Monday, November 29, 2010

Using Leftovers–Turkey and Noodles

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Well, Turkey Day came and went.  Unfortunately, in between the “came” and “went”, my husband and I got the nastiest case of the stomach flu that I’ve ever encountered in my life.  No joke.  We spent the entire day at my father’s empty house, while the rest of the family enjoyed a lovely feast a my mom’s house. 
I honestly didn’t have one bite of turkey the entire weekend.  My father brought me a plate from the dinner, but I was only able to nibble at one of my mother’s famous dishes, Chicken and Noodles.
Chicken and Noodles are a staple in Central Illinois, where I grew up.  They’re kind of like chicken and dumplings, except the dumplings are replaced with thick homemade egg noodles.  Not the thin “no-yoke” variety.  Nope.  These suckers stick to your ribs.  Basically a dumpling consistency, cut into strips.
Got it?  Good. I think I killed that one.  Winking smile
So, since I wasn’t lucky enough to partake in the Thanksgiving Day food fest, my mom sent us home with a large portion of leftover turkey meat.  I had some noodles in the freezer and thought I’d make mom’s chicken and noodle dish with the turkey.  Genius, I know.  Ha! 
These noodles are pretty close to the way my mom’s homemade ones taste.  No perfectly the same, but they work in a pinch.  There are also dried “Amish” noodles that you can often find around the holidays that are also a great substitute for the real deal.
Turkey and Noodles
  • 8 cups chicken broth (4 regular cans)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups turkey, cubed or bite size
  • 2 Tablespoons onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste, you will need a decent amount of salt because the noodles will soak up a lot of flavor
  • 1 (24 oz) bag Reames frozen noodles
Place all ingredients, except noodles, in a large stock pot.  Bring to a boil and carefully add noodles.  Return to a boil and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until noodles are done.  Another alternative is to place the mixture into a crock pot on warm after bringing the noodles to a boil.  Be careful not to overcook them in the crock pot otherwise the noodles will become mush and your dish will be too thick.
This dish is pretty heavy, but very homey.  It’s the perfect thing on a cold day or for, say, those recovering from Ferocious Flu 2010.  I’ve made it with chicken a few times and added carrots and peas to the mix.  That’s not the traditional Midwestern preparation, but it “healthifies” the meal a bit more. 
Another crazy tradition with this dish, is to serve it over mashed potatoes.  Yep, as if the starchy goodness of the noodles isn’t enough, why not smother some spuds with them.   I’m assuming that tradition probably comes from our hardworking farmer ancestors that could afford such a carb overload AND needed to stretch each meal as well as they could.  It’s a little too white on white on white for me. 
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday…at least better than ours anyway.  We’re looking forward to a healthier Christmas holiday with lots of decorating and candy making. 

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I hope you all enjoy your fill of holiday delights over this long weekend.  We are looking forward to visiting with family and stuffing ourselves with stuffing.


I’m sure I’ll have loads to share with you all next week after spending a few days in Mamaw’s (my culinary genius of a mother’s) kitchen.  Yep, next week is sure to be filled with blog posts, Christmas decor and, to be real, spin class. 


Until then…Happy Turkey Day!!!!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kiddo Chatter : The Stork Edition

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So, I’ve decided to write a little about the funny things my boys say both for your reading enjoyment and so that I can remember them in the future.  In the words of Bill Cosby, “Kids say the darndest things!”


My kids are at an age where babies and the prospect of new siblings kind of fascinates them.  This story begins on a drive to dinner one night.  My husband and I were discussing how both of my two bestest friends are finally pregnant with their first babies.


What we didn’t realize was that the boys were listening pretty closely in the backseat.

Lanham:  “So, is Aunt Sarah WAY younger than you mommy since she’s having a baby

Me:  “No, honey.  We’re the same age, we just started our families at different times, that’s all.”

Lanham:  “Oh.  So you could have more babies?  I thought you said that if you had more babies you’d go crazy.  Cuz we drive you crazy already…right B?  We drive her nutts!!!”  (I swear they were have a rally in the backseat about this fact.)

Me:  “I think you might have heard me say that two busy boys was just enough for us.”

Lanham:  “Is that because we make you crazy?  If we stop making you crazy would have another baby?”

Me: “Um….errrrr…….Derek?  Help!”

Lanham:  “Braden!  If we clean up the basement then mommy will give us a sister!!!”

Braden:  “Yeah!!!!  A sister!  She can sleep in my bed!  Woo hoo!  A baby sister!”

Derek and Me:  “Wait a minute, wait a minute!  It’s a little more complicated than that boys.”

Me:  “And besides, Braden, if we have another baby, then you’re not the “baby” anymore.”

Braden:  “Huh?  Oh.” <silence>

Then after a minute or two…

Lanham:  “Mommy, so where do these babies come from anyway?”

Oh dear.  I’m not ready for that talk yet.


And a recent exchange after dinner tonight:

Me:  “Dixie’s gaining too much weight.  Look at how round her belly is getting!  You guys better stop feeding her so much.”

Lanham:  “WOO HOO!  Dixie’s going to have a BABY!!!”


Looks like we need to explain a few things around here.  Did I mention I have a Master’s degree in Reproductive Physiology? Yet the idea of explaining this to my sons totally baffles me.  

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Coffee Table To Bench: Tutorial

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Sorry for the delay!  This was one of those posts that kept going and going and…well, it’s long.  I hope it easily explains how I went from this:IMG_3751





To this…


What you need:

  • sturdy coffee table that is a good seat height
  • spray paint (Rustoleum’s Heirloom white)
  • electric knife
  • spray adhesive
  • foam (high density, 3”)
  • batting
  • fabric (Coral Cascade Ebony from Joann’s)
  • staple gun
  • scissors
  • button kit
  • fishing line
  • finishing nails
  • long upholstery needle
  • trim
  • hot glue gun

Step one:  Make sure the table is sturdy


My table had one wobbly leg.  After a a little inspection, I noticed that one of the brackets holding the leg to the top was bent and that caused the whole thing to be unstable.


I removed the bracket, hammered back into shape and reattached it.  All good.

Step two:  Painting the legs

Most of the pieces in our master bedroom are dark, so I wanted to go lighter for this bench.  I lightly sanded the legs and the sides of the table only because I knew I would be upholstering the top anyway.  Then, I applied 2 coats of Rustoleum’s Heirloom White Spray paint and sealed the deal with a few coats of clear acrylic spray.

Step three:  Deciding where to place the buttons


I measured and marked six spots on the top of the table with a permanent marker.  Then I drilled holes into the table top for each mark.  No turning back now!!


Step four:  Attaching the foam

I used 3 inch high density foam that I purchased at Johann’s.  Luckily, there was a 50% off sale going on that day because it can be a little pricey.  You can also use 2 inch foam that can be found much cheaper, but I really wanted a bouncy cushion for our bench.

The foam wasn’t perfectly square and it was a few inches too wide.  I measured and marked a 1/2 inch from the widest point of the table’s top all the way around.  


After getting all the lines marked, I used an electric knife to cut the foam.


To attach the foam, I placed the foam on the ground.  Then I sprayed it with adhesive.  I borrowed my hubby and we set the table upside down onto the foam.  It was easier to position this way.  You want to make sure you get it centered.

NOTE:  Somehow, during this DIY frenzy, I forgot to do an important step that read about it in other tutorials.  After attaching the foam and before adding the batting, take a long needle, poke up through drilled holes and mark foam where buttons will be placed.  Cut or pinch out a bit of foam where markings are.  Believe me…this will make button tufting easier.

Step five:  Wrap it up with batting

Spread out your batting and then put the table foam side down onto the batting.  Cut the batting to size, making sure you have enough to cover the top, plus the sides of the foam and then add a few extra inches to both the length and width.  You can trim the excess it later.


Since my table had a curvy top edge, I had a hard time making the batting look smooth.  So I stuffed a little extra batting here and there to smooth it out before stapling the large piece of batting in place.

Attach batting to table by stapling at center of one long side, then continue stapling towards each leg.  Stop stapling a few inches before each corner. Repeat on opposite side and then finish the shorter sides.  To finish the corners, trim off excess batting and fold the corners like you would wrap a present. Trim excess batting as need to make a smooth look.  This took a little time to get the lumps and bumps just right.

(Good examples of this here and here.)

Step six:  Making it pretty…Adding Fabric


First up, iron your fabric.  Then, using the same steps as you used with the batting, lay out your fabric, cut it to size, adding a 2-3 extra inches for stapling and pulling.  Lay the table, batting side down, onto the cut fabric.  Start with one of the long sides and begin stapling.   Remember to pull the fabric tight as you go.  I flipped my bench over several times to make sure I was getting it snug.  Just like the batting, stop stapling the fabric before you get to the corners.

Again, the corners are the hardest part.  I actually had to take a break and come back to it once because I was getting a little frustrated.  It took a lot of trial and error, but you just have to work with it until you get the look you want.  I again, folded my fabric similar to wrapping a present.  I cut out excess fabric as necessary to avoid that lumpy messy look.

Step seven:  Button Tufting

Create your fabric covered buttons with small squares of extra fabric and a button making kit.  I found these at both Hobby Lobby and Joann’s. 


Thread the buttons with 16 inches of fishing line.  I tried using the upholstery twine and it snapped on me several times.  The fishing like is much more durable.  To thread, fold the line in half, poke the loop end through eye of button and then thread the two loose ends through the loop.  Pull snugly.  Set aside.

Flip the table right side up.  Poke long needle up through bottom of table and thread the button through the eye of the needle.  Pull the needle down and the fishing line should come through to the underside of the bench top.


Pull the line VERY tight.  Staple several times to attach the fishing line to the wooden underside of the table.  Due my mistake in Step Four, I couldn’t get my buttons to “tuft” as deeply as I wanted.  To pull them tighter, I tied a small finishing  nail to the ends of the fishing line in order to have something to pull tighter.



I kept the line pulled tightly by adding another staple near the nail.


The result: Nice tufting!


Step eight:  Trim it up and Enjoy!

To give the piece a finished look and to hide all of my staples, I used hot glue to attach a 1 inch black trim all the way around the bench.  Be sure to trim off excess fabric before trimming.


Now, sit back and admire your work.


Giving credit, where credit it TRULY due:

After bringing my little table home, I did  a net search for “coffee table to bench” and came across a wonderful tutorial on Curbly by modhomeecteacher.  This post really got me jump started on my own bench.  

Then I happened upon another great post by Allison at A Glimpse Inside where she takes an old sofa table and transforms it into a bench.  Funny thing?  I have the same sofa table, still in use, in my living room!  Yep, the same one she hacked up!  Ha! 

Thanks to you all for the great feedback on my coffee table to bench transformation!  Please feel free to send me any comments or questions you might have about this long tutorial! 


handmade projects Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special  The DIY Show Off 


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Portrait Session – The “H” Family

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Another update on what I’ve been up to lately…

Herrmann Final Proofs2-1 IMG_6738final IMG_6795-2 IMG_7189-3 Taylor 1

IMG_7190-4 IMG_7204

Thanks to the “H” family for being great sports and making the “hike”…the result was worth it!

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