afterwards.

The curtain was easy enough: I measured the bunk bed to see what size curtain I wanted... I cut and pinned the fabric to that size... and I sewed 'er up. Easy-peasy.  I didn't take pictures of this, apparently.  I am ridiculous.

Next, I made some loops for the top.  I sewed some magnets into the loops and into the curtain.  I hand-sewed these because they were so tiny.

I sewed the loops to the curtain and sewed them shut.  They are only attached to the curtain in the back... the idea is that the loops will go over the side rails of the top bunk and attach the curtain using the magnets.  This way, if they tug on it, it will pull off as opposed to being ripped off. 

With boys, this is inevitable.

I found some cheap buttons at Wal-Mart...

And I hot-glued them over the hand-stitched magnets.

And that was that... they have a curtain for the bunk bed, which makes for a ready-made fort in a hurry.  You've gotta love that.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
Linking up at... Confessions of a Stay At Home MommyCatch a Glimpse ButtonSeven Alive

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Noah!

Yes, both of my children were born in March.  Smart thinking, I say... have all your kids' birthdays in one month.  It frees up all the other months.  Noah is three today!

This child exhausts me.  Since birth, he has been a handful.  He is willful, stubborn and just plain cranky more often than not.

I couldn't imagine life without him.
Thrifty Crafty Girl

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pinwheels. Yummy, Yummy Pinwheels.

Appetizers are terrific.  I could eat appetizers for every meal and I'd be thrilled.  Can you imagine it, an entire meal of potato skins, bloomin' onions and nachos? Sign. Me. Up.

I made these for our Christmas get-together last year and they were awesome.  The problem I had was finding a recipe for them in the first place.  I've heard rumors that they're called something else and that would explain why there wasn't much to be found on pinterest... But I'm a resourceful gal and whipped up my own little concoction.

This is so simple... grab some cream cheese, a packet of ranch dressing mix, a package of tortillas and whatever deli meats and cheese you like.  I'm a roast beef and colby girl myself.

Take 4 oz of the cream cheese and mix it with a couple of teaspoons of the ranch dressing mix.  This will make two tortillas worth, so if you need more, use all the cream cheese and some more ranch dressing mix.

Once you're all mixed up, spread some on a tortilla.

Layer on some meat...

Some cheese...

And some lettuce.  I'm not a healthy-eating kind of girl, but I will say that the lettuce adds something to the whole thing.  My father loves a green onion right in the middle, but that's a bit much for me.

Once you're done, wrap 'er up.

Slice it and serve.  It's so yummy... and really fast.  Why you could even eat it while reading blogs and emailing people, trying to seem professional with a mouthful of pinwheels and orange soda stains on your pajama pants.

That's totally not what I did though.

Thrifty Crafty Girl
Linking up at...  Wayward WeekendSunday's Best Linky Party! UndertheTableandDreamingConfessions of a Stay At Home Mommy
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