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1  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Mama's Vegetable Soup and Cheddar Dill Bread on: September 06, 2009 01:22:21 PM

I love her to death, but my mama can't cook worth a lick. We were raised on "heat and eat" meals and if we didn't like what she fixed or gave her any lip- we went to bed early and hungry! One meal she made that always pleased the entire family was her vegetable soup and cheddar dill bread. The first weekend of September has been blissfully crisp and rainy and I was so thrilled that I had to bust out my first cold weather meal of the season. With out further ado, I give you the ultimate easy comfort food.

Soup Ingredients
1 bag of vegetables for soup
1 14-16 oz can of tomatoes (diced, crushed, it doesn't really matter)
2+ cubes bullion to taste
1-2 hand fulls of barley

Dump all ingredients in your soup pot and simmer until warm. Add water until its the consistency you desire, the barley will thicken up the soup so keep an eye on it.
My mom makes it with ground beef but since I was a vegetarian for over a decade, I just don't like in certain foods and vegetable soup is one of them! I also tend to add at least 4 cubes of bullion but I figure I have to add more because I don't have the ground beef in there. Also with the celiac I can't do barley but a hand full or so of brown rice is wonderful!
If you are in desperate need to get rid of some fresh vegetables in your fridge that are wheezing on their last breath, chop them up and throw them in! The bagged soup mix I grew up with in TN is non existent in WA. It had okra, lima beans, green beans, corn, carrots, and potatoes in it so instead of getting that nasty bagged mix of cubed peas, carrots, and green beans I just started cleaning out the cabinets and crisper drawer. It's really hard to screw up this soup!

Cheddar Dill Bread
3 c. bisquick (not flour, not pancake mix, but bisquick)
1.5 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp+ dill
1 egg
1 c. milk
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp oil

Hand mix dry ingredients together then add wet. I used Bob's Red Mill biscuit and baking mix (the gluten free equivalent to bisquick) and needed to add a bit more milk. You want the dough to be the consistency of a quick bread mix, not pizza dough or cake batter.
Plop in a greased bread loaf for 45 minutes at 350F. It may start to look a wee bit burnt on the top but it needs to stay in for 45 minutes or it won't be done in the middle. This needs no butter and is divine served piping hot and dipped in the vegetable soup.

The best part about this meal? I think it tastes better the second day so don't be afraid about making a big ole batch. It also freezes incredibly well.
2  COOKING / Dessert / Southern Style Banana Pudding on: September 06, 2009 01:02:57 PM
It's Labor Day weekend and while many people see this as the last hurrah of the summer before they cover the grill and patio furniture, I see it as the begining of cool crisp fall! But for everyone who clings to this as a summer holiday, here is a recipe I grew up on in Tennessee and it was always a special treat even though it is rediculously easy.

Summer fine southern style banana pudding!

Box of Vanilla Wafers
Cool Whip
Banana Pudding (vanilla works too)
2 bananas

1. Line the bottom of your dish with vanilla wafers and prop a layer up on the sides too. You can use an old piece of tupperware if you want to but my aunt swears that dessert always tastes better in a pretty glass dish so in true southern style, I busted out the parfait dish. Id does look nice, doesn't it?

2. Make the pudding exactally like the directions on the back of the box direct. Slice up your bananas and mix in the pudding. If you really like bananas, add more. If you are more into the pudding, add less. Two bananas are perfect for my pallate. If the vanilla wafers on the side fall down, no need to stress- just shove some more down the side after you fill the dish with pudding or serve to your guests with that side facing the wall Cheesy

3. Chill in the fridge until the pudding sets. After it "hardens" plop a healthy serving of cool whip on top. Feel free to get fancy and garnish with more wafers, nuts, or even a pretty sprig of mint.

Variations: I have celiac so I can't eat anything with gluten (wheat/barley/rye) in it so I made a special batch just for me with vanilla k-toos which are similar to vanilla/golden oreos. I just opened them in half and put the iced side sunny side up. I was also thinking pecan sandies may be a nice spin as well. If you had a chocolate tooth (and don't we all?) you could use chocolate pudding and for the cookies use normal oreos, chocolate chip cookies, or go super fancy and use milano cookies. This of course would not make it banana pudding but come on- CHOCOLATE! Wink
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Featured Nurseries on: August 26, 2009 04:35:45 PM
Is it just me, or is everyone having babies around here? Well, I'm 8 month pregnant with my first and I'm on bedrest so I figured now was as good of a time as ever to get some featured nurseries showcasing some of the awesome DIY Shero's out there who have posted some amazing projects on craftster:

Sweets4ever's blue & brown nursery:

What I love best about this room is that it is obviously for a little boy but it doesn't whack you over the head with snakes, snails, and puppy dog tails. It's also versitale so the room can grow with him as he does, unless his mom can't stand it and has to re-decorate... I give her another year before she gets the itch for a change Cheesy

Stephaineyoo's calm green nursery:

Again, grows with the baby and gender neutral. She also incorporated great woodland themed accents which I quite frankly adore. We thought about decorating our nursery with an owl/squriel/deer theme for a while.

Redforkhippie's Where the While Things Are mural:

Okay, I admit. I am cheating here. This isn't in a nursery but in her all-purpose room but come on folks- how much would this rock for a nursery or a kids play room? I flipping adore anything based off of classic childrens stories. Some of my best memories growing up were trips to the library to bring home a stack of books taller than I was. There are a bunch of Dr. Seuss themed nurserys on the board which I think are fab as well. Seriously, go check them out!

Ravishing Jane's fun orange baby room:

Super whimiscal and can I just say that picking out a shade of orange that worked must have been impossible, and that right there deserves to be a featured project all on its own. I get baffled picking out beige. Seriously. Tears have been shed looking at paint chips in my local home improvement store...

Retroeva's gender neutral nursery:

Hey wait a minute, did I just do that? Yes I did, I'm vain and tacky but dag nabbit it's my nursery and I think it looks great. And admit it, you do too. Even if I am tacky.
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Gender Neutral Nursery (that isn't green and yellow!) on: August 25, 2009 08:00:42 PM
It seems like I've been working on the nursery for eternity but last month I finally got it DONE (well, its still missing the baby, but other than that minor detail...). Back in Feburary when we first found out we were expecting, I found this set of drawings called "The Red Coat Series" on industrialfairytale.etsy.com and after lusting over them for 7 months and choosing which prints we wanted in the series, I bit the bullet and ordered them. We literally tried to decorate the entire nursery around these illustrations of that says how much we loved them. They are colorful, whimsical, and convey a sense of adventure and independance which are qualities we hope our kiddo has! Enough with the jabbering, onto the pics:

 The pictures that started it all, now matted and framed!

The view from the front door as soon as you walk in.

 Better view of the crib and the diaper genie, apparently a must have.

 This mobile started out blue and brown but those colors didn't fit so I busted out the fabric paint and made it red, chocolate brown, and butterscotch.

 My nursing nook with the recliner that used to live downstairs.

Close up of the vinyl decals I cut out to give the baby something to look at while eating.

Standing behind the crib (thats the changing table in the SE corner) facing the book shelf and closed closet door and open bedroom door.

 Sock monkey paraphenelia.

Overall we are thrilled with how it turned out. The colors are very relaxing and even though the main colors are shades of red and brown, lots of different colors like green/orange/blue compliment the room well. We thought about making it a green or yellow nursery to be gender neutral but we just aren't into pastels in the least, so why should this room stick out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the house? So after seeing the prints we loved so much, we drew from the artists pallate and plopped it in the room. Brad and I both find ourselves migrating into the recliner just to enjoy the chill vibe the room gives off. Hopefully the baby will enjoy the room as much as we are!
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Lazy Weekend Blueberry Walnut Scones on: July 25, 2009 10:12:16 AM
If I would have known making these was so simple, I would have made them a long time ago.

We live in the Wenatchee Valley which is famous for its endless supply of fresh fruit. I had 2 pounds of blueberries sitting in my fridge crying to be made into something and that something was some wonderfully warm flaky lazy saturday morning scones.

1. In a large mixing bowl add 2 1/4 c. flour (I used Pam's Gluten Free Baking Mix, the best stuff ever for the gluten free lifestyle), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/3c. sugar.
2. Cut in 4 Tbsp butter with a pastry knife until nice and crumbly.
3. Add 1 large egg (beaten)
4. Add 2/3 c. milk
5. GENTLY FOLD in fresh fruit. Fresh fruit won't make your batter turn colors but if you don't mind Willy Wonka-esque scones use the canned of thawed fruit. The possibilities are as limited as your cabinets. Throw in some lemon juice, nuts (I used some walnuts), chocolate chips, cinnamon, raisins, whatever you got!
6. Bake for 15-17 mnutes at 375F. The batter will be thick but the scones will spread a little bit.

Cut up some fresh fruit, pour a glass of OJ/tea/coffee, grab the newspaper or pull up craftster on your computer and nosh away. A little butter melting in the middle is also quite yummy, and I bet some orange marmalade would kick booty as well.

Come and get it y'all!

6  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Crimson Kitchen (plenty o' pictures) on: July 11, 2009 09:55:55 PM
This is one of those projects that just dragged on for weeks for no real reason other than sometimes the roller just seems to sass back Wink
After much debate I decided to paint my kitchen red (here is the thread I started with all the before pictures and conversation on what colors to choose: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=310126.msg3559649#msg3559649) so I stalked the paint sections at the hardware store and pillaged the paint chips to tape on the wall to gawk at as the sun made its way through the sky and decided on Eddie Bauer's "Crimson" which is part of his bungalow collection at Lowes. This is the second color of that line that I've worked with and I'm pleased. We actually got this one color matched to the Olympic Premium since it is $10 a gallon cheaper and has no VOCs (which is good because I'm pregnant and it has no odor) which is a-okay in my book. This took two coats and I'm satisfied with the coverage. I had my hubby do the painting towards the ceiling because I'm getting a bit front heavy and had one too many close calls leaning foward  on the ladder to get a corner... so any shoddy lines are so his fault- I only painted the perfect spots Cheesy Wink Cheesy

Enough yapping onto the pictures! Here is the "nook" that is split off with a mud room taking up the other space.

And here is a close up of the stenciled pattern on the open shelves I store the dishes and glasses on:

Rotating our way counter clockwise around the room here is the corner where the dog eats, and the other side of the door that leads to the mud room. I hung up some pictures I painted to go in my dining room at my old house. Out of sheer boredom I named the woman "Benina" and the man "Bertrand". It made sense at the time... my husband jokes that now I need to get a smaller canvas and paint a beagle for the dog and a baby for the future kiddo.

Here is the built in hutch that is super duper neat and eventually I'd love to get some glass put in so you can see the dishes inside but the budget is waistband-after-thanksgiving tight so thats not really an option right now.

Here the open doorway leads to the living room and the closed door leads down to the basement. I have some white sail cloth curtains for the window on the far right of the picture but the rod I bought was too short. D'oh!

Hope you enjoy!
7  COOKING / Dessert / Easy Fresh Fruit Cobbler on: July 06, 2009 07:54:19 PM
Here is the world's easiest and yummiest fresh fruit cobbler recipe ever known to mankind!

1/2 c. butter/margarine
1 c. milk
1 c. sugar (or a little less if using sweet fruit)
1 c. flour (or a little more if you like your cobbler high on bread content)
1 tsp baking powder
2+ cups of FRESH fruit (I used pitted bing cherries picked straight from the tree)

Step One- Place stick of butter in your 9x13 pan and place it into the oven to melt while it preheats to 350F

Step Two- Mix together dry ingredients then add wet ingredients. *note* I used gluten free flour and the first batch I made was a little too flat for my tastes so I added an egg and a bit more flour and boy howdy did it make a difference. This could be because gluten free flour tends to bake more densley than wheat flour.

Step Three- Pour batter into pan after the butter is completely melted. Don't stir the batter and butter mixture. This is very hard to resist because your inner health nut sees the butter in the corners and freaks out. Its okay, this butter creates a great "crust" on the sides and bottom of the cobbler. Embrace your inner Paula Deen, butter is your friend.

Step Four- Plop a healthy ammount of fruit on top of the batter, again avoiding the extreme temptation to stir it all together. I put in about 2.5 cups of cherries but you can add more or less of what you want. Its your tastebuds and fruit suppply! I also have an affinity for adding something from my spice cabinet and since I was a good girl and didn't stir the batter/butter/fruit mix I sprinkled some oats and cinnamon on top. The cinnamon is sinfully delicious and I highly reccomend it.

Step Five- Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out batter free. Add abig old scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream and try really hard to not kill the whole pan in one weekend like we did.


8  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Kitchen needs a face lift and I can't pick a color! on: June 21, 2009 06:53:41 PM
We bought our house in Feburary and so far we have tackled the living/dining room, the bathroom, the master bedroom, and we are on the home stretch of the nursery (just missing the crib, dresser, and baby!). The guest room is going to be a huge ordeal and the second bathroom has wallpaper to take down so I'm wanting to do the kitchen next. After all, we use it every day... well, almost Wink

Here are some pictures of it now. I adore the white subway tile back splash and the counter tops are brand new and a nice mottled chocolate brown. I'm okay with the cabinets white and with their hardware and seeing as all the appliances are white and the backsplash is too, I'm thinking they should stay white. The light fixtures are utilitarian and can be changed and the floor is CHEAP yellowish vinyl that we would love to change but it was just put in this winter before we moved in and its in good condition. SO! With that being said, I guess I'm looking for color ideas. We have a lot of blues and greens in the house so I'd like to try a warmer color. I've tempted the idea of colbalt or robins egg blue but again, my house is drowing in cool colors. Here are the pics:

To give you some ideas of my decorating style, here are the rooms I've finished so far. Our house was built in 1914 and is a great Craftsman home and we want to honor that in the design, we also really dig steam punk:

Living room:

Thanks for the help!
9  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / New Swap Theme Ideas / Craftsman/Victorian Home Swap? on: June 20, 2009 10:00:09 AM

My home was built in 1914 and my husband and I are slowly working on restoring it to its full splendor! We love finding all sorts of nooks and crannies that new construction homes don't have and scouring the antique stores for items and ephemra from the time it was built. This would be a swap for craftsman and victorian homes to help add that extra something to your house. Maybe some art work, stained glass do-dads, hardware, or anything else that your partner would enjoy.

Any takers?
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / freshly decorated bathroom (lots o' pictures) on: June 07, 2009 05:07:37 PM

Here was my weekend project. I was torn between doing this clean look or a warm red on the bottom and oatmeal on the top. The tiles are just the slightest pink and I thought the red would bring that tone out so I decided on this instead. I thought it would be more of a Tiffany Blue but it dried a little darker and I love it! The pictures over the tub are little shadow boxes I made while watching Moulin Rouge, apparently that persuaded me to throw in a bit of victorian erotica! I need to hem the curtains so they aren't dragging the floor... The basket in front of the toilet is perched on this weird ledge that was built in, we store TP under it! We don't have a toilet paper holder so I thought I would just get a basket together to store rolls of the white stuff, some reading material, and a few towels and wash cloths.
The before picture doesn't do it justice to how awful it was, the color looks white but I swear it was this disgusting flesh tone that is in every room of the house- Barf!

The total cost for this room was under $100.

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