Monday, December 22, 2014

The Masterpiece Dressform

Are you ready for this? It is probably one of my favorite wins from Pinterest. The duct tape dress form!

There aren’t really instructions, but it’s pretty self-explanatory, it just would have been nice to have a few helpful hints.

Here is the original pin:

How to make your own dress form. I think making a dress form may be a good plan before diving into dress planning. . .

And here is mine!

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So here are my suggestions:

1. You don’t need to wear a t-shirt like the original model. I thought a swimsuit would be easier since I didn’t have a shirt I wanted cut up. The swimsuit worked and we didn’t even end up cutting it.

2. Wrap yourself in saran wrap first. This saved the swimsuit and helped to make sure that the form was skin tight.

3. Try to puff out your chest a bit. Since you’re making a form, you probably don’t want the chest to compress and you end up making a very tight top because of it. I’m going to need to add some layering on mine to make it a little larger.

4. Have surgical scissors! Cole used about 10 layers of tape on this beauty and we would have had a messy job getting me out of it without heavy duty scissors.

That’s all! It’s awesome and works!

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Kahlua Hot Chocolate Marshmallows

Kahlua Hot Chocolate Marshmallows by Bakers Royale

FLUFFIEST HOMEMADE KAHLÚA MARSHMALLOWS
YIELD: 8-10 servings
Ingredients:
½ cup Kahlúa
3 tablespoons gelatin (3 packets)
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
Preparation: Lightly cover a 9x9 pan with nonstick spray. Place parchment on top and then cover once more with nonstick spray. (The first layer of nonstick spray will help to keep the parchment paper in place.)

Pour Kahlúa in to a stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Sprinkle gelatin on top. Set aside.
In the meantime, place the sugar, water, and maple syrup in a saucepan with over medium heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook without stirring until candy thermometer read 240 degrees F, about 12-15 minutes.
Pour syrup mixture into gelatin mixture; beat on low until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until thick and fluffy and mixture triples in volume, about 10 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Using an lightly oiled spatula, scrape mixture into prepared pan. Use a lightly oiled offset spatula to smooth out top (top surface will not be completely even). Set aside in a cool place, (not the refrigerator) for 8 hours or overnight. Use a serrated knife and slice into 1 inch cubes. Cover cut sides with cornstarch and confectioner sugar mixture. Marshmallows will keep in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

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I decided to make these at the last minute because I had the ingredients and I was making a bunch of other items that had a long process so I was basically standing around in the kitchen doing nothing. I’ve made marshmallows before and wasn’t addicted, but I also didn’t hate them. These were very easy to make with the hardest part being the wait to get the mixture hot enough. They were a lot more dense than I expected and were not super fluffy, but they tasted great. They pretty much tasted exactly like you would think coffee marshmallows would. 6 star.

Throw Some Glitter on it

I wish I had thought to take a picture of this beforehand because it was pretty gaudy. It was black plastic with a bunch of fake black jewels hanging from it. About 25 jewels to be exact. I decided to go the minimalist route and Cole spray painted it gold and then I sprayed some of the jewels with adhesive and threw some glitter on them in the interest of being a cheapskate. I’ll probably invest in some better jewels in the future but it definitely works for a centerpiece as it is now.

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Updates

Wins:

3This Shea Moisture African Black soap. I received this as a sample and I am loving it. It’s a very cool product that smells great and turns a slight gray color when it gets wet. Very cool and not super expensive. If you’re looking for a new soap, check it out.

IMG_4710I changed around my laundry soap formulas a little bit to try and decide what I liked most for the time that I devoted to it. I made a liquid formula some time ago, but it was actually a lot of work and while I loved it, I did not love having 5 containers of it sitting around. I then tried a grated soap and did not love it. I just prefer liquid. Since then I have found one that I can make at the very last second and it does the job. This concentrated soap is definitely worth the lack of work that I put into it. It also doesn’t require Fels-Naptha soap so it lessens the work.

IMG_5103[2]Just a quick update on length and color combo of my hair. Loving it, but I wouldn’t have lasted this long if I hadn’t discovered putting it in a sock bun to get these curls.

IMG_5171Here’s my last Love with Food box for anyone thinking of subscribing to that. Don’t. It’s just not worth it and I ended up not enjoying about half of the items each time.

mms_picture (1)Also, my new shoes! I bought these at Ross for about $20 and am absolutely loving them. I think they are Madeline brand, which I have never heard of, but I really love them and would probably purchase that brand again.

November BarkBox

I figured that it would be a good idea to get our November BarkBox up before December came!

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I read a review on this prior to receiving it and was majorly anticipating it. It was even better than I expected.

Petprojekt Dogmeat Turkey Leg ($12)- I knew that this would not be a hit because a large dog should never be given this kind of toy materials. Even if it is durable, it’s still a toy that is very scary if it’s destroyed. I did give this to Grace for a little bit of supervised play and she was not a fan. I think that the squeak of it was too high pitched because every time she squeaked it she would then whine. Similar to the sound a fire truck makes that causes them to howl. Anyway, she didn’t want to play with it and she gave it to a friend.

Caru Real Pork Stew ($6)- I was the most excited about this! I was so glad to see it in my box after reading about it on another review. We’re actually saving it for this week so I can be around the entire time in case it doesn’t agree with her.

Petmate Chef Heggies ($10)- Huge hit. This heggie chef has something similar to a plastic bottle in him so he makes a crunchy noise that Gracie loves. She actually played with him for about a week and loved him, but then she got mad when her dad was shooting guns outside without her and she decided to tear off heggie’s arm. Heggie is now taken away until he can be supervised.

Superior Farms Lamb Biscuits ($10)- I love the variety of meats that BarkBox uses. These are in the shapes of hearts and Gracie loves them. They are the perfect size to give her when I leave the house. I actually knocked them over and she ate about 8 and didn’t have any upset stomach problems. Great treats.

We’re very happy with November and are definitely looking forward to what December has- I’ve seen that it might have a bandana!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Slow Cooker "Melt in Your Mouth" Pot Roast

Yes, this pot roast is delicious.

Slow Cooker "Melt in Your Mouth" Pot Roast

Yields 4 - 6 servings.


Ingredients:

1 chuck roast (mine was 3 pounds)
Olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks (optional)
1 cup beef broth
1 tablespoons corn starch

SEASONING MIX -

2 tablespoons steak seasoning (mine is store-bought and has a blend of peppercorns, garlic, paprika, parsley and salt)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary

Directions:

Combine together seasoning mix in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Coat both sides of meat with olive oil.  Sprinkle on a third of the seasoning mix onto each side.

Sear both sides of the meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer roast to slow cooker.

Place the vegetables in a large bowl.  Drizzle on a little olive oil to coat vegetables.  Sprinkle on the remaining seasoning mix.  Add the vegetables to the same skillet that was used to sear the meat. Sauté for about five minutes - stirring occasionally.

Transfer the vegetables to the top of the roast in the slow cooker.  Pour in the beef broth. Cover with lid.

Cook on low for 9 hours or on high for 6 hours.
Using a turkey baster, retrieve most of the cooking juices from the slow cooker.  Transfer juices to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat on the stovetop.  Whisk together the cornstarch with a little water.  Blend into the pan juices while whisking.  Bring back to a simmer until thickened.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Transfer the roast and vegetables to a large platter.  Ladle the gravy over.  Serve immediately.

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***8 star. This worked out great. The potatoes would have been completely mashed by the time it was done, but I added more halfway through so it was a perfect mix of mashed and whole. It didn’t take even close to 9 hours. I bought the 3 lb roast, but it probably only took 6 hours on low. Well worth it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts

Baked Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients (I usually half this recipe because it makes a lot)

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp ground sage
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs
8 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp ground black pepper
canola oil for frying
Instructions

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound the meat to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Alternatively, you can slice the breasts by placing them flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife to slice them into halves horizontally.
Sift together the flour, salt, black pepper, ground ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage paprika and cayenne pepper. NOTE: This flour and spice dredge mix is sufficient for two batches of this chicken recipe so divide the batch and store 1/2 in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. I always like to make enough for next time...and there's always a next time with this recipe.
Make an egg wash by whisking together the eggs and water.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dip the meat in the flour and spice mixture. Dip the breast into the eggwash and then a final time into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the meat to get good contact.
Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. You will want to carefully regulate the temperature here so that the chicken does not brown too quickly. The thinness of the breast meat practically guarantees that it will be fully cooked by the time the outside is browned. I find just below medium heat works well. I use a burner setting of about 4 1/2 out of 10 on the dial and fry them gently for about 4 or 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.
Drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes before dipping the cooked breasts into the Honey Garlic Sauce. Serve with noodles or rice.
To make the Honey Garlic Sauce:
In a medium saucepan add the 2 tbsp olive oil and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but do not let it brown.
Add the honey, soy sauce and black pepper.
Simmer together for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Watch this carefully as it simmers because it can foam up over the pot very easily.

Dip the baked pieces in the sauce and serve immediately.

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***You need this recipe in your life. It is so incredibly good. It has just the right amount of spice to it and goes great with pasta. Cole and I both give it 10 stars.

November Pinterest Party

November’s theme for our Pinterest Party was Christmas! This was probably the party that everyone ended up staying the latest for because we were all so excited about what we were working on.

Maddie was making some boot cuffs. Sadly, she didn’t finish at the party, but that’s not surprising given the amount of work involved.

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Leanne made stocking holders with “Noel”.

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Kim made an advent calendar with baby food jars and goodies in each one with an activity for her and her daughter to complete that day.

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Dana put together a super cute wood block snowman, complete with scarf and hat.

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Stacy completed a very impressive stocking holder sign. There was some pre-drilling involved, but we forgave her for not doing that at the party.

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I actually completed a very time-consuming lighted garland. I ended up folding the strand of lights in half because of the work involved and had to recruit Kim to help me tie all of the individual strips of fabric. It ended up taking longer than I thought and using a lot more fabric than I imagined…but I LOVE it!

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Kim also decided to make a gigantic one for her tree since the party, because she’s a showoff. Smile

This was probably one of my favorite parties. Everyone had a great time and we did some projects that we absolutely loved.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What We Ate

Spiced Tortilla Chip Crusted Pork- 7 stars. Great spice to it. Perfect to make when you have an electronic meat thermometer. Cole already made again for work.

Spiced Tortilla Chip Crusted Pork Chop- 7 star. Great spice

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Mongolian Beef- 9 stars. A favorite of Cole’s and special request for his birthday. Keeping on the list, even if my picture looks disgusting.

9 star- Mongolian Beef. Cole loves

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Crock Pot Turkey- 6 stars. Would have been even better if I bought a turkey instead of chicken! Will try again with turkey and try for a better picture.

Turkey Breast of Wonder (Crock Pot) | In crockpot, add orange juice, whole berry cranberry sauce, onion soup mix, pour over breast, cook 5-6 hours. Only took 6 hours. Very good and easy. 6 star

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Salsa Verde Chicken and Wild Rice Soup- 7 soup stars. Cole doesn’t love soup, but would try this again. Will make again for company.

Salsa Verde Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Soup rating 7 stars

 

Salisbury Steak Meatballs- 6 stars. Not the best if you don’t like mustard. Probably won’t make again.

Salisbury Steak Meatballs. 6 stars

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Love with Food

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This is going to be a short post because I don’t love Love with Food. I’m pretty much just including this because have you tried Justin’s Chocolate Almond Butter? YUM! I really don’t like the regular, but the chocolate is a perfect mix of DAIRY FREE! That’s really all I care about these days. If something is dairy free, I’m sold.

October BarkBox

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Little miss received her October BarkBox and it was another win. The theme was Happy Halloween of course, and they did a wonderful job on curating the goodies.

Here’s what it had:

Plush Puppies Squeaker Mat Mummy ($15)- I totally believe that this is a $15 toy. It is very large and has multiple squeakers in it. I’ve given it to Gracie to chew when I’m in the room and she hasn’t destroyed it yet! She seems to enjoy just mouthing it, so I’m hoping it will last a little longer.

Max & Ruffy’s Pumpkin Patch Bites ($4)- I love anything Max and Ruffy and they’ve always been a success with Gracie. I really don’t mind receiving the same brands because they are always different flavors.

IMG_5130Snicky Snacks Cinnamon Crunch Bar ($2)- Gracie knows that BarkBoxs are for her, but she was especially obsessed with this months until I gave her this bar. Considering that it’s only $2, I will be looking for this again.

American Dog Toys Flash&Go Ball ($10)- I think we’ve gotten one of these before, but I can’t find it. I know that Gracie could care less about the glow, but I’m planning on throwing it outside in the dark for her to see if she’s interested.

Hare of the Dog Rabbit Jerky Stick ($3)- Love this. Gracie immediately took it outside to chew in privacy when I gave it to her.

Heartland Premium Weasand Strips ($3)- Another success. I really enjoy that we’re not getting chicken products. BB has an option for an allergy-free box, but I don’t know if I’m just getting lucky or if they actually have that option marked for me.

The great boxes that they’ve been doing lately almost make me wish we were continuing our membership, but it’s so hard for me to do when they offer the bigger discounts to new people instead of long-standing customers. We’ll see.

Apple Dessert Pizza

I finally found an occasion to make this pizza! Cole was not very supportive of me making it at home when it was just the 2 of us, and I actually agree. We would not have been able to stop ourselves from eating the entire thing.

I decided to make this when we went over to our friends house. We got to spend time with our nephew, Henry, and have some great food with our friends. Henry was obviously a little shocked to see us.

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Anyway, since this was a dessert pizza, I deviated from the original recipe that had a normal crust and decided to make a graham cracker one. Picky Palate had both recipes on her site. Graham Cracker Dough, Apple Peanut Butter S’mores Pizza.

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The dough worked out great and I actually made it prior to us going to their house and then put it in the fridge at their place. I did have a hard time not eating all of the dough before making it.

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The pizza itself was amazing. It was jam-packed with goodness. If I make it again I may try out peanut butter, pears, and honey as a new spin. Overall, it was fantastic and 10 stars.

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