Decorated My Living Room



Posted in Interiors.

30-Minute Pasta Shells on the Skillet

cook dinner

I don’t know about you but with the craziness of new spring soccer schedules (three separate teams this year + one kid opting to wrestle instead of soccer), trying to get a meal ready at the right time in between running kids to practices and Cub Scouts and whatever else the evening holds (not including just keeping the house together, homework done, and piano practiced) is a little chaotic. Enter the 30-minute skillet meal. I have professed my love for one-pot/one-skillet meals over the years. They are my lifesaver. Fast, easy, and healthy, they often prove to be the perfect solution to weeknight dinner craziness. You may want to look at the best rated pots and pans.

Today’s version – a loaded skillet full of saucy, tender pasta shells and warm, taco-style flavors – is fantastic. Sure, it may look like slop on the plate but in my family, at least, the ravenous kids (and let’s be honest, me, too) don’t care a bit how it looks, especially when the whole concoction is smothered in cheese, sour cream, salsa and olives. Seconds, please.

I’ve made this a couple of times and the last go-round, I made it in my only available 30-minute window around 4:45 knowing we wouldn’t be eating until probably 6:30. After it was finished cooking, complete with a healthy smattering of cheese, I covered the whole skillet in greased foil, popped it in a warm oven (about 170 degrees) and we devoured it a couple hours later. Granted, the pasta wasn’t quite as saucy as if we had eaten it right away but no one was complaining, that’s for sure. And it meant we were able to eat a hearty, delicious meal as a family. If only it was that simple and smooth and stress-free every night! Hey, I’ll take it when I can get it.


1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder or 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa verde (green salsa or green enchilada sauce)
15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 1/2 cups medium pasta shells (like these)
1 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Fresh cilantro for sprinkling
Sour cream, olives and salsa for serving (optional)


In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook the ground turkey or beef, salt, pepper, onion (or onion powder), and garlic (or garlic powder), stirring every once in a while to break the meat into small pieces. Once the meat is cooked through, drain any excess grease and scrape the meat mixture to a paper towel-lined plate.

To the skillet add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salsa verde, pinto beans, chili powder, oregano, pasta shells, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar.

Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring often to make sure the pasta isn’t sticking, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the cooked ground meat and top with the shredded cheese. Cover the skillet for 1-2 minutes to let the cheese melt. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. The sauce will thicken as it rests.

Serve with sour cream, olives, and salsa, if desired.

Read full article here from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

Posted in Cooking.

How to Make Espresso on the Stove

There’s nothing like a good espresso – the essence of all great coffee!

However, electric pump espresso machines can be expensive (read espresso machine reviews before you buy) and take up too much valuable counter and cupboard space in the home. A stove top espresso coffee pot is an ideal alternative – a timeless classic that has been brewing up excellent coffee since the art deco era! An espresso pot uses steam pressure to brew a strong coffee with the same characteristics of espresso from a home espresso machine; a rich dark coffee with plenty of flavour, texture and viscosity.

La Cafetiere’s extensive range of stove top espresso coffee pots will add a stylish caffeine kick to your coffee: Espresso Pots
making espresso
Here’s our essential guide to making great espresso effortlessly!
Your espresso pot has 3 sections: the bottom chamber is for water, the middle for your coffee and the top chamber collects your coffee once brewed.

Step 1. Unscrew the 3 sections of your espresso pot.

Step 2. Fill the lower chamber with water – for an espresso fill half the chamber. For an Americano-style black coffee, fill it to just below the level of the safety valve.

Step 3. Fill the middle section (the filter funnel) with a medium fine ground coffee suitable for an espresso pot – freshly ground if possible! The coffee should be level with the top of the filter. Slightly pat down the coffee, but do not firmly tamp.

Step 4. Make sure there are no coffee grounds at the edges of either the funnel or the water section. Put the funnel into place in the pot and screw on the upper section securely.

Step 5. Put the pot on your hob at a medium-high temperature, making sure that the steam valve is pointing away from you, the handle is not subjected to heat and that the heat source does not extend beyond the edges of the pot. Please note that stove-top espresso makers are not recommended for use on induction hobs or in microwaves.

Step 6. As soon as coffee starts to emerge and bubble from the filter funnel, which you will hear, turn down the stove to let it rest and fully percolate.

Step 7. Your coffee is ready when the upper section is full of espresso, when the pots stops ‘gurgling’ and just steam emerges from the filter funnel.

Step 8. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Go to the article here for the Top tip!

Posted in Coffee.

Considering The Best Cooking Knives

Cooking is simply an art. The professional chefs, who are very passionate about their careers, would agree with this statement at any moment that question is brought up. From the kitchen, even our mothers can draw inspiration as they prepare our meals. Perhaps that why most of us consider our mothers’ cooking to be the best. With every stroke of a paint brush, an artist can create a spectacular masterpiece. On the other hand, a chef must ensure that every slice as a knife chops away is perfect, this is why we stress on getting the best kitchen knives.
The art of cooking is taken very seriously by the people who work in the industry such as chefs. They possess excellent skills that they ‘use to make even the hardest of tasks look easy. For instance, have you ever seen how a chef can make perfect slices of any fruit or vegetable that he places on a chopping board? I have personally tried this at home but trust me, it is not as easy as it seems. The results were rather disappointing with a minor cut to add to the list.

Well, I have come to realize that to make such a slice, you need a good knife with a nice and tight grip of the hand. This would guarantee against any mishaps if you were to loose your grip while slicing or cutting something. Another primary characteristic of chef’s knife to put into consideration of the metal material that makes up the cutting edge. Over time, this knife will be exposed to different conditions such as heat as well as other tougher jobs such as cutting and peeling.

Therefore, if the metal material is of cheap composition, the knife is bound to loose its shape. Knives made of carbon steel are known to maintain their shape as well as making the jobs in the kitchen so effortless. The curved cutting edge with a sharp ending at the tip is of great functionality such as piercing. So there you have it, does you chef’s knife make the cut?

Posted in Cooking.

Fuzzy Rice Cooker

riceThere are different kinds of fuzzy rice cooker, however getting the best fuzzy rice cooker is not as easy as you think. Here are the best fuzzy rice cooker review.

Fuzzy rice cooker is designed in a different way that it has its own monitor ultra intelligent power of great performance. you don’t need to adjust the cooking time and temperature by your self, rather it adjust itself using the latest rice cooker technology. one thing that you should know all fuzzy rice cookers is the components found in it. This means it is designed in inner spherical cooking pan that has a power to distribute the heat generated in an evenly manner. This helps to maintain the same consistency at the top and the bottom of the rice.

Whatever types of rice family you wanted to prepare can be done by using a fuzzy rice cooker. Some of the rice families that you can prepare are white rice, brown rice, oatmeal, sushi rice and so on. Also after you finish cooking nice warm is maintained even if it’s automatically switched off. If you are in need of quick rice preparation, fuzzy rice cooker allows you to satisfy your needs by making white rice with in 15 minutes.

The other crucial part of fuzzy rice cooker is that it has extra large high quality LCD built in simple, friendly navigation control panel. During cleaning time, the high performance and durable inner lid with a detachable system makes it convenient and easy to use during handling time.

The other thing is that fuzzy rice cooker family have high capacity that can handle up to 5.5 cups. The high level of durability, strength,capability of withstanding high voltage and simple stay cool side handler makes to be selected as the best fuzzy rice cooker review capability.

Posted in Cooking.

Air Beds for Hosting Guests from Out of Town


Whether you intend to use it during your camping trips or need extra sleeping accommodation for your guests, an airbed, or commonly referred to as an air bed is the ultimate solution for virtually all your sleeping needs. There are many brands of air mattresses on the market but not all of them can meet your needs accordingly. The Intex air mattress for guest bed is very highly rated by best air beds reviews 2015. Here are some of the Intex air beds that are worth to purchase:

Intex Raised Downy
The firmness of this superb Intex air bed cannot be affected by anything, not even the temperature, location and humidity. It features a dual chamber construction that is perfect for holding air well, thus keeping it fully inflated throughout the night. It comes with a water proof flocked top and an electric-powered pump that is easy to use when inflating or deflating this air bed.

Intex Raised Rest Pillow
This great airbed combines the convenience of a highly portable airbed with superb comfort of spending the night on a raised platform. It comes with a plush top that is ideal for covering its top and also providing a luxurious feel. It can easily be adjusted to virtually any level of firmness for purposes of ultimate comfort. It can be easily inflated or deflated within less than 5 minutes.

Intex Classic Downy Queen
This airbed provides a superior sleeping surface that is also ideal for preventing the bedding from slipping off. It is crafted with a heavy-duty air chamber that is perfect for holding air well. It comes with a battery powered-pump and a plastic carry-bag.

The perfect choosing guide

1. Find out whether the airbed deflates and inflates with ease. The best airbed is the one that inflates and deflates with ease

2. You should also consider whether it is crafted to hold air well. The best airbed should hold air well throughout the night.

3. The airbed should be easy to store and transport.

4. The airbed should be ideal for both outdoor and indoor use.

And while you’re preparing for the guests, here are some hosting tips for the holiday season.

Posted in Home.

Any Juicer that You Can Afford is Worth Buying

Having a juicer is more than just a necessity. It relates to the modern lifestyle of urban people, who pay a very serious concern for their overall health. I used to have a blender and I used it for making my own vegetable juice. Well, you can imagine the result. I still had to filter the extract, so I didn’t have to get rid of the leaves distillate from my mouth. I decided to keep this blender because I thought that the best juicer will cost a fortune. As a mum with a limited budget, then I used to think that spending a few time to filter the juice extract was just fine.


But, the technology of the internet has changed my mind about the hassles in using the blender. I was surprised to see lots of juicers in very affordable cost. Besides, using a juicer can ensure the full nutrition of the fruits or vegetables. As far as I concern, juicer still can maintain the fiber of those fresh products. This was why, I decided to buy a unit of masticating juicer from a reputable brand. It was not as expensive as I thought, although it was still pricier than my old blender. But, I did not have any hesitation at all in buying it, as I know I will get the best and healthiest results from this product. Well, I have used this product for almost four years now and it still performs very well. Of course, it is easy to clean. Or else, why would I want to buy it?

I was actually tempted to buy the popular brand of juicer, which always gets the highest rating on most reputable online stores. As, I could not afford it, I still consider that this centrifugal juicer is the human’s best friend. It has several speed options for various amounts of veggies or fruits. It is also quite, yet powerful, as I saw the salesman demonstrated the product. Well, the choices are buyers to make, right? If you have a good amount of money, then you can buy any of those best products.

Get the best juicer for your dollar – Wtkr
Things to consider before buying a juicer – Summer Tomato

Posted in Kitchen.

What I Look for in A Sewing Machine

The market has become awash with many sewing machines to the point that getting the best sewing machine as a beginner is challenging. You are not alone in this mess. I have been doing sewing business for many years, and I also get challenged when a customer asks me to recommend to them the best cheap beginner sewing machine to buy. Choosing a sewing machine from the many in the market is not an easy job since there are several things to consider apart from the price.

When I am purchasing any sewing machine, I always consider one that has the manufacturer’s warranty that is long. With the warranty, am assured that I will make the maximum use of the sewing machines. I never worry about the machine breaking down and bringing my business to a standstill as I wait the machine to get repaired.


In case you ask me to evaluate the best sewing machines in the industry, there are many things I will consider. Some of the things that I’ll have to look into including the performance of the machine, how easy it’s to use it and also the manufacturer’s customer services. I will always recommend you to pick a sewing machine from a firm that offers excellent services to its clients.

My experience with the best machine is the one that will handle most if not all of my crafts projects and clothing. I don’t want to have a sewing machine that I will keep changing whenever I have a different material for clothing. The machine will be able to give me designs that are of professional quality without much struggle as it’s easy to use.

My recommendation for you is that when you come to select the sewing machine that you consider to be the best, it will largely depend on your budget as well as skills. You need also to access what your needs are and the skills you have as an individual. My best sewing machine might not be the best for you in the long-run.

Posted in Hobbies, Home.
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