Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Pinterest yumminess!

I should have titled this series "Seven Days of Pinterest" rather than "Pinterest Week."  That might have given me more flexibility on my time-challenged issues!

So here it is:  Day # 5 of the longest Pinterest Week of your life!  But sooo worth the wait!

Pulled Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
Cheryl Style

 We had this for a big family birthday celebration for my DD#2's bday.  What a deal!  Two bone-in pork shoulders simmering in two big crockpots and we had dinner for 17 people (and one extra hungry, lacrosse-playing son!) with leftovers for lunch!

The verdict:  PIN IT!

Changes I made:

  • I used bone-in pork shoulder.  It was cheaper and the bone gives good flavor to the meat...  And they were out of boneless.
  • I popped it in the crockpot the day before the party while we were cheering Navy on to victory against Hawaii so it never got turned and cooked for a bit longer than the recipe recommended.  It didn't seem to hurt it a bit.
  • The next day, I added about a tablespoon of chili powder to the pork because I thought it needed a bit of heat.  I put the pork in a large roaster pan, covered it with foil and put it in the oven at 325 to reheat.  The extra time in the oven the next day allowed the flavors to really meld and caramelized the meat a bit.
  • I made the salsa just like the recipe, but left in the seeds, etc in the jalapeños because we like things a bit spicy here at Casa Feasts and Fabrics.
This was an amazingly cost effective, prep-ahead, and delicious way to feed a crowd.  And since all the work was done the day before…I got to enjoy the party too!

One last tip orginally from the oh-so-smart Ina Garten:  Put your effort into a couple important parts of the meal and then cut yourself a break and buy part of it.  
My gift to me:  

Cupcakes from Cupcakes Actually.
So decadent!

My husband graciously volunteered to taste-test and choose the flavors for the assortment.  Such a big help my hubby!  :-)

Day #5 of Pinterest "Week"  a real crowd-pleaser!

Wondering where all the fabrics have gone?  I have several projects in the works.  I ordered some gray knit for my version of the luxe sweatshirt, but it turned out to not be what I was thinking - too sheer and sparkly.  I'm waiting on another order and hoping that it is more what I was hoping for.  I so miss neighborhood fabric stores where you could actually see and touch the fabrics!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pinterest Palooza continues into book club night.

Even Book Club wasn't exempt from Pinterest Palooza at Casa Feasts and Fabrics.  

Pinterest Dinner #4:

Low Carb Chicken Wraps

All of my Book Club friends and I are watching our girlish figures so we are always looking for book club dinners that we can enjoy and still watch our calorie/carb intakes.  

Subbing the wrap for lettuce and low-cal, high protein chicken breasts…worth a try.

The verdict:  Pin It!!!

Using some help from a good bottled teriyaki sauce made this a fast and delicious and just six chicken breasts made a TON of chicken for wraps. 

I fed 6 hungry book-clubbers, one hungry husband and one hungry daughter and still had enough for a couple of lunches.  

Changes I made:
  • I doubled the recipe.
  • I sprinkled the chicken breasts with some of the greek seasoning and then grilled the chicken breasts - much easier than trying to brown the chicken in batches in a pan.
  • After the chicken was mostly done on the grill, I chopped it into 1/2 inch cubes and added it to the sauté pan with the vinegar and the remaining Greek seasoning.  It is quite possible I used more greek seasoning than was called for.  (I'm not a great measurer - especially on a Friday evening!)
  • I added the teriyaki sauce and mixed it in to taste (Again, probably definitely added more than the recipe called for) and then removed the pan from the heat and added the cilantro, green onion and sunflower seeds just as everyone arrived.
  • I used red leaf lettuce instead of swiss chard leaves.  Although I think that the chard would have been delicious, the local grocery store didn't have any chard on Friday evening when I needed them.
This was a great meal for a potluck or to take to someone's house for new baby meals, etc.  It can be eaten warm or cold.  (I've tried it both ways and it was great!).  If you are not watching carbs, it would also be wonderful in a wrap.   

I tweaked this recipe more than my other Pinterest features this week, but still a winner.
More Pinterest fun tomorrow!  Until then!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day #3 - Pinterest Week

I know you have been waiting for day #3 of Pinterest Week.  
Drum roll please….Day #3 is….

Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas
from:  Foodie Crush

Garlicky Swiss Chard and Chickpeas

I cooked this up as a yummy side with some marinaded flank steak and a baked sweet potato. 

Sweet potato secret:  Sprinkle some cinnamon on top.  Mmmmmm...It's hard to decide if it a dessert of part of the dinner.

The verdict:  Pin It!

Both DD#2 and DH voted this the best swiss chard recipe ever - even better than the ones I've made with bacon - what?!  Although, both agreed that adding a little bacon would not have hurt this recipe, either.  :-)

Cooking the chard in chicken broth helped make it nice and tender and mellow tasting.  The garlicky flavor and the salty feta really made it pop.  Definitely a do-over!

Changes I made:

  • I used one large bunch of Swiss Chard instead of two (That Sunday night shopping trip left us with sad pickin' in the chard department.)  
  • Because a big pile of chard cooks up to nothing, I added a big box of baby spinach to make enough to serve 4.  If you want enough to serve 4, get 2 bunches of chard like the recipe calls for.  It will look like a ton, but - I promise - cooks down A LOT.
  • I used some of the stems.  You can see the little red beauties in the top picture above.  I really hate to waste them and they taste really good if you cook them right.  I cut them on the diagonal and added them to the pot.  It calls for the chard to simmer for 15 minutes in the broth and that is plenty of time for those skinny jem-bright stems to get to just the right barely soft texture.
If you've never tried Swiss Chard, this is a great starter recipe.  Mild chard flavor that lets the other bold flavors shine through.  

So 3 new Pinterest experiments in 3 days and 3 wins!  I'd call that a success!
Another new Pinterest adventure tomorrow…Until then!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pinterest Week Continues...

And the Pinterest fun continues...

Tuesday's Pinterest Feast:
Lemon Rosemary Basil Chcken
from:  Tidy Mom

Sorry about the blurry photos - we were in a hurry to serve up because it smelled so amazing!

The verdict:  Pin It!  
This dish uses chicken tenders in a quick, sweet-tangy, lemony marinade that tenderized the chicken and left the, normally blah tenders with some serious flavor.

Changes that I made:

  • I used 2 Tbsps of olive oil instead of 4
  • I used a bit more lemon juice - cuz my lemons were big and I didn't want to waste the extra couple Tbsps.
  • I used more garlic and rosemary - 4 cloves of garlic instead of 3 and 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary from the garden
  • I rushed the marinating a bit.  I think that it would have been even better if I had given it 45 minutes or so.
For the side, I made up a quick zucchini sauté inspired by my time in Italy:
Sauteed zucchini with mint
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 4-5 large mint leaves, thinly sliced 
  • Olive oil (about 1-2 Tbsp)
1.  Heat oil over medium heat in a non-stick pan.  Add garlic slices and sauté until lightly golden brown and fragrant.  Remove garlic from pan, leaving the flavored oil. Be careful that you do not burn the garlic or you will have to start over with a clean pan because burnt garlic is very bitter.
2.  Add the peppers to the garlic-flavored oil in the pan and sauté until just beginning to soften.
3.  Add zucchini slices to the pan and allow them to lightly brown on one side before turning them over.  Continue to sauté until the zucchini are just past crisp-tender.
4.  Remove to a serving platter.  Sprinkle with coarse salt, and sliced mint.  

If you are really lucky, you have a great friend who brings you finishing oils from New York City and you can drizzle your zucchini with that - and boy was it good!  Thanks Jill!

It's Pinterest Food Week in the Feasts and Fabrics Kitchen!

I avoided joining Pinterest - for about a second - and then gave in and have spent many hours happily perusing and pinning.  But what do you do with all those pins once you pin them???

 Welcome to Pinterest Food Week at 
Feasts and Fabrics! 

Every day this week I will be making a dinner that I found on Pinterest linking you back to the original blog post.  I'll let you know if it was worth pinning and any changes I made to the dish.

Monday night's Pinterest Feast:
White Beans with Spinach and Sausage
From:  It's My Side of Life
The verdict:  Pin it!  Sooo delicious!  This dish went together in a snap and there was hardly any clean up. 

Changes that I made:  
  • I used Andouille sausage in place of the kielbasa called for in the recipe.  (Wegmans was strangely out of kielbasa when we went shopping this week.  Ok.  we were shopping at 8 pm on a Sunday night so maybe not so strange.  Have I mentioned that Hubby and I are both night people?)
  • I used a bit of oil in the bottom of a dutch oven to brown up the sausage slices and then added the chicken broth and garlic.  I didn't add any more oil.  
  • I added a bit more spinach and tomato than the recipe called for.
I made some quick toasted cheese with a hearty multigrain bread and some shredded provolone.  Popped it under the broiler until the cheese just started to look bubbly and a tiny bit browned.  Perfect for dipping in the broth.

Who knew beans could taste so good?!!!  So…I'm calling it a Pinterest success!  

Recent Pinterest fail:  Do not write on your washing machine with dry erase markers - no matter how much you want to remember not to put your giraffe-print shirt in the dryer.  It might take you a couple hours to get the marker off.  Just saying

Pinterest successes?  Failures?  Clue us in to what to pin next!

Monday, November 4, 2013

'Tis the Season to... Sew for Others

I have two new projects for me in mind, but am waiting for a pattern and some fabric to arrive…Tomorrow?

In the meantime, I have been stealing snatches of time to sew for friends.  I made 2 more of the lunch bags like mine for 2 lovely young ladies' birthdays.  One for my DD #2 who turned 23 (!) and one for my walking buddies daughter.

More pretty lunch bags!
I was able to fussy cut one, but there wasn't enough fabric to squeeze out another with the design in the center.  The fabric is so pretty that I don't think anyone will mind.  I used more stiffener in the bottom of these bags to give them more shape.  I didn't tackle the zipper - I know…I promised - but #2 and #3 sure go together in a snap and I was in the mood for a fast, fun project without too much thinking.  DD #2 loved it!

Tonight's project was for a co-worker who just got married.  She has an amazing blog that you should check out if you are at all into food:  Ellen In the Kitchen  

So what to make a fellow foodie?  Embellished kitchen towels, of course!
Have I mentioned how I love my embroidery machine?
Kitchen Towels that walk on the wild side!
The towels are the burgandy and gold of our school's colors and the zebra stripe?  Well…everyone knows that all teachers - especially high school special education teachers have to enjoy living on the wild side just a bit!  :-)

I'm hoping that you have a little bit of a chance to find your wild side this week!