Monday, August 30, 2010

Pesto Chicken and Pasta

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After making a few batches of basil pesto last week, I used a portion of the fresh stuff to make this yummy summery pasta dish.  Enjoy!

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Pesto Chicken and Pasta

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tablespoons oil (I use canola or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2  cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1 box penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • fresh parmesan (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil until done.  Remove chicken from skillet, cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.  Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water according to directions. 

Over medium high heat in skillet used for cooking chicken, add  sun dried tomatoes, chicken broth and pesto.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and add chicken back to skillet with pesto mixture.  Stir in cooked pasta and cook for a few more minutes adding salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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Reworking a TV Stand

Pin It We bought this run of the mill, laminated number right after we moved into our house.  We didn’t have anything to put the TV on in the master bedroom. 
The horror.
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So we moved in and I was in a hurry.  Sue me.
And this was WAY before my DIYing/GW fixin’ days.  Not a completely awful purchase, right?
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Okay, so maybe a little awful. 
Blah.
I’ve been looking high and low for just the right piece to replace it, but no luck.  I decided to work with what we had and spruce up the beast.  I figured if I screwed it up, it couldn’t look any worse.
I started off by removing the spring loaded glass doors.
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* Queue the Rustoleum Painter’s Touch!  Yes, I’m a black paint addict these days. *
After a light sanding, I gave the entire piece one coat of spray primer and two coats of black paint.  (Basically used the same tips and tricks from previous projects.) 
Oh and I also decided to dress the ol’ gal up a bit with these…
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If you’re wondering, what the heck is going on in the above picture, here’s a tip:  I made holes in the bottom of this box, stuck the new soon-to-be-legs of my TV stand in the holes and painted away.  Worked out really well!
To attach the legs, I used these leg plates that I found (conveniently!) next to the wooden legs at HD. 
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Marked the screw holes, pre-drilled the holes…
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…and attached the legs.
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Only one minor boo boo in this process…
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I got a little wild with the pre-drilling and went all the way through! Oops!  Easily fixed and repainted.
And finally, she was a brand new-to-us TV stand!
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I really loved the way it turned out.  For very little money and effort we have a new piece of furniture using something I was wanting to put out at the curb! 
Dumpster diving within your own house…that’s how we roll.
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Check it out!!!  $75 Gift Certificate!!!


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Living Room Wall Art Update

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Way back when I posted about my homemade living room wall art, I asked if anyone thought it looked a little lost in the space.  Several of you said to beef the prints up with mats and larger frames.

BEFORE

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Well…

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I finally got around to switching the frames out.

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Love the results!  These frames were a little more expensive than my previous Walmart $3/each specials, but the effect is worth it.  I picked them up at Michaels when they were half off and there was an extra 25% off coupon that week on frames too. 

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As always, thanks for your input!

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Basil – when it rains, it pours

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I think that basil is truly the easiest thing to grow. It was the first edible item I tried my luck at and have planted it every year since.

Basil isn’t too finicky and grows really well in a pot. So well, in fact, that I give tons away to my neighbor and freeze it multiple times throughout the summer.

To freeze basil, I gather as much as I can on a single day. Then I give it a thorough wash and dry in my salad spinner.

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Next, I chop up the leaves with a little water in a food processor. Then I put one tablespoon of the finely chopped basil in each ice cube spot of the tray.

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Pop those out after freezing over night and place the basil cubes into a zipper bag to use in sauces and soups over the winter. Tastes like the fresh stuff!

This year, I finally broke down and bought a new mini-food processor. So small, that I can tuck it into one of my deeper drawers.

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However, it was large enough to makes the following batch of pesto. YUM!

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Basil Pesto – adapted from Martha Stewart Cooking School recipe

(makes about 2 cups)

  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
  • 1 teaspoon course salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 6 Tablespoons walnuts (or pine nuts), toasted
  • 3/4 cup good olive oil

Toast walnuts in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet; toss during toasting a few times. Do NOT burn. Let cool completely.

In a food processor, pulse nuts and garlic until slightly chopped. Add basil. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Add salt, pepper and cheese. Pulse until cheese is incorporated.

With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Use immediately, store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze.

To freeze, I placed one cup of pesto in a quart freezer zipper bag. After removing all of the air, seal the bag and lay flat in the freezer. This makes it much easier to store later.

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I think I may have processed my pesto little too long, but this was my first try. Pesto sometimes looks a little chunkier in some of the pictures I’ve seen. I welcome any tips out there. Although, the flavor was still fantastic!!!

**UPDATE: After reading some of the comments and chatting with some of my bloggy friends, I've decided to cut back on the olive oil to 3/4 cup instead of a full cup. I used a little less than a cup and it was, as mentioned, lacking the texture I wanted.




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Monday, August 16, 2010

GW End Tables – O’ Brother

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My “little” brother was in need of some new end tables. Seriously, he was using some old ones that were my grandmother’s circa 1950. B.A.D. Faux inlaid marble B.A.D.
Anyway, being a super awesome sister <smile>, I’ve been on the lookout for a few tables that I could redo for him. A lucky trip to Goodwill and I happened across these guys…
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For only $7/each! ACK! What a deal! Minus the dated finish and brassy hardware, they were in perfect condition too. Wobbly legs were easily fixed with a allen wrench.
Using the same technique as my GW coffee table redo, I applied 3 coats of Rustoleum’s Painters Touch in Black Semi-Gloss.
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Then I let the tables sit inside for a day…BIG TIME humidity this time of year. I then applied 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish in Satin.
And you know how must I detest all things brassy, right? That old hardware didn’t stand a chance in this redo. I picked up two brushed nickel pulls from Target ($8/pair).
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I secretly want to keep these table for myself after they were finished.
Steven, sweet “little” brother of mine, you love me, right? Say it. Come on.
Love you more…and hope you like these tables once I get them down to STL for you and Tinita. Mwah!
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**Update: After reading this post, my husband wanted me to bring it to your attention that this was not completely a solo project. Oh no...he helped me sand one of these end tables. Thanks D! I think he appreciates the work that goes into my little redo's after sweating it out in our garage during the sanding process. Ha!
UPDATE part 2:  One of my commenters mentioned that these look very “Pottery Barn” and I found these similar tables on their site for $199!!
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It makes my find at Goodwill seem even more grand!




  
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