Wednesday, May 28, 2014

take my word for it wednesday.. these brunch recipes are easy and fun and we loved these potato pancakes and a shout out to our harvard grad!

the other day we had an impromptu brunch for my nephew zak.. he was in town, so ant pati planned a quick breakfast the below recipes are what i brought.. zak finished law school at harvard and came for the weekend to vegas... i told him how proud we are of him and especially since it gives us great street cred, we can now say we are related to a harvard grad.. :)
onto the recipes..
oven baked potato pancakes  
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 30-45 minutes
1 package {30 oz.} frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed {once the potatoes are thawed, gently squeeze a handful of potatoes at a time to remove the excess moisture}
1 finely chopped onion
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
chopped scallions


in large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except pam and mix well.. pre heat oven to 425 degrees {f}.. cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.. spray with pam.. then with an ice cream scoop, scoop some potato mixture and drop onto the baking sheet then with your hand or spatula press down and form a patty..  spray the tops with pam and bake until crispy and golden brown {about 25 minutes} then remove from oven and flip the pancakes over and cook again until deep golden brown {another 15-20 minutes} remove from oven and serve warm... sprinkle with chopped scallions.. i also served them with green chile sour cream; 2 cups sour cream, dash of cayenne and a small can of diced green chiles, mixed thoroughly..

i also made some  homemade crusty bread with thyme and olive oil {same recipe but i added a tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme, lemon zest and a tablespoon of olive oil}

these easy insanely chocolate donuts are a must at any brunch..
tina had tons of apricots and surprised me with a bag the other day.. so i quickly made this homemade refrigerator apricot and white peach jam..
enjoy and get cook'n!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

diy chalk paint second project - yardsale table and 4 chairs

here is the table finished.. and below is what it looked like before i started..

today i am sharing with you my second diy chalk paint project.. the first post can be found here diy chalk paint chair and it has better instructions.. let me start by saying i am not a professional and the instructions and below tips are just things i found that work for me.. :)
 i bought the above table at a yard sale for 8 bucks..

it had this bowl of fruit on it and she sold it to me for 2 bucks.. so for 10 dollars i got the table and centerpiece.. i was feeling pretty happy with myself..

the table had been sitting outside for sometime and was looking pretty worn.. which i loved!!

pete flipped it over and tightened all the bolts and cleared out the cob webs for me..

we made the chalk paint by taking a 1/2 cup {4 oz} of plaster of paris and 1/2 cup {4 oz} of warm water and combined well.. once it's thoroughly combined you add 1 cup {8 oz} of your base paint.. we started with a bright white.. {you don't have to combine two colors you can add the chalk concoction to 11/2 cups of whatever color you want.. i am going to do my bathroom cabinets in blue..}

i then added a 1/2 cup {4 oz} of a paint called chicken broth.. it was a "sample" paint from true value that costs about $2.98 and it combined with the white was the perfect color i envisioned for the table.. i kept saying i wanted the color of butter and it actually looks a lot like butter go figure.. now check the link above about applying the chalk paint.. {psst there is not right or wrong way that's the beauty of chalk paint} i added 2 coats of the chalk paint to the top of the table but not the legs..

after i chalk painted it i added the clear wax, here is the top of the table with 1/2 of it cleared.. see the difference in the richness

here is the table with a full coat of the clear wax..

then i added the dark wax.. {again check my post from earlier for tips on applying the dark wax}

i just love the look once you've added the dark wax.. it gives it the antique vintage look..

i loved how the legs turned out even though they were pretty damaged from the elements.



 here it is finished.. i love it!! and the center piece looks good with the new color..

 love love..
last year pete and i found some chairs at a yard sale..i think we paid 2 bucks a piece.. pete was going to re-finish them for his diy farmhouse table that he built.. well time got away from him and he left them outside and they started to fall a part so he was going to toss them.. when i got the table i knew i wanted these chairs for it.. so pete set out to "fix" the chairs and make them sturdy again.. tightening screws and basically making sure no one would fall on their butt when they sat down..
here are the chairs painted but not waxed of any kind.. see the difference in the color.. the wax really finishes off these chalk paint projects..

this particular chair must have been the dogs chew toy because it was pretty gnawed up.. but that's ok gives it character..

here they are complete with the clear wax and dark wax..

i just loved it in the backyard.. 

 the backyard is coming a long nicely... check back next monday for the diy step by step directions on how we built the fire pit!!
so you can see this is how the backyard looked last year in may and above is how it looks now!! lot's of changes..
enjoy and get diy'ing!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

throwback thursday.. tips, tricks and ideas for a graduation party..

for throwback thursday I thought I would share with you some tips and tricks i learned from shell's graduation party last year since graduation time is approaching.. if you've been here before you know i love a good party.. we had an amazing time at jessie's pirate themed baby shower.. i can't believe little jaxie is going to be 2 this july and a big brother in november.. *sigh* how time flies..

shell's graduation party was a lot of fun!!! it's funny looking back at all the photos from the party at how much our backyard has changed.. *check back next week i am trying to do the reveal post then of all the changes, fingers crossed..*

shell's high school graduation was last year and the color scheme was purple, black and silver {shell's favorite color combo, even her bedroom was done in these 3 colors, again check back next week and see what we've done to her wild room}

i took a long string of silver ribbon and using clear packing table taped the top and bottom to our glass french doors.. then using mini black and purple clothes pins i got from etsy i clipped photos all the way down..

learn from my mistake i added way to many photos and the balloons wouldn't float.. we then had to fill the balloons up with more helium causing us to run out of helium too quickly.. i should have put only about 2 photos per balloon and i think i would only do 18 balloons 2 photos from each year..
it was pretty windy at the start of the party so we left the balloons in the living room so when people entered they could see all the photos..

since some of the balloons wouldn't "float" high i placed them on the table and they just kinda hung out on the table..

i bought frames at savers and pete painted them purple and then the glass with chalkboard paint.. i then used a chalk/glass writing pen and wrote on the chalkboard..

 we set an area on the dessert table for friends and family to sign a frame mat for shell.. when she had her senior photo shoot there was a picture of her hitchhiking and we had that in a frame by the mat, as if to say she is on her way and i used the dr. suess quote to exlemplify that.. i got purple, silver and black sharpie pens and that is what people used to sign it.. i got clear glass vases and filled with silver and purple gum balls and candy i got from party city..

i made cake pops and oreo truffles for our dessert table and decorated them in the colors of the party.. had a black plastic table cloth and then used a sheer purple table cover i have that we use at easter..
i bought all kinds of frames from savers and placed pictures in them.. if they were ugly we painted them purple.. 

i had a drink station.. i bought individual crystal light packets so people could have any flavored water they wanted.. i bought "chalk labels" for people to put on their cup and write their name.. we had an ice chest with cold water and another with cold soda.. i made lemonade and added sliced lemons to the dispenser..

in a bucket i had 4-5 bags of chips, i cut off the tops all the way down to where the chips were and added spoons to the bags so everyone could get their own chips without having to dig in the bag.. i made a lemony herby chex mix and had a spoon in it as well.. i placed small black plates with small napkins by the appetizers {we had people arrive around 6:00 and the food from buca di beppo arrive around 6:30-6:45}

we hung lighted chinese lanterns in the trees.. i got purple, black and silver table clothes and made small purple flower arrangements for each of the eating tables..

last year pete made this diy farm table.. i had full intentions of adding ice to the center and putting in drinks but totally forgot .. ha but that is what that center piece is for..

i ordered plastic warefare black glasses on line and had them in a bowl for the kids to wear..
we ended up a ton left over i am going to keep them in the boat so while we are floating or what not we can wear them and if we lose them it's not a $100.00 pair of glasses that have been lost..
we tied twine to the cinder blocks of the wall above the food table and we used clothes pins and pinned photos.. once the wind died down it was really cute and not a one blew away even in the wind.. {had i had time i would have dyed the clothes pins using rit}

i made these super easy antipasto skewers... {i had so many left over tortellini that i skewered them separately and used the refrigerated alfredo sauce from the market for the dipping sauce}

since we ran out of helium faster than we thought we had extra balloon strings with photos so we used the clear packing table and taped them over the windows on the back of the house..

i bought these led light strings at big lots and pete strung them all across the side and back fence..
the party was awesome.. we have another event i am gearing up for this year it's pete's 50th b day party so check in october for that..
and remember to enjoy and get party'n!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

take my word for it wednesday.. these salisbury "steak" meatballs are to die for!!

every once in awhile you come across a recipe and think, 1. why didn't i think of that.. 2. i should have thought of that.. and 3.. who the flip cares who thought of it i need to make it..this is one of those recipes.. i saw pioneer woman's salisbury steak meatballs and thought this has got to be made and soon.. and shocker of all shockers i followed the recipe pretty darn close, not exact because well i can't do things like that but pretty dark close!!  i have since i was a kid loved salisbury steak.. if for some reason my mom couldn't make dinner and we got to eat one of those frozen meals.. i was in heaven if i got the salisbury steak one :)

how smart of the pioneer woman to make them into meatballs.. 

she fried hers and i don't like my meatballs cooked that way so i baked them.. and they turned out perfect.. 

i cooked my onions in a separate skillet and then made my sauce and added the meatballs.. it turned out super yummy.. 

i would make more sauce next time... the noodles seemed to have sucked it all up.. it didn't make it any less yummy and pete said he wouldn't want it to saucy anyway.. so you be the judge when making it have some extra broth and 1/2 and 1/2 on hand in case you think you want more sauce.. :) remember there are no rules..

salisbury steak meatballs

prep time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 30-40 minutes
servings: 6



1 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tblsp. mustard
1 tblsp. spicy ketchup {regular is ok too}
1/2 tblsp. worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 cup beef broth {i used chicken it was all i had and next time i would use more like 1 1/2 cups maybe even 2}
1/2 tblsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. mustard
1/2 tblsp. spicy ketchup
1/2 cup half and half {i will bump it up to 1 cup next time}

1/2 a bag {1/2 lb} of egg noodles, cooked to package directions
1 tblsp. butter
minced fresh parsley {garnish/optional}
salt and pepper


preheat oven to 350 degrees {f}.. for the meatballs combine all the meatball ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and mix together until completely combined. {holy moly that sentence sounded like a wholelotta redundancy but you get the idea mix your meatball ingredients together folks ha} form into medium size meatballs {i use a cookie dough scoop to accomplish this} place on a foil lined baking sheet.. once all the meatballs are formed place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.. while the meatballs are cooking take a large skillet and heat two twirls around the pan with olive oil over medium high heat.. add onions and sauté until golden brown.. about 10 minutes.. stirring often.. when onions are done add the beef broth and scrap all the bits up from the bottom of the pan.. reduce heat and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.. add worcestershire, ketchup and mustard.. mix well with the broth and onions.. add half and half and stir so everything is well combined.. add your cooked meatballs.. cook another 5 minutes on simmer.. when the egg noodles are done drain and put them in a big bowl with 1 tblsp. of butter, salt and pepper... then add your meatballs, onions and sauce to the bowl gently toss to combine.. sprinkle with minced parsley and serve.. it's so freaking good and the odd thing it's the mustard that makes it so good!!

enjoy and get cook'n!!