Saturday, November 28, 2009

White Christmas

White Christmas

Before I start sharing photo's and ideas of a white christmas, I wanted to share that I have a new favorite color!!  I have always loved the color red!! Red is in almost, no I think every room in our home! Red makes me smile :)  Well, I think I now have a new favorite color and it even matches red.
Here it is:





Did you see it? Really you missed it?  Well.....it is White!!
Which I actually find humor in, because 16 years ago when we got married....most of our furniture was white and a little french country.  Our bedroom was even all white! Well....then I decided to decorate a little more traditional and deep jewel tones!

Maybe I like white, because it is simple and crisp?? This week I changed out my black spray paint for white...
I see a new domino affect coming....
(okay friends and family...I know I drive you crazy, but isn't that why you love me!)

Lets start with Christmas (that's small right??)!!

Here are some great ideas...


Country Living Magazine

I am thinking...how hard would it be to paint my bedroom furniture?



Country Living Magazine

I love the feather tree in the corner and the chair painted white!
Neighborhood girls: We must plan an auction day!


Southern Accents

I like the red accents under the tree!
I had so much fun tonight window shopping through the computer for decorating ideas.
Now I need to start decorating and do it frugally (sp)!! Spray can in hand...I think it will be possible!







The little white trees where from an idea for cone trees,
posted on just a girl 
I think I am also going to add glitter to the believe sign. Glitter has also become my best friend!


Spray painted my brown candle sticks...white!!




Can you see the snow flake tucked in the snow?



On an other post, I share my mantle ideas. I have tried it probably 5 different ways. I will share and get your opinion!



Christmas Tree number one...I think I need to spray paint the angel silver. I'll get my mom and Deb's opinion tomorrow and let you know how it turns out.

  This next picture is for my sister-in-law, Cindy. She use to live 5 minutes away, but now lives 2 hours. I wanted to share this picture! I think it would look great in your house (of course of Sky)!
LOL...this horse is White!!


Country Living Magazine

Well...I don't sit still long....have lots more to decorate! See you tomorrow!




Friday, November 27, 2009

Gorgonzola Bruschetta


Hopefully you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! Tony thought over the next few weeks it would be fun to make some appetizers.  He looked back over some of the favorite appetizers he made when catering at Christmas.


Bruschetta with gorgonzola cheese and apples

Ingredients:
French Bread
Olive Oil
Gorgonzola Cheese
Apple or Pear
Walnuts
Honey

Prep:
Slice french bread
Slice Apple or Pear



Arrange sliced french bread on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place sliced bread under bloiler until edges are light brown.  Remove from oven.



Top toasted slices with a thin slice of apple and walnuts.



Top apple and walnuts with gorgonzola and drizzle with honey.
Place under broiler until gorgonzola cheese is melted.



Hope you enjoy!!

Don't forget to check out Foodie Friday for other great recipes!!



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twice as Sweet Tuesday

I have two sweet things to share with you today!

Yesterday when I came home from work a package was waiting for me at the door!
Yeah!! It was the wonderful giveaway from Southern Inspiration!
If you haven't visited her site you need to head over there! She also sells Southern Living at Home!
On the side bar of her page you can access the SL at Home Catalog! I encourage all of you to look through the catalog for great ideas and you could even have a catalog party through her!!!

Here are all my wonderful gifts! I can't wait to find  a home for each one!
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Sweet Thing number # 2 is a recipe for
Red Velvet Cookies



Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp red liquid food coloring
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking pwder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting
Sprinkles (I used red)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beat until well blended. Beat in red food coloring and vanilla.

Mix dry ingredients together in a seperate bowl. Add flour mixture to above mix, alternately with buttermilk. Beat at a low speed until blended.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 3" apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until tops are set. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

After cookie is cool frost each cookie with cream cheese icing and add sprinkles.


Mixing in flour and buttermilk until well blended.

I used a large ice cream scoop to drop cookies on to the cookie sheet. I also always line my cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Since I made large cookies, only 6 fit on a tray and the recipe made 24 cookies.

Icing Recipe:



Sorry, I just don't enjoy making icing. It never turns out??? Maybe you have some pointers!

Next week: I am going to attempt homemade graham crackers!!

Sneek peak: Thought I would give you a peak at something I am working on in the craft room!




Sunday, November 22, 2009

Craft Room

Craft Room

Frugally Unique....I am going to try to ensure that the next few crafts I do are frugal. I will be using resources that I have already. I always love a challenge, so I think this will be fun! To determine what I have means organizing the craft room....so here I go.




This is the craft room. It needs cleaned and organized! I decided to start with a small corner!
(Can you see the gold mirror in the back? I want to paint it white, but scared to...any thoughts?)




This a very country looking cabinet. It has been all over the house over the last 17 years. I was thinking of getting rid of it, because it didn't match anything any more. Then I thought why not paint it white!

I have all the paint left over from painting my kitchen table...total cost $0.00!! (yeah!)




First I applied 2 coats of white paint and allowed it to dry.
(I waited 24 hours)
Part 2 is to apply a thin coat of stain and then wipe off.
The problem was, I couldn't remember which stain I used on the kitchen table.
(lesson learned: always label you cans)

Oops....wrong stain!!




I repainted this side white and tested another stain on the other side! Found the right stain and was back in business!




Added new hardware! My mom gave me the antique glass knob. Do you remember the black tray on top of the cabinet? If not, let me show you a picture of what it looked like before.




The cabinet in its new home!




The chalk board dress, was a project Madeline and I did about 4 years ago with a piece of plywood and chalkboard paint.
(we got the idea from Ballard Designs)
Every time I look at the little cabinet it makes me smile!




My dad added the shelf above the closet in the craft room.

Okay...one little corner finished. Now I need to tackle the rest of the room!

This is also linked to Between Naps on the Porch for
Metamorphos Monday




Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Greatest Gift

I contemplated this for the last 2 days...is this something that you blog to the world or is this personal and you keep to yourself and within your family? Then I thought why not share, maybe you are facing the same situation or a hardship and maybe our story will help. Maybe you went through this and have advice on how you made it.

So...here we go...the week in review:

Monday
Normal day, Tony and I go to work after a great weekend! Kids are off to school. I come home from work and everything seems normal and then Tony shares that there is a chance he might lose his job.
He lays out the details and my mind is blank. Maybe in a little denial and even a little mad.
That night we go to my parents to celebrate my neices birthday! We ask my parents to pray. Together the 5 of us (mom, dad, Mark (my brother), Tony and I) join hands and my dad prays. I sat there fighting back tears.  2 words my dad said have stayed with me...mercy and grace.
Neither of us sleep that night.

Tuesday
Not much changed today, but we decided if this is going to happen we need to prepare financially and see where we can cut cost and re-organize.
Luckily I did go back to work full time last year. I didn't want to, but it was a good opportunity and I couldn't let it slip by.
(Thank you God!)
Our health insurance will be covered through my job.
(Thank you God!)
Tony has great contacts and professional relationships that he has developed over the years.
 (Thank you God!)
There is room to cut cost! (Thank you God!)
Mercy and Grace
When I need guidance and direction I will sit down with my bible and say a prayer, close my eyes, and blindly open my bible. God always allows me to open to a passage that is pertinent to the situation at hand!
(one time it was the story of Jonah and the whale...LOL..got the message God!)

Today this is what I read:

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.
Psalms 33:24

Wednesday:
No news, but Tony hears Human Resources will be at office tomorrow.
Still ringing loud and clear in my ears, Mercy and Grace.
Tony and I both pray and have a sence of peace. No matter what happens, our family will be okay. The most imporant part is God first, family second and everything else will fall into place.

Thursday:
Tony is laid off.
Plan put into place. Cell phones disconnected, sell the Tahoe, sell the motorcycle, cut out frivolous items. It actually feels okay. It is amazing when you make God first and family second....the stuff doesn't matter!
Thank you God....for not letting us buy the farmhouse!
We tell my parents.
We go to visit Tony's dad. We tell him what has transpired. His dad looks at his watch the time is 7:17. 
Jim looks up at us and says...Mary is with us,
7:17 is Mary's birthday.
(Tony's mom who passed away 3 years ago)
We sit in silence...Thank you God for your ever present Grace.
That night I again open my bible, this time to:

"These Things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Saturday:
I reflect back over the week and yes I guess God could have saved Tonys job, but that was not the plan. I am at peace. There are great lessons learned this week. The kids are also learning a great lesson about what is most important in life, and its is not a Wii!
Last night we put up the kids Christmas tree. Filled with ornaments that they made, the best kind!
This morning Sarah went into her room and later emerged with wrapped presents from her own things, one for each of us.  The kind of presents that come from the heart! I'll let you know on Christmas what the are!

Today I want to thank God for the greatest gift possible Mercy and his everlasting Grace. May we never forget to always put you first and trust in your plan for us!




No matter what this world may bring we will always have God's grace and the love and support of our family! What a thankful Thanksgiving it will be!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese

Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cheese

This is one of my favorites! This is a great easy recipe for when you are entertaining .
Go fire up the grill, invite some great friends, pour a glass of wine and have a fun night of entertaining!



Ingredients:

1 packet or 2-3 Tbsp McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
Diced Garlic
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
One Loaf French Bread
Flank Steak
1 Onion
2-3 Tomatoes
Gorgonzola Cheese



Rub a generous amount of Montreal Steak seasoning and chopped garlic on both sides of flank steak. Drizzle 1Tbsp of Olive oil & Balsamic Vinegar on the flank steak.
Preheat grill to Medium High.



While grill is preheating:

Slice french bread on the diagonal
(culinary trick: cutting the bread on the diagonal is know as a tranche cut and gives the illusion of a larger portion. This trick is also used with fish, too.)
Drizzle olive oil on each slice of bread

Slice Onion and Tomato into 1/2" thick slices for easy grilling.
Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and chopped garlic
(add the amount of seasoning to your taste buds. we tend to like alot of garlic, so I didn't list an amount)


Grill:
french bread slices grill  20-30 seconds on each side
Onion grill 5 minutes on each side
Tomato grill 2 minutes on each side
Flank steak grill 8-10minutes on each side for medium rare

After removing the flank steak from the grill allow it to rest for 10 minutes. This allows the juices in the meat to be redistributed through out the entire meat. Cut the flank steak into quarter inch slices on a 45 degree angle.

Rough chop Onion and Tomato

Assembly:
French Bread on the boottom
Top with flank steack slices
add diced onion and tomato
sprinkle top with gorgonzola cheese



Ready for your guests with minmal mess in the kitchen!
Tony had everything prepped and ready for the grill before our guest arrived.
All he needed to do was fire up the grill when they arrived.
We served the flank steak with a side salad and a good bottle of Red wine!



Stop by Designs by Gollum to check out the great recipes for Foodie Friday!!
Happy Cooking!
Can't wait to see you again next Friday!

Next Week: I asked Tony to start showing us some good party appetizers!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bugs to Beautiful

My Thrift Shop Find

I went on my weekly thrift shop run and found this "lovely" frame! NOT!!
I looked beyond the bugs and liked the design of the frame.  Did I tell you it was only 50 cents! So, I snatched it up with a smile!

I don't want to hurt anyone's feeling if you own a frame like this, but I am trying to imagine what kind of picture would compliment this frame?

Sorry bugs, but your days are numbered!! I see Mod Podge in this frames future!




First I painted the edges to match the scrapbook paper.



I mod podged the scrapbook paper onto the frame.
Sorry I was so excited how it was looking, that I forgot to take pictures!



I am loving it! No more bugs!



My other find was a pretty little crystal tray. Madeline claimed it right away for her bracelets!
Also for only 50 cents!

 

What a great day and only spent $1.06.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies

The cookie exchange is just around the corner and  I haven't decided what cookie I will make.  Madeline and I tested out this recipe, but added a little twist!!

The recipe calls for a small brownie square in the middle. We have so much halloween candy and we thought, why not try putting the bite size snickers or milky way in the middle. 


Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies
(original recipe from 2009 Christmas with Southern Living, pg110)

1 (20oz) package double chocolate brownie mix
(this is where we used candy)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 Large eggs
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 325 for brownies.  Prepare brownie mix per box directions and allow to completely cool.  Cut into 3 dozen squares. (this is where we used 3 dozen bite size snickers and milky way candies)

Beat Butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric  mixer until creamy. Add brown sugar, beating until smooth. Add eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until bleneded after each addition. Stir in chocolate moresls. Cover and chill  for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 for cookies. Scoop 1-2 Tbsp (depending on size of cookie you wish to have). Using your fingers, make an indentation in the mound of dough; place 1 brownie or candy in center. Press chocolate chip dough around brownie or candy.  Makes 24-30 cookies. Chill for 15 minutes.


Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and cookies look set. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheets; remove to wire racks, and cool completely.



Next week: Red Velvet Cookies with Cream Cheese Icing (my favorite)!!





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