Warm That Winter Chill

I haven’t posted a recipe lately, and with all the recent rain and cold weather, I thought a warming weeknight chili would be a perfect addition.  This is a recipe I found in Cooking Light Magazine a few years back and one that I make at least once a month during the colder months.  It is quick, easy and incredibly flavorful considering it only takes 20 minutes to make!  Best of all, it is made with pantry staples and readily available fresh ingredients.  Don’t forget to bake some cornbread and serve with honey butter.  Yum!

Here’s what you need:

cooking light twenty minute chili recipe

  • 1  tablespoon canola oil
  • 1  cup  chopped onion
  • 3/4  cup  chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2  pound  ground turkey breast
  • 1  tablespoon  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1  (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes with jalapeño peppers and spices, undrained
  • 1  (5.5-ounce) can tomato juice

Here’s what you do:

Heat oil in a large dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and turkey, and cook 3 minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Stir in chili powder and the next 8 ingredients (chili powder through tomato juice); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with just-from-the-oven cornbread with honey butter.  Serves 4. Double the recipe and bring it to your next lunchtime potluck!

cooking light twenty minute chili recipe

The original recipe can be found here and includes the addition of cheese and rice.

Money Saving Tips: Purchase ground turkey on sale – I usually try to buy in bulk when it is $1.99/lb or less, then split into 1/2 lb portions and freeze for later use.  Whenever I’m at BigLots, I’ll pick up a can of Rotel tomatoes so I have it on hand for this recipe; V-8 is also inexpensive at BigLots.  And as always, best prices on spices are found at your discount stores – BigLots, Dollar Tree and 99 cent stores.

A Fine Liner

One of the most important tenets of shopping at thrift stores is keeping an open mind.  I always try to look at found objects as having a certain amount of craft potential – whether or not I realize immediately what that potential is, is a different story!  Most times, I get my findings home and they sit for a while until inspiration strikes me.

Such is the case with this yellow floral retro shelving paper I picked up on a recent trip.  I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use it for, but loved the vintage look of it, and at $1.99 a roll, I figured I’d eventually make something out of it!

jute twine cardstock photo bunting party decoration

Well, along came a baby shower for a friend of mine that needs some decor help.  The cheery yellow floral of the shelving paper makes it’s craft project debut as a decorative facing for clothespins, used to secure cardstock-mounted baby pictures of the couple to a twine strand.

It is a modern co-ed shower, so I wanted to stay away from pastels and give it more of a fresh and bright feel.  The couple is having a girl, and while pinks aren’t always desirable, I found a contemporary fabric at Joann’s that incorporates pinks, greens, oranges, yellows and browns and used it as inspiration for a color scheme (be sure to watch for a future post on a fabric bunting made with the inspiration fabric). I chose cardstock based on the inspiration fabric and added charming little clip-art tracings (that I got for free from Microsoft Word!), drawn with a white gel pen on natural butcher paper for some added whimsy.

twine cardstock photo strand craft

Here’s what you need:

  • jute twine
  • 12×12 cardstock sheets
  • color copies of old pictures
  • glue stick
  • white gel pen
  • natural butcher paper (I buy mine at the 99 cent store)
  • enlarged copies of clip art and a nice bright window (free!)
  • rounded corner punch (optional)
  • clothespins (purchased at Walmart for $1)
  • cardstock or some type of material for covering clothespins ( I used shelving paper)
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • paper trimmer (or use a ruler and scissors)

Here’s what you do:

twine cardstock photo strand crafttwine cardstock photo strand crafttwine cardstock photo strand crafttwine cardstock photo strand crafttwine cardstock photo strand craft

  1. Use your paper trimmer to divide your 12×12 cardstock into six 4×6 rectangles.
  2. Use your rounded corner punch (optional) to round the corners of your 4×6 cards.
  3. Measure the height of your clothespin, cut a long strip of shelving paper approximating the height and use your trimmer to trim to the proper height, then cut your strip into same-width pieces.  My finished pieces were 3″ x 7/16″
  4. Use your hot glue gun to secure the strips of paper to the clothespins.
  5. Use a window on a sunny day to trace your clip art onto the butcher paper with a gel pen.  Loosely cut around tracings.
  6. Secure photo to cardstock and arrange clip art tracings artistically. (Note : my tracings are not fully glued down in these photos but they should be)
  7. Use covered clothespins to secure cardstock-mounted photos to strung twine.

twine cardstock photo strand craft

Note: I purchased my Fiskars paper trimmer a few years back from Michaels with a 40% off coupon.  I use it all the time for my paper projects and think it is an integral part of my crafting armamentarium – just make sure to buy one on sale! Cardstock often goes on either 4 or 5 for $1 sales at both Michael’s and Joann’s – stock up at these sales instead of purchasing them at $0.59 per sheet! And finally, I always purchase my jute twine, glue sticks and butcher paper (found in the office section) at either the Dollar Tree, 99 cent Store or Big Lots for $1 each.

got milk glass?

milk glass vase thrifty cheap decoration  decor flowers

Decorating with the pristine, pure white of milk glass is a refreshingly simple way to add some brightness to your home in the new year.  And the best part?  The vintage pieces are readily found at second-hand stores, which makes for a very thrifty decoration, indeed!  Cheery florals, like bright pink mini carnations clustered en masse,  provide a striking contrast with the chalky white and are a favorite of mine for bringing a splash of color into the home.

milk glass vase thrifty cheap decoration flowers decor

Hosting tip: Use this combination for a more modern twist on an upcoming bridal or baby shower, utilizing other brights like orange tulips, yellow ranunculus and lime green mums – each color in a different vessel – for a striking, yet simple, look.

New Year, new purpose

burlap sack seat cushion cover craft

While out thrifting one day, I came across these jute burlap sacks, whose original purpose, I’m guessing,  was probably in agricultural bagging.  When I spotted them, I had no idea what I would do with them, but they were only $1 each and I knew they, or simply their material, would come in handy somehow, somewhere!

As it turns out, I was planning for an outdoor dinner party later that weekend.  I got the bags home and took a look at my patio chair Sunbrella seat cushions, which are roughly square.   How easy would it be to simply slip a seat cushion into a burlap bag, fold the excess end under and  – voila! – instant cushion makeover!  Turns out, the width of the bag was a perfect fit for the width and depth of the seat cushion  – the only excess that remained was at one end, which I neatly folded under.

burlap sack seat cushion cover craft

No sewing or cutting neccessary!  And the best part, when you want to go back to your original cushions, simply slip it off and use your burlap for another thrifty craft!

Cost: $4 for 4 burlap bags (19.5″ x 35″)