Friday, May 16, 2014

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts

I've never been a vegetable fan, honestly up until 4 years ago I considered my self a meat, potatoes and chocolate girl, but when I started eating healthier I started trying more veggies and have discovered the brussel sprout. 

Now I started to shred brussel sprouts and mix with chopped kale for a new twist on salad, and now I'm on to roasting and sauting. 

The last two nights I've made Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts, so simple so easy. The trick is to use enough olive oil to keep the pan moist as the sprouts soak up a lot of oil. 

I prep my sprouts by peeling the outer leaves off and trimming the bottoms and then cutting them in half or quarters depending on the size of the sprouts. On medium heat, sauté the sprouts for 8-10 minutes keeping them moving in the pan and adding oil as needed. 

Once the sprouts start showing some color add a small amount of Better Than Bullion ham flavoring and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. Why would I use the Ham flavoring you might ask? Because it tastes like bacon without the bacon calories. (Sorry bacon for cheating on you) My mom has used this trick for years with green beans. 

Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Salt lightly and serve! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake - Pinterest Recipe

We had a breakfast celebration on Mother's Day since it is also Graduation Day for many schools around us. I made a couple of different Pinterest Recipes, all of which turned out really great but the one I want to tell you all about specifically because it was tasty and ridculously simple is the Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake from The Lady Behind the Curtain. Yes it is a mouthful, but sooooo good and so easy because you use a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls as the dough, no dough making necessary!

I modified the recipie a little becuase well I forgot the pecans in the gooey bowl of goodness so when I inverted the cake onto a plate I sprinkled the pecans on there and they stuck to the yumminess and no one was the wiser.

Here is the exact recipe from The Lady Behind the Curtain:

  • 1-1/2 cups apples, chopped and peeled
  • 1 can (12.4 ounce) Pillsbury cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.
  3. Spread 1 cup of the apples in pie plate.
  4. Separate dough into 8 rolls.
  5. Cut each roll into quarters; place in large bowl.
  6. Add remaining 1/2 cup apples and pecans.
  7. In small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and corn syrup until well blended.
  8. Add brown sugar mixture to dough mixture; toss gently to combine.
  9. Spoon mixture over apples in pan.
  10. Bake 28 to 38 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes.
  11. Invert onto serving platter.
  12. Remove lid from icing.
  13. Microwave icing on high 10 to 15 seconds or until drizzling consistency.
  14. Drizzle over warm coffee cake. Serve warm.
In addition to the Upside Down Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake we had Stuffed Breakfast Bubble Biscuits with homemade Sausage Gravy, Green Chile Egg Bake (which Jake and I have all the time) and a fresh fruit salad. It was a great way to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom, sister-in-law, grandma and aunt.

Friday, May 9, 2014

DIY Canvas Art

I love my own art work, partially because I just don't think that I have the appropriate funds to purchase the art work which my tastes desire...why do I like pretty, expensive things???? Plus I can also select my own color pallets. This particular design is a knock-off of the ❤️ Wyoming promotion. 

Canvas is so easy to work with and anymore you can find them in a million different sizes and shapes and there are some companies that will even customize a size for you. This is a stock size 12x12 that I bought in a 2-pack from Hobby Lobby, using my 40% off discount coupon in my handy dandy Hobby Lobby app it was about $3 per canvas. 

I started by finding the font I wanted to use and locating a bucking horse silhouette. I printed them out on adhesive paper and cut them out. I highly recommend using a hard surface and exacto knife to cut out the horse with all the detail. If you are way cooler than me and have one of those cool cutting machines yes that is way better than scissors and an exacto and I'm jealous. 

Then prep your canvas. I used a nice neutral color, it is actually called Saddle by Behr and painted the entire surface including the edges. Let that dry completely then position and adhere the stickers on the canvas. Using a sponge brush, dry brush the accent color onto the canvas using short strokes to allow for the original paint color to show through the strokes. Start around the stickers paint outward from the stickers to prevent bleeding around the edges, then expand out to the entire canvas. Be sparing around the edges so you can create a worn look with stain later. This red color is I believe Barn Red, a Martha Stewart color from Lowes. It is the same color as my accent wall in my living room and I love the color. Remove the stickers while the paint is still wet/tacky. Let completely dry. 

The next step is optional and can be done different ways. I wanted to add and aged look to the canvas so I used an old rag dipped lightly in a stain, this is Provincial by Minwax, and I lightly covered the entire canvas focusing on the edges and areas where the stickers were. Not when you put stain on top of paint on a canvas it doesn't wipe off like it would on wood so be very careful to not go too crazy you can alway add more if you want it darker. 

Now to finish the look I used decorator or upholstery nails and have the piece a more finished look. I like to use a rubber hammer so you don't damage the nail head but unfortunately I couldn't find one this day so I just put a clean dry cloth over the nail before I hammered it into the wood frame of the canvas. I've also learned that it is best to make a small nail hole as a pilot hole, the upholstery nails go in so much easier that way. 

Hope you love it as much as I do! 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

DIY Basement Bathroom Storage

So I'm finally to a point where we can start sharing some of the updates we have made to our house. We moved in last August and have been slowly working on things all winter and this spring. We have made a big difference upstairs but just waiting on finishing touches before we can move our stuff upstairs and start on the downstairs.

Our basement bathroom is the bathroom we have been using for the past 9 months, it is a nice big, functional bathroom and really didn't require any major updates, especially since it is going to be a secondary bathroom.

The bathroom was painted a very pretty light turquoise or very close to a Tiffany Blue. It is the only room in the house that we will not end up painting when it is all said and done. The black and white tile and flooring are clean looking so we just decided to keep it was less money. :)

I did add a few things like a nice tray on the counter, which came from my mom, that we can put mismatched things. I started using a cup I received from a friend as my makeup brush holder. It is so easy to grab what I need. You can see in the reflection of the mirror I have a small microwave cart that we hold our hand towels and wash cloths, in the cabinet below I keep all my travel bags and travel sized items and on top I have a giant basket with all my hair styling products/tools and the plastic drawers hold all our medicines and my make up. I stole this idea from Ashley's Makeup Artistry's, Make Over My World blog from a few months back.

Everyone needs something rustic and worn to hold their TP right?
I used a wooden crate purchased from Michaels and I sanded it down, dry brushed it with a simple white satin finished paint, sanded down the corners and applied and quickly wiped off a Minwax stain in Provencal. The shelf brackets I purchased at Hobby Lobby. This whole project cost around $20 because I bought all the items when they were on sale.

Shower is just to the left...

For the towel hanger, I took a piece of our old decking and cut it down to the size I wanted. Then I found a bucking horse silhouette online, printed it out, cut it out and used a sharpie to outline the image onto the board. Normally I would use the sharpie to fill in the image, but because of all the texture on the board I actually put two coats of flat black paint to fill in the image. The actual towel hook is drawer pull I got from Hobby Lobby as well. This whole project cost $2.85 because I got the pull on sale.

I couldn't have made any of these work with out my handyman...he also lives here which is helpful and he is good at dealing with my brain and crazy projects. If you start some projects and don't have a lovable handyman in your house you should get one!

 I believe our upstairs half bath may be next, we are waiting on some furniture for our living room because I can't wait to show it off!

Friday, May 2, 2014

#ccbeautyswap #3

So I think I have preached how much I LOVE the Beauty Swaps that Crystal Cattle has been putting on, however if you haven't paid attention to my previous posts I want to remind everyone why I continue to participate and why I love them so much.

1. I have be paired up with three amazing women. All with different backgrounds than me but we have always had something in common. Most recently I was paired up with Nicole Starr and we have had a pretty similar track on our lives (I've just done mine a, um, few years ahead of her). We are ag girls from beef cattle backgrounds, she works at an ad agency, which was also my first job, we love make up and are proud aunts.
2. It is a great way to meet other ladies in the ag world, I have no idea how I ever would have connected with the three lovely ladies I have connected with over the past few months.
3. It is an awesome way to try new make-up and learn tricks from other like-minded ladies.

My swap partner was Ms. Nicole Starr and she hit my summer pressure points on the head!

I absolutely love the Smash Box Trio with shades of parfait, amethyst and aubergine (which totally reminds me of a great line from my favorite movie Sweet Home Alabama, but I digress). Why I love this so much is I can use the parfait and amethyst for a nice light more natural look, then I can add the aubergine in my crease with a Smash Box pencil liner in imperial with a nice sweep of black liquid liner across the top of my eye lash for a great going out of the house look. Purples are for sure the color of the year and for someone with sometimes green sometimes hazel eyes they are in my weekly rotation anyway!

This is scary I realize, I'm not much of a make-up artists by
the way I take pictures, but it does show a progression of how the
eyeshadow looks with the eyeliners I mentioned.

I'm obsessed with the Essie polish in Peach Daiquiri. I struggle every summer with picking a polish that I like that is versatile enough to be fun and summery and also something I can wear professionally with sandals or heels. This color is perfect. Nicole said it is her go-to polish and it now is mine! Sooo excited to get a new pedicure with this polish.

Love the swaps and want to thank Crystal for hosting yet again!

If you want to hear about my previous two swaps visit the links below:
Swap with Erin
Swap with Lauren

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I love Spaghetti Squash

We love spaghetti squash at our house. Well technically we love all kinds of squash, name it we love it and eat it a lot. I realize that it is more of a winter type of veggie, but well hey it still feels like winter here in Iowa so I guess we will continue to roll with it.

There are a lot of people who are scared to cook squash because they have never done it before...spaghetti squash is super easy and a great replacement for potatoes if you are looking for something different. Plus their are great health benefits.

To cook your spaghetti squash it is very simple, but you need to be very careful and use a sharp knife because cutting through the squash can be a little scary. Preheat your oven to 400, if you have a convection oven keep it at 400 don't drop it the 25 degrees like the manuals state. Start with a hole spaghetti squash with no blemished on the outside, cut it in half and remove the seeds with a tablespoon. I scrape down a little into the meat to make sure I get all of the seed gunk out. Yes seed gunk is a technical term. Take a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment, if you don't have parchment no worries just spray lightly with cooking spray. Place the two sides cut side down and wrap tightly with foil. Bake for 50-55 minutes.

Now is the fun part, let your squash cool slightly then turn over and using a fork run through the meat in the squash creating spaghetti like strings. Dump the strings into a bowl and enjoy. Ok so maybe not that quick. I love it that way but there are a lot of people that need to dress it up a little bit so here are some of our favorite ways.

1. Simple - Butter, garlic salt and pepper
2. Creamy - Mix skim milk, butter and lowfat cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds pour over the squash and cover with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, stir and enjoy.
3. Cheesy - Create a roux based cheese sauce and mix into the spaghetti squash then put back in the oven for 10 minutes to seal in all that cheesiness!