Friday, August 14, 2015

Mahogany Cutting Board

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me set the record straight right now...I didn't make this cutting board. My husband did but I still need to post about it.

A couple years ago, Nicole the Knitter came across a large piece of mahogany at a yard sale. She said she knew right away it would make some amazing cutting boards, if she could just find someone to make it.

Fast forward a bit to Christmas 2014, when my husband and I went to Luray County, VA. The kitchen of the cabin we rented had a cutting board made to fit the sink. I thought this was the coolest little kitchen thing ever (click the picture to make it bigger and look closely, you can see it in the sink) and I decided I needed one for our kitchen at home. My husband said he'd make one for me.

Fast forward to July of this year. Nicole mentions the wood and I mention the cutting board I wanted. It turns out that she wanted the same kind too. She said she'd supply the wood if I found someone to make the boards.

I initially didn't ask my husband to make these, because his work schedule is crazy. I was hoping his dad would be able to make them while he was here, but he kept pretty busy. I started looking for someone to cut the board for us, but everyone I talked to said they'd want $100-$140 PER BOARD just for labor.

Ummm, how about, "No?"

Fast forward to this month. Shane noticed the wood in the laundry room, and having forgotten about it, asked what it was for. His dad had gone back home, and I told him about trying to find someone to make it into cutting boards. He told me to stop looking and he was going to do it. :)

He got mine finished first, because I only wanted a one basin board. The underside is cut to fit inside the basin, with the top resting on the edges of the basin. Shane also routed off the long sides to give it a little more of a finished look.

I did just minimal sanding on this, because I didn't want to take anything away from the original finish of the wood.

I went to Home Depot yesterday and found butcher block oil. I bought only one bottle of it, because it will last Nicole and I for some time.

To make your own cutting board you will need: untreated hardwood, a circular saw or table saw, sandpaper, food grade mineral oil and a clean cloth. Be sure the hardwood you choose is untreated if you plan to actually use your cutting board for cooking. If you're unsure, just ask someone at your local lumber yard. And for the mineral oil, make sure you use food grade (most are food grade). I did 4 coats of the oil over two days, wiping it on with the grain and letting it dry completely in between coats. Give your cutting board a fresh coat of mineral oil every 3-6 months to keep it looking fresh and new.

The oil gives the wood a nice sheen, even after it dries.

As someone who likes to fart around with crafting and making things for other people, it is so nice to get something made for me! :) Just a month ago, Michelle the Cook came over with a box of goodies for my kitchen. She bought hand towels in colors she knows I like, sent them to her mom, who crocheted button tops to them (and matching dish cloths) so you can attach them to appliance handles. I haven't had any of those for some time, and I love having the towel handy right there, because I tend to toss them over the oven door handle and they slip onto the floor a lot. I end up washing a lot of towels because of my carelessness! :)

Nicole's cutting board had a quick test fit on her sink tonight. She wanted a double wide cutting board. and it needs about 3/4" cut from various sections to make it fit. After that, it'll be ready to be cleaned and oiled, and it will go to her house then.

Norfolk Animal Care Center and The Tide Team Up

You may have seen the brightly decorated light train traveling along the tracks in Norfolk. It’s the one wrapped with animals up for adoption from Norfolk Animal Care Center (NACC) and it hit the tracks on June 1, 2015.

The Tide is Virginia’s first light rail system, and the 91 foot long train car is wrapped in vinyl, allowing NACC’s pets to really stand out and have their message seen until autumn.

Kimberly Lovett, Advertising Coordinator for Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), said, "We customarily do about a six month run. Leaving the vinyl wrap on too long increases the likelihood of paint damage to the train during the removal process." The advertising agreement between HRT and NACC is for a two-month period.

NACC provides care to animals that are abandoned, lost, abused or neglected, and those turned in by people who are no longer able to care for their pet. Animals are never turned away, regardless of species, age, health or temperament.

All dogs, cats and rabbits adopted from NACC are spayed or neutered, micro chipped and vaccinated before leaving. NACC cares for 6,000 animals each year, including small pets such as mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and birds. Its primary goal is to find forever homes for these animals.

“The goal of the Friends of NACC was to deliver the message of adoption, spay and neuter, and general awareness of NACC in a large impactful way. [It’s] something never seen here in Hampton Roads,” Missy Abrams L'Hoste, Chairperson for the Marketing Committee for the Friends NACC, said of the partnership. “The Tide allowed us to create a larger than life image of our NACC alumni.”

The wrap of the train was sponsored by Friends of NACC, PETA, Team L'Hoste Real Estate, Atlantic Bay Mortgage, Pet Care Veterinary Hospital, and Bayside Kennels, as well as private donors, to support NACC's goal.

Daphna Nachminovitch, Senior Vice President of PETA's Cruelty Investigations, said their production department came up with the train's design, for NACC, for free, as well as sponsoring the wrap.

"It's about the message, not the organization," Nachminovitch said. "We consider NACC and the Friends as partners in animal homelessness. We need to help support our local shelters."

Abrams L’Hoste said, “The Marketing Committee of Friends of NACC has been working on a Community Outreach Campaign for the last several years. The goal is to raise awareness of the Norfolk Animal Care and Adoption Center, and how all of us can help the shelter and the animals. Through adoptions, volunteering, fostering, donations, we are able to help support the needs of the shelter.”

On an unexpected upside, Abrams L’Hoste said many of the animals featured on the train have already been adopted.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Homemade Turkey Pot Pie Caserole

Last night, I felt the need for turkey pot pie, so I thawed out the turkey I had made while my father-in-law and nephew were visiting. I actually couldn't find the recipe I was looking for, and I was feeling too lazy to look it up online, so I improvised a recipe I already had.

By the way, this ended up being a pretty sizable amount of pot pie, so keep that that in mind. :) I've got leftovers for lunches!

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs of cooked diced or shredded turkey
  • 1/4 cup of diced raw onion
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas 
  • 1/2 bag of frozen corn
  • 1 1/2-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 cups of Hungry Jack Waffle & Pancake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can of cream of celery soup
  • Whatever salt or pepper you want
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray your cooking dish with spray olive oil. Mix the turkey, onion, peas and corn in the dish (you might want to consider using two dishes if you make this much, it's what I needed to do). Liberally cover the top of that mixture with your shredded cheese. Mix the Hungry Jack mix, eggs, milk, and soup well, and then pout that over the top of the cheese. Make sure it's covered completely.

Cook for 1 hour on the middle rack. That top "crust" should start to turn golden brown. After an hour, take it out and give it a poke with a toothpick. If you need additional time for that crust to bake, cover it with foil and let it go for another 10 minutes. 

Once you dig into it, you'll notice the inside is a little more like a casserole than a true pot pie with gravy on the inside. 

I enjoyed this quite a bit, and actually, so did my husband. He went back for seconds last night. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Ranch Pork Chops and Potatoes

Oooh, I love it when bloggers get kind of uppity about their content. Case in point: where tonight's recipe came from.

Because I'm basically a lazy ho, I was going highlight and copy the recipe where it originated from (but still link to it) and then paste it here. I went to go click Control C and a pop up window told me that it's copyrighted material and I had to watch a video first, and then I could actually copy it.

Well, the video just kept having that loading swirl know the one, the kind you see when a video never actually starts playing.

So, because I'm also a pain in the ass ho, I'm not going to link to the recipe page...I'm just going to type it in manually because I have it as a print out in front of me right now.

Muwahahahahahahaha! That'll learn 'em! Make me watch a video first...whatytya think you are? YouTube?
  • 1 1/2 lbs pork chops, boneless, thick sliced--I actually started out with four chops. When this dish was done cooking, two of them had become so tender, they fell apart and mixed in with the potatoes
  • 6-8 medium potatoes, chopped into large pieces--Go with fewer potatoes here. You don't need eight of them.
  • 2 (10.75 oz) cans of cream of chicken soup--While I have cream of chicken soup here, I'm saving that for supper tomorrow night, so I used cream of mushroom soup.
  • 2 (1 oz each) packages of dry Ranch dressing mix--I never have packets of dry Ranch dressing here. What I did was to mix in a healthy squirt of Ranch dressing, about 2 oz.
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Dried parsley to sprinkle on top (optional)--I bet this would have been good. I just forgot to add it.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-7 hours (I cooked mine on low). Use the extra sauce in the slow cooker for gravy for the potatoes and pork chops (isn't that a given?). Sprinkle with dried parsley, if you want.

This was a good recipe and I enjoyed it quite a bit, even though I'm not much of a pork chop fan. I just happened to have everything I needed for this recipe and decided to give it a whirl. 

I do think that actually using dry Ranch mix would have been a more flavorful addition to the dish. By using Ranch dressing, I didn't really taste any of the Ranch that's mentioned in the title. Despite that omission on my part, it's a keeper and I've got enough for a couple of lunches this week,