Wednesday, November 25, 2015

DIY gone awry

For over a year, I've had some perfectly patina'd picket fence slats in the garage.  I was going to make shabby chic type signs with them, got unmotivated and there they sat.  I was getting the feeling the Mr was going to chuck them if I didn't do something with them and with a self imposed Christmas decorating deadline looming, I decided to hop into an idea I had last year.  Funnily enough, this idea failed last year too as a pencil tracing technique on a stained piece of wood didn't work and I said screw it.  I was determined to make it work this time!

I took the pickets and arranged every other board facing the same way so it didn't look like I ripped a fence out of someone's yard and ran.

I had scrap board that I cut to screw into the back of each slat.

But before that, I had to see if our shortest screws would work with the scrap wood and slats...

As you can see, that would've poked through so I had the Mr pick up 3/4" screws instead of the 1" ones we had on hand.

I installed another scrap piece in the back and screwed in a D ring that holds 60 lbs on the back.

I sealed the back with clear primer in case there were any buggers that tried to take up residence in there.

Since I don't have one of those fancy pants Cricut thingys, I had to go old school and print out my saying and then use an exacto knife to cut it out.

I used a pencil to trace it onto the boards and got to painting.

After I was done with my first coat, I saw it...

Did you catch it?

Tannenbaum is misspelled.


This project is doomed.

I refused to let it get to me.  I painted a few coats of Pure White Annie Sloan paint over it after I sanded it down and put a light coat over the other slats to try to save the natural distressing.

I won't lie...I died a little inside losing all of that beautiful natural patina.

I reprinted and after checking the spelling 60x, repeated the process.

I put a coat of wax on it to seal everything in and keep the paint from chipping off.

Now it's hanging up on the wall to greet everyone as they come in!

The lesson, be persistent even when the crafting Gods are pissing in your Cheerios!

Have you ever bombed a DIY project?  Were you able to save it or did you scrap it?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Holiday Recipe Round Up 2015

It's crunch time!

If you are getting ready to head out to get groceries for the big feast, don't forget these awesome recipes courtesy of moi just for you and your family to enjoy!  Just click the link under the pic to see the recipe.

Main Dish

How to Cook the Perfect Holiday Turkey


My Favorite Thanksgiving Stuffing

Rosemary Honey Glazed Roasted Root Veggies

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Millionaire's Bacon

Sweet Figgy Potatoes

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions & Bacon


Bacon Date Jam

Herb & Roasted Garlic Turkey Gravy


Figgy Sweet Potato Pie

Maple Pumpkin Puff Cookies

Light Pumpkin Pie Cups

Pecan Date Bites

Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf

Now get to making that grocery list!  I know I'm making mine!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Stocking stuffers, bad lighting and Quasimoto

Christmas exploded this weekend.

We went on a little road trip and went to this store that usually has pretty good deals on items for stocking stuffers.  I wasn't overly impressed this year but still managed to drop $75 anyway.  We looked all over town for a newly opened restaurant and by the time we got there it was super crowded and a wait.  No thanks.  So we went to this other place the Mr went with co-workers and it wasn't bad.  We stopped at an antique shop but it wasn't the one I thought it was so I was really bummed because I know a few dealers in that place always have some good vintage Christmas stuff in there this time of year.  But we had no time to waste since there was football to be watched so we couldn't go to the other place right behind it.

After the hoopla was over with, we stopped by World Market,Michael's and Lowes to grab a few things and grabbed dinner on the way home.  We started watching the Muppets Christmas Carol and fell asleep on each other and woke up at 1am with a kink in my neck.

Sunday I woke up at 6:45am as usual.  I seriously hate it when I can't sleep in despite being able to and getting to bed later.  Grrr.  It was time to clean the table of all of the craft crap on it and the Mr got the dishes going.   I made brunch of pumpkin pancakes, eggs and bacon.

I love brunch...brunchy, brunch, brunch.

Then it was time to bring up the tree and get that crap going.  I made the mistake of buying a storage bag for the tree branches and it made the whole thing stink and I'm highly allergic to the stench it gives off.  I was sneezing and itching all friggin' day.  Then of course we were having light issues and I just wanted to say forget it this year.  The Mr ran to Home Depot and got a Light Keeper PRO to see if it would fix the strand and I'll be damned if it didn't!  Let the decorating begin!

We took the tree from bare to fully dressed...

We still have some more to go but the majority of it is done.  When it came time to workout, I was so NOT into it.  I was laying on the ground with my head on the foam roller and closed my eyes.  If the Mr can't see me, we can't workout.  Apparently when I close my eyes, I can't see him but he can still see me.  He stood up and I inflicted 25 minutes of Shaun T Focus Cardio on us.  I was glad we did it and we high fived in celebration.  Then I broke my back wiring the skis.  I had to re-roll to crack my spine back into place.  If I am not Quasimoto after all of that and my DIY project I finally finished this week, it'll be a miracle.

I have SOOOO much to do this week.  I'm sure you guys do as well.  Speaking of which...

What did you get into this weekend?

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Friday, November 20, 2015

DIY blow up and what I'm reading this week

This has been the longest week ever.

I had a DIY project blow up on me yesterday.  Instead of turning it into kindling, I made and took pics of a recipe.  I'm trying to salvage it but trust me, I'll blog about what some would call a pinterest fail but it's my own idea so it's my own fail.  Beh.

But enough about my craptastic project gone awry, let's get to...

Studies Reveal Health Benefits of Vacations, Parks  (I could've told you that!)

Read This Woman's Perfect Response After Being Fat-Shamed at the Gym   (Here's what pisses me off the most.  People say something because you're fat and then you try to change that by going to the gym and they say something because you're fat but obviously trying to do something about it.  How about minding your own damn treadmill)

Then & Now: The Cast of "Home Alone"  (Can't believe it's been 25 years!)

Why Using a Heart Rate Monitor Is Totally Worth It  (Love mine!)

Older man gives heartwarming necktie lesson in train station  (Courtesy of the Mr)

15 Ways to Motivate Yourself That Actually Work  (Good tips!)

Our Favorite Trivia From 'Home Alone'—Which Came Out 25 Years Ago  (The pizza story is interesting, so was the original intended Uncle Frank)

Your Holiday Angst Is America’s Oldest Tradition  (Yay?)

Your iPhone Keeps a List of Everywhere You’ve Ever Been. Here’s How to Delete It  (Mr...check your work phone asap!  Seriously, get up off the couch)

11 Spellbinding Facts About 'The Witches'  (I used to love this movie as a kid.  Angelica was amazing in it)

22 Classic Country Ideas for Outdoor Christmas Decorations  (LOVE the soda crate idea!)

14 Foods You're Probably Pronouncing Wrong (Oh, so that's how you pronounce that)

7 Easy Thanksgiving Breakfasts to Feed the Crowd  (I eat a hard boiled egg, then bring on the feast!)

The Force of Star Wars Collectibles  (For the Mr and other wookie lovers)

We're decorating for Christmas this weekend.  I know, some may think it's jumping the gun but there is far too much going on every weekend after for me to do it with any kind of genuine holiday cheer.

What are you guys getting into this weekend?

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

This is my jam, yo!

I cannot even begin to tell you the magic that is this recipe.  It's one of the few things that will stop the Mr in his tracks.  Like given the choice between seeing the Force Awakens on opening day in an empty theater and never having this recipe again, he may actually struggle.  It's THAT good.  Have a foodie friend and you're wanting to make an awesome gift, this is the gift they will be raving about.  Everyone that has tasted this when I've made it (and not told them what it was ahead of time) has absolutely loved it.

Why didn't I put the name in the title?  Because I know it would get skipped if you saw the middle word in the recipe...

Wait!  Wait!  Where were you going!  I saw that nose crinkle.  Mine used to until I tried dates and they taste like pecan pie when you stuff a pecan in the middle.  Dates are used to sweeten all kinds of things and the sweetness isn't overwhelming.  You pair this sweet, creamy powerhouse with smoky pepper bacon and yummy, buttery caramelized onions and you have the best thing to go in your pie hole since...well, pie.

Here's what you'll need for about a 10-12 oz jars worth.

8 pieces of thick sliced pepper bacon
15 medjool dates, pitted
1 medium onion

One of our local health stores sells some awesome thick cut pepper bacon, if you can't find thick cut like that, you can get similar pre-packaged bacon at the grocery store.

Time to get the fat rendering in the skillet.  Cook on medium heat.

While the bacon is cooking, time to cut the onion.

Cut in 1/2" rings.

When the bacon reaches this stage, turn the heat down to simmer and move any fattier pieces (the the one on the far right) to the middle so the fat isn't under done.

Time to focus on the dates.

If your dates aren't pre-pitted, it takes 3 seconds per date to slice down the middle and pop the pit out.

When the dates are pitted, put them in a small saucepan and fill with water until the dates are just covered and cook over medium heat.

Grab the bacon from the skillet and put it on paper towels to drain.

Discard half the oil left and do NOT scrape out the brown bits left over.  Those are going to become part of the awesome.

Separate your onion rings and put in skillet over medium heat.

After about 10 minutes, flip the onions over.  See that delicious pepper stuck to the onions?  That's what makes it so much better than regular bacon.  Keep an eye on the onions and flip them about every 5 minutes and put a cover over it to seal in the moisture and help speed along caramelization.

Let's chop the bacon, shall we?

Add about 1-2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and it will loosen the brown bits of awesome on the pan and stir the onions to incorporate it.

When the dates are really boiling away, you'll see the skins starting to pull away from the date.  That means they're done.

Put the dates on a plate or cutting board but make sure you save the "date water."  You're gonna need that.

See how the date skins are peeling back?  That's what you want.

If the dates are straight out of the pan, use two forks to pull the skins off.

If you give them a few minutes to cool down to handle (but still be warm), you can pull the skin off with your fingers easily.

Put the date 'meat' into a bowl and give a quick stir.

Add the bacon to the onions over low heat.

Most onions will fall apart with a stir but if you have some longer pieces, break it up into a small dice with a fork or spatula.

Like so.

Add the dates to the party and fold together.

The mixture can be thick so add date water a tablespoon at a time and stir after each addition.  (I did about 4-5 tablespoons)

This is the consistency you're shooting for.

I like to sterilize old honey jars for just such occasions.

Not only can you keep this for yourself but if you have a true foodie friend that is hard to shop for, this gift (kept cold in transit) will be one that is raved about for years to come!

Put a pretty label on the front with the "made on" date
 This freezes beautifully and that's what I did with mine.  I'm doing one bag for an afternoon tea to make bacon date jam phyllo cups and the other will be to slather on leftover turkey sandwiches.  It's also amazing on burgers, stir a spoonful or two into your stuffing, with veggies and pretty much anything!

Makes 10 two tablespoon servings.

(Sodium will vary greatly depending on the bacon you use so this nutritional info is a ballpark)

Linked up with The Heathered Nest, French Country Cottage, Home Stories A to Z, Sand and Sisal, The Crafty Blog Stalker

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