Next reveal – blue bedroom becomes our guest room!

4 Sep

As I sit down to write this post, I have the Sausage & Spinach Pasta Bake cooking in the oven (it’s smelling really good!!) so you can expect a review post soon.   🙂

Back to the task at hand – I am very excited to show you our new “blue” room.  I have to break the news to you – we didn’t keep the lovely swirl clouds 😦  But I think it looks a wee bit better than the last time you saw it.  Here’s a quick run down of what we did:

  • Paint!  This was essential in this room… it took a couple of white coats on the ceiling to rid the blue skies and clouds.  The wall colour is the same in all three bedrooms and I already can’t wait to paint.  Hubby picked out the paint colour and wanted to paint all the rooms the same colour so we could just buy one large pail of paint but I am not a big fan at all!  It’s kind of an army green mixed with grey… keeping my eyes peeled for a sale on paint!
  • As you’ll know from the last post, the floor was a stick tile floor whereas the rest of the flooring throughout the house was hardwood.  I started in one corner and started peeling, worried about what I was going to find underneath.  What did I find you ask?  Another layer of stick tile…. And under that?!  HARDWOOD!  Booyah!  It took quite a while to peel the stick tile layers off and it’s not overly fun to sit on the floor while you’re doing this – you end up sticking to the floor.  It was funny though!!
  • We added new doors and ran new mouldings around the floors, window and doors.
  • I had a spare window covering so we put that up until I learn how to sew and put a new curtain up.  I bought a sewing machine off Kijiji for $30 – I can’t wait to start learning!
  • The long dresser in the room is from Ikea and it’s one we had in our master bedroom before we moved – I found it was too bulky in our master now and with the really large closet it wasn’t necessary!
  • Another fabulous Kijiji find was the bed frame and matching side table (it’s actually attached to the bed frame!) they were actually the matching set to the dresser and we got it for under $100 for both – neither the bed frame or the side table had a scratch on them!  Brand new we’d be looking at over $300 for both of them.  We had an extra mattress from family so that didn’t cost anything!
  • What am I missing?  I am still looking for a mirror to put over the dresser 🙂

Enough talking – here’s the reveal!  Just to remember what we came from….

The scary blue room!

And who could forget the beautiful clouds?

And where we are now!  Is it comfy enough that you’d want to stay over a night?!

Welcome!

Cute painting eh? We got it from my home town fair a couple of years ago from a local artist!

What do you think?!

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Review – Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

2 Sep

There is one word I would like to use to describe this recipe – DEEEEEEEEELISH!  I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe!  I have never before eaten cottage cheese (remember in the previous posts when I said I was a recovering picky eater?!) so this recipe scared me just a little bit.   This recipe was a part of my first frozen dinner extravaganza!
The recipe wasn’t overly complicated to make – although next time hubby noted he’ll cook the pasta shells a wee bit longer.  They were still on a cusp of being too undercooked so it was a little more difficult to stuff them.  Note – this is definately a recipe that you’ll get your fingers dirty with!  I think the only thing I would change would be to add some peppers in for an extra little kick and to get a hint of veggies in there.  I like to sneak them in wherever I can because I don’t think you can ever have enough veggies.  A keen eye might have noticed that I often have veggies in my dishes that are no where to be found in the recipe – I prefer to think of recipes as “guides” 🙂  Everyone has their own personal styles for what they like!  I will try to remember to point out any changes we make as I post them in case you want to follow what we did!

Here’s the dish just before I put it in the oven:

Ready to pop into the oven!

And here’s the yummy portion before I chowed down – seriously wishing that I had more of this!  I will definitely be making double batches of this for the freezer next time!

Doesn’t this look delicious?!

I’ve been doing a lot of foodie posts lately – I think we’re due for another reveal!  Stay tuned for an update on the blue guest bedroom – the ultimate question, did we keep the lovely clouds on the ceiling?!

I did it again – frozen dinner extravaganza part 2!

2 Sep

I don’t know where you’re from but in my small town it was hot hot hot today!  Part of that heat may have been my stove & oven I had pumping all afternoon…. I confess!  Hubby was out today so I was on my own to make the frozen dinners so it took me a bit longer than last time and I admit I got a little tired and quit with two more recipes to do – but good news!  It’s a long weekend here so I’ll have lots of time to finish up 🙂
First comes first I got to chopping all the veggies I needed…

Then one by one I tackled the recipes – I raided the Martha Stewart website and found a ton of recipes there!
Here’s what was on the menu today:

Chicken & Rice Soup (this made two dinners)

  • I’ll make a note now on this one.  This recipe was confusing.  I found it strange they wanted you to pick out the carrots and throw out the celery, onions, etc.  Look at this, how were you supposed to do that – and why oh why would you throw away those delicious veggies?!

Not as easy as you might think!

Chicken Tetrazzini (this made two dinners)

Sausage & Spinach Pasta Bake (this made two dinners – but instead of sausage I used ground beef!)

Baked Penne with Chicken (this made two dinners)

Mini Meatballs

Tomorrow I will tackle:

Lasagna Primavera

Quesadillas!

 

The freezer is getting stacked with lots of delicious recipes – I think that means I better start some more reviews!!

DIY – Front Entrance Table

30 Aug

As you may have noticed from some of the pictures – I like my house to be as organized and uncluttered as possible.  Since we did not have a table at the front entrance, hubby had a habit of dumping his pockets (wallet, iPhone, keys, work badge, etc) on the kitchen island as he walked in.  After a few months of this I knew I needed to get a table for the front entrance that could house a little plate for him to put all this belongings on when he walked in the door.
My search began at Winners – I found some *beautiful* tables that would have been perfect however the price was ridiculous ($100-$200).  I checked out Ikea and same deal.  I thought – who is going to pay that much money for a little table that’s not even made from real wood?!  After checking out some blogs and cruising through Pinterest – Sidebar BTW is anyone else addicted to Pinterest?!  I totally wish I could get paid for pinning!  🙂  I thought about popping into my local thrift store to see if there were any tables that I could pick up and revamp!  I pulled up to the curb of my local thrift store and sitting right in front of the store was my perfect table.

Oh the possibilities!

Now I know it might not look like much right now but I could see how beautiful I could make this!  I ran inside half dragging the table (because I didn’t want anyone else to take it – like it was the latest Michael Kors watch or something :)) and asked the cashier how much they were asking for it.  I was slowly calculating in my head what I would pay for it factoring in that it was second hand, but it was also wood.  I was bouncing somewhere between $20-$40 in my head when she spoke the magical words “does $7.99 work?”.  I almost jumped for joy and hugged the woman and hurried to get my cash out – “oh that’s tax included” she continues.  Can I just go ahead and tell you how amazing you are now?!  Thank you local thrift store worker!  So I dragged the table out to my car and called my husband and ecstatically told him about my find – surprisingly he wasn’t near as excited as I was 🙂 but I knew I’d change his mind!
I got home and started right away.  I sanded that baby down, put a coat of primer on and a coat of black.  While I was literally waiting for paint to dry, I went over to Home Depot and picked up a beautiful fake diamond knob (I think it was $4?).  Isn’t it beautiful!?

Love ❤

I was able to get away with one coat of paint – truthfully I probably could have done another coat but I was too excited to get the table in place.  I’ll take another pic with it in place once we have finished the work on the front entryway but here it is – isn’t it beautiful!?  Not bad for $12 eh?

Hello beautiful!

The first frozen food review!

29 Aug

As promised, here is the first review from our frozen dinner extravaganza!  We forgot to take something out of the freezer this morning to thaw (oops!) but luckily the baked cheesy chicken penne doesn’t require thawing before cooking!  Hubby has baseball tonight so we couldn’t really wait 4 hours for a slow cooker meal either 🙂

I made a couple of tweaks to the recipe.  I have a confession to make – I am a recovering picky eater.  You will notice that in some of the recipes I switch out ingredients because I’m still learning to love some of them!  Mushrooms and dried tomatoes are still on my learn to love list so I subbed those out for red peppers (NomNomNom!). Other than that I followed the recipe to the T – except I froze both portions instead of eating one and freezing one.

This is going to be interesting…

I pulled the Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne out of the freezer and realized I made my first big mistake…  It’s really hard to fit a large Ziploc freezer bag pull of food into a baking dish when it’s frozen solid.   Yikes – I let it sit out for a couple minutes and then I hit it against the countertop a couple times and got it all into the baking dish.  Next time I will put the food in the Ziploc bag and into the baking dish, freeze it and remove the baking dish from the freezer – perfect fit!  Mistake #2 – make sure you butter the pan before you put the food in the baking dish – it will stick 🙂  You know, for our first big go at this I think only two mistakes is pretty good!!  And hey, it’s helping everyone else avoid making them!

Tada!

Now for the flavour, next time I think I’ll experiment with not cooking the chicken and pasta until actually baking it.  Even though we only cooked the pasta to al dente it was still a little mushier than I would have liked.  The chicken was a bit dry as well – which I’m sure cooking it previously and then freezing and baking it for an hour and a half will do that to chicken!   I am a HUGE garlic fiend so I would have added a bit more garlic and a touch of pepper.

Overall the taste was pretty good and hubby was impressed!  We give this dish 3 1/2 stars out of 5!  With those tweaks I’m sure we can make it a 5 next time!

Topped with some cheddar cheese & parmesan… nomnomnom!

Frozen dinner extravaganza!

28 Aug

When hubby & I spent a Sunday afternoon preparing dinners for friends who just had a baby, he wondered why we didn’t do the same thing for ourselves.  We both work full time and often late nights and then get home and try to scramble to pull something together to eat which means either: something fast and unhealthy or something fast, healthy but expensive.  As you might have noticed in my previous blog posts, we like to save money wherever we can.

Last Sunday, I spent a couple hours surfing the internet for other wonderful blogs that featured recipes that were delightful as frozen dinners.  Once I finished that I grabbed the stack of weekly flyers and started putting together my shopping list and price matching items (which is something I’m learning to love doing – it takes a little bit of time but it saves money!).  I headed to my local grocery store and started buying items off my very large grocery list.  I had planned to make 12 frozen dinners (and get subsequent lunches out of those as well) and a breakfast bake that would provide 5 breakfasts for hubby & I.

I tried to pick recipes that I would be able to utilize items I already had (EVOO, spices, sauces, etc) so all I needed to pick up was lots of veggies, meats and starches.  I found that most of the recipes didn’t have near enough vegetables – although we’re trying to be more economical we also want to be healthier so I found myself throwing in random handfuls of veggies where ever I could!   Below is our journey to our frozen meals – as we unfreeze and eat them I’ll blog to let you know what we think!
Before – check out the spread!  This is almost everything and it’s a little intimidating to look at it all on the counter but we jumped right in!

The spread!

Before I share where I got the recipes from I wanted to provide a few tips that helped us along the way!

  • Make sure you label your freezer bags with a Sharpie before you put the food in them!
  • Do as much prep work as you can first – cut all the veggies, cook the meat that needs to be precooked (trust me this will make the process move much smoother!)
  • After you have put the food into the freezer bags, stick a straw in the corner and close the rest of the bag.  Suck all of the air out with the straw and seal.  Just like vacuum seal!

Here’s what we made!

Baked Cheesy Chicken Penne (this made 2)

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

Chicken Fajitas

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Pasta Shells

Salsa Chicken

Classic Stuffed Peppers

Fall Chili (this made 2)

Beef Stew

Rosemary Pot Roast

Baked Oatmeal Casserole
Here’s our freezer once we’d added all the meals – all together it took us four hours to prep, cook and put together all of these meals.  What else is awesome is that because each portion will be at minimum dinner and lunch the following day it means that each meal will be approximately $3/meal.  Amazing!!  This might seem like a lot but hey, who doesn’t have to cook for almost two weeks?!  This girl!

Annnnnnnd done!

Next reveal… the bathroom!!

27 Aug

I go back and forth for which is my favourite update – the kitchen or the bathroom.  They are two rooms that I am completely in love with ❤

If you remember the “before” post of the bathroom, this room needed a bit of love. While the bathroom wasn’t big enough for the jacuzzi whirlpool tub I had drooled over (hello unfinished bungalow basement!) I was very excited about the possibility of the double sink vanity.  Here’s a quick rundown of what we updated.

  • You will often hear when people begin renos that they uncover some surprises.  This was no different.  While taking out the subway tile (yes, in my original post we had talked about keeping it but it ended up being torn out because of the tub) we uncovered a small bomb shelter.  From ceiling to floor all the way around the bathroom was a minimum of 2″ of concrete… I think hubby’s friends are still cursing him for having to remove this!
  • Once the walls and concrete was removed, we added insulation (there was none in there previously!) all the way around.
  • The bathroom light switch was located directly beside the shower which made me more than a little nervous so I was hoping to move it but due to where the beams were in the wall we were left with either leaving it there or moving it to the outside of the bathroom…. so it’s on the outside.
  • The vanity – *long sigh here*.  The house was built in the late 1950’s so the dimensions for the vanity back then was much different than standards today.  We were able to have a vanity that was max 69″ long and max 19″ wide.  The length wasn’t our problem, it was the width.  Standard today for vanities is 21-22″.  We spoke with more companies than I care to remember, drove all over the place checking out different stores and were finally left with the option from of “why don’t you saw the back of the vanity off”?  Needless to say we were almost ready to give up.  I finally found a company from BC that had gorgeous vanities that were actually 19″ wide!!  I thought it was too good to be true, but then also thought about the million dollars it was going to cost to ship it from BC to ON.  Luckily, the vanity ended up being delayed by a few weeks (why is this lucky you’re asking?) so they ended up refunding our shipping costs – yay!!
  • Hubby & his brother tiled in the tub enclosure and tiled the bathroom floor (it looks beautiful!!).
  • Oh and not to be forgotten, we were walking around Home Depot one day and found an awesome deep soaker tub sitting on the floor with a ridiculously cheap clearance price on it.  We ran to find an associate and they informed us that someone had returned that tub to them and they didn’t carry the tub at that store so they needed to get rid of it – SCORE!!

Our bathroom before….

Our bathroom after!

Shower before…

Still a few tweaks needed (caulking around the tub, cover for the curtain rod, recessing the shower head in the wall) but already much, much better than before!