Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bedroom Redo...

We decided to redo K-Bug's bedroom since the Mermaid moved out.  Deciding exactly what to do has taken time, but we're happy with the results.


 The Reading Nook
New Bedding from Target

No cable in the rooms, but DVDs are allowed.

Repurposed Sconces and Scarves

Repainted Cubbies for Nightstand

Lots of bright colors

We made the Starburst Mirror Ourselves
Great Tutorial at Under the Table and Dreaming, and
my own step by steps at Sistas Procrastinate in Style.


Vacuum up all the baseboards and clean them so you can mask them off.

Patch up any big nail holes.  If they're small, the paint will just fill them in.

I like the kind that goes on pink and turns white when dry so you know when it's ready to sand and paint over.

Primed all of the color blocks.

Primed them TWICE!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

St. Patrick's Dinner: Corned Beef & Roasted Potatoes, Cabbage, & Radishes, Beer Bread

Corned Beef

We had family over so I picked up 3 of the Corned Beef Briskets(not the points, but the briskets) in their packages.  They're already brined and ready to go.  In a sink rinse off briskets, trim any fat that needs to be trimmed, and set aside in a large bowl or a large platter.  Rinse off spice packets and set aside.  Heat a large saute pan to med. high heat.  Drizzle a large roasting pan with high sides, big enough to hold briskets in a single layer, with a little olive oil and set aside.  Drizzle hot saute pan with olive oil.  Adding one brisket at a time, brown both sides and place in roasting pan.  You will know the side is browned when it is releases from the pan easily.  When you get to your last brisket, heat oven to 400 degrees.

I don't buy prepared chicken stock, but use a concentrated paste and add hot water to dissolve it.  When all meat is browned on both sides, spread evenly in roasted pan so that you can cover meat with liquid.  Cut open spice packets and place in a small bowl.  Microwave on high uncovered for 30 seconds, stir, microwave another 30 seconds.  Spices should be very fragrant now.  Sprinkle over briskets.  Add 2 or 3 bottles of non-alcoholic or alcoholic beer, I used O'Doul's.  Add enough reconstituted chicken stock to cover the briskets the rest of the way.  Cover with foil and place in 400' oven for one hour.  Reduce heat to 300' and cook for 5-6 hours.  Remove from oven and place briskets on large platter, covered with foil, allow to rest.

Potatoes & Radishes:

Turn oven up to 450'.  Clean 5-6 large red potatoes, 5-6 large russet potatoes, and 3 bunches of radishes.  Cut into bite sized, even pieces and put in extra large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with enough olive oil, about 2-3 Tbl., to coat all pieces.  Add about 1 Tbl. Lawry's, or Pappy's all purpose type seasoning and mix well with hands.  Spread evenly in a large, greased, roasting pan.  Roast 30 minutes, stir, and roast another 30 minutes, or until fork tender and most edges are browned.  (I did this while the Corned Beef was resting)


Remove outer layer of leaves and trim stem if needed.  Do not remove the core, this will hold the wedges together for baking.  Cut into 8 wedges with core still intact.  Place in a greased roasting pan.  Drizzle with a few DROPS of olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and a drizzle of the braising liquid from the Corned Beef.  Roast uncovered for 20-30 min. in a 450' oven.  (I did this at the latter part while roasting the potatoes and radishes)

Spoon potato mixture into a large bowl and top with roasted cabbage wedges to serve.

(The next time I make this, instead of doing cabbage, I think I'm going to try brussel sprouts in with the potatoes and radishes!)

Beer Bread:
This is the recipe I used.  LINK HERE  Because I used non-alcoholic beer I added 2 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast and it came out beautifully.  I thought at first that I had burned the bread, however, if you drizzle the butter over the bread before baking, like the recipe calls for, it does turn a dark brown.  But, it's more of a "browned butter" flavor, vs. burned.  It's a very yummy, deep flavor.  And of course, serve with butter on the side.

Copy/Paste of the Recipe:


  • 3 cups flour (sifted)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)


Prep Time: 3 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and beer.
  3. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  4. Pour melted butter over mixture.
  5. Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.
  6. UPDATED NOTES: This recipe makes a very hearty bread with a crunchy, buttery crust. If you prefer a softer crust (like a traditional bread) mix the butter into the batter instead of pouring it over the top.
  7. Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do. Most people just scoop the 1 cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn your bread into a "hard biscuit" as some have described. That's because they aren't sifting their flour! If you do not have a sifter, use a spoon to spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure. Try it once the "correct" way and you will see an amazing difference in the end product.
  8. I have had many email from you kind folks about using non-alcoholic beverages instead of beer. That is fine to do but I highly recommend adding a packet of Dry Active Yeast or 2 teaspoons of Bread (Machine) Yeast so that you get a proper rise.
  9. The final result should be a thick, hearty and very tasteful bread, NOT A BRICK! ;).
  10. Thank you all for the incredibly nice comments and those of you who left a bad review - learn to sift sift SIFT! You will be amazed at the results you get.

Mustard Sauce:
SUPER easy!!!  Mix about 2 Tbl. dijon with horseradish style mustard with 1/2-1 cup sour cream.  Use this to top your meat or veggies.

A side note about this meal.  I know St. Patty's day meals can often people even without heartburn problems grief.  My father in law was fully expecting to have issues, and he is constantly popping down Tums and Rolaids, anything he can get his hands on on a daily basis.  He had no problems after dinner or leftovers at lunch the next day.  I didn't add any onions on purpose, but maybe another time I would.  I didn't miss them one bit though, this meal was LOADED with lots of flavor!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meaty Meatloaf with Veggies

3 lbs. Extra Lean Ground Beef(93/7)
1 lb. Italian Style Sausage
2 Eggs
1 15oz. can pumpkin puree(sneaky)
1 bag seasoned stuffing cubes, processed fine in food processor(about 2 cups ground)
2 Tbl. roasted garlic, finely minced
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Add about 2 Tbl. olive oil to non-stick spray pan and heat to medium.  Add onions, lower heat, and saute until almost translucent, be careful not to let onions burn or they will become bitter.  Add a pinch of salt, about 2 Tbl. each of balsamic vinegar and sugar.  Simmer until liquid is reduced to at least half.  Add fresh ground pepper and mix well.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to luke warm.

In a large mixer bowl(I use my Kitchenaid because I don't like to touch raw meat) add ground beef, ground sausage, ground stuffing, pumpkin, eggs, garlic, and onions when cool enough(you don't want to add them so hot they will scramble the eggs.  Add about 1 Tbl. of kosher salt and more ground pepper to taste.  Heat oven to 375'.  Use a LARGE roasting pan(I buy the biggest I can find at the dollar tree, turkey size, with a large lip).  Divide meat into two loaves and shape side by side in pan.

1 lb. bag baby carrots
5 red potatoes
5 russet potatoes

Scrub and rinse veggies very well.  In a large bowl throw in baby carrots.  Cut potatoes lengthwise and then in wedges approx. 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  You want them similar is size to the carrots so they'll all cook evenly.  Add potatoes to bowl.  Drizzle with approx. 2 Tbl. olive oil and your favorite seasoning, like Pappy's, Lawry's, etc....  Mix well with hands and surround meat loaf with veggies.  Cook on large cookie sheet, uncovered, for 60-90 minutes.  Check it after 45 minutes and cover the veggies if needed so as not to burn.  Internal temp. of meat loaves need to reach 180'.  Cover with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

The pumpkin is a sneaky way of getting in even more veggies.  You won't notice or even taste it.  Pumpkin is very moist.  A lot of recipes call for milk but I don't do dairy and it works as a perfect replacement.