Thursday, April 28, 2011

Embellished Nightstand

I've had these old Target shelves for several years now.  When we moved into the new house a few months ago, our intention was to find some unique nightstands that complimented our bedroom without being too much like a normal room set.  We had been using these to keep our stuff on and one day I walked into the room and thought, "let's just make new nightstands out of these". My husband was all-in!
Since they were already white we did not prime them, just sanded them down well.  Then we painted them.


My husband was clever enough to also spray the tabs that hold the shelf in place.


(as a side note, these should have been primed or sealed because the paint did chip off when the shelf was put in place and then later moved up a level.  You can't see it though, so I didn't worry about it.)

Once dry, my husband (is the artist, not me!) hand painted on a leaf pattern up the side, wrapping on to the top of each night stand.
Some paint accidentally dripped on to a spot that was not to be painted.  After trying to wipe it up, it ruined the paint (see spots on right below).  So he improvised and added another vine and more leaves.

Here are the two of them after being hand painted.
Finally they were sealed.
I added a storage bin to each shelf, as I prefer organization :)  And here is the one on my side finished!




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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Molten Lava Cakes

My mom found this recipe on the Food Network from Paula Deen.  She raved about them and said we needed to make them as a surprise for my husband and dad when my parents came to town.  Chocolate? Lava Cakes?  No arguments here!

Here is the recipe:

6 (1 oz) squares of bittersweet chocolate (we used Ghirardelli)
6 (1 oz) squares of semisweet chocolate (we used Ghirardelli)
10 Tablespoons butter (1 1/4 stick)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons orange liqueur
Strawberries or raspberries for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Grease 6 (6 oz) custard cups.  Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave (stirring after 20 seconds intervals) or in a double broiler.  




Add the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture.


Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth.


Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur.


Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups.


Place the cups in the oven (we put ours on a sheet pan for easy removal) and bake for 14 minutes.


The edges should be firm but the center will be runny.  We left ours in the custard cups to eat however the recipe says to run a knife around the edges and invert onto a plate.  Garnish with fresh fruit if desired (we used raspberries, which were great).



I think the empty cup says it all, don't you?

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stained Bench

My husband's uncle made this bench for him.  It has been an indoor bench until a few months ago when we moved into our new house.  There was no where to put it inside so we decided to convert it to a outdoor bench.  Pretty simple, we sanded it and then stained it.  We chose the reddish brown to compliment our red brick house.




It is amazing how much lighter the stain looks after sitting a few days. Especially during the day, based on how dark it was in the previous picture the night we finished staining it.  Oh well, I guess we could always put on another coat.  At least it can sit outside without getting ruined now!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chimichurri Sauce

The first time I ever tried chimichurri I loved it.  So fresh tasting with a bold garlic flavor.  My coworker makes a fantastic chimichurri however doesn't really have a 'recipe' she just throws stuff together.  I finally decided to try to make my own based on her recipe and one I found in a fitness magazine.  It turns out that with chimichurri, it really is an unspecific process of adding more of something to improve the flavor.

The ingredients I used were:

large handful of parsley
large handful of cilantro (with a little more to adjust the flavor)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 serrano pepper
5 cloves of garlic (more or less depending on your preference)
7-8 oz. extra virgin olive oil
dash of lemon juice
You literally throw everything in the food processor and combine.
After initially blending it, I tasted it and added a little more cilantro because the parsley was too strong.  I also added more olive oil because it was a little thick still.

In the end, it tasted great and I can't wait to have it over skirt steak later this week.  For now, it is in the fridge  becoming more tasty by the day.
For how much went into the food processor, it is funny that this is all it made.


P.S. Not only is this great over a steak or chicken, it makes a fantastic dip for bread!

P.P.S. Make sure whoever you plan on kissing has enjoyed some chimichurri too...it is garlicky!


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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Croissants

After making Cinnamon Roll Pancakes a few weeks ago, we had some left over cinnamon/sugar mixture.  It's been sitting in the fridge waiting to be used.  Finally, I came up with something to do with it!  Cinnamon Sugar Croissants!


Initially the cinnamon sugar filling for the pancakes began as:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon


For the pancake recipe, all of this was combined and put into a plastic baggie.  After using what we needed for the recipe, I'm going to say that we had approximately a 1/4 of the mixture left in the baggie.  So if you are just going to make the Cinnamon Sugar Croissants, I'd reduce the above measurements to a 1/4 of what they are.  Otherwise, the only other things needed are crescent rolls and cream cheese (I used whipped cream cheese).



First, I mixed together approximately 4 oz of cream cheese and half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Next, I rolled out the crescent rolls and spread a spoonful over the dough before rolling it into the crescent shape.

I placed them on a sheet pan and then decided to add an additional swirl of cinnamon sugar over the top of the crescent rolls.

I baked them according to the directions on the crescent roll package.  A short time later, they came out looking like this:

They turned out lovely.  They weren't as sweet and overly indulgent as the pancakes and had just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess.  
They were really easy to make and I think they would make great pastries in the morning for overnight guests.  My parents will be here next week, I guess we'll have to test these on them! 

ENJOY!
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