Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Quick and Easy Heating Pad

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad

Do you ever hang on to something that you should probably toss, but you’re just positive that someday you’ll have a use for it?

I had one of those moments last night– the hubby’s back is a little sore and I thought, “man, I should really buy us a heating pad next time I see one.”

Then I remembered that I bought a bag of lentils a few months ago AND I had an almost-sewn bag that our duvet cover came in — I could make my own!

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad 1

This project is really simply, even if you don’t have a three-sided pouch ready for you to turn into a heating pad. You need fabric, lentils and tea!

Take your fabric and cut out two rectangles of the identical size. Place the fabric so both “nice” sides are touching one another, then run each edge through your sewing machine — make sure you leave about an inch gap in one side so you can add your lentil mixture. Since I had this already sewn pouch thingy, I simply sewed across the one edge (I actually sewed it by hand because I can’t figure out how to use my new sewing machine my sister gave me and I didn’t feel like reading the directions last night — pathetic I know).

Flip your bag right-side-out and grab a funnel. In a bowl, mix an entire bag of lentils (you may need more than one depending on how large you make yours) with loose tea. If you don’t have loose tea, you can cut open tea from your tea bags and mix it with the lentils. I love the smell of jasmine, so I cut open about eight tea bags and dump the contents into the bowl with my lentils.

Stick the funnel into the remaining hole of your heating pad and slowly add the lentil/tea mixture. When it’s full, sew the remaining hole shut!

Donezo!

Throw that bad boy into the microwave for a minute and a half and you have yourself a heating pad that smells super yummy.

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad bag

Fantastic picture of the hubby using it, huh?

{A Smith of All Trades} Heating Pad Neck

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Recipes

Spicy Taco Soup

What I’m about to share with you is possibly one of the yummiest recipes of all time. That’s right, folks… it’s Spicy Taco Soup time.

I discovered this recipe years ago online and have since altered it to perfection. It is a staple in our house during the colder months and a staple at my mom’s house at Christmas time. It’s also way easy to make and not terribly bad for you. #Winning!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs Ground beef/chicken/turkey: Use whichever meat you’d like and however much meat you like. I usually use 1.5 lbs because I like my soup to have a lot of meat in it.
  • 32 oz. Beef stock/chicken stock: Depending on whether you choose to make your soup with ground beef or ground bird, grab the corresponding broth to go with it. Also, I liked to get low sodium broth. It doesn’t affect the taste and it is way better for you.
  • 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes: Feel free to use petite diced tomatoes with green chillies or onions in it. Tomatoes must be petite!
  • 1 can of pinto/black beans: I use black beans in my soup and only one can. The original recipe I found online called for two cans of pinto and two cans of black beans. That was way too much for us. Grab low sodium beans if you can.
  • 1 can of sweet yellow corn
  • 1 cup chopped onion: Frozen or fresh works. You can add more if you’d like.
  • 1 cup chopped green/red/yellow peppers: Frozen or fresh works, and any color works! You can add more if you’d like.
  • 2 tbsp Red Pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • HOT SAUCE!!!: Add as much as you can handle 🙂

Directions:

In a frying pan, cook up the meat of your choice with the onions. Drain the grease.

In a large soup pot on medium to high heat, combine tomatoes (do not drain), corn (drain & rinse), beans (drain & rinse), peppers, red pepper flakes, and meat. Add in your broth (Note: I add a whole “box” of broth, but you can add however much you’d like. It will change the consistency of the soup. So, if you like chunky soup, don’t add too much. If you like a soupier soup, add all of it.)

Add hot sauce to taste.

Heat until hot! Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream on top — maybe even a few crushed up tortilla chips! Enjoy!

The best part about this soup is it is easily customizable without totally altering the taste. If you want more meat, add more. If you want less broth, add less. If you love green peppers but hate corn, the recipe will still turn out. I made it last night with three cans of petite tomatoes (total rebel, right?) and no green pepper (I forgot to buy them… oops!), and it was still delicious.

What are your favorite soup recipes? I also make a mean rustic tomato soup. Yummo. No soup beats my parents’ homemade chicken noodle, but Spicy Taco Soup is definitely my next favorite.