Treasures from the Restore

My mom came over, and we went to the ReStore. For those of you without a ReStore, it is a store where people and builders donate new and reusable furniture and building supplies that are then sold for 50 – 80% off retail value, and the profits go to Habitat for Humanity. They have tons of doors, windows, chairs, tables, dressers, lights and more. There are so many things that I am looking for to use in my house, so we went to see what they had. I ended up getting things for my laundry room, which is in our basement. I got a table that is the perfect height for folding laundry, two shelves, four brackets for the shelves, two packages of screws, and a closet rod to hang on the brackets for clothes that need to hang up right away. Basically, it was a one-stop shopping to furnish the laundry room, all for a total of $30. My mom helped me put it all together. Here it is:

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Don’t mind the walls, they are partially finished. I’m glad I now have storage in the laundry room with the shelves. For only $30, I like this laundry room a lot better now.

Whatever I have = Dinner

For dinner tonight, I just threw together whatever I had.

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I started with a deep skillet, sautéing diced onion, green pepper, and minced garlic in olive oil. I then added a package of four tomato basil chicken sausages sliced along with some frozen cauliflower and broccoli that I had left in the freezer. I cooked until everything was tender and thoroughly cooked. I sprinkled on some basil, thyme, and crushed red pepper. I added half a package of grape tomatoes that I had cut in half and added three cups of water and two chicken boullion cubes. I turned the heat on high until the water boiled. I added about a cup and a half of uncooked orzo, stirred, and turned the heat to low. I covered with a lid and let simmer until orzo was cooked and had absorbed the broth. Ta da, all done. I served with my white bread that I had baked, see previous post here. Even though the bread  had come out smaller than I had anticipated, it still tasted very good, especially warm from the oven.

For my Chicken Sausage Orzo:

3 T olive oil

1/2 a green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 a yellow onion, diced

1 clove minced garlic

4 pieces of chicken sausage, sliced

1 c broccoli and cauliflower

Basil

Thyme

Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 a package of grape tomatoes, sliced in half

3 cups water

2 chicken bullion cubes

1 1/2 c uncooked orzo

Questionable Bread?

I wanted to try baking bread, so I got out my Betty Crocker cookbook to make a loaf of basic white bread. Somewhere along the way, I must have made a mistake. Here is my bread:

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It looks like it will taste fine, but it didn’t really rise in the oven. I’m not sure where I went wrong. The recipe was for two loaves and I only wanted one, so I halved everything, but I thought my math was correct. I followed the directions exactly, at least I thought I did. I’m a little disappointed, but I will still eat it. I just need to figure out where I made a mistake before I try again. Any one have any ideas? Also, I’m thinking I might want a bread machine for my birthday, which is not soon at all. Has any one had good experiences with them?

Chocolate Sweethearts

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I tried out this recipe for Chocolate Sweethearts from the Hannaford Fresh magazine that you get free when you spend over $25 at the store. These are just the thing for February being the month of Valentine’s Day.

Made 2 dozen cookies for me, though the recipe says 32 cookies, but it depends on the size of your cookie cutter.

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/8 tsp salt

3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed

1 c confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 c semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli)

1. In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt.

2. In large bowl, use an electric mixer on low to cream butter until softened. With a spoon or spatula begin to stir in confectioners’ sugar, then cream on low until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and beat to incorporate. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients on low until well blended; dough will be dry. Form dough into a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into heart shapes using a 2- to 3-inch cookie cutter. Ball together excess dough and roll out again until all dough is used. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake until surface of the cookies appears dry, 10 to 12 minutes (took about 20 for me). Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool completely.

6. When cookies are cool, melt chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Transfer chocolate to a zip-close plastic bag and snip one corner. Drizzle chocolate on each cookie in a zigzag pattern. Let chocolate set, about 1 hour. Store cookies in a flat container with wax paper between layers of cookies, or freeze.

I’m very happy with how these came out. They go great with a glass of milk (soy milk in my case). This was one of many recipes that I tore out of a magazine. I like acquiring recipes, but I don’t always have the ambition to try something new, especially during the week when I’m working. Hopefully, I will try a couple more recipes from my pile that I have been meaning to try while I have this week off for a vacation. Does anyone else like making a pile of recipes to try? And do you find that you don’t try them as often as you would like?

New Dresser

My husband and I just bought this dresser from a secondhand shop.

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It needs to be repainted. I’m also thinking of finding different hardware. It will be going in my craft room to hold my craft items. I’m planning on organizing my yarn and knitting stuff in one drawer, sketch pads in another, scrapbooking in another, and so on. It’s time to scour the internet for ideas on how to paint it. Any suggestions?

Here are some inspiring pieces:

I like the use of fabric on the drawer fronts on this one:

http://www.twicelovely.com/2012/01/coral-headboard-and-fabric-front.html

And this mirrored dresser is very classy, but might be too modern for me:

http://blissfullydomestic.com/home-bliss/mirror-dresser-for-35/73420/

Dinner with a Friend and a Clean Dusty

My best friend came to visit me from out of state. It was the first time we had seen each other in over a year. It was great seeing her, and I hope she visits again soon. There is nothing better than hanging out with your best friend, cooking, watching Downton Abbey, drinking tea, eating popcorn and candy. We made these stuffed peppers and roasted butternut squash together.

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For the stuffed peppers:

4 green peppers

1 lb lean ground turkey

about a cup of tomato sauce

1 package of 90 second Spanish rice

Heat oven to 350*F. Cook the 90 second Spanish rice in the microwave. Pour into large bowl. Add the ground turkey. Mix together. Add the tomato sauce and stir until smooth. Cut the stuffed peppers in half down the middle and clean out. Lay flat in sprayed glass dish. Fill with the rice and turkey stuffing. Spoon a little extra tomato sauce on top. Bake for 45 minutes or until meat is done.

For the roasted butternut squash:

1 butternut squash

Brown sugar

Apple Juice

Dice butternut squash into cubes. Put in small glass casserole dish. Cover with brown sugar. Pour apple juice over squash. Put in 350*F oven. I cooked for 30 minutes, then stirred it, and cooked for 45 minutes more. Cook until squash is tender.

Also, Dusty went to the pet store to be brushed and groomed. He looks so handsome! He must have thought he smelled too pretty because the first thing he did when he got home was roll in the snow.

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