Happy Thanksgiving!

So I LOVE Thanksgiving. Fact. Its one of the greatest holidays we have. I mean think about it…We get the day off. You get to spend some quality time with family and/or friends and the main objective is to EAT. Its basically the greatest meal you’re gonna eat all year. And its awesome. 

One of the best parts of all this holiday feasting is the fact that there are LEFTOVERS. No other meal inspires the greatest leftover meals than Thanksgiving. 

Seriously….just take a peek at this guy.

Image

Who wouldn’t forward to this guy? This guy has everything you need. Mayo, Turkey (white meat only because I’m particular), stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. BOOM.

Now some people try to leave out the cranberry sauce…this a mistake. It ties the whole thing together and is what differentiates it from your daily run-of-mill turkey sandwiches. 

Anyways…I hope you all had a stellar Thanksgiving! and that you are currently in the process of stuffing your face with a leftover sandwich of your very own!!

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Leonardo da Who? One Gal’s Attempt at Chevron

Da Vinci ain’t got nothing on me these days. I’ve been painting more and more…something that actually comes as a little bit of a surprise to me because I have some OCD perfectionist issues.

The whole painting thing started kind of gradually. Certain cities (like Boston) have this thing called Paint Nite. Where local artists set up in random bars and teach you how to recreate their painting…while you drink of course. Its really fun and shows up on the groupon type sites. I’ve gone with my lady pals twice now and painted some cool stuff.

Paint Nite Number One: Cityscape; Paint Nite Number 2: Cocktail 🙂 Third is a picture I copied off of one I saw on the internet lol.

Anyways…this is just to show how it began. Back to the present. I have a living room full of blank walls and it bugged me so I went on a trip to Michaels and got some paints and canvass. This is the most recent painting adventure I’ve embarked on. The DIY Chevron.

Ugh. Looking at this irritates me. Here’s the thing. I read on a blog about how “it’s so easy” to DIY Chevron and that the secret is to basically treat it like a pie crust (the woven kind). FALSE. It sucked and I instantly regretted it lol. It made the tape not stick well because you handle it so much, plus it was just WAY more work than just making a pattern.

Once you get your Chevron lines figured out then you can start painting. I went for solid stripes.

Here’s where my OCD kicks in a little. Because I had handled the tape so much making the lines, they ended up bleeding a little. Which is just mildly annoying to look at. Also the stripes are 100% equal…but I’ve been learning to brush this biz off and try and ignore it.

This is more of a weekend project because you have to wait for the first stripes to be completely dry before you finish. So I painted the first stripes Friday night and finished it all up on Saturday. You cover the painted stripes with your painters tape then paint away. I went for a messy approach. I just painted random colors over the tape.

Once the paint is dry, peel the tape off and BOOM. You got yourself a piece of art. So there you have it folks. Go forth and put Van Gogh to shame!

DIY Ink Coasters

As you know by now, this girl loves a good craft. On one of my many journeys through the depths of the Pinterest universe I can across this guy. (you have to scroll a bit to get to the ink coaster post).

This craft adventure appealed to me on many levels. First, I love coasters. I think they’re great. Second, the colors looked super cool.

 

It occurs to me as I’m writing this that I didn’t take any ‘during’ photos of this project…just final shots. Oh well…I’ll paint you a word picture lol.

 

These are actually pretty simple to make. But you do need to prepare a bit first.

Things you’ll need:

-Ceramic tiles (not found at many craft stores…check Home Depot around .15)
-Alcohol ink (try Adirondack!)
-Alcohol
-Aerosol finisher
-Paintbrush
-Pads for the bottoms (felt or cork work)

Instructions:

1.Start by coating your tile with regular alcohol. (which works the same as the ‘blending solution’ at the craft store and costs way less. Make it a thin layer.

2.Now start dripping little spots of ink onto your tile. Allow the ink to slide around a bit before adding your next color. Keep adding more color, until you have covered your tile completely.

The great thing about this project is that you can essentially start over if you don’t like it or you make a mistake. You can use a paper towel to dab any extra ink or just wash the whole tile clean in the sink. (which I absolutely did…twice).

3.”Once your surface has dried to the touch, take your coaster to a well ventilated area, and spray it with a coat of aerosol finisher to seal the colors. I find that the colors REALLY pop out after this step.” This is a quote from the blog I used.

I did NOT find this to be the case. What happened when C and I sprayed our tiles was that the colors ran a little. My ink blots were a little sharper BEFORE we sprayed them. I think maybe they needed to dry longer?

4. Once your coasters are dry, add felt or cork parches to the bottoms and use away!

 

My notes on this:

I will totally do this project again. I will definitely wait longer before spraying them with the finisher. Also, we gave them a few coats of the spray, but they really do need a bit more. I will probably just brush on some modge podge before really using them to give the designs a little more protection.

 

A Birthday Surprise…The Easy Way

So you may recall from some of my earlier posts that I love birthdays. I love making birthday treats. Sometimes though, it can be a pain in the a**. For the most part I like things simple. Which is why I really don’t mind using boxed cake mix and store bought frosting as a base (with some exceptions obviously) because you can do lots of things to make your biz unique.

This time around, I was even lazier (and a little bit poorer) than usual. Two of my co-worker pals happen to have the same birthday. So clearly I was going to make them a treat. Things I did not have/ did not feel like buying: eggs and oil. Usually those two guys are pretty essential for a box mix. Not anymore.

All this cake needs is the mix from the box and 10 oz of soda! BOOM. Stupid easy right?! Eggs Schmeggs man.

It looks really cool when you mix in the soda. NOTE: I used Sprite because I was making a white/yellow cake. If you’re making a chocolate or dark cake you can use a darker soda. Or be cool kid and mix like orange soda with a light cake. It also is a big cut to the calories of the cake.

It bakes up nice and fluffy…and you cook it per box instructions…so like 30 mins on 350.

Now my friend T is real into Nutella. She loves it. So since it is part her birthday I decided to make a Nutella frosting. I didn’t really have the time or funds to buys the ingredients for a butter cream from scratch so I checked the interwebs and found a cheat option. Mix a store bought white frosting with an equal part nutella. Its a little thick so I also added some milk to make it smoother. Eye ball that because it will vary based on amount of frosting and the consistency you’re looking for.

Then all that’s left is to frost your biz. The frosting is a little different consistency wise because of the Nutella so its a little thicker, but more durable than regular frosting. When I say durable I mean that should you say.. accidentally slide the finished cake into your electric kettle it really doesn’t even make a dent.

So I wanted to write on the cake. In the end I remembered that I had icing for this exact purpose. However, before my brain started working I attempted to whip up some colored icing to write on the cake…and totally failed and made a big mess lol. I attached a photo so we can all laugh and judge me together lol.

Long story short: Happy Birthday Louis and Tessa (who unfortunately ended up calling in sick and won’t get to eat cake with us 😦  )

Apple Butter Pork Chops

So last week I bought a big ole’ pack of pork chops. I was weirdly craving them…weirdly because for no real reason I hardly ever eat pork. I don’t know that many ways to cook pork chops because, like I said, I hardly ever eat them. Since I had taken them out the freezer I locked myself into making them…I just didn’t know what HOW I would make them yet. So I did what I always do when I don’t know the answer to something…I googled the crap out of it.

And good old Google didn’t let me down. I saw a bunch of recipes involving apple sauce (because naturally pork chops and applesauce go to together…just ask those fun-loving Brady kids). Then LIGHTBULB! I remembered that I have my homemade apple butter in the fridge still! So I refined my search a little to look specifically for apple butter pork chop recipes. I was not disappointed. I found a tasty easy recipe pretty quickly.

 

The great thing about this recipe is that it has like 3 ingredients: pork chops, apple butter, and garlic. BOOM. That’s my jam. The recipe on blog I found is for 4 pork chops…but I only defrosted 2 so I just fudged it. I minced about 2 Tbs of garlic (I like strong garlic) and mixed it with about 1/2 cup of my apple butter.

 

I dunked the chops into the sauce so it covered the bottom. Then I spooned more onto the tops so the chops were covered 360 in the apple butter garlic goodness.

You cook them for 30-45 mins on 350 and you get these guys! The blog I found the recipe on says 25-35 mins but mine were NOT cooked at the 30 min mark so just check on them and go off how done they are.

 

This was my dinner. Here’s the thing. I love potatoes. I really do. For some strange reason they frequently elude my brain though. Its crazy. I can NEVER remember how to properly cook baked potatoes or how long it will take. I was at trivia at the bar across from my house last night and they randomly played Mambo #5…a song I have not heard in at LEAST 8 years…and I remembered every single word. Yet my idiot brain REFUSES to remember how to bake a stupid potato. I seriously call my mom and ask her how long it takes every single time lol. I guess that’s what mom’s are for…

In case you were wondering about how the above mentioned trivia went–we nailed it! First place! BOOM.

DIY Picture Candle Holders

So for some reason I’ve been sitting on this post for MONTHS. I’m not certain why I haven’t gotten around to putting the whole experience into words…that I would then share with all of you.

I saw this project on a few different blogs and thought it would be cool to try out. But the specific site I used is here. It happened to coincide with my friend’s wedding so I thought I would include it as part of her wedding present. Like a true creeper I stalked her Facebook photos for engagement pictures that I could transfer onto these cool glasses/candle holders that I grabbed from the dollar store.

I did this project a second time as a Father’s Day gift for my dad. I’m just going to include pictures from both to illustrate how it came out.

You start by gathering your materials. You need a printout (from an laser printer, inkjet won’t work!) of the photo you want to transfer, A candle holder/glass you want to transfer to, scissors, and clear contact paper.

 

You want to cut out the picture/s you want and put it picture side down onto the contact paper. Then cut the contact paper so it matches the picture. Take a Popsicle stick or credit card and rub the image. You want to tranfer the ink onto the contact paper. So rub firmly to get sharp detail and a solid transfer.

 

Then you want to soak the image for at least 7 mins in warm water. Be careful because the picture will roll, just make sure its under the water. Next comes the hard part. You have to slowly and carefully rub the paper off of the contact paper. Use your thumbs and rub the paper off. This part is tricky because you don’t want to rub too hard because you’ll rub the ink off. Get off all the paper (hold it up to the light to see areas that still have paper remnants on it. You can hold it under the warm water to help get some trouble spots out.

Then you want to let it dry. Once its dry/as its drying you’ll see any paper still remaining. You can re-wet the area and rub the paper off. Once its dry the tackiness will return and you can attach it to you’re candle holder.

 

You can see from the pictures that my transfers weren’t perfect. I had a hard time getting the paper off the contact paper. But in general I was happy with the way they came out.

Crack Pasta…aka Creamy Garlic Pasta

Listen up folks. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is insane. So good. It’s like crack but in pasta form. Get ready to have your mind blown.

Originally my friend found this recipe on Pinterest and we made it for a ladies night dinner. It was a big hit.

 

The element that makes this pasta so good is that the pasta is cooked in chicken broth rather then water. I had no idea what a difference that makes. It adds so much flavor!

You can find the recipe here. But I’ll spell it out for you anyways.

Creamy Garlic Pasta
2 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
¼  tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
3 cups chicken stock
½ lb spaghetti or angel hair pasta
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In a pot, bring the olive oil to medium-low heat. Add the garlic and stir, allowing it to cook for 1-2 minutes. Mix in the butter until melted. Add the salt, pepper and chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and let it come to a boil.

Once it is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the box’s directions indicate. Reduce the stove to medium heat and mix in the parmesan until completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream and parsley. Serve immediately.

Make this for friends/family/significant others. Its super easy and tastes amazing. It’ll make people think you’re stellar in the kitchen!