Friday, September 19, 2014

10 Fabulous Cookie Recipes AND a Kitchen Aid Mixer Giveaway!

I've got a HUGE giveaway that runs from today until October 3, 2014 that I know you'll LOVE. Before I reveal the details, I thought I'd give you a hint what is being given away with a little round up!

10 Fabulous Cookie Recipes


cookies


Frozen Inspired Cake Mix Cookies from Mom's Test Kitchen
Apple Pie Filling Cookies from The NY Melrose Family
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Crafting Foodie
Gingerbread Cookies from That's My Home
Chocolate Peanut Butter Goody Bars from Joyful Scribblings
Ghost Brownies from The House of Yumm
Gluten Free Apple Spice Oatmeal Cookies from Healthy Recipe Ecstacy
No Bake Chocolate Cookies (Healthier) from Recipe Runner
Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies from 4 You With Love
S'Mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups from Cupcakes and Kale Chips



Okay, now that I've made you drool over wonderful cookies, it's time to talk......

EPIC GIVEAWAY!


Do you have a go-to kitchen appliance or one you dream of owning?  For me, it's the appliance that I purchased with my wedding (money) gifts so many years ago:  my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  This kitchen work horse can do so much more than mix!  With attachments, you can make applesauce, grind meat, shred cheese, even make pasta & ice cream!  

Well hang onto your hat 'cause guess what?   I've joined 12 other bloggers to offer you a chance to win your own Kitchen Aid Mixer!

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway 


Isn't this AWESOME?  It's easy to enter for your chance to win. Just follow the steps of the Rafflecopter entry form (Click below).


a Rafflecopter giveaway


This group of lovely ladies have sponsored this giveaway!   Be sure to click on each person below to go straight to their site so they can inspire you. Trust me, you'll love them!





Good luck and in the meantime have fun baking some fabulous cookies!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

5 Fall Decor Ideas & The Project Stash Link Party

A couple of cold fronts have moved through our area over the past week and the weather has gone from hot, muggy summer to crisp, cool fall.  It's cold and crisp in the morning with blue skies and warm temperatures in the afternoon.  It has really gotten me in the mood for football games, hay rides, and apple cider!  

Along with the weather being beautiful this time of year, home decor is also stunning.  It's a time where we harvest all the goodness of summer and bring it indoors.  Things like Indian corn, pumpkins, acorns and more.  The colors are also so warm and gorgeous:  oranges, browns, yellow...just gorgeous!  To help you decorate for autumn, we featured these amazing link ups from last week's party!

5 Fall Decor Ideas

fall crafts


Fall Garland from Designs by Miss Mandee
Hanging Mason Jars from Live Laugh Rowe
Burlap Autumn Pumpkin from Domestically Speaking
Vintage Fall Sign from I Should be Mopping the Floor
Welcome Fall Sign from Busy Moms Helper


I love all of these, don't you?  And they are all so easy to put together!  If you were featured, grab a button and strut your stuff!

4 You With Love




Now, onto this week's party.  Let's start with me introducing you to The Project Stash co-hostesses!




Melanie from It Happens in a Blink
ChiWei from One Dog Woof
Marilyn from 4 You With Love


When you link up to The Project Stash, your projects are shown on all four blogs!  Also, when you are featured, your project will also be shown on all four blogs.  We also pin features to our Project Stash Features Pinterest Board.  If you'd like, take a moment to add our button to your blog somewhere - the more the merrier!  


4 You With Love


   
Now, let's get this week's party started.  Before you link up, please review our guidelines!  I can't wait to see what you've been up to this week!


Guidelines:
  • No shops, please. Giveaways and projects are welcome.
  • Feel free to link more than one.
  • Visit a couple other links and share some comment happiness.
  • By linking up, you are giving us permission to feature you on round-ups and social media.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bacon Jam Recipe - It's Easy and Your New Go-To Condiment

Do you remember some of those old movies where Mom would call everyone home for dinner by going outside and ringing the dinner bell?  No matter where her kids were, they always heard that bell and came running.  Well, in my house, if I rang a bell my kids wouldn't come running...they would think it was their alarm clock going off and they would be looking for the snooze button!  No, there's only thing that can successfully call my kids to dinner...it's the magical aroma a bacon!

Now, I don't know about you, but cooking bacon isn't my favorite activity.  It's so messy and a lot of work for something that is usually an add-on to a meal.  You know, a piece of bacon on top of a burger, a few strips along side some eggs, this sort of thing.  Well, what would you think of making a condiment out of bacon where a bit of work one day allows you to enjoy bacon for a couple of weeks?  Today, I'm going to share with you how I made some......





The other day we had it on our grilled cheese sandwiches (pictured with the bacon jam) and my boys thought they had died and went to heaven!  I just took two pieces of bread and placed two slices of cheese with some of this bacon jam spread in between.    Then, the other day, we had eggs, toast and fruit for breakfast.  My boys spread some of this jam on their toast and LOVED it!

Are you ready to see how to make this amazing "Condiment of the gods?"  First, let's gather our supplies.


Ingredients:

  • 20 oz thick sliced peppered bacon cut into pieces (mine are about 3/4")
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 3/4 coffee (not instant, brewed coffee)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp ground chipotle pepper (or an additional 1/2 tsp of cayenne)





Okay, have you gathered all your ingredients?  Now let's get cooking.

Directions:

In a ducth oven, cook your bacon over medium high heat until crispy, stirring occasionally.  This will take approximately 15 - 20 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon. remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel.  Leave the rendered fat in your pot.



Add the onions, shallots, and garlic to the reserved bacon fat and cook over medium high heat until softened.




Return the cooked bacon along with all the remaining ingredients (coffee, water, vinegar, maple syrup, brown sugar, chili powder, allspice, cayenne & chipotle) to your dutch oven.  Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.




Cook until your jam has thickened and when you draw your spoon through, it leaves a trail.  This will take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.  (If you have a very wide pot, your jam will cook more quickly and if your pot is narrower, it will take longer).




Using a slotted spoon, transfer your bacon jam into a food processor (fitted with a large blade), leaving as much fat as you can behind.  Pulse a few times to finely chop your mixture or until the desired consistency has been reached.  I pulsed mine about 7 times.



Place your new bacon jam into a jar.  This jam is not one that you can preserve through canning.  It will keep in your refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks.  Allow it to warm up to room temperature before using (it will bet quite stiff when cold).



I wish you could smell this.  It is truly heavenly.  Oh, and don't think it's super sweet.  Yes, there is some maple syrup and brown sugar but there's also vinegar and spices.  It's a wonderful combo!



So, now you have it!  A bit of time = 2 weeks of bacon enjoyment.  How would you enjoy your bacon jam?


Monday, September 15, 2014

DIY Wildberry Vodka & Wildberry Liqueur Made With Frozen Berries

Recently, I purchased a bunch of amazing, fresh picked strawberries from my local farmer's market and shared my DIY Strawberry Vodka and DIY Strawberry Vinegar with you.  They both turned out amazing.  Then, I got to thinking.  Could you make either of these goodies with frozen fruit rather than fresh fruit?  Well, I just had to try.




The answer is, "Yes, you CAN make berry vodka using frozen berries!"  Oh, and it's absolutely wonderful.   But today, you're going to get a two-fer!  Yup!  I'm going to share how you can make.....

Wildberry Vodka AND Wildberry Liqueur


DIY wildberry liqueur


Are you giddy with excitement yet?  You should be 'cause this is super easy,yummy and would make an amazing "gift from the kitchen" this holiday season!

First we are going to make...

Wildberry Vodka


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups vodka (I used 40 proof)
  • One 12-oz package  OR 2 cups ORGANIC berry blend (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries & raspberries). 



Directions:

First measure out both ingredients.  Don't those berries look amazing?



Then, Place the vodka & berries into a 1 quart mason jar and screw on the lid.  Give the jar a shake and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.  After 2 weeks, the vodka will turn a very dark purplish color.



Strain the berries from your vodka by pouring through a fine mesh strainer.  Do not push on the berries or your vodka will become cloudy.  Look how beautiful the vodka is.  Now, just place in a bottle and enjoy!



If you or your family (gift recipient) prefer liqueur here's the recipe!

Wildberry Liqueur

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Wildberry Vodka
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

First you will need to make a simple syrup.  To do this, first measure out the water and sugar, then place in a pot.  Over medium high heat, cook the water/sugar mixture until it is no longer cloudy and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Let it cool.





Then, add the simple syrup to the 1 cup wildberry vodka and stir.  Place in a jar with a tight fitting lid and label for gift giving.


DIY wildberry liqueur


Doesn't this look amazing?  This is so easy to make that you'll be making these goodies at home rather than running out to the store.  AND your friends will will be totally impressed when they receive as a gift!  

If you'd like to try you hand at making other adult beverages, check these out!


I hope you enjoy dabbling with these recipes!  Also, only enjoy responsibly!




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Reupholster a Dining Room Chair in 2 Hours or Less!

It's garage sale season which means that this is an amazing time to find furniture that has good bones but just needs a face lift.  Now, how would you like it if I told you that it's possible to transform that ugly chair (with an upholstered seat) into a beauty in 2 hours or less?  Really!  Look what I did while I was doing a load of laundry!  My washer takes 51 minutes to do a cycle and my dryer takes about 45 minutes to dry a load.  So, while my bed linens were being washed & dried, I took this desk chair from drab to fab!

dining room chair makeover

Trust me, you will spend more time trying to decide what color to paint your chair & what fabric to use for the chair seat than you will actually updating your chair!  It's so incredibly simple.  Here's what you need:


  • Chair
  • Quick Drying Spray Paint & Primer
  • Sand Paper & Rag
  • Screw Driver
  • Pliers
  • Hammer or Staple Puller
  • Stapler (from the hardware store)
  • 1/2 yard fabric (I used Duck Cloth)

Okay, so here's my pitiful chair before.  It's super sturdy but boy, she has seen better days!



So, the first thing you will need to do is to remove the seat.  Just turn your chair over and you should find some screws.  Just unscrew them and you should be able to easily remove the seat.  Oh, and be sure to put your screws in a safe place (like a small bowl).  Give your chair a light sanding and wash off any dirt or grime.


Okay, so here's my baby in two pieces.  Set your seat aside and we will paint the chair first.


Here's the paints I used.  The primer says that you can apply your top coat within 30 minutes of applying the primer (Score!).  The satin metallic paint dries to the touch in 10 minutes and dries completely in 30 minutes!  Woo Hoo!


Now, when I spray paint furniture, I do it outdoors on top of a piece of old card board.  This is because newspaper flops around and can get into mischief if there's any wind blowing.  Also, I like to set my furniture on top of soup cans to elevate the legs so that it is much easier to ensure the bottom of the chair gets completely painted.  On the left is the chair once I covered it in primer. You can see how much shinier the chair on the right is, after the metallic paint was applied.  (If you have never used spray paint, many thin coats works much better than one thick coat....less drips.)



Oh, you may  be wondering why you are still seeing some blue on the painted chairs.  This is the area that will be covered by the seat so I didn't worry about painting this area completely.

While the chair is drying, it's time to tackle the seat.  I used the claw on my hammer to remove the staples however, a staple puller would also work.



Look!  The previous owners of the chair just upholstered over the original seat.  The seat covering is good so I decided to keep this original covering on.  (To see how I upholstered some stools that did not have any cushion, go HERE).


There were a few staples that still remained stuck into the bottom of the seat.  If this happens to you, just pull them out with some pliers.


Okay, now it's time to put on some new fabric!  I used duck cloth.  Start off by cutting a piece of fabric that is 2" wider than your chair seat on all sides.  Then, you will get out your staple gun and staple one side of the fabric.  Turn the seat 180 degrees, and pulling the fabric taut, staple the opposite side.  This will keep the fabric from wrinkling and twisting.  Do the same with the remaining two sides.


Now that the sides are stapled, it's time to staple the corners.  First, pinch the fabric together then press the folded fabric to get a nice folded corner.  Then staple the corner to the seat.  Doesn't it look nice and neat?  Repeat for all four corners.


Now, here's the finished seat cushion.  I just love this fun fabric, don't you?  Now your chair should be dry by now.  So, all that's left is to re-attach the seat to the chair frame.  I hope you didn't lose your screws!


Now here's the final chair, all put back together.  Isn't is gorgeous?  I think this will be a fun accent to any desk!


Note, that if you select paints with a longer dry time, then this project will take more than 2 hours.  Just be sure to read the label and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

If you'd like to try a larger upholstery project, check out how turned ugly chair.....



Into this "new" chair!  See how HERE.



So what are you waiting for?  Find a piece that has some good bones but needs a little TLC.  Trust me, it's much easier than you think and it will be a one-of-a-kind beauty!