Transform: Indoor table to Outdoor table

When Dave and I moved into this house, I purchased a pub table for the downstairs…..sadly it got little to no use.  Recently, I decided to try and re-purpose it as an outdoor table.  I did quite a bit of research to find the right way to do the transformation.  The pub table is all fake pressed wood and totally meant for indoor use.  There are so many tutorials out there and each one is a little different in what they think is imperative.  I have the Valspar paint left over from painting (still not put up) but I needed some supplies from our local Lowe’s…..mainly the primer…..and while I was there, I found the Rust-oleum NeverWet…….Can’t wait to see if it works out.

IMG_2342I started with a quick sand to rough up the surface of the fake wood that is the pub table and then put a layer of the Zinsser primer on.

IMG_2319 I put 3 coats of the Valspar exterior paint over the primer (and I actually followed the directions on timing).  The Rust-oleum is a 2-parter, base coat and top coat.  It is a little rough as a top coat, but if it helps repel water, I am all for it.

IMG_2339Yup – can’t wait to have a get together and use this baby.

IMG_2340PARTY AT MY HOUSE.

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Grill Surf and Turf recipe….with pizza appetizer

Dave and I had a friend, Chris, over for dinner last night.  I wanted to make something super yummy for him, as he is in town from Germany.  After a quick couple of comments from Chris – I decided on a Surf and Turf menu with a pizza appetizer (cooking for my audience).

  • 4 to 6 Steaks
  • 1 can or bottle of Beer
  • spices
  • 20 jumbo shrimp
  • 2 packages prosciutto
  • 1 onion – sliced
  • handful of mushrooms (or more if you love them)
  • band of asparagus
  • butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • splash of lemon juice
  • dash of dill

IMG_2325Our dinner started with a pre-made BBQ chicken pizza as an app.  As we were snacking on that, I continued with making the rest of the meal.

IMG_2329PREP WORK – Pre-heat grill

Marinate the steaks in the beer and your favorite spices for no less than 2 hours. Overnight is best.  Take out of the marinade, add salt and pepper ……AND a pat of butter on each steak….you know you want to.  Place on grill.  Keep on until your desired ‘doneness’.

Place your asparagus in a grill basket and while on the grill – mop with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and dill.  Pull when they turn tender.

IMG_2327Saute the onions and mushrooms in some butter and get ready to layer that yummy awesomeness all over those steaks.

Peel and de vein the shrimp, removing the legs but keeping the tail.  Wrap each piece of shrimp in prosciutto and thread on the skewer.  Repeat until all shrimp are done.  Set aside and place on grill when steaks are only a few minutes from done.  Flip once after roughly 2 to 3 minutes and pull from the grill when both sides are pink.

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Timing is everything.  Steaks first, then asparagus, then get your saute on, lastly the shrimp……pull off the grill or get off the stove and place on your plate and fill your face.  You will be glad you did.

IMG_2331We had a great time with Chris….it gave me a wonderful excuse to try something new and we got our conversation on……wish it could have lasted longer.

 

Chicken with Orzo and veggies

New recipe experiment.  I bought a bunch of wheat Orzo that has been sitting in my cupboard…while I have been using the same old, same old recipe for it.  NOT TODAY.  Here is what I did:

  • 2 chicken breasts – cooked and sliced up
  • 2 cups cooked Orzo
  • 1 cup sauteed broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sauteed pepper slices (red, yellow or green)
  • corn (from a can or boiled/grilled on the cob and then sliced off)
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

I started with cooking the Orzo – 1 cup uncooked Orzo into boiling, salted water.  I cooked for roughly 9 minutes – stirring every once in awhile.  I then drained and set aside.  In my skillets, I made the chicken and broccoli/peppers (roughly 10 minutes).  I then added all (including the corn) to the same pot –

IMG_2057I added lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  I also had 1/2 a loaf of sourdough bread that I toasted.

IMG_2059This made WAY more than my family of 4 needed…..but I saved 1/2 as a freezer meal.  It will be a nice dinner on another night when I am running short on ideas/time.

 

 

Candied Pecans – 3 ways

I love candied nuts….love, love, love them.  BUT I do not have them very often, and random factoid about me….I can’t eat cashews or spanish peanuts…they make me seriously sick.  Anywho, back to candied nuts……..So in a moment of perfect kismet….I realized that I had an abundance of pecans and nothing planned for them  What?!!!  It’s fate.  Time for me to try a few candied pecan recipes and pick my fav.  Yes!

First recipe:

Honey Maple Pecans

  • 3 Cups Pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I did not use the whole 1/2 cup….so I think that 1/4 would be better)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1/4 maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degress.  Grab a cookie sheet or a bar pan.  Mix the nuts with the honey and maple syrup.  Lay out on the cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Mix the remaining ingredients.  Remove the nuts after 10 minutes and when slightly cool add to the dry ingredients and coat with the sugar mixture.

IMG_2045Second Recipe:

Honey Butter Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, heat the butter and honey together…mixing thoroughly.  When butter is thoroughly melted and incorporated into the honey, add in the pecans.  Spread the sticky pecans onto a cookie sheet/bar pan.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Remove after 10 minutes and allow to slightly cool.  Sprinkle with salt.  Allow to cool some more….then coat with the sugar (pic is before the sugar).

IMG_2050Third recipe:

Honeyed Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanillla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a saucepan – melt together all the ingredients, leaving out the pecans.  Allow the mixture the bubble for a few minutes, then add in the pecans.  Once the pecans are coated, lay them out on the cookie sheet and bake for slightly less than 10 minutes.

IMG_2049Anyone want to guess my fav???

Number 2!  With Number 1 a SUPER close second.  So close that I almost can’t tell.

IMG_2051This was a fabulous experiment.

 

06/30/2014 UPDATE – Dave decided to weigh in.  His winner is #3.

Cookies for the Neighbors

Just a few things about my neighborhood…..it’s the best.  We live on a quiet street, with amazing people and I feel comfortable letting the girls have the run of the neighborhood.  Jules has been wanting to do something for our neighbors for awhile…..so last week I got organized and we made cookies.   I found an Oatmeal Cookie recipe that I wanted to try, The Pioneer Woman’s Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies.  They turned out great.

IMG_1961IMG_1962We wrote a note for each neighbor and the whole family signed them.

IMG_1964I have a plethora of metal tins…..so Jules and I picked a few out and used those to package our cookies and notes.

IMG_1966Final step was for Jules and Jane to deliver to each of our neighbors.  The girls were beyond excited to have some to give our great neighbors.

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Friday Wrap Up

This week has been a full one – quite a few little things going on (besides the removal of the microwave).   We removed the microwave instead of putting in my new front door….so I have to wait another week until that happens.

Here are a few highlights:

IMG_1975We had a Buck in velvet and his girlfriend wander through the neighborhood.

IMG_1978I found some bedding to use in Jane’s room…..on sale!!  If you remember – since Jules moved to her own room – Janey has been living with mis-matched everything.  Click here for the before.  I painted the ceiling and have been on the look out for some new bedding.  FOUND IT!  I am now playing around with the art and the throw on the bed.

IMG_1982I am officially calling it on the driveway….well as official as anything is around here.  It is awesome now….but I may have to do some tweaks after living with it for a bit 🙂

Dave put in a small retaining wall by the house to help with the drainage….he only had a few more bricks to put in when I snapped this pic…..but the hail made us pause.

IMG_0089That black drains leads to a perforated black hose that leads all the water away from the house….score.  Dave has since added in the remaining bricks and I filled it in with additional gravel.

IMG_0118….you can barely made out Jules being Vanna….but you get the drift.  Done.

Well – prep time for the weekend is commencing.  We are working on the boat and taking it out for a day trip to make sure all is good.  See you on the flip side, peeps!

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

My cousin made this for me years ago, and I begged her to find the recipe so I could make it for Dave and the girls.  She pulled through for me and searched through her plethora of recipes and found it!!  Click here for an electronic expanded (original) version. (jamieoliver.com)

I adjusted the electronic version for ease and for my family’s taste.

1 lb. chicken breast sliced into strips – or shredded chicken thighs

1 onion – sliced

1 serrano chile – seeded and chopped finely

fresh ginger (I used a piece 1 inch long and 1 inch thick) – peeled and thinly sliced

oil and butter

14 oz’s diced tomatos

14 oz’s coconut milk

1 jar (12 oz) tikka masala sauce – I used Seeds of Change (this is a time saver)

4 oz’s of sliced fresh mushrooms

handful of bean sprouts – use based on how much your family likes them

rice and/or Naan (I purchased pre-made in the interest of time as well)

lemon – if you like it

rice vinegar to taste

IMG_0064I placed a pat of butter and a glug of vegetable oil into a pot and started sauteing the sliced onions, serrano chile and sliced ginger.  Man does this part smell amazing.

IMG_0063Not kidding….this part smells so good.

Once the onions are translucent – add in your sliced or shredded chicken and the tikka masala sauce.  Toss that around for awhile, then add in the diced tomatos and coconut milk.  I simmer this for roughly 20 minutes – ensuring that it never gets dry (you can add water if needed).IMG_0065This is when I taste test……I tend to do it often….just to make sure the sauce is yummy.  Here is where I season to satisfy the family.   I added some salt, pepper AND rice vinegar……that is a specific taste and my kids love it…so in it went.  While this is simmering and between tastings – I made some rice and I pulled my small cast iron skillet out to saute the mushrooms and bean sprouts.

annnnnnnddddddddd.  Done.

IMG_0070I layered rice first, then the chicken tikka masala, and then the sprouts/mushrooms.  Naan to the side and a slice of lemon to squeeze if I so desired….and I so desired.