Wednesday, November 30, 2011

P.W.'s Chocolate Cake

Welp, I've done it again!! I have made the most wonderful and amazing chocolate cake ever. I can't be beat. Ok, Ok, Pioneer Woman has done it again. Tomato, tomaato, right? It has been almost a year since my "unofficial" new year's rez {you can read about it here} and it has been so much fun! I have learned a lot about my taste/preference for certain flavors and this cake has really just pinned it! Now, Don't hit me when you hear this, but I'm not a huge chocolate cake fan....craziness, I know. I'm also really picky on the moistness of cake. Yadda Yadda, I could go on forever.... Well, this sheet cake is moist and the icing is perfection {shockingly another thing I'm super picky about!}.

For you Odessan's it is similar to Rosa's chocolate cake {but thinner} or Mexican Hot Cake.

You can find Ree's recipe tutorial here.

I had to bring dessert to a dinner with Jake's fam and mom was in town. I was making it and mom kept saying "I'll be in to help in a minute". Before she knew it I was mixing the icing. :) To her defense....this cake took NO TIME at all.... you can't go wrong with a 20 minute bake time!!

Cake was a huge hit and it was so easy....a huge recommendation if you are planning to feed a lot of people!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Father :)

Today was a wonderfully awesome Sunday. Full of church, friends, family & watching Hil Pil play flag football for the OU OT/PT School {the cute boys who played after her were pretty fun to watch also!}. Well, rewind to the friends part. Mom and I hung out with some family friends of ours: The Kimbroughs! They are my parents friends, dating back to their wedding 25+ years ago.
ANYWAYS, we were talking & catching up...chatting about life and most importantly: divulging all the funny things FATHER has said recently.
We have the best father {just a little insight...we call him FATHER because when he first started using a cell phone/texting he would always call and say "Mallory, this is FATHER" or text "Send me the mail....FATHER", like caller ID doesn't exist and as if we had NO IDEA who was calling...} anyone could ask for. He is probably one of the craziest people I know.....and he always, ALWAYS is making people laugh. Well, this post is going to be about some of the funny things he has done lately....Enjoy :)

With all 3 of us girls living in OK, my parents are having to fend for themselves when it comes to all the new savvy technology that is out there. Well in to the WIFI generation, my parents have continued to cruise with rubbish things such as DSL or Dial up. My mom's friend Sandie usually needing to be called often to help them figure out how to upload pics, or open an email...
Well, for work my dad got a brand new lap top that he was going to have to take to meetings. With this brand new lap top came the wonderful world of WIFI. Mom shows dad the gist of everything, turning it on, pulling up the Internet, etc and THEN my FATHER says this "Polly, I will need a bag for my lap top and then a bag to carry around my WIFI {referring to the router box}". Absolutely classic. When mom was telling us {and while we were laughing through tears} she said it took all of her not to let him take it with him. Could you imagine walking in to a meeting and seeing a man pull out a lap top and then trying to figure out how to plug the router in and figure out how to plug in his "WIFI"? Hilarious :)

I'm not really sure how this one got by him for as long as it did. One night at the house we were needing our dad to pull something up from his e-mail that he uses at work. He kept saying that he couldn't and then later revealed that "It's my work e-mail, I can only get it from my computer at work". For several years he thought he could only pull up his Internet from it's original computer. :) He just makes me laugh so hard

There are so many more, and some that are just not appropriate to put up here, but I just thought I'd share a couple of these doozies with ya! His new thing to say to me is "Well, why don't you just put it on Facebook". Anytime he says anything ridiculous, or if we are complaining about something, that is always his response.

He is just a crazy guy and I'm so thankful that not only do we have a loving and giving dad, we have one who is willing to be the butt of our jokes sometimes :)

And as he would say "LLOOOOVVVEEE YYOOOOUUU"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lamp ReVamp!!

Well, my mom is in town for 2 whole weeks! Craft projects galore! She is also teaching me how to sew, score :)
We started off the week by brain storming all the different projects we wanted to take on. 5 pillows, a baby's bedding set and a lamp shade later we were ready to hit the stores. I decided to just work on the lamp shade project and one pillow. No need to out do ourselves. I mean, I am SO NOT THE TYPE OF PERSON TO TAKE ON MORE THAN I COULD HANDLE!!! :)

First up is the LAMP SHADE OF AWESOMENESS!! About 2 months ago I bought my first "not-just-for-reading-no-bendy-neck-lamp" from Target on clearance!! Good lookin & kind of find!

Here is the BEFORE pic....not horrible, I obviously love the base, but it needed a little extra {VA-VA-voom}!!

I found the idea on Pinterest. Shocker. On my "Craft*Bliss" board I have about 10 different ideas for giving a lamp shade an extra little touch of greatness. So many to choose from... and I finally chose This One, from Pinterest, which lead me to U-Create {the site I used for my wreath} , which lead me to the burlap lamp shade tutorial from Mama Says Sew.....oh the wonderfully small world of DIY blogging!! 

Here is the picture from the tutorial....

Isn't that one of the coolest pictures of a lamp EVER?? 

Let me start off with I LOVE LOVE LOVE how my lamp turned out. BUT my lack of camera skills just doesn't give it justice! One day....right? 

Well....HERE WE GO :)

3 yards of burlap
hot glue gun/sticks
iron & ironing board
measuring tape

This is a VERY cheap $5 dollars cheap!! 

First you are going to wrap your burlap around the lamp shade and secure it with hot glue. Just around the top and bottom, and pull it pretty taught.
You can see I wasn't very precise and just kind of cut where I thought it would fit....I didn't take in to account that my barrel lamp shade was slightly larger at the bottom...and it didn't quite fit. As Rick Perry would say "OOPS" :)
I just cut a little piece that covered my imperfection. At first I was worried that it would show through, but as I  was adding the ruffles, it hid it all very well!
Once you get it covered you will need to take the excess and and glue it to the inside of the shade

At this point I was burning myself more that I was being productive, so I started using a butter knife, and it worked like a charm
When it came to the metal form, I just cut the burlap and glued around it
So, once you have the lamp shade covered, folded, glued and tucked you are going to want to start cutting strips.

First, you need to take some measurements: 
When cutting the strips you will want to do the length 1.5 the length of your lamp. So in my case I cut mine 15 inches mom helped me cut all of my strips. Although this is a very cheap & easy project, it was pretty time consuming.... so THANKS MOM!!!!

The next measurement is for the width of the ruffle. The tutorial I used said to do 3 inches {which would leave you a 1.5 inch ruffle off the lamp}. So basically you can have the ruffle however big you want....just double it because we will later fold it in half.
Now for all the cutting! The easiest way to cut burlap is to find the string at you measurement and pull it out...
Doing this gives you.....

and you just cut down those lines!! It makes cutting burlap in a straight line possible!!

Once you cut your strip you will want to fray the ends a little bit.
So, once you have your strips cut you are going to fold & iron them in half, burrito style.

and there are your strips! 

Now for the fun part!! I started by just gluing a ruffle in a swirl down the shade. I made sure that the ends were glued down very well. 
I did this about every 3 inches...
Sometimes my ruffles got a little crazy, and didn't quite make it to the end of the shade...
When this happened, I just made sure that when I was filling the gaps, I started my next ruffle in the empty space

From here on out it was just about filling in the empty spaces. A few things I made sure to do was to make sure the ruffles whet in different directions. The arrow below shows an empty space, and then filling it!

When starting out, I would put the glue on the strip and then make the swirl, but as the space got tighter I would burn myself a lot more...:/ Boo. So I just started putting the glue directly on the shade, both ways are fine...just letting you know what my issues were :)
So, after several hours of doing this it was starting to look amazing!! Woo HOO!!!
Towards the end I was finding a few spaces that only needed small strips, which was good because I used ALL my 3 yards of burlap and towards the end my strips were not long enough to make 15 inches. So I would just cut a lot of short strips to fill in the smaller gaps.
Then just give it a few twirls and check for any missed spots and then FINI!!! 
Here is my wonderfully awesome addition to our living room!! It even got the Hil & Mo approval {Hil's being sometimes difficult to get ;) haha}

Here is its actual location. A wonderful accent to our purple wall :)
Definitely my favorite project I've taken on & super easy!! Thanks for checking it out :) Can't wait to see all of ya'lls wonderful Lamp ReVamps!! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shirataki Noodles....Dun Dun Dun.

Well I have finally tried them: Shirataki Noodles (aka Tofu noodles). They are used as a pasta substitute and are extremely low in carbs and calories. They are also featured in Hungry Girl. So, why not try them? I decided  to just go for a classic spaghetti dish with beef and tomato sauce on top of the noodles. 

Let me first just start with I am not trying to start eating tofu and/or any meat substitute. But I am open to trying new things. Secondly, I am not posting this because it was a "success". I think its only fair that if I keep posting all my wonderful cooking adventures, I might as well share my, um....more interesting and off-beat meals also. 

I decided to make these just for myself. As you know by previous posts, Hil and Mo are fairly picky and especially critical of my cooking. So I figured I'd do this more daring recipe for just myself... 

So, according to Hungry Girl, to start these off, you need to wash them and "pat them dry". Since they are tofu, they soak up a lot of moisture and for any of the sauce to stick, they need to be patted dry with a paper towel. 

Here are the directions.....

NOTICE* I have never heard of needing to cook something to "reduce the authentic aroma". Strange. Anyways, I go and open the package and about fell over. The "authentic aroma" that they refer to is one of the most fowl smelling things I have ever experienced. I wanted to choke. As I'm writing this a week later I can still imagine the smell!! Just EEWWW!!! Trust me! 

Being the trooper that I think I am, I go on with cooking them...

They were a little more rubbery than normal noodles. Just in case you do try them, cooking does actually reduce the smell, but not entirely. 

And I pat them dry. It took more paper towels than I want to admit to soak up all the water.

Here is the final product. To tell you the truth I did not eat it all. I think I mostly couldn't get over the whole smell, and the texture was pretty rubbery. My final say is that if I had to eat them I would and could, but not voluntarily. I would much rather just give up pasta. :) 

So there you go....probably the worst meal I have ever prepared. I'm sure there will be more to come, but it was a risk worth taking. (What if they were amazing and I would never have to waste my caloric intake on regular pasta again?) That, however was definitely not the case! 

Pioneer Woman"s Breakfast Burritos

Attention ALL!! You have to try Pioneer Woman's Breakfast Burritos!! They are wonderful. Nothing fancy and totally easy, and my absolute favorite: GREAT for leftovers!! If you don't have PW's cookbook, then go to her web page: Also, here is the direct link for her Breakfast Burrito recipe. 

Here is the recipe in her book. Highly recommended! 

The recipe called for sausage, but I prefer bacon so I substituted them. Hil and Mo thought that was the end of the world so since the first time I have only made it with sausage (which, is actually a ton easier!!). 

It cooks in the skillet and you just mix in the eggs a viola! Its also extremely easy to add your own ingredients, like chives, veggies, cayenne or something!

Final product! I'm addicted!!

New Sweet Obsessions!

Baked Apples....Nothing could be better. Nothing. I. Love. Them. They are EXTREMELY easy and hey, whoever can say the words "baked" and "apples" in the same sentence has to be some sort of healthy, RIGHT?? Well, I know that they are not that great, so I'm going to offer 2 recipes, a normal one that is Awesome and a tad more scrumptious and an alternative one that is still tasty for those of us who are counting every last drop. :)

Bake Apples {Normal}

1/4 cup of butter
4 large "tart" apples- peeled, cored and sliced, 1/4 inch thick
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup of cold water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1. In a large, covered skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add apples. Cook, stirring constantly, until apples are almost tender, about 6-7 minutes. 
2. Dissolve cornstarch in water; add to skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

You could also do less cornstarch and add nutmeg and vanilla for a little extra something!

Baked Apples {Diet}

4 apples, cored
2 Tbsp of water
2-3 packets of stevia {or other sweetener}
Pinch of cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375
2. Core the apples, being careful not to cut clear to the bottom, and pare a strip from the top of each. Place in an 8x8 baking dish. 
3. Dissolve the stevia in the 2 Tbsp of water
4. Divide into four portions and pour into each apple. 
5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of each apple and add 1 cup of water around the apples
6. Bake for 45-60 min.

(They also suggest to add Vanilla Creme Stevia, I have not tried that yet, but I'm sure its great.)

SSOOOO, obviously these are both very different ways to prepare, but I'm not gonna lie....I used the {Diet} ingredients and followed the {normal} directions :) Let me know how ya'lls go!! 

These colorful little guys are nothing special. White cake mix and white frosting. I just wanted to play with food coloring. But they are fun to look at!!

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