Monday, April 25, 2011

Left Over Easter BBQ Chicken Tacos

Hi all!! I hope you all enjoyed your Easter. I certainly did. It was filled with lots of family and loads of food. We had barbequed steak, chicken, oysters, shrimp, & salads of all kinds. Sounds like a good mix right? Well, it was. Super delicious, but there was no way we were going to finish it all.

We had some left over chicken so today I made chicken tacos. Its the easiest recipe.

All you need is the following:

left over chicken (I used 2 pieces; leg & thigh)
3 small roma tomoatoes or whatever kind you've got (for mixture & topping)
1 jalapeno
yellow onion
a few springs of cilantro
corn tortillas
canola, vegetable, or corn oil
lettuce (for topping)
queso fresco (or jack cheese if you prefer)
salsa verde (preferably homemade)

First I shredded the left over chicken & fried it in a tiny bit of oil. When the chicken is fully coated with oil, add chopped tomato, jalapeno, & onion. When onion is translucent, add cilantro. Stir it all and let everything heat through. Turn off flame & cover to keep warm.

Should look like this, but any variation works..

Doesn't that look so yummy??...the cilantro really makes the meal here...yum!

Next I put a bit of oil in another pan & at the same time warmed a corn tortilla on the griddle. Warming the tortillas serves two purposes. First it helps to keep the tortilla from cracking in two pieces when you  fold it over & second, since its already warmed, you end up using less oil to fry them. This recipe is not very healthy, I'll admit, but it is really, really yummy! Sometimes (not often) you have to just not think about the calories. I know, bad, bad..shoot me!'ll agree with me after you taste these tacos, I promise...

Ok, after the tortilla is warm, you fill it with the chicken mixture...

and fold it over. Add it to the pan & then do another...

Let them brown and then flip them over to the other side...

When they are browned on both sides remove them from the pan and place them in a bowl that has high sides. This is so that you can stand them up and any remaining oil can then drain out.

Note that I placed a napkin in the bowl to catch the oil. This is important or else the tacos will just be standing in oil..umm..not good.

Once they are all crispy, you can add shredded lettuce, chopped fresh tomato, salsa, and crumbled queso fresco

That is the way I like my tacos, but you can also add guacamole (mashed up avocado) or any other kind of veggie you prefer..

Also you're probably thinking... "She said to use homemade salsa, but I don't have homemade salsa verde" Well you will have it if you follow these easy steps...

There are two ways to make salsa verde & both are extremely easy...

Way #1

roast 1 tomato on the griddle(medium flame); wrap it in a piece of foil, kind of like an envelope so the juice stays inside
roast 2 jalapenos (also wrapped in a foil packet)

flip the foil packets every so often so that they roast evenly.

after the tomato & jalapenos feel soft remove from heat & plop them in a blender.
add a bit of water & blend away (for how long depends on how chunky you want your salsa)

Pour it into a bowl & add salt to taste

that's it, you're done..easy right?

ok..Way #2 (also known as the cheater method)

Fill a small pot with water & add 1 tomato & 2 jalapenos. boil. When tomato & jalapenos are soft, plop them in a blender with some of the water from the pot. Pour into a bowl & add salt to taste..

Now why am I thinking that most of you will opt for way #2 over way #1?? hmm..well, if you find yourselves with a bit more time & a bit more bravery or just plain less laziness, try way #1..roasting them adds a bit more flavor. Also the ratio of tomato per jalapeno will dictate the heat of your salsa. If you want it spicier add more jalapenos..just that easy.

Ok, peeps..start a cookin'! oh, and let me kow what you think of this recipe after you try it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Upholstery is Not for Weenies!

I wanted to name this post ...

"I Did It! I Did It! Woot Woot!! I Really Freakin' Did It!! That's Right! Yup Yup, I Did It!!"...but it seemed a bit long..

Now what is it that I did??

Well, do you remember this chair??

Isn't she lovely in her horrible retro-ness?? No?? Yeah, I didn't think that fabric was wonderful either, but I loved the shape & it is just the comfiest reading chair.

I was given this chair years ago by my mom's co-worker. It belonged to her mother, who I'm told, lived an amazingly adventurous life before passing at a ripe old age.

I had always planned to have it professionally upholstered in a "happy" fabric, but just never got around to it. I'm a bit of a procrastinator (just thought you needed to know that..full disclosure & all)

So anyway..the other day..OK, more like weeks & weeks ago, I decided I'd do it myself even though I had NEVER done anything like it before & had absolutely NO CLUE where to start. Mere details..I immediately set about taking it apart.

I did know enough to pay attention to where & how things had been originally attached to the frame & also to not throw those pieces of fabric away.

After I took it sat for days, three weeks...

It was very patient..just waiting for me to get on it...but I was really scared..I didn't know what to do...I avoided it..literally walked around it while I completed other projects or just watched TV instead...

After a while my husband started asking.."um, so what's up with this chair?" & then "hey, are you ever gonna get to that chair?" and every time I would say "oh, yeah..I'm just looking for the perfect fabric..its not easy you know?!" Yes, I was a bit defensive, but I didn't want him to know I was freaked out because then he'd say.."throw it out"...he doesn't like useless junk hanging around...poor guy..I LOVE useless

So to make it look like I was actually moving forward on the project I went to Joann's and secretly hoped I wouldn't find great fabric, but I did..

This is an outdoor fabric, but of course I didn't notice that until I got home & quite frankly since I had no clue if that was OK or wrong, I went with it chair, right?

So now I had fabric, you would think that would mean I jumped right on it, right? sat in the bag for another week...I'm such a scaredy-cat! Its really annoying how chicken butt I am sometimes..

In fact I was getting quite disgusted with myself over it..I knew I had to start so last Saturday I put my big girl chonies on & I cut my first piece of fabric...and then my second...

I just laid my old fabric atop the new fabric..closed one eye, said a prayer & CUT! After that..I have to say it wasn't that hard...I actually got a little scissor happy there for a minute...I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief & started stapling...first the backrest & then the arms...

Not sure if you can see this, but the curve of the arms gave me a bit of trouble...the fabric just would not lay flat..can you see the wrinkle in the arm in the above picture?? Well, it didn't go fact the other arm was going to get a wrinkle of its own..No matter how hard I pulled or in which just wouldn't lay flat..Then I noticed that the original arm pieces were actually split in two sections that were glued together..I just left the wrinkles in..more character..or so I keep telling myself..

That was actually the hardest part..the rest was easy peasy! After covering the arms as best as I could, I covered the center of the frame area. Before covering it with fabric though I added some batting (I forgot to mention that I also put two layers of batting on the backrest as well) wasn't perfect, but it was on..major triumph here so far...

Next section to put on was the seat cushion area. This really stumped me because I knew that I was not going to be able to sew a separate cushion for the seat. My solution was to forgo the separate seat all together..I just added more batting to the bottom & covered the whole thing in fabric.

I used the original stuffing that had been in the separate cushion (forgot to take a picture of it, sorry)
Before stapling it down I added some batting on the front end of the chair so it would even out

After that I covered the sides of the chair with more batting and then fabric

I did this to both sides and used the original nail strip to finish the front staples would just look yucky

I couldn't find the finished end picture when I was posting, but what I did was wrap the nail strip with the fabric and folded it over so that it stayed even with the edge

Next I covered the back & final part of the chair

I added batting & covered it with fabric

Again I could not find the pictures of this step..maybe I was too tired to take them or I just thought I had taken was pretty late at night

Anyway this is what the final product looks like...

I love it..even with its imperfections..and I'm happy to say..I'm not a weenie or a chicken butt or even a scardycat any fact...I'm already itching to reupholster something else...

So what do you think?? Let me know in the comments..I read them all!

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Idea I No Longer Love

Remember that lamp I told you I bought at the Habitat for Humanity Store??

I was SO excited when I bought it... so excited that I immediately went out to Joann's and bought this fabric so I could make a new shade (the original shade was stained & so not my style)

I did the happiest of happy dances when I found this fabric..the day was going just my way..I had found a cool retro lamp & now the perfect fabric for, hello I had coupons! SCORE!!

Well, yesterday I finally got down to putting it all together...

First I measured out some white tagboard so I could make a new shade

I had to use two pieces of tag board because I wanted to keep the lamp as long as the original.

Then I cut it to fit and folded it into shape. I held it together with little pieces of masking tape until I got it just right.

Here it is next to the original

I used masking tape to keep the edges together with the interior wire. (oh, yeah, forgot to mention that I took the wire off the original shade) and maybe I should also mention that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started this project..really, no idea!

So next I split the original shade and flattened it out on top of my fabric

Remote weights optional :o)

Once you have your old shade stretched out, trace it lightly with a pencil (on the back of your fabric of course)

After tracing my fabric, I cut it leaving an inch around my traced pattern.

So that's the scary part (for me anyway..I'm always afraid I'm going to screw up the measurements & ruin my fabric..I'm a worry-wart)

So anyway then you spray glue your shade and wrap your fabric around it

After that warm up your glue gun..its hot glue time!!

I folded my edges in and glued them down

And I think that's pretty much it...It looks good..

Really good actually...but I don't love it... Am I crazy?? I like it a lot...but I just know that I jumped the gun with this project...I should have thought about where this lamp was going to go in the house..did I mention that it matches absolutely nothing in my house?...nothing...there is a possible solution however...
Remember I mentioned that I was going to turn our small guest room into a craft room?? Well I guess I could build my craft room around this lamp...but truth be told, it feels forced...

I really do like the lamp...*sigh*

maybe I should have used something like this instead...

or this

I doesn't match the orange base..well, that's because I should have spray painted the base white..duh, Bernadette!!

look how lovely this fabric would have been...

Hello birdie!

or this...

I could build a room around this, right??

So lesson learned..My advice to you ladies, gents, or whoever is reading this, is..let it marinade..just like beef..let it sit there & soak up the possibilities...I for one will never jump the gun again...

I do like the lamp..I just don't love it...

so maybe I'll change it..what do you think?? Let me know in the comments...I read them all!

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Monday, April 11, 2011

My Weekend Buys...Its Good Stuff

This weekend my mom and I went to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I know some of you are lucky enough to have a ReStore that is open all the time, well we are not so lucky. Our ReStore, located in Marina, CA, is only open the second Saturday of every month...I know, I know..its cruel. I wish I could just pop in there when ever I wanted, but I can't.

This was actually our first time going at all and I was pretty upset with myself because in my excitement, I forgot to take my camera with me. Then, once I was there, I was too excited to use my Blackberry blog failure, but anyway I was able to take a picture of one thing because I brought it home with me...

Isn't she so cool in her retro-ness?? I thought so too..and so did a bunch of other people at the sale that kept staring at her as I walked through the buildings...kinda funny..

So anyway, I think she's going to be even prettier when I fix her up with a new "dress"

After finishing up at ReStore, Mom & I took off to Morgan Hill..Jo-Ann's was having a mega sale so we knew it would be worth the drive.

At Jo-Ann's I picked up some material for Miss Lamp's new dress...

Love it!! and at 30% was a steal!

That wasn't the only thing I picked up at Jo-Ann's though..I finally..FINALLY found the fabric for the upholstery project I've been working on forever a while. What a sneak peek??


This lighting in the room and the little point-n-shoot camera that I used don't really do this fabric justice, but again I have to say..LOVE IT!!

I'm hoping to get to that darn project soon. I've got the chair all naked already I just have to put my big girl chonies on and get to it..In fact I should be doing it right now..., but as I said before in another post, I'm a bit intimidated by the whole thing...

I'm working up the my husband keeps asking, "what's the deal with that chair?" which I'm sure will turn into.."finish it already!!" so I better get  to it...wish me luck

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Much Needed Spice Cabinet Clean-Up

Remember when I said I had a few things on my "To Do" list. Well, I finally got around to cleaning up the spice cabinet. It was horrible. Every time I wanted to use a certain spice I practically had to take everything out of the cabinet just to find it...and that wasn't practical. Please don't judge me by this cabinet..I only moved in 6 months ago, remember...this wasn't all was a lot me, but not all..

I need things in my kitchen to be organized because I love, love, love to cook and I don't like to feel rushed when I'm cooking.

My solution was to buy canning jars so that my spices would all be in the same type of container...

These are Kerr Wide-Mouth pint & half pint canning jars. I love the look of all that glass & the silver lids. Does that make me weird? I also knew I would need to label them so I made labels with a label machine

In case you're wondering, yes, I re-printed the labels that didn't print well. I think I mentioned before that I'm a control freak perfectionist selective. Anyhoo...This is what I started with...

I should probably mention that I first washed & dried the jars and lids (you never know what kind of factory muck is on them)

Next I started filling all my jars & adding all my labels (I don't know what happened to the pictures of this step...I couldn't find them when I was posting)

Anyway this is what my cabinet looked like when I was done...

Pretty, right?..well, OK, maybe not pretty, but definitely better than what I started with...(please ignore that red lidded plastic container..the ground cinnamon would not fit in a pint jar..darn it!)

Other than that eyesore, I am really happy with the new look...

But wait there's more!!  If you call to sound like a late night info-mercial, but there really is more...

The jar of carne asada spice needed a different kind of lid...This is a spice that needs to be lightly shaken onto meat, pouring or scooping this spice out would not work.

 I would have to pull a MacGyver. (Don't know where I would be if I hadn't watched MacGyver all those years ago...Thanks MacGyver people) So, I went to the hardware store and picked up a piece of window screen. Once I got home I cut a piece to fit inside the rim of the lid. I just traced the flat insert of the lid to get the right size.

Next, I glued the piece of screen into the rim with Tacky Glue (not yet sure if the Tacky Glue will work long-term..I'm testing it out)

So this would take care of the "shaker" part of the lid, but I still needed the jar to "close," so I glued the flat insert to the rim using hot glue and a small hinge.

It's not super pretty, but right now I'm looking for function rather than beauty.

Here's what it looks like open...

Pretty good, huh?

Lets hope it stays on & that the screen doesn't pop out mid-shake... I'll let you know if it does fall out the next time we have a BBQ...fingers crossed that it doesn't!

So that's the story behind my spice cabinet...

What kind of Spring cleaning are you doing??

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