Articles by " julie"
15 Oct
2012
Posted in: Food
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Apple Bread

Remember my centerpiece from September with all those apples? The centerpiece sat on my table for most of the month but I headed out of town on the 19th so I hated to let the apples go to waste. On top of that, I had some eggs that would go bad while I was out of town so I figured doing some baking with the apples was a good way to use some up. I wanted a recipe that I could stick in the freezer and eat when I came back home too. Luckily, apple bread was the perfect solution.

apple bread

This recipe makes two disposable loaf pans of apple bread. To freeze it, bake the apple bread and let it cool completely. Let it cool another hour more, just to be safe. Place the entire loaf pan into a gallon sized freezer bag and remove all the air you can. Place the bags into the freezer flat and store for up to a month. If you want to store these longer, remove them from the loaf pans and wrap in plastic wrap before putting them in the freezer bag.

apple bread

Coming back from vacation I had virtually no food I could cook left in my house. I had been up for about 20 hours before crashing at night and the next morning I didn’t want to be eating cereal without milk so the apple bread was a welcome treat. To thaw, just leave out on the counter overnight and it will be perfect in the morning.

apple bread

Apple Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 Tablespoon almond extract
  • 2 cups skinless diced apples (about 2 apples)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Mix together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Beat together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, oil, and almond extract.
  3. Slowly add in your dry ingredients, stirring until just mixed.
  4. Add in your diced apples and chopped walnuts.
  5. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake at 1 hour for 350 degrees.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/10/apple-bread/

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10 Oct
2012
Posted in: Home Renovation
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Closet Makeover

Do you by chance remember my messiest closet ever? I don’t blame you if you don’t. I posted about that renovation back in May with a goal of being done in June. To be fair, I was 95% of the way done in June. I just had two tricky parts, one I eventually found a solution for and one that is still ongoing. To recap, this is the closet before.

cleaning closet

I know, it is like a room on Hoarders.

I started off by doing just as I planned. I painted the door to match the trim in my house. I had planned to buy a door organizer from Home Depot but when I arrived in my car I realized the organizer would probably not fit in my car. I could borrow my mom’s van but I’d remembered seeing a smaller organizer at Target. Enter the ClosetMaid 8-Tier Adjustable Door Rack. (You might also want its buddy, some hollow door anchors that I ended up having to run back to Home Depot for). I then used that door organizer to put all my cleaning supplies in it. I’m still working on reducing how many containers I’m using but as I run out I’ll be replacing with more multi-purpose products.

closet door organizer

Next up was emptying the closet, patching, priming, and painting. I had no clue that my crooked house had a closet with walls that sloped in random directions. I ended up spending nearly a week just on patching and sanding to try to make the walls straight.

closet-walls

In an effort to keep costs low, my husband and I thought we should reuse the original shelves and just hang them with two boards. In the photo above you can see the new boards attached to the wall while the white stripes represent how the shelves used to be hung. Wonder why they had a back shelf hanger? Those crooked walls. Apparently the walls were crooked even when they built the house so they just made small shelves and used an extra-wide shelf rack to accommodate their mistakes and laziness. So by being cheap/lazy, we ended up with the same issue. We had to create one more shelf hanger but luckily our entire basement is full of scrap wood so we still saved on cash.

gray-walls

The new shelves were much less obtrusive than the old ones and we painted them the same paint color as the walls to help them blend in. The paint color is a mistint from Home Depot. My local Home Depot seems to only have orange and forest green no matter when I go but this was one in West County so let’s call this right place, right time.

Now it was time to put everything back and get it all off my dining room table. I used some Closetmaid cubes to add some color and hide all the messy things. More on them in a minute. I bought an iron and ironing board holder from Walmart. Those cool things on the back wall are all from my Ikea trip last November. I have two Rationell Variera that are made to dispense plastic bags but I use them to hold towels and washcloths and they work like a dream. The bar and hooks are all part of Ikea’s Bygel rail system. I installed two of these. (Locals- Ikea will be coming to Kansas City in 2014)

closet-tags

To make things even more organized I spent about $2 on small wooden tags from Michaels. I spray-painted them with chalkboard paint and used them to label those Closetmaid cubes. The basket above holds all my extra lightbulbs, 3m strips, and candles. I have another one for seasonal gear like gloves and bags, and the third basket holds my extra cleaning items like vacuum bags or my shoe shining kit. Everything is labeled so I don’t need the products out in the open.

I also decided that I should probably get a full-sized ironing board instead of using my 9 year old dorm ironing board. I’ve already used it and it’s amazing the difference it brings. As a bonus, it really brightens up the closet and it matches my cubes I already had.

Ready for the final effect?

closet shelves

The top now easily fits all those items that used to sit on my closet floor. I have space for paper products, trash bags, vinegar for cleaning, all my bins, and even extra picture frames at the top.

cleaning closet

The bottom of my closet it worlds better. You can actually see the floor! Over on the right I hung my swiffer and broom with a rack from The Container Store. I hung several cleaning items from my top Bygel rail and you can see my Rationell stuffed with the cloths. I decided to use the bottom rail to include the bags I use for shopping and day trips so the closet is even more practical. It might not be as pretty as without them but let’s be real, the practical has to win when you live in your house. Somehow I managed to actually put more items into this closet and it miraculously looks emptier. I am still needing a light in there (hence the dark photos) but having a lighter paint color and a more open space helps immensely in the meantime.

This project is being put in the finished category and I’m ready to tackle a new one. Home Depot sent me a coupon in the mail this month that I need to use soon so maybe that’ll jumpstart a big project once again. Hopefully this gets my closet out of the “Worst Closet Ever” category and into something a little more flattering.

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5 Oct
2012
Posted in: Food
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Spanish Sangria

My big vacation last month involved 2 days in Barcelona before heading off on a Mediterranean cruise. I don’t know how much you know about Barcelona but I’ve found it full of giant amazingly designed buildings, surrounded by mountains and the sea, and full of delicious foods. The evenings in Barcelona can go all night long. Restaurants often don’t even open their doors until 8PM and several concerts in the city started at midnight while we were there.

If there’s one way to keep the party going in the city, it’s with sangria. Full, rich, and smooth is the best way to describe the sangria and the city life. Here’s a homemade recipe to get you in the Barcelona spirit.

sangria

Spanish Sangria

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rum
  • 1 bottle dry red wine
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 L lemon-lime soda (optional)

Instructions

  1. Slice the lemon, lime, and orange and place them in a glass pitcher. Pour the sugar on top and then the rum. Chill for 2 hours.
  2. Remove the pitcher from the fridge and lightly press the fruits against the edge of the pitcher to release the juices. Stir in the wine and orange juice.
  3. For those wanting a fizzier drink, fill a glass 2/3 of the way full of sangria and top off with soda.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/10/spanish-sangria/

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3 Oct
2012
Posted in: Household
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October Task List

I’m back from my crazy long vacation and I hope to post some info on that as soon as I sort through my 1400 photos. Oh yeah, It was an awesome one. I’m quite a bit behind on chores but coming home to a clean house made it easier. I definitely miss having meals prepared for me and turndown service at night.


Source: Anything But Perfect- available for download

We’re into the last quarter of the year which means prepping for Christmas, winterproofing my house, and for my work to get crazy one last time. My real goal for the month is to lock up the last of my summer clothes and finish up all those 90% projects- you know, the ones that need just one last go to be fully completed. Just remember, slow and steady wins the race so choose a few items to tackle from this month’s Get Organized Now checklist and you’ll feel ahead of the game.

  • October 5: After a long week, enjoy your family with a fun family dinner. After heading back to work after 2 weeks of together time, it’ll be nice to relax together instead of giving into the jetlag.
  • October 13: Clear out those coats and accessories. Make sure all gloves have a match, toss anything you haven’t worn in a while (look for a winter clothing drive in your area!) and have all the next week’s items in a convenient grab-and-go spot.
  • October 16: If you haven’t already decorated for fall (I never do before October 1 but I’m slacking this year!) then put out some decor. Pumpkins are always a safe bet and will last you through Thanksgiving.
  • October 20: Outdoor cleanup time! Empty planters, trim back any plants that get a fall trimming and put away any lawn furniture before the winter snow and salt damages it.
  • October 22: Stock up on Halloween candy for those trick-or-treaters. I live in a neighborhood without many kids so I don’t see many besides some cute relatives but I’m always glad to have the leftovers.
  • October 24: Spend your entire evening offline and if you’re really daring, turn off all technology. Hang out with family and resist the urge to be introverted by reading. Play board games, talk about your day or just relax in silence.
  • October 29: Surprise your coworkers by bringing in a treat. Bagels, doughnuts, or flavored creamers for a coffee bar are always nice. You can add a fall twist by throwing some apple cider in a crockpot and serving with a cinnamon stick.
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27 Sep
2012
Posted in: Life
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Packing Tips

For my big vacation, I had a bit of a time figuring out how to pack for the trip. I’ll be gone for 10 days, I’ll be seeing varying temperatures, some days I’ll need to dress modestly and others more formally. On top of all that, I wanted to leave plenty of room in my luggage to bring home souvenirs.

The first thing I researched was if laundry services would be available for my trip. I’m cruising with Royal Caribbean so I located their laundry service price list to plan out if laundry services were even in my budget. I also learned via Cruise Critic that Royal Caribbean has a wash-and-fold special where for $25 you can get as many socks, underwear, tees, shorts, swimwear, and pajamas washed as you can fit in the bag they provide. As part of our booking special we were given some on-board credit that can easily be applied towards laundry.

My next priority was to map out each day’s outfit needs. For example, day 5 of our trip will have us touring the Provence area of France for a short time, enjoying some quiet time on our ship, and then eating a formal dinner. So a touring outfit, a swimsuit, and a formal dress were all necessary for one day. Since I’ll be changing so much, I know I can get more than 1 wear out of most items. So I made a chart of my outfit needs for each day.

I took some advice from Audrey over at Putting Me Together on the importance of wearing colored bottoms. I’m bringing 4 different bottoms but I can wear clothing for at least 10 days. I’ve actually limited my re-wears of key pieces simply because I don’t know how hot it might get or how clumsy I might be this trip.

I tried to choose a color palette to work with for the trip too. I’ve always been a fan of navy and white and by sticking to a palette it means I can bring just 1-2 belts some brown and white shoes that should work with every outfit. My suitcase is basically filled with these key pieces, though some are just similar and not direct matches since I don’t buy a new wardrobe every year.

Trip

I made sure to choose cardigans to layer since some places like Rome require me to have my shoulders covered and nights on a cruise ship can be cool. I also chose several knit pieces for their strong anti-wrinkle tendencies. I’ll also have the obvious things packed like socks, underwear, PJs, and my swimsuit but I’m feeling pretty set with these pieces. I’ll let you know after the trip what worked and what didn’t so you can better prepare for your next vacation. (Now that I’m back, here’s that followup I promised!)

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24 Sep
2012
Posted in: Site Announcements
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Vacation Time!

Things will be a bit slow around here this week. I’m out of town celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary with my wonderful husband. It’s been almost 10 years since our first date and he’s still putting up with me!

We’re on a Mediterranean cruise through the end of the month and hopefully I’m having a blast right now. In case you’re worried about the safety of the old Hyper House, don’t worry- I have a great housesitter watching the place so there won’t be any trouble.

I’ll still be having a few posts come up but just be aware that my comment moderation will be slower than usual so don’t freak out if comments don’t appear instantly. I can’t wait to share all the exciting details with you all!

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19 Sep
2012
Posted in: Household
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September Centerpiece

I’m actually on time with this month’s centerpiece!  I know some people love to jump on fall themes in September but in Missouri it is often so warm that I’m not thinking about fall. This week has been quite crisp so I broke out some apples and had fun with a fall themed centerpiece.

apple centerpiece

I used a basket (previously seen in my June centerpiece) and stacked some books in the center to give it some height. Then I added in a candleholder from Pier 1 and some apples. I’ll have some apple recipes coming soon as a bonus. They’re perfect for some fall freezing.

I also dressed up the table with some new napkins from Home Goods and what else- more apples. The room sure smells very fresh and crisp, just like the weather outside.

What’s on your table this fall?

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10 Sep
2012
Posted in: Household
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July Centerpiece

I have some catching up to do! My job was crazy all summer so I missed posting my July centerpiece on time so here’s a quick view at what my patriotic centerpiece looked like.

july centerpiece

For my July birthday, my mom gifted me a margarita set I’d had my eye on. When I vacationed in Mexico last year I drank out of a similar set and I really wanted to bring the fiesta home with me. So I threw some daisies in it and called it a patriotic display. Sorry Mexico, don’t hate me!

The best part of the centerpiece was having the brilliant idea to throw some sour cherry candies into the margarita glasses. The glasses worked as an easy handheld candy dish. They did not sit on the table very long. I must have looked like a crazy lady to my husband with me walking around with a margarita glass in my hand for a week (lies- a couple days) but it was just candy! Where’s the harm in that?

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3 Sep
2012
Posted in: Household
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September Task List

I’m freaking out that it is already September. I lost a whole week in August when I got sick and I’m still moving very slowly as I recover. To top it all off, I have a huge trip coming up that I feel woefully unprepared for. I saw September 1 on my calendar and I started making list after list. I’m hoping I can at least tackle a few tasks from this month’s Get Organized Now checklist before I go too crazy.


Source: Anything But Perfect- available for download

This month I already tackled Day 1’s task of looking ahead at my calendar. I think that’s part of the problem. I think my best plan to prepare is to just try to think rationally. Easier said than done, right? Here’s what I’m looking at for my calendar.

  • September 2: Prepare a special dessert to be served for the Labor Day holiday. -This one is easy, I already bought supplies to make a peach cake I spotted over on Glori of Food.
  • September 5: Make DO/GO/CALL list. Perfect timing! Listing out the tasks in little pieces will not only keep me calm but it’ll be a great way for my husband to see where he can help out too.
  • September 9: Call the grandparents for Grandparents Day. I will be doing this though I hesitate to think what advice my grandma will tell me based on what she hears on Dr. Oz. I swear, Dr. Oz should be banned in that household because my grandma is always telling me the weirdest things.
  • September 15: Time swap sandals for boots. Do an inventory on all those Old Navy flip flops and toss the gross ones. Give your boots a shine before breaking them out.
  • September 20: Organize your baking supplies. This is a great time to restock before making Christmas cookies or to organize your baking tools.
  • September 23: Are you making enough time for you? If you don’t have a hobby (and TV watching isn’t going to count) then work on one. If you find yourself with too many hobbies, try to focus on just one for maximum relaxation. I sent my sewing machine upstairs so I can start focusing on Christmas crafting.
  • September 28: It’s apple season! Plan an apple picking trip or start setting aside your favorite apple recipes.
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30 Aug
2012
Posted in: Food
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Cookie Delight

If you’re still looking for the perfect potluck dessert for a Labor Day weekend barbeque, look no further than the cookie delight. It’s tasty, doesn’t require a lot of prep and it’s very kid-friendly. The recipe originally comes from Taste of Home Magazine and I’m always finding my new favorites from them. This recipe is perfect right out of the box with one little exception.

cookie delight

Start by baking a tube of cookie dough (or about 16 oz of your favorite homemade recipe) in a baking pan for about 15 minutes. Let this layer cool for about 45 minutes-1 hour before continuing.

You’ll need two separate bowls for the next step. Bowl one will be your creamy layer, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a portion of Cool Whip for this layer. Bowl two will be your chocolate layer, mix together your puddings and milk for this layer. You’ll layer these onto your cookie base, first the creamy layer, then your chocolate layer.

Now add your remaining Cool Whip and here’s that important little change– sprinkle the top of the dish with mini chocolate chips. This is key to the whole dish being a success. There’s nothing more fun than eating mini chocolate chips as a kid so just sprinkle away.

cookie delight

You’ll want to chill this dish about 8 hours at this point so this is a great dish to prepare the night before or the morning of a barbeque.

Cookie Delight

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 20 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Press cookie dough into an ungreased 13x9 baking pan. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in 1-3/4 cups whipped topping. Spread over cookie crust.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight until firm.
http://www.thehyperhouse.com/2012/08/cookie-delight/

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