Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Pinterest Party

Since January’s Pinterest Party was about 3 of us, we worked extremely hard that night and actually didn’t finish our projects. Mine was the fire hose mat which took a couple more days. February was a great success though as the theme was glitter!

20150213_19140120150213_205154

Alex had her first Pinterest Party experience and started small with a few vases with horizontal glitter. While they don’t photograph well, they were very cute.

20150213_19141020150213_205203

Dana took her failed January craft of covering letter with paper and turned them into a gorgeous glitter “LOVE” for her mantle.

20150213_19142120150213_205212

Kim created a large vertical sign to go outside her door with red “LOVE” during January, so for February she flipped it over and went for a green “LUCK”.

20150213_19142620150213_205130

Leanne’s daughter was having a birthday so she took a couple canvases and glittered them out with “She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.”

20150213_205144

My project isn’t finished- of course- but I took a lampshade and punched out a deer silhouette. I’m planning on adding gold glitter to the inside when I stop being lazy.

IMG_5196

Since I’m backtracking- December didn’t have a craft night, but it did have a Favorite Things party, which was a wonderful night.

Smoker Pork Loin

IMG_20150215_183158

I used a smoker to cook for the first time! Coal got it all started up and I prepped my pork and cooked that sucker to perfection. I had to combine a couple recipes and create it myself a little bit, but it was incredible. If you ever get the chance to use a smoker, try this recipe out.

Dry Rub Ingredients: (from knead to cook)

1 tbl kosher salt
2 tbl of brown sugar
1 tbl chili powder
1 tbl of smoked paprika
3/4 tbl of garlic powder
1 tsp of dried tarragon
1/2 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of rosemary
1 tsp of dried thyme
1/2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc baggie or bowl. I used it on two pork tenderloins.

Herb Rub Ingredients: (from smoking-meat.com)

About a cup of fresh thyme sprigs (hard to measure things like this.. just a good handful)
1-½ sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 cloves of garlic
2 heaping tablespoons dry rub
½ cup of olive oil (you may opt to use more if it’s not liquid enough)

Place all ingredients into a food processor for best results or you can chop herbs and garlic by hand and mix with the oil and rub until well combined.

Prepare Meat for Seasoning (this is directly from smoking-meat.com)

Remove as much of the fat from the outside of the meat as possible including the silver skin with a sharp knife.

2014-IMG_3669

Make diagonal cuts on all sides about ¼ inch deep to give the rub extra surface area to stick to. (This makes a big difference)

2014-IMG_3674

The pork loin is now ready for the seasoning process.

Season the Pork Loin

Brush on some olive oil to help the rub to stick.

2014-IMG_3676

Apply a good coat of dry rub all over the pork loin (top, bottom, sides and ends)

2014-IMG_3677

Apply the Herb Rub

Place about half of the herb rub on the top side of the pork loin and rub it all over the top and sides of the meat.

2014-IMG_3678 2014-IMG_3680

Flip the pork loin over and put the other half of the herb rub on the bottom side and more on the sides and ends wherever needed.

Refrigerator Time

Place the rubbed pork loin into a bowl with a lid.

2014-IMG_3683

Put the bowl with the pork loin into the fridge for about 4-6 hours or overnight is even better.

A few minutes before you are ready to smoke the meat, take the pork loin out of the fridge.

2014-IMG_3711

Getting the Smoker Ready

You can use any smoker known to man or even a grill as long as you can maintain 225°F and provide some smoke to the heated environment in the 225-240 °F range for about 3-4 hours straight with minimal need to open the door or lid.

Smoking the Pork Loin

Place the pork loin directly on the grate.

Let it smoke cook for about 3.5 – 4 hours or until it reaches 145°F in the center of the meat using a tested digital probe meat thermometer. When it reaches 145 °F, remove it immediately from the heat, it is done.

If you have a water pan in your smoker, be sure to use it. It does a lot of good things for the smoking environment and should be used whenever possible.

***Our 2lb pork took exactly 4 hours. 10 star.

Pretzel Hot Dogs

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs with Cheddar Beer Sauce I howsweeteats.comThere is no other way to explain these but incredible. You have pretzel, you have salt, and you have hot dog. Delicious. How sweet it is has these as jalapeno pretzel dogs with cheddar beer sauce, but I couldn’t find jalapeno flakes and cheddar sauce doesn’t work for me, so these are simply pretzel dogs. I followed all of the directions and just subbed in red pepper flakes for jalapeno, but I wouldn’t even have needed that.

I would suggest that you use quality hot dogs for these instead of sausage dogs since those take longer to cook. Costco hot dogs would be perfect. We’ve made these about 3 times and have yet to get Costco dogs for them so I expect they will just get better.

Jalapeño Pretzel Dogs with Cheddar Beer Sauce

YIELD: MAKES 10 HOT DOGS

TOTAL TIME: 2 HOURS

ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon salt
10 hot dogs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup baking soda
1 large egg, lightly beaten
coarse salt for sprinkling

cheddar beer sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
8 ounces light beer
12 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste

directions:

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the mixture to the bowl of your electric mixer and add in the flour, jalapeño, salt and melted butter. Knead on low speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough comes together and is pulling away from the bowl. It will still be slightly sticky. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover. Set in a warm place to rise for about an hour or until it's doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Punch down the dough and turn it over on a floured surface, kneading a few times with your hands. Cut/break apart the dough into 10 equal parts and roll them into strips that are about 12 to 16 inches in length. Wrap each strip of dough around the hot dog, starting a the bottom. Pinch together the tops and bottoms so the dough stays together.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add baking soda. Drop in each hot dog (1 or 2 at a time) and boil for 30 to 45 seconds. Place the dough covered dogs on a nonstick baking sheet or a sheet covered with parchment paper. Brush the tops of each with the beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is deep golden in color. Serve with the beer dip and whatever condiments you like!

cheddar beer sauce
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once it's sizzling, whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two until it's golden and fragrant. Slowly pour in the beer while whisking constantly so the mixture slightly thickens. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Reduce the heat to low and slowly stir in the cheese and dijon until melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately.

 

IMG_5259IMG_5260

***10 star!

Updates

IMG_5245

My parents were over for Christmas and my mom and I were able to do yoga in the loft using the projector. I definitely advise this method.

20150212_125915

Loving my new dog bone necklace. I was hoping to find one with a little paw but after years of searching I had to make due with a little bone.

IMG_20150221_10134120150221_162410

The princess had a great weekend this last week filled with days of rolling around in grass. She visited both sets of grandparents and had plenty of play time. She also had time with the cousins walking and running around the neighborhood.

December and January BarkBoxes

BarkBox has been so incredibly on-point these days. They are absolutely dominating the subscription box market and I might have to continue my subscription when the current one runs out. Gracie absolutely loves them and I’ve asked her to stop destroying stuffies, so they are her new best buddies.

IMG_5229IMG_5230

December had a beautiful array of goodies and it makes everything so much more worth it now that they take her chicken allergy into account.

Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Bulb ($13)- This was a super cute toy for her to toss around while we had Christmas company. It’s pretty sturdy, and while it probably wouldn’t stand up against a chewer, it’s great for a big dog who just likes to toss it around.

Dogs Love Kale Sweet Potato & Kale ($9)- I actually just now read that these were supposed to be refrigerated after opening- oops. It didn’t seem to matter though and I think we just finished these off.

Safemade Holiday Tartan Bandana ($8)- I am so glad they included this! One of the things I’ve thought would be good in their boxes are bandanas or collars and they did a great winter one.

Simply Fido Renguin with Crinkle Paper Body ($12)- Cute toy. Grace is much more inclined to play with squeaky toys, so this didn’t hold much appeal for her, but it was incredibly cute.

Etta Says Rabbit Chew ($3)- These are always a hit. I like that BB does one chew and a bag of treats because Grace likes to have a chew toy from her box right away and then has the treats throughout the month. Instant gratification for her.

IMG_5256

How cute is January! Their themes are so awesome. Absolutely loving it.

Etta Says Deer Chews ($4)- Can’t go wrong with anything deer in our house. Grace got this right away and loved it.

R2Pet Monster ($10)- Yes, I could definitely pay $10 for this. I love that it has more of a quack noise instead of a squeak too. Gracie prefers a squeak, but that’s because she’s a brat.

Max & Ruffy’s Blizzard Bites ($5)- We just opened these up and they smell great. They are like a winter cookie with cinnamon and ginger and are in the perfect size to give her one when I leave the house.

Superior Farms Venison Crepe ($8)- Grace got this one pretty quickly after the box came simply because I absolutely loved the look and thought of them. She’s had one before and they are adorable. Rawhides typically upset her stomach, but these venison ones haven’t caused any issues.

Aussie Naturals Salmon Skins ($8)- These smell horrible- which means Gracie will love them and demand most. I love how unique these are and could see myself buying more for her.

Fire Hose Mat and Fire Banquet

 

20150115_17145320150116_18355120150116_184138

Since Coal’s work puts on a wonderful employee appreciation banquet each year, I decided to be a good crafter and make something to donate to their silent auction. This had more to do with the fact that a couple of the hard-working organizers are my Pinterest friends than it had to do with any giving nature of my own. Smile

While I do not recommend this project to anyone who values their finger bones, it turned out pretty awesome. There was a lot of cutting, which is difficult to do through a material that is made to be indestructible. I should have used surgical scissors to be even more accurate. I then hot glued all of the pieces into a woven pattern. This would have been better with a much larger glue gun than my tiny one. If you decide to undertake this task, make sure you buy about 100 glue sticks.

Lastly, I burnt the KCFD #1 into the thread with a pretty typical wood burner pen. It smelt and looked toxic, but worked great. Not a difficult project, but I accumulated about 8 hours on it.

20150117_18194920150117_19591120150117_195928

The night in general was a great time and we celebrated Coal’s 8 years with the department.

Keurig Organizer

My mom recently bought into my endorsement of Keurigs and purchased one for herself. I decided that she needed an organizer to store all of the kcups that I was getting her for Christmas.

20141220_14160420141220_150155

This required a LOT of measuring and cutting.

20141220_15392520141220_160321

Some patterned tape worked out great for all of the edges and will hopefully keep it cleaner.

20141220_160848

Overall a cute little way to give my momma her new kcups.

Christmas 2014

It’s going to be a full day of updates- starting with Christmas!

I loved my decorations this year, which included four Pinterest projects (two from craft parties!) that worked out great.

20141130_153020

This was a great Pinterest wreath that I put together with my sister-in-laws during Thanksgiving. Absolutely fantastic project. Takes a ton of ornaments and ends up very heavy, but it’s gorgeous.

20141130_20385320141130_195658

My updated stairs with the Pinterest-inspired sledding hill.

20141212_19115320141212_191222

My lighted fabric garland from November’s Pinterest Craft night and a believe burlap sign from one of my Pinterest friends.

20141212_17050320141212_170139

Different lighted areas in the house. I decided afterwards that the tub was even better with icicle lights.

20141212_19052420141212_190538

The crazy-cute light bulb snowmen from a Pinterest Party night. While the white took a long time to paint (I should have spray painted them), the project was adorable.

20141225_174158

The tree. Ohhh, ahhh. It turns out that each year I end up getting a bigger tree and this year’s was a fatty. I had to use all of my 4 colored lights in addition to 2 strands of white. Worth it.