Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

I'm always looking for a palatable and convenient way to eat more vegetables, especially leafy greens (which I don't really like). So this morning I made me a little smoothie with about 2 cups of nutrient-loaded spinach in it, and it was gooooood. Check out the recipe below:

Widgapae Green Smoothie
2 cups spinach
1 banana
1 mango
1/2 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1 packet of stevia
Water (as much as you need to achieve your preferred consistency)

Blend it all up and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Major Kitchen Organization Overhaul Update 6: Paneling Sneak Peek!

Just a quick little update to show you some major awesome: 
The laundry room paneling has begun!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting My Brain Straight: What I Want Out of the Laundry Room

The laundry room project is on like donkey kong; I am conquering my fear and tackling it! As I was determining the levelness of the walls and marking out lines in 4-inch increments, I realized I needed one last soul-searching, inspiration list for exactly what I want out of this laundry room. Once the paneling and painting are done, I need to get going on the details that will make this room worth all the work that is going into it!

What do we use it for?
  • Laundry (duh)
    • Our washer and dryer
    • Ironing board
    • Laundry baskets
    • Laundry soaps, etc.
    • Clothes that need to hang dry
  • Cleaning products
  • Household product storage
    • Light bulbs
    • Paper towels
    • Batteries
    • Extra Soap
  • Recycling
    • Plastic
    • Paper
    • Aluminum
    • Plastic bags
  • Dog stuff
    • Dog food container
    • Dog bowls
    • Miscellaneous dog accouterments
  • Informal entryway (it opens to the garage, which is where we always come into and leave the house)
    • Keys
    • Sunglasses
    • Spare change
    • Purse/Bags
    • Coats (in the winter)
    • Shoes (I shouldn't keep my shoes here, but sometimes I just can't help kicking them off as soon as I walk in...)

This is not a large room we're talking about. We're lucky in that it's not a tiny closet, but it's pretty small and it wears a lot of hats. So I really want to maximize space and  squeeze every last inch out of the room. Oh, and I want it to be pretty. :-)

Here are some inspirational ways to deal with the above requirements: 

Ana White Homemaker
This takes care of both the washer/dryer issue and the laundry baskets. Bam!

Trends and Traditions
I love the idea of using an old dresser and turning the top into an ironing board. I'd have to find one that fit in the space next to our dryer pretty snugly, or think of a really good way to use the gap space. 

If we go with the ironing dresser route, I'd like to do something like this with the bottom drawer (but with three food bowls, instead of one food and one water bowl). 

Martha Stewart
Super easy solution for clothes that can't go in the dryer. I'll hang this below the small, high cabinets above the ironing board space (see current pics here). 

Martha Stewart
I don't really want to make this recycling center in the laundry room, but I think it would be perfect right outside the door on the garage wall. 

Martha Stewart
Love this simple idea for organizing coats and accessories. Smaller baskets would be great for sunglasses and other smallish things like hats, mittens, and purses. 

Martha Stewart
What about an ironing table instead of an ironing dresser? I'd be giving up storage space in the drawers, but I love the shoe tray underneath the table. Hmmm...

Gotta get the paneling and painting done, then I can get to this fun stuff! Ok, I'm going, I'm going...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nothing to Fear But...Uneven Paneling?

I've been struggling a lot lately with my major kitchen/laundry room makeover and I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday that I thought was worthy of a post: I am scared of this project. I mean, terrified. I know it's an emotion that many - if not all - DIYers feel, especially when they're just starting out. But it doesn't seem to be discussed often. I guess because we all like to hide our fear and act like we're cooler than the other side of pillow. The fake-it-til-you-make-it method can be a really good one; we're all capable of more than we know. But I just need to put it out there that I'm scared, and it's slowing me down.

What am I scared of? Well, the project has reached a point where we have some major stuff to do; mainly, adding paneling to the walls of the laundry room. I know that this is actually not a major a project in the grand scheme of home improvement (and most people say it's kind of easy), but it feels monumental. Everything is a question for me. Where do we start (top row or bottom row)? What if the walls aren't level? If the walls aren't level, do you align the panels with the walls or with the actual correct definition of level? How do you put the chair rail on? How do you put the crown molding on? Do you have to remove the door moldings first? How do you remove the door moldings? How do you put them back on over the paneling? What if, even after several days of acclimating to the room, the paneling shifts this winter because the humidity in the house changes with the seasons? 

These are the thoughts and worries that are floating around inside my head. I know the only way to deal with them is to just do it. If we make mistakes, we'll learn from them. But mistakes scare me! I have a perfectionist inside of me that has a tendency just not to try new stuff rather than fail at it. No more! I have to get past this

So, Big Tex and I are on vacation next week and we're tackling the paneling. I'm not saying we're going to finish it (mainly because I don't want us to feel rushed; that is a sure-fire way to make dumb mistakes). But we're gonna tackle it and we're gonna get a good start. Our first package is "acclimating" in the laundry room as I write. Just buying it was a big first step. I sure am proud of myself :-)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

Over the last couple of months, I've been really trying hard to cook at least two meals per week (sadly, the cold cereal industry has taken a hit because of this decision). Getting this done has been a challenge for three reasons: 

1. I'm not crazy about cooking.

2. Big Tex has the pallet of a 4-year old child (I'm not exaggerating; he doesn't like yogurt, squash, avocado, or pudding because they have textures that are "gross.")...but I love him lots and lots!

3. Big Tex and I both work full-time an hour away from our house; we're out the door by 6:45 am and never get home before 6 pm, so preparing a big meal after work is just not happening. 

Therefore, I've relied a lot on my crock pot and/or meals that can be prepped and ready to just throw on the grill when we get home. They also have to be pretty small-child friendly so that my almost 40-year old husband will eat them.

Partly so that I don't lose track of the recipes, and partly to share their greatness for you, I'm posting a few of the best I've discovered so far. Some of them are so easy, they'll make you cry with joy. None of them are difficult because, well, I just don't usually do difficult when it comes to food. I'm kind of lazy.

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
I added red bell peppers and served with rice. Yum!

Chicken Taco Filling
Use this easy-peasy homemade taco seasoning instead of store-bought

Taco Meat 
I made it with venison hamburger and it was the bomb

Guinness and Venison Stew
Too heavy for a hot Texas summer, but so nice for a cold winter's evening

Zesty Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken 
Serve on slider buns and you will die of the deliciousness

Bonus: Overnight Oats
This is not a dinner recipe, nor will Big Tex even try it (it has yogurt and pumpkin in it. The horror!), but it's kind of changed my life and I just had to share it. Don't let the weirdness of cold oatmeal or the way it looks prevent you from trying it. It's super grab-and-goable, and it's loaded with nutrition. The "add-ins" I use are packed with fiber and deliciousness:
  • 2 tablespoons Grapenuts
  • 2 packets of stevia
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just real pumpkin)
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we have! Let me know what you think :-)