For the past week, I’ve been making an effort to try some new recipes. Rather than searching through cookbooks though, I’ve been surfing for mouth-watering pictures on Pinterest and following the links back to the recipes.
First up, the inspiration:
Source: the-girl-who-ate-everything.com via Lisa on Pinterest
These Creamy Chicken Tacquitos are as good as they look too! I altered this recipe a bit.
Baked Creamy Chicken Tacquitos
* Shredded Chicken:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons sliced green onions
2 cups shredded cooked chicken*
1 cup grated pepperjack cheese
about 10 small flour tortillas
1. In the morning, put chicken breasts, chicken broth, and 1/4 tsp. garlic powder in crockpot. Cook on low 6-8 hours. (I doubled the shredded chicken so that I had enough for two other meals as well.)
2. Drain chicken and shred with a fork.
3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
4. Heat the cream cheese in the microwave until softened, about 20 seconds. Add green salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix well. Stir in cilantro, green onions, shredded chicken, and pepperjack cheese.
5. Heat tortillas, one at a time, in the microwave for about 15 seconds.
6. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of chicken mixture onto tortilla. (It works better if you add a line of chicken about 1/3 up from the bottom of the tortilla.) Roll the tortilla up.
7. Place rolled tortilla seam-side down on the lined baking sheet. Brush with vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt.
8. Bake 15-20 minutes until the ends start to look golden.
These were so tasty, I’m already putting them in next week’s rotation again! What’s on your menu this week?
Now that I have a pretty new dining room table, I’ve decided the rest of the space needs some sprucing up as well. First up was the light fixture:
I didn’t really hate it, but after 4+ years of looking at it, I was ready for something different. I looked half-heartedly at Home Depot but didn’t see anything I liked better. So I decided to experiment with the one I already had. Since I was tired of the glaring lights on the table, I thought I would try flipping the lights the other direction.
What do you know? It was super easy: they twisted right around. Since the metal rings weren’t attached to the glass, they had to be removed and relegated to storage. Then it was time for a little bling, namely these clearance beads I found at the craft store:
The beads are a lovely mixture of teal, which matches our walls, and little bronze beads, which match the fixture. After twisting the necklace around the light chain, I used jewelry wire that matched the bronze color of the light to secure the necklace. For less than ten bucks, I had a new and improved light fixture:
I actually love that the light is off the table now, although it does illuminate our dreaded popcorn ceiling.
We considered removing the popcorn at one point but after looking up how to remove it, I decided what the heck, I don’t look at the ceiling that much anyway. Who knows, that spotlight might be enough to convince me to scrape it down. Or maybe I will decide to be the one person in this world who loves popcorn ceilings. It could happen.
Blue Cricket Design &
While I have a few goodies to share with you all, most of last week was spent in crazy shuttle-the-kiddos around mode. All week, I looked forward to Sunday when I could upload some pictures and write some posts. I even woke up early, rolled over to get out of bed, and found myself on a tilt-a-whirl. And I loathe tilt-a-whirls.
After day two of the world spinning, I finally caved and went into the doctor. Most likely, I have a viral infection of the inner ear. The doctor wrote a prescription for Meclizine (which seems to just make me feel loopy) and told me that the vertigo should be gone in a week. His helpful advice? Try not to move your head too much.
I’m hoping by tomorrow I’ll feel up to posting some pictures. In the meantime, enjoy your nice stable world.
When we first moved into our house, there was a weird little strip of white rock out front. We quickly decided to remove the rock and return that little patch to grass. How hard could it be, after all?
The first year we waited, hoping it would fill in on it’s own. Nope.
The second year, we threw out some leftover grass seed the previous owners had left in the garage. And what do you know, beautiful fine green grass popped up almost immediately. The mail woman commented on how much better it looked. Then it died just as quickly as it had sprouted up. It turns out it was “temporary” grass meant to come up quickly to provide ground cover for the real grass seed that was supposed to be planted at the same time. The mail woman and I had a good laugh.
For the next couple summers, we ignored the dirt patch completely.
This year, we broke down and bought some sod. Rolled it out on the lawn and basked in its easy beauty. Chatted about it with the neighbors. (Why, oh why, do I never learn?) Then weeks of 100+ heat hit, despite watering and watering and watering, officially making us the neighborhood eyesore:
There’s always next year, right? Right???
Today, I’m sharing drool-worthy fall love courtesy of my latest obsession: Pinterest. If you haven’t already checked it out, you should. Although be warned: just one more picture quickly morphs into “Did I really just spend two hours pinning pictures???” Why yes, yes I did.
My idea of a perfect fall day starts late in the morning. First, I’d spend a little time snuggling under this before venturing out of bed:
I’d look out the window and see this:
I’d spend the afternoon at Memorial Stadium, watching this:
I’d come home to a festive table like this:
At the end of the day, I’d unwind in style here:
Want to see some more beautiful fall pics? Go here:
In honor of the three-day labor day weekend, we labored. Actually, mostly my husband and son labored, and I “assisted.” Like tearing off the paper from the sheetrock while they carried almost 30 sheets downstairs kind of assisting.
But we are finally seeing the progress as the basement went from looking like this:
to looking like this:
The basement is now wired, lights are in, insulation is in, and most of the sheetrock is up. Some of you may notice the green sheetrock, which is designed to be mold/mildew resistant. We decided to put that in around the bottom of the room, just to be safe. By the time we put the first sheet on the bottom, however, we were so tired that we put regular up by mistake – hence the lonely sheet of white on the bottom left. Oh well. That better be a dry spot.
Pretty soon, we’ll get to the fun stuff like painting, tiling the fireplace, and putting in the floor, and I can graduate from assistant to ring leader. Watch out.
- Almost immediately after lugging our new dining room table in the house, I decided the rest of the kitchen/dining area was now uglier. The floors, hideous. How can I stand them? The cabinets, although white, aren’t creamy. Time to repaint. Don’t even get me started on that ridiculous make-shift pantry, which is clearly unworthy of the table’s beauty and presence.
- I don’t want my children or my husband or even my friends and neighbors to touch it. Ever. Since it is a table on which we will need to eat three meals a day, it makes things a bit awkward. Just this morning, I tried to coax my 7-year-old to eat her cereal on the couch. (After four years of harping about not eating in the living room, she shook her head mutely and looked around wild-eyed for dad.)
- No one else wants to talk about it anymore. Ever. Or gaze lovingly at it – in daylight and then again in candlelight.
The good news is that the whole table cost around $100, including paint and stain, leaving me wiggle room in the budget to pay for therapy should the need arise.
About a week ago, I told you about my dining room table crush here. When I spotted this table for $69.99 at our local Salvation Army, I snapped it right up.
I spent about a week stripping, sanding, staining, painting, and applying polyurethane. Here she is in all her refinished glory:
I’ll have to get busy prettifying our existing chairs since the ones I really want are over $100 each and give me a coronary every time I think about purchasing them.
Thrifty Decor Chick & Blue Cricket Design
Once we discovered the source of the basement water problem – the window – we were ready to fix it ASAP. First, we had to dig out the existing window well. Of course, we then had to pause to take pictures of the kids standing in the window well!
We rented a jackhammer to get the two big chunks of concrete out. We’re guessing that the previous owners must have been attempting to “fix” the water problem with their first pour. They had poured the concrete around a plastic planting pot with holes drilled in the bottom. I guess they thought that it would direct the water into the drainage tile. Bizarre. Then they must have discovered that it didn’t quite work out the way they had hoped. Instead of taking out the concrete chunk, they dumped a second batch on top. And then drilled holes in it. Brilliant! Ahem.
We chose a different and, we like to think, more rationale approach:
- Once the concrete was out, we dug down about a foot below the window, exposing the drainage tile (pipe).
- We placed a screen over the drainage tile to prevent gravel from falling into the pipe.
- Next, we attached a new window well. To create an extra deep semi-circle window well, we took two standard sized ones and connected them together.
- Then, we filled the window well with gravel to facilitate proper drainage: about 6 inches of pea gravel.
- Finally, and most importantly, my husband dug a happy valley, otherwise known as a small trench, along the side of the patio.
Although we had already removed the deck earlier in the summer (that, my friends, is a story for another day), the damage to the small patio was already done as the weight of the deck support posts caused the patio to settle on the side closest to the window. However, our new trench effectively channels rainwater into the yard and away from the window altogether, despite the sloping patio.
Success! Over a year later, we haven’t had a drop of water come in the window, and we haven’t even replaced the cracked window yet.
It’s easy to look around at the piles of rubble in our basement and think, maybe we should have just replaced the flooring. Big projects seem to drag on forever, and that’s when you don’t have to pause for major surgery! However, there were several unexpected perks that came from our over-zealous demolition weekend:
- Finally, A Bathroom Plug-in – Before, we had a tiny downstairs bathroom without a single plug-in. Because that bathroom shares half its wall with the basement, having that wall wide-open allowed us easy access to wiring. With a teenage boy who just discovered the hair dryer, the ability to have him two floors away from my bedroom at 6:30 in the morning is very, very important.
- Let There Be Light – Perhaps not surprisingly, the flippers opted to put 2 recessed lights in the entire family room. We now have 7 that are on separate switches, allowing us to leave only the light directed at the stairs on during movies (as opposed to stumbling around in the cave-like dark when someone shuts off the TV). My toes are grateful.
- Squeak Exterminator – Another major perk of tearing down the sheetrock was the ability to fix the main floor squeaks. Since our house was built in the 1960s, there were a few ceiling joists that were cracked. So we jacked it up, and my husband glued and nailed plywood “crutches” on them. Buh-bye squeaks.
- Full Frontal Access – To the closet, of course. Our closet in the family room had a regular size door on it and a partial wall, which resulted in awkward deep shelves and an empty space behind the door. This, in turn, encouraged the cram-it-in method of storage. Now that we are rebuilding it, it will have two bi-fold doors to allow access to the full storage space. In a small house, storage is king.
There you have it, all the lovely perks that wouldn’t have been possible with a simpler patch job.