March 12, 2015

Framed Chalkboard Calendar DIY

I have a super busy 13 year old son and keeping track of his schedule has become tricky.  My solution?  I purchased a big ol' framed  picture from our local thrift store, removed the glass, spray painted the frame red, applied chalkboard paint directly to the picture itself....that's it, a quick easy DIY chalkboard calendar was born!  Best part... total cost was under $10 bucks.  Winning!

(I'm doing several very thin coats of chalkboard paint so its not quite finished.  I will post pics when complete)


March 1, 2015

Tiramisu Brownie Bars

Betty Crocker offered up this fun recipe for easy Tiramisu Brownie Bars.  I cant wait to try it!
Thanks Betty!
 

Click here for instructions....

February 26, 2015

Chinese Chicken Salad

I love Chef-in-training, she has amazing recipes!  For some reason the Chinese Chicken Salad just screams spring to me.  I cant wait to try this, I think I'll add cucumbers and sprouts.  I think I'll even maybe try a different dressing like ginger sesame or even a yummy raspberry vinaigrette....


Click here for the recipe.....

February 24, 2015

Chalkboard Cake!

Oh.  My.  Gosh!  I LOVE this!
I didn't know if this would work but it did. 
Perfectly.
I covered a cake in black fondant then used almond bark as the chalk to write on the cake just like a chalkboard. 
 
 
 

 
*Tips*
Allow fondant covered caked to sit over-night.  The bark doesn't write well on freshly rolled fondant.
 
Use a sharp knife to chip almond bark into pieces to be used as chalk.
 
Do not press too hard when writing or it will leave a mark in the fondant.
 
Don't worry about mistakes, the almond bark will actually erase off using just a dry paper towel.

Grow Green Onions! (basically forever)

So I saw this online and didn't believe it but then thought "hmmmm, why not try it?"  Uhm ya, it's totally true, they grow.

 
After cutting your green onions place the bulb end with roots in a jar and add a little water.  That's its, you're a green onion farmer. 

Magical.
 
 

February 21, 2015

February 19, 2015

Meal Makeover Ideas from Cooking.com

I think most of us can agree that we get stuck in ruts when it comes to meal planning.  Kids have their favorites but they can get old, right?  Cooking.com just offered up some really amazing Meal Makeover Ideas that I cant wait to try.  The basic dish is there, its just jazzed up a bit.  Yay! 

 

February 14, 2015

DIY Laundry Soap

DIY Laundry Detergent CONCENTRATE
 
 
 

This is my first try at detergent concentrate so I still need to test it out a bit but I think I'm going to like it.

Here is my concentrate recipe.....

2 quarts water
2 bars grated soap (I use ZOTE or FELS NAPTHA)
2 C Borax
1 C Washing Soda
1 C Baking Soda

*Purex Crystals - optional

Pour water into a LARGE pan and bring to a simmer.  Slowly add grated soap and stir until it is all dissolved.  DO NOT WALK AWAY.  If it gets too warm you will have one heck of a giant soapy mess to clean up and you will be kicking yourself in the fanny whilst yelling WHY?  WHY?  WHY?  Seriously.  Don't walk away.   Once soap has dissolved, remove pan from heat and gradually add your dry ingredients.  (I put all the measured dry ingredients into a bowl and mix it up good before incorporating into your melted soap)

Stir for several minutes while ingredients are dissolving.

No place the whole pot in a cool place and set a timer for 5 minutes.  After five minutes, give the mix a good stir, it should be 'gelling' up.  Again let it sit for another 5 and stir again.  Complete these steps until your mixture has cooled.  It will turn into a rather odd texture, kind of like ice cream but the final product should be slightly dry.

Pour your laundry detergent concentrate in to a large container with a scoop or tablespoon.  I use 1-2 tablespoons per load.

Personalized Storybook

I'm always looking for that 'something special' and I definitely found it at Put Me In The Story.  I ordered the sweetest personalized book for my granddaughter and I'm incredibly happy with the final result.   Its so darn cute that I couldn't even wait for Valentines Day to give it to her, I wrapped it up and gave it to her the very next day!

 

February 13, 2015

Homemade Playdough

Peyton's Special Playdough

I saw this fun recipe for playdough online that uses just 2 ingredients, hair conditioner and cornstarch.  I did a little poking around and found several different 'no fail' recipes.  With no clue what I was doing I decided to start with equal parts hair conditioner and cornstarch.... Come to find out, this isn't a good combo so we added about 1/4 cup more cornstarch, really worked it in good and it came out beautiful.  Silky smooth.  (I started with 1 cup conditioner and 1 cup cornstarch then added the extra cornstarch.  I think this will vary depending on humidity)
 
I tried using a spoon to mix it but just dive on in and use your hands, its so much more fun and much, much faster.  I made this with my sweet little granddaughter and we had a blast.  We tried to be 'gentle' when mixing and didn't make too much of a mess.  The clean up was far easier than expected.  Winning!
 
I also added a few drops of food color but this is totally optional.
 
 


 

February 11, 2015

Summer Shape Up

Jillian Michaels put together a fitness plan to shape up for Summer.  I have to confess Jillian isn't my favorite but she really know what shes doing.

(for some reason this picture makes me chuckle)

Click here for your summer shape up plan.....

Painting and Distressing Wood by BHG

I love repurposing and refinishing projects.  BHG gives us step by step instructions on how to paint and distress wood projects.
 
Instructions here

Alfredo Sauces * Olive Garden Style


One of the things I love about Italian restaurants is the quality of their silky smooth, straight from heaven alfredo sauce.  Yum.  So.... in an effort to become a better cook at home I am trying different types of alfredo recipes.  If I can learn this, maybe I can save a little by eating in when Italian is the request.


***In all the recipes I've picked to try they all stress the emphasis on FRESH PARMESAN CHEESE, nothing grated from your grocer.  Apparently there are additives to the shredded stuff that prevents the cheese from melting smoothly.  Ya, that's a biggie, cuz we want smooooooooth.


'Olive Garden' Alfredo Sauce
 
1/4 lb. butter (1stick)j
2 C. heavy cream
1/2 - 3/4 C. FRESH GRATED Parmesan Cheese
1 t. garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)
 
In saucepan combine the butter and cream.  Simmer until all is melted and mixed well.  Stir in the FRESH parmesan cheese and garlic powder.
Simmer for 15-2- min on low - may with to add sal and papper at this point.
 
*NO STORE BOUGHT GRATED CHEESE!!!!!


February 10, 2015

Cake Mix Lemon Bars

My mamma makes the BEST lemon bars EVER but when I've tried to make them using her recipe it NEVER EVER worked.  I totally gave up trying.  Then I came across cake mix bar recipes and thought 'hmmmm, wonder if I could use a lemon cake mix and maybe make a new version of lemon bars???'  The recipe includes cream cheese which my son hates so I was sure he wouldn't like them but I gave them a try anyway.   Holy smokes!  Amazing!  They are so easy, and so ooey gooey yummy and the boys LOVED THEM!  Totally winning!

The recipe is done in 2 parts which made me a little nervous but its super dooper easy.

 
Cake Mix Lemon Bars Recipe
 
~bottom/dry/crust layer~
 
1 box lemon cake mix, dry (not prepared)
8 T. butter, melted
1 egg
 
Heat oven to 350
In medium bowl combine cake mix, melted butter and egg.  Mix until smooth and well combined.
Pat and press dough evenly over bottom of greased 9x13 pan. 
Set aside.
 
 
~Gooey Layer~
 
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
16 oz powdered sugar
 
In a separate bowl beat and cream the soft cream cheese.  Add eggs and beat until smooth and well blended about 2 minutes.
Slowly incorporate powdered sugar until well combined.
 
Pour over crust/bottom layer and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
DO NOT OVER BAKE - you want the gooey layer to be oooey-gooey.
Let cool, serve and enjoy all the yummy amazing compliments!!!
 
*You can sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top to make them look pretty.

February 9, 2015

Homemade Laundry Detergent.... its time again

Well its been one year almost exactly since I made laundry detergent and we are nearly out.  Its time to whip up another batch.  I think my favorite is the liquid so that's all I'm going to make this time around. 
 


Click here for recipe and instructions