Friday

Finally a Chewy, Gooey, Chocolate Chip Cookie

Since today I told myself I would start my diet, I made a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Does anyone else do that?  It’s horrible, what’s my problem!


Lisa, one of my blog readers from  Sweet As Sugar Cookies, tested about 15 Chocolate chip cookies and I decided to try the #2 rated one (the #1 rated one had to be refrigerated and I wanted to eat the entire batch today!  Who can wait 24 hours before they eat the cookies they started to make??) 

Here is the secret – BROWNED BUTTER!!!! Oh my, I’ve never made anything with browned butter but I am here to say, it is absolutely heavenly!  It gives this nice caramel flavor to the cookie. 

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DELICIOUS! 

America's Test Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Cook's Illustrated)


1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Heat 10 Tbsp. butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 min. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1-3 min. Remove skillet from heat and, using heat proof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 Tbsp. butter into the hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 min., then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth, and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture (flour and baking soda) until just combined, about 1 min. Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake at 375F until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 min., rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

* UPDATE:  I added small caramel bites (sold by the chocolate chips) and added those to the batch too.  I didn't think these cookies could get any better but OH MY WORD! there were so good.

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Stop by Lisa's blog, it’s lots of fun! 













~ Creative Juices D├ęcor ~

Wednesday

Fall Edible Acorn Food Craft - Mini Vanilla Wafers and Hershey Kisses!

Today’s edible fall craft is EASY and so much fun.

(really, my kids made these, I just took the pictures!)

blog acorn cjd
(found from the Disney family fun website)

What you’ll need is:
* Hershey Kisses

* Mini Vanilla Wafers

* pretzel stick,butterscotch chip, or caramel bits.

* brown icing
Simply use a dab of brown icing to attach the vanilla wafer and then another dab to attach the stem which can be the pretzel piece, butterscotch chip or caramel bit!

Let them sit for 20 minutes so that the frosting can harden.

Tada! Look whatcha got. A bunch of adorable eatable fall acorns Smile

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I am going to make a little fall gift basket for the kids teachers with a candle, a small decorative pumpkin and a baggie of these treats. It would be a very fun fall snack to hand out to classmates too.

blog Acorns


Monday

Re-upholstering a Wing Chair - Guest Post!

I am so excited to have my friend Jen do a post on here!  She doesn’t have a blog of her own (she should – she has wonderful taste and does lots of fun stuff) but when I saw her new wing chair I asked her to send me pictures and a tutorial and here is what she sent! 

Chair 001 (3)

Reupholstering a chair is not for the faint of heart. The most time intensive part of this project is the deconstruction. Not real hard but laborious. You will sweat, get filthy dirty, and probably go through a box of band aids by the time you are through. It is also the most rewarding DIY project that I have ever done.

Part 1: Taking it apart

To take off the current fabric you will need:

-A thin flat head screwdriver
- A pair of pliers
- A cup to contain the copious amount of staples you will remove (or just toss them on the ground and ask dh to sweep up later)
- Tons and I mean tons of patience (now would be a great time to listen to a book on tape)

So lets begin:

As you remove the pieces of fabric, either take pictures or label where and what each piece is, The fabric of a wing back chair is applied in layers. Pay attention to how they came off. This will make the process much easier when you are putting your new pieces on.

You are going to use the old pieces of fabric as your pattern. Lay them on top of your new fabric, trace, and cut, leaving an extra inch or 2 all the way around.

Chair 008

Part 2: Putting it back together

You will need:

- Staple gun (I used an electric one)
- Staples ( the longer ones worked better)
- Rubber Mallet
-Sewing Machine
-About 10 yards of fabric
- New batting ( unless the existing is in good shape)


Chair 013

Now its time to put it back together.

Basically, you reverse the order of how you took it apart. I started with the under the cushion piece. I reused the piece of fabric that was already there as it was in good shape.

Next was the piece on the lower front of the chair. This front piece is a little tricky because you do have to sew it the the under the cushion piece.  (If I can do it so can youSmile)

The arms came next. This part was pretty easy, you just wrap the fabric and then staple. When you get to the front of the arm pieces, just gather the fabric evenly and staple. This will be covered up later.

Chair 009

The next part is the inside wings. Cut, wrap, staple. Use the deconstruction process as your guide on where to staple.

Once the inner wings were added, I had to make some piping. Time to break out the sewing machine. I went online and found a tutorial for making the cording (Piping). I stapled the cording alongside the outer wing.

Then came something called Ply Grip or (scary metal teeth). Its kinda a pain to work with but it gives your chair amazing results. I stapled my Ply Grip down the outer curve of my wing as close to the cording as possible.
Next I added the fabric. I used a screw driver to push the fabric into the teeth. You then need to use the rubber mallet to pound the teeth closed. Again, I educated myself on how to use the ply grip on line.

Then it was time for the sides. You will need some cardboard strips to make a perfectly straight line with the fabric. Its kinda tricky and I need some extra hands to staple down these pieces

Now its time for the back. Again, refer to the deconstruction to know where the ply grip is applied. Staple, staple, staple.

The frame is done!

For the seat cushion, I took it apart with my seam ripper, layer the pieces out and traced them onto my fabric. I watched a tutorial on recovering a seat cushion. which thoroughly confused me. So i just reconstructed the cushion according to how it came apart. Nothing to it.

So here is the BEFORE: (or during)

Chair 004 (2)

And AFTER!
Chair 002 (2)
Chair 003 (2)
Note: the seat cushion on my chair is a different color than the rest because the fabric was a remnant piece from Paris and I did not have enough.

Thank you SO MUCH Jen for this great example how to re-upholster a chair the DIY way!  It’s gorgeous.  Has anyone been inspired to do their own? 

Thursday

House Construction Started - HURRAY

Can you tell they are excited?

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It might be because we told them we were going to build every year for the last 4 years…….

Well finally, we were able to do it, and yes, we are all very excited. 

Did I mention that their grandparents are right next door?  Do you know what runs through all three of my little munchkins heads?

Ice cream whenever they want it.

iPads to use whenever they want.

No waiting Christmas morning for mom and dad to be “ready” to head over for the fun. 

I have a feeling they are going to be sneaking over there more often than I’d like to admit. 

And what do Grandma and Papa think about this???

They can’t wait.  (Ya, they are really great!) 

house 005

Know what is also nice?  My mother-in-law LOVES flowers and my father- in- law LOVES grass…..so that means my view is already quite spectacular!

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blog flowers

I can’t wait to show you guys the next stages of construction!

~ CreativeJuicesDecor~

Monday

EASY HOMEMADE cherry pie Lara Bars

Oh my goodness!

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Anyone else out there ADORE Lara bars but can only buy them as a special treat because they cost $1.50 for a tiny bar?

I was one of those people till I decided (right after I just bought a cherry pie Lara bar) that I would try to make this at home.

About 10 min later (maybe even less) I had an AMAZING cherry pie bar that tasted EXACTLY like the one I just ate! 

IT.... WAS..... SO.....SIMPLE!! (ok, sorry with all the caps….I am just really excited.)

For those of us who are Lara bar fans you know the ingredients are simple

The specific fruit, nuts, and dates. 

Here is what I did.
* I put 1/2 c almonds in a food processor – chopped them up good.
* I then dumped them in my kitchen aid mixer
* Next I added 1 c unsweetened moist but dried Bing cherries and 1 c dates into the food processor and chopped that up until it formed a ball.
* I then dumped that into the kitchen aid and mixed it all together. (you may have to had kneed just a little)
I put it between two pieces of saran wrap and rolled it out to about 1/2 “ thick and cut them into bars!  The batch above made 6 bars the same size as the ones at the store. 

lara bar 005

As far as the cost comparison I can tell you my ingredients came no where close to the $9.00 it would have cost for me to buy them individually!!!  In fact, I got those unsweetened dried Bing cherries (which I do think is rare to find them with no sugar added) at the Grocery Outlet for 2.50 a 10 ozbag.  Believe me, I’m going back to stock up!  My "educated" guess is it cost about .35/.40 cents a bar.

And get this – my picky four your old LOVED them, as in she went shouting to ALL the other members in the household to come “get some candy!”  After she yelled to the others she asked me if there were any sugar bugs in it,  I told her no, which in turn made her even MORE excited and she shouted, “Come and get some of God’s candy!  It doesn’t even have sugar bugs!”  (We call natural sweet food God’s candy in our house) 

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All to say it was a BIG hit and I only wish I tried it earlier!  As far as storage, I’m going to wrap them in saran wrap and freeze a few bars and see how that goes…..

Also, this is a super easy and fast No crust - French Apple Pie recipe that uses bisquick (did you know they came out with a healthier version of Bisquick?  Look for the one that says "heart healthy" on the box) and a nut strudel topping. 



SOOO GOOD!!


Till next time!  ~CreativeJuicesDecor~

Wednesday

One Year Anniversary

So I guess I’ve been at this exactly ONE year!
Here’s what I have realized……
Blogging isn’t easy! 
BUT
I love being motivated to do fun projects knowing I actually have an “audience” to show them to!   Although I just looked at how many subscribers I have to my blog and seeing the # close to 1000 did make me feel very self conscious!  I have to FOCUS, BE DEDICATED and only post AMAZING things  to justify that  number!  (or maybe just continue to have fun and do whatever, phew that sounds a lot better!!)

Overall though, my favorite part of blogging is I get to show you my new projects…..it’s like buying a new outfit and having someone who actually cares, to comment on how it looks!  Thanks for hanging out with me.

So for a quick rundown………

here are my favorite projects this past year and TRUTH BE TOLD, if it wasn’t for this blog, I’m 99% sure they wouldn’t be here……. (ok, except I would still have done my brother’s home)

Click on picture if you would like to see the post.
link up clock

blog mirror

blk white color map

blog nano's house

Here’s to another year! Thanks for coming along!  ~CreativeJuicesDecor~

Friday

Fess Up Friday - Trying too Hard to Be Natural

Fess up time…….

I totally agree that using all natural products and organic living is a fantastic way to life your life.  Especially, if you have a million bucks, you live on a farm, or you're willing to be a guinea pig on your own natural inventions.  Sometimes though, I become overwhelmed with my efforts to try to be
al la natural”……

As in:

* Not just MAKE all your own food, you better grow your own food too.
* Not just buy Toms of Maine toothpaste, but make your own out of coconut oil and baking soda  (folks, that was SO nasty!)
* Not just feel proud that you canned your own food but worry that the lids you just used have BPA plastic on them and have ruined the batch!

OK back to my Fess Up,

Here is the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

First attempt:

Going shampoo less and washing my hair out of a mixture of baking soda and water and conditioning it with a water and apple cider vinegar wash. 

I lasted one week because honest to God my hair looked like this:


I know, I know, I was supposed to do that for a month but there is NO way to go looking like the above picture for even 3 weeks and hoping by week 4 things turned around. I guess I am just too vain.

They had promised my hair would look like this –HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT.


The directions said to do that special natural wash every three days (no washings in between.)

You would think it would have been so greasy but it really wasn’t.  What it WAS, was indescribable.
 
It was like Gumpy, you could pull it out and it would just stay bent in that position. 

I kid you not!




Second attempt:

Natural Washing Detergent:


I was going to do a fun post for you guys on this one, but I wanted to wait to make sure it worked and was good before I posted it.  I suppose I can’t post it anymore because I caught my husband re-washing all his whites (after I JUST washed them) I asked him what was the problem?  He told me that for the last month his clothes didn't seem to be getting clean and his whites were now gray.  (and then he asked me, after seeing my homemade stuff, what in the world was I using for detergent – AHHH!)


laundry 005 copy


I can’t believe he caught me on this one……he doesn’t like ANY of my natural adventures.  He is the guy that when I tried to put a different ketchup in his Heinz ketchup bottle, told me to throw away the ketchup because something was wrong with it.  Oh and believe me he knows when it is Western Family cheese on his sandwich instead of Tillamook. I can’t get away with ANYTHING with him!



My next adventure is washing my face using the OIL CLEANING METHOD.  You use natural oils to clean your face (you did know that oil disintegrates oil, right….OK I didn’t)  So far the results have been amazing!  I can hardly believe it.  My adult acne hasn't acted up once since I have been doing it.  Sometimes I rub RAW HONEY (very anti-bacterial) on my face after the oil and it has really helped my skin look great! 

UPDATE: I have been cleaning my face with the oil cleaning method for over a year now. I use a solution of half castor oil and half jojoba oil. Rub all around in circles, rinse with warm water and wipe off! I would never use anything else - it's been my miracle product :-)  Thank you blogs :-)

fess up 001
This is when I was doing my soda/vinegar washings. I could eat a sandwich or make a salad while bathing with all my natural products!  I still have the honey there and love it!  Oh, and I can't forget to mention that essential oils are great sprinkled in a bath!

I guess I’ll just keep trying to keep up with the Jones' (or the Crunchy Betty Blogs) and continue on my quest of finding great natural alternatives. (BTW, her blog IS inspiring)

Has any one else had any bad or good luck with natural alternatives? What is your favorite natural remedy? (or least favorite for that matter!)

If you want to read any more of my fess ups - just enter Fess Up in search bar to the right. ~ Selina




 
 
 
 

Tuesday

Homemade Chicken Enchiladas

When we lived in San Diego we had some wonderful friends that loved cooking authentic Mexican food.  We always had fun when we came over for dinner, they taught me how to make this meal.  Since it is my husbands favorite (I know, I am always saying that) I decided it would be a great one to put on here.

blog enchilada

Begin by making your own homemade enchilada sauce.  I promise it’s easy and it tastes SO much better than canned sauce, plus you can really make the flavor and spiciness just how you want it. 

tomatillosblender


Basic Green Enchilada Sauce

1.) jalapeno or serrano peppers 
(or a mix of each, if I use jalapenos I would add 1 for mild and 6 for spicy.)

2.) tomatillos
(these are so good and grow like weeds in my garden, for one batch of sauce I would boil around 8 medium tomatillos)

Boil peppers and tomatillos around 5 minutes. (till tender)

Put in blender and puree:

3.) add garlic and salt to taste.

(you can add red boiled tomatoes/onion if you want also)

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Chicken Enchiladas

Pour a little of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a casserole pan. Pour the rest of the sauce into a wide brim bowl.  Take a smaller size corn tortilla and dip it into the sauce and put some shredded chicken, diced onions, and shredded cheese in it.  Roll it up and continue till the pan is full.  Pour remaining sauce over the top and add about 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese on top. 
 
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Take off the foil for the last 5 minutes.
Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, salsa and guacamole!  Enjoy!! 

 
blog enchilada
 
Tips:

Warm a batch of the tortillas wrapped in a paper towel in the microwave to get them pliable, around 45 – 90 seconds
If you wait till the boiled vegetables cool slightly before blending it is easier.
Double the recipe, this recipe freezes great!
 
~ Creative Juices Decor~

Thursday

Thrift Store Treasures Desk Chair Re-Do Upholstry

This last trip to the thrift store I spotted this cute little chair.  I had been looking for a very slim, non bulky chair to fit in the new computer spot off the kitchen in my new house.  This was exactly what I was looking for and at 5 bucks I couldn’t go wrong.

chair 002

Of course I didn’t like the upholstery fabric, and my "cushioned" backside  is not cushioned enough to enjoy how HARD the chair was.  Luckily for me (and my thrift store obsession) I had a piece of foam in my garage that I picked up super cheap on a different trip. 

chair 004

I just traced it and cut it at an angle.

I happen to look at the underside and saw the writing AH Stiehl Furniture NY – since the tag looked super old I Googled the brand and found out that most likely the chairs is from 1930-40 during the depression era.   I don’t know if it is really worth a lot or anything but it’s always fun to have some history with a piece of furniture!

Here she is!!!!  Isn’t she lovely and padded!

chair 010

I have a secret to tell you though (this is for those who might think I am an amazing DIYer)  For the LIFE of me I could not get the fabric to pull taunt.  I did not have ANY of these problems with the  dining room set I did.  In fact, I am so proud of those chairs because they look just as good as a professional upholsterer!  Unfortunately, this fabric was just weird, or maybe it was my super high additional cushioning, but whatever I did the front just puckered. 


(see what I mean?  I’m not sure how to fix it!)

* UPDATE - I realized later that if I had put some batting around the foam before I put the fabric on, this may have really helped with the puckering.  Batting looks like a light fruffy sheet of cotton.  :-)  I'm learnng right along with you guys!!!

chair 009

Anyway, just wanted to show you the REAL side of my DIY life Smile  I’m still happy with the chair and I’m not going to worry about the non-professional puckering!!!

Once again, in all it’s glory Winking smile  I just love the feminine lines, what do you guys think? 
$5.00 Chair
$3.00 Fabric
$2.50 Foam
$10.50 NEW CHAIR!!! 


chair 008

Can’t wait for you guys to see where I put it in my new house!!!

If you enjoyed seeing that chair, I just did another simple chair reupholster job below!!

blue chair blog

Linking up to:

YHL - this is tip #54 in their new book!

   ~CreativeJuicesDecor~
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