Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reclaimed Wood, Second Chance Salvage Warehouse and Shepherds Pie, OH MY!

Don't mind these really terrible photos of my wood. I think that's Levi's lips and neck in the first one and Macy's shadow in the second shot. As soon as I got down to take the photos, the dogs thought I was down there to do something super-cool and special that definitely involved them, because according to their little boxer brain, EVERYTHING involves them! Anyway, the wood is super thick old white oak with some red oak mixed in. There is more than enough to do the island and desktop! It came from a torn down log cabin in WV. We'll either have it planed or we will sand it and the pieces get butted up against each other. We're (I love saying that when I fully know that there is no WE involved, it's just Matt but I have to say WE! ;-) LOL) going to finish it in a natural Danish Oil and wax finish.

About some more old stuff...A couple weeks back, my father, sister (and little ones) and I went to in Baltimore to check out the 4 warehouses of salvage. One warehouse was all new kitchen cabinets, bars, vanities etc. so we skipped that one. We mostly skipped the antique door/window one as well because I'm not in the market for those
and I was trying to keep my walking to a minimum. The third is set up like a furniture store, little rooms and vignettes but with REALLY expensive antiques, chandeliers, rugs and stuff. That warehouse was a bit scary with a 2 and 3 year old niece and nephew in tow but they were great! The last one was my favorite and had bits and pieces of stuff. Buckets of hinges and glass door handles, shelves of corbels, and knockers. The only purchase I made was 1.49 and it was one of these wrought iron fence finials...I'll show you what I'm going to do with that in a later post (wink!). This shelf of amputated claw feet from old tubs was cool but kind of sad too in a weird way. It was a fun place to visit but not really worth my time unless I was looking for a specific size of old door or window. Believe me, they had PLENTY of stuff, but it wasn't really the kind of place where you felt like you were getting a bargain. I'm happier digging in the antique stores right in my own town.

RECIPE time!!!
Last year I found a shepherds pie recipe that sounded better than the one I had been using. This one is my modification of it to suit what my family likes and we REALLY like this one!


3 tsp. butter
1 1/2 cups: sweet onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tsp. FRESH Thyme
2 lbs. low fat ground beef (the original calls for lamb)
2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3tbs. tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes
(sometimes I add finely diced tomatoes)
2 fresh bay leaves (I use dry)
4 tbs. fresh parsley
(you can add 3/4 lbs trimmed and sliced 'shrooms...I don't)
3 cups roughly but small chopped carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 1/2 - 2 cups frozen petite sweet peas

1 egg
2lbs. yukon gold potatoes
2tsp coarse sea salt
3/4 cup half and half (I use fat free)
1 pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup - 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (NOT IN THE CAN-ewww)

Preheat oven to 400
In skillet on med-high, add 1 T butter, onions, carrots, green peppers and the mushrooms if you use them. Saute' till onions are brown. Then add the garlic and fresh thyme leaves and cook a few minutes. Then add the ground beef and break it up as you brown it. After it's brown, add the canned tomatoes (paste and others) and the peas and bay leaves. Cover and cook 10 minutes on low. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves and pour into 9 x 13 casserole.

Topping: Boil potatoes with 1 tsp of salt till tender. Drain the potatoes and put back on heat to dry them, shake while drying. Mash the potatoes, add half and half and butter. Season to taste and add the egg and Parmesan. Spread evenly on top of the casserole. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through and the top is slightly brown. I serve it with big hot biscuits. Enjoy!
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