Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Freeze Leftover Wine

I'm not sure where I learned this little tidbit for saving leftover wine – truth be told I think it was Martha Stewart via a Maxine cartoon – but it comes in really handy for cooking.

I know, I know: who has leftover wine??? (that was Maxine's contribution)

Well, sometimes I do and it goes right into the ice cube tray for future use. I believe all recipes taste better with wine – some of it even makes it into the food – so when I make spaghetti sauce, chili, or whatever else I think a splash of wine might augment, I just have to open up my freezer and pop a couple "wine cubes" into the recipe and off we go.

*Photo by Sarah B. Danks*

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bookshelf Organization Inspired by Pinterest

Hi, my name is Sarah and I'm obsessed with Pinterest. (<chorus> Hi, Sarah!)

I've seen some super-cool ideas on Pinterest and I want to replicate them in my own home (a cool corner hutch unit, picture frame collage ideas and framing a bathroom mirror, to name just a few), but I have to say I'd already done the bookshelf organization thing.

That's right. BEFORE Pinterest. Well, before I knew what Pinterest was, anyway.

Okay, I'll admit that SINCE seeing some neat organizational ideas for bookshelves on Pinterest I might've rearranged some things. Just a bit.

And I realize this "bookshelf" holds less books than it does paraphernalia – most notably my collection of antique cameras. But still.

*Photos by Sarah B. Danks*

DIY Coffee Table Books

Everyone who's anyone likes looking at coffee table books, but they're expensive and it looks silly to have just one...

Fortunately, in this day and age it's easy to create your own coffee table book, and it doesn't have to break the bank. Online services like Blurb, Shutterfly and MyPublisher make the process simple and they often have very good deals on photo books.

In fact, the longest part of the whole process is choosing which photos you want to display and organizing them in the layout. Creating your own coffee table books is a great way to highlight family events, pets, even weddings (I made my own wedding book for a fraction of the price the photographer wanted, and everyone who's seen it loves it). They also make great family gifts (I've started making a photo book of my nieces for my sister and mother each year for Christmas).

There's only one problem: once you've made one coffee table book, you're hooked. Before long, you might find yourself with a plethora of them :)

*Photo by Sarah B. Danks*

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cover Up That Old Couch

I'm not a sewer. Sure, Mom made me take Home Ec in junior high, but I hated the sewing portion the whole time. So when I say I "recovered my old couch," I mean I did it in a very, VERY simple fashion.

This couch is over 30 years old – my parents bought it new in 1976 – and while the upholstery has definitely gone out of style, the sofa itself is well-built, sturdy and still as comfy as ever. Plus, it's a hide-a-bed, so that's a bonus for us (we only have 1 guest bedroom; this gives us some more sleeping room if needed).

The Husband wasn't at all a fan of keeping it, and even less so when I came back with a quote to reupholster it: $500.00. While on the one hand I was weighing what it'd cost to replace the quality of the couch, I wasn't thinking of an even simpler solution: re-covering it.

And by "recover the softa," I mean literally, buying a slip cover and putting it on. How easy is that?

This isn't rocket science, and it's not "custom," per se...but it is a cheap and easy fix. Instead of learning how to sew, or paying someone a lot of money to do it for me, I spent $130.00 and got a great-looking, well-fitted slip cover that I can take off and wash whenever I want to.


*Photos by Sarah B. Danks*

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Easy Cowboy Caviar Recipe

For every recipe that requires time, effort and a bunch of cooking paraphernalia you might not own, there's the "do-it-yourself" easy version that tastes great and makes it seem as if you spent hours slaving away in the kitchen.

While I've tried many different cowboy caviar recipes, this is my all-time favorite, and very simple to make.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans
  • I can (15 oz) black-eyed peas
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of corn (can also use frozen)
  • 1 small onion (can substitute green onions)
  • ½ green pepper
  • ½ cup chopped jalapenos (I use the pickled kind)
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro
  • garlic salt
  • Zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 lime
To Make:
  • Drain beans, peas & tomatoes
  • Chop onion, green pepper, jalapenos & cilantro
  • Add to bowl, toss
  • Use garlic salt to taste
  • Add ¼ to ½ cup of Italian dressing & fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Toss to coat and let it marinate in the fridge for ~1 hour before serving.

VoilĂ ! Delicious cowboy caviar that'll have your guests asking for the recipe :)

*Photo by Sarah B. Danks*