Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Barn Wood Topped Side Table

A few years ago I found a couple of side tables at Target on clearance.  They were a steal at less than $15 a piece. The simple glass topped tables have a black metal base in a transitional style which can easily work in a traditional or more clean lined room.  I used them as is for a little while but always knew that I'd redo them eventually.  It really annoyed me that the glass was always covered in smudges. Destined for decorative greatness, these tables needed a new look...and pronto.  My now transformed and "newish" side tables are topped in reclaimed barn wood slats giving them a farmhouse fresh look.

Check out the BEFORE picture (below) of one of my tables.  

This one has actually spent a good bit of time on my patio which caused the finish to peel on top.  It was already a bit distressed when I purchased the tables.  No worries - I'll clean it up with a wire brush before refinishing.  But I'm debating on refinishing the bases because I like the already distressed look.  The top part of table won't even show because it will be covered with the barn wood top.

As I was walking down the wood aisle at Hobby Lobby the other day, I found these great barn wood slats for about $7 a bundle (less if you use the 40% off coupon).  It took 2 bundles for each table.  Here's how the barn wood looks up close.  Both sides have the barn wood finish so either side can be used.

I did a "dry fit" of the slats on top of table by lining up the slats along the table with about 1/2" overhang on all sides. The slats were too long for one side and needed to be cut down to 22 1/2".  That means I get to use power tools!  

I removed the slats and placed on floor. Using bass wood slats, I attached three slats (see picture below) to barn wood grouping.  I used my Easy Shot stapler using 5/16" staples to attach wood slats along back of barn wood.  The bass wood slats (24"x1"x1/8") can be found in the wood area at Hobby Lobby.  I cut them down to 17" for my table top.

After barn wood is attached together to form "table top", it's ready to cut to appropriate length with skill saw.  My length was 22.5".  My husband demonstrated how to use the skill saw and stood by as I made the cut.

I did it!  I made a straight cut (surprisingly) and didn't lose a finger in the process (whew).  The noise the saw produced was much louder than I expected so if you are doing a lot of wood working use hearing protection.  See those scraps on the floor?  I'll be using those for another simple project so stay tuned...

My barn wood top is now ready to be attached to table base.  I originally thought I'd refinish the base with a fresh coat of black paint. But the already distressed finish is growing on me and it saves me a paint job.  I carefully applied a little constructive adhesive along edge of tabletop where the slats (underneath) touch the table. I carefully placed tops to each table leaving a 1/2" overhand on each side and voila! - check out my "new" Barn Wood Topped Side Table.  

I told you those original tables were destined for greatness! If I can't have the farmhouse and barn (farmhouse sink, chickens, fresh eggs, horses...I could go on), I'll bring a little farmhouse charm into our home.

What are your farmhouse wishes?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Easy Enchilada Casserole

Baby, it's cold outside.  Well, sort of.  Although the winter solstice doesn't officially begin until December 21st, it's beginning to feel cooler down here in Texas. Finally. The low this morning was actually in the upper thirties. Woohoo! I can finally wear my puffy vest and scarf.  I know that's probably laughable to friends living in the north.  But, hey, I'll take what I can get.  

What kind of food do you like to eat when the temp drops and the weather man announces a freeze warning?  Comfort food?  Yep, me too.  I crave something warm, hearty and Mexican.  For me that translates into enchiladas.  Any kind of enchiladas - beef, chicken, or spinach.  As much as I love to eat them, I'm definitely not a fan of the messy, tedious and time-consuming process of rolling each individual enchilada.  I came up with a simplified version of enchiladas which has the same great flavor without all the work - Easy Enchilada Casserole.

I've got two versions - Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole 

and Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole.  

The only difference in ingredients is the meat and enchilada sauce.  For demonstration purposes (and dinner tonight), I made the Green Chili Chicken Enchilada Casserole earlier today.  But my boys are begging to order pizza because it's Thursday Night Football and we did have the Easy Beef Enchilada Casserole last weekend.  Ugh!  I guess I know what I'm having for lunch tomorrow. 

This is the Las Palmas enchilada sauce that I found at my local Target.  It doesn't really matter what brand but be careful to check the "heat" level because canned enchilada sauce can be very hot.  It will usually indicate mild, medium, or hot on the can.  Check the label.  I prefer mild to medium.

First things first, lightly toast the corn tortillas in nonstick skillet.  This is probably the most time-consuming part of recipe but don't skip it.  The tortillas taste better when toasted. Set aside.

Cook your meat in a large nonstick skillet adding taco seasoning and enchilada sauce.  I'm thinking I should have diced my chicken a little smaller but haven't cooked the casserole yet so I'll let you know.  

Lastly, assemble your casserole by layering sauce, tortillas, meat, cheese, and more sauce.

Repeat layer one more time then top with tortillas, sauce, and cheese.  You can cover and refrigerate before cooking later.  It's a great make ahead recipe.  You can also bake it immediately.  

With only a few ingredients (that you may already have on hand), this meal comes together quick for a busy weeknight meal.  You can have it ready to pop in the oven when you get home from a busy day at work or after a long day on the ski slopes.  

It's hearty, hot, and muy delicioso!