Happy First Day of Fall, Y'all!

Posted by Chelsie on Friday, September 23, 2011.
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Here in Easy Does It Land (also known as Fort Worth, Texas), the heat of the summer has finally broken. This morning, I woke up to temps in the 50s and dew on the ground. Welcome, Autumn!

That's not to say that the highs for the next few days won't creep back into the mid-90s. But we North Texans will take what we can get. Temps in the mid-90s are a far cry than the 110 degree days we dealt with over the summer. Amiright?

Chicken and Black Bean Quesadillas

Posted by Chelsie on Wednesday, September 7, 2011. Filed under: , ,
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It's no secret that here at the Easy Does It homestead, I tend to make easy meals that can be prepared rather quickly using few ingredients. This recipe is no exception - it includes shortcuts such as using Rotel and pre-grated cheese to save time. With that said, if you have a little extra time, feel free to grate your own cheese and dice up some fresh tomatoes, chile peppers, and onions!

Ingredients:
3 chicken breasts
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can Rotel, partially drained
1 8 oz. bag of shredded Mexican cheese
Cooking spray
8 taco-size flour tortillas

Directions:
Cut chicken breasts into chunks, add to pot of cold water and bring to an easy boil for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (If it floats your boat, you can add diced onion or spices to the water to flavor the chicken as it cooks but, honestly, most of the time, I skip it...) Let chicken stand until it's cool enough to work with and then shred with two forks. Mix in the black beans and Rotel.

Heat skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray.

Top a tortilla with a handful of cheese, a big handful of the chicken mixture, then another handful of cheese and finally another tortilla. Place in skillet and cook for roughly one minute or until tortilla is crisp and lightly browned. Gently flip and cook for about a minute on the other side.  Repeat with remaining tortillas, adjusting time and temperature as necessary to achieve desired crispiness. Use a pizza cutter to cut each quesadilla into six triangles.

Serve with sour cream, guacamole, and/or pico de gallo.



Serves four. Makes good leftovers if reheated in oven. Not so much if reheated in the microwave.



Happy Labor Day

Posted by Chelsie on Monday, September 5, 2011. Filed under:
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Hope you all are celebrating the un-official end of summer with a long weekend away or some poolside grilling! Here at Easy Does It headquarters, since we took our traditional Labor Day lake trip last weekend, we're hanging out at the house just taking it easy (pun intended)!



Thai Chicken - The Easy Way

Posted by Chelsie on Thursday, September 1, 2011. Filed under: ,
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The hubby and I love Thai food. But the options in the Fort are kind of limited. Until recently, we visited Junsuree with regularity but it's now been sold and will reopen with a new name and a new concept. Then there's Thai Tina's. But we didn't have the best first visit there and haven't been back. And that's about it. So I decided to experiment with ways to get our Thai fix at home and stumbled upon this easy recipe that does the trick.

Ingredients
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup matchstick carrots
1 pound bag of mixed asian vegetables, thawed
10 - 20 leaves fresh basil, torn
1 can of light coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon of red curry paste (or more)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or more...play with it until you get the flavor you like)
Juice of one lime
Crushed peanuts (optional)
Jasmine rice

Directions
Cook rice according to directions. In medium skillet, heat oil and add chicken. Brown for a few minutes and then add mixed vegetables and carrots. Cook a few minutes more. Meanwhile, combine coconut milk, red curry paste, brown sugar and lime juice. Pour curry sauce over the vegetables and simmer for several minutes for flavors to blend. Add torn basil and simmer a minute more. (If your rice takes 20 minutes to cook, they should finish at about the same time.) Serve over rice.

Ignore the crappy photo quality. I served the dish on dark red plates that kind of disappeared into the background...

Serves four.

Magnetic Chalkboard Project

Posted by Chelsie on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Filed under:
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For some time now, I've wanted a big piece of art to fill a blank wall in my kitchen. I perused art and poster sites at length but never could find the perfect piece in my price range. Then one day, I was struck with the perfect solution: a magnetic chalkboard! I could write my weekly menus on it. We could post the countless wedding, shower and birthday invitations we get. Hubby could leave me reminders about what he needs me to add to the grocery list. It was the perfect idea!

But then I started looking for one. I had no better luck than I did looking for a piece of art. The large ones were cost prohibitive. And even then, I couldn't find one big enough. So I decided to make my own.

I searched Craiglist for a frame and came across this 3'x3' piece for $20:

Before (as seen in Craigslist ad)
I brought it home and got to work!

Materials list:
Frame
Sheet metal
Spray paint
Primer (suitable for each surface you're working with - in my case wood and metal)
Chalkboard paint
Cup hooks
Extremely fine grit sandpaper

Directions:
Remove existing hanging hardware and art from frame and set aside
Prime frame if necessary
Spray paint frame using several light coats to achieve a smooth and dripless finish
Finish with a high gloss lacquer if you want
Spray paint cup hooks at the same time if you want them to match the frame
Allow to dry for 24 - 48 hours

Have sheet metal cut to fit frame
Wet sand sheet metal
Rinse sheet metal and allow to dry
Apply multiple coats of primer to sheet metal until you achieve a uniform finish
Once primer is dry, apply multiple coats of chalkboard paint until you achieve a uniform finish
Allow to dry for 24 - 48 hours

Reassemble, mounting sheet metal in front of original artwork or cardboard backing (sheet metal is kind of thin so putting the original artwork or cardboard backing behind it will help hold it in place a little better)
Reattach hanging hardware
Install cup hooks across bottom of frame to hold keys, etc.
Prime chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk lengthwise across entire board and then erasing
Hang using heavy duty hanging hardware (sheet metal might be thin but it's heavy!)

Tada!

Perfect size for the space!




Closeup



Chicken Spaghetti

Posted by Chelsie on Thursday, August 25, 2011. Filed under: ,
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It seems like every Southern family has a recipe for chicken spaghetti. My own family didn't -- darned Northern parents! -- but luckily my husband's family does. Well, technically, each of his sisters and his mom have a different recipe for chicken spaghetti. So I took what I liked from each of their recipes and left out what I didn't. Here's how we eat it at our house:


Ingredients
3 chicken breasts (boiled and shredded)
1 package dry spaghetti, broken in half
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups grated cheddar (one cup for mixing in, one for topping)
1 can Rotel
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil chicken breasts and shred (reserve water). Boil spaghetti in reserved water for just less than the time indicated on package (pasta will still cook a little in the oven). When spaghetti is done, combine all ingredients in a casserole dish with the exception of the second cup of cheddar. Top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Serves 4-6. Makes good leftovers.



Note: When photographing this dish, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why it looked funny. Then it hit me: I forgot to mix in the Rotel. Duh! So picture some color (not to mention flavor) mixed in there. 

Living Room Inspiration

Posted by Chelsie on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Filed under: ,
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Living Room Inspiration


I bought my living room furniture second-hand right after I graduated college, back when I was living in my previous house. A co-worker at the time had just purchased the set when she and her partner decided to separate. She offered it to me for a very fair price. It was (and still is) beautiful furniture but I wouldn't say it was exactly my style. Nevertheless, it was better than what I had so scooped it up!

When I moved into my current home, I decorated (I use that term loosely) the living room around it. Paint colors, rug choices, etc. But after six years of living in this house -- and maybe eight living with the furniture -- I've decided that it's time for something new.

Something a little like the above set. Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!


She's Crafty

Posted by Chelsie on Thursday, August 18, 2011. Filed under:
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Since I started the new full time job and decided to take a break from the side business, I have a lot more time on my hands. Not that you'd know it by how infrequently I post! I've used the time to catch up on some things around the house, do a couple projects and sleep in. ('Cause this girl has some serious trouble getting up in the morning. Remember the 20x20? How could we forget that annoying little adventure?)


The first project I decided to conquer was organizing all of my necklaces and earrings. I'd had an idea in mind for some time but never could find the time to put it into action. That is until recently. A friend gave me an unpainted frame that she wasn't using and I immediately realized that it was perfect for my jewelry organizer project! So I ran to the hardware store and picked up the necessary supplies.


Materials List
Picture frame
Spray paint
Cardboard or foam core board
Fabric 
Window screen
Cup hooks
Saw tooth hangers
Hot glue gun
Stapler
Small nails


Directions

  1. Prime frame if necessary
  2. Apply several light coats of paint to achieve a smooth, dripless finish
  3. At the same time, paint to cup hooks if you want them to be the same color as your frame
  4. Finish frame with a high gloss lacquer if you wish
  5. Allow to dry for 24 - 48 hours
  6. Meanwhile, cut cardboard to fit your picture frame (leave a couple of millimeters to account for the fabric and screen)
  7. Stretch your fabric tight over the front of the board
  8. Using a hot glue gun, adhere your fabric to the back of the board (you don't want the hot glue to show through on the front)
  9. Then, stretch the screen tight over the front of the board
  10. Staple the screen to board all the way around (on the back and very close to the edges - don't want the staples to show!)
  11. If your frame doesn't already have a hanging mechanism, install saw tooth hangers 
  12. Screw the cup hooks into the front of your frame (I opted to do five along the bottom for shorter necklaces and one at each top corner for longer necklaces)
  13. Insert wrapped board into frame opening and use small nails to secure it
  14. Hang


Voila! Now your jumble of necklaces and earrings is organized and in reach.







Weekend Brunch with Friends

Posted by Chelsie on Monday, August 15, 2011. Filed under: ,
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Over the weekend, a good friend celebrated her birthday with a potluck brunch. We enjoyed a smorgasbord of delicious food and drink including mimosas, Bloody Marys, baked French toast, truffled hashbrown casserole, breakfast pizzas, bagels and lox, and more. I brought an easy to make spinach and mushroom quiche 'cause what's a brunch without quiche, right?

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

Ingredients
1 frozen pie crust
4 eggs
1 cup half and half
4 ounces button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 shallot, diced
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cover edges of pie crust and bake for 7-10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shallots and saute for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and saute a few minutes more. Remove pie crust from oven and cover bottom with half the shredded cheese. Top with spinach, shallots, mushrooms and then the remaining cheese. Beat eggs with salt, pepper, and half and half. Pour eggs over the top of the pie. Bake at 360 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.



The greatest thing about quiche (other than the fact that it's super easy and yummy!) is that you can fill it with basically anything! If you're a carnivore, throw some crumbled crispy bacon in there. Don't do spinach? Try broccoli. You get the idea... Also, feel free to substitute whatever dairy you prefer or have on hand. You can use anything from heavy whipping cream to skim milk!

Serves eight. Makes good leftovers.

I'm Baa-aack

Posted by Chelsie on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Filed under: ,
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And also, I'm a sucker for a sale. Gap and Old Navy -- along with almost every other retail establishment in the US -- hosted some ridiculous Memorial Day sales over the weekend. Gap offered 40% off nearly everything in the store including sale merchandise (which is how I snagged TWO tops for just $2.38 each) and Old Navy offered 50% off clearance merchandise. I feel like a bit of thief because I got a steal on my haul. (Haha, that was funny. Right? No? Sorry.)

Seriously, check out my finds:

Gap - $2.38

Gap - $2.38

Gap - $8.99

Old Navy - $7.74

Old Navy - $3.99

Old Navy - $4.49

Gap - $5.99

Gap - $13.77
For a grand total of $49.73 before tax, I got eight tops (original value $248.78). Pretty awesome, huh?

Born to Run (Myself Ragged)

Posted by Chelsie on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.
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This week has already been a little nuts and it's not about to slow down any time soon! Allow me to fill you in:

On Monday, I had to rush straight to a neighborhood board of directors meeting immediately upon getting home from work. On Tuesday, it was a Home Tour committee meeting that I had to hurry to get to. Tonight, I have dinner with my advisory council (I plan tradeshows and work with a group of industry experts to guide the direction of the event). Same thing Thursday. Friday, my fabulous company is renting out a suite at the Mavs game to celebrate a good first quarter (!!). Saturday, I'm planning to participate in the neighborhood garage sale. And, finally, Sunday the hubby and I are headed to our home town to celebrate his lovely mom's birthday.

Phew! I'm exhausted already! (No, really. I could use a nap.)

Mind Over Matter

Posted by Chelsie
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Peaceful and calm is the opposite of how I feel right now so let's all enjoy some peaceful, calming springtime flowers to start the day.