Monday, January 11, 2010


Last week I went to Pottery Barn to spend a Christmas gift card. While there I fell in love with this great, rustic console table. Great, yes?

Now, unfortunately I don't have a spare $400 lying around but I still couldn't shake the table from my head. I started studying it online. Thursday night I stayed awake into the wee hours of the night planning and designing my "project" in my head. The next morning I redesigned it because nothing can be trusted that happens in my brain past 10 pm. (I should add here that one of the best gifts my husband ever got me was a compound mitre saw a few years ago. Melts my heart and I mean it. Nothing like sawing through something.) Friday night, my husband and I went to Home Depot. He only kicked and screamed a little but was a really good trooper. I believe the supplies cost me about $130. I could have come in QUITE a bit below that but I decided to use a harder wood than pine.

That night, I made the jenkiest part of the table, the top. For the record, I have no idea what I am doing. I am a self-taught, furniture "maker." I am embarrassed to even type that word because I REALLY don't know what I am doing. I watched a few youtube videos and did my best. For the top I just laminated some pieces together. I know I should have attached them more securely but notching is not in my repertoire. The next morning, all dried and somewhat secured I moved on to the base. I think I actually did ok. It feels incredibly sturdy and is VERY heavy. Once the screws were countersunk and the holes patched and sanded, I beat the crap out of it. haha. So fun. I sanded the edges, beat it with a wire brush, a hammer, chain and a sock full of bolts that tore and flew through the garage.
Before Nick was home from his enginerding outing I put on my first layer of stain. When he got home he decided it wasn't distressed enough. So he put that table in its place. A couple more coats of stain and 4 coats of polyurethane (sanding in between) later, I had a table.

I have made furniture in the past but I rushed it and, while they work, they are embarrassing. I am quite pleased with myself. Pay no attention to the paper on the wall. I designed those tonight and am trying to decide if they are worthy of framing.

On top of it, I found a hidden treasure behind home depot. Some friends told us about this awesome imports place. I kind of want to tell all 11 of my faithful readers about it but at the same time, there is this bench there that I MUST own, can't afford and have no room for. You take it and you die. Impact Imports is a small warehouse type situation out by the freeway. Everything is from India. The husb/wifey pair travel to India a few times a year to buy all of this stuff. I LOVE it all. Totally my style. I got that mirror over the table and that carved wooden bowl there as well. Seriously, leave my bench alone.

Holy Chocolate Meringue Pie Batman

This weekend I rented "Julie and Julia." It was pretty cute. Not amazing. In fact, it didn't really inspire me to cook the way "Chocolate" made me dip chocolate while watching it or "Waitress" made me create lots of pies. BUT, they did make a point in there to talk about the glories of butter. In the movie, Julie, makes a Chocolate Cream Pie for her husband and talks about how no matter how bad her day is at work, she knows that if she adds yolks to chocolate and cream, it will, without a doubt, thicken. Well I could care less but it sure made me hungry.

And so was born, Chocolate Meringue Pie. I found a recipe online that was from Ebony Magazine. I added a teaspoon of chili powder to the dry ingredients to bump it up a bit. And as usual, I used a Marie Calendars pie shell. Someday. Mark my words. Someday I will make my own.

It was absolutely divine. My husband, who hates chocolate, (I know, right?) said it was good, and I believed him. He ate the whole thing. It was so pretty too!!! And then I cut it and it fell apart. Hmf. I am actually eating a slice while I write this. It's my lunch. I am fine with it. What? Look at those heaping peaks of perfectly golden meringue. Humina humina.

1 9 inch baked pastry shell

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks slightly beaten
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla

Meringue Topping
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, chili powder and salt in medium saucepan; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils; remove from heat. Stir half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks; return mixture to sauce pan. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool for 10 minutes, pour into pie shell.

Heat oven to 350° F. Meanwhile, prepare meringue topping: In a small mixer bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread this on warm pie filling, carefully sealing to the edges of crust.

Bake 5 to 8 minutes, or just until meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature; chill for several hours. Refrigerate leftovers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jeeeeewels moi ha ha

This weekend was long overdue. I was able to tackle a few of the items on my resolution list. I went to the gym and I cooked. I didn't really do any photography except for documenting my weekend. Just snapshots. Nothing fun. BUT! I did get out my torch and solder a little jewelry. So fun. I need to REALLY work on it. Takes me far to long but I am happy with the results. I also made some gold necklaces. I love just creating to create. Fun times. I guess after busting through a few resolutions I should take a few months off. I would hate to burn through all of them in January. Dare I?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Reduced Fat Bolognese

Last night we had some friends over for dinner. Jon and Toby used to work with Nick but a few months ago moved to a new company. Boo. They came over with their wives, Natalie and Brooke and one of their wee ones, Olivia. I totally spaced taking photos when everyone was over or even of our complete meals so be imaginative.

I got the coolest new dishes from my sister for Christmas. They are pasta bowls and a pasta serving bowl, painted by an artist in Seattle. Totally had to rock some pasta last night. I have been dying to use them. Aren't they the coolest?

After attempting my first New Years Resolution...the gym dun dun dun...I got bored and decided to head home to start the sauce.

1 lb low-fat Ground Beef
1 lb Turkey Sausage
2 Tb Olive Oil
3 cups Carrots, chopped
2 cups Celery, chopped
2 lg Sweet Onions, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
5 cloves Garlic
1 cup Fresh Basil, chopped
2 cans Prepared Spaghetti Sauce (it's ok to cheat)
1 cup Red Wine
1 cup fat-free Milk
2 hand fulls of grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tb Sugar
Salt and Pepper

Brown beef and turkey in a large skillet, drain, set aside.

In same skillet, saute carrots, celery, onions and bell peppers in olive oil until cooked.

Put whole garlic cloves on cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and place under broiler until roasted. This will bring out the sweetness. Try not to be jealous of my cookie sheet.

This makes a ton of sauce so you may need to do this in 2 batches. Add meat and one can of sauce to food processor and puree until well blended. Pour into a LARGE sauce pot. Add vegetables, garlic, basil and last can of tomato sauce to processor and blend until well mixed. Add this mixture and remaining ingredients to sauce pot and simmer for 3-4 hours. (Not necessary but the flavors will totally rock if you do).

Here is the pesto going down.

I made some homemade fettuccine noodles and pour ample amounts of sauce over the top. Put a dollop of some fresh pesto over the top and grated some fresh Parmesan cheese to finish it off. YUMMO!!!! This pasta maker was a gift at my mom and dad's wedding. Isn't it the coolest? I stole it from them. I swear it is going to good use mom and padre!

Makeshift drying rack

Nick made Caprese sticks for appetizers and we served our Hardy family's secret recipe Sour Cream Beef Dip. HEAVEN! I would tell you but I would have to kill you.

My sister gave me this little salt pig for xmas. How cute is he?

Go Mighty Vandals!

I am a bit behind on my posting so let me backtrack a few days. Back to the day when the Vandals ruled the world. It was Wednesday of last. A glorious day. We were offered FREE tickets to sit in the sky box with our friends Evan and Natalie. It was a really difficult decision but we decided to go for it. haha. Totally awesome. We were on the 40 yard line in our own little booth...and a heater. They serve beer up there and have a free buffet. Royalty. The game was exciting the entire time, especially when they served up the big W. It was freezing but totally worth it. We got to go down onto the field after the game to get all up in the grills of the team and the crowd. SO great. I will remember this one for a long time!!! Woop woop.

We must have been winning here. Nick LOVES this pic. haha. Sorry dude. Had to.