Monday, August 29, 2011

Simple summer salad

This is a simple summer salad that is really refreshing on a hot summer day. You can even substitute out the
ingredients based on what you have.


2 large tomatoes or 1 package of cherry tomatoes
1 peeled cucumber
basil leaves (optional)
1 can of pitted black olives
Zesty Italian Salad Dressing

Dice tomatoes and cucumbers into 1 inch pieces. Put into a bowl and add olives. Add salad dressing to taste.

Fall Garden 2011

I started my first vegetable garden this spring. I was a little worried because my backyard only gets morning light, but I decided to plant anyway and see what happens. I planted a lot of tomato plants, bell peppers, peas, green beans, lettuce, arugula, zucchini, squash, basil, chives, mint, and cilantro.

At first they all did really well, but we had an extremely hot summer here in Arkansas and my most of my vegetables stopped producing. I heard from a lot of other gardeners that they experienced the same problem.  However, my tomatoes and bell peppers did really well and they are still producing.

I also got squash bugs which completely ruined my squash plants. I only harvested 1 zucchini from 7 plants. I was pretty bummed and I probably won't plant any squash next year. Since my squash plants were beyond saving I ripped them up and prepped the soil for a fall garden. I used my shovel to loosen the soil and mixed in fertilizer and peat moss to enrich the soil.

Then on August 20th, I planted carrots, parsnips, and spinach in this part of my garden

John and I had installed soak-er hoses for the spring garden so I planned on re-using them.

Then in another section of my garden I planted butternut squash (hoping that squash bugs won't destroy that too) and pumpkins. I heard that it was too late to plant pumpkins and squash but I decided to try it anyway. Worst case scenario is that I don't get any pumpkins.

I'm hoping to post the progress of my garden through the fall. Hopefully, I'll have some better luck this season.

Oreo Brownie Cookie Amazing-ness

I know I've been away recently, but school just started back up for me (I'm in my last semester of my M.B.A.) and I've been pretty busy, but I've been trying to still document all of our projects. Hopefully I will get them on the website soon.

I saw a recipe for a chocolate chip n oreo brownie cookie on a bountiful kitchen and decided I needed to make this. However, I needed an event to make this for, otherwise John and I would eat the whole thing which would not be good for my waistline. My friend's birthday was August 23rd, so I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. The recipe is as follows

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips, semi sweet
1 package of Oreo cookies
1 package of brownie mix (to be prepared as directed on the box) 

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Press the cookie dough evenly into the pan.
Now place the Oreo's on top of the cookie dough.
Prepare brownie batter as directed. Pour/spread brownie batter on top and smooth it around with a spatula.
Bake for  about 50 minutes. Bars are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out with a bit of a moist crumb attached. Remove from oven and let cool completely, about 2 hours.  
Cut into squares and serve.

I forgot to take pictures as I was making this, but I did manage to get a picture of it completely finished. This is how it came out

It was insanely good and everyone at the party loved it. I will definitely be making this again!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Powder Room

We have a small (and I mean small) powder room, right off of our kitchen. Unfortunately I do not have any before pictures to show you, but the powder room was the same color green as the kitchen originally was. It's real cute and tiny and already had wainscoting. Originally I just planned on painting the powder room the same color gray as the kitchen, but when I was at Home Depot picking out the gray color I happened to see Martha Stewart's Precious Metals collection. I saw the pink pearl color and loved it, so I grabbed a small can for the powder room. However I did not see that for best results, it is recommended that the metallic paint should be sprayed on. Painting with it was pretty difficult. It required 3 coats and constant attention to make sure everything was blended. In the end it came out a lot darker than the paint chip color- more salmon than pink, but I do love the metallic shimmer of it. These are the after pictures

I think the color looks better in the pictures!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

DIY Kitchen Curtains

Yesterday I unveiled our kitchen mini makeover and promised to show you how I made those curtains.  So this is it.

We had those plastic curtain shades that roll up when you pull them down in our kitchen. While they are practical, they definitely lacked style. While looking at kitchens I found a blog called a well dressed home that showed how to make no-sew curtains by covering the plastic. They looked so good and easy that I had to try making my own.

You will need:

measuring tape
fabric of your choice (large enough to cover the window)
a plastic window curtain
liquid stitch or some other fabric glue
an iron

First measure the window you wish to make a curtain for. Once you have the measurements purchase the fabric for the curtains, making sure to get enough to cover the window. I got a couple of inched more because i wanted to make sure non of the the white plastic showed when the curtain was in place.

I found some beautiful fabric from Joann fabric that I loved. It's outdoor fabric, but I figured it could work. The fabric came in blue and green, but I ended up picking the blue. This is a picture of the fabric below:

This is the fabric in green.

I was sure to use my 40 % off coupon for the fabric because it costs $19.99 a yard! You can google Joann coupons and get one anytime you need one.

While at Joann's, I also bought some liquid stitch to use to adhere the fabric to the plastic curtain.

Once home, I removed the plastic curtain from the window. This was pretty easy because the curtain just snaps out of the hardware on the wall.  It is very important to note how your curtains are originally hung because you will need to cover the same side that was facing the kitchen before. I did not do this and I had a very hard time reattaching the curtain to the hardware on the wall. 

You will need a working area large enough to fit the curtain. Once the curtain is down from the window (or you have purchased a new one) place it on your work surface (mine was small enough that I could use the dining room table). Then take your fabric and cover the plastic shade. Do not attach anything yet, just make sure the fabric is straight and everything is how you want it. Then cover the shade with the fabric and turn over. Fold the excess fabric over the shade and iron to make a straight edge. Repeat for the other side. I put a towel under the shade when I ironed it and made sure not to leave it on for too long because it is plastic.

I left my fabric edges long on either side but this made the shade too thick and hard to roll, so I would suggest leaving 2 inches of fabric around the edges. Then simply lift up the fabric that you just ironed and spread out the liquid stitch. Then press the fabric to the plastic. Once it is place put some thing hard on top while it dries according the the directions (I used some books) and repeat for the other edges.

Once you are done just reattach the the shade to the hardware. It might not roll up as perfectly as before but it will look better. This is a picture of the kitchen with just the white plastic shade

And this is it after

I'm really happy with how it came out. I sewed the other curtains in the kitchen, but I forgot to take pictures, but I'm sure I will sew some more curtains soon and will detail how I made them step by step.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Painting the Kitchen

John and I have some bigger plans for the kitchen, but they of course are very costly, i.e. new counter tops, appliances, back splash, etc. Since it will be a while before we can afford those thing I decided to do a mini make-over and paint. This is what the kitchen looked like originally

The color was mint green and while it looked alright, it just wasn't our style. So we painted it Gentle Rain by Behr. Gentle Rain is a really light gray color and I love it. Here are the after pictures

We have this awesome built-in china cabinet that wasn't shown in the original pictures, and while I was painting John decided it would a great time to install some lighting in there. John is a journeyman electrician so he can easily do this kinda thing. It came out great! We are going to eventually add some more lights on the first shelf because it is still kinda dark under there.

I also made all the curtains in the kitchen, and I'll have a post later on showing how I made them!