Aug 10, 2011

Blegh...new homemade ironing board cover/replacement.

 Tonight was one of those nights...I got home from work, Aaron was not going to be home for dinner, I didn't REALLY want to do any normal housework type of things...but I wanted to do something. I moseyed on down to my "woman cave" (slash sewing room) and started putsing around in there. I believe this ironing board was Aaron's from his first few years of college--and it shows. I can't iron anything on it with out getting these weird crease marks in my fabric. I thought about getting rid of it a few times but for some reason I've kept it. Now I know why! I took one long look at the mini-ironing board you see here and thought...you're done-for Ironing Board Cover. I am slightly embarrassed to even put the before pictures up. But here they are:
Look at that one -------------------->
 No wonder I was getting weird creases in my fabric. The padding is completely gone on this one.

There were holes.

I tried to remove what was left of the padding and honestly...it fell apart in my hands.

Since Aaron and I are venturing to see his sister and husband soon and I am taking my sewing stuff with me (including machine) to help her make some curtains for their new house...I thought it might be nice to have this little ironing board as well. But, it was not making the trip looking like that!

To re-do the cover here are the steps I took: 

 First off, I took off the old funky cover and all of the lining. There she is...all naked...

 Then I proceeded to take out all of the stitching around the edge of the funky cover. It took quite a while...
I did this not only to get the string out that held the cover to the metal board, but also to use the funky cover as a pattern for the new one. You can see it pinned to the new fancy fabric.












Then I cut out the fabric, using the old cover as a pattern.


See how nice it looks...all cut out. Don't mind the folding wrinkles... :O) I then used a very hot iron on the steam setting to fold down my edges ...big enough to at least get a string or ribbon through the edges of the new ironing board cover so that the cover could be put around the board.Then I sewed the top little portion of fabric to the larger piece. This piece sort of makes the ironing board cover look like one of those hooded baby towels :op.  After that I continued to sew all the way around the project. 

As soon as that was done I threaded a piece of ribbon all around the edge that I just sewed. Then I put new batting down, placed the cover on, tightened it down...and VOILA :O)





Jul 21, 2011

Homemade Pesto!


In my wee little garden I planted some basil. I planted this basil for the sole purpose of making pesto! :O) In the past I have purchased pre-made pesto from the grocery store and while it is very good...it is also kind of expensive. Making this was so easy...here's how.
Ingredients:
4 cups of fresh basil
3-4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and pepper (to taste)
lemon juice

Step 1:
Combine walnuts and garlic in food processor. Pulse until ground together...but not too much, you don't want walnut dust. 
Step 2: 
Add basil a little at a time and pulse. Do this until all of your basil is incorporated and it is a thick paste. It should look like this:

Step 3:
Slowly pour the 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the food processor while hitting the pulse button until the thick paste becomes smooth. I actually added a little more after 3 tablespoons because I thought it was still "chunky" and not as smooth as I'd like. 

Step 4: 
Add in the parmesan cheese...and pulse away again.
Tada


Step 5:
Put pesto into an ice cube tray, cover each cube with a thin layer of olive oil, and put it in the freezer.   



I can't wait to try some on some pasta. Being that I froze it, all I have to do is pop one or two out and throw it on some hot pasta. YUM :O)

**The quality of the pictures is not up to par...but the camera decided to go on the fritz tonight, and so these pictures were taken from the iPad...which surprisingly takes awful, grainy pictures.

Jul 16, 2011

Better in the middle of the month than never right???

Here is my plan for dinners this month.

A few meals have not happened...due to the heat. Meatloaf? Really, what was I thinking??

The next week it is supposed to reach the 90s possibly...this is H-O-T for western NY. It is however a relatively low heat required type of week in terms of meals :O)

Here it is:

JULY DINNERS

Jul 14, 2011

Out of school for 10 years...yikes

This is one of those, "wow its been 10 years already" and "man, only 10 years" things.

On one hand it didn't seem possible that we (my classmates and I) graduated from our little ol' school 10 years ago...and on the other it was like "man it seems like forever ago".


To be honest though, not much has changed. One of us commented that for the most part we all look the same. There are some additions to classmates...significant others, spouses, babies, toddlers, and children. But, for the most part we all already knew that--ahh the beauty of Facebook.


We enjoyed a nice afternoon together having a potluck dinner, some pool time, corn hole, and kan jam. Following this, some of the boys organized a band on the beach and so we continued our evening at Barcelona.

It was nice to catch up and be reminded of some great years. Hopefully our 20th will be just as great...I'm thinking we will look different for that one. :O)

Jul 13, 2011

Jun 3, 2011

Haven't posted a recipe in a while...

This is a new recipe...and one for the recipe collection.

Because it's summer and because I don't want to turn the oven on unless I have to I have put many more grilling recipes on my monthly plan. This was a good start to that plan! :o)

Balsamic Glazed Flank Steak with Arugula (courtesy of Weight Watchers Sizzle It recipe book)



3/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1  tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (1 lb) flank steak
6 C lightly packed baby arugula

Directions:
1. Get your grill going...
2. Combine vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is reduced to a syrupy glaze (about 8 minutes). Remove the saucepan from the heat; set aside.
3. Combine the garlic, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; rub the mixture on both sides of the steak. Place on the grill rack and grill until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the side of the steak registers 145 degrees for medium, about 5 minutes on both sides. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 5 minutes. Cut the steak across the grain into 12 slices.
4. Divide the arugula evenly among 4 plates and top each portion with a few slices of steak. Drizzle with reserved balsamic glaze and serve at once.

Alterations:
-I did not spread the seasoning mixture on both sides of the steak...I just did the top. If I do this recipe again, I will double this mixture. There was really only enough for one side.
-I did not use arugula...instead I used Wegmans Spring Mix because I had a coupon :o)

Jun 1, 2011

JUNE!!

Happy June everyone...doesn't seem possible, but at the same time I'm welcoming it with open arms. It's been a very long, busy, stressful school year...and I'm ready for a break. I think I end up with more anxiety over final exams than my students do...


This past weekend was probably one of the best weekends I have had in a while. It was so nice to be with "The Seven" again...all in one room, no one with us via Skype...everyone in one room at the same time, sitting around the same table. Who knows when that might happen again?! :)


Here's the proof that we were all together: 


For this Memorial Day we were graced with an extra day off from school...so we had Friday through Tuesday off. Because of that extra day off I was able to complete June's Dinner Plan on time. Go me! To see it go here.

Apr 21, 2011

Look who is ahead of the game...

So today I planned to get a few more things done but was less than successful with that plan...I was going to finish up my IEPs for next weeks Annual Meetings...I was going to mop the kitchen floor...do some laundry...maybe sew. None of those things got DONE...some are started.

However, what I did get done was May's meal plan.

Here you go. The underlined meals have links to recipes that should work...

Mar 18, 2011

Spring?? Is that you??!

YAY...most of the snow has melted. 

And some how March is almost over! This month just started yesterday and all of a sudden its March 18th. Next week is the end of a marking period already...and then we will be moving into the FINAL marking period of the school year. We are quickly creeping into Regents Exam territory (eek!).
         
        It just doesn't seem possible!

This month has been full of all sorts of goodness. To start, we had an overnight with our Youth Group kids followed by a Rock-A-Thon. They had fun, we had fun, and I can now say I have finally been a part of a Star Wars marathon...on a big screen nonetheless! Soon there will be an update on the HYG blog...

Then Aaron was a part of the team on a Men's Koinonia weekend. He had to speak about the Christian Community and he did a marvelous job (or so I hear). I couldn't have been more proud...he was unsure about it at first, but after some poking and prodding from God, our church family, and me ;o)...I think he is glad he was a part of it. It was great to attend bits and pieces of the weekend that the Koinonia community as a whole is a part of (with my family and church family) and see him, as well as half of the men from our church, smiling and happy.

Also, I have decided to begin running. The stress level in my life recently has hit an all time high...and it was taking quite a toll on my body. Mainly manifesting itself in headaches and stomach aches, issues after eating,etc. I/we have changed some daily things...mostly in the area of what I/we are eating (cut out aspartame--mainly me)...no more microwavable meals (ie-Lean Cuisines). More natural, non-processed foods. We really didn't eat that many to begin with, especially for dinner, but now they are gone from lunch too minus a few granola bars, crackers, etc.
But back to the running...I typically would use the Elliptical machine in the school's fitness center. One day both were being used, so I jumped on the treadmill instead...and what do you know, I liked it! For some reason I had always steered clear of it, thinking I wouldn't like to run that way...but I actually like it. Its a great way to clear my head from school stress, or a good way to focus on something that is bothering me w/out other distractions. I'm in a much better mood when I get home...AND I am starting to see some differences in how my clothes fit. YAY! My goal is to keep at this for the rest of the school year at least...my "prize" for doing that will be some new, maybe higher quality, sneakers...or maybe some "running shoes". I'm just like my students in this sense--I need a prize or something to motivate me--ha!

In other news...we will soon be doing this:
And I am beyond excited!

 Aaron and I have not taken a vacation just the two of us in a while...since our Honeymoon actually. Given that the stress-o-meter has been off the chart lately, we both decided it was time to go and get away. A friend and her significant other are going as well...but essentially it is just Aaron and I. 


I know that after this vacation I will be ready to hit the ground running when we are back to school...and push through until Regents week. 

In recent craftiness... I have made a few sets of these for Easter for a few little girls I know.  Super easy to make and sooo, sooo cute!
You can find the pattern and tutorial here.
The Purl Bee is one of my most favorite blogs to read/follow!

Feb 21, 2011

How to combat another foot of snow...

With the recent teaser Mother Nature decided to give us (40-50 degree temps and some green peaking out from melting snow)...this recent wintry blow was a real Debbie Downer. A foot of snow overnight and here's what we were looking at this a.m....

Now, had this been December I would have been giddy...but seeing how March is almost here and we have already felt some spring temps this was not a fun way to start the day. Aaron went out and started (see the one path shoveled) but quickly came back in. This was that heavy, hard to lift type of snow. After fueling up with French Toast and eggs...we BOTH went back out to finish the job...Aaron had to go to work after all. Aaron's dad came to help, and bring another shovel, as we only had one. We managed to clear it all out, and get the cars cleaned off. I ended the job with an awesomely pulled lower back...apparently I'm not as strong as I thought AND I have a hard time remembering lift with your knees. 

To combat this "blegh" start to his day...Aaron will be surprised with a very comfort food/man's man type of dinner---------->Beef Roast :o) It is currently in the crock pot and smelling scrumdidlyumptious thanks to Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook

Here's the recipe I'm using this time:

Beef Roast Dinner

Ingredients 

1 pound red potatoes (about 4 medium), cubed
1/4 pound small fresh mushrooms

1-1/2 cups fresh baby carrots

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 medium parsnip, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 beef rump roast or bottom round roast (3 pounds)

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

Directions

  • Place vegetables in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Cut roast in half; place in slow cooker. Combine the broth, salt, oregano and pepper; pour over meat.Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Remove meat and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil.
  • Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with meat and vegetables. Yield: 10 servings.

-Now this wouldn't be a Notions of Grace meal if there weren't some "alterations" :
1. I used a Chuck Roast because that's what was on sale a week or two ago, and that's what was in the freezer
2. No parsnips...
3. And...didn't want to wait 8 hrs. so we're doing 3 hrs on high.

Nutrition Facts: 4 ounces cooked beef with 2/3 cup vegetables and 1/4 cup gravy equals 245 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 82 mg cholesterol, 427 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 29 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1 starch.

 

Feb 5, 2011

Better Late Than Never...

So five days into February here is the February Dinner Plan...I never have it done by the time the month begins. However, I always build in a few days of cushion by planning meals into the following month.

Here she is :o)


 February Dinners!!


FYI-- anywhere there are *** this is a cook once/eat twice meal. (ie--Pork Roast on Sunday, then Pork Tacos later in the week.) 

Jan 23, 2011

Busy Bee...new items for Notions of Grace

Here are some new items I've finally finished and put up in my Etsy Shop.















Jan 11, 2011

Teriyaki Pork Stir Fry

And tonight's dinner......


Teriyaki Pork Stir Fry

Ingredients
  • 2  tablespoons  light teriyaki sauce
  • 4  cloves  garlic, chopped
  •   Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1  pound  pork tenderloin
  • 1  can (14.5 ounces)  low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3  tablespoons  light teriyaki sauce
  • 4  teaspoons  cornstarch
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 3/4  teaspoon  hot sauce
  • 2  tablespoons  vegetable oil
  • 1    large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1    red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 8  ounces  sliced mushrooms
  • 1  bunch  scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1  bag (12 ounces)  microwave-ready green beans, cooked following package instructions
  • 3  cups  cups cooked brown rice

Directions

1. Pork. In a large ziptop bag, combine teriyaki sauce, garlic, lime juice and zest. Add pork and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.
2. Sauce. In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, cornstarch, sugar and hot sauce. Set aside.
3. Vegetables. Remove pork from marinade and discard marinade. Cut pork into 1/2-inch slices. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Stir-fry pork for 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and keep warm.
4. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet. Add onion and cook 4 minutes; stir in red pepper, mushrooms and scallions. Cook 3 minutes. Stir in the green beans, broth mixture and pork. Simmer for 2 minutes, until thickened.
5. Serve the pork over cooked brown rice.


Alterations:
-I did not use pork chops. We had a pork roast Sunday night so I cut up some of the leftovers and used that instead.
-I also was NOT as particular on the measurements.
-And lastly, no scallions...


 

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