Ah, Drapes!

My living and dining room are thanking me now.  I couldn't wait for my hubby to hang the rods, I was too excited.  I pulled our tall ladder out, measured, drilled lots of holes, and positioned my own drapes.  I felt pretty proud of myself.  And ALL in studs.  I think he was more worried about me drilling holes in the walls than my pregnant self up on a tall ladder.  

I love how the drapes give the whole wall softness.  I love that they go floor to ceiling.  

Here is the living room.  I'm not going to show the dining room yet because I can't open the windows for natural light (construction on the house next to us gives us no privacy on that side of the house right now).  

P.S. You can see the black beauty I found on craigslist on the right side of the picture.  Love it, although I need to treat the musty smell inside of it.

So more fabric.  I was realizing how much you can see right to our kitchen windows when you walk in the front door.  I need a really good fabric for that valence.  Here's a couple more I found from Premier Fabrics.  I think whatever I choose for fabric I'll do piping in different color that's also going in the room.

For example, this maybe with the rust orange piping.

And maybe this with a panel of blue on the top or bottom (love some of the 2-tone looks), topped off with the rust orange piping.

And to give you more FOOD.  

This has been my breakfast for the last couple of days, except this morning I had strawberry and whip cream crepes.

Peach yogurt, strawberries, and cinnamon Life cereal.  I love this kind of combo.

And for a really yummy (and versatile) STROGANOFF recipe.  The story with this one comes from my husband.  This is the stroganoff he grew up with from his Grandma.  The family would come together, the grandkids swimming in the pool ALL day long, and the smell of stroganoff ALWAYS simmering on the stove in the kitchen.  It's a smell he remembers her by.  This is serious comfort food - warm, saucy, and filling.  Love it.
From the late Mums (Grandma)

1 ½ lb Beef 
2 Tbsp Shortening
1 can Tomato soup
1 Tbsp Worchester sauce
½ chopped Onion
½ lb Mushrooms
1 Clove garlic
1 cup Sour Cream
6-8 drops Tabasco
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Dredge (sprinkle/coat meat with flour) and brown beef, add onion & mushrooms. Sauté lightly. Add rest
of ingredients. Cover and let simmer slowly for 1 ½ hr. Serve over egg noodles or rice.

Options: You can use ground beef/turkey/whatever or sliced steak (works great if you have leftovers from, let's say, steak fajitas the night before - that's what I did the last time I made it)

**I didn't have mushrooms on hand this time, but I added diced red and yellow pepper and it was really good.  

Curry Chicken...with bananas

So my craftiness has been kind-of non-existent in the sewing and glue gun department.  However, I think I know what colors I want to decorate with!  Does that count?

My time has been filled with trying to make every corner of stuff I do have organized.  I really want to have a place, and know it, before I bring in more...and have a baby.

So here's something for you to drool on.  I'm thinking of blues, browns, and oranges for my great room space, with some pops of yellows.  I'm crushing on this chair from, would you guess, Target?

Isn't that so much fun!  Right now I have some cinnamon tweed curtains to hang, a whopping 108" in length and crushed voile sheers, I hope they end up looking fantastic.  Otherwise, I'll return the tweed ones and find something more blue for the dark outside curtains.  

On another note, I've been looking at fabric for my kitchen drapes.  I want them to be different than the living/dining room, I even have a cute valance flippy style in mind, but these are some fabric ideas.  What do you think?






And my sister JUST sent me a link to the blog 6th Street Design School where Kirsten is highlighting this bedroom.  Great colors!  Although I'm thinking for my living space rather than bedroom.

Okay, okay, okay ON TO THE FOOD.  

I love this recipe.  It is the Curry Chicken I go to every time.  However, this last time I made it, I actually added the optional toppings and it made it heavenly.  Serious party in my mouth.  Even if it's weird, you have to try it.

Indian food in the middle of the week is fantastic.

Curry Chicken
(recipe from cooks.com - although a lot of recipes there might not be tasty...this is an exception)

2 lbs cooked chicken, boneless skinless (I cook the chicken right before, but you could make this ahead of time to.  Spice the chicken to taste.)
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lg onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1 1/4 tsp ginger root, scraped (Optional, but I recommend it - you could also substitute about 1/4 tsp ground ginger, but fresh is always going to taste better.  I usually put more in than this because I love the flavor it gives)
4 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp water
2 cans petite diced tomatoes
6 oz plain yogurt (I've also used a 6 oz plain greek yogurt)
2 1/2 tsp salt, or more/less to taste
1 tsp garam masala (you can find this in most spice isles)
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice

Optional (but highly recommended) toppings: Sliced Banana, Chutney, Sliced fresh Tomatoes, Coconut

Fry onions in oil for about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and fry until onions are soft and translucent.  Reduce heat to low.  Add curry and 1 Tbsp water.  Fry for 4 minutes stirring constantly.  Stir in tomatoes, yogurt, and 1 tsp salt.  Increase heat to medium.  Add chicken and remainder of salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring until all chicken is evenly coated.  Sprinkle with garam masala.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.  Add lemon juice just before serving.  Serve over hot rice with toppings.

*You could use 1/2 to 1 lb fresh tomatoes, I usually just opt for the canned ones because of ease.

When you're tired of PB & J

Trying to come up with a different lunch menu to keep small children interested is often a challenge.  They get tired of eating the same food (at least mine do) just like I do!

This past week, this is what lunch looked like around here.  We were all pretty happy.  Sprinkles would have topped them off if we had them...because what isn't better with sprinkles?  Don't worry, I got some at the store and they are sitting right where they belong, next to the syrup.

Asian Chicken Peanut Lettuce Wraps

Compliments to Abby Thatcher from A Feathered Nest for this one!  Holy cow it's a keeper.  It has perfect zip and incredible flavor, good on lettuce and rice, and good enough to double just for leftovers.

Actually, I wish I had one to eat right now.

I made this for Valentine's Day (it was in my to-make category forever) and it was a perfect hit.  And while you're making it, check out Abby's blog because she's super cute and has a great voice to go with her craftiness.

Here is her recipe:
(If you're feeding more than 4 adults, you might want to double the recipe)

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 large carrot
8 whole mushrooms
3 green onions
1 red bell pepper
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 T. oil
1 -2 tsp. sesame seed oil (no substitutions!)
1 head butter lettuce, leaves washed and separated
cooked rice

For sauce: (I got all of this stuff at Wal-Mart, girls - not hard)
1/2 bottle Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce
1/3 c. Asian Toasted Sesame dressing
3-4 dashes soy sauce
1 tsp. dried ginger (or 1/4 tsp. fresh minced ginger)
1 T. rice vinegar
handful of (shelled) sunflower seeds (optional)

Bring chicken breasts to a boil in water with a pinch of salt; cover. Boil for 10 minutes; remove from water and chop finely into pieces about the size of peas.

Meanwhile, finely dice the onion, mushroom, and bell pepper to the same size as the chicken pieces. (My kids DON'T eat mushrooms and they had NO idea this dish had any mushrooms at all!)

Finely grate the carrot; set aside in a separate bowl.

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add onions, mushrooms, pepper. Cook 2 minutes to soften. Add chicken and minced garlic. Saute for a couple more minutes. Then add all of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until liquid is reduced and there is almost no liquid left in the pan and the chicken is cooked through. Stir in grated carrot and if you like nuts, I sprinkled sunflower seeds in mine and it was SO good!

**Note: If your mixture is missing something or doesn't taste quite right, you can always add one of two things: a little bit of butter helps neutralize foods, or a small pinch of brown sugar helps neutralize some of the sour ingredients in this recipe.

Serve with a plate of lettuce leaves and your cooked rice - or get creative and cook up some Asian noodles. I used green-leaf lettuce and they weren't strong enough - you'd have to double up on those or use a firmer lettuce leaf.
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