Friday, May 28, 2010

Behr

I love to paint. I really love to paint. For all kinds of reasons.

And I totally admit to being a paint snob.

Trust me, I've tried many different brands, many different finishes. I'm picky.

Nothing but Behr is allowed in my house. (Well, unless I am trying to match a color for exterior of the house, which seems to line up with another, cheaper and inferior brand. Ick.)

I even have preferences about what type of Behr.

They have a website you can use to play with different color combinations and order samples.

http://www.behr.com/

I prefer colors that use an accent base to tint from, versus a white base. I have found through many, many years of painting that it just covers better. You have to ask the paint department employees which base goes with which colors.

I don't pay extra for the paint and primer in one combo stuff. Did once and it made no difference, just cost more. Behr is so good that one coat is usually good enough, even without the primer mixed in. I should mention that I don't use primer. Ever. Or tape. Or dropcloths. For as much as I love to paint, I don't have the patience for time consuming painting. Tape doesn't leave clean edges anyway, and I just cut in by hand. (Disclaimer: this is NOT the kind of painting I recommend for most people. For example, my husband is not allowed to paint generally, but specifically isn't allowed to paint without tape and dropcloths.)

I prefer eggshell finish on the walls. It has a nice sheen to it. Not flat and dull, but not shiny. And it does just fine with being scrubbed and scrubbed over and over again. What can I say, my kids love markers.

For baseboards and trim, I prefer semi-gloss. And I prefer white. I adore freshly painted baseboards. I have a thing about baseboards. Hey, I never said I was normal.

For bathrooms and kitchens, I tend towards semi gloss as well. It's a more durable finish, does better with high moisture areas and is less likely to suck up oils from cooking in the kitchen.

No matter the finish, it has to be Behr though. Yes, it is more expensive. I know that. Seriously though, trust me and get the Behr.

Behr happens to be sold at Home Depot. Over Memorial Day weekend every year they do a rebate on paint, $5 a gallon. I'm going to get me some in the morning. Then I'm off to my happy place.

Father's Day Ideas

I'm about to completely spoil my Dad's Father's Day present. Except he doesn't ever read this, so I am safe. Whew!

A few years ago, my husband had photo coasters made for me with pictures of the kids. LOVE them. We get compliments all the time from people who see them in our home.

Dad's always had a hankering for them. This is the year he gets em.

I am using Shutterfly....I've professed my love of Shutterfly before here. I've found that of the big online photo companies, they tend to have the best quality for the lowest price. That, and I kinda got screwed by one of the other big online photo companies a while back. Ha ha ha.

Anyhow, I'm using Shutterfly. Though the coasters themselves aren't on sale, they are doing a free shipping offer for orders over $30. That code is SHIP30. Plus, there is a promo for 3 free 5x7 photo greeting cards with the code CARDS4DAD. There's a few more codes out there right now, which may or may not work with these ones. Shutterfly usually lets you stack and stack the offers, but I'm not making any promises.

The other codes floating around are:

FIVE, $5 off $25 order
ENJOY, 10% off order

Of those two, most likely only one will work, but you never know.

Happy stacking. :)

Oh, and Happy Father's Day too. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stuffed Peppers

Sorry, blog. I seem to be neglecting you these days. I started you with the intention of an entry at least twice a week and have slipped. Apologies.

I've been busy.

It's not that I haven't thought of things to write, because I have. Many times. But I just haven't had time. Well, as I sit here, one of my babies asleep, the other swinging to her heart's content outside, I have time. A little anyway...

Here is a recipe I resurrected from my youth. Mom used to make these a lot when I was a kid, and I had picked up a bunch of green peppers on sale at the store. Except I had no idea what I was going to do with them. So here you go. I'm sure it's a little different than mom used to make, but they tasted just about exactly like they used to.


The beauty of this meal is that you don't need to make anything to go with it. All your veggies, meat, dairy and carbs in one dish. Love that.

Stuffed Peppers

- 3-4 green peppers
- rice
- 1 lb ground beef (can use ground turkey as well)
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- shredded cheddar cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise, seed and remove tops. Place in baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Cut off all usable flesh from tops and put into pan with one diced onion and 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Cook until onion is transparent. Add one pound lean ground beef and cook until meat is browned. Then add two cans of diced tomatoes, undrained and combine thoroughly, heating through.

While preparing all that, cook rice until it is almost done, but not quite. (however you prefer to cook it, I have a rice cooker). You will need about 2 cups cooked rice.

Mix rice into meat mixture, spoon into prepared peppers. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes

It's that time of year. Grilling season. I heart it.

Seriously.

I love that you don't have to heat up the house when it's warm out. I love that you can sit and enjoy an evening breeze, the air scented with the aroma of something delicious cooking over a fire. I love, love, love grilling season.

This is one of those meals that I found in some magazine a while back and tweaked. It might sound a little strange at first....I know it sounded icky to me initially. I'm not a fan of the sweet potato. I mean, I get that they are crazy good for you and all, I am just not a fan. Generally. But this way, I don't just tolerate them. I love them. And you will too.

Grilled Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes
- rub with olive oil and season with crushed sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- grill until juice run clear, time will depend of thickness of meat and whether they are bone-in or boneless.

- Peel 4-6 sweet potatoes. Cut into strips, ideally you want them about half an inch thick. Too thin, they will be mushy. Too thick and they won't get done all the way.
- Toss in a bowl with a little olive oil, crushed sea salt and pepper
- Grill in a grill basket over medium heat for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness. These usually take longer than the pork chops, so start cooking them first.
- Remove from basket, and toss with 3-4 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup diced green onions (this was the part I wasn't too sure about, but trust me)

We usually eat this with a salad and some watermelon. Happy grilling!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Brownies

Yes, I do know you can buy these in a box. But they are so much better if you make them from scratch. And really, it's not that much more work.

Glazed Double Fudge Brownies
- 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
- stick of butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- dash salt

Melt butter and chocolate in double boiler until smooth, cool slightly. Beat eggs and sugar. Combine salt and flour, then add to egg mixture. Stir in chocolate mixture, add vanilla last. Pour into greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Cool completely, the glaze with the following:
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp oil
Melt chips in saucepan, stir in oil. Let cool slightly, then spread over brownies. Let set for a while, then enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mooooo

One of the best things about living in this part of the country is that we have the option to have our milk delivered fresh from local dairies. We've tried a few of them, and keep coming back to the first one. Longmont Dairy.

It's a bit pricier than milk from the store, but completely worth it, particularly in the eyes of my husband who swears he can taste the plastic in the milk from the store.

The milk is fresher and it tastes better. They also deliver other dairy items like juice, eggs and butter. I could kiss whoever churned butter for the first time. Such an improvement over milk, don't you think? Recently, they began delivering a newsletter with recipes. Just today, there was an article in the paper with several recipes from the owner of the dairy. Hand me downs from her family, passed down through the generations. She has so many of them that she set up her own website.

http://www.mooonews.com/

If you are like me these days, and trying to avoid processed foods whenever possible, check these out. These are the good old fashioned recipes from back in the days before anything was processed and artificially sweetened and partially hydrogenated. I'm waiting for the kids to polish off the tray of brownies I made (homemade of course, I'll post that recipe tomorrow), so I can try out the sweet cream cupcake recipe.

If you could get your hands on some dairy fresh milk, all the better. Living here has it's perks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Islands

This is one of my most favorite meals, and has been approved by everyone who has ever tried it. It takes a bit of planning, since it's far better if you make most of it ahead and let it sit for a day. Not too much hands on time the day of the meal since the prep is done ahead.

Add a tossed green salad and go to your happy place. If you're feeling particularly ambitious, I've got a recipe for ginger salad dressing at the bottom. It's a bit of work, but worth it.

It's the kind of meal which can make you pretend you are far away, somewhere tropical. Almost.

The marinade is easy and quick, far better than anything you can buy from a store. I've used it for all different kinds of chicken, it works best on boneless thighs. If using chicken, marinate overnight. If using shrimp or fish, an hour is more than enough.

Island Marinade
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup brown sugar
- zest and juice of 3 limes
- 3 tbsp olive oil

Tropical Fruit Salsa
- One mango, peeled and diced
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 cup fresh or drained canned pineapple, diced
- juice of 1-2 limes
- handful of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
- Combine and store in the fridge overnight, tastes better the next day. :)

Cilantro Lime Rice
- 8 cups cooked rice (preferably jasmine rice)
- 4 tbsp butter
- juice of 1-2 limes
- handful of cilantro, stems removed and chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
***as good as the cilantro lime rice from a nationwide burrito chain***
- I put the rice in the rice cooker about 15 minutes before the chicken goes on the grill, then mix it all up right after the chicken is done, this is the only thing you make the day you eat it. Yum.

Ginger Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp diced fresh ginger root
- 2 tbsp diced celery
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Place all above in a blender, blend until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill. SO worth the effort, trust me.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

This is one of those meals that just kinda happened one day. I knew I wanted something easy, something that involved the crockpot. Mostly, I just threw a bunch of stuff in there and it was good. I've tweaked it every time I've made it since and I think tonight I perfected it.

Chicken Tacos
- 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (though you could really use any boneless chicken)
- can of diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cans of black beans, one rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning


Put the chicken in the crockpot, cover with the taco seasoning and the rest of the ingredients. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low for 6-8, then shred the chicken.

We make tacos using the chicken mixture, shredded cheese and sour cream. Everyone loves this stuff, even the baby.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Parmesan Tilapia

I had tilapia thawed for dinner last night, but wanted to find a new recipe for it. I found something similar to what you see here, and tweaked it like I always do. It was good. Really good.

Broiled Parmesan Tilapia
4 tilapia fillets
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp light mayo
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
dash of ground pepper
1/2 tsp garlic salt


Combine all the above in a bowl. Turn on broiler. Spray cooking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Broil tilapa fillets 3 minutes. Remove from oven, coat with cheese mixture, then broil for another 4 minutes. Done when topping starts to turn golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork.

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