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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Things I'm Liking Now

Here is a quick list of some things things that I am loving now ...

(bought these for a job I'm working on)

 (Sugarboo sign I've wanted for so long ... maybe soon)

(have had these for awhile and just really like their style)

(got this for my laundry room - just have to figure out where to hook it up in my weird space)

(have 3 and I love - love - love them)

(always good ideas in here)

(will be ordering)

(got this for myself - great for you or for a gift)

($103.99 for a set of 2 - ordered for a job - really good quality - and that color!)

Cement and Copper Lamp
(ordered this for a job too!)

Rohini Daybed Cushion
(also, ordered for job - they are on the way - it's a very well priced daybed mattress - comes in 3 colors)

So, that is a list of things I'm liking right now.  What great finds have you come across lately?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Make This Tonight - Asian Beef Tacos Topped With Pickled Cucumber & Red Cabbage Slaw

This recipe is so-ooo good, and puts a new twist on the same old - same old taco dinner.   I've made this recipe so many times now - lately whenever I ask Noah for a request this is it!  If your going to make this recipe you may just want to make a double batch.  They will go quickly!

Asian Beef Taco's

1 lb. ground round
2 T. toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. reduced sodium soy sauce
3 T. packed brown sugar
3 T. rice vinegar
1 T. water
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
queso fresco cheese
white or yellow corn tortillas or brown rice

In a large skillet brown ground round. Drain fat and set aside.

Add sesame oil to skillet.  Add garlic and cook 30 seconds or so until the garlic is slightly browned.  Stir in soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, water, and crushed red pepper.  Bring this mixture to a boil - reduce heat - simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Return beef to the skillet and heat through.

Quick Pickled Cucumber & Red Cabbage Slaw

In a medium bowl whisk together:
 1/4 c. vinegar
1 T. sugar
1/4 t. salt

1 cup very thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup shredded or very thinly sliced red cabbage

Let this mixture stand for 15 minutes to 6 hours

To serve spoon beef onto tortillas.  using a slotted spoon top with the slaw and some queso fresco cheese.  I think this would also be good over brown rice - not to mention I sometimes just eat it on it's own - just meat-slaw-cheese.

t = teaspoon
T = tablespoon
c = cup

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Garden Magazine - I reduced the salt and sugar in the slaw and added the queso fresco cheese.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

What I've Been Working On ... This May Hurt Your Eyes!

I've been working on the update of an old roller rink - not sure how may decades of decor.  The paint colors and murals will scare you!


I don't think I would l want to have a birthday party here :)

This was a traditional  roller rink - then they changed it into a roller hockey place - the floor has been painted to look like ice.

Staircase to the mezzanine.

The kitchen.

This will become a nice seating area.

How about that carpet?

So, this is where my head has been.  I have to go through my phone pictures as well because the original kitchen area photo's from my camera are pretty blurry.

A lot of work is being done there right now.  New paint colors alone are making such a difference.   

So, what do you think?

It is an amazing project, and I'm happy to be a part of the team working on bringing this space back to modern times.  Between the owner, the contractor Kyle, all the craftsmen, and myself I'm excited to see the final product.  As each choice comes together we breathe a sigh of relief.  It's really starting to look like something good!

I hope you will follow   

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Spiced Toasted Pecans With Dried Cherries And Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

For awhile now I have been wanting to experiment with making spiced nuts.  There is a restaurant near me that has an appetizer of warm spiced nuts on their menu - I always find myself ordering them - and a Michigan made hard cider to go alongside.  From that inspiration I came up with this recipe - here the nuts are toasted and won't get your hands messy.  I also added cherries and chocolate for some spicy and sweet goodness.

Spiced Toasted Pecans With Dried Cherries And Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. Franks Red Hot Sauce - original (for extra spice use 1 t. - I think it would be good)
2 c. pecan halves

1 1/2 t. chili powder
3/4 t. Celtic sea salt
1/2 t. black pepper (I like to use straight up McCormick)
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. powdered garlic
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 c. Ghirardelli's 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
3/4 c. dried cherries (I used Trader Joe's tart Montmorency dried cherries - they are larger and really delicious) 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with Reynolds wrap.

In a bowl combine olive oil and hot sauce.  Add the pecans and toss to coat.  Set aside.

Combine all of the spices in a small bowl, and then add this mixture to the pecans.  Toss the pecans again to coat well with the spices.  Place the pecan mixture on cookie sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until pecans are toasted.  Stir every few minutes.  I cooked mine for 15 minutes.

You could serve just the nuts on their own warm, but if you wait until they cool and add the chocolate and cherries I think you will like that too!  

They are so delicious I am having a hard time staying away from the bowl :)


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Today Is National Cancer Survivors Day

For all of those who have survived cancer, and for those who are finding themselves faced with and in the middle of dealing with their diagnosis and treatment - today is a day to both celebrate and also to inspire those fighting that there is hope - and the odds don't matter.  This can be beat!  

I'm pretty sure that each person reading this post has someone in their immediate lives that has fought a cancer diagnosis.  It touches us all.  More people than ever are surviving this disease.  There are some things that we probably don't take into consideration when it is not our personal heath that is compromised.  Just a few thoughts on understanding, and being compassionate to those who have dealt with and are dealing with this battle.  I think it is very easy for us to remove ourselves from the reality that our friends are loved ones are living.

Surviving cancer is just one piece of the puzzle.  Think of the following struggles that also occur in the wake of this disease.  There are physical challenges, emotional challenges, and often financial burdens that have resulted from doctor's visits, hospital bills, and missed work days.   Sometimes it is hard to find a specialist - health insurance and life insurance coverage may be denied.   There is also the fear that the cancer will return.  We all need to remember that just because the cancer is cured, and we are celebrating it's riddance that doesn't mean that there still isn't a struggle and a lot of anxiety for the person who has been in the fight.

I personally know many friends and family who have fought and won this disease.  I would say that I know 12 people who have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer - and luckily I know 11 of them as survivors!

The following statement is from the National Cancer Survivor's Day website: 

The National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation believes that more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation are needed to improve the quality of life of cancer survivors – during and after treatment. We urge everyone who participates in National Cancer Survivors Day celebrations to not only recognize those who are living with a history of cancer but also raise awareness of the hardships cancer survivors face beyond treatment.

I want to thank Heather Von St. James for making me aware that National Cancer Survivors Day exists.  10 years ago Heather was given 15 months to live after receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.   Please click here for more information on mesothelioma.  Heather says that as she stands here today overwhelmed with joy because she outlived her diagnosis she has one mission - to have as many people as possible help her spread awareness.  I'm not the most organized all the time, but this was something I wanted to take the time to write about, and to help her get the word out.  It also gave me time to reflect on those I know that have battled cancer, and to really think more about what they have gone through.  They all show such strength so it is sometimes easy to not really think about what they have endured.

Please take a moment to watch Heather's video - she is such an inspiration - and I love the attitude she possesses.  I think that really makes a difference - the positive thinking and having hope -  though I understand it sadly isn't always enough I really think it can be so helpful - even in everyday normal life when not facing down a giant like cancer.  That is something that everyone can take with them! As Heather says, "with hope, the odds don't matter"

Maybe you would also like to spread the word - if so please feel free to share this on your social media, write your own blog post about Heather's story or about someone you love.  Why not use the entire month of June to spread this message :)   

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Maybe My Dog Should Model :)

Yesterday ...

Sometimes I think my dog needs a job marketing products.

Just hanging out with the family on a Saturday afternoon in one of "her" many chairs.

Making the Moroccan candle holders look even cuter.  I'll do another post on those later.  Just wanted to share a few quick pics.

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Heath Bar Cake

I've posted this recipe before, but it is good so here it is again.

Back in high school my friend and I were at her Aunts house.  Her Aunt made this for dessert.  It is a simple concept that you just throw together - use as much Heath as you like.  Also, I still think it tastes best when you buy the heath bars and crush them up in a little food processor.

Here is what you will need:

Betty Crocker White Cake mix - the only white cake mix I will buy (This probably sounds weird but the others remind me of playdough - the smell of it runs into the taste - it's not for me :) - I decided to share that so if you have had boxed white cake mix and hated it that might be why - stick with Betty!)

You will also need the eggs and Crisco vegetable oil to make the cake.  I make it the 3 egg white way.

Sanders Butterscotch Caramel dessert topping - Sanders is a Detroit classic, but you can use any caramel sauce

Original Cool Whip - let it come to room temp. so you can spread it

Heath Bars - I usually chop up the candy bars in a food processor.  Sometimes I grab a bag of Health pieces that they have near the chocolate chip area.  It works either way, but I think it tastes better using the candy bars.  If you want to use candy bars you will need 6 of them.  I used 5 last time I made this cake.

To assemble:

Make your cake mix as directed on the box.  After you have it all mixed and ready add 3/4 cups of crushed Heath.  You can add more or less if you wish - then just mix this in well, and pour batter into pan of choice.  I usually just use a 9 x 13 inch glass Pyrex dish, but I have to say the layer cake I just made was amazing!  You get more caramel sauce this way.  Bake the cake according to the package directions.

After the cake has cooled completely add a layer of caramel sauce - just like you would use frosting.  In the first photo I used 2 round cake pans so I put caramel sauce and more heath bar between the layers and on the top layer.

Now it is time  for some Cool Whip.

Finish the cake off by sprinkling it with more crushed Heath bar pieces.

I store this cake in the refrigerator because of the Cool Whip.  Just take it out right before serving.

Noah wants this every year as his Birthday dessert.