Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tiled Candle Sconces Tutorial

I painted the dining room to match the adjoining kitchen. When I finished tiling the backsplash, I had a bit of tile leftover. I wanted to carry it into the dining room since I loved it so much. I throught about framing some and hanging it but wasn't a fan when I actually tried it. So I went with a pair of sconces. I used a leftoverside  cabinet panel and kick board from redoing the kitchen. 

The only other thing I needed was the corner bead. 

After doing the backsplash in the kitchen I realized I needed to cover the edges- this worked perfectly. 

I grabbed my trusty tile nippers and chewed through the tiles that had an overhang. 

The edges actually came out fairly straight this time. 

So I laid the tiles out and trimmed the board to fit the tiles. 

Everything got a thick layer of liquid nails to keep it down. 

The lip at the bottom is for the candle shelf. 

I grouted and cut the corner bead at 45 degree angles to make the corners 

screwing the candle shelf on took 5 very carefully measured screws. 

I had extra 1/4 round from finishing the floor trim so I added that to the front and sides of the shelf to finish it. Any raw edges of the gray pieces were painted with matching paint. 

I used 2 small screw eyes and heavy picture wire to hang these. 

The drywall anchors used are meant to hold a lot more weight than these sconces- which made me feel safe hanging them. 


Later on I swapped out the small white votives for larger matching grey ones and used liquid nails to secure them to the shelf 

Laundry room renovation

This laundry room started as a standard sized closet nook on the 2nd floor. The hookups were already there and we decided to just keep things simple by putting the washer and dryer in the same spots as they used to be.  Once the burgundy and cream checkered wallpaper was peeled, scraped, chipped, and chiseled off, we moved the washer and dryer in. At least I could use them until the room was finished. The cabinets we used were the old kitchen cabinets. A bit of sandpaper, primer, and paint went a long way to spruce them up. 
Husband and his brother hung them for me. 
The shelf over the kitchen windows got chopped up and screwed between the cabinets to make the whole thing look even more built-in. 
The counter was made of standard lumber and then stained a dark cherry. It's sitting atop 2"x2"s that we're screwed into the studs. It was lined up to overhang the front of the washer and dryer a bit. The back edge is set way from the wall about 4" to allow for cords to be easily plugged in. 
I now have a HUGE place to fold laundry! 

Halloween bread tutorial

I think holidays are a great excuse to make food fun. I tend to go a bit overboard with lunches as is but holidays help to excuse my extra effort.  My son LOVES fun lunches and I enjoy making them. Everyone wins. :) Last year for Halloween, I made "bleeding" skulls (white gummy skulls with raspberry filling). Those still may make a comeback this year. If you're curious, here is the link:

I recently started making all of our bread and rolls. I found a sandwich bread recipe that stays soft for several days and is easy to make without a bread machine. It isn't my recipe but you can check it out here:

To make the bread Halloween-y, I added an orange swirl.  The 2nd loaf I made had a double swirl: orange and black. It is very festive. For Christmas I'll do a red and green swirl, for spring- pastels. The options are endless. 
So here is my dough after it doubled the 1st time. I also have my sandwich loaf pan lightly greased, orange food dye, and flour for rolling out the dough. 
Once the dough is rolled out, double check to make sure it isn't wider than your pan in 1 direction.
Drizzle with some orange dye and spread it out. A fair amount of the dye ended up stuck in my pastry brush which is why I drizzled extra. 
Roll your dough like a cinnamon roll, put in pan, let rise until double before baking.  Rolling out the dough got rid of a lot of the loft.  It will take longer to rise than the recipe suggests because of this. 
Bake as per the recipe and this is what you'll get when you slice it. 
Round 2: the double swirl. 
It starts out relatively the same but you need a loooong rectangle this time. Again, no wider than the pan in 1 direction. 
This time only put orange dye on half of the dough,  
Gently fold the dough in half. 
Put black dye on the top of the dough and roll. 
Once rolled, pinch shut and put the pinched seam down in the greased pan. If you used too much flour to roll out your dough, the seam will not stick together. Wet your fingers slightly and try again. 

Voila! Halloween bread perfect for school lunches!! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cookie Dough Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

Cookie Dough... and Cheesecake.... and Oreos.... on one plate, in one bite. Yes, I'm serious.  Meet my cookie dough cheesecake.  It is as good as it looks.  If you're on a diet or trying to save calories for the holidays- LOOK AWAY NOW! You've been warned.  From here forward, I am not responsible for any drool on your keyboard, or the cheesecake you will devour.  You're on your own there, pal.
The basic plan is to make cookie dough (or buy it, no one's judging), roll smallish balls, and freeze them.  Layer the frozen balls of cookie dough between velvety cheesecake batter atop an oreo crust, bake, and enjoy.  Seems simple enough, right?  It really is.  Here are my balls of cookie dough ready for the freezer. I lined my pan with tin foil for easy clean up.
Once those babies are safely tucked into their wintery resting place, crush your oreos and stir in the melted butter.  This crumbly mess gets dumped into a 10" springform pan and pressed across the bottom and up the sides to form your crust.  If you don't press it in, it will crumble.  If you're worried about your pan leaking at all, wrap a bit of tinfoil around the bottom.  I would rather take the time to do this, than clean anything out of my oven.  I hate cleaning the oven.

 BOOM! crust. Still with me? Good.
Make up your batter and put roughly 1/3 in the bottom of the crust, spread it out a bit and top with half of your cookie dough balls. 
Another 1/3 of batter, followed by the remaining balls of cookie dough. 
Top with the final bit of batter and smooth it as best as you can.  Try not to disrupt the edges too much or you'll pull bits of oreos into you cheesecake. 
Now as anyone who has made a good cheesecake knows, you *should* let it rest in the fridge.  It's tempting not to but the resulting dessert will be SO much better.  Just trust me on this. Let it hang in the fridge overnight. 

Literal perfection. 

So here's the actual recipe- Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

  • 4 tablespoons melted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 2 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs 
  • 4 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs (I use 5 but the eggs from my chickens are medium sized)
  • 1 tbalespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream (Light or regular work equally well) 
Cookie Dough:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt(reduce to 1/2teaspoon if using salted butter)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips  
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks (add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar while whipping if you like a bit of extra sweetness)
  • Mini chocolate chips, for sprinkling
    For the cookie dough:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter and sugars for the cookie dough. Add the milk, vanilla and blend.  Stir in the flour, salt and the chocolate chips. The dough will be fairly soft. Gently roll the dough into small balls and place them on a foil or wax paper lined plate or baking sheet. Place them in the freezer to harden while making the rest of the cheesecake.
  2. For the crust:
  3. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. In a medium bowl, combine the butter with the cookie crumbs. Press onto the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the  pan.
  4. For the cheesecake:
  5. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and flour until smooth. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix just until blended. Be careful not to overmix – incorporating too much air into the batter can contribute to a cheesecake cracking on top during baking.
  6. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared crust. Top with half of the cookie dough balls.  Cover with another 1/3 of the cheesecake batter followed by the remaining dough.  Top with the rest of the batter, gently spreading the batter to the sides of the pan and evening it out across the top (it is ok to see bumps of cookie dough here and there, smooth it the best you can). Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for one hour. Turn off the oven and prop the door open several inches. Let the cake sit in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate until chilled (ideally, overnight). To serve, cut into slices and top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.