Monday, January 30, 2012

Just Hunk a' Hunk' of Burnin' Love

And by burnin' I mean warm, gooey, chocolatey, fudgey goodness. That's right. After all of the work hubs and I did over the weekend, I really wanted to make it up to him with one of his favorite desserts. So I pulled out the ole' hidden weapon - Hot Fudge Cake.

Before I go any further, I must tell you that this recipe is an all-time family favorite. And by favorite I mean it's specially requested at family gatherings, lick your fingers, the pan and the bowl good, swat away the husband while cooking fantastic. By no means is this our own brainchild. We first had this recipe maybe 10 years ago when my mom found it in one of her Taste of Home magazines. It's had a special place in the family recipe box ever since.

So without further ado, here it is. I'll show you a few photos of the cake-makin' process and share the recipe at the bottom of the post.

Here is your cast of characters: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, brown sugar and hot water.


First, mix together all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl - flour, sugar, a portion of the cocoa, baking powder and salt.


Then stir in the milk, oil and vanilla until smooth.


Pour the batter in an ungreased 9-in square baking pan.


In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and remaining cocoa.


Sprinkle the mixture over the batter.


Then pour hot water over all. DO NOT STIR.


This is what your pan will look like when you put it in the oven. (Can you see the steam from the boiling water?)


This is what it will look like when it comes out! The top will be a crispy, chocolate cake and all of the hot fudge sauce wil lbe at the bottom of the pan.


Serve over ice cream and enjoy warm, gooey chocolatey goodness.


Measurements:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons baking coca, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cup hot water
whipped cream or ice cream

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk, oil and vanilla until smooth. Spread in an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Combine brown sugar and remaining cocoa; sprinkle over batter. Pour hot water over all; DO NOT STIR. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm over ice cream or top with whipped cream.

So there you have it. One of my family's most beloved recipes. There's only one catch - raise your right hand and solemnly swear that you'll let me know what you think if you decide to try this. And you should. Trust me - it's worth it. :o)

The Bunny vs. The Beach Boy

I'm not sure if I already mentioned this, but the hubs and I have different personalities when it comes to the perfect weekend. For me, progress is key. I love having time to get things done around the house, finish projects and clean up. I'm admittedly, a bit like a large pink bunny with a drum ....


For Greggums, weekends are a time to relax and recover from the chaos of the work week, watch sports and sleep in. He's a bit more like this ....

 

We're working on it. But with this in mind, here's a recap of the course of events on Sixth Street this weekend.

Remember those shelves I got for $6 at Goodwill? They've now been painted black and hung in my bathroom. This saved me some space in other parts of the teeny room, and I was able to utilize the apothecary jars I've been slowly collecting on thrift store visits.


I did a bit more painting to a pair of lamp bases I got at Elder-Beerman awhile ago. I spent $7 per lamp, and didn't anticipate having to paint them .... but .... oh how different they looked in the pictures on the box!


I wasn't loving the yellow-ish rustic bottoms with the dark, brownish-gray shades. So I pulled out my secret weapon .... RustOleum rubbed bronze.


Before getting started I taped off the tops and covered the cords in plastic.



And here is where the bunny's bright pink color really shines through - the nonstop mindset that so often gets me in trouble and always keeps me busy. Once the lamps were dry ... of course, I needed to find a place to put them. Since I wanted to put my lamps on either end of the mantle, and still had so many of my candles adorning it from my Christmas, it seemed like the perfect time to redecorate for Valentine's Day. This needed to be done immediately! 

So, as anybunny would do, I dug out a plain grapevine wreath, wrapped it with some rope and ribbon, and hung that on my old window where my Christmas wreath had been. I also pulled out one another glass, candle votive holder that had been in storage and filled it with red berries.


But wait ... I dropped one of the berries ... which led me to look deep into into the fireplace and see how dirty and dusty it was. Since it's non-working, we haven't given it too much attention since we've moved in, other than to proclaim our extreme dislike for the brass pieces and "curtains." So what better time to pull out the sweeper and get as much of the dust and grime out as possible??


But wait, while sweeping I bumped the brass bar at the top, and it seemed awfully wobbly. Flimsy enough that I may be able to pull out a few tools and pry it off? Of course.

Now enters hubby, who had previously been observing from his comfortable, oversized chair. All tools were confiscated, and I was assured that I would hurt myself with my overzealous approach. And so, he performed his magic and .... TADA!!! Ugly fireplace curtains and brass attended to!!!


After marveling at the immediate difference in our abandoned fireplace, I decided that within the grate and along the sides would be a perfect place to put the candles and pillars that were currently on the mantle!!  Perfect!


What were we doing again? That's right ... finding a place for my lamps. Long, drawn-out proces complete!


And while our weekend consisted of much more, including a nice dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, church, shopping, a few movies, including this one .... which I'd give 3 of 5 stars ...


we felt that the only proper way to end it was on a sweet note. So as a way to express my gratitutde for putting up with my bunny behind all weekend, I made my love one of his all-time favorite desserts - Hot Fudge Cake .... click here for this coveted family recipe.


And we FINALLY kicked back, relaxed, and enjoyed our last few hours of freedom with our very own, new DIY place of fire ...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kitchen: Final Photos

Please indulge me in this post. As you know, our kitchen has been our labor of love these past few weeks. In previous posts you've read about our adventures with a DIY backsplash, and followed along as we installed our own Edison-style light fixtures. We've been busy bees! In this post I just wanted to post a few more final photos of the end results as well of some of the befores so you can see the difference. Enjoy!

Before




After



A close-up of the backsplash and finishing pieces of trim


New Ceiling Light Fixture


New Fixture Above the Sink



New Blinds


 We still have a bit more that we'd like to do eventually - decor, cabinet pulls, etc. so make sure to check back for more photos.

UPDATE: We finally installed new pulls on the cabinets - what do you think?!



We're really happy with them!! Thanks for looking!

I'm linking up to these great parties:


UndertheTableandDreaming

  A Little Inspiration

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

If I Could Save Time in a ... Shadow Box

.... the first thing that I'd like to do .... Jim Croce, anyone? Aaaanyway ... it turns out that you can save time, or rather, a date, in a shadow box! I know I keep mentioning our wedding, (it's a big deal people!) and one of the reasons is that I have so many reminders of the big day now lying around the house. Most, we aren't sure what to do with, other than preserve and cherish, but I think some are worthy of display. Stage left enter this prop we used for a few of our engagement photos.


(Please disregard the fact that I'm holding my end of the ribbon higher, and that my dress looks somewhat wrinkled - all of those darn poses! Sigh.)

We put this together easy peasy a few falls ago. I bought the wooden numbers and ribbon at Jo-Ann Fabrics, used a little spraypaint and a few eyelet screws, and we had ourselves a prop. Fast forward a year and a half ...  I had nothing to do with our cute little creation until I found this innocent little frame for a few bucks at Goodwill.


I wasn't sure exactly what to do with it at first, but I liked that it looked like a potential shadow box, and loved that the mat was a pretty sage green. So, I brought it home, and so was born one of my easiest projects to date. First, I cut around the edges of the cardboard backing and the frame (just like a puzzle).


Then was able to tear away some of the backing. Much to my relief, I found staples behind the backing, so I pried them out in order to remove the back of the photo and open "the box."


Once I had it off, I was able to see that the cute little dragonfly was just a print taped to the mat, which easily peeled off.



Now that everything was taken apart, and the adorable little dragonfly removed, I used cardboard the backing of the box as a my base for this project. The first thing I did was cut a square of burlap to size, and hot glued it to the cardboard to serve as the background of my shadowbox.


From there, I took apart my prop, and placed the numbers on the burlap. Are you still with me? (Told you this was for kindergarteners!)


After everything was laid out, it was definitely a tighter fit and I thought - Greg's much better at estimating sizes, lengths, widths, numbers! But, I was determined, so I stuck with it. And after analyzing the situation a little more, I decided that we needed periods to make it clear that this was a date and not a reminder of our 6,411th ... something! So I added a few small pearl beads I had on hand. I liked the contrast of the fancy pearls and rustic burlap.


Once everything was hotglued to its proper place, I put the backing back on the frame, taped down the edges, and voila! Project complete.


So, so easy, and a good use of something that likely would have sat in a box in our basement. I'm still working on finding the perfect spot!

And while we're talking about thriftiness at its best, allow me to share with a few other of my recent finds on this "Thrifty Thursday." Before I show you, allow me to brag for a minute. I am the luckiest girl in the world in that my office is literally surrounded with thrift stores - I can think of at least one in each direction. Talk about exciting lunch breaks! Here are the treasures I rounded up today.

 These two matching shelves I've painted black and will be hanging in my bathroom. Can you say $6? What a steal!


And here are the other pretties I snatched up. A pretty vase, two matching (heavy!!) iron curtain rods, a colorful garland for the mantle, and my favorite ... a Galileo thermometer.


 I'm in love with the little guy! 



I also found this small, shallow glass bowl, and couldn't contain my excitement before planting it with my paperwhite bulbs.



It's the little things. :o)

I'm linking up to:



Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special