Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Soup's On...

When this quarter's Pinterest Challenge was announced, I took a quick look through my "Crafty Ideas" and "DIY" folders on Pinterest, but wasn't really feeling inspired (mainly because I was looking for zero effort). So I headed over to the "Recipes" folder - I'm not a cook at all, but I have sooooo many recipes pinned it's crazy. I also like to watch cooking shows. Weird I know.

Anyway, with the hurricane coming, it seemed like good soup weather, so I went right to the Minestrone soup recipe I'd pinned from Better Homes and Gardens.

It was super easy and super delicious. The recipe as it appears on the BHG site calls for 

  • 1
    28 ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
  • 2
    cups water
  • 1
    14 - 15 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
  • 1
    cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1
    medium yellow sweet pepper, chopped
  • 2
    teaspoons Italian seasoning or 1 teaspoon each dried basil and garlic powder
  • 1
    cup dry rigatoni or penne pasta
  • 2 - 3
    cups baby spinach
    Shaved Parmesan and/or fresh basil (optional)

I didn't have the yellow pepper so I skipped it and used a chopped up small onion instead and I used the vegetable stock to make it vegetarian. I may add some frozen string beans next time.

The directions are two simple steps.

1.In a Dutch oven combine the tomatoes, water, beans, broth, sweet pepper, seasoning, and pasta. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, just until pasta is barely tender.
2.Stir in spinach. Ladle into soup bowls. Top with Parmesan cheese and/or fresh basil.

My vegetable stock was frozen, but trust me, it is not homemade. I buy the big cartons of it and freeze what I don't use.

Prior to adding spinach.

Right after putting spinach in.

After cooking spinach down.

Finished soup. Yummmmm.

I don't see any reason to ever buy canned minestrone again. Seriously, this was that quick and easy.

I'll be linking up to the Pinterest Challenge posts here, here, here, and here, so stop over and check out all the "Pinspiring" projects.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Hocus Pocus

I have a little confession to make: I did my Halloween decorating at the end of September. I know. My intention was to start small with just a few pumpkins to get in the mood, but while I had the box out I just went for it. For some reason, this year summer seemed to vanish in a flash and it was suddenly full on fall with no transition time at all so just moving right into Halloween so early didn't seem too out of place. I only decorated one small space: my china hutch and used all things I had on hand with the exception of the black and white striped balloon lights (from Target - $12). Come to think of it, I think it was the desire to get those lights out that got me going on this project so early in the first place.

Crows are all from the craft store, pumpkins are craft store and Joann's Fabrics, platter is part of my iron stone collection picked up at thrifts here and there.

Crow silhouettes are from Dollar Tree last year or the year before - I looked for them again this year, but no dice. 

Bat print is a cocktail napkin from Target from last year or the year before.

Nest is made from a feather boa with plastic bag stuffed underneath to keep the eggs from sinking, and the eggs are raided from the Easter box (I pulled all the putrid green ones).

Crow silhouette tapped onto a plate with a printed black border - this is actually a new addition for this year - picked it up at a thrift with just this in mind for it. The owl is a Christmas ornament from Target last year.

The owl candle (he's battery operated and works on a timer!). I picked it up at a thrift for a few bucks, but when I couldn't figure out the timer (you don't set on/off times, it just runs for 5 hours from the time you first turn it on, and then turns back on at the same time every day - so simple!) I started googling and it turns out, he's still available at QVC for $18! 

The wooden candelabra is from a thrift and picked up thinking it looked kind of spooky and Halloween-y. I was going to paint it gray, but I'm grooving on natural wood as of late, so I'm glad I left it (besides, it would probably be half finished if I'd tried to paint it). The glittery witch hat, I have no recollection of ever buying or getting - maybe it came in some flowers? I tried to put it on Chloe when she was little to take her "Halloween  portrait" but she just keep trying to eat it. 

So anyway, that's it for this year's Halloween decorations - just pretty much used the same things I do every year (I have way too much Christmas cwap to start in on a huge Halloween collection), just rearranged a bit for variety.

I'm linking up at:


Friday, October 12, 2012

A Key Change

On a quick trip to Target the other week for cat food I spied a whole slew of cute accessories from Target's new house brand, Threshold. The current collection features classic equestrian and menswear inspired themes and fabrics, lots of texture, and great warm, fall-inspired colors. I couldn't resist this doormat, featuring the skeleton key from their logo to spruce up my front entrance. 

I had actually seen a really similar one a year or so in a Garnet Hill catalog, which was actually on sale enough for me to consider ordering it, but it was sold out by the time I got my catalog and logged on so I was beyond thrilled to find this one at Target for the really reasonable price of $12.99. 

Just for fun, I pulled together a small collection of some of the other items I really loved too - the chunky felt basket with nautical rope handle, the herringbone basket with equestrian-inspired leather trim, the leaf/flame print doormat (I seriously may go back and get this for the back door), the orange fox pillow and cozy orange plaid throw.

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