Saturday, July 7, 2012

Big Easy Shrimp Etoufee

This is a recipe I found out of Family Fun magazine one day when I was down visiting my Mom. I never knew I liked Cajun food until I made this! It is so easy, quick, and Delicious! I have made it several times, and it just keeps getting better!
I didn't have a picture of when I actually made it, so I had to settle for the one out of the magazine. :)

1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth *may need more
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt *may need more
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
6 drops hot sauce *I use Siracha but Tabasco would also work
1 pound peeled, deveined shrimp (uncooked)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley *optional, I've never used it
4 cups hot cooked rice, white or brown

-Serves 5-

1. In a large cast iron skillet (This is a MUST!), heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and saute until they are soft and tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Stir in the flour until it is heated through, about 1 minute. Gradually pour in the broth in increments, stirring after each addition, until the mixture has thickened. Add the tomatoes, thyme, cayenne, salt, paprika, oregano, and hot sauce. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the shrimp and parsley and cook until the shrimp is no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Serve over hot rice

I also like to serve mine with french bread sliced, buttered, and grilled in a cast iron skillet.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Must Haves

So I decided that it might be important if my sister and I are telling all about things that we transform and make new, we might need to tell you some items you might want to always have on hand that will help you take something from drab to glam in just a few short steps. These are things that can be purchased at your local hardware stores and for really not very much money.

First, I think everyone should have several types of sandpaper on hand. I say types, because sandpaper comes in different levels of sandability (oh my...I made up a new word). I also like to have a sanding block that the sandpaper attaches to...this really saves your arm (and fingers).

Next, I think you should have a good water based primer. A water based paint of any type (primer included) gives you the ability to clean up easily. I typically keep white on hand. And while we are confessing, I honestly sometimes only use primer as my "paint" when transforming a piece.

I also believe that it is good to have a favorite stain on hand. I buy the smallest container of stain that I can in my favorite color. Stain goes far...a small container will last a long time. My favorite color at the moment is called ebony!

Chalkboard paint is also very essential to have on hand. Oh. My. Word. The things that can be changed with just a few brushstrokes of chalkboard paint. I will share some of those soon!

Finally, (although I know there are things that I am missing, but these are my essentials) have paint brushes, cotton rags and sponge brushes on hand. That way, when the urge to spice up your living room hits, you can hop to it!

What makes up your essentials list?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Big Boy Dresser

So, I totally love *Pottery Barn. I love the styles shown in the catalogs and have dreamed of having some of their designs in my own home...notice I said dreamed. Their furniture, bedding and accessories tend to be a little to steep for my budget. 

I didn't let that stop me, though. 

My youngest son, H, recently began using his crib as a jungle gym and the quest began for the perfect bedding and room accessories to convert his once baby room to a full fledged big boy room. The bedding was purchased. Accessories were acquired. But, there was a lack of interest and storage space in the room because of my inability to find a chest of drawers to redo. 

On a random stop into a local bargain mart, I came across the perfect piece! 

After spending some time talking him down $30, I brought the piece home to begin the transformation. 

I took all the drawers out and sanded each piece to rough up the existing stain a bit. This sand does not have to be one that takes off all layers. It honestly just has to be a little sand all over to give yourself something for the paint to stick to. 

Next, I coated each piece with a red paint I had lying around (called Chipotle paste)

Then, after allowing the paint to dry, I again took some sand paper to the piece to give character where I deemed character needed to be. This part is strictly to your liking and taste. 

 Finally, after distressing it a bit in places, I rubbed (then quickly wiped off) an ebony stain to give it an aged look, added some new knobs and ta-da...a new big boy dresser...all for under $100.

It takes some time, but if there is a look your are wanting to achieve, you really can on a fraction of the cost of buying it completely new. 

Happy Re-Doing!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Red Redo

Hello! Welcome to Simple Savvy Sisters! We hope to make this blog a place where we can share the things that excite us the most: re-doing furniture, re-decorating a room, finding a steal at an antique store or flea market, or finding a great new recipe that we just have to share!

To start things off, I want to share a recent laundry room re-do that I did that was quick, simple, and inexpensive-And looks good too! My dryer had been on its last leg for the past few months. When I was drying a load of clothes, it made so much noise that I couldn't even hear myself think! Finally, it got to the point where my husband banned me from doing laundry when he was home! It was that bad. We finally decided it was time to purchase a new set of appliances. Of course, since we had to move out the old appliances, it was only right that I paint the walls when the room was bare. I painted the walls in Behr P+P Powered Snow. For the counter-top, I wanted a fun splash of color, but I did not want anything permanent, and I wanted something inexpensive. I bought a wood, hollow-core 30" door at Home Depot for around $25. I measured the width of my space to make sure I bought the right size door. My husband cut it down for me to the right length, and then reinforced the cut end with some left over wood wedges.

I wiped it down with one coat of wood stain in Espresso, followed by an immediate coat of paint.

I picked out a color I liked and then bought a small sample of paint for less than $3! I {think}I put 2 coats of paint on, followed  by a quick distressing with sandpaper. By this time, in less than an hour, my door/countertop was dry and ready to be installed! I put down a layer of pink foam on top of the appliances to avoid scratching them. I found it at Home Depot and it was cheap. I also think you could use shelf liner as well if you have it lying around the house. I layed the door on top of the foam. Neither one of my ends were exposed, but if your countertop is not being installed between two walls, you would want to put the "cut end" against the wall to hide it. I positioned it and then wiped on 2 coats of Minwax Wipe On Poly in Satin finish!

TaDa! I LOVE it and it has worked wonderful! It easily wipes clean and any scratches made on it just added to its distressed character! I say it looks like I have been folding clothes on it for years! Ha! And the best thing about it is when we move from this house, I can just remove it!

See you Soon,