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Crafty Pencil Holder, Tomatillo Soup, and Cornbread

I recently repurposed a tea tin into a pencil holder. I used the fabric (sheet set) that I picked up earlier in the month on clearance at Target. It just so happens that the tea was from Target too! To remove the tea smell from the tin, I filled the tin with baking soda and let it sit for a day before washing and drying it thoroughly

Before & After:

Before After

All it took was some scissors, spray adhesive, and a little bit of tape to help position the fabric. I also used a piece of cut-to-fit peel and stick felt on the bottom. That way I know the tin won’t scratch any surface I put it on and it covers up the overlapping fabric edges on the bottom.

If you like crafty projects and thrifty posts, be sure to check out Udandi & The Craft of Money. She recently made a cool pencil holder too but out of a band-aid tin. Her “Link Dump” post has links to some great projects as well. I have my eye on the Matchbook Notebook tutorial link. I love to keep matchbook notebooks in my purse to write down what I spent at the sales (garage/estate/library). I like to keep track.

Moving on to food…I adapted a recipe from the Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes – Vegetarian Meals Cookbook: White Bean and Tomatillo Chili. I decided to go with a more soup like texture and chose not to mash the beans.


The soup was really good. It still could stand to be spicier but that’s easily fixed. The soup is also good with tortilla chips crumbled over the top. The best way to described the taste is it’s a bit like Salsa Verde but in soup form.

I also made some cornbread in my mini-loaf pan. I also have a corncob cast iron pan but it’s currently packed away in my parent’s basement. My all time favorite cornbread recipe can be found in The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook. I’ve tried a bunch of cornbread recipes but that is the one I go back to over and over again.

Mini Cornbread Loaves:

Mini Cornbread Loaves

Split Cornbread Loaf…the texture is great, not too dense:


Tomatillo Soup

Recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes – Vegetarian Meals Cookbook

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, sliced thin
4 jalapeno peppers, sliced in thin rounds (use less for a milder soup)
2 heaping teaspoons ground cumin
1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander
Green Tabasco Sauce to taste
1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cans chopped green chiles, drained
1 cup water
2 15-oz. cans Cannelli Beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped


1. Heat oil over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add garlic, onion, jalapenos, cumin, and coriander. Cook, stirring often until onions are lightly golden, about 7 – 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in 5- to 6-quart pot, combine tomatillos, sea salt, sugar, vegetable broth, green chilies, Green Tabasco sauce, and water. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the onion mixture and cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Stir in beans and cilantro until beans are heated through.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • midwestvegan March 27, 2007, 1:43 pm

    I’m definitely trying that soup. I love anything with tomatillos. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • midwestvegan March 27, 2007, 3:45 pm

    It’s me again. I just made this for dinner tonight and it’s quite tasty. I made a few changes to accommodate what I had on hand (I substituted 2 chopped potatoes for one can of beans and 1 cup of salsa verde for the tomatillos) but it still turned out pretty good. Thanks again for the recipe.

  • pinknest March 27, 2007, 3:59 pm

    i love this post!!! from the beautiful pencil holder to those adorable cornbread loaves. i really need to get a mini loaf pan.

  • Dori March 27, 2007, 4:58 pm

    Cute way to recycle. The cornbread looks comforting, but I have never tried a tomatillo yet. I grew them one year, but I didn’t know when the fruit was to harvest so they got wasted. Some fruit fell onto the ground and came back the next year on their own…. all over the place. Maybe I would be happy about that if I knew what to do with them

  • johanna March 27, 2007, 7:06 pm

    that cornbread looks amazing. nice work, love the craft.

  • K March 27, 2007, 7:09 pm

    Your cornbread loaves are SO CUTE!!! Adorable.

    You’re the best recycler, Emmy, way to get more usage out of the nice tea tin…

    And a most interesting, different-looking chili there. Good eat’n!

  • bazu March 27, 2007, 10:14 pm

    I agree with Kleo- your mini-loaf creations are always so cute! And the soup sounds great- I can’t believe this, but I don’t think I’ve ever had tomatillo. At least, I’ve never cooked with it! What’s wrong with me?? And that pencil holder is awesome- that fabric you picked up really was lovely.

  • vicki March 27, 2007, 10:25 pm

    love your repurposed pencil holder! way to extend the life of a lovely container. your mini-loaves of cornbread are making my mouth water — i’m going to look up that cookbook. and your new blog look is absolutely perfect! 😮

  • mikaela March 28, 2007, 11:54 am

    You’re so clever – I love the pencil holder! 🙂

  • Sara March 28, 2007, 5:43 pm

    Thanks for the craft link, it looks like fun. Great looking soup, I love tomatillos.

  • udandi March 28, 2007, 7:10 pm

    i love your tea tin and thanks for the shoutout!

    I could go for some cornbread, too! Yum!

  • Diann March 28, 2007, 8:44 pm

    I don’t think I’ve seen tomatillo soup before – I love it! I have that New Farm cookbook so I’ve got to make that cornbread.

  • Kati March 29, 2007, 5:36 am

    Your pencil holder is really cool – way to repurpose!

    I love your mini-cornbreads, too – anything in mini form is okay in my book.

  • Twisted Cinderella March 29, 2007, 5:52 am

    mmmmm . . . I love a good soup recipe! Your cornbreads look amazing. Great job on the penholder. I love crafty stuff!

  • scottishvegan March 30, 2007, 10:56 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of “repurposing”! What a great word! Your tin looks really cool. I would just have peeled the label off and that would be the extent of my repurposing! The mini cornbread loaves are super cute!

  • vegandiva March 30, 2007, 12:56 pm

    Thanks for all the terrific comments everyone!

    Midwest Vegan, glad you tried the soup. I was surprised that the Good Housekeeping Vegetarian Book had some decent recipes.

    Bazu, Hope you try cooking with tomatillos sometime. They’re easy to cook with and break down nicely. I really like how the fabric looks on the pencil holder…. I might try using the fabric to make other matching desk accessories.

    Udandi, you’re welcome 🙂

    Diann, Since you have the cookbook, the cornbread is a must-try. My mom loves this cornbread and when we lived in MI, I would always make an extra batch of it just for her.

    Scottish Vegan…thanks 🙂 I agree, it’s a great word 😀

  • drenka April 2, 2007, 1:25 pm

    I love your pencil holder.I made one myself and posted it on my blog.But mine is very simple and a little boring, and yours is opposite of yhat!

  • vegandiva April 2, 2007, 1:53 pm

    Thanks so much for the compliment Drenka.