Wednesday, March 9, 2011

RECIPE: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (RAGU COPYCAT)

Remember a few weeks back when I posted about the Braised Beef & Tortellini (Olive Garden's Copycat recipe) I found. If you don't remember, check it out HERE.
Well ever since I have been on the hunt for recipes of stuff we LOVE that I can make homemade. Well spaghetti sauce is something I use all the time. I have several recipes that call for it, as well as I use it as pizza sauce in a bind. Our family has always been more fond of Ragu then any other.
So I went on a little Google search and found this recipe
I did tweak it a bit, but I have to say, my family couldn't even tell the difference. It tasted so much like Ragu, it wasn't until after we were done eating that I let them know I made it homemade. (they were definitely surprised!)
Now this gives me such a warm & cozy feeling inside, knowing full well, each & every ingredient that we are eating. And with all the stuff they put in things these days, I will definitely be looking for more homemade alternatives in the future. I will try and keep you guys updated on all the WONDERFUL recipes I find.


Sorry I forgot to take a photo of it,
so I used this one from Flickr. :)

So without further ado, the recipe (which I tweaked a bit):

COPYCAT RAGU TOMATO SAUCE

29 oz can of tomato sauce

14.5 oz can of Canned Italian Diced Tomatoes

4 oz can of sliced mushrooms

5 teas of granulated sugar

1 Tbls of olive oil

1 Tbls. each of grated Parmesan & Romano cheese.

1 teas of dried basil

1/2 teas of dried parsley

3 medium garlic cloves chopped fine
1/8 teas of black pepper

1 bay leaf



In a sauce pan combine all ingredients & simmer for 20 minutes. *Simmer on a very very low flame otherwise you will scorch your pot. Simmer uncovered or partially uncovered to help it reach the desired thickness. When stirring, do not use a aluminum spoon, use a wooden spoon.

Optional:

Add just short of a 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (I did!)
1/2 pound browned hamburger/turkey burger
(I made a half of batch with meat & half without as my kiddos don't like meat in the sauce)


Enjoy!!!





Makes 3 cups of sauce

















Tuesday, March 8, 2011

RECIPE: Thai Noodles

The past few weeks, well really since the beginning of the year, I have been on the hunt for some really GOOD family meal ideas/recipes. Stuff that I can make that is more of a "homemade" version of stuff we love. I have been saving them in a folder and the past few weeks have been able to try a few out. This one we tried last night as a family and it was a home run!!!!!
Now, you have to remember, that my husband, is VERY HARD to impress. He doesn't usually like to try new recipes.
And my oldest, is SUPER PICKY!!!!
So when I say I hit a home run, that is a H~U~G~E accomplishment for me!!!! :)
They all seriously, couldn't get enough!

I came across this recipe from over at Noodlehead.
Go check her out HERE!
It is a great blog and she has a ton of cool ideas, and GREAT tutorials.

So here is where I got the RECIPE!

What I LOVED about it is that most of these items I already had on hand or are things that I buy all the time. This is HUGE for me as I hate recipes I have to buy "special" ingredients for.
The only thing I changed is I added some steamed broccoli to the mix, as 3 out of the 4 of us LOVE brocolli (my oldest again is the one that doesn't).
And I didn't use as much of the red pepper flakes. My hubby is the only one in the family that like spicey.

I HIGHLY reccommend you try it tonight & let me know what you think!

Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

More THRIFTY St. Patrick's Day Art

I came across this UBER CUTE FREE printable today.

I have been looking for one more piece of St Patty's Day Art to display with my St. Patrick's Day decor.
This one totally fit the bill. It was new & unique and I just LOVE the fact it was so colorful!

Go over to "Funky Polkdadot Giraffe's" blog and get one for yourself HERE!

While your over there make sure you check out her blog! She has some great inspiration and ideas!

So this is what I did with it after I printed it out & framed it!
Don't you just LOVE it?!?!

See that sparkly little clover and feathers? It came from these....

which I picked up at the Dollar Tree. I will use the other one on another project I am working on.
Gotta LOVE the Dollar Tree!

Here is my "Seasonal Table" display for St Patty's Day.
I think it is finished now. Not bad for not having any St Patty's day decor when I started. The little green bird, green eggs, and blue & green candle holder are all from other areas in my house which I "shopped" for this display.

Enjoy!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

ORGANIZATION: Gift Wrap Station Weekly Challenge #4

Here is the 4th Weekly Challenge: Gift Wrap Station

I love this rolling cart as I can roll it where ever I want to wrap presents. This is especially helpful at Christmastime as I have a ton of presents to wrap and I like to sit in the Living Room and watch TV or a movie while I wrap.

Each drawer holds my different items: Ribbons & Bows, Gift Bags (general) and Gift Bags (Christmas).

I also have this Rubbermaid Gift wrap holder that holds all my rolled wrapping paper.
Another view.

These pants/slacks hangers are great for ribbon.

 
This ribbon box holds my extra tape, Gift Card boxes and misc.
The drawer holds my tags, pens/markers & scissors.
This is my Ribbon's & Bows drawer (I store the extra's in here).

This is my Christmas Gift Bags drawer.


This is my (All Other) Gift Bags drawer.

Then I have a bag full of gift boxes. I recycle them from year to year. And sometimes buy new ones the day after Christmas when they are super cheap. :) 

So there ya have it!
Enjoy!!!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rubbermaid Redo~Sweater Box

I got this Rubbermaid sweater box from the Salvation Army a few weeks back for 50 cents. You all know I am a sucker for anything related to organization. And Rubbermaid totes of any size I hoard like no tomorrow! :)
Well at 50 cents, who can go wrong. I didn't have a spot for it that day I brought it home. But I figured it out now.
I am someone who eats like 5 meals a day. I eat small portion snacks and then 3 regular meals. And with my new work schedule I don't get a "real" lunch until around 2pm. So snacks are vital for me to get through my work day. Especially since I eat my breakfast around 7:15am.

Well this is what my sweater box looked like when I bought it. As you can see it is quite old. The country blue top definitely speaks 80's. But again, at 50 cents, it was still a steal!!!!

(Sorry I forgot a before shot so I just flipped the lid over so you could see it's original country blue color)

Here she is AFTER a coat of Hot Pink Spray paint. Instant prettiness! :)

And since it will be housing snacks at work I lined the inside with pretty scrapbook paper cut to fit.

Here's another side view.

And the other side.

In case you were wondering where I got the pretty scrapbook paper here she is. It is a pack by Colorbok.
It comes with 8 12x12 sheets of coordinating paper. I got it at Target for only 99 cents.
I am actually working on another little project with this VERY SAME paper.
So stay tuned!!!

Enjoy!!!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Banner!!!!

Hey, what do you all think of the new look of Sustainably Chic Designs??? I was sick of the boring old header I used to have and decided to create a new look in the hope that spring is coming soon & I wanted a fresh new look!!!
It's not Perfect, but will do for now. 

I hope to update it every now & then. Throughout the seasons and such.

If you are wondering how I did it, check out this post HERE from over at "The Blog Guidebook".

I made it over at Picnik.
In case you have never heard of Picnik, it is this FABULOUS Photo editing site. It helps real people have photo editing superpowers. It's fast, easy and offers tons of powerful tools, artistic effects, stickers, frames, touch-ups, scrap booking tools & more! And that's all for FREE!
You definitely need to go check it out today!!!!

Enjoy!!!



Monday, February 21, 2011

St Patricks Day Decor...Dollar Tree Style!

Here are some thrifty ideas for St Patrick's day decor. Do you remember my "LOVE" sign I made for Valentines Day?
Check it out HERE!
That same day I picked up this "WISH" wooden sign as well.
I decided I would use it for my St Patrick's day display.

I spray painted it green.


Then sprayed it with Spray Adhesive.
And sprinkled it VERY GENEROUSLY with Green glitter!
What do you think?
*I think it would have looked good in GOLD glitter too!


Here is my other quick & easy Dollar Tree decor piece.
I started out with this Dollar Tree frame.
I love that I can beautify these frames with just a little bit of spray paint. Do you remember my Valentines day ones HERE?
I painted it Apple Green with my trusty Rustoleum Spray paint.
I printed out this super CUTE & FREE St Patrick's Day Subway art from over at "Today's Fabulous Finds". Check it out HERE! She has 11 other color combos on this for every decorating style!



Here she is framed! I LOVE it!


Here they are all together! Cheap St Patty's Day decor.
The apothecary jar is made with a Dollar Tree glass vase and a candle holder from the thrift store. See how to create your own Apothecary jars HERE.

Enjoy!!!

I am linking up to these FABULOUS Parties:

Making

Tidy Mom

Friday, February 18, 2011

RECIPE: Braised Beef & Tortellini (Olive Garden Copy Cat)

I have had a CRAVING.
A craving for Olive Garden's "Braised Beef & Tortellini".
Photo Credit: Olive Garden

Well unfortunately, the closest Olive Garden is about 30 minutes away. Which isn't that far, but I don't want to drive all that way, besides, we are on a budget! :)

So I decided I would try and search for a recipe. I googled it and guess what I found?!?!
I found THIS recipe for a COPY CAT version of it.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 -2 lb boneless beef short rib (or similar tough cut of beef)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tomato, diced

6 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

8 ounces Marsala wine

1/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 -2 lb asiago-filled tortellini, boiled
 
Directions:

Total Time: 3 hrs

1. Heat oil on high heat in a large nonstick pan.

2. Toss short ribs in flour, add to pan, and sear on all sides.

3. Reduce heat to low and add garlic; cook and stir for about 1 min.

4. Add tomato, mushrooms, Marsala wine, and Italian seasoning one at a time, allowing about 1-2 min between each for liquid to evaporate.

5. Cover pan and braise for 3 hr or until very tender, checking and stirring every 30 min to make sure liquid has not evaporated away (add more Marsala if liquid evaporates).

6. Increase heat to medium high and heat thoroughly.

7. Serve over tortellini.


So I thought, why not, let's give it a try. It looked fairly easy.
Well not only did I surprise myself, I surprised my hubby!
We both LOVED it!!!!
I recommend you give it a try as well!!!
I can't wait to see what other "Copy cat" recipes I can find!! :)

Enjoy!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

St Patty's Day Wreath Revamped!!!


Now that Valentine's Day is over, I am swapping out my Valentines Day decor for St Patty's day. I pulled out my wreath from last year and thought, it needs a little something more!

Do you all remember my St Patty's Day DIY wreath
I made last year???
Check it out HERE!
Here's a photo to refresh your memory! :)

WELL, I just happened to be walking through the St Patty's day section in my local Dollar Tree and came across this!
I thought, it was the perfect accessory to add to my DIY wreath!
So I tied it on, and
WHOLA!!!

Instant update!!!

I LOVE the updated look!

I will be doing some more St Patrick's day decorating this week. Will post details soon!

Enjoy!!!

I am linking up to these FABULOUS Parties:

Making