August 26, 2010

Creamy Bacon Carbonara

Ok...I'm totally in LOVE!  This is a new favorite at this house.  The boys literally snarfed this whole thing down and kept asking for seconds when they were done with their first:)  To me, that is a good sign!  The hubster has claimed that this is his favorite now.  I have a feeling I will be making this quite frequently.  Which is ok since it doesn't take long to make!

My favorite part of this is that there is Heavy Cream in this.  For those who know me, anything with heavy cream and butter is where I'm at!  Love that stuff!  It just makes everything taste better.  But come on!  Look at that sauce!!  Delish!  Go to the store RIGHT NOW and get the stuff to make this and then come back and thank the blog Just Get Off Your Butt and Bake!  (yes, that is the name of the blog:)  because that is where I got the recipe!  I love her!!

Creamy Bacon Carbonara

2 eggs
1/4 c. Heavy Cream
1/3 c. Parmesan
Fresh diced Parsley or dried flakes (Basil would be good also)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper flakes
(I doubled the sauce recipe, and it was perfect)

1/2 lb. bacon
1 small onion, chopped (opt.)
3 mushrooms sliced (opt.)
1/2 lb. pasta

Beat the eggs, cream, Parmesan, parsley, salt and red pepper together in a bowl.  I just used a fork.  Fry the bacon until crisp, then crumble and set aside.  With 1-2 TBS bacon grease, saute the onion and mushrooms until the onions are translucent and golden.  Drain the pasta and while still warm, add to the onions and mushrooms.  Pour cream mixture into the pasta, and stir over low heat for one to two minutes.  (**I doubled the sauce recipe and I saved a bit of the pasta water, just in case my sauce got thicker than I liked, add a bit if you need it).  Don't do this on high heat or you will make scrambled eggs.  Serve with additional Parmesan, and a loaf of Crusty French Bread and a salad!  You will love it!

August 24, 2010

Double Chocolate Cookie Bars

Hello All!!  I don't know about you, but my kids started school yesterday!  It has been FABULOUS!  Thankfully my boys have really good teachers and they are excited to go to school!  I always worry about them!  But what mom doesn't?  Today my boys told me that I don't need to walk them to their class...even the Kindergartner!  Come on!  I have to do it for me:)  Not them!  I told them I will let them walk to their class by themselves tomorrow...sadness...

Anyway...on to more exciting news...I baked some chocolate:)  I mean chocolate overload!  Look at this goodness!
They are not brownies, they are a ooey, gooey chocolate fudge-like Oreo yumminess.  I don't know any other way to describe them:)  Just make them...there are only 5 ingredients!  I even forgot the vanilla (I know, the best part!!) and they were still amazing!  I found them off of Heidi Bakes Blog.

Double Chocolate Cookie Bars

24 OREO cookies
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Set aside 6 cookies and grind the rest in a food processor or blender.  IN a small bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and butter until well blended.  Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Over a double broiler or in the microwave (for 1 minute), melt 1 cup of chocolate chips together with the condensed milk.  Stir and add the vanilla.  Stir frequently until smooth.  Spread evenly over the crumb crust.  Sprinkle the remaining cup of chocolate chips over the top.  Break remaining cookies into pieces by hand and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven.  Cool completely before cutting into the bars.

August 19, 2010

Mini Desserts

Hello all!  I am so excited to show these cute little desserts to you!  For some reason, MINI = better desserts:)  They taste better and look better!  Dessert Bars have been all the rage...thanks to Amy Atlas!  So the next time you are thinking about throwing a party...include some mini desserts!

I made these for my husbands work.  There were a few ladies who happened to have the same Birthday, I wanted to try out some new recipes and ideas and BOOM!  These little guys were born.  I also dropped off all the extras to my Dentist, and they are going to give me their opinion!  I really want to start doing Dessert Bars for people...setting up, making desserts, everything!  So if you are in the DFW area...give me a call!  I would love to help you out:) they are, let me know what you think of them!!

August 11, 2010

Apple Turnovers

I hope everyone is having a fabulous Wednesday!  I don't know about you, but school starts on the 23rd!  My boys are SOOOO ready for it to start!  I may be little bit too:)  When did/do your kids start school??

Have any of you ever read the Hannah Swenson Murder Mystery books by Joanne Fluke?  Well, I happen to LOVE this series!  Its a murder mystery with TONS of fabulous recipes!  Seriously, read them, you will be hooked!  This last recipe I made, it was from the "Apple Turnover Murder".  Lets just say they were WAY to good to not share!  Especially if you add a huge scoop of Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream and drizzle caramel on top.  In fact...I was mad at myself because I meant to put some caramel in with the apples.  Oh well, you can though:)

You can't see them, but the Craisins add to the YUMMY factor!

Apple Turnovers

The Crust
One 17.5 oz. pkg frozen putt pastry dough (Pepperidge Farm)
1 egg
1 TBS water
White sugar to sprinkle on top

Apple Filling:
4 1/2 c. cored, peeled, sliced, and chopped apples (I used 2 lg Granny Smith and 2 lg Gala Apples)
1/2 c. Craisins
1 TBS lemon juice
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. ground nutmeg (fresh is best!)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. salt

Thaw your puff pastry dough according to pkg directions.  Do this on a floured board.

While your pastry is thawing, core and peel the apples.  Slice them as you would for a pie and then cut the slices into 3 pieces.  Place the apples in a large mixing bowl and mix in the Craisins.  Sprinkle the fruit with 1 TBS of lemon juice to keep the apples from browning.  Toss the mixture around wiht your fingers to make sure all the apples are moistened.

Mix the sugar, flour, spices and salt together in a small bowl.

Dump the bowl with the dry ingredients on top of the apples and toss them to coat the apples.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, rack in the middle position.

When your puff pastry has thawed, roll half of it out to a 12" square on a floured board.  Use a sharp knife to make one horizontal line through the middle of the square and one vertical line through the middle of the square.  This will divide it into 4 equal pieces.

Break the egg into a cup.  Add 1 TBS of water and whisk it up.  This will be your egg wash.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer one squareof puff pastry dough to the cookie sheet.  Use a pastry brush to brush the inside edges of the square with the egg wash.  THis will make the edges stick together when you fold the dough over the apples.

Withe a slotted spoon, pick up about 1/2 cup of the filling (1/4 c. for smaller turnovers) and place it in the center of the square.  Pull one corner of the square over the filling to the opposite corner of the square, forming a triangle.  Press the edges together.  Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges together.  Coat the top of the turnover with egg wash, using a pastry brush.

Cut two slits in the top of the turnover with a sharp knife.  The slits should be about an inch long.  Follow the same procedure to fill and seal the remaining  turnovers.

Bake your turnovers at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown on top.  Remove the cookie sheet to a wire rack and let the turnovers cool for 5 minutes.  Then pull the parchment paper and the turnovers off the cookie sheet and onto a wire rack.

These are delicious eaten while slightly warm, also good cold.  If any are left over wrap them loosely in wax paper and keep them in a cool place.  The next day you can reheat them in the oven.

August 9, 2010

MM...Tween's Bedroom

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I had a blast going to IKEA...that place is golden.  I always end up getting so many ideas and tons of cheap, quality stuff:)  When I went to Interior Design School the Director always told us that IKEA was one of the best places to get furniture...why? you may ask...because the Sweedish spend their LIFE on perfecting their may be one little piece of furniture, but it is the best quality and very durable.  So there you have it...IKEA = quality!  Now, some of the stuff there is maybe a little too modern for some people, BUT they have so many different choices and you can mix things here and there!  So...go have a looksie and buy some fun stuff!

So I had a fellow reader submit a MM!  (People...I am LOVING it when you submit stuff to me!  I had no idea people actually like to read what I it makes me happy!  Please email me!!  I know you may be thinking...I'm too nervous to send her stuff...she doesn't know me. put your mind at ease, just know that I have only known 2 of the submitters to all the MM I have done!  I love getting to know my readers!  I also love comments:)  Love you guys! of my soapbox...So Stacey submitted a MM dilemma for her Tween Girls Bedroom!  I was so excited about this one because 1. Its for a girl and I have 3 boys, girlie things are so fun for me.  2.  She is doing a black, white, silver and pink favorite colors EVER!  3.  It is a Paris Fashion theme!  I LOVE Paris!  I want to go back over and over again!  So, hopefully I will be able to give some good ideas to Stacey and her daughter!

Here is what Stacey has to say:

Hello! I love reading your blog...especially the Makeover Mondays. You have so many fabulous ideas! My 12 year old daughter wants to makeover her bedroom in a Paris fashion theme. She wants to use black, white, silver and pink as the colors. She wants one black wall, bu t I'm not sure that will work since her room is pretty small. There is a frame on one of the walls that was liquid nailed on and won't come off, so we have to use it. Right now it is a message board, but she was thinking about making it look like a window and painting a Paris skyline in it. I want this room to be girly but grown up, if that makes sense. I found a fabulous old vanity at Goodwill that I plan to paint black to replace the desk she has in there now. I'm attaching pictures of her room and I would love any ideas you have. Thank you!


Now the best part....the pictures:

So excited for this room!  Ok...first of all...I love the idea about changing the board (above) into a Paris skyline.  That would be fabulous!  Another idea is to add some shutters on both sides of the board to make it feel more like a window.  I also love that you have a vanity that you are going to use instead of the desk!  That would be fabulous!  Black is a great color to paint it...if you do, you might want to think about re-upholstering the chair.  Maybe in a damask print, white with the black damask print on top.  Most of these chairs are pretty easy to redo.  You just have to pop the fabric part off and use the fabric that is already on there as your pattern and then staple it back on.  There are tutorials all over the place!  Like this one.

Another idea that would be fun is to get some foam core or something thick, cover it with paper/fabric and cut it to size to fit the back of the bookshelves.  You could also just mod podge it right to the back.  This would just add some more detail to the room.

When I was at IKEA, I got this picture frame:
I LOVE it!  There is so much you can do with it!  Like take the cork board or the magnet board you have and have it fit inside the frame and use it for that purpose.  I can see this above the bed with the other shelves around it with some other pictures around the frame.  Make a collage of her things around this. You can also make some push pins like these from Ballard Design:

I have seen little wooden fleur de lis at Hobby Lobby.  You can paint them whatever color you want and add the push pin to the back.

Now there was a question about painting a wall black.  Stacey, I am with you that the room might be too small to handle a black wall.  BUT there are a few things you could do!  For example, you could paint the trim and doors black, have lots of black by painting the vanity black.  If your ambitious, you could paint all the furniture black!!  So, by doing that, that will help.  Another option that would be fun is to add some board and batten to the room:
This tutorial came from The Nester and I LOVE it!  You could do so much with it!  If you do do this, make sure you either do chair rail height or 2/3 of the way don't want to do half would look like you are chopping the room in half.  Not good on the eyes.  The Nester gives a PERFECT tutorial on how to do this.  If this is too much work...I would stick with PINK walls and have the bedding be more on the black side.  Then add lots of pillows with different pinks.

These pictures are REALLY hard to tell, but this is what I was thinking.  The source came from here.

I really love this Ooh la la board that came from here, I also love the HUGE Eiffel Tower (I have seen them at Hobby Lobby:

As for drapes, I would either go with a Toile or a thick black and white stripe (Like you see at cafes).  It just depends on what bed spread you get.

I think that a chandelier would be so fun in this one, but without the roses, which is an option.  It came from HERE:

Something else I would do is to change her lamp that is in her room.  You can spray paint it black, and either re-cover the lamp shade or you can get a new one at Hobby Lobby or JoAnns that has sticky stuff all over it. All you have to do is peel off the cover, use that as a pattern, and re-cover it.  I would get some black beaded trim for the bottom and even some eyelash trim to go with it!  You could add a fun pink bow around the whole shade.  Like this one: (love the walls here also)

Love the wall decal here:
Some bedding I found at JCP:
Love the patterns here!  If you can find bedding with just black and white and then add lots of pink pillows, that would be fabulous also!  Of course you have to add feather boa wherever you can!  

I hope that this gives you a few ideas!  I bet having a girl is so much fun!  I'm jealous:)  I'm kinda sick of reds and blues:)  If you have ANY questions let me know!  If you are in the middle of a project and need some help...let me know!  Good luck and PLEASE send pictures of what you end up doing!!

August 6, 2010

Chocolate Chip Kiss Cookies

Happy Friday everyone!  I'm having a pretty good sweet in-laws called me today to see if they could take my oldest with them to New Mexico for a week!  He is going to have a blast!  I will enjoy him and the middle child not fighting:)  Its been bad lately!!  

Anyway...I just wanted to leave you with a YUMMY recipe for the weekend...because you MUST make these!  They are kind of like a chocolate chip shortbread wrapped around a Hershey Kiss...whats not to love about that??  

The middle of the cookie...look at all that yummy chocolate goodness:)

Chocolate Chip Kiss Cookies

1 bag (9 oz.) Hershey Kisses
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Drizzle

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove wrappers from kisses.

Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.  Add flour to butter mixture; blend until smooth.  Stir in mini chocolate chips.  Mold scant tablespoon dough around each Kiss, covering completely.  Shape into balls; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until set.  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Prepare chocolate drizzle, if desired.  Drizzle over each cookie

Chocolate Drizzle:
Place 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips and 1 tsp. shortening in small bowl.  Microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds; stir.  If necessary, microwave another 20 seconds or until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth when stirred.

August 2, 2010

M.M...Kitchen/Family Room

Happy Monday Everyone!  It has been awhile!  THANKFULLY school starts in 21 days (but whose counting??)  and after life will change dramatically!!  I will have 2 kids in school...ALL DAY!  I don't know what I will do...oh wait...I can finally BLOG for you guys!!  Yeah!  I have had so many crafts/food/design ideas running in my head!  Can't wait to share them with you!

So the other day I was soooo excited because I FINALLY got a Makeover Monday email!!  I haven't had one in awhile!  {{hint, hint...}}  So the fabulous Liz emailed me pictures of her GORGEOUS house she is moving into in about 2 weeks!  It is absolutely beautiful!  She needs a few ideas and thoughts on what to do for her kitchen/breakfast nook/Family room.  So to start her letter!!

Hi Summer,
I'm not sure how I came across your blog, but I've enjoyed reading your Makeover Monday posts.  (Thank you!!) I am getting ready to move into a new to me house in about 2 weeks, and I was hoping that you could give me some help.  The entire back of the house is one long room: Kitchen, eating area and Family Room, all open to each other.  I am planning on putting my kitchen table where the current owners have theirs, but need a kid friendly rug to place under it.  Also, I am planning on purchasing a new sofa/loveseat, ottoman for the family room area.  We are thinking leather for the sofas, but not sure.  Just something neutral and kid friendly.  The main walls are a creamy color with a blue green accent walls on the kitchen end, which I really like and don't plan on changing any time soon.  The family room has a built in shelving on one end of the room surrounding the fireplace.  There is also a built in desk in the kitchen/eating area, and a sunroom off of the family room.  I really want to add in some color (throw pillows, rugs, accessories) such as blues, oranges, reds?  Any suggestions you can give would be fabulous.  I am including pictures of the areas as they are now, with the current owners furniture, so try to imagine it without furniture.  Smile emoticon  Also, I just really love the blue green aqua colors, and have some pottery I will be using in the kitchen, and a beautiful accent bowl that is also in those colors.  I just need help with good design, colors that go well together, furniture.  Too bad you don't live in CT!!!  Smile emoticon 

I am also going to link you up to a few photos that are from the MLS, since I for some reason did not take a really good shot of the entire room (I guess I was thinking I could always just look at the pics from the listing).
This link shows you part of the family room and the entrance hall.  There is a big waste of space in this part, as they don't use it for anything.  I'd like to open up the seating area a little more, without cutting off the entrance hall.
This one shows another view of the room with the sunroom on the left.  The living room is also accessed from this end of the family room, through some french doors.
This is the eating area, kitchen with access to the deck, and the laundry room is accessed through that back doorway.  I really love the color they have on the walls...LOVE it!  Smile emoticon
Another view from the family room area looking toward kitchen.  This shows you more of what I meant about pushing the seating area back, possibly to at least the doorway to the sunroom, still allowing access, but using up some of that wasted space.
Thanks for looking, and helping me if you can!

And the pictures of her fabulous home:

I am totally in love with this house!  It is beautiful!  There are so many things you can do to make it your own!  Sometimes it is really hard to see how a house is (with previous owners things in it) and then try not to do the exact thing.  So props to you for noticing that they have lots of waisted space!  We will get that fixed!

I love the green that they have painted!  It is a nice, neutral green that will work with pretty much anything!  I love the color scheme you were thinking about...the blues, oranges and reds.  I think that those colors work really well together and will really enhance what is already in the home (especially since the kitchen back splash has some orange/red colors in it!)

I don't know how many kiddos you have or the ages...but leather is a great, kid-friendly choice for your sofa!  I have 3 boys and my leather sofas have had a beating and they still look brand new!  I just wipe up whatever "mess" they put on them and no stain!  It is fabulous!  I know some people don't like leather because in the winter it gets cold...I haven't had that problem.  It has always been just the right temperature for me!!

Since I don't really know what type of shopping you have in CT, I thought I would look online for rugs, accessories, etc..  This rug came from Home Decorators Collection, and they have FABULOUS rugs at a fairly good price.  This rug has all the colors you were looking for in the rug.  If you go to the link, you can see a larger version of it and get a better look at all the colors.  But it does have the blue/green color, green, and orange/red color that looks like the tile in the backsplash.  This would look beautiful in the family room.

Here is a chair from Pier 1 that would be great for your FR.  Great news...this chair is only $199!  I think a pair of these would be great against the wall (closer to the entry way) with a table in between.  

Now for pillow:)  This is my favorite part!  Love lots of pillow!  These all cam from Pier 1 and all range from $20 on up.  If you have a pillow on each chair and then a variety on your sofa, you will be good to go!  (You don't have to use all these patterns...this is just a few that I loved!)

This is a throw that came from Pottery Barn.  It would look fabulous thrown on your sofa...I like the Blue Smoke color (the bottom color).

A long ottoman would be great in this room, that way there is more seating for guests/family.  I would scoot the sofa back or even angle it a bit so that the chairs are in the grouping.  You may not be able to fit a love seat in there on top of a would be one or the other.  Also I think that a sofa table would look really good behind the sofa.  Put a pair of lamps on top to give extra lighting.  One rule about lighting is that you want enough lighting through lamps and uplights that you don't ever have to use the lights from the ceiling.  Have everything glowing and pretty:)

Ok...I'm going to post this now...BUT...I'm not quite done yet.  So, check back in a bit!  I have to go do a family thing;)

Alright!  I'm back...sorry about that!  
One thing that drives me MAD is when people STUFF their bookshelves with books.  Ironic, right?  In the right setting it looks good, but adding baskets, pictures, flowers, pots, etc...make it look much more interesting.  Here is an example of what bookshelves could look like  (picture from Ballard Designs):

Here is a rug from Ballard Designs that is an Indoor/Outdoor rug that would be great for under the kitchen table.  What's so great about an Indoor/Outdoor rug?? is really durable, you can just hose it off when it gets dirty and it is easy to maintain!  Love that!

A few accessories that would look nice:

These topiaries are also from Ballard Design (I love that store!!)...topiaries are just something clean and fresh and look good in any type of design.  

I also love these balls and jars from Z always need something unexpected in a room to keep things interesting.  The glass balls would look fab and the jars would bring out more of the blue that you love.

I hope that these tips help you out Liz!  Good luck on the move and I hope that everything goes well!  Please send us some pictures of how you end up decorating!  I would love to see it!!  Have fun!