Okay, so maybe I am a Junkie….

I really never noticed that cupcakes are everywhere!  Seriously they are everywhere.  I had somehow missed this culinary trend until a friend of mine’s daughter caught onto the craze and then I started noticing recipes and ideas to send to her. She is seriously cute as can be and you can check her blog here  http://worldofcupcakesblog.wordpress.com/

I noticed a recipe for a caramel apple cake that looked absolutely devine until I read the recipe and the 25 ingredients I would need to make it. Sooo….I went with my own imperfect plan.  I bought a store bought spice cake mix, chopped up one large granny smith apple (really tiny bites), added 1 cup of buttermilk (you can make your own by adding 1 tables spoon of white vinegar to one cup of milk and letting it sit 5 minutes), 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup of oil and 3 eggs. Now here is where I made my mistake. I added 1/2 cup of oil..oops. I really should not be watching The Real Housewives of Miami when baking. So I added about 1/4 cup of belgian waffle mix to balance the extra oil. I can’t tell I made a mistake but next time I will try to stick to the 1/3 cup of oil.  Then I poured batter into cupcake liners and baked at 350 for 21 minutes.   I was feeling ambitious and made my own frosting as well. I used 2 sticks of softened butter, 3 cups of powdered sugar, splash of milk to thin the frosting and about 3/4 table spoon of vanilla. I beat it until smooth and creamy. You may need more or less powdered sugar to get the consistancy you want. I wanted to pipe my frosting so I needed it to be a little stiff. After the cupcakes were cool I just piped a litte frosting on and topped it off with caramel sauce (FROM A JAR!!   GASP!!) I have to say there were tasty. Next time though I would add toffee chips to the batter as well as on top.

 

  Ahhh, looks and tastes like fall to me.  Enjoy

Grilled Cheese…All Grown Up

 

Currently, I am also all about humus and pesto so why not combine my loves?  Seems a brillian idea to me. So I collected all the ingredients…bread, humus, pesto spread, avocado slices (about half of an avocado), bacon bits and mayo.  Then I spray a small skillet with nonstick spray and start putting together my masterpiece.

The first thing I do is spread mayo on the outside of the bread slices. I love using mayo rather than butter as the mayo makes the bread nice and slightly crispy rather the sogginess that butter tends to cause.

After I have the mayo spread I flip the bread and began the dressing up of the sandwich on the inside. I spread humus and then start building with the rest of the ingredients.

I “string” the cheese, place the avocados and sprinkle with bacon bits. Then the other slice of bread gets slathered with pesto spread.

Then place the second piece of bread and spread with mayo and then the hard part comes…waiting for all the cheese to melt and the bread to “toast”.  Waiting….waiting…. waiting.  It’s best to cook this on low medium heat.  You could crank the heat up if you like a slightly burned version but char is not my favorite flavor so I just salivate while the aroma wafts to my nose.

Finally….it’s so worth the wait. It’s reasonably low cal and the avocados lend a creamy goodness that makes it taste so decadent but is heart healthy…it’s a balance with the bacon right. Also, I used fat free mayo thus the lackluster color on the bread, which I personally am fine with. BUT…using a regular mayo creates a beautiful color and its sooo flavorful. It’s all about where you wish to cut calories. This is just where I cut mine. I would rather have a cocktail then full fat and calorie mayo but that is just me.  Also, on this day I didn’t have bacon slices so I just used bacon bits, which worked just as well.

So next time you have a craving for a grilled cheese, step it up a notch and try a slightly more grown up version.  Of course, snow days require that kraft cheese grilled cheese with tomato soup on the side.

Enjoy

Key West Chicken

When my husband was college his family took a vacation to Key West and while there they had a scrumpdillicious chicken sandwich that with a little practice they replicated. It’s one of my favorite ways to have chicken AND since my husband technically makes it, it also means I get a slight break from KP duty.

It’s super easy. When we make this we make a large quantity so we can leftovers. It also makes an awesome chicken salad and, even though I have not used it for this purpose, it would make a great chicken soup as well.

You start with about 7 or 8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts.  Place them in a shallow bowl, I like a 9×13 dish. Place the chicken in the dish and use about 1/2 of dill pickle juice, 1 3/4 cups of teriyaki sauce and a 1/4 cup of worcheshire sauce. Now we have picky kids who won’t eat anything on which they see spices.  Before kids, I added some caribean jerk spice also. Let this marinade for two days. Yes, two days. Sounds like overkill but it’s soooo worth it.

 

After two days toss those bad boys onto the grill. I would tell you how long but I am usually putting up my feet and enjoying a margarita.  Also I am sure you can  tell when chicken is ready. I usually serve these on toasted buns that are topped with butter and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.  My preference for sandwich topping is mayo and dill pickle slices.  But some lettuce, onion and tomato would be lovely as well. For left overs I love this on any salad.

 

That’s is super easy, with lots of left overs leaving time to enjoy the evening with the family.

 

The Sun Is Shining!!

I am completely in love with most things retro.  I am particularly wallowing in midcentury retro.  Maybe it’s that I remember being a little girl and visiting people and since it was the 70’s it just takes me back to childhood. Or maybe it’s that that it was a fun time and happy colors abound.  Whatever the reason, it is what it is and my recent re-do of our tv room is certainly mid century inspired.  One of the iconic decor items for me when thinking of the mid century is the sun burst mirrow. Kind of you very own flattened out disco ball to enjoy on your wall, if you will.  I kept looking and looking and pricing.  I could foud several GROOVY mirrors but I was really trying to keep this as inexpensive as possible. I had other big ticket items that HAD to purchased, like flooring and furniture, so obviously the embellishments were going to be on a more strict budget. Soo…pinterest to the rescue yet again and I found a tutorial for making your own mirror.  I did modify mine just a bit.  Here is the link to my inspiration http://www.hgtv.com/living-rooms/create-a-sunburst-mirror/index.html .  This is how it turned out for me.

 

I bought a basic 10 inch mirror at my local hobby store.  I began by marking off a pinwheel design on the back. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

 

Then I whipped out my handy dandy hot glue gun and glue dowel rods that I had previously spray painted silver.  The arrangement doesn’t have to be perfect and you can use more or less rods as you see fit.

 

Now here is where I ran into trouble. Maybe I am simple but I just wasn’t really tracking with how I was going to get this hung up on my wall the way the original inspiration did. The part of my trouble came in when my engineer of a husband basically got out the calculator to come up with the perfect equation of load vs dimension vs surface. My next problem was the hangover but I won’t bore you with that.   Soo…not being one to pass on free professional advise, I did take part of said engineers suggestions and modified them.  I purchased a second 10 inch mirror and tried to hot glue to dowel rods to the mirror. Notice I said tried.

 

Now here is where I ran into trouble. Maybe I am simple but I just wasn’t really tracking with how I was going to get this hung up on my wall the way the original inspiration did. The part of my trouble came in when my engineer of a husband basically got out the calculator to come up with the perfect equation of load vs dimension vs surface. My next problem was the hangover but I won’t bore you with that.   Soo…not being one to pass on free professional advise, I did take part of said engineers suggestions and modified them.  I purchased a second 10 inch mirror and tried to hot glue to dowel rods to the mirror. Notice I said tried.

After my second hangover, I purchased some E600 adhesive and put that on the dowel rods then placed the second mirror mirror side down so as to sandwich the rods between the two mirrors.

This is just the the second mirror that created the “sandwich”. I left the “rough” side of the mirror as the side to go against the wall as I thougth it would be easier to afix my alligator claw.

 You get the idea of the kind of hanging device I used to afix to the mirror and thus hang on the wall. I was so delighted in progressing with this project that I hung it without taking a picture of it.  I am also reminded by this pic that my vision really sucks. This looked completely in focus to me when I looked at the screen on the camera.  I beg your forgiveness.

Finally, all my hard work paid off and I have exactly what I want. I have thought about putting something blingy and sparkly on the dowels. I may do that in the future but for now I am happy with done and on the wall as opposed to snearing at me to finish it.

 I think it’s the perfect finish to my mid century inspired tv room redo.

 Speaking of mid century inspired…you gotta love the owls. There were super cheap…I think one was 5.99 and the other 3.99 at Ross.

 A little wall art. I was really about keeping things minimal.

 A closer look at my wall art. Super easy. I purchased a package of canvas blocks at my local hobby store.  Then I shopped my own stash for scrapbook paper in my happy colors. I just cut them down, used spray adhesive and then took sandpaper to sand the edges and make the paper flush with the blocks. I rather like how it turned out.

And that is that. Now I can put my feet, peruse Pinterest and find something else to obsess over re-doing.

I WANT THAT Wednesday!

We all have things that we want. It’s only human right!?!?!  So I thought I would share what I am totally jonesing for….

 

I am an Urban Decay JUNKIE!!  I love this cosmetics company! In particular, I have an affinity for their eye shadows, liners and primers. They are absolutely the best I have ever tried and they last and last. They have beautiful pigmentation and are amazingly blendable and comfortable. They have a new palette available called Smoked Out and it’s on my I WANT THAT! list. I am, honestly, having a hard time justifying it though. I have a few of the shades already. But I have this little devil sitting on my shoulder saying that I need a new black liner, which is included, and before long I will need more primer, which I can’t apply shadow without.

   I am soooo in love!!!

 

I found this on Pinterest and I also want this is my kitchen badly. Love love love it.

 

So what is on your I WANT THAT!!  list?

 

Make It Simple Monday

I love slider sandwiches. I always feel like I am doing a good job with keeping to a reasonable portion kind of diet. Nevermind the fact that I eat too many of those tiny little sliders and probably consume more calories that I would have if I would have just had a regular size sandwich. I found a similar post on pinterest and filed in the recesses of my mind for future use. I didn’t have a lot of time, and frankly, not alot of enthusiasm at the moment and so I just kind of threw this together based on the aforementioned recipe.

 

Basically, I only bought Martin’s potato party rolls and the ham, cheese, honey mustard dressing and pickles I already had on hand.

 I am sorry it’s blurry…again with eye issues.

 The next step was to put the rolls on the foil and slice the tops off the rolls.

 I put the ham, cheese and pickles and then added the honey mustard dressing.

 Next, I replaced the tops and drizzled water on the buns (when you wrap the foil around the sliders this will create the steaming affect and make these sandwiches the bombdiggity.  I also added some Italian seasoning to the top of the buns.

 Then just fold the foil over the sliders and I put into a preheated oven (325) for about 20 minutes.

 And voila’…super simple supper or lunch. Even my kids liked them.

The possiblities are endless. You can use any meat or veggie and condiments. My family has a traditional slider that we have on New Years made with corned beef.  (I will post that recipe another day).  Oh and here is the link for the more complicated version. I will absolutely be trying it.  http://beyerbeware.net/2011/04/hunk-of-meat-monday-game-time-favorites.html

 

 

Upcycled Dresser

I have to reiterate my love and adoration for Zinsser primer.  Before you ask, no they don’t pay me. But when you find a good product that makes life easier, you just have to share it.  I discovered the primer through Pinterest.  I can tell you the dresser in this post blog is very similar to what I had. This is also the post that introduced me to the life changing Zinsser primer  http://icreatewithlove.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-new-green-storage-solution.html I wish I would have taken a before shot but I was so happy to start the project that I just completely didn’t even think to do so.

I had originally envisioned some beautiful glass drawer pulls but I had soooo many that I would have had to buy that the cost was prohibitive. Sooo… I had a glass or three of wine and measured for new hardware. Well, as I started the upcycle of the dresser I began by removing the old and dated hardware, which truly made me cringe each time I laid eyes on it.  I held up the new draw pulls to the drawer and realized these aren’t going to work.  In my wine induced frenzy to measure, I measured wrong. So lesson learned here….do NOT consume alcohol and measure anything!!  On with the show…I decided that since the original plan was to toss the old hardware anyway what did I have to lose by trying some paint that I had on hand.  I ended up using silver crafters paint that I had purchased for a previous project. I applied about 5 coats but it worked. I ended up really liking the result of painting the original hardware.

The dresser has two coats of primer, 2 coats of Ace black paint, and 2 coats of Ace polyacrylic sealer. I love the result and for less than $50.00 I have a dresser that I really love.  A bonus is that all the products that I used dry quickly and I did this project in a day. Though I did leave it in the garage to dry before I brought in the house.

Thanks for looking and happy upcycling.

 

 

 

 

 

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