Thursday, June 19, 2014

Burrito Bake

If you are the crafty type like I am, likely by now you have discovered the people in your house expect to eat meals far more often than you have the desire to make those meal.  Because crafty people do not have time to cook, I'll share some of my quick and easy, sure to please, meals.

Here's how the Burrito Bake goes.
You'll need a package of tortillas, a can of re-fried beans, a pound of ground beef, taco season envelope, 8 ounces of Mexican Style shredded cheese.

  • Cook a pound of ground beef as if for tacos with the taco seasoning. Soak off or drain off any fat.  (TIP- I buy the BIG family package of ground beef, pre-cook, and freeze in one pound amounts.  Cuts down on prep-time.)
  • Open a can of re-fried beans.
  • Line a rather large glass pie dish with three or four 12" tortillas.
  • Scoop out half of the re-fried beans and evenly "paste" the tortillas in the bottom of the dish.
  • Take half of the cooked, taco-seasoned, ground beef and spread it over the beans  (Beans HAVE to go first because it's nearly impossible to spread bean paste over ground beef.  Trust me on that one.)
  • Next sprinkle 4 ounce (or half the package) of shredded Mexican type cheese.
  • Layer 3 or 4 (or 2 if the teenage has walked through the kitchen) tortillas on top of the cheese.
  • Squish it all down a little bit with the back of a spatula (or your hand if no one's looking) so that the next layers will fit in the pie dish.
  • Start the layers all over again.
  • Rest of the re-fried beans,
  • Rest of the cooked, taco-seasoned, ground beef,
  • & Rest of cheese.
  • Top with remaining tortillas (hopefully the teenager left some behind)
  • Wrap the ENTIRE thing with foil as if wrapping a gift.  This part is important or else you'll end up with tortilla chips which I guess if fine, if that's what you want.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for an hour.  Let cool about 10 minutes to solidify a bit before slicing into it like a pie. 
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some salsa.

This is one of those food recipes where the left overs are actually better than fresh out of the oven.  I don't know why.  It's kinda like chili, it's better after the flavors have all had a chance to merge to perfect yumminess.

This recipe was found in a Kraft Magazine but did not include the foil part.  We had tortilla chips that evening so don't skimp on the foil.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Good thing I Still Got My Marbles!

This is a tote picked up at my local Salvation Army.  
I think I paid $1.50 for it because it was half off.  It’s kind of a cute little tote but not quite my style.  I knew with the coat of paint, it would be perfect to contain an in-progress project.

The first thing I did was sand it.  It would be a shame to get it perfectly painted only to have a raised impression of tulips show up.

I was not overly concerned with getting every last bit of pastel paint removed. I simply needed to smooth out the surface. 

Next came the paint. I’ve become a bit of a Home Depot oops paint junkie.  I picked up these three sample size containers of flat wall paint for $.50 apiece.

Here’s the tote after the first coat of paint. Not the greatest photo but the tulips are gone and the paint is smooth.  This is an unfinished area of my basement and the lighting is not great for picture taking.

I love the look of fabric lined totes and baskets and knew I was going to line this tote. I found this paisley fabric in my stash. I’m not sure how long I’ve had this piece of fabric but it turns out it was a perfect match to the paint and it is not tulips. 

The first thing I did to the fabric was rip the salvage edges off and rip the cut edges to ensure the fabric was straight.

Then I ripped a strip from the length of the fabric for the longest side of my tote.  Then I ripped this in half to create two pieces.

I did the same for the shortest side of the tote.

Next, I ripped the piece for the bottom.  So far no measuring, no marking, and no cutting, just good crafting.

I stuffed the lining base piece into the bottom of the tote and poked a pin through each corner.
Once I took it back out it was easy to mark my corners.

Now it was time to sew.
I folded the pieces in half to find the middle and placed a pin.

Then I matched my middles and sewed only between my markings of the seam along the bottom of the tote.  I repeated this process for each bottom side of the tote.

Now it was time to deal with the sides. Still having no desire to measure, I simply tucked the soon-to-be fabric lining into the tote. When it’s finished the pretty side will show but for now I need to be able to pin where I’m going to need to sew. This is actually a trick I learned from making slipcovers.

I struggled for a few minutes trying to pin where I needed to sew because every time I would pull something snug, the fabric would come away from the bottom of the tote. This is where the marbles come in to the crafting process.  It’s a good thing I never gave away my marbles.

I dumped the full jar of marbles into the tote and voilĂ , no more issues with the fabric not staying in place.

Never give away your marbles.

With the marbles holding everything in place, I could concentrate on pinning. I did the sewing in two steps. First I sewed the four seams on the inside. Then I checked to make sure it fit before sewing the rest of the same which was on the outside of the tote.

Here was the tricky part. Again due to the shape of my tote I had to carefully think through how I would need to sew the side seams at the top.

There is a perpendicular cut in the seam allowance where the seam will sit on the top edge of the crate. To form the seam at the corner for the outside lip, I had to follow the contour of the tote. But I needed to allow for the hem as well which is why my stitching looks as if I may have had a couple of glasses of wine after dinner.

Next, I cut the extra fabric off the sides of my liner.

Then I notched and trim some more to ensure a smooth look for the top edge.

Then it was just a matter of opening up my seam allowance, folding it over matching my seam.

I tucked a pin in all four corners and sewed my hem.

And that was it.

No more tulips and one of my current knitting projects has a bin of its very own.