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Archive for March, 2011

This is one of my all-time favorite go-to meals–chili! Now, I am not by any means a chili purist. I like my chili completely full of yummy beans, and I am completely laissez faire about the meat. Nonetheless, this is pretty much the easiest, fastest chili to make; it makes great leftovers, it freezes wonderfully; what more could you want? I have been making this chili for a few years now and I don’t remember the original source for the recipe, but honestly, I have modified it so much it barely resembles the original anymore. Also, I tend to make it a little bit different each time–more of this, less of that. It is really a recipe that holds up well to modifying for taste, what’s already in your pantry, or general capriciousness. Also, just a fair warning–your can opener will get some heavy duty use for this recipe!

That is one thick bowl of chili!

 

Kathy’s “Dump It in a Pot” Chili

  • 1 package (16 – 20 oz.) lean ground beef or ground turkey (Heck, you could probably even use vegetarian crumbles if you wanted to make this a vegetarian meal)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 – 2 tsp. cumin

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef or turkey, onion, green pepper, and garlic until the meat is browned and the onion is translucent and tender. If needed, drain fat. Stir in the beans, chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green chilies. Add chili powder, basil, oregano, black pepper, and cumin. The chili will be quite thick and stew-like. If needed/desired, add a couple of cups of water to thin it. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer at least 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese if desired. Pairs well with cornbread or tortilla chips.

 

 

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Another Monday morning,  a start to a new week, time do a quick reflection of the week past before jumping headfirst into the week ahead.

Blue Trees from Poppytalk

The Blue Trees from Poppytalk – An art installation for the Vancouver Biennale. So lovely.

Devil’s Food Cake from The Pastry Affair – This cake looks so yummy, I can’t wait for an excuse to make a cake! Also, since baking a layer cake is on my 25 Before 25 list, I think I need to get on this one ASAP!

Striped Coffee Table and Drawer Console from design*sponge – I could take or leave the coffee table, but the console absolutely makes my heart sing. I have been on a several-year quest for a buffet for the dining room, and have been having a bear of a time finding something stylish and affordable. This Ikea hack look great! Unfortunately it appears the drawer units are near impossible to find, and may even be discontinued. Still, the idea is a great one, and it may be implemented with similar products from other stores. Want!

Cheap Plastic Wardrobe Turned Spray Painting Tent from Apartment Therapy – Living in an apartment with minimal outdoor space, I had figured that any spray painting project would be too risky on our tiny balcony. This solution, at least for small items makes a ton of sense and gives me a bit of motivation to maybe try this whole spray painting thing.

Making Paper Orchids: The How To from in words and pictures – Gorgeous cut and glued paper orchids. I can imagine them in white or in naturalistic colors, perhaps framed in small individual shadow boxes, mounted in a series. I have got to try this one!

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I am on a hunt, but my prey is elusive. I’ve been searching and searching, but nothing comes in to view. Why, oh why can’t I find affordable side tables that I like and are the right kind of functional?

Right now, the nightstands in the bedroom are white metal Eero Saarinen Tulip table (cheap) knock-offs from Target. We’ve had them for a couple of years, and although they are a fun style, I have never been particularly happy with them. The tabletop is ridiculously flimsy (I got what I paid for) but still, putting pretty much anything on the table causes it to bend at an angle. Even alarm clocks and simple lamps cause the tables to bend awkwardly. I am also unhappy with the size of the tabletop. All Joe can fit on his is his alarm clock and lamp. Clearly not adequate.

So for the past handful of months I have been on the unsuccessful search for attractive, functional, affordable side tables. I want a drawer, or a shelf, or both. I want a sturdy table with a large-enough tabletop. I want something that will compliment our current bedroom furniture. I want something that won’t break the bank. It seems like it should be easy, but it is really not! So far I have found nothing that appeals to at least a majority of these desires. And I am getting so frustrated! It is like if I find one that fulfills two or three of my criteria, it fails the last one. And the one that they normally fail is the factor of affordability. It is just mind-boggling to me the prices for side tables, even at places that are usually known for their cheap furniture. Factor in that I need a pair of tables, and I get head-bangingly frustrated with the whole thing!

For example, this table is absolutely gorgeous. Nice size, has a drawer, would match our current bedroom set:

Hudson Table from Williams Sonoma Home

Cost? $1790 for two. Uh, no. Not going to happen. Ever. Even if it is handmade. I just can’t do it.

This one is nice. The color is okay, if not my favorite. It is functional and fairly neutral. I like the shelves:

Metropolitan Side Table from Pottery Barn

Cost? $249 each. Less expensive, but more than I want to spend. I like something that looks nice, but to me, side tables are primarily functional, and I am not really willing to spend twice as much on side tables than our bed cost.

This next one has both a drawer and a shelf, which I like; and it comes in white, my color preference:

Narrow-Leg Storage End Table from West Elm

Once again, though, they are $249 each. One wouldn’t think this should be this hard!

This next one is more in my price range – $99.95 each:

Harvey Nightstand in Carbon from CB2

However, this more industrial aesthetic is not one I am usually drawn to, and I feel the proportions might look off next to our more traditional-styled bedroom set. The color is also not my favorite, and I am very nervous about buying another metal nightstand since the current ones are metal and are unsatisfactory.

If I wanted to go match-y with night stands, then this stand would work as it is from the same line as our bed:

Hemnes Night Stand from Ikea

And it fits our price range, as it they are only $59.99 each. But they are way too tiny; the top surface is really minuscule and the scale is completely off when matched with the bed it is ostensibly meant to match.

So what is the answer? Side tables that are perfect are too expensive; the ones I can afford aren’t right. Trawling Craigslist and Goodwill have both proven unsuccessful. Does anyone have sources/ideas I have not thought of yet?

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Weekly round-up of goodies that have caught my eye on the internet!

Yellow Patterned Stairs

Fabulous stairs from thehousehome – I’m not sure if these stairs were decoupaged, stenciled, or hand-painted, but I love them!

grey inspiration from the style files – Something about soft dove gray appeals to me very much. The tones here are gorgeous, but my personal preference is for more pops of color to contrast.

Swedish Cinnamon Butterhorns (Kanelbullar) from The Cilantropist – These crescent-shaped cinnamon rolls look positively scrumptious! My mouth waters just looking at them.

The U.S. Map Pillow Tutorial from kiki creates – I think I am going to have to make a series of these for our house, since we have lived so many places. I am picturing a grouping of maybe 5 on our couch in different bright color-ways. Maybe I could use cotton instead of felt, and use some fun and funky patterns!

Recycling Glass Insulators into Pendant Light from *Remodelaholic* – This project uses power tools that I don’t foresee owning in the near future, but the idea is certainly lovely.

before & after: katie’s bright and modern nursery from design*sponge – The nursery is lovely, but I am completely obsessing over the multi-colored, multi-sized alphabet on the wall. I don’t think this design is nursery-specific, and I really want an alphabet wall!

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This is a quick roundup of interesting articles and posts that caught my eye this past week.

Tulip Fields

Tulip Fields from junkgarden – Aren’t they just gorgeous and inspiring?

Weeknight Bolognese from Annie’s Eats – This meal really does sound easy, and I love that it is a Bolognese sauce that doesn’t use Italian sausage since I’m really not a fan.

50s Wallpaper by Sanderson from Design*Sponge – As I am quite enthusiastic about 50’s design, I find this exuberant wallpaper quite lovely. I certainly can’t imagine entire rooms done up in these papers, but as an accent wall they would be fun!

African Violets from good bones, great pieces – I love this cute little setup of violets. I regret that I have a terribly black thumb because this is adorable.

Collecting: Class Pictures from poppytalk – I like this display of vintage and antique class photos very much. I think the fact that they are all similar scale and black and white make the collection seem unified in a way color pictures would not.

Backyard Scrabble from junkgarden – Giant backyard Scrabble board? Yes please!

Needle-felted Venus Fly Trap from in words and pictures – I’ve long been fascinated by carnivorous plants, but my previously reference black thumb prevents me from enjoying them. This project is a nice facsimile of the real thing, and completely un-kill-able.

Tips for Sewing Your Own Duvet Cover from Apartment Therapy DC – Handy little guide to making duvets. I will not give up my down comforter, so many cute comforters are off the table for me. Using sheets to make a personalized cover is a great solution to limited duvet cover selections.

A triceratops!! from going home to roost – Neat neon dino-shaped planters. I think Joe would love this.

Friday’s Quick Pick: Framed Pucci Scarf from good bones, great pieces- A great idea for framing a scarf as artwork. Since I enjoy the look of scarves, but am not a scarf-wearer at all, this is a lovely solution.

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This is a quick roundup of interesting articles and posts that caught my eye this past week.

Dare to Choose a More Colorful Neutral from Houzz – Great article about the basics of color and how to go beyond bland beige.

D.I.Y Kokeshi Display from Poppytalk – Incredibly simple and adorable way to display a prized collection. I cannot wait to try this one out!

D.I.Y. Rosette Embellished Pillow from Living with Lindsay – I’ve been admiring this exact pillow that she finds inspiration from, but it really is a very particular color. Now I know how I could do it myself in a fabric I actually like!

The Sexiest Before and After. Like Ever. from Centsational Girl – A simple, step-by step instruction on how to patch a hole in drywall.

And one from a little more than a week ago: Spice Racks as Bookshelves from the style files – Such a cute idea; childrens’ books displayed parallel to the wall. Both useful and artful.

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I decided to try out a new feature where I pick a theme and create a “collection” of items related to this theme on Etsy. So, today is the theme of Carnival. I wanted a cool kind of retro feel to this collection; a little bit nostalgic, but not too washed out. I wanted to make the collection reflect the exuberance of a carnival.

"The Carnival"

Top Row (L to R): Coney Island Notebook by Ciaffi, Admit One Wooden Cuff by ruthmikos, Popcorn Soaps by LoveLeeSoaps

Middle Row (L to R): Aqua and Orange Fabric Garland by PaisleyHandmade, Panoramic Ferris Wheel in Barcelona by bomobob, Vintage Acrobat Circus Pendant by Arete

Bottom Row (L to R): Funnel Cake Bobby Pins by lepetitebonbon, A Carousel Ride Vintage Necklace by ABoxForMyTreasure, Confetti Dot Paper Straws by HeyYoYo

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