Friday, October 21, 2016

Pom Pom Dish Towels

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I got to spend 3 weeks in Europe this summer.  I highly recommend it!  I enjoyed all the places I visited, but I was surprised at how much I loved Amsterdam!  Oh the canals, and the cheese shops!  I'm not a big souvenir person, but I walked past a fabric shop and I do love fabric.  I bought two small fat quarters and took them home.  I decided that hand towels in the kitchen would be the perfect way to use the fabric.  I picked up flour sack dish towels and some red pom pom trim.  
I cut the fabric down to 4 inches and finished the edges with my serger. Then I sewed the fabric to the bottom of the towel.  (I had to trim the width of the towel because it was wider than my Amsterdam fabric).  Once the fabric was sewn on I started with the pom pom trim.  Its a bit tricky--it has some stretch to it, so I found that using the zig zag stitch on top of the trim worked the best. 
Now when I walk into my kitchen, I see the cute tulip and bike towels and remember my fun canal boat ride, the Rijksmuseum or stopping at every cheese shop!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Spicy Thai Noodles

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Do you love take out, but don't want to leave the house (or pay for the high cost of restaurant food?)  You gotta try these Thai-style spicy noodles.  I made this in about 35 minutes on a Monday after work.  I doubled the batch because I was taking dinner to a neighbor and her family.  A single batch was enough for 6 servings for me (but if you are feeding hungry teenagers, maybe only 4).  For the double batch ingredients (and the frozen potstickers) I spent around $20--not bad for about 12 servings of better-than-restaurant-quality food.

1 pound of linguine noodles (or any long noodles)
2 T. olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cups zucchini, chopped
1 package mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (I buy the pre-minced kind)
2 eggs, beaten

1/2 c. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 T. sriacha sauce
3 T. brown sugar
2 1/2  T. fresh ginger, minced
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 C. cilantro leaves, rough chop
1/4 C. peanuts, chopped 


In a large pot, boil the water and get the noodles cooking.  In a large non-stick skillet, heat the pan and fry the eggs.  Scramble them and dump them out onto a plate and wipe out the pan.  Heat the olive oil and toss in the red pepper flakes, zucchini and mushrooms.  Saute  on medium until veggies are tender but not mushy (probably around 5 minutes).  While the veggies are cooking, in a bowl or glass measuring cup mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, sriacha, brown sugar and ginger.  

When the noodles are done, drain and put back in the hot pot.  Dump in the cooked veggies along with the sauce.  Stir it all up.  Serve and garnish with the green onions, cilantro and peanuts.  

This dish is vegetarian, but you could easily add in chicken or shrimp (or leftover steak).  You could also squeeze some fresh lime on top.  I cooked up some frozen potstickers to go along with the noodles.  I also recommend  mango sticky rice for dessert!

Halloween Playlist

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I'll admit that I don't go too big for Halloween. I have a framed subway art on the mantle--that's the extent of my decorations.  I will usually don a costume and hand out candy to the neighborhood kids--but something I do like, no matter the holiday, is fun music.  Here's a collection that I thought you might enjoy (heavy on the 80's and 90's of my youth).

Thriller-Michael Jackson
It's a Dead Man's Party-Oingo Boingo
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Remix
Ghostbusters Theme-Ray Parker Jr (Run DMC version fun too--and Bobby Brown's On Our Own)
Highway to Hell-AC/DC
Crazy Train-Ozzy Osbourne
I Put a Spell on You (Bette Middler cover) or Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Somebody's Watching Me-Rockwell
Bad Moon Rising-CCC

If you'd like to add movie songs, then these are some that seem Halloween flavored

Harry Potter-Double Double Toil and Trouble
Jaws-Theme Song
Nightmare Before Christmas-Jack's Lament

Friday, October 7, 2016

Overnight Waffles

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Its pretty rare for me to make waffles. I'm just not home in the mornings, but I had a day off from work and I just enjoyed being home and really wanted waffles.  I have tried lots of waffle mixes, which promise delicious waffles with zero effort, and I haven't ever been in love (they taste like pancakes in waffle shape).  I know I love the Leige waffles you can get at Belgian places (or our local food truck)--but the sugar in the Leige waffles is hard to clean and you need a nicer waffle iron than I have to get the right heat going (plus it requires a trip to IKEA for the sugar or an order from Amazon).  So more research.  King Arthur flour always has interesting recipes, and they had one for overnight yeast waffles.  This sounds like my kind of time-saver; let the waffles get ready while I sleep.  

Mixing up the waffles took about 5 minutes in my KitchenAid--then I let the batter sit on the counter while I puttered around my bedtime routine.  Then put it in the fridge until morning. 
After 1 hour on the counter
After resting overnight in the fridge

I made only one change to the recipe, I used white sugar instead of maple sugar in the batter.  I found that my waffle iron on level 7.5 (out of 10) was the right temp.  I preheated the iron for about 10 minutes.  Added 1 cup of batter and let it cook for about 6 minutes.  I made 3 waffles in the batch.  The batter is pretty thick.  Maybe I'd mix it up in a gallon zipper bag next time and then cut off the tip to just squeeze out the batter. 
Serve it with fresh picked peaches and whipped cream.  I froze the leftover and they toast up nicely the next day.  The yeast gives the waffle a really nice light texture and more interesting flavor.  I think this is my go-to recipe.  I think I could even make a mix with powdered milk and then I'd just have to add eggs, butter and water.  Hmmmm.

3/4 C. lukewarm milk
3 T. melted butter
1 1/2  T sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 C. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. instant yeast

Mix everything up and sit on counter for about an hour. You can cook them after the 1st hour if you want...or refrigerate the batter overnight and make waffles in the morning.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Quick Door Decor Upcycle

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Super easy project!  I love pineapples--I've been on quite a kick lately (on my last trip to Hawaii I tried to find a cute skirt with a pineapple print with no luck--I went to all the fabric stores and found hardly ANY pineapple fabric, and none of it cute--but I did find a fun t shirt at Ann Taylor Loft).  Anyway...I'm always on the lookout for cute pineapple stuff.  I saw this plaster door medallion at the High School Yard Sale for $1.  Nice.  

30 minutes later and it fits my door decor much better.  I used acrylic craft paint and then a bit of silver Rub N' Buff to give it a nice sheen.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

DIY Barn Door

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I have been in my house for about 13 years and I've always wished I had a door to the laundry room in the basement.  I have a TV downstairs and my sewing area, so it was noisy when the washer was running and I wanted to use the family room. The door to the laundry was framed out without a door--and a traditional swinging door would take up precious space in the narrow room (or make it really hard to move the washer out should I ever need to replace it).  

I decided to give the barn door trend a go.  I went to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore and picked up a hollow core sliding closet door and painted it with chalkboard paint (with white trim).  It was a steal since the door was only $5 and I had the paint left over from other projects. I had to build my own track because my ceiling is only 7 feet and all the hardware I could find needed a bit more headroom than I had. 

Next, I added a wooden header across the whole opening and screwed it into the studs (which are not 16" on center...darn old houses).  Then I undid my work because I realized that the trim around the door stood out further than my bracket.  I put in spacers and hung the wood back up. 

My friend made me some J track with holes for screws, which I screwed into the wood header.  
To hang the door, I used closet door hardware as well as a couple of casters on the bottom of the door.  The hanging closet hardware keeps the door on the track; the casters hold all the door's weight. It rolls across the carpet fairly easily--if I were doing it again, I'd probably use larger casters. 


Monday, September 19, 2016

Fresh Peach Pie

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Peach season has been abundant around here.  I have some very awesome neighbors who shared their bounty with me.  One neighbor invited me to pick peaches with her, another left a bag of peaches on the front porch and yet another sets a box out at the end of the driveway for anyone who needs a few.  I've made topping for waffles, I froze peach pie filling, I made fruit leather, I froze some for smoothies--but I also made a fresh peach pie.  Oh, this is a treat for sure!

Makes a 10" pie
7 C. sliced fresh peaches, divided (probably about 10 big peaches)
1 C. sugar
5 T. cornstarch (I might use 6 T next time)
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. butter
1 10" baked pie crust

When you make fresh peach pie you mix the raw peaches with a glaze.  I don't care for the pre-made peach sauce that you buy in plastic tubs in the produce section.  I thought I liked the box of powdered peach pie filling mix--until I made my own.  Yeah, you have to ditch the box. It won't take much extra time.

First, bake a pie crust and let it cool on the counter. You can do it any way you like, buy a frozen one, refrigerated dough or make your own.  Next, peel your peaches (I use the quick blanching method to get the skins to slip off rather than try to do it with a paring knife) and get them sliced up and in a big bowl.

You will need to put the juice that has accumulated at the bottom of your bowl as well as 1 cup of the peaches into a blender.  You should have about 1 1/2 cups of puree (add water if needed, or wait a few minutes and get a bit more juice from the peaches still in the bowl).  Add the sugar and  cornstarch and blend til smooth.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium until it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, remove from heat and add butter and lemon juice.  Pour the hot mixture over your sliced peaches.  Gently mix with a spatula then pour into the crust.

Put the pie in the fridge for at least 4 hours and serve with whipped cream.