Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tutorial - Make an Ironing Surface / Table on Your Washer and Dryer, and Line a Book Case!

I have a mismatched washer and dryer and no room for an ironing board in my laundry room.  I needed to come up with a solution to make the two look more unified and give me an ironing surface.  My laundry room is a tiny multipurpose space that serves as my office, laundry room, back entry, and crafty sewing space.  So not only did I need an ironing surface I also needed a place to fold the laundry, as well as lay out any patterns for cutting and sewing.  This is what I came up with and it is serving me well!  I also love the way it looks and it was VERY simple to complete.  All for the price of two yards of fabric!
I ended up pulling an old book shelf from the garage and putting it on the end to make a little bit of a separation between the entry and the laundry area.  It will also discourage everyone from throwing things down on top of the washer as they come in the door.  I used the same material (scraps left over) to line the back of the shelves and it came out great! I am going to add a hook to the back of the shelve to hold my laundry basket but until then it is still on the back of the dryer.   I love it!  Now I have separation, more storage and a cleaner overall look.  It was a quick and easy project and I feel like my laundry room had a makeover!
So here is how I did it..
You will need :
A sheet of plywood large enough to cover your washer and dryer.
2 yards of fabric or a little less.  I like to use the thicker home decor fabric.
1-2 large bath towels you no longer need.
A staple gun.
This is what it looked like before.
 The first thing I did was measure the space that I wanted to cover.  I then (OK my husband) cut the plywood to the size I needed.  I then stretched the towels over the board to create a softer surface and stapled them down around the edges (you can see the bottom layer in the photo below).  .
 Next I laid the fabric under the board and trimmed it so that I could wrap the edges over and staple it down
 I made sure to pull tight before I stapled so that the top would be nice and smooth.
Then all I had to do was flip it over and lay it in place.  Mine stays in place, but if you have trouble with it sliding just add some sticky backed velcro at all the four corners of the board and down to the washer and dryer as well.
For the book case I just used the scraps from the project to line the back of this lackluster book case.  I simply cut rectangles to fit the back of the book case one shelf at a time.  I recommend using a rotary cutter with cutting mats and rulers to get a nice even rectangle.  Then I just used spray adhesive to spray the back of the material and the back of the bookcase and applied them one shelve at a time.  The spray adhesive is really smelly so make sure you do it outside or right next to an open door!  It doesn't stay tacky too long so I did them one at a time and reapplied under any areas that were coming loose.  Now if your shelves come out you simply do one big rectangle but my shelves wouldn't come out.
And here it is again after it was all said and done! I am thinking about adding fabric or paint to the cupboard doors on the bottom but like I said this was a quick afternoon last minute project, and the shelves were just an after thought.  I love how it completes the space a bit, and gives it a more organized feel.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

FREE dramatized AUDIO New Testament Download!

FREE dramatized audio New Testament to download!  Just click Here to get it from Amazon.  I just downloaded mine and put it into itunes.  Super easy!  This is great for kids too as they go to sleep or as we travel in the car.  I love that they get to hear God's word and they enjoy listening.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Tomato Sauce Recipe No One Should Live With Out! A Famous 4 Ingredient Sauce That Happens To Be The BEST Tomato Sauce Ever!

I know what you are thinking... How can a simple 4 ingredient sauce be the best sauce ever?  I am sorry to admit that I usually buy my tomato sauce.  It is such an easy nice thing to have on hand.  I have made crock pot sauce, stove top sauce and it has been good but a little labor intensive and not really that  much better than the jar sauce.  I know it is healthier, but sometimes you just don't have time for all homemade.  In fact, I had jarred sauce in my cupboard when I went to make a baked pasta dish the other day.  When I was looking on line for a good pasta bake recipe I landed on one that included this tomato sauce.
Photo courtesey of The Kitchn where I found this great recipe!
The blog post raved about the richness, smoothness and deep flavor of this sauce.  It looked so simple and I had all the ingredients, because who doesn't have 1 onion, salt, butter and a can of tomatoes?  Evidently this is a true Italian recipe by Marcella Hazan from a cookbook called Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

So here it is!  The simplest tomato sauce recipe you will ever make that give you rich, full flavor, mouth watering results!

Marcella Hazel's 4 Ingredient Tomato Sauce Recipe
1 onion cut in half
1 28 oz. can plumb tomatoes
5 Tablespoons salted  butter (I did not use all 5 Tablespoons, and it was still delicious)
Salt to season to taste. ( I like sea salt)
Throw all of the ingredients into a pot and simply simmer this concoction for 45 minutes or so on the stove top.  The butter adds an incredible richness and really brings out a deep flavor in the tomatoes.  Now Marcella says to remove the onion all together.  I tasted it and it was delicious!  However, I decided to leave it in for the added nutritional benefit and just used an immersion blender. Now prepare to be amazed! INCREDIBLE! 

That is it!  You can memorize this classic recipe and have a quick fix for any night you are in need of a quick supper.  Just toss this over whole grain pasta, or add to any recipe calling for tomato sauce.  I would imagine this would be great to make in large batches and can!  Then you can have the convenience of jarred sauce and all the goodness of homemade taste!  Let me know what you think!  Have any simple recipes we should know about?  Share them in the comments.  Thanks!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin! The best HEALTHY pumpkin recipes!

I know that last year I posted A LOT more health and fitness workouts, exercise tips, and the like, but being almost 7 months pregnant is not conducive to that.  So healthy recipes it is!  I just had 3 large carved pumpkins given to me to cook up so I am swimming in pumpkin puree.  I have roasted and pureed 2 of them filling about 7 large mason jars.  Some have been tucked into the freezer (with headroom in each jar so they don't burst of course), but now I can't wait to use them in some delicious, truly inspired healthy recipes.  Pumpkin lends itself to healthy recipes as it is a great substitute for half of the fat in baked goods with it's moisture and is packed full of vitamins, fiber, minerals and other nutrients.  But really aside from all that who doesn't love pumpkin in the fall!  Keep in mind that no matter how decadent these recipes look I only chose healthy recipes or recipes that with a few small tweaks would become healthy.  There is an over abundance of sugar and fat laden pumpkin recipes out there.  This is for those of us who want to eat healthy and LOVE it all at the same time.
Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
This yummy recipe comes from budget bytes a great healthy, budget friendly blog.  Sub out the refined sugar for 1/2 the amount of honey and you get rid of the refined sugar while keeping all the sweet goodness!

Pumpkin Chocolate Granola Bars
Pumpkin Chocolate Granola Bars
How beautiful are these bars!  To make them a little healthier just swap out the brown sugar for 1/4 cup honey and you are good to go.  See the recipe and a beautiful array of artistic photos of these bars at Pastry Affair
Sweet and Salty Roasted pumpkin seeds
You can find the recipe for this delicious and healthy treat from HERE from For the Love of Fiber.  What could be healthier?

Simple Crock Pot Apple Pumpkin Butter
This is a quick easy, HEALTHY, recipe from For the Love of Fiber is a perfect way to use your fresh pumpkin and apples this season!

A classic Pumpkin Nut Muffins
This recipe uses whole wheat, and to make them even healthier use fresh pumpkin, sub out the vegetable oil for coconut oil, and use 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey in place of the 3/4 cup raw sugar.  Find the whole recipe HERE at Skinny Taste.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
These decadent looking treats are actually gluten free, vegan, and free of refined sugars!  Find the 
recipe HERE at Clean Green Simple

Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe
This Allrecipes favorite would be a perfect way to use some of your freshly harvested pumpkin!  To drop some of the sugar use apple or pumpkin butter in place of syrup or a dollop of plain yogurt sweetened with stevia on top like we do.  The full recipe found HERE at Allrecipes.

Pumpkin Pie Fudge
pumpkin pie fudge
Who would believe you could have fudge and be making good food choices all at once!
This fudge is made with coconut oil for a healthy fat, and uses only 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup as the only sweetener.  Throw in the addition of a nutritious vegetable like pumpkin and you are guilt free! Recipe found HERE at Unwheated.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
I know it says butternut squash, but sub in a pumpkin for a similar flavor.  I LOVE this recipe from my William Sonoma "Soup" cookbook.  It is the whole reason I got the cookbook!  I had the soup at a relatives and could not get enough of it.  I think the secret is the large amount of garlic that is roasted to a sweet mellow flavor and the delicious leeks.  Truly healthy and I am looking forward to making this again but with my large supply of pumpkin! I found the whole recipe Here at Indulge and Enjoy. So you can do just that!

Now I tried (for hours!!) to find just the right pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe to share with you guys. Something perfectly delicious, made with whole wheat, coconut oil, and honey or other unrefined sugar, however it was a bust.  Everything I found was loaded with white flour sugar and fat or  vegan or gluten free or yeast free.  I didn't want something hard and healthy that had no resemblance to a true cinnamon roll so I will have to create my own version.  I am getting a bosch mixer and grain mill tomorrow (SQUEAL OF DELIGHT!!!) that my mom picked up for me out of town from a craigslist ad, and I can't wait to get started on the challenge!  YUMMY!! Have any ideas for your favorite healthy delicious ways of using pumpkin?  Share it in the comments!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Free Fun Pumpkin Homeschool ideas and Printables from art lessons to cooking!

We just went to the pumpkin patch yesterday with our homeschool group and had a blast!  I was intending to buy two pumpkins for my mantel (that I could cook later) and one for the kids and hubby to carve. My husband insisted on two to carve which bumped it up to 4 pumpkins.  However, by the time we got there the pumpkin madness took over.  My 4 kiddos split up and before I knew it people were handing me pumpkins that my kids had told them to cut off the vine.  

All said and done we ended with 5 LARGE pumpkins.

Learn how to draw a pumpkin.
Go to sleepy head designs studio for these directions and ideas for creating a painting of a pumpkin too!

Print off a whole bunch of preschool age printables that are pumpkin themed!
PUMPKIN UNIT (lots of printables LOTS!!!)

Free Autumn Printable for toddler, preschool, homeschool. 1-2-3 Tot Pack: Color and Trace! Pumpkin, Apple, Leaves
Here are some more pumpkin preschool printables for your pumpkins from The International Momma.!

Pumpkin themed lesson plans starting with reading this book. 

Do some pumpkin research
Have older kids?  Have them write out some interesting facts after checking out this link to the Pumpkin Patch that is filled with fun pumpkin facts! Read more pumpkin facts HERE at the history channel

Now watch this cool video on pumpkins and then fill out the report form below having them draw a pumpkin in the top space using the step by step directions in the first part of this post.

Science Form 7
This blank research form can printed from HERE..

Teach your kids cooking skills

Find the recipe and complete post HERE.

Make baked pumpkin oatmeal with your kids.
Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
Find the complete directions and recipe HERE at Cooking with my Kids.

Find 21 fall recipes here from Babble.  
Quinoa Pumpkin Pancakes | Babble
Any of which would be great to make with kids like these quinoa pumpkin pancakes!.

Cooking with kids teaches them a host of skills from fractions, reading, following directions, kitchen skills like cutting, measuring, and culinary terms to confidence, and self sufficiency skills.  Besides kids love to cook and we all love to eat...especially when pumpkin is involved!

Hope you found some fun pumpkin based homeschool ideas no matter what age your kiddo. Have any fun ideas for us that have something to do with pumpkins?  Please share you ideas in the comments below!