June 23, 2012

Craft Room

My craft room is my haven.  In the old house, there is where you could find me when I wasn't in the kitchen or playing soccer.  But, because I've been so busy with everything else around here, I haven't had the time to dedicate to making it a beautiful place to work or work on simple crafts.  I work on it a little bit here and there but , this is all I have to show you right now:

 I still don't have a chair for the desk I distressed so, I use one from the dining room when I actually get a chance to work in this room.  I still have boxes of my craft stuff packed up and haven't pulled out my sewing machine ALL YEAR!!!  That's crazy talk if you know me personally. But, I did manage to mail off Christmas presents I misplaced last month and I sat right here at this desk to do it.

If you are wondering about my scissor and pen and marker holders, those beauties are from IKEA.  I found them in the kitchen section.  I don't feel all that original anymore though since I've seen them pinned on www.pinterest.com a few times now.  Oh well.  It's easy on the eyes and very functional for me whether I was the first to pin it or not!

Half Bath

The other task I finally completed was pulling the wallpaper off our half bath walls along with the other garbage that was hanging in there too.  My husband mixed up a solution of Lysol cleaner and water and sprayed it on the walls to remove the paper.  It worked even faster and better than my steam mop!  With his help, we took the bathroom from this:

To this:

The oval contractors mirror I replaced with this thrift-store find for $20.  I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do with it yet as far as painting and distressing it goes.  I guess I need to figure out what color I'm going to paint the bathroom first.  I just don't know yet!  But I have time as you can see, the trim hasn't been painted white yet either.

Little bit here, little bit there....

I promise I haven't been a lazy bum!  It's just that damn wainscoting!  If J would just finish that wainscoting than I could zoom through this house painting the final rooms!  Okay, maybe J and maybe the heat too.  I have had a few projects finished that I realized I never posted.  So here they are...
My Mudroom
In an earlier post, I showed you how I made chore charts for the kiddos.  Chore charts weren't enough... I run a very tight shift and I needed a command center!  SO... I turned an entire wall in my mudroom into a sophisticated and organized command central.  It consists of the kids' chore charts, a mail area, dry erase board, calendar and pictures of my favorite people... my family!

The calendar is something I made using nothing more than and old picture, permanent marker and stickers.  All I did was draw out a 5x7 grid on the back of a piece of glass with a ruler and permanent marker.  Then, I flipped it over and used the permanent marker to draw in the dates and important events on a few dates.  On the large piece of paper that came with the frame, I attached stickers to serve as the dates and teh word "Month".  I was going to use pretty fabric but didn't want the calendar to be so busy that I was unable to read what I had written.  Eventually, I'll go with a very pale gray to coordinate with the paint we use on the walls.  But for now, it works just fine.  For everything else, I just use dry erase markers to cross off the days and write other events on the calendar.  The reason I used permanent marker on the numbers was so that I could erase whatever I had written in dry erase and not have to worry about wiping off the days of the week.  When a new moth comes, I just put a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe the calendar clean.  FYI... rubbing alcohol is what you use anytime permanent marker finds itself on something it shouldn't! 

June 17, 2012

Too Good not to Include

I know that this is a blog created for home improvement and tips but, now that my island is done, I've been cooking up a storm!  I've also been doing a purification cleanse via Standard Process.  Without going too much into the cleanse right now, let me just tell you that I feel amazing, I've never hungry, always satisfied and I've lost a pound a day without even trying.  It's also allowed me to get really creative with the already nutritious meals I prepare for my family. I wanted to share this recipe because I love the Cheesecake Factory and this is my take on one of my absolute favorite appetizers there.

Copy Cat Cheesecake Factory Egg Rolls:
Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp*
  • 2/3 cup chopped cashews
  • 1 pinch powdered saffron
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Egg Rolls:
  • 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, & diced***
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 3 egg roll wraps (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Prepare the dipping sauce by combining the cashews, cilantro, garlic, green onions, sugar, black pepper and cumin in a food processor.  Blend with short burst as not to turn the cashews into butter, but enough to chop them down into pieces the size of rice. 
  2. Stir together vinegars, tamarind, honey, and saffron in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until tamarind is dissolved.
  3. Pour the tamarind mixture into the food processor with the cashew mixture and combine well using shorts bursts again.
  4. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in oil by hand.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Stir together the  tomatoes, onion, 1 teaspoon cilantro, and salt.
  7. Gently add the diced avocado being sure not to mash it into the mixture.
Directions for the original egg roll recipe:
  1. Distribute filling evenly onto center of each egg roll wrapper.
  2. Position a wrapper so that a corner is pointing toward you; fold the bottom corner up, 1/4 of the way over the filling.
  3. Brush remaining corners and edges of the wrapper with egg, roll up from side to side, fold top corner over all and press to seal.
  4. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
  5. Continue by deep-frying the egg rolls in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Drain on brown paper towels or a clean dishcloth.
  7. Slice egg rolls diagonally and serve with the dipping sauce.
Directions for my grilled low fat version:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Evenly scoop avocado mixture into the avocado shells.
  3. Bake the stuffed avocados in their shells on a cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes or until hot throughout.
  4. Serve avocado halves with dipping sauce.
* Tamarind pulp is found in Asian grocery stores. I made this the first time without it and it tasted just fine. I substituted tamarind jam when I made them again and didn't notice a difference.  The sauce really  good either way and what makes these extra delicious!*

**This recipe make a lot of sauce and more than enough if you double the egg roll recipe.  I would hold off on doubling the sauce unless you insist on drowning your egg rolls.**

***Half the avocados and save the peels to fill with the avocado mixture for a lighter version of this recipe.***

June 13, 2012

My Island Oasis

Some of you may know that I took a random vacation and left J to work on the house without any excuses. I was hoping that he would finish the wainscoting so I could paint when I got home but, I was in for an even better surprise! While I was gone, Jeremy installed the cabinets, rerouted the plumbing for the sink and dishwasher and had the granite installed! Seriously? Is there anything that man can't do? WOO HOO! Let me tell you what a big deal this is; I moved how long ago? February! I've been doing dishes BY HAND FOR FOUR since then! The worst part was that we bought a new dishwasher more than 6 weeks ago and it's just been collecting dust. Worse than that? We have had 4 sinks delivered to our home, three of which were broken and chipped. For some reason, FED EX couldn't refrain from dropping the front right side of the box resulting in a headache for me and my granite company. No only that, but I went through two faucets! What evs... it's in the past now. Island installed and guess what! I've still been doing dishes by hand out of habit! HA! (J wants me to be sure and include that he is done with the exception of the trim at the bottom of the cabinets for those nit picking!) Before, I had a two tiered, "W" shaped, corian topped island that was neither functional or aesthetically pleasing. Here are pictures from the first showing of the house an after we moved in

Now, I have a lovely 8" x 4.5" counter-height, granite rectangle that I love everything about. I've foregone the kitchen table and eat all my meals at the island now.


 Now it's just the wainscoting I'm waiting for so I can paint like I mentioned earlier. The cabinets in the kitchen will be replace next year so we will be painting them for the time being. We are almost done with phase one! Then we can sit back and relax err... J can sit back and relax, I'm unfamiliar with that word! By the end of summer, our house will be ready for guests and I won't be tripping on boxes and dodging construction. I seriously can't wait!