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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Outdoor Chair Cushions- RE DO in 1 hour!

Our patio furniture has lasted us about 9 years so far and still looks great....except for the chair cushions of course.  I usually buy them on sale at the end of the season every other year, but this year we can't wait.  They looked that bad!  This time I wanted to save the landfill from my ripped cushions and try to recover them.  I LOVE THEM!!!  Here is what I did:


I bought 8 yds. of Outdoor Fabric from the clearance section at Hancock Fabrics.  (it was 56" wide)
It was $6 yd. and I had a 10% off coupon making my purchase around $44.00

My cushions were standard sized at 42" x 22"

I cut the fabric at 47" leaving me a rectangle 56" x 47".  (You may need to trim off the sides or take it in depending on your cushion size.)  Next, I folded it over and sewed the top and side seams, right sides together with my surger, but you could use a conventional machine.  Basically this left me with an inside out pillowcase.  Flip it right side out and put in the cushion. 
Then, I used my surger and closed off the bottom of the cushion.  If you have a regular sewing machine you may want to slip stitch it closed.  That is it! 


You could sew it more fitted if you want or add the seperation lines in the middle of the top cushion, but I was pleased with them and was happy to be done in just a few minutes per pillow. I made 6 in less than 1 hour!

The babies were happy too!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Italian Sausage Casserole - freezer meal

Here is a super simple recipe for Italian Sausage Casserole.  I doubled it (so half it if you want just one). It is perfect to have one tonight and throw the other into the freezer for later.  Ciao!

2 Pks. Italian Sausage
1 onion
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 zucchini
2 boxes Penne or Bowtie pasta
2 jars spaghetti sauce
1 cup. mozzarella cheese

Saute the sausage (I split the sausages and squeeze them out of the casing).  Add the diced onion, zucchini and garlic, cook for 5 minutes.  Boil noodles and drain.  In a large mixing bowl or pot mix all the ingredients together.  Spoon half into a casserole dish and top with cheese.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. 

Put the remaining into freezer safe bags and store in the freezer until next time.  Thaw and bake the same way. 

Serve with salad and garlic bread or if you want to try focaccia bread try this recipe:

Friday, June 8, 2012

mini chocolate croissants: freezer recipe

I have been enjoying the benefits of preparing great food in advance and storing it in the freezer.  It is called 'freezer cooking' and has been saving me valuable time and money, as well as being able to pull amazing things out and in a flash wowing my guests.  Recently, I tried a chocolate croissant recipe that was well worth the effort.  My kids called them an awesome dessert, but I just had to have a few with my morning coffee, making them breakfast!  This recipe makes 64 mini rolls, but only about 50 made it to the freezer.  This is one of those recipes that I don't mind the kids polishing off quickly so I can try it again ;)

Mini Chocolate Croissants
2 TBSP. Yeast
1.5 cups milk
3/4 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
7 cups flour
1/2 bag chocolate chips

Melt the butter in the milk in a saucepan.  When it is warm, not hot, pour it into the yeast and sugar.  Let set for 5 minutes.  Add eggs, mixing well.  Add salt and then the flour 2 cups at a time until well blended. (I use a Kitchen Aide mixer)   Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
Roll out one portion of the dough into a circle about 12" in diameter.

Here is where little hands can help (but be sure you have extra chips or you will run short).  Cut the circle of dough into  16 pieces like a pizza.  Add chocolate chips to each triangle and roll them up from the outside in, placing each crescent roll on a greased cookie sheet.  (Because these are mini sized I used 3 cookie sheets total.)

Set the cookie sheets in a warm place and let rise 2-5 hours or until doubled in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Place on a cooling rack to cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.  After flash freezing them, I do it on the cooling rack, then put into a gallon sized plastic bag for storage in the freezer.  Take out of the freezer and let them defrost for 15 minutes before serving, or if you want you can heat them up for a few seconds in the microwave and serve warm.  I grabbed 3 on the way out the door this morning and ate them in the car with my latte...HEAVEN!!!!!