Painting Awesome: Moroccan Stenciling

21 May

It only took me 8 years to do this. SLIGHT exaggeration… I guess it was more like 3 months. Yeah, it really shouldn’t have taken that long at all. I remember telling my friend I was going to finish in the beginning of April before she came to visit. Ha! *snort* Yeah, that totally didn’t happen. I’m sorry, but stenciling is h-a-a-a-r-d.

Before more people ask:  No, I did not buy a (hard, plastic) stencil. Yes, I do know that said stencils exist. But obviously you don’t know me well enough to know that if I can get it for free then that’s the way I’m gonna go! Yes, I downloaded my paper stencil from the interwebs, and in my further defense, after doing one set of my bookshelves and moving to the other one, I found out my bookshelves are two different sizes! So I couldn’t have used a purchased and/or non paper stencil anyway. Also, I’d just like to point out that it was a royal pain in the ass to have two different sizes of bookshelves. I like to think that since the pattern is so “busy” you can’t tell that they don’t match up in size/height/placement of stencils. DON’T LOOK TO CLOSELY.

So let’s start over. We painted our living room in March… I think. Maybe? I don’t even know. Sometime in 2013 that wasn’t April or May. As I may have mentioned, we’re on a mission to rid our house of “putrid peach”. AKA the color every G-D wall is painted in our house and is unnoticeable when visiting… but drives you bonkers when you live with it. Gah. Anyway. We picked a darker taupe color and I love it. Ok to be fair I’d probably love anything that wasn’t putrid peach, but whatever. I still love it.

You can see the peach on the left by the door. *shutter*

You can see the original peach on the left by the door. *shutter* New color is the color around the door.

better pic of the color

better pic of the new color

Stevie was not a fan of us painting “her” room, since we had to move her crate into the dining room for a couple days. Note the death stare. She doesn’t like change.

I don't like change.

I don’t like change.

As we were painting the living room, we decided to paint the built-in shelves that are in there as well. Because for SOME god.forsaken.reason, whoever painted putrid peach (PP) also chose to put it on the backs of the damn shelves. The shelves that were white on all sides except PP on the back. Yeah. Horrendous, I know. So we painted them white and I had the GENIUS idea to stencil the backs of the shelves, because Pinterest told me to.

stencil time

stencil time

Now here’s where I pat myself on the back (and you should too). I took this damn stencil (ok, I copied it like 6 times, but still) and taped it on each shelf and then traced it with pencil. That’s like 86,000 stencilings. Literally.

Like so

Like so

Not exactly an easy or fun time.

and like so-er

and like so-er

I also did the bottom two shelves (you can see in the pic below), which I didn’t need to do because I was tired of painting the damn shelves actually decided I didn’t want the pattern to go down that far and so I ended up trying to erase the pencil, failing miserably, and painting over the pencil marks again. Oh well. You live, you learn.

paint time

paint time

And then I painted between all those little lines (I should point out that I am nowhere near even a decent painter, so this took lots of time and I took turns painting white and yellow, to hide the mistakes). And then I did it again. And again. And then I usually did another trip around with the white to make sure the lines looked good. It looked good from afar from the first coat, so my husband had the hardest time understanding why I continued to paint for weeks and weeks (“Is it done yet???”) but when you paint like a child, this is just what you have to do. He apparently thought I just loved painstakingly painting little lines while perched precariously on a ladder. (say that 5 times fast)

Here’s the greatest part of this post – I took lots of terrible pictures of the finished product because no matter what time of day it was, the lighting was awful on at least one side of the structure. So use your imagination.

see? one side lit up. no amount of other lighting seemed to help either.

see? one side lit up. no amount of other lighting seemed to help either.

2013-05-08 23.01.24 2013-05-08 23.01.14

no, that's not a finger print. it's probably the ghost of putrid peach.

no, that’s not a finger print. it’s probably the ghost of putrid peach.

Anyway, even though I complain a lot, I love it! And totally would do it all over again. I’ve even contemplated it for the bathroom. Hmm… I think my husband would kill me, though, remembering how long it took me to do these freakin’ shelves.

My living room is now pinterestified.

Totally a word.



Painting Awesome: MAN CAVE

8 Jan

Ok, here we go. I’m not even going to look at the last time I posted. Let’s just do this.

When we first bought our house, I told my husband he could (and should) have a “man cave”. Which then evolved into “man room” because he wasn’t too fond of the term “cave” for god knows why. My reasoning for offering this up to him was twofold: 1 – I basically get total say over decorating the rest of the house, letting him do whatever he wants in there. 2 – I had a place to put my sports memorabilia as well. Wins all around for me!

For many months he would tell people it wasn’t really a man room since it was pretty much just all my stuff in there (not true, but ok, it’s also a quasi office since there’s really nowhere else to put the desk!). But I had a vision. Oh I had a vision! He clearly just couldn’t see that vision. He was totally unconvinced that this (tiny) room would turn into a man room.

Cue painting. I know he thought he was going to get a resounding HELL NO when he told me he wanted to paint the room red, but clearly he didn’t know that I already had this vision for that room (again, I don’t know why he can’t see my vision!). Red is both a Phillies’ color and a Red Sox color, so I was fine with it (also a Sixers’ color and Liverpool color). Anyway, my point is he was totally surprised when I agreed to paint the room red.

Here’s the tricky part… neither of us have ever really painted a room before. He, I’m pretty sure, never had before, and I hadn’t painted a room since I painted my room 4 different colors (one for each wall) in my teens.

Let’s not talk about how long ago that was.

Also, my husband seems to think I know how to do everything. Well, everything he doesn’t know how to do. He gets annoyed at me when I’m like, “I have no idea what tools we need to paint!” He thinks I’m just purposely not telling him. As if that would make my life any easier?? Lol. So we decided to paint the smallest room in our house first.

Since I’m a bargain shopper to the bone, and Home Depot was having a sale on a particular paint, I was like, “It’s paint. It’s on sale. That’s what we’re getting. How bad can it be?” I was warned by at least two people not to get Behr paint. I got Behr paint. I now regret this.

Two coats in, the walls looked like this:

notice the Phillies' and Red Sox fan pulls I bought!

notice the Phillies’ and Red Sox fan pulls I bought!

Terrible, right?? It also didn’t help that my husband and I are… quite particular about things. Note the floor covered in newspaper and every surface taped. So we were clearly going to keep painting until it looked good.

Three coats in…



It took us five, FIVE coats of paint to finish the smallest room ever. I am never (ever ever) painting a room red, OR with Behr paint again.



Ok here are some before and after shots.

Before (obviously):

note the "Putrid Peach" on the walls

note the “Putrid Peach” on the walls


2012-09-29 22.02.51

2012-09-29 22.03.09

2012-09-29 22.03.24

2012-09-29 22.03.34

Holy man room, Batman, am I right?? But I totally love it. I love the idea of being able to display all sports/music-related memorabilia in one room. Oh yeah, and my husband loves it too…

It took less than a week after we finished painting for him to fill it. We did not have all of this stuff beforehand (some, but not all). My husband, who doesn’t like “things”, went a bit cray cray buying things for his man room, lol. I had to put a stop to it at some point so we can still add things to it down the road! Like the “gig” wall on the right – that’s going to be a wall of concert posters we acquire.

2012-09-29 22.02.43

Also, in case you’re wondering, I pushed hard for a futon in that room. Which meant it was my job to find one that fit in that little nook (not exactly easy to do)! I like things that double as sleeping areas, if the need ever arises for visitors. I mean, yes, we have a guest bedroom, but if we have LOTS of visitors, we can pull this out a few feet and put the arms down and it is, indeed, a bed. If anyone’s wondering, I found it online at Target! Don’t worry, I got it on sale at the time. 🙂

These pics were taken a while ago, so my husband now has a few sports-related pillows that I bought and my mom made him for Christmas. My mom made him pinstripe curtains, too! But we don’t have them yet, so they’re not up yet, so no pics of that yet.

Oh, and my husband has since declared it “The Man Cave”, like it was his idea.

Cue eye roll.


Do Household Appliances Die in Threes Like Celebrities?

2 Nov

My handheld blender and my heating pad both died this week – on the same day! I hope I’m not on track for a third dead appliance this week.

Hey! What’s new? Other than the whole hurricane hitting the East Coast thing and all. Because, yeah, I still can’t believe that happened. We made it through relatively unscathed, though the crazy winds were pretty scary and the power flickered a lot. I know plenty of others who were not so lucky, though, so trust me, we are very thankful for the way our house held up.

Also, ha, my father in law is currently visiting. You know, during the hurricane. Fun times for him! I bet he wishes he were at work instead of holed up inside our house for two days watching nothing but the weather channel. Guess you can’t prepare for everything your guests might need – like fresh air and hot water and cooked food!

Although it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Since I am a food hoarder of sorts, we were never in any danger of starving. But my fear was that we’d have to eat cold sandwiches for every meal for a week! So, yeah, I did some prep work and research (research – I hate research! but I did it anyway.). And since I love it when others do research for me, I’ll share my findings with you. Hopefully you won’t ever have to use it, but maybe you will.

FYI: I’m no doomsday prepper, but all the news stations were saying we could be without food or water for a week (which some places are), hence the heavy preparations.

How to prepare for a hurricane (and probably blizzard as well):

– Gather all camping materials – you’ll probably need most of them if you get caught without power. I mean, minus the tent.
– Flashlights – charge if rechargeable batteries
– Candles – strategically place one in every room (including bathrooms) and on landings. Also make sure you have one at arm’s length so you don’t have to stumble for it should the lights go out!
– Matches! I take matches from everywhere we go, so I put a match book next to each candle in the house.
– Ice and ice packs – I turned on our “ice plus” function on our refrigerator and also filled several ice cube trays. I also bought a bag of ice and put all the ice packs (from our coolers) in the freezer. That way if the power went out we’d be able to keep food from perishing for at least a few days (and if you know about my FULL basement freezer, you know this is a major concern of mine!).
– Coolers – we brought 3 coolers in from the garage so we wouldn’t have to run out and try to find them if the power went out and we needed to fill them with food.
– Water, water, everywhere! There were pictures on my facebook of local grocery stores being completely sold out of bottled water. I mean, I guess it’s a good idea, but I refused to do that. I just filled every available reusable water bottle and pitcher we had.
– More water – fill your bathtub (and make sure you take one last shower before you do). You can use the water in it for flushing toilets or cleaning things (including spot cleaning yourself I suppose). Can’t hurt and everywhere recommends this!
– Close all blinds and curtains. Ok so my husband was probably cursing me when I told him about this because I’ve been on a slow mission to rid our house of blinds because the previous owners literally had them in every.single.window. I’d much rather have curtains than blinds. Also, by blinds I mean the white plastic ones, not roman shades or whatever. Anyway, the logic behind this I guess is that if something flies through the window there will at least be some kind of extra barrier between it and you (and probably contains broken glass better).
– Clean up the yard! I wasn’t there when my husband and FIL did this, but I know it was a lot of work. Put away anything that could be picked up by high winds and cause damage or injury. Basically, everything.
– Hang out in a room with no, or minimal, windows. We didn’t exactly do this… but if the power had gone out I totally would have insisted on it (because that’s when it gets real! in my mind…). I didn’t really want the three of us (plus Stevie) hanging out in the dining room all day. It wouldn’t have been very comfortable!
– Put the e-brake on in your car. They were calling for 60+mph winds in our area – which may have been enough to push my car down the driveway! PS – My car is old, which to me means there’s more of a chance of this happening.
– Cook up a storm! (ha, get it, storm) Ok so you don’t have to do this, but I did. I woke up early and decided I was going to cook breakfast (this NEVER happens), since it could be our last hot meal for a while, and then I proceeded to cook cheddar broccoli soup for lunch. As in, enough for an army. I kind of forgot how much the recipe made, so I doubled it to make sure we’d have enough for a few days. However, this used up a few ingredients I had in the freezer, which would have been a score if the power went out! I also busted out my breadmaker and whipped together a loaf of bread. AND THEN I cooked dinner. As in, all before 11am on Monday. Basically, I was so worried the power would go out and I wouldn’t have anything to cook on that I tried to get it all done ahead of time and worry abut reheating and refrigerating later.
– Consider your alternate cooking options – if the power were to go out, I would have reheated all of this in my fondue pot. Yes, fondue pot! No one really thinks of it, but it is another heat source. Also, a grill (but make sure you have propane or charcoal ahead of the storm).
– We are always stocked food and otherwise for about a month ahead of time. My husband complains about this, but hey, we weren’t running out to the store for ANY last minute provisions. The only thing we went out for was propane for the grill. However, if you’re not always stocked, think of the things other than food and water that you’d need if you were stuck in your house for a week: toilet paper, paper towels, medicines, first-aid items, pet food, etc.
– Charge all of your chargeable electronics! They may be your life line. There are people in NYC fighting for power outlets to charge their phones right now in order to get in touch with the outside world.
– Get an old school phone. Remember when I was talking about my old school phone? And how in an emergency it would be key? Yeah, foreshadowing much? If our power went out, our land line would also not have worked because we don’t have a cool see-through neon flashing phone. Or just because our phones are totally electronic and wouldn’t function without electric. Either way.
– Oh yeah, and booze! Booze helps pass the time. And if I hadn’t been with my husband, the worst game player ever (terrible loser AND winner), and FIL whom I believe may have the same traits, board/card games would have been involved.

We did a lot of preparation, but were lucky enough to not have any problems. But I’d still do all of it over again. What’s the harm? We lost like one bathtub full of water. I’m using all the extra ice and pitchers of water, the food got eaten, and nobody got impaled by one of our garden ornaments —> win.

Also, I’m not saying we were spared entirely. If the power went out, there was really not a whole lot we could do to prevent our basement from flooding aside from pray. My firm closed down all of our northeast offices for 2 whole days. I’ve been with the firm for 5 years and we’ve never even had a snow day. Not even during snowmaggeddon. The train lines in and around Philadelphia were shut down entirely for two days. I’m used to a delay or cancellation on individual lines, but in 7 years of living in this area have never seen the whole transit system shut down. There were trees ripped out of the ground, 60+mph winds whipping all around, and for god’s sake the dog had to pee in the middle of it all. The Jersey Shore is no more. At least, not the way it used to be. I have no idea what the future holds for it. Does Long Island still exist? I don’t even know.

Prepper for life (even when there’s not a hurricane)


I Made Something Awesome – A Kitchen Bulletin Board

10 Sep

If you’re friends with me on facebook, you’ll have seen how worried I was that our new fridge was going to be nonmagnetic…. yeah, it is. That only sucks so bad because A – we have a whole lotta magnets and B – we had a thing where we were getting magnets from all the new places we visited (states or cities, not like every landmark). So… yeah. Case in point:

I moved a lot of them onto our dishwasher, but it’s not the same and it’s much smaller and also our sweet little puppy likes to think they’re her toys. On the fridge we kept them up high so she couldn’t get to them. With the dishwasher… not so much.


While I try to magneticize random things in my house, I at least solved half (or 1/4) of the problem – where do we put things like notes, coupons, wedding invitations! Obviously a bulletin board is the answer to that. And guess what – probably about 2 years ago I bought this crappy bulletin board (note that the previous owner was obviously a tween) that I’ve never used and has been sitting in our basement for quite some time. Yes, ok, call me a hoarder. But hey – it worked out! It just took 2 years to find it’s true purpose in life. 🙂


Stevie helped.

So I ripped off the white border and covered it in some lace I had (don’t get mad at me for destroying it, it had some pretty big holes in it already so was ready to be repurposed) using my handy little glue gun. I bought a couple of empty frames this past spring for just such a purpose (or another purpose, but this is now it’s real purpose!), and so all I had to do after the lace was added on was nail these suckers together.

instagram makes everything look better

And now we have a fun new bulletin board in our kitchen. 🙂

ta da!


Call me, maybe?

7 Sep

Did you know that land lines still exist? As in, NON mobile phones? No, really. They do. As the rest of the world is getting cell phones and nixing their land lines, we got a land line this week. Basically, our promotional period with our cable company was ending, and it was actually going to be cheaper if we got a land line and bundled our internet, cable, and phone into one, rather than just internet and cable. This was my husband’s choice, btw.

Before the cable guy came to install it, I was like, “Um, maybe we should get a phone.” As painful as it was to go BUY a new house phone (in my family, I’m used to them just getting passed around. “Oh, your phone stopped working? Here’s one of my extras.”).

So off to Best Buy we went (that gift card still coming in handy Aunt Cheri!).

We walked around looking for a section with (non mobile) phones for a good ten minutes before finally breaking down and asking someone who worked there. I believe my exact words were, “Can you tell me where the land line phones are… if you still even sell them?” They were all the way against a back wall, nowhere we would’ve ever found them. I think they were in the miscellaneous section. Lol.

So now we have a land line… that I still have yet to hear ring (other than when the cable guy tested it)… and I’m sure I’m going to have a heart attack the first time it does. Also, my husband refuses to set up an answering machine message with me. Oh this brings back memories of the olden days! When having your own phone number was… well, like kids having cell phones these days – “necessary” and “cool”. And you recorded your super cool, probably really annoying, answering machine message (and then re-recorded it like 16 times until it was perfect).

I kind of wish we could’ve just gotten the see through phone that lit up neon. Remember this??

I miss you, see through phone.

I guess it’s not really practical when you’re talking about a phone for more than just a teenager’s bedroom. You know, mobility and such. But they do say you should have a cord phone on hand in case of a black out… I wonder if my mom still has my phone…

Anyway. I have a land line. That nobody calls. And house phones still exist (in case you were wondering).


And the opposite of awesome is…

27 Aug

Your refrigerator dying. Yeah… so that happened to us yesterday.

My husband actually noticed on Friday evening that the fridge didn’t seem very cold. He went to a bachelor party that night and wasn’t home again until Sunday and he brought it up again. Clearly I didn’t notice it getting progressively warmer while he was away…

The milk had gone sour, and it was a similar sight in the freezer – ice cubes (aka wine cubes, broth cubes, lime juice cubes… all the things I freeze in ice cube form) were melting! So off to Home Depot we went (we don’t mess around!). When we bought the house in March we had plans to slowly upgrade all of our appliances (none of them match, are of varying ages, and this fridge is straight up old school white), so I mean it’s not REALLY that big of a deal that we had to buy a new one so soon. The only thing I’m worried about is losing the food! Have I mentioned I freeze everything? Have I also mentioned that I asked for and got a basement freezer for my birthday 2 months ago?? Um, yeah, THANK GOD FOR THAT! Our freezer is now only as cold as a refrigerator, and our refrigerator is as cold as… well, nothing really. All that’s left in there are beverages and produce. I moved all the refrigetator items to the freezer half of the non-functioning refrigerator, and all the freezer items are in the basement. And when I say “moved” I mean “frantically threw everything” into the basement freezer.

this WAS only half full before yesterday…

Not to fear – I saved the wine cubes!

refusing to let the wine cubes die

Oh, right, and I put all dairy products into a cooler. We bought it this summer and just noticed yesterday the label says “guaranteed to keep contents cool for up to 5 days!”. Let’s hope so!

(Our new fridge is being delivered tomorrow.)


Meals From the Salvage Yard (aka my fridge) – July

10 Aug

I have been pretty impressed with my “salvaging” abilities recently. What I mean by this is my ability to use up all the half eaten or about-to-go-bad things that are in my refrigerator/freezer/pantry. I think we should all shoot for zero waste! So in addition to composting and giving my guinea pigs the tops to the strawberries, green parts of cauliflower, and carrots that don’t look appetizing anymore, I love opening my refrigerator door and just staring until I find “the one”… or ones to plan my meal around.

Here’s a roundup of things I’ve salvaged this month (and then I’ll tell you what I did with them):

– Frozen stuffed shells (just the shells, not stuffed, I froze the extra from a meal I didn’t need them for)

– Frozen leftover cooked ground beef and onions (I cooked up a bunch of ground beef and froze the extra for a future quick weeknight meal)

– Frozen chopped green peppers (I buy a ton of green peppers at a time and chop them up and freeze them – they’re so easy to just toss into meals!)

– Cream cheese – one that had been opened and you know how air gets to it and it starts to not look so appetizing? Yeah. And another that was nearing its expiration date.

– Half eaten bag of raw spinach (I always seem to have a half eaten bag of spinach in the fridge.)

– Red onion that needed eating

– Strawberries leftover from making this awesomeness for 4th of July

– Feta cheese that needed eating

– Goat cheese that needed eating

– 1/2 an avocado

– Leftover barbecue chicken

– Leftover barbecue sauce

– Smokey gouda cheese that needed eating

As you can probably tell, I’m huge into freezing things. If you look in my refrigerator you would probably assume that we order out a lot, but no! Just look in my freezer…s. That’s right, I have two! I asked for one for my birthday because the one we had was just not cutting it, and I loooove it! It’s funny the different reactions I get when I tell people I got a freezer for my birthday – younger than me tell me that I’m old for asking for a freezer. Same age and older go “that’s so awesome!” or “I’m jealous!” Yeah, you should be. Because it’s AWESOME 🙂

Anyway… here are a couple of meals I created out of my salvage yard:

Strawberry Feta Wraps
– chopped strawberries
– handful of feta cheese
– chopped red onion
– about a cup of spinach
– whole wheat tortillas (pantry staple)

Dressing: Balsamic Honey Vinaigrette (yes, I googled Strawberry Feta Salad to find a suitable dressing!) 1/3 cup balsamic, 1/4 cup honey, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp salt, 3 tbs oil

Strawberry Avocado Salads
– chopped strawberries
– handful of goat cheese
– 1/2 avocado, chopped
– chopped red onion
– spinach for salad base
– chopped cashews (from the pantry)

Dressing: Garlic Dijon Red Wine Vinaigrette (again, I googled strawberry avocado salad for a suitable dressing!) 1/3 cup olive oil, 3 tbs red wine vinegar, 1 tbs dijon (I used brown because that’s what I had) mustard, 1 1/2 tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 clove minced garlic

Salvage Yard Meaty Pasta


– 1 tbs olive oil
– 1/2 cup chopped green peppers
– defrosted precooked ground beef/onion mixture
– jar of pasta sauce
– garlic powder
– Italian seasoning
– defrosted frozen non stuffed, stuffed shells
– cream cheese, softened (I used about 6 oz.)
– shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses
– basil

Preheat the oven to 375. Cook the peppers in a bit of olive oil in a skillet, add in the beef and onion mixture to heat it up. Pour pasta sauce in a sauce pan, add the beef mixture. My secret weapon is garlic powder. It gives sauce a zestiness that I love (I also figured out that’s the main ingredient in the “spaghetti sauce” packets at the store)! So I add a couple tablespoons of that, and some italian seasoning as well. Cook for about 10 minutes or until hot enough. Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese with a handful of mozzarella (and maybe a bit of parm) and about a teaspoon of basil. Stuff the shells with this mixture, lay each shell in a baking dish. When the sauce is done, pour over the shells. Sprinkle mozz and parm on top to your liking (the more the better for me!). Cook on the middle rack for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden (move it up a rack at the end if you like it crispy like I do!). Let stand for 10-15 minutes.

Barbecue Chicken Pizzas

before going in the oven

– whole wheat tortillas
– olive oil
– dried chopped garlic
– leftover barbecue chicken
– 1/4 cup chopped green peppers
– 1/4 cup chopped red onion
– leftover barbecue sauce
– ranch dressing (I always have homemade ranch dressing in my fridge!)
– small hunks of smokey gouda or white american cheese (I had both on hand)
– shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375. I make tortilla pizzas a lot. It doesn’t hurt that they’re my husband’s favorite. No, I’m not kidding. I always start by shaking on some garlic and a tablespoon or so of olive oil onto my tortillas. I spread it around with a spoon until it covers the surface. I think it just gives the “crust” a bit more flavor. Add the chicken, peppers, and onion. Mix barbecue sauce and ranch dressing in a small bowl or cup. I do a 1-3 ratio (1 part barbecue sauce to 3 parts ranch), but that’s because I don’t like spicy things and I love ranch dressing! Take a spoon and drizzle it lightly over the toppings on the pizzas. A little bit goes a long way, taste-wise. Throw the cheese on top to your liking and cook until pizzas are golden and crispy (which usually takes tops 10 minutes).

White Bean Pasta Bake
– 1 box your choice pasta (I used tri color rotini)
– olive oil
– 1/4 cup red onion
– 1/2 to whole chopped green pepper
– 2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I always have a jar in my fridge… and get it from… the dollar store!)
– 2 cups raw spinach
– 1 can cannelini or white beans of your choice, rinsed
– shredded parmesan cheese (I always have a bag of parm, mozz, and cheddar in the freezer – you don’t even need to defrost them to use them on something hot!)
– cream cheese
– panko bread crumbs (pantry staple)

Cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than recommended (because it’s going in the oven). Preheat oven to 375. Heat oil in a skillet – add onions and peppers and cook for a minute or two (a minute longer if the peppers were frozen like mine). Add garlic and spinach, toss until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat, toss in beans and pasta; add a handful of parmesan cheese and the cream cheese (I had a tub with some left in it, I probably used about 4-6 oz.). Toss until everything is mixed, pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle panko bread crumbs and more parmesan cheese on top. Cook for 15 minutes and then 2-3 minutes under the broiler.


Obviously salads and wraps are pretty easy to make with leftovers. I do pizzas a lot, too! And clearly my new favorite thing to do is add cream cheese to pasta. I stared it down in my refrigerator one night until I decided it wouldn’t taste weird in a pasta dish and it was delish!

Also – I made 8 lbs of pulled pork for the party and in addition to eating it on sandwiches, I put it on pizza and actually made it into a shepherd’s pie! Oh, and froze some. We probably still have 4 lbs of pulled pork in our freezer for when we someday can stomach the thought of eating it again.

Got any ideas for other salvage yard meals? I’d love to hear ’em!

– C