The Project Board – A Look Back

Today marks 6 years since I started my blog. I’ve found it very helpful to keep track of how I’ve done things throughout the years like how I made curtains or a certain recipe. I don’t otherwise mark a lot of this down and it’s been helpful to be able to come back and follow a recipe that I liked a few years ago. I hope you’ve also found it helpful to read some of my blog posts and be able to come back to things you liked.

My most popular posts are:

Slide1Bathroom Before and After posted on October 14, 2012 has 7,420 views, most of which come from Pinterest.  The bathroom looks exactly the same now as it did then, except it now has a shower curtain instead of glass doors. We’re talking about replacing the baseboard next year but otherwise have no plans for changes.

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DIY Curtains posted on December 12, 2012 with 4,369 views. I made the curtains to go in our bedroom as pictured right but they have since moved to our home office. I replaced them with black-out curtains because we got tired of our neighbor’s flood lights keeping us up at night. Our bedroom is currently going through some renovations and I will post pictures of that by the end of the year.  My 3rd most popular post has been the Bedroom Makeover Pictures that go along with the DIY curtains.


My personal favorites are:

Buffet1_wordsRefinished Buffet posted on July 14, 2015.  I still can’t quite believe my luck at finding this on the side of the road out with the trash. I worked really hard on this and it was worth it. People compliment it when they come over and are often surprised to hear that we didn’t buy it new. Actually, the only furniture in our house that we bought new is the couch, coffee table, and end tables in our living room. Everything else was either given, bought at Goodwill, or found on the side of the street like the buffet. I am getting to the point, though, that I’m willing to spend some money on new furniture, especially because I think new furniture would look great with the renovations we’ve made on the house recently.  There are two things I’d really like to have soon and that is a new dining room table and a big, comfy chair for our entry way.

Here is what our buffet looks like now –
Buffet_UpdateI made the tray at Board and Brush.  If you haven’t checked them out, you should.  They have locations all over the U.S.

Floors
DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors, posted on March 18, 2018.  As you can tell from the picture on the right (and from the post), we installed hardwood floors throughout our house and also replaced all of the trim and baseboards. The two of us (my husband and I) did all of the work. In the “after” picture, we still need to do some touch-ups on the bay window and put the shelves back on the bookcase behind the couch. But we think it looks a lot better than the early 1990s carpet we had before (no offense to 1990s carpet).

 

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My Starter Story, posted on January 18, 2015.  I like this post because it bring back memories and reminds me how much progress we’ve made on the house.  After we are finished with installing the hardware floors, new baseboard, and trim, it will be fun to look at before and after pictures again.  Soon the bedrooms will have new trim, new closet doors, new interior doors, and new carpet so I’m looking forward to before and after pictures of those changes.  It’s also interesting to look back and see some of the decorative decisions we’ve made and how things have changed even since 2015.  The picture to the right is a reminder that one should always, ALWAYS spend the $3 to get a sample before deciding on a paint color.

 

IMG_1691Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, posted on December 2, 2012.  One of my co-workers gave me this recipe and it is one of my favorites.  It makes a few dozen so it’s easy to give them to family and friends, especially around the holidays.
Thank you to all who follow my blog!  I really appreciate it.

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Chocolate Mousse Pie with Pretzel Crust

This weekend I made a pie to bring to a friend’s house. I saw a recipe for chocolate mousse pie on Pinterest that looked really good but it was vegan which makes things a bit more tricky.  So, I just searched the internet for an easier, non-vegan recipe for chocolate mousse and I search separately for a recipe for pretzel crust. Here is how I made mine:

Pretzel pie crust (recipe from Tasty)
– 5 cups of pretzels, crushed
– 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, melted
– 1/3 cup brown sugar

combine pretzels, melted butter, and brown sugar in a bowl. Press mixture in to the bottom of a slightly greased pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until brown. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Mousse Pie Filling (recipe from Cooking Classy)
2 Tbsp salted butter, diced into 4 pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (or another 1/2 cup semi-sweet if you don’t want it quite as rich)
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/3 cup milk (the recipe calls for whole or 2%. I used skim milk and it was fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
– Container of Cool Whip

Combine butter, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and milk in to large saucepan. Heat over low heat and stir regularly until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour in to bowl and allow to cool for 45-60 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whip 1 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks to form which takes about 5 minutes.

After the whipping cream has stiffened, add it to the cooled chocolate mixture and fold until combined. Then add the mixture to the pretzel crust. Put pie in the refrigerator and allow to cool for a few hours.

After the pie has cooled, top with some Cool Whip (or make your own) and garnish with melted chocolate or chocolate shavings.

I used both bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate for the mousse and it did turn our pretty rich. This pie would also be great with a graham cracker crust.

Chocolate_Pie

Enjoy!

Kim’s French Toast

Good morning!  I’d like to share a french toast recipe that my mother-in-law game to me.

Unfortunately it’s one of those recipes where the exact amounts are not written anywhere so I’ll do my best to explain.

The secret ingredient is pepper which seems sort of weird (in my opinion) for a breakfast item but it tastes great!

Ingredients (enough for 2-3 people)

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 slices of bread
  • 4 eggs
  • pepper

Directions

Crack the eggs in a large bowl.  Whip until scrambled.  Mix in the milk.  Then, sprinkle the desired amount of pepper in to egg/milk mixture.  I usually use enough pepper to cover the entire top of the egg/milk mixture and then I stir it in.  Mine looks like this when finished:

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Then, using your fingers or tongs, dip both sides each slice of bread in the mixture and cook on a pre-heated skillet set to medium heat (I cook at 325F on an electric skillet).  When the bottoms start to brown, flip each piece of bread and cook on the other side.

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When finished, transfer to a plate and top with syrup, powdered sugar, or whatever you’d like!

 

Have a great weekend.

Chicken Rice Soup

I’m excited to share the recipe for chicken rice soup that my mom made for the family regularly.  It’s only seven ingredients but it’s very tasty and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too!

Chicken Rice Soup

 

Ingredients and directions for the rice

  • 1 cup uncooked white, long grain rice
  • Dash of olive oil (1-2 teaspoons)
  • 2 cups of water

Stir rice, olive oil, and water in medium size pot.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover.  Simmer on low heat for 18-20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed.  Set aside.

Ingredients and directions for chicken and broth

  • 1 to 1.5 pounds of chicken.  You can really used whatever kind you want.  I used to use chicken wings but I now just use boneless, skinless chicken breast because it’s less work.
  • 5-8 chicken bouillon cubes (I use 6)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Lemon juice (1 squirt from bottled juice or juice that’s squeezed from 1/2 of a lemon)
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) of water
  • salt to taste

Add chicken and 2 quarts of water to a large pot.  Add bouillon cubes – how much is a personal preference.  I’ve seen recipes that only use 2 but I’ve also seen recipes that use up to 10.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and cook until chicken is done, about 15 minutes (if you’re using full chicken breast, complete with skin and bone, you might cook it for 20 minutes).  Remove chicken from pot, allow it to cool, and then shred it with two forks or cut it in to cubes.

Add chicken, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, oregano, lemon juice, and rice back to broth and simmer for a few minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Remove from heat and serve with warm muffins or crusty bread.  Enjoy!

 

Popcorn Snack Recipe

If you’re looking for a healthy, filling treat, give the below recipe a try.  It’s made with oatmeal cereal, popcorn, cranberries, apples, and a bit of chocolate.  It’s easy to make a huge batch at once and divide it in to small bags to take to work or school.  I call it “high fiber snack” but you can call it whatever you want!

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Ingredients

  • 9 cups popped popcorn (I make mine using an air popper, but you could also buy bagged popcorn and use that instead.  I especially like Skinny Pop popcorn)
  • 1.5 cups oatmeal cereal squares
  • 3/4 cups dried cranberries
  • 2.5 oz package of dried apple slices.  You can also make these yourself if you’d prefer
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips
  • Optional – raisins, almonds, walnuts, etc.

Directions

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Store in a gallon plastic bag or tupperware container.

 

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

It may be a tad early for pumpkin-flavored things but the colder-than-average temperatures have put me in the mood to bake fall favorites.

I found a recipe for pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies online and, after reading some of the comments, decided to make some changes to the recipe.  My cookies turned out less chewy than regular snickerdoodle cookies and more soft and pillowy.  I took some to work and I received a lot of compliments and requests for the recipe.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle cookies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not packed)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (this helps make the cookies soft. I use them in chocolate chip cookies, too)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For rolling

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Instructions

Combine flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.  Set aside.

Cream together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until just combined.  Mix in egg yolk, then pumpkin and vanilla extract.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Place dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 45-60 minutes. Without this step, the dough is too sticky to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit during last 10 minutes of chilling  In small box, mix 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Scoop dough out in 1 or 1.5 rounded tablespoons and roll dough in cinnamon sugar mixture until evenly coated then transfer to baking sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.  Bake in preheated oven 12-14 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

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Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

A posted a recipe for fajita quesadillas a few months ago.  I really enjoy making (and eating) those but I wanted to try something different today.  Instead of onions and peppers, I decided to make the quesadillas with black beans and corn.  They turned out really good!
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Here’s how you make them!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of chicken
  • flour tortillas (I use 10 inch tortillas)
  • shredded cheese (I used colby cheddar)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1-2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • butter for frying pan

Directions

  • Poach chicken for ~10 minutes or until fully cooked.  Remove chicken from pot and shred using two forks.  Set aside.
  • Drain and rinse black beans.  Then drain corn.  Add corn, chicken, taco seasoning, and black beans to a frying pan.  Cook on medium high until all ingredients are hot and a bit more cooked through like shown below.  This also helps burn off some of the water left over from rinsing. img_3041
  • In a separate frying pan, melt a bit of butter.  Add 1 tortilla over the butter then add cheese and as much of the bean/corn/chicken mixture as you’d like.  Then add second tortilla over top.
  • Once the bottom of the first tortilla starts to brown, flip the quesadilla over to cook the bottom (I put a plate over the pan and then quickly flip the quesadilla on to the plate.  Then I push the quesadilla back on the pan.  This helps avoid spillage which happens to me if I try to flip using a spatula).
  • Once the bottom of the second tortilla starts to brown, remove from heat, transfer to plate, and cut it in to 4 even piece.
  • Add toppings (salsa, green onions, guacamole, sour cream, etc.) to your liking.

Enjoy!