Monday, April 27, 2015

Mint Chocolate Brownies



Brownie Cake Layer

2 cups butter (melted)
3/4 cup cocoa
2 1/4 cup sugar
6 eggs
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Combine the butter, cocoa, sugar, and eggs. Set aside. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Grease two 9 x 13 inch metal pans. Pour the batter into the pans and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool completely before adding the mint cream layer.

Mint Cream Layer

4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
2 tbsp water
2 tsp mint extract
6-8 drops of green food coloring

Beat until smooth.

Topping

12 Tbsp butter
2 cups Hershey's semi-sweet choc. chips.

Melt and pour on top of the mint cream layer. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

DIY Upholstered Headboard


Alright, so after doing a lot of reading I decided to make my own headboard!!  I read about 15 to 20 different websites to get helpful tips and to find a good procedure!! After all of my research, here are the supplies and procedure I decided on.

Supplies

  • Plywood (I bought MDF because it was sturdy and cheap, $20 at Home Depot)
  • 2 Full Size Foam Mattress Pads ($22 for both at Walmart)
  • 2 1/2 yards Quilt Batting ($6 on sale at Joann Fabric's)
  • 2 1/2 yards Fabric (I used suiting fabric, about $13 at Joann Fabric's)
  • 2 French Cleats ($20 at Home Depot)
  • Decorative Nailhead Trip ($11 with Joann Fabric Coupon) 
  • Spray Adhesive ($5 at Walmart)
  • Masking Tape
  • Staple Gun
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Hammer
  • Jig Saw
  • Sander

Procedure

  1. I started by choosing a shape. I googled some shapes and chose belgrave.
  2. I then used masking tape to tape a rough draft of my headboard on my wall. This helped me to determine the dimensions of my headboard (48 in by 62 in).
  3. Next, a trip to Home Depot for supplies. While I was there I asked them to cut my MDF wood to the dimensions I needed. They did it for free and it was super fast. Definitely saved me some time!! 
  4. When I got home I drew the curves on my MDF wood using a pen and a piece of yarn. 
  5. I finally got to use my new handy dandy jig saw!!! I got it for Christmas so I was super excited to finally use it!! 
  6. I ended up just cutting one side and using the extra piece of wood as a stencil for the other side. 
  7. I sanded the curves, but I wasn't to worried about them being perfect. It's going to be covered so no one will notice if it's a little off. Here's my finished piece of wood:
  8. It's time to start adding the layers!! I laid my foam mattress pads out for a night so the creases would flatten out. They weren't perfectly flat, but definitely better the next day.  I then placed the first mattress pad on the wood (flat part touching the wood) and cut off the excess. It's really easy to cut the foam; I just used a pair of kitchen scissors. I sprayed some Loctite Adhesive Spray onto the wood and pressed the foam mattress pad on top.  
  9. I placed the second foam mattress pad on top of the first mattress pad. I wanted the flat part facing up, so the two bumpy sides were touching. I then cut the second mattress pad to the same size. I sprayed the adhesive spray in between the two mattress pads and pressed down. The adhesive spray really didn't do a whole lot, but it helped a little when I flipped the board over. If you have a friend close by, I would just skip the adhesive spray and ask for some help when moving the board.
  10. Iron your fabric so it's nice and flat. I love the suit fabric because it's strong, semi-soft, and irons nicely. I only found one website that discussed types of fabrics for headboards and they also recommended suit fabric.  
  11. Lay the suit fabric flat on the ground. Lay the quilt batting flat on top of the suit fabric. Lay the headboard on top. If your fabric has a pattern or design make sure it's straight and well placed on the board.
  12. Time to use the staple gun!! I stapled the quilt batting on first. I made sure the quilt batting was tight before I made each staple. I started with just 3-4 staples on each side. I always started with the middle and worked my way out to the corners (wait until the end to do the corners though). I then went back around and placed a few more staples in the quilt batting. I saved the corners for last!! I started with the bottom corners because I figured those could be easily hidden in case I really messed up. Honestly, it's best to just play around with the fabric until you find something you like. For the curves I read a website that suggested making little slots in the fabric. It definitely helped!! 
  13. Next, staple the suit fabric on. I used the same technique as the quilt batting. Here's a photo of the slots I made in the fabric to help fit the curves:
  14. As you can see from the photo below I struggled getting the curves tight: 
  15. Next, it's time to try some upholstery work!! There's a first time for everything!! The secret is the nailhead trim found in the upholstery section at Joann Fabric's. 
  16. I measured 3 1/4 inches from the edges and made several small dots where I wanted the nailhead trim to be located. I had to push the foam down and hammer the nail into place. I bent several nails, but luckily I had extra nails in the package. Whenever I came to a corner or curve I had to bend the nailhead trim beforehand. I probably should've used a rubber mallet, but I didn't want to spend the $8 on something I might not use again. The hammer worked fine and it didn't make any marks on my trim. I was super excited to see the finished project!! The trim actually made my curves look better than before!! 
    1. I did a lot of reading on how I wanted to hang the headboard. I thought about making legs and attaching it to my bed frame, but it just seemed like to much work. I ended up using two metal french cleats, each can hold up to 100 lbs. The trick with french cleats is your level!!! This is the most important part...you don't want your headboard to tear down your wall or worse fall on your head in the middle of the night!! I started by attaching the french cleats to my wall.  I made sure one of the screws on each french cleat went into a stud. I also used two drywall anchors on each french cleat. Then I added two more screws to each french cleat. Yes, that's right 5 screws total for each french cleat!! Remember to use your level!! Don't want your headboard to be crooked!! 
    2. I measured the distance between the french cleats. This is the most important measurement, but you will need to make several before attaching the french cleats to your headboard. Here's a photo of the french cleats on the headboard. Again the level is your best friend!! 
    3. Last step...place the headboard on the wall!! Viola...you're done!!! I know my headboard isn't perfect, but I LOVE IT!!!! 

    Thursday, April 23, 2015

    Crock Pot Roast

    3-5 pounds chuck pot roast
    1 pkg. brown gravy mix
    1/2 pkg. Italian dressing mix
    1/2 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
    Potatoes (chopped)
    Baby carrots
    Celery (chopped)
    Onion (chopped)
    Water

    Mix the brown gravy mix, Italian dressing mix, and ranch mix. Rub the mixture on the pot roast. Place the pot roast in the crock pot. Add potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion. Add water until the crock pot is at least half full. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours!! 

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    Banana Bread Snack Cake


    I went to visit my friend in Fort Worth a few weeks ago and she made this amazing dish for breakfast!! I asked for the recipe and made it for a work brunch this week!! Before I made it myself I did some reading because I usually have a lot of issues when baking breads!! 

    Here are some tips when baking breads:
    1) Don't use a mixer, hand stir everything.
    2) Use a metal pan, not a glass one. 
    3) Give your oven plenty of time to preheat.
    4) Cover and bake at a lower temperature if your bread needs to bake longer than the recommended amount of time. 

    Ingredients

    2/3 cup slivered almonds
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    2/3 cup softened butter
    1 1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    3/4 tsp almond extract
    3 cups flour
    2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    2 cups mashed bananas
    1 cup sour cream
    1 cup white chocolate chips

    Steps

    1. In a small bowl, combine the almonds and brown sugar. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs. Beat in extract. 
    3. In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add this mixture to the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the bananas and sour cream.
    4. Fold in white chocolate chips. 
    5. Spread in 9 x 13 inch greased metal pan. 
    6. Sprinkle with almond mixture.
    7. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Stick a toothpick into the bread and see if it comes out clean. If it does, awesome you're done!! But I highly doubt your bread will be done that soon, so keep reading. Turn the temperature down to 300, cover the bread with foil, and bake for 5 minute increments until the bread is done. It'll probably take another 10-20 minutes. Be careful not to over bake the bread or it will become to dry.



    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    Untapped Festival



    My friend and I went to the Untapped Festival today and it was AMAZING!! It was the best festival I've been to and I can't wait to go back next year!! There were 71 breweries, 10 food trucks, 2 stages, and a games tent (ping pong, air hockey, fuse-ball).  We got there at 3:30 when it started and didn't end up leaving until it started hailing (10:00)!!  Tickets were $40 and parking was $10. When you walk in they give you a small tasting cup, a map of the venue, and a stamp card (12 stamps for 12 beer samples).  

    Some of my favorites from today:

    Strawberry Harvest from Abita Brewing Co
    Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss from The Ben E. Keith Pub
    Woodchuck Gumption from The Ben E. Keith Pub
    Lillikoi Kepolo from Avery Brewing Co
    Rubaeus from Founders Brewing Co
    UFO White from Harpoon Brewery
    Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Aged Ale from Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co
    Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils from Pedernales Brewing Co
    Mr. Pineapple from Santan Brewing Co
    Ruby Redbird from Shiner
    Illusive Traveler from The Traveler
    Summer Love from Victory Brewing Co