Mandarin Pasta Spinach

Ingredients
8 ounces bowtie pasta noodles
4 cups spinach leaves
½ cup craisins
⅓ cup cashews or Diamond of California Pine Nuts
1 4-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
dressing
⅓ cup teriyaki sauce (the thicker, the better!)
⅓ cup rice wine vinegar (may sub apple cider vinegar)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder (if you have it)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup oil (such as vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil)

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. While pasta is boiling, prepare the dressing. In a jar combine all dressing ingredients. Cover and shake to combine. Chill until ready to use.
  3. In a large bowl toss together pasta, spinach, raisins, nuts, mandarin oranges, and cilantro. Just before serving pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve.

Shrimp Tacos

INGREDIENTS
Servings: 12 Tacos

2 pounds shrimp, deveined & tails removed

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

24 bamboo or metal skewers

4 tablespoons olive oil

Creamy cilantro sauce:

1 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons cilantro, minced

1 teaspoon lime zest

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 ½ cups green cabbage

1 ½ cups red cabbage

1 tablespoon jalapeño, minced

24 corn tortillas

Toppings:
Lime wedges

Cilantro

PREPARATION
1. In a large bowl, season shrimp with paprika, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, red pepper flakes, and salt. Toss gently to combine.

2. Using 2 bamboo or metal skewers poke through the top and bottom of the shrimp and push down to the bottom of the skewer. Add 3 more shrimp to the same skewer and repeat until all of the shrimp are used.

3. Right before you put the shrimp on the grill, brush each skewer with a generous amount of olive oil, to prevent sticking.

4. Grill over high heat for 3 minutes, brush the top side with more olive oil, flip, and let cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from skewers & set aside for taco assembly.

5. In a bowl, combine all creamy cilantro sauce ingredients. Stir well to combine.

6. In a large bowl, combine green cabbage, red cabbage, and minced jalapeño. Pour half of the sour cream mixture over the cabbage, saving the other half for extra sauce to put on the tacos.

7. Assemble the tacos on corn tortillas. Add the cabbage mixture, followed by the shrimp. Top with the creamy cilantro sauce, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

BBQ Bean Burritos with Grilled Peach Salsa

From the book: Thug Kitchen

 

BBQ Beans

  • ½ yellow or white onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce* plus 1 tablespoon of the sauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans**

Burrito Stuff

  • 6 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • Spanish Rice
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Grilled Peach Salsa (see below)
  • Sliced avocado

INSTRUCTIONS

  • First, make the BBQ beans: Throw the onion, tomato paste, garlic, chipotle peppers and sauce, broth, OJ, brown sugar, molasses, and soy sauce in a food processor or blender and run that fucker until a smooth sauce forms. Pour that into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, fold in the beans, and simmer until everything is warm and the beans absorb all that flavor, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • To make the burritos: Grab your tortilla and pile in a scoop of the beans, some rice, and a handful of lettuce and top with the peach salsa and some avocado. (Using foil paper when rolling your burrito actually helps to keep the shape and keep all of the ingreients inside). Serve right away because burritos wait for no motherfucker. (Seriously, it’ll get soggy, if left for too long).

* These smoked peppers come packed in sauce and are sold in a tiny can at most stores near the salsa and beans.

** Two 15-ounce cans if you aren’t cooking this shit yourself

Black Bean Torta

From Thug Kitchen:

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (preferably Just Mayo brand; may substitute regular mayonnaise)
  • 2 tablespoons sauce from a can of chipotles en adobo, or more as needed (may substitute your favorite chipotle-flavored hot sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups cooked or canned no-salt-added black beans (from two 15-ounce cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cups homemade or no-salt-added vegetable broth (see related recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 6 kaiser rolls, split and toasted
  • Small romaine lettuce leaves
  • Flesh of 1 medium avocado, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cored and sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced

Whisk together the mayonnaise and the 2 tablespoons of adobo in a small bowl until smooth. Taste, and add adobo as needed.

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it starts to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ancho chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in the beans, broth and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low so the mixture is barely bubbling. Use a potato masher or large spoon to smash as many of the beans as you can, leaving the mixture chunky. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes very thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, and turn off the heat. Taste, and add salt as needed.

To make the tortas, layer on the bottom halves of the toasted rolls, in the following order: some of the chipotle mayo, the romaine lettuce leaves, a good portion of the beans, the avocado, tomato and red onion. Smear the toasted sides of the top halves with the remaining chipotle mayo. Serve immediately.

 

Dying Polyester Curtains- it can be done!

Another curtain project… I really wanted curtains for my classroom without spending a lot of money. I searched everywhere, Facebook yard sales for orange curtains. ( I have a Dr. Seuss theme going on in my room).
I also need to add that I HATE curtains. They are so expensive and its so hard to pick the correct one.
I found white curtains at this place in my town Called Big Value Outlet. 3.99 a panel which was perfect for my budget. I figured I would bring them home and Dye them, I’ve dyed shoes before how hard could it be?
When I picked up Orange RIT dye at the store I found that all of them said not suitable for polyester. OF COURSE the curtains I purchased were 100% polyester.Turns out you can’t dye polyester because its plastic fibers that wont take on dye. I quickly googled how to possibly dye Polyester and found some ways. I love a good challenge.
I needed somewhere to dye all of these curtains because well, I’m afraid to ruin my mothers tub. I bought a plastic bin from Target, which the dye did not affect so I later used it as storage in my classroom. I also did this project outside with the hose. First thing you need to make a dye successful is Rubbing Alcohol. One part alcohol to 7 parts water. It also says to use very hot water to try and melt the fibers. I couldn’t do this because I was using the hose outside. I stirred curtains occasionally.
I think what really worked is how long I dyed the curtains for. I left them outside in their dye for over 24 hours. ( with a lid). I left them in full sun in hopes that the sun would heat the water. The problem when dying polyester I find is that the shade of color is going to be very light. Lucky for me that’s what I wanted.
When I took the curtains out to try, I laid them flat on the floor. This created puddles of water and made a tie-dye effect or marble effect. If you do not want this effect I suggest hanging them up so the extra water drips out of the curtains. Whatever you DO NOT wash them.
Once they are dry I took a hot iron and ironed every curtain panel. I still have not washed the curtain and I am not sure how they would hold up if they were washed. BUT I did read about the dye rubbing off on hands and whatever you placed polyester on. That did not happen to me! The dye seems pretty permanent.
The curtains are a beautiful color and I am so happy!

   
   

Bread Pudding

This time for bread pudding I decided to use some sweet bread! My boyfriends house had lots of stale bread, the end result was really tasty, but more of a baked french toast casserole rather than “bread pudding”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 5 large eggs beaten
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large loaf of bread
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 cup peacans – optional ( I did not use them)

Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of brandy- optional ( i did not use)

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
2. Mix the sugar, eggs, and milk in a large bowl; add the vanilla. Pour over the cubed bread and let sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, mix and crumble together the brown sugar, butter, and pecans. Pour the bread mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven.
3. To make the sauce: Mix together the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir together over medium heat until the sugar is melted. Add the brandy, stirring well. Pour over the bread pudding. Serve warm or cold.

Lemony Lemon Brownies


Okay, so I am on a lemon kick. After those lemon cookies I needed to redeem my lemon self.

Lemony Lemon Brownies

I was proud of myself because I finished mixing this recipe just as the oven completed preheating. Small amount of batter, because its only for 8×8 pan.

I zested and juiced two lemons it was enough for the batter but not enough, for the glaze.

I had to zest and juice one more and then had left over juice.

I poured the glaze on and then cut them, and tried a taste. MAN THEY WERE GOOD. I was skeptical that they would actually turn out yellow, and they did!

They were REALLY Lemony. And as I kept eating them I couldn’t decide if all the lemon was really good or over kill. I am still mixed on my decision, wondering if I made them cream cheese brownies how well they would taste, or maybe a little less lemon in the glaze. The brownie part was so good, consistency of cake, and just so tasty.

And they look how they do in the picture! Double win!

SUCCESS!

Nautical Frame

This one was embarrassingly easy. Not to sure I even want to share it. Its pretty self explanatory. I needed something to display my cheesy look at me I am in my cap and gown and just got handed my diploma picture.

So off to Michaels I go with three kids in tow, and found a frame on clearance, it was HUGE, and white, but I liked the size because the wheels began to turn of all the things I could do to it.

Stripes. I have a stripe obsession. For real. All my shirts, stripes.

Teal/Aqua. My biggest obsession. So it wasn’t too hard to decide how I wanted the frame decorated. I already had this color spray paint from making the pom poms for my graduation party.

I went home to the kid’s house, and found painters tape in Dad’s tool box, it was wide painters tape, so wide it was.

I just eye balled and placed the tape where I thought it would look good. Again, I dont measure, and I am not technical. so, nothing ever comes out perfect but thats way I convince myself to like it.

I went outside and spray painted everything even the sides and inside. ( I took out the glass so there was no hassle)

For the stripe in the middle, I used the same piece of tape and ran it over the middle, and then after applied  I cut it in half and wrapped it. This was so the top and bottom stripe would be perfectly lined up.

So after it dried, I peeled the tape off and I was iN LOVE with the way it came out. So in love. that I didn’t want to touch it. the frame looked store bought, but better then when I bought it from the store!

But this was a nautical themed party so I decided to add an anchor, Again I got help because I am not a artist. so my i traced the anchor and my friend implemented, then traced it on the frame and painted it. I was going to add glitter or even my name at the top, but This always happens to me where I like the project I making and I do one more step and ruin the whole thing.

BUT NOT THIS TIME. this TIME WAS DIFFERENT. I left it. and I love it. and now it hangs in my room, kinda weird to have such a large picture of me, in my own room, but I really just love the frame and how it looks in my room so I think I will change out the picture soon.

Success!!!

Homemade Bunting

So for my Anchor/ Nautical themed graduation party I decided that I HAD to have bunting.

I didn’t want paper, because I knew they would be hanging well into the night and the dew would kill them. I wanted fabric, this way I could re-use it, and even hang it in my room when I was done.

I searched through many tutorials and I hated them all. Yeah I have a sewing machine and yeah I took a sewing class in high school. but I didn’t feel like busting out the old sewing machine. Their had to be something easier.

Then I remembered a trick my moms uses because she cant sew to save her life… HEM TAPE.

So I ran out to Jo anns Fabrics, and picked up fabric squares, because I couldn’t be bothered having all the fabrics pre cut, I also am a cheapo when it comes to my craft projects and decided that my bunting wouldn’t have a back, like whats the point? The fabric I picked was just fabric I liked, lots of different patterns and all shades of blue with white and coral for an accent.

I also picked up DOUBLE FOLDED DOUBLE WIDE Binding. This is your BEST friend in this project. I picked teal and white, I got three.

I really wish I took pictures of each step, but I didn’t so you will have to imagine me just making this bunting , sweating my balls off over a hot iron.

So I get home and I am like how am I gonna cut this friggin fabric. I am not a technical person so I did what I also do, wing it. They were folds in the fabric and I just cut diagonally, and made triangles. simple as that. For people who need more instruction, this isn’t the place for you… haha

Then I cut the hem tape and put it all over the edges, hemming sides of the triangles but not the top, this gave it a hemmed look. I did it over, and over, and over again.

Lots of ironing, lots of peeling hem tape, lots of sweat. I even packed this project and brought it to Boston for the night, ironing int hotel room.

Then I arranged the patterns of how I liked all down the hall way and pulled out the Binding. I put hem tape on the sides of the top of the triangle, and then on the  bottom of the inside of binding. Confusing but you will figure it out.

So basically u sandwich the triangle in between the binding. and iron, iron, iron, you could sew. but who really wants to sew?

They came out beautifully and I really love them. I cant wait to hang them in my room, I have no upclose pictures, but I will take some as soon as I hang them in my room!

Image

Here is blue and white bunting hanging from the deck.

ImageThere is other bunting you can see hanging from the tent.