Archive from March, 2012
14 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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Pi Day

Happy Pi Day! Pi Day is of course one of the high holidays for nerds. The other is Mole Day (October 23) and that is best celebrated by dressing up in a mole costume and singing a special song in its honor. You’ve never heard the line “that’s 6 with 23 zeros at the end…Much to big a number to comprehend” or danced to it either? Well, fine then, we’ll just stick to Pi Day and its glorious pies made in the holiday’s honor.

Today’s pie isn’t anything fancy. When I was a kid and I would visit my grandma, she’d make it for me and my brother. As a kid I had never seen such a tall pie and it was solid chocolate. My grandma called it dream pie and the first time we ate it my brother had a nightmare that night so he called it nightmare pie for quite a while. The other name we called the pie was pudding pie but being a kid and not being trusted in the kitchen, I had no clue why it would be called dream pie or pudding pie. Here’s a hint.

Dream Pie

For this recipe you need a magic ingredient called dream whip (a whipping stabilizer), pudding of your choice, a 9 inch pie crust and milk. That’s it. It’s so simple.

dream whip

At the beginning you only mix a cup of milk with the dream whip and magically you already have a very fluffy looking base. Then you add in pudding and some more milk and you have a giant fluffy mixture that you just spoon into a pie shell. The hardest part of this recipe is that you have to let the pie chill for 4 hours. It’s super simple and straight from the box so while my grandma never told me her “secret” recipe, I just had to find dream whip on the shelf in the pudding aisle to discover her secret.

dream pie

Dream Pie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 pie

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • 2 envelopes (1 package) Dream Whip
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 (3.4 oz) packages Jello instant chocolate pudding
  • 9 inch graham cracker pie shell, baked

Instructions

  1. If your pie shell requires baking, bake it and cool following the instructions.
  2. With a mixer blend 1 cup of the milk and the 2 packs of dream whip.
  3. Beat on high for 6 minutes until the mix has peaks.
  4. Add the powdered pudding and remaining milk. Mix on low until combined, then on high for 2 minutes.
  5. Spoon the mix into the pie shell. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/03/pi-day/

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13 Mar
2012
Posted in: Household
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Organizing Your Cabinets

After I had the cabinets installed, I struggled to know how to keep them organized. I have a ton of space but I also have a ton of stuff and I wanted to use the space to the best of my advantage. I’ve already shown you how I failed with my lazy susan but I wanted to show you an arrangement that’s worked for over a year now.

This is the cabinet I use most minus the ones that hold plates and cups. It holds my tupperware, gladware, mystery brand-ware (I have no brand loyalty) and my tall appliances.

Before switching all my tupperware to an overhead cabinet I had stored it down in lower cabinets on pull-out drawers. I had trouble keeping the tupperware lids in order and opening it just annoyed me. This arrangement worked itself by pure accident. I had purchased an undershelf basket from the Container Store (similar one at Amazon) to hold my rolls aluminum foil and saran wrap. The shelf fit fine but I had misjudged how long the rolls were and if they would even fit with the depth of my cabinets. My bad.

inside kitchen cabinets

So I found a new home for my rolls and used the undercabinet baskets in a new way. They were the perfect size to fit under my shelves and hold all those tricky lids. Tupperware lids in one basket, gladware lids in another basket. Then I just stacked up all the plastic containers how I like to use them. An easy solution to an annoying problem.

inside kitchen cabinets

In the middle I store my rice cooker, blender, and ice cream maker. You’ll be seeing a lot more of that last one soon. I keep the blender in the middle because I use it the least and I keep my most frequent tools right at an arm’s reach. Don’t be afraid to switch up the standard placement of your shelves. I tend to start at the top and work my way down when setting shelf height.

At the very top I store 4 bowls. 3 are usually in my freezer holding chili but chili season is over so all 4 are ready for ice cream and sorbet duty this spring.

What do you do to keep your cabinets organized?

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12 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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The Girl Scouts Turn 100

Happy 100th birthday to the Girl Scouts! I was a Girl Scout for only 3 years but I’m still friends today with several of the girls who were in my troop.

Girl Scout Cookie cocktail

In honor of the Girl Scouts reaching such an old age, I created a cocktail in their honor. I wanted a chocolate milkshake with the taste of mint cookies and for fun I threw in some rum. It was a great combination. I used chocolate ice cream but for a stronger mint flavor you could use vanilla ice cream. You could even go the mint chocolate chip route but I didn’t want the taste of Thin Mints to compete with the taste of the ice cream. The only thing that went wrong with this cocktail was that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. That’s what I get for drinking before 5 o’clock. I’ve adjusted the recipe so it makes two small cocktails, one for you and one for another Girl Scout.

Girl Scout Cookie cocktail

If you haven’t seen Girl Scout cookies in your area yet try the Girl Scout Cookie locator. I live in a rural community without many young people so I’m always having to hunt down Girl Scouts but now I just plan ahead and combine a cookie run with a trip to the hardware or grocery store. You could always cheat like I do in the off-season and buy the Keebler Fudge Shoppe Grasshopper cookies. They aren’t quite as minty or as crunchy and they’ll do when I run out of a frozen supply of Thin Mints but I always revert as soon as it’s cookie season.

Girl Scout Dessert

If you aren’t a Thin Mint person, I’ve been seeing plenty of Girl Scout-themed desserts this year. There’s SugarDerby’s Do-Si-Dos and Tagalong Bundt Cake, aBitterSweetWife’s Samoa Caramel Bark, My Baking Addiction’s Tagalong Peanut Butter Parfaits, and these incredible looking Samoas Cupcakes by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout cookie?

Grown Up Girl Scout

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 glasses

Serving Size: 1 glass

Ingredients

  • 6 Thin Mint Cookies
  • 3 Scoops Ice Cream
  • 2 Shots of Rum
  • 4-6 oz Milk
  • Whipped Cream

Instructions

  1. Choose 2 tumblers to serve your cocktails in. Use 1 to measure out a full tumbler of milk.
  2. Add the milk to a blender with cookies, ice cream, and rum. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour shake into tumblers and add whipped cream.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/03/girl-scout-100-years/

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8 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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Club Cobb Salad

club cobb salad

I haven’t talked a ton about my husband Daniel but here’s one thing you have to know about him: he loves salad. He eats salad with Chinese food, he layers it on his lasagna, and I have to buy lettuce in bulk at Costco. In an effort to appease his salad love, I concocted the idea of a cobb salad with all his favorite things on it. In addition to salads, Daniel loves ham, sandwiches, bacon, ranch, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese. This is how the club cobb salad was born.

salad greens

You’ll want to cut up a mix of salad greens into finely chopped pieces. Mine had spinach, arugula, and romaine lettuce in it. Then form rows with all your ingredients. I used cheddar cheese, sliced deli turkey, hard-boiled eggs, diced ham, bacon, monterey jack cheese, grape tomatoes, and green onions. They key to this salad is lining up the ingredients in rows so it looks pretty. When you’re ready to eat just toss it up and serve with a good dressing. I like honey mustard but my husband is more of a ranch person. Serve it with some toast and you’ve got yourself a club sandwich in a salad.

club cobb salad

Club Cobb Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

Serving Size: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 6 cups finely chopped mixed salad greens
  • 1 dozen grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped bacon bits (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded monteray jack cheese
  • 1 cup diced ham
  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, separated, the yolk finely chopped and the white finely chopped
  • 8 slices turkey deli meat
  • 2 tablespoons diced green onions

Instructions

  1. If you are making fresh bacon bits then cook your bacon and crumble it. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl or platter with fresh salad greens.
  3. Arrange the ingredients in lines starting from the center. Use tomatoes, bacon bits, ham, egg whites, and turkey forming a mirror image from the center.
  4. Layer the egg yolks on top of the egg whites and place cheeses over the bacon and turkey.
  5. Sprinkle on the green onions to taste.
  6. Serve with either a ranch or honey mustard dressing.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/03/club-cobb-salad/

 

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7 Mar
2012
Posted in: Household
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Choosing Wall Art

I was very hesitant to punch holes in my newly painted wall when we first renovated our house. At the same time, I was frustrated with how unfinished every room looked. Clearly this was before the great window rip-out and refinishing project. Eventually I just bit the bullet and went for it and never looked back. Seriously, there is nothing better than having artwork on the walls.

Art.com

I’d used Art.com in college but buying a little fancier looking pieces and throwing on some frames tends to make artwork looks like it belongs in a home instead of a dorm room.

Edward Raymes prints

For the living room we chose two pieces by Edward Raymes, Solitude and Escape. They are no longer available on the website but can be found in other locations.

In the dining room we chose two prints, Oriental Bird on Branch I (pictured above) and Oriental Bird on Branch III. Both pulled colors from an art piece we were gifting and included colors from the room.

In the bathroom we have Teal Lily by Carol Robinson. We didn’t want traditional bathroom art saying “Bath” so we went with colors we liked. We’ll be changing the wall color to match it when we do the full bathroom renovation.

For framing, we planned to buy frames through Michaels, knowing they have large discounts and 60% off coupons. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize how high their markup was. We ended up ordering mats through private companies to save money but art.com was competitive from Michaels prices and I bet a local small business could have matched or beaten the prices. Maybe you can learn from my mistake.

Etsy

$5 Easter Art

While you can see the doily art that I made, this photo also includes one of my favorite Etsy pieces. The watercolor of Missouri by poppyandpinecone was only $10 but it set the color palette for the entire room. I just popped it into a Walmart frame and it was good to go. The artist gave great service and she has a wide selection of states and countries if you want a print of your own.

Artists

Magnolias on Cole

One of my relatives is an artist and he gifted me a piece of art of my choice for my wedding. It took a while until we figured out which room we wanted the art for but we ended up choosing a piece called Magnolias on Cole by Joe Mangrum. This piece is one of the most personal to us, knowing both the artist and that it was a gift for our wedding. The standard prints for the house give it some decoration but this piece gives the room life. We display it right in the dining room and based our other pieces around it. If you know an artist, see if they have a piece or would be willing to commission a piece you like. There’s something special about it.

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6 Mar
2012
Posted in: Home Renovation
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Working on Window Trim

One of the biggest projects in our house has been redoing the windows. Our original windows were from the original 1940s build. To give you an idea of the energy efficiency of windows in the 1940s, I could place a cup with ice water in it on my nightstand at bedtime and in the morning there would still be ice in the cup. Yup, the breeze from my window was that bad. Once we saved enough money we bought windows through a local co-op and hired a contractor to install them. It was up to us to do the window trim as part of our money-saving scheme.

Tools Needed

Supplies Needed

  • Trim (we get ours from Lowes)
  • Level
  • Finishing Nails
  • Caulk
  • Wood Filler
  • Paint
  • Spackling Paste

How We Do It

While I would hardly call us experts on window trim, this is how we’ve done the process. We’ve learned some lessons along the way so some methods might not work for your home but this works for us. By us, I mostly mean my awesome husband Daniel who is the brains behind the renovation. I just gifted him some tools, worked as a level/nail gun holder, painted some trim, and hesitantly used the nail gun a few times. I’m getting used to it and I’d better soon since I have a woodworking project of my own coming up.

Here’s some photos showing the process. Click any to enlarge it.

First, trim a piece of trim to length. We used a straight cut on the base and a mitered corner at the top.

After trimming one piece of trim to length, use your level and make sure you have the trim hanging straight. Then use your nail gun to nail it into the wall. Always wear goggles and safety gear for this step. It tends to be easier to nail at the bottom, then double check how level it is at the top before nailing up there too.

You’ll want to measure some trim along the top next. Both corners will be miter cuts so make sure to keep your angles even. Nail this piece as even and level as you can.

Repeat these steps with the piece of trim on the right side. Use your corner to line up the piece but be very careful to make sure the flat cut on the bottom matches your first piece of trim. You can always use filler to fill a tiny gap at the top.

We then attached a piece of flat trim to the bottom. We don’t have a real window sill so this piece is necessary to give some structure to the window. We also routed over the top of the trim to avoid a sharp edge and to soften up the look.

You can see a large gap at the bottom here. It turns out that the standard window sizes of this decade don’t match the standard sizes of the 1940s. We used the closest match and chose to patch the extra space ourselves. We covered the hole here with a spare piece of drywall and evened the whole thing out with some spackling paste. The paste needed to dry overnight before finishing the window trim.

Once the paste is dry, you can attach your bottom piece of trim. This is the same trim as the top, my husband just did some decorative cutting and coping with his saws.

Next up- filling in all those holes.

Most people will use caulk to fill in all the gaps. We soon discovered caulk wasn’t enough for us. Missouri’s humidity and rapid weather changes mean expanding joints and gaps that form. Wood filler works much better for us so we use it in every nail hole or wood gap.

After that all dries you’ll want to sand, sand, sand. Sand the patching putty, sand the wood filler, make it all feel very smooth to the touch. Afterwards you’ll want to paint the trim and try dressing your window. Here’s an after of one of our windows. Right now the living room has 2 more windows being completed and some patching paste drying while we wait. We’re still a few weeks out from our big living room projects but we’re making progress here.

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5 Mar
2012
Posted in: Food
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S’mores Mix

If you’re in St. Louis, you’ve probably played in a trivia night or two. Outside of St. Louis I’ve discovered that most people have no clue what a trivia night is. Usually trivia nights include 10 or so rounds of 10 questions with the event working as a fundraiser for a cause. There are usually raffles, giveaways, and a group of about 50 or more tables competing.

My friends and I have an annual tradition. We go to our old high school’s trivia night to raise money for each year’s grad night program to promote a safe night without drinking for all the kids. The event provides free sodas and you can buy drinks and all the tables bring their own food. My friends and I tend to take that food part as a challenge. We bring pizzas, tacos, chips, deli sandwiches, a fruit tray, dip, cheese and crackers, and plenty of yummies for everyone. This year I made a S’mores snack mix. I’m pretty sure one person wanted to steal it from me and eat it all night long with a glass of milk. Who can resist Golden Grahams, a chocolate syrup, and marshmallows together? Thankfully it was good enough to help cope with our crushing loss this year. Let’s just say the categories included retirement community card games and knowing the price of toilet paper at a grocery store. Sorry people, I’m in my 20s and shop sales.

smores mix

S’mores Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Ingredients

  • 12 oz box Golden Grahams cereal
  • 3/4 cup Dark corn syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 11 1/2 ounce bag milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag of 11 oz bag of mini marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Pour box of Golden Grahams into a large bowl.
  2. Over medium heat, stir together corn syrup and butter until evenly combined. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth.
  3. Pour the chocolate mix over the Golden Grahams and stir together. Once well combined, add your half bag of mini-marshmallows.
  4. Spread the mix into a sheet cake pan using your hands. Smash it as flat as you can and let rest for 2 hours.
  5. After 2 hours, break the mix apart into smaller bites and enjoy.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/03/smores-mix/

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1 Mar
2012
Posted in: DIY Projects, Household
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In like a lion

For my March centerpiece I wanted to imply some movement. The zig zag lollies in these centerpieces remind me of pinwheels and windy days. Missouri is really seeing March come in like a lion. Yesterday we had crazy storms, tornadoes to our south and east and the winds keep gusting between 50-60 miles an hour. I’m just thankful we’ve been safe so far and I hope the rest of spring isn’t had like last year.

To make this centerpieces I primed and painted some garden pots in silver. Michaels is having a sale on them this week if you want some of your own. I mixed and matched some papers leftover from my lollies and cut it to fit around the rim of each pot, applying it with mod podge. At the dollar store I found some floral foam and some marbles. I plopped the foam into each pot, added some spray painted kabob sticks attached to my lollies (instructions in yesterday’s post) and covered up the base with marbles.

It looks like spring to me! What have you been working on for March?

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