chal-lenge: noun a calling to account or into question

Follow along as I challenge the tricks, tips, clever craft and decorating ideas and "simple" recipes that we clip, bookmark, and "pin" for trial at a later date.

Are they really worth the effort? Time (and I) will tell!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

...more from the attic

In my last post I mentioned that we had dragged some odds and ends from Tom’s family garage attic. Among the treasures was an adorable chrome and red Formica table but no chairs. We pulled out two formal dining room chairs that were covered with goop and grime. My mother thought she could revitalize the chairs to match the table until we found the appropriate chairs to complete the set. She took the chairs home and scrubbed them up and painted them red so they would match the table. Before we could pick them up, I rescued some chrome chairs from the dumpster at work that I knew would match the table. The result? Two red dining room chairs with no purpose.

Unable to sentence them to the landfill, the red chairs ended up in my basement which is getting extremely crowded with all my treasures. As I walked on my treadmill, I would look at the chairs and wonder what to do with them. They have good lines and are very sturdy. Hmm, being in the Adirondack frame of mind, birch bark came to mind. My thought was to do a faux birch bark finish and pull the chairs up to the table in our new camp. I had an idea but not the experience to pull it off. I looked through some faux painting books from the library but there were no birch bark examples for me to follow. What to do? I called my mom who has been painting furniture for years. Even though she hasn’t done anything lately, I was confident she could help with my project.

I was fortunate enough to have my mother come and spend the week-end with me. I’m happy to say she was eager to help me with my project. It took a little bit of explaining to convey my thoughts to her, but once she got it, we were off and running. We started in the morning with two coats of white ceiling paint as a primer. By the time we got home later in the afternoon, we were eager to start the. faux painting part of the project and turn the chairs into birch trees. We worked together pretty well, me trying to explain my vision and her trying to teach me the technical aspects of the job. I worked on one chair and Mom on the other. Our styles are a little different but in the end, the chairs look pretty similar.

I’m not sure if the chairs are quite done yet, they may need a little detail here and there but I’m pretty pleased with them so far. Another victory for old furniture! The chairs are truly unique and will certainly add a little whimsy to our d├ęcor. I haven’t worked on a project with my mother for quite a while now and I have to say, it was a real pleasure. Thanks, Mom!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kale Chips

Kale seems to be one of the must have vegetables lately. Every time I get a food magazine, kale is a featured ingredient. And no wonder. It is a super nutritious vegetable and an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. I also learned that it is a part of the cabbage family. I decided to give kale a try. My first recipe was a butternut squash and kale risotto. What I discovered is that kale has a very strong, overpowering flavor and I decided it was not for me. But, hey, at least I tried.

Recipes for kale chips seem to be popping up everywhere. All the reviews are just stellar. Everyone seems to just love them and they sound easy to prepare. All summer I kept telling myself I would give them a try but when I stopped at the farm stand each day on my way home from work, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the kale. The flavor of the previous recipe would come to mind and I would shudder. Just when I had finally convinced myself to try again, the stand was closed for the season. I was saved!

Still, the thought of those kale chips was haunting me. I spotted kale in the grocery store this week-end, took a big breath and threw a bunch in my cart. Once
home, I cut out the stem, broke the leaves into two-inch pieces tossed it in olive oil and put it all into the oven to crisp up. Wow! I was more than pleasantly surprised. The little crisps just seemed to melt in my mouth. With a little salt and garlic powder, they were very tasty. I ate up a good handful and put the rest in a plastic bag for another time.

And now here I am thinking about a little snack. What will it be, kale chips or Tostidos? Hmmm, I wonder.