Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sitting Pretty

Great news was received from the gal who is ordering our furniture...she will be able to beat prices from almost anyone! In order to get this great deal, I needed to do some homework to provide her with the exact sofa model and fabric model numbers so she could call Flexsteel to check prices on Monday. I found a local store that carries all of the Flexsteel fabrics, and I was in hog-heaven yesterday trying to pick from over 1,000 swatches! Luckily, I knew what I wanted and easily found some fabrics that fit my bill.

Four beautiful colors were selected, and I was allowed to bring them home so I could check them against the wall color and rug. I immediately eliminated one fabric because it felt like burlap...I didn't think it would be very comfortable for any extended period of time! My goals in picking a fabric were 1) a neutral, dark-tan color that warmed up the room, b) with a nice contrast between the walls and rug, c) and soft yet extremely durable fabric that would hold up well for years to come. The selection of "Harvest" provided all of these and more!

The information was emailed to her this morning in hopes that she will be able to price it some time today. Not that I'll a little impatient or anything. I am just so thrilled that it's finally feels amazing to save hard for something and then get to enjoy it forever! Soon we will have a place to park people for as long as we want.

With any luck, we will have two beautiful sofas in our living room within the next five weeks!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Piece Of Pantry Peace

It was a fun evening the other night when John and I convened in the laundry room to discuss the future of our pantry. I know I shouldn't complain too much, especially since several people don't even have a pantry. But mine? The one I do have? It's awful. First of all, they must have let small children assemble the shelves. Old closet shelving was used and doesn't even fit properly. In addition, the closet rod triangles were recylced from another life to make an appearance here, which only robs me of valuable real estate in my microscopic pantry. I always want to do better at keeping a home, and having a properly-stocked pantry is a big part of that.

Soooo....I stepped off a new walk-in pantry for John to see. Our laundry room, which houses the in-wall pantry as of now, is big enough to spare the room for a larger pantry! He agreed that it is something we could have hired out...only one wall would need to be framed and drywalled, then proper shelving installed all the way around.

While I have John on board for a Pantry Makeover, he did bring up a good point. At present time, would I rather have more room for Macaroni and Cheese? Or a place for guests to sit when they come visit our home? He wins for now! Thus, I will patiently wait to get my new pantry until we have all of the necessary furniture to make this place inhabitable! Maybe next year? I bet it would only be about $500 from start to finish, and lots of construction guys are out of business right now. It would quadruple my storage space for food...I get shivers just thinking about it! For now, I will buy couches and wait for a larger, more user-friendly pantry.

To make it livable in the meantime, I used my improving health to re-organize the pantry this morning.

Some of the shelves are sticky, despite me scrubbing them when we moved in. I therefore decided to mask the problem by covering them with the remaining shelf liners I had leftover from the kitchen drawers. I am not an IKEA fan and couldn't be paid enough to purchase real furniture there. They do have handy solutions for storage areas, and I used their shelf liners to make this pantry purty. I actually really like the contrasting gray and tan paint! After the liners were cut and installed, it was time to organize and put things back in place. I left room for more things to come, since my main goal for re-organizing the pantry was to take inventory of what we needed to purchase. I love how everything now has a place and is easily accessible. I had accidentally placed rarely-used items in front and frequently-used items way in back when we first moved in. After cursing such an arrangement for six months, I remedied it today. I feel so much better inside! And so does my pantry!

This will have to work until I get the dream pantry built in a few years. At least I am now cognisant of the fact that I own way too many cans of Chef Boyardee!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Sitting Selection

Those closest to me know I've been a little obsessed about furniture lately. I've tried (and often failed) to not let this obsession take over my life. I must admit, however, that it's pretty dang fun to plan out and decorate a new home. In my defense, I can hardly wait to have places for people to SIT in our house! I don't feel like we can have folks over because there is simply nothing on which to place a fanny, let alone several fannies. The time has come, I daresay, to pick out couches for the living room. At last! These are some of the contenders. Please don't be afraid of some of these colors...we will be picking out a dark tan for two couches in the living room.

Flexsteel - Digby Sofa

This beautiful, wide couch comes with soaring reviews of longevity and look...two things that matter quite a bit to me. I get to pick out my fabric and wood stain, and it only takes about five weeks before being ready for pick-up. This is actually my top pick right now, and it may find a place in our home unless I find something better in the near future. I love how it has no cushions on the back that constantly need adjusting. Babysitting a couch for my sister helped me realize I needed something tight and low-maintenance that will keep my Type-A tendencies in check. This couch does it. I also like that it has three cushions...three people could sit here easily with such a designated space. Other couches the same length that only have two cushions might not be as welcoming for people to enjoy. We all know each other here! Have a seat! The bad news? To convince John this is "The One," it would really be nice to have him sit in it. The only floor model in the entire state is in Prescott! Do we drive up for a sit? It's 2.5 hours one-way!

Crate and Barrel - Hennessy Sofa
Despite being my favorite for over a year now, I can no longer patiently wait for the reviews to improve. People all complain about the cushions sinking after just a few months of light use, and the frame creaking after just a year. Despite Crate and Barrel having stellar customer service, I don't want to mess with major things like poor quality on these purchases! I love everything about the look of this couch, though, and have been in love with it for quite some time. Too bad I care about how long it will last, too!

Nantuckit Furniture - Maggie Sofa

I love this simple, clean-lined sofa all the way from the east coast. In case it wasn't yet obvious, I am going for a contemporary, classic, almost-retro look. I want it to be streamlined and clean-looking without going out of style in two years. This sofa has it all. I get to pick the fabric and wood color for the legs. And over the next week, their couches offer free shipping and no sales tax. Cha-CHING! I really like this couch.

Crate and Barrel - Camden Sofa
After my beloved Hennessy had such bad reviews, I looked around the store for another viable option. I found this one, but I think it is a little too "clean" for my taste. I love how it has no cushions, and not even on the bottom! But I think it's a little too simple for the contemporary look I want. And with no reviews on their website, I'm a little gun shy to jump in on a couch so similar to the Hennessy with atrocious reviews.

Room and Board - Murray Sofa

I love the look of this couch, and the price. It does have cushions on the back, but they look manageable and not hard to maintain for a nice, neat look. It's a great size and is attractive. It looks like it is straight out of the 1950's, which is actually something I like! It's also a few inches wider than the rest of the group, which is appealing. However, I also need to keep scale in mind...maybe that two inches isn't the best decision for our living room.

Feel free to weigh in with your likes, dislikes, and favorites. You are the lucky ones who get to enjoy these couches with us, so you might as well have a say in picking them out!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Avoiding Guilt When Feeling Puny

It's been so long since I've been sick. I had forgotten all of the emotional anguish that accompanies the physical symptoms of not feeling well. It hit really hard yesterday when my husband got home from church. To "make" him dinner, I turned on the oven so he could prepare his healthy dinner of home-cooked...Jalapeno Poppers. That's right. Wife Extraordinaire watched her husband, for the second night in a row, devour a plate of Jalapeno Poppers and Mozzarella Sticks as his main sustenance for the day. Costco really saved me this past weekend. But I felt so badly about it! While John went to three hours of church, I laid in bed, watched a Doris Day movie, napped, and even read a little from my Real Simple magazine to give my body a chance to heal. I didn't want to risk getting anyone sick, but the thought of even getting ready for church made my head spin! The most physically-demanding task I accomplished all day was turning on the oven for my husband's dinner. Of Jalapeno Poppers.

But today, despite still being sick and canceling plans with family to avoid sharing my bug, I decided to do something better for my husband than ruin his digestive track with deep-fried vegetables. After I showered and got into some clean pajamas this morning, I knew a trip to the store was, yet again, out of the question. I also knew that I happen to keep everything on hand for some incredible enchiladas, just in case I need a last-minute wonder dish to feed thousands. My pantry didn't let me down, and I was able to find all the necessary ingredients to put together some enchiladas for my hubby. He's going to be so excited. And hopefully not disappointed that dinner isn't Jalapeno Poppers again.

Pantry Chicken Enchiladas

  • One onion, small diced (or some dehydrated onions, in my case)
  • Two 12.5-ounce cans of Chicken Breast, drained
  • One can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  • One can Sweet Corn, drained
  • One cup Homemade Salsa
  • Two tablespoons Taco Seasoning
  • One 8-ounce block Cream Cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese, about three cups grated
  • One large can Enchilada Sauce
  • One bag Flour Tortillas
  •  For garnish, Shredded Lettuce, diced Roma Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Guacamole, sliced Black Olives
Instructions: If using real onion, saute in a large pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If using dehydrated onions, start with adding the chicken to the pan and warming it up. Add Black Beans and Sweet Corn. Add Homemade Salsa. Mix well. If using dehydrated onions, add them now. Add Taco Seasoning. Stir well again. Add Cream Cheese and stir well to melt and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch pan. Add a small amount of stirred Enchilada Sauce to the bottom of the pan (this reduces sticking later). Tear up and add a layer or Flour Tortillas. Add about half of the Chicken Mixture from the stove. Add another layer of Flour Tortillas. Next add about one-third of the Cheddar Cheese and top with one-half of the Enchilada Sauce. Add the rest of the Chicken Mixture, topping with a little Cheddar Cheese before adding the final layer of Flour Tortillas. Top with remaining Cheddar Cheese. Use the remaining Enchilada Sauce to cover all tortilla to prevent it from drying out during baking. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about thirty minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another fifteen minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and your stomach just can't wait any longer. Remove from the oven and let sit for about five minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with shredded lettuce, fresh diced tomatoes (if you have them), sliced black olives, sour cream, and guacamole. Watch your man cry because dinner is so good. 

However, if I attempted to make anything Mexican for my husband's dinner, it had to be accompanied by my Homemade Salsa. I created a monster when I introduced John to this he can't eat Mexican food at home without it! I am happy to oblige, since it only involves getting a blender and cutting board dirty. I usually use one small, fresh onion for this recipe, but I wasn't about to get out of these pajamas to go to the store to get one. I have my priorities, after all. And since the salsa was made this morning and is now waiting in the fridge, the dehydrated onions will have plenty of time to soak up the flavors and plump up. He won't even know he's eating the fake stuff.

Homemade Salsa

  • One Small Onion, small diced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Two teaspoons Cumin
  • Three tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • One heaping teaspoon chopped Garlic
  • One tablespoon Jalapeno Juice
  • Five to six Jalapeno Slices, small diced
  • One large can Diced Tomatoes (don't drain)
  • One can Rotel (don't drain)
Instructions: In a blender, add the ingredients in the order listed. This ensures that everything combines well. Blend to the desired consistency. I usually use the medium setting with a few bursts of high until it's nice and lumpy. Check again for taste to see if additional spices, salt, or pepper are needed. Then pour into an air-tight container and place in refrigerator for at least six hours. It keeps for a few weeks, but ours never lasts longer than a few nights. It's that good!

That's what we're having for dinner tonight at the Sick Residence. Now if I could actually talk him into running to the store to get me some mint ice cream...I'm sure I would be feeling better in no time! I think he's on to me, though.

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