Apr 28, 2011

Foodie Friday #6 - Appetizers and Desserts

I wanted to thank you all so much for helping me spread the news on Foodie Friday. It is rare for E to be off on a weekday so it definitely helped get the party going without me having to do all the pimping...I mean, primping! :) Just for kicks, how bouts' we do the same this week? Link up your dishes and send an email to a one foodie friend to let them know to pop on over and link up as well. The more people to party the more traffic your recipe and blog will get...makes sense, right? Last week we had 100 recipes...let's see if we can hit 115 this week!

I am on an appetizer kick as of late...anyone catch the Spicy Black Bean Dip I blogged about Tuesday? Tasty!! Anywho...I thought I would shed some light on some of the tasty apps that caught my eye this week...

Beet Hummus - Once Upon a Tomato

Liz at Once Upon a Tomato linked up my newest best friend...or a version of it. The Beet. See how beautiful this yummy hummus spread looks? It looks even yummier (word? hmmm...) when paired with the amazing picnic lunch she served it with...you absolutely MUST check out the spread on her blog. That is one picnic I am sad to have missed! This talented lady can cook, garden, and is an amazing artist ta boot!! Don't believe me? Check out her Etsy shop here...beautiful work!
Asparagus Parmesan Tart - Footprints From Otter Hill

Deb at Footprints From Otter Hill thrilled me by linking up this fabulous savory tart. OK, in all fairness this could go either way, main dish or appetizer, but given the amount of butter that seems to grace a puff pastry for the sake of your arteries (and fitting it into this post) I shall classify it as an appetizer. I think this would be a perfect app with a bottle of wine, some good music, and great conversation. I also think it would pair nicely on a nice warm evening, under the stars and sitting on our brand new wooden deck off the side of the house...hint hint, E... If you haven't popped over to check out Deb's blog now is a great time to say hello!

And in true LBR fashion...we tend to over indulge on apps so often that we have to skip the main meal but we never ever skip dessert...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies - Things That Make You Say "Mmmmmm"!

Karyn at Things That Make You Say "Mmmmm"! is genius when it comes to whipping up desserts!! I am so happy she hopped over to our party last week because this gal can make a mean Whoopie Pie...amongst other things!! Peanut Butter? Oh, yeah, baby. After My Mom and I foraged our way through Maine on The Quest for the Perfect Lobsta Roll I wondered if our next trip should be in honor of Maine's official State Treat...the Whoopie Pie. Surely those are in season year round... If you are in the mood for some super delicious treats make sure to stop by and see Karyn. If you ask me, she is the dog's tuxedo!


Push Up Popsicles - Em-agination

Push Up Popsicles are Emily's Frankenstein creation which came form combining her love of 2 classic frozen treats - the style of the creamy orange Push Up we all loved as kids mixed with the flavors of The Jello Pudding Pop infamously pushed by good ole Bill Cosby. That man haunted my every childhood foodie craving daydream when, in the 90's and completely out of no where, they discontinued the best frozen treat every to be created. Oh, and don't be fooled - the new pudding pops on the market are not the same...they are just a mocked up version of the what the originals once were. Anyway - Emily took her love of the Pudding Pop and brought it to the 21st century with a classy adult twist. Hooray for Emily and her Em-agination! Want to create some of your own? Emily can tell you where to buy your very own...just ask her!!

Thanks, Ladies, for all your hard work and delicious recipes! Make sure to pick up your Featured Button at the bottom of my right sidebar!!

NOW ON WITH THE PARTY...

There are no rules to this linky party except...duh duh duh done...

  • It would be super nice if you want to Follow Me, your hostess with the most-est...while you're at it, leave a comment if you so desire!
  • Your link MUST be a food related item, duh! It can be a recipe, a specific dish you are craving, a new foodie product you just found, a specific restaurants specific dish...it can be a picnic you had - I really don't care! Just make me want to eat it!
  • Add my button or a clickable link to your post or side bar so others can join in - they are located on the bottom of the right sidebar...Walnuts or Garlic? I dig em' both! I don't want to delete posts but this is kind of a scratch my back Ill scratch yours sort of thing...
  • Try not to post and run - check out another recipe and see what's cookin' elsewhere! You may just learn something!
  • And, don't forget, this week try to invite at least one fellow foodie to join in the party!

Here is what I'll do in return besides hosting this fabulous bash of course...


Each week E and I will pick a recipe (maybe a few) to try out for our weekend feasting. If we likey - we will feature your recipe and blog the following Friday. If we don't likey...well, we won't mention you at all. We all know the golden rule - if you don't have anything nice to say then shut up!

Let the mouth watering, drool inducing, stomach grumbling fun BEGIN!! I'm Hungry...

LET'S EAT!!

Apr 26, 2011

A Fiesta For Your Mouth...

I am in the process of working on some home improvement projects so I can satisfy your DIY cravings later...for now I leave you with this simple dip to pump up the volume on your next fiesta...Perhaps Cinco De Mayo??

If you have kids in the 4-14 range or if you yourself can remember being a slightly immature young one, you all know the little song I am about to sing for ya...

Beans Beans the magical fruit,
The more you eat the more you toot,
the more you toot the better you feel,
Beans Beans the magical fruit!

Charming, right? This is such a versatile fruit...oh, just go with it. And yes - it is magical and for those who don't eat it often it will indeed make you toot! But the thing they don't mention is how NUTRICIOUS and versatile beans are...well, maybe that is the magical part? Regardless, this dip is da bomb if I do say so myself. It is super simple to make, super healthy (but not in that horribly tasteless kind of way), and again - VERSATILE!!


Want some?? I know you do...first let me do a little lecturing and then we can begin...

You all know I am a bit of a health nut. I no longer eat meat, I do not eat eggs and milk (though I do love me some cheese!), and we eat a multitude of veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts throughout the week. So please listen when I tell you...

DRIED BEANS are where its at!!

Most canned beans have added sodium, preservatives, and/or the cans are lined with chemicals such as BPA. Now I ain't a saint - I eat a fair amount of unhealthy crap too...but the best part of dried beans is that they are CHEAP!! The other nice thing is you can make a huge amount of beans ahead of time and freeze them for future use. This little tip has drastically cut down the amount of time I spend soaking then pressure cooking me ole' beans! Oh - and if you weren't sold on dried beans yet let me provide one other little nugget...there is no waste such as cans to recycle!! Most bulk items come in plastic bags (I guess you have to use something) which are easily reused or recycled. Removing my soap box now...

So - let's get cracking and whip up a batch...shall we??

1. Presoak your beans - you can do it overnight or for a few hours. Presoaking dry beans helps them cook faster and also releases gasses which will help for better digestion...Do I need to spell it out for ya??

2. Place soaked beans in the pressure cooker and cook until it starts to scream...then let it go for about 10 minutes. I don't really have a good timing structure down for this because everyones pressure cooker is different and ours happens to be on its last leg so it is super crazy...

If all this seems to much for you then just use your canned beans!! Use 2 cans and please, for the love of the Food Gods, RINSE THE BEANS VERY WELL!!!!

Here comes the easy part...

Throw 2 cups of cooked beans (or 2 cans...it doesn't much matter if you are off a bit) in the cusinart and let er rip...

Slowly add 1/4 cup water. If you want the consistency a little thicker add less - thinner add more. A lot of people will use olive oil instead of water but it is sooooo not necessary. Using water keeps the fat content down while making your bean dip a healthier alternative to store bought dips.

It's done! But that is too basic...let's spice things up a bit...

1 Tbsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper



Now you have yourself a little Mexican black bean dip with a kick! This dip is perfect on its own with some tortilla chips but check out the following if you want to kick it up a few more notches:
  • As a spread for sandwiches
  • To give a little oomph to a burrito
  • How 'bout layered on some nachos with chips, cheese, salsa, guac, olives...I could go on and on!
    • Add diced avocado to the mix and it becomes a whole other animal
    • Look a little plain? Sprinkle with some room temp salsa right on top...a fiesta for the stomach, I tell ya!
    • Ohhh - and the doozy of all doozies - Put a layer of cream cheese in a Pyrex, layer this on top, top with shredded cheese and bake at 350 till bubbly...HOLLA!!!
    This little dip doesn't last long in our fridge. We use it for just about anything! Also - when last minute company stops by, I always have leftover frozen beans that I can whip up to make something quick and easy.

    Looking forward to Cinco De Mayo - Who's bringing the Margaritas?

    Do you have any quickie recipes floating your boat this week?? Feel free to drop a comment and dont forget to link them up to Foodie Friday this week!!

    Apr 25, 2011

    Joey Totes Winner

    Thank you to all who participated in the Joey Totes Earth Day Giveaway. My goal was to bring them from 221 "likes" on Facebook to 250. We wound up at 241 - oh so close!! Either way I am sure they are elated with their new fans and those of you who took advantage of the 50% off deal will be elated with your new totes!!



    FYI - The Joey Totes 50% off Promo Code is still working!! Type in BUYJOEYS and update your cart to see it reflected. Also - if you buy $25 or more they will throw in FREE shipping!!

    The lucky winner of the drawing for one set of Joey Totes is:



    I know a lot of people think it's not lucky to be first in line for a giveaway but, there you have it, Liz ain't felling that way now!! Congratulations, Liz - email me with your mailing address and Joey Totes will send them out!!

    Once again - The Joey Totes 50% off Promo Code is still working!! Type in BUYJOEYS and update your cart to see it reflected. Also - if you buy $25 or more they will throw in FREE shipping!!

    As for LBR - stay tuned this week for an update on our closet project, my Craigslist Freebie, a coffee table makeover, and don't forget to pop in for Foodie Friday!!

    Bianca

    Apr 21, 2011

    Foodie Friday #5 + Earth Day GIVEAWAY!!

    Happy Earth Day!!
    LOOKING FOR THE GIVEAWAY? CLICK HERE!!!

    via

    NOW ON WITH THE PARTY...
    Last week we had lots of great recipes and, of course, my super long Lobsta Roll post. Thanks to those of you who were able to read through the whole thing without falling asleep!! :) I know it was a long one but I promise to keep it brief from now on...and at the urging of E who is my editor (although not a very good one if you have noticed the amount of spelling and grammar mistakes I make!).

    First off, I want to thank both BJ and Melissa for introducing me to The Pioneer Woman...ummm...never heard of her before you ladies linked up. Yee Hah...I am in for some real tasty treats!!


    BJ at Sweet Nothings and her Fab Buttery Rosemary Rolls... If ya'll haven't met BJ then pay close attention here - SHE IS PAULA DEAN IN DISGUISE. I am totally serious. Ignore the photos on her site - I am 99.9% this is Paula acting with a moniker. For realz...and I totally agree with Paula BJ, you CAN eat these suckers with jam. Sweet and savory were meant to be!


    Do I even need to tell you how these babies struck my fancy?? Oh, they struck it all right!! The combination of lemon and raspberries is so fresh...it's like a crisp summer morning before the sun wakes up...or, in reverse, a cool summer evening right before the sun goes down. Whatever way you slice it, these Raspberry Lemonade Angel Food Cupcakes are pure heaven!! Did Someone Say Party...no, really, Did Someone Say Party is responsible for these delights. Make sure to pop over and see what else Gretchen and Heather have been up to. They are so so close to 100 followers...I am sure if we all joined in we could get them up to the big 1-0-0!!


    Thanks to the ladies at Turbo Bubblegum and these Creamy Chicken Taquitos (Healthy Version) my life can begin again. You see, when I was a younger gal living in the city I became addicted to 7-11's Jalapeño Cream Cheese Taquitos. They would sit on those hot rollers under the neon heating lamp and sing out to me like the Sirens to Odysseus...."Buy me, Eat me, I am healthy...I swear..." - right...final last words. Though I proved to be captured a time or 2 by their whispering sweet nothings, much like Odysseus, I eventually prevailed. I said no more to the rampant taquito and moved on with my life...though it was never quite the same.

    Ask anyone on a diet...it is very hard to cut out an entire food group (especially one that is made of creamy cheese and a jalapeño kick) without always remembering the source of your addiction and it's sweet renderings plastered to your hips and thighs. I am happy to say, since seeing these healthier more growns up (yes, I misspelled it on purpose because it is oh so much funnier this way) version for this older and wiser gal, I will soon be back in the boat attempting to steer this Odyssey toward Taquito Heaven! How is it possible these lovely ladies only have 18 followers...surely we won't leave them hanging!!


    ANNDDDD - In honor of Earth Day I thought I would share this special link with you!! Kim at Too Much Time on My Hands linked up with this Homemade Vegetable Wash. Honestly, I can not believe people were ever buying veggie wash...especially when it now seems so easy to make!! Seriously, folks...isn't there something else you could do with that money...like send it to me if you want... :) Kim has a super cute blog with a name that keeps screaming in my ear...oh, wait, that is E freaking out over another new project when there are sooo many others left to finish. I know we have ALL been there!! Go stop in and say hello - Kim is a crafty chick who would LOVE to hear from you!!

    And that's it for my FEATURES this week. Ya'll know I am often running behind so if I didn't give you a shout our this week make sure to pop back in next week... If you were featured please make sure to grab a button on my right sidebar!!

    NOW - Let's try something FUN today!! My hubs is off work today so I won't have as much time to "rally the troops" to get this party rockin...how bout ya'll tell one blogging buddy to pop over and link up?! It will help you all to get your recipes seen and it will free some time for me to spend witt E!! Sound good??

    There are no rules to this linky party except...duh duh duh done...

    • It would be super nice if you want to Follow me...while you're at it, leave a comment if you so desire! These certainly are not mandatory - I am happy to have you here either way!
    • Your link MUST be a food related item, duh! It can be a recipe, a specific dish you are craving, a new foodie product you just found, a specific restaurants specific dish...it can be a picnic you had - I really don't care! Just make me want to eat it!
    • Add my button or a clickable link to your post or side bar so others can join in - they are located on the bottom of the right sidebar...Walnuts or Garlic? I dig em' both!
    • Try not to post and run - check out another recipe and see what's cookin' elsewhere! You may just learn something!

    Here is what I'll do in return besides hosting this fabulous bash of course...

    Each week E and I will pick a recipe (maybe a few) to try out for our weekend feasting. If we likey - we will feature your recipe and blog the following Friday. If we don't likey...well, we won't mention you at all. We all know the golden rule - if you don't have anything nice to say then shut up!

    Let the mouth watering, drool inducing, stomach grumbling fun BEGIN!! I'm Hungry...

    LET'S EAT!!

    Earth Day GIVEAWAY



    HAPPY EARTH DAY!!

    Oh, Joey Totes...It was at first sight...




    Last year I purchased a Groupon (OK - If ya'll don't know what that is by now email me for all the deets...and seriously, you should be ashamed of yourself...) for a set of 3 Joey Totes...actually I purchased 5 of the Groupons which equaled 15 Joey totes!! I thought they would be such a nice little stocking stuffer or great little bag to throw in your purse if you ever needed it. They were a huge hit to everyone I gave them too...very durable, a sweet light blue color, and best of all GREEN!! SOOOOO perfect for Earth Day...Right?? Do you know what that means??? GIVEAWAY!!!!


    The kind folks at Joey Totes are giving one of my lucky readers a 3 piece set of Joey totes!! All you have to do is follow a few simple rules and these lovelies can be yours...


    1. MANDATORY ENTRY - Be a follower of Little Brick Ranch and go to Joey Totes Facebook Page and "Like" them on FB - make sure to leave a comment saying you found them at Little Brick Ranch!! THEN - Make sure to come back here and tell me that you did it so your entry is counted!!


    Extra Entries...

    2. Tweet and/or Facebook (1 entry for each) about the GIVEAWAY by copy and pasting the following:

    @littlebrickranc is giving away a free set of Joey Totes for Earth Day - pop over to http://bit.ly/fMYTGS and enter to win!!

    **Feel free to tweet/FB as often as you like without driving your followers mad, of course..maybe, 3 times a day? You can leave an entry for each time you do it**

    That equals 3 entries to win (more if you Tweet/FB often) but you have to come back here and comment for EACH entry that you did!!! I want to make sure you have the most amount of chances to win!! :) The contest closes on Sunday night and the winner will be picked by Random.org and announced Monday morning.

    BUT THAT'S NOT ALL FOLKS...The kind people at Joey totes wanted ALL of you to have a little some some...Ain't they sweet?

    Joey totes is currently offering 50% off all bags AND free shipping on orders of $25 or more!! That is huge savings!! Just pop over to Joey Totes and enter the promo code BUYJOEYS. The promo code is good until they decide to take it down so act fast so you don't miss out!! :)


    Bianca
    Joey totes, giveaway, Earth Day

    The Shoe Who Lived In a GREEN House


    With Earth Day just around the corner, as promised I am back to let you in on secret use #2 for the old salad containers. Remember these from yesterday's post?


    This time you'll want to take a little extra effort and peel off the labels so they don't look quite so cheap...


    As I said yesterday, while recycling is good sometimes re-purposing is even better!! Just look at what I have been doing with these bad boys for the past few years...


    That's right, instant shoe box. These babies are the perfect size (seriously, I wear a size 8 which is pretty much the average ladies size) and my heels just happen to fit perfectly...this one can even hold this little matching clutch.


    Now, I rarely wear heels anymore, and I NEVER use the matching clutch, but it is always nice to gaze up to the top shelf of my closet every once and again and see my pretty little shoes stacked up and on display...

    Hmmm...Looks like We Need Better Lighting in This Here Closet...
    **NOTE** That is only a fraction of the shoes that are normally on display - I am still in the middle of the closet project so I only put a few back in there so you guys could get the gist...did ya get it?

    I know what ya'll are thinking, "Is there any end to her amazing creativity and constant frugality?" Well, I suppose some of you may be thinking, "This girl is crazy - don't she know she can get plastic shoe boxes at the $Store...". In response I must say - indeed I am frugal (and quite crafty if I do say so myself) and yes, I am aware of the $store shoe boxes but this seems so much better because it is...hmmm...what's the word...FREE!! :)

    Now for all you crafty folks - don't stop there - you could bedazzle these bad boys or even do a little spray glue/fabric action. For me, clear is the new black...it just works... Oh, and don't forget to poke a few holes in the sides. Just like the greenhouse, these babies may need a little fresh air to, ahem, breath...

    What are you guys re-purposing these days? Anything thrifty you'd like to share?? Feel free to leave a comment and/or a link to your latest and greatest. For now I am off to prepare for Foodie Friday AND...yes, ONE MORE GIVEAWAY!!!

    Bianca Repurpose lettuce containers, green greenhouse,

    Linking up to the following: Sumo's Sweet Stuff, It's So Very Cheri, Thrifty Decor Chick, Keeping it Simple, Today"s Creative Blog, Organize With Sandy, Blue Cricket Design, New Nostalgia, All Thingz Related, Hope Studios, The Thrifty Home, My Backyard Eden, DIY by Design, Tip Junkie, At Home With K, Sugar Bee Crafts, Coastal Charm, Young Nester, Someday Crafts, Night Owl Crafting, Creations By Kara, Sew Much Ado, Eisy Morgan, Pink Postcard, A Little Tipsy, Beyond The Picket Fence, It's FUN to craft!, The DIY Show Off, The Shabby Chic Cottage, What Allie's Making Now, Stuff and Nonsense, At The Picket Fence, Tales from Bloggeritaville, Blue Creek Home, My Cottage Charm, 504 Main, Fireflies and Jellybeans, Tatertots and Jello, The Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, Home Sweet Farm, Finding Fabulous, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, Between Naps on the Porch, The Girl Creative, mad in crafts, C.R.A.F.T., Skip to my Lou, Making the World Cuter, Dittle Dattle, Support Blog for Moms of Boys, Christina's Adventures, Young Nester, Informal Home, Rhinestone Beagle, The Frugal Girls

    Apr 20, 2011

    And the Winner's Are...

    Thanks to everyone who entered my 200 follower giveaway!!  I wish I could give you all a tangible little some some but, alas, I can not so I hope you will be content with learning of my thrifty ways and home improvement debauchery.

    Without further ado -  the 2 winners of my DWELL magazine subscription giveaway are:





    Congratulations to you both!! Please email me your mailing address or whatever name/address you would like me to send the subscription to!  


    Don't forget to stop back in on Friday to link up your latest dish for Foodie Friday...AND, in honor of Earth Day we will have one more "GREEN" Giveaway that is sure to please.  What can it be??  You'll have to tune in to find out!!


    Bianca  

    The Ultimate GREEN House...


    In honor of Earth Day right around the corner I would like to share a little freebie project that you ALL can get in on. Although recycling is awesome (and you all should be commended for your efforts to do so)...how 'bout re-purposing something that some of us come across everyday...


    You know what these babies are? That's right - you are soooo busted... Most of us are guilty of buying the pretty pre-washed salad mixes in these lovely plastic containers. I must say that even E and I are guilty of indulging in our fair share of Spring Mix and Baby Spinach delights...there is only so much we can do in terms of growing our own food. Winter in Chicago is not exactly a great time to be digging around in the garden...

    I recently planted our seedlings for the this summer and they are well on their way to "hatching". I shared this pic a few days back but since then the green beans have grown at least an inch or two...I am beginning to wonder if I have Jack's bean stalk!


    While wondering what to do with my string beans that are popping to high heaven and trying to escape my seedling farm, I came up with a brilliant idea to corral those puppies back into shape. I decided to break out a few extra salad containers (yes, I save them!) and make a new farm...one for the tall and mighty!! This GREEN Greenhouse is sure to delight even the tallest of seedlings!!







    Ahhhh...that's better! Don't they look happy in their new home?? Now these plants can have room to grow and in about 4 weeks this box will be ready to be re-purposed to something else...you'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out what it will be!!

    Now, one more thing, if you decide to use these as your own little greenhouse do your plants a favor and keep this in a sunny window AND make sure to pop a little hole or 2 in the plastic. You want to make sure your plants have a air moving through or in no time you will have mold...I learned that last year the hard way. :(



    And that's my GREEN tip of the day. You don't need to recycle if you can find a way to re-purpose!! Don't forget to tune in tomorrow to see what else these containers have in store for them...get it? They store things and there is something in store for them...I amuse myself pretty easily this late in the day!!

    Have any GREEN tips to share? Be sure to leave a comment or even a link to show us what you're working on!!


    Bianca Recycle Salad containers, Re-purpose Salad containers, greenhouse, diy greenhouse

    Linking up to the following: Sumo's Sweet Stuff, It's So Very Cheri, Thrifty Decor Chick, Keeping it Simple, Today"s Creative Blog, Organize With Sandy, Blue Cricket Design, New Nostalgia, All Thingz Related, Hope Studios, The Thrifty Home, My Backyard Eden, DIY by Design, Tip Junkie, At Home With K, Sugar Bee Crafts, Coastal Charm, Young Nester, Someday Crafts, Night Owl Crafting, Creations By Kara, Sew Much Ado, Eisy Morgan, Pink Postcard, A Little Tipsy, Beyond The Picket Fence, It's FUN to craft!, The DIY Show Off, The Shabby Chic Cottage, What Allie's Making Now, Stuff and Nonsense, At The Picket Fence, Tales from Bloggeritaville, Blue Creek Home, My Cottage Charm, 504 Main, Fireflies and Jellybeans, Tatertots and Jello, The Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, Home Sweet Farm, Finding Fabulous, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, Between Naps on the Porch, The Girl Creative, mad in crafts, C.R.A.F.T., Skip to my Lou, Making the World Cuter, Dittle Dattle, Support Blog for Moms of Boys, Christina's Adventures, Young Nester, Informal Home, The Frugal Girls

    I'd Like to Thank The Academy...


    This morning I woke to a fabulous tweet from @Rstonebeagle (AKA Rhinestone Beagle) informing me that they had just awarded me and 10 other lovely bloggers the Kreative Blogger Award...BOOYAH!! Kelly and Anita...I am sending you some big ole smooches via the internet right now...did ya get em'? I hope you caught them and not some other strange virtual weirdo!!!


    So what this means is I have to tell you 10 random facts about me AND pass this on to10 other blogs that I feel deserve this award...The 10 facts will be relatively simple but the 10 blogs will be the hard part!! Let's get started...

    10 Random Facts

    1. I am a Flight Attendant by trade, a Realtor by obsession, and a DIY gal by default.

    2. The first concert I ever went to was Moody Blues with my parents...my sisters and I weren't too sure what that funky smell was until my second concert in 7th grade when my 6 good friends and all of our dads took us to see Aerosmith. Of course, by then we had a good idea what was going on with all the smoke in the air...and the funky smell that came with it!

    3. Although I love grapes and wine and pretty much anything with grape flavor, I HATE raisins...with a passion.

    4. I love to cook (though most of you know that) and for the past 2 years and (much to the dismay of my Italian family and Bosnian husband) I no longer eat meat. I am too much in love with sushi and cheese to go vegan...or vegetarian for that matter!

    5. I am obsessed with reality TV, again, much to the dismay of my husband.

    6. I love to read...I really love to read. I used to sit in a magnolia tree in our back yard and read for hours...now I sit on the couch...

    7. I would rather buy tools then have new clothes, shoes, make up, or purses...the only thing that beats tools is cold hard cash, uh, so I can BUY tools!

    8. I once flew to Spain by myself to hike the Camino De Compostela. It is a 500 mile hike through some tricky terrain that after1.5 half weeks of non stop rain and muddy boots eventually did me in with a twisted ankle which in turn caused a bum knee... I intend to return and finish that sucker ASAP!!

    9. I lived in Ashland Oregon for 2 years and have always wanted to move back...I LOVED everything about living out West except that my family lived so far.

    10. I used to be a Deadhead...


    Now - On to the Lovely Blogs I will be sharing this with...

    1. My Simple Home Life
    2. At Home With K
    3. Sugar and Spice in The Land Of Balls and Sticks
    4. Chick Hardware
    5. The Pursuit of Happiness
    6. Once Upon a Tomato
    7. Sweet Nothings
    8. Yesterday On Tuesday
    9. Blue Velvet Chair
    10. Informal Home

    Please be sure to check out The Rhinestone Beagle as well as these other fine bloggers to peruse their insights and also get a little dirt on their backgrounds!! Make sure to leave them a comment to let them know you were there...you know how we all ♥ comments!

    Bianca

    PS - LAST DAY TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!! CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!!

    Apr 19, 2011

    Artichoke and Walnut Dip - This Stuff Will Make Angels Sing! :)

    Let me set the scene for you...I am stuck at home with no car.  Not only am I stuck at home with no car - I have no friggin' groceries and me so hungry!!

    Yesterday I took my car n for an oil change and surprise surprise it needed about $1400 dollars worth of extra work to it.  Yes, I know this is a common occurrence for mechanics who see a young lady (OK, maybe I'm not a lady...more of a chick, but they don't know that!) come in and have no idea what she is doing and try to pull the old up-charge trick.  But this gal ain't so dumb.  Not only is my Dad a race car driver in his spare time but I dated a mechanic for several years AND my 2 neighbors are structural engineers who do cars on their spare time...this chick ain't naive!!  Regardless...after explaining the repairs to said ex boyfriend mechanic it turns out, indeed, I do need those things done!!  Great... I have been advised to bring the car to another mechanic (one that preferably does not specialize in oil changes) and have it looked at again.  As of now, my car is being held hostage at the first mechanics while I wait for a ride to get it and bring it to the new mechanics...still with me?  Regardless, I am without car and without groceries...what's a girl to do??  Take it to the mattresses pantry!  (If ya'll missed that reference you best watch The Godfather pronto!!)

    Artichoke Walnut Dip On Crostini's


    In my opinion - everyone should have these ingredients in their pantry, fridge, or freezer.  They are just a simple must have:


    • 1 Cup Walnuts (I am sure you could use whatever type of nut you want but these work really well!)
    • 1 Bag frozen Artichoke Hearts (rinsed and thawed) or 1 Can (drained and rinsed)
    • 3 chopped cloves of garlic - add more or less to your liking
    • 1 tsp Dried Parsley...If you have fresh that's even better!!
    • 1 lemon BOTH the zest and the juice
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • Salt and Pepper (1/2 tsp each)
    This is SOOO simple - are you ready??

    1. Throw your walnuts in the food processor and pulse about 8 times.Take the lid off...
    2. Zest the lemon right over the bowl then squeeze lemon juice on top
    3. Throw in the artichoke's, olive oil, chopped garlic, parsley, salt and pepper...
    4. Pulse about 10-15 times depending on your chunky preference
    YOU'RE DONE!!

    Need it in pictures??





    It may look a little blah on it's own but I can assure you it tastes divine!!

    I like to dress this up with a simple crostini then sprinkle with paprika for a bit of color.  I have also been known to sprinkle with cheese and throw said crostinis' under the broiler for a minute...it is really up to you!!  Today I was wanting it cold so I went with this...


    ...and better yet, with this...


    Now I'm not missing my car so much!

    Thanks for stopping in - did you cook up anything good today?  Working on any projects around the house??  Feel free to leave a comment with your latest and Greatest and if you were doin' some cooking don't forget to linkup to Foodie Fridays hosted by yours truly every Tuesday...just kidding - every Friday!! 

    Bianca Foodie Friday, Walnut Artichoke Dip, How to grate a lemon for lemon zest,

    PS - I am linking up with some FAB ladies!! Check them all out here!!

    Apr 18, 2011

    Buffet BOOYAH!!!! Hello Butcher Block!!


    Ya'll - I CANNOT BELIEVE MY LUCK!!!

    I have been stalking As Is for the perfect butcher block top for our buffet...remember, my challenge is to buy the entire thing in AS - IS by May otherwise I have to buy the missing pieces :(. This weekend I popped in to Ikea and found this Numerar butcher block just sitting there waiting for me to snatch it up. And snatch I did...literally - there was another man eying it the moment I left to go get my cart!! Back off, Buddy - you DO NOT want to get between me and my As Is miracle!! Here we are 2.5 weeks in to my challenge and, thanks to this great find, I am almost completely done!!

    This is how we left off last week with the buffet looking a little on the rough side (check out the entire post here)...


    My new Numerar counter top weighs in at a hefty 97lbs and is 96 7/8 x 25 5/8 feet - Oh man, am I in heaven!! This puppy is waaaayyyy bigger than the one I was hoping for which will leave me a big 25x25 leftover scrap as well as a 11x73 scrap that will be perfect for cutting into shelves. Oh, wait - it gets better...do you know what the regular price of this butcher block lovely is?? $169...do you know what this lady got it for??? $30!!! YES - $30!!! This, by far, is the best deal I have gotten in As Is so please excuse my over use of exclamation points and yelling!!!

    via

    OK - I think I am calm now... I loaded it up (along with a little something I'll tell you about tomorrow) and drove it home. We had to wait all week to buy the right blade to cut this piece (apparently not many places sell a 5.5 inch fine tooth blade...argh) but it was all worth the wait as we learned our lesson on the office counter top - we need a fine toothed blade to avoid splintering. Once we had the blade I was pumped to get cutting...with a little assistance from E, of course. If you haven't heard by now... E is the slow and steady go to man for projects like this as I am way too fast and careless to go slow - check out his crafty work on my desk counter top here.

    Once I made my marvelous markings (all on a piece of painters tape so I wouldn't get permanent marker on the wood), E went to town cut cut cutting away. FYI - since this was a new blade and we weren't quite sure how it would cut we did a test cut on the end of the counter piece to make sure it wouldn't splinter. If you have enough extra material to work with I HIGHLY suggest doing a test cut!!


    I forgot to take the picture of the edge but I can assure you it was clean and perfectly cut!! :) Yeah!! As for the rest of that big ole' block, I marked off 3 different cuts for E to make which would leave us with the 3 pieces I spoke off earlier. With some careful arranging and rearranging of our saw horsies none of the blocks were able to fall to the ground and get damaged once they were cut lose...so so so important when you plan on using every piece!!




    See how slow and diligent my masked man is?? I could NEVER have the patience to work this slow!! :) We were a few inches away to being just about done when...chug chug chug...the 3rd battery was drained and the project was put on hold till the new one recharged...


    Once we were all charged up, the last piece was cut and our counter top was ready for a mock run...

    ooooohhhhh....

    aaaaahhhhh....



    Not so bad!! I am not done with her yet...lots of sanding the raw edges and a few coats of sealant will do the trick, but for now she is sitting pretty in her new spot in our house. Our walls are a little wavy but that has nothing to do with the counter top so when we figure out a back splash (I am thinking used corks?) you won't be able to see the difference. Oh, and see the wine rack I started putting in and the nice white backing to it?? That was a project in itself but, don't worry, I will show all the steps in my process in the next post...which I am hoping will be the end post for this project! :)

    For now - I am actively searching out the rest of the pieces I need to get my buffet finished. The biggest problem will be finding the doors so I am keeping my fingers crossed for my Lidingo doors...can you keep your fingers crossed too?? Pretty please!!
    via
    Thanks for stopping in...I am off to sand and buy some sealant for our new buffet. What did you guys do this weekend? Anyone working on a buffet like I am?? Feel free to leave a comment with a link to your latest and greatest!!

    Bianca Numerar counter top, how to cut a numerar counter top, how to cut a counter top, using a circular saw, Ikea Lidingo doors, Ikea buffet,
    Linking up to the following: Sumo's Sweet Stuff, It's So Very Cheri, Thrifty Decor Chick, Keeping it Simple, Today"s Creative Blog, Organize With Sandy, Blue Cricket Design, New Nostalgia, All Thingz Related, Hope Studios, The Thrifty Home, My Backyard Eden, DIY by Design, Tip Junkie, At Home With K, Sugar Bee Crafts, Coastal Charm, Young Nester, Someday Crafts, Night Owl Crafting, Creations By Kara, Sew Much Ado, Eisy Morgan, Pink Postcard, A Little Tipsy, Beyond The Picket Fence, It's FUN to craft!, The DIY Show Off, The Shabby Chic Cottage, What Allie's Making Now, Stuff and Nonsense, At The Picket Fence, Tales from Bloggeritaville, Blue Creek Home, My Cottage Charm, 504 Main, Fireflies and Jellybeans, Tatertots and Jello, The Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, Home Sweet Farm, Finding Fabulous, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, Between Naps on the Porch, The Girl Creative, mad in crafts, C.R.A.F.T., Skip to my Lou, Making the World Cuter, Dittle Dattle, Support Blog for Moms of Boys!, Miss Mustard Seed
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