Category Archives: Get your Martha Stewart On!

DIY Wood Accent Wall

Happy almost December, friends!

WTF happened to November (other than flying by)??? In my world, that is okay…..we all know I am not a fan of the month and anxiously look forward to getting past the holidays. Still, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

I have been working on a lot behind the scenes, and when I say a lot, trust me…..it’s A LOT. My biggest focus has been getting my book finished up for publication, but I’ve had a lot going on with my business (good stuff….our team is kicking some serious butt) and personally. I could use some extra hours in the day every day, and I know I’m not alone with that statement.

In the mix of all of my craziness, I decided I really wanted to focus on doing some projects around the house and finally finishing all the interior design. Since moving in a little over two years ago, there are a few rooms I hadn’t truly decorated or paid attention to, and my goal is to get them done asap. One of these rooms was the great room, which is located to the left of the foyer, meaning this space is one you see immediately when you enter the house. I had taken forever to pick out the blue velvet furniture for the space and knew I wanted the room to be a mix of blues, white, grays, and silver, but I had one big problem with the room: the huge wall that your eye went to as soon as you walked in the house.

I knew I did not want to have a flatscreen in that room, nor did I want to do a large gallery wall of photos or anything like that, so I was torn with what to do with that space. One day while spending an excessive amount of time on Pinterest, I came across a tutorial and pics of a DIY project that I felt would be perfect for that wall. Ironically, a few days later a few of my friends ended up doing a similar wall in their home, only in a deep blue color. I shared the idea with my mom, and we decided to do it when we had time.

This weekend we FINALLY got around to getting our DIY on, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. Here is a look at the wall before we did anything to it. We had already painted the wall white to make it pop once the wood detail was added (the rest of the room is a light grayish color).

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My mom and friend Lori measuring

This wall project cost me less than $100 to do and requires minimal supplies. Here’s what we used:

-Trim boards (purchased at Home Depot)
-Nail Gun and nails
-Saw (we used some fancy electric one that my uncle owned)
-Paint (The color we used was Behr Satin Polar Bear)

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When your friend is an engineer, you rely on her expertise!

Basically all you are doing is creating a grid with the trim pieces you have cut to fit your wall. The sizing of your grid depends on you. I have seen some that are smaller squares, while others have been larger more rectangular types. I did attempt to use the nail gun, but I liked it maybe a bit too much and had it taken away from me, so the majority of the project involved me supervising. It probably was better I did that….

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Here is a look at the final grid! I am beyond in love with it! This was before we applied the final coat of paint to the pieces of trim board.

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The original tutorial I found on this can be accessed HERE.

The most challenging part of this was just figuring out how to use the nail gun (thankfully my friend Danielle figured it out for us) and just how time consuming it was to cut all of the pieces of wood. There is a lot of measuring and precision involved, so if you do this, make sure you are good with that stuff or someone is helping you who is.

I love how the eye goes to this wall now when you walk into the house! Now I just have to finish decorating that room……..

If you do this accent wall, make sure you send me pics!

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Life is Short…Eat Dessert First.

Pinterest has it out for me.

Honestly…..If I cooked five meals a day for the rest of my life I STILL would have recipes left over to try! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

This week I made dinner for Kyle and my mother in law and thought it was finally time to try out one of the recipes I had pinned way back when…..lemon soufflés. These weren’t just any soufflés though….they were made in an actual lemon.

You know me, I am all about presentation with food, so off to the store I went for some lemons and ingredients! I was surprised how easy these little guys were to make!

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Look at these cute little beauties!

Katie’s Little Lemon Soufflés 

Ingredients:

-8 lemons ( go for the larger ones, trust me. Size matter here!)
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup sugar
-Confectioner’s sugar
-2 Tablespoons Flour (I used Cake Flour)

Instructions:

1. Line a pan with parchment paper and preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. Slice just enough off of the bottom of the lemon (stem end) so that it can sit level. Don’t slice it to where you can see the inside of the lemon!

3. Cut off the tip (that’s NOT what she said….sorry, I had to) approximately 1/3 of the way down from the top. You can choose to keep the lemon tops if you want….they can be your soufflé hats!

4. Using a knife, spoon, or some form of wizardry scoop the pulpy inside of the lemon out and place in a bowl. You will need the juice for later, so don’t get rid of that! For me, this was the hardest part, so if someone comes up with a really easy way, please let me know. Next time I may try a melon baller.

5. You will need 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, so extract it at this time.

6. Mix egg yolks (save the egg whites for later) in a heat proof bowl with the lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and the flour. I used a simple whisk for this task.

7. Place a large pot on the stove with water and bring to a bowl, then place the heatproof bowl inside of it, whisking for about 7-8 minutes.

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I used a Pampered Chef mixing bowl. It worked great!

8. Once thick, remove and beat with an electric mixer for about 8 more minutes, then move to a different bowl and set to the side.

9. In a bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with the egg whites and beat until frothy. I used my KitchenAid mixer and started on the lowest speed for about 2 minutes, then slowly increased the speed until the meringue had soft peaks.

10. Mix about 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Once combined, fold in the rest of the meringue, then fill each lemon, stopping just a bit shy of the top so it doesn’t overflow.

11. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops are a golden brown. The mixture should have risen about an inch above the lemon.

12. Garnish with confectioner’s sugar and top with a lemon hat if you want. Serve immediately!

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Lessons learned while making these:

-They were tasty, but very, very light.
-I should’ve cooked them a smidge longer.
-I need to buy mutant sized lemons next time.

Everyone seemed to enjoy them, so I was a happy camper.

And so was my kitchen help for the night, Murphy.

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DIY Christmas Ornaments!

At my bridal shower last year, my best friend Kelly gave me an incredible present. She made a Christmas ornament out of my wedding invitation! I absolutely loved that a part of the greatest day if my life could be celebrated during the holiday season, and I went on a mission to make the same the gift for those in my life who were getting married. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make!

Today I wanted to share with you how simple this great gift is to make so you can create the same ornament to celebrate a wedding, birth of a children, or any special occasion!

What you will need:

-Invitation(s)
-Glass or Plastic Christmas bulb
-Pencil
-Ribbon

Here’s a look at my materials before I made the ornament for my dear friend Emily’s shower! For hers I opted to use both the shower invitation and the wedding invitation because I loved how the colors worked together and thought it would add dimension to the ornament.

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When it comes to the ornament, I purchased mine from Hobby Lobby. You can find the plastic ones there year round, and they cost about $0.99 each. The top will come off so you have access to the inside of the ornament.

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Take your invitation (or invitations if you are using multiples) and cut them into strips. I cut mine pretty thin, but not so thin that you couldn’t read the writing. Take your pencil and wrap one strip of invitation around the pencil so it forms a tight curl. Then all you need to do is take the curled paper (still on the pencil) and insert the pencil into the opening of the ornament. Drop the curl inside. Continue until all of the paper has been curled and dropped inside.

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Depending on the occasion, you may want to add other items in the ornament as well. I have used glitter or small curls of ribbon in the event colors and dropped them in, but you don’t have to. Once all of the invitation curls and any additional items have been inserted, close up the ornament by slipping the ornament top back into place. Finish by making a ribbon loop or bow so it can hang on the Christmas tree!

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This is a gift that is very inexpensive to make but that has such a great meaning behind it. I can assure you anyone who receives a custom ornament like this will love it!

Happy Crafting!

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Brownie Points!

My love affair with chocolate is not something I have ever hidden. In fact, I’ve always embraced it. Why hide such a wonderful thing that brings so much joy to others????

When I started making healthier changes to my life back in 2013, I knew that my relationship with chocolate needed to have some boundaries…..more like the occasional visitation. The one thing I think people are surprised to learn about me is how important balance is in my life. Yes, I love living healthy and making quality choices with what I put into my body, however, I believe very strongly that you should never cut things you love completely out of your diet…..I feel like that only leads to bingefests and bad decisions. Instead, I believe you should balance your choices. Do I eat pizza and chocolate every day? Absolutely not. But do I deprive myself of them? Nope. I’ve just learned that having a slice or two of pizza with some salad is a much better option than eating a whole pizza, and I’m ok with that.

Over time I’ve learned healthier adaptations for the foods I used to binge on. Some people may roll their eyes and think that there is no way cauliflower pizza crust is any good, but trust me. Some of the healthier recipes I have come across or created I actually prefer over the original. Yes, you heard right!

Back to my love affair with chocolate…..how amazing is the brownie? Of all the treats in the world, brownies (especially my mother’s) have always ranked in my top favorites. For a long time they were the one treat I had failed countless times in finding a healthy alternative.

That is no longer the case.

I’d like to enter into the discussion my old friend, the black bean. I’ve written about them previously and think they are one seriously underestimated item in your cabinet. Awhile back I stumbled across a brownie recipe where black beans were used. I was open minded to the taste, thinking the black beans would be noticeable but that they would still be okay.

My apologies to the recipe for thinking it would be just “okay.” These brownies were incredible! Here’s how you make them!

Before you begin making the brownies, you must follow the first rule of thumb for handling black bean. Rinse the heck out of them! You don’t want the bean slime to join you in cooking, and you want to make sure you get rid of any additional sodium lingering.

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After the beans have been rinsed, it’s time to break out your food processor and get to work. You’ll start with just the black beans and process until their are smooth, then add in the rest of the ingredients with the exception of half of the chocolate chips (the full recipe is posted below). 2016-02-19 22.00.24

Pour batter into a greased 8 by 8 pan and place into an oven set to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. Looks just like a pan of regular brownies, right??

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As you can imagine, the excitement of trying a new brownie recipe didn’t just appeal to me. Murphy was extremely focused on the brownies….too bad chocolate isn’t for dogs, Murph.

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Once the brownies have baked for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven or when the brownies start to separate from the edge of the pan), remove them and let cool before you decide to enjoy them.

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So what did I think of this recipe? BEST EVER. You can’t taste the black beans at all, and they have a great fudge-like texture. Overall, they were a huge hit, and a much healthier one at that! I opted for dark chocolate chips, but you can go with semi-sweet if you prefer.

You may be nervous to try them because you don’t like black beans as a side dish. Trust me….you want to try these and give them a chance. If I brought you a brownie and didn’t tell you what the ingredients were, you’d never know black beans were in it. Don’t knock them until you try them! You may just be pleasantly surprised!

Here’s the recipe so you know what all you need! Happy Baking!

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