Back with another of our favorite recipes from our Whole30 challenge. We grilled a lot during our 30 days…like probably 5 days a week. That grill got a workout! We found that chicken breasts were the quickest and easiest option for us with our busy schedule. Pair it with some fresh veggies and you’ve got yourself dinner! The following recipe creates a melt in your mouth chicken and couldn’t be any easier…seriously!
Hello, blogland! I’m not even going to try to explain my 1.5 year hiatus…there’s really no great reason! But here I am feeling crafty so figured I should fire up the rusty ol’ blog again. I can’t make any promises as to how often I’ll be posting, but hopefully more often than every 18 months :)
In our dining room we have a sliver of wall space between the china hutch and doorway to the kitchen. I’ve always wanted to place something there, but nothing felt quite right. While browsing Pinterest, I happened upon this photo that I had pinned years ago. Plates! I could hang plates there. All I needed was…plates. And a way to hang them without them crashing down. So I started slowly collecting plates here and there. Most of them came from a local thrift store called Abbots and others from Goodwill. I don’t think I spent more than $2 on any of them!
The final thing to figure out was how to hang these things. I’ve never loved the plate hanger things that clamp on to the plate, so I started searching for a way to hang them without any visible hardware. I found these adhesive plate hangers, but at about $3.50 each, I figured I could come up with something a bit cheaper. We visited Josh’s parents a few months ago and my mother-in-law had just finished a plate wall in their dining room and it looked great! Lo and behold, she had figured out how to hang them without the visible hardware and didn’t spend a small fortune doing it. All credit goes to Debbie for this one :)
I started by washing my plates in warm, soapy water. Mostly to get the thrift store gunk and grime off of them, but also to ensure that the glue had a clean surface to stick to. Next, I traced all of my plates out on paper, cut them out, and taped them up on the wall to get an idea of the placement I wanted.
Once I had my arrangement down, I took a dry erase marker and marked the center top of each plate (making sure that the design on the front lined up). This gave me a mark to line my hanger up to.
You may be able to find adhesive hangers that don’t have the little hook on them, but rather only an eyelet. Mine had the hook, so I simply took some tin snips and cut it off of each hanger. Easy fix!
Once I had my plates prepped, I took the E6000 and got to gluing! This stuff is SUPER sticky, but pretty forgiving for a while. On a few of my plates I didn’t get the hanger lined up on the first try, but it was really easy to slide it into the right spot. Be sure to get your eyelet above the rib or edge of your plate so that when it hangs, it lays flat. I let the adhesive dry for at least 24 hrs.
After my hangers were really dry, I placed each plate on our copier and printed off a picture of the back side. Once cut out, I taped them up on to the wall over the other cutouts. This let me figure out the exact spot to place my nail. I hammered the nail right through the paper.
Once all the nails were in, I pulled the paper down and hung up the actual plates. And (unless you look REALLY closely at an angle) you can’t see any hardware!
I think this projected turned out really well! It was SUPER easy and affordable! We already had the glue, so buying the plates and the hangers…I think I came in under $15!
I think this adds the right look to that awkward spot next to the hutch. I may keep my eyes out for a few more plates to add a couple to the top of the arrangement!
First of all, let me apologize for the silence over the last couple of months. One of my goals this year was to post at least once a week and we can all tell that didn’t happen. I don’t have a great reason, other than letting myself get busy and distracted. I can’t promise any huge changes, but my hope is to give this ol’ blog some more attention in the coming months.
So, lets get down to the business of why I’m here right now. Today is the first day of fall! And we all know what that means, right? Pumpkin.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for this day all summer and it’s finally here! The day that I can give in to my obsession of pumpkin infused food and drink and not be scolded for it still being summer. The day that fall wreaths and harvest scented candles are socially acceptable. Ah…a good day indeed.
A couple of years ago, I brought you a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup. Although that recipe is a good one, I think I may have come up with a new one that is at least 2 times better. For starters, it calls for about 1/2 of the ingredients and is ridiculously easy. Instead of white sugar like the old recipe, I used brown sugar. That was a brilliant idea (if I may say so myself). It has a rich, molasses-y flavor that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside (if brown sugar can do that, and I propose that it can). Enough small talk…here’s the recipe!
I’m not sure what it is about my Mom, but she has the BEST luck finding things for free on the side of the road. I hope to someday inherit her roadside-freebie-snatching skills. For about a year I’ve been keeping my eyes open for metal chairs to revamp. Ideally, I wanted ones with a cushioned seat, but any old metal chairs (that were less than $10/chair) would do. I wasn’t having any luck finding anything within my price range. Lo and behold, my Mom found 4 folding metal chairs WITH cushioned seats along the side of the road in my hometown. Score!
The problem was, they were in desperate need of some lovin’. Cue angels singing and my name being called from the craft store. For about $30 I was able to breathe some new life into these roadside freebies. Here’s how I did it!
Step 1: I began by removing the seat of each chair. One thing that I didn’t do but would definitely do next time is number each chair and seat as well as separate the screws according to which chair they came from. I ran into some issues getting the seats to fit back onto the chairs because I got them all mixed up. This may not be an issue with newer chairs, but you’ll be thankful if you do it with old used ones!
Step 2: I removed all of the staples and took off the old vinyl. Thankfully, the foam was in great shape (although a terrible color of neon yellow!) so I was able to reuse it. If you need new foam, now is the time to trace your seat base and cut out your foam and/or batting.
Step 3: I cut my fabric into 17″ x 18″ pieces. I probably could have cut them a bit smaller, but I found it helpful to have a little extra to pull snugly and then to trim off the excess.
Step 4: I lined up my fabric so that the pattern went in the direction I wanted it to face. I laid my fabric right side down, centered my foam and then lined up my chair seat. Once everything was lined up, I began stapling my way around the seat. I found it easiest to begin on one corner and work my way around the entire seat. It’ll probably take you a bit to find your groove, but once you do it should go pretty quickly! I thought the corners would be tricky, but they actually ended up being pretty easy! (See photos below for how I folded the fabric around the corners so that it would lay flat.) Once you get your fabric stapled down, trim off the excess.
Step 5: I repeated steps 3 & 4 with my vinyl. I ended up using a ton of staples to get it to fit snugly but hey, nobody will see them!
I should point out that my husband picked out the seat fabric. Great choice, huh?!
Next it was time to paint the metal chairs! It was too breezy to paint outdoors, so I moved my chairs into a well ventilated workshop. Please be sure to work in a well ventilated space, spray paint fumes are not good for your brain cells and future offsprings.
Step 6: I pulled/cut off the old rubber feet and sanded the entire chair with 220 grit sand paper. Basically, I wanted to remove any rust spots and rough up the entire surface. Once I sanded down the surface, I went back over the chairs with a damp cloth to remove the dust & dirt.
Step 7: Paint. I chose Krylon indoor/outdoor gloss spray paint in “Bright Idea.” I ran out midway through the project, and had a heckova time finding more since I had bought the last can at our local hardware store. Thankfully, Walmart ended up being the ONE place within 50 miles that carried the brand/color. Word of advice, make sure you have enough paint to start off with! I used about 1 can per chair.
Also, I HIGHLY recommend using this fancy contraption called the Can Gun. My hubby got it for me for Christmas and this was the first time I broke it out. It makes spray painting a dream! No finger cramps or over-spray on your hands. Seriously, go buy one right now!
The essential to spray painting is to do multiple thin coats. Seriously, take your time and wait the manufacturers recommended time between coats. You’ll regret going too quickly because you’ll instantly get drips and splatters. I ended up doing about 3 coats on each chair and they turned out pretty well! I do have a few drips here and there, but nothing that I am going to lose sleep over.
This is what my chairs looked like after one coat of paint:
And after the third coat of paint:
Step 8: I reattached the cushions and voila! New chairs! (See my note above about numbering the cushions/bases/screws).
I still need to get new rubber feet for the chairs. I bought some but accidentally got the wrong size (mental note – measure twice, buy once!). Overall, I’m ecstatic with how these free roadside chairs turned out! They will work really well as additional outdoor seating for our next BBQ or indoor seating for our next movie night. The best part is that if I ever get tired of the fabric, I can easily pop off the seats and change it out! Yay for free chairs that turned out fabulous :)
UPDATE 6/26/15: Okay, so before you read this recipe, please note that in the past 2 years my understanding of Whole30 has DRASTICALLY improved. I know that the following recipe is not a Whole30 approved option as it is what some people call SWYPO (sex with your pants on). Please proceed forward with the understanding that this recipe is a great one – but not necessarily during a Whole30 challenge. One very important aspect of Whole30 is to get away from paleo-fied foods, such as baked goods, desserts, etc. This recipe is great breakfast option for after your Whole30 if you find that baked goods are not a stumbling block for you. Now, proceed with fair warning :)
We are not dieters. We don’t jump on the bandwagon of fad diets simply because they. don’t. work. Josh and I have however, realized how awful we’ve been at eating well rounded meals and that food may actually have a pretty big impact on our bodies and well being. Duh.
This past week we started the Whole30 Program, which is basically Paleo but with a few more restrictions for 30 days. The key things they tell you to avoid are added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, and preservatives of any kind. The idea of the whole thing is to focus on eating real food – meat, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, etc. – and reset your “relationship” with food. I don’t see either Whole30 or Paleo as diets, but rather a lifestyle change. Because I have some auto immune deficiencies, I figured that it could do no harm at all to cut out things that could potentially be causing me more problems (inflammation of my joints, lack of energy, unexplained weight gain, etc.). Although we don’t think we’ll stick with it forever, I doubt that I’ll stray too far from the basics. In the past week, I’ve felt awesome (other than sugar withdrawal headaches). If you’ve never heard of Whole30 or Paleo, I really encourage you to check them out! It is so worth giving it a try, because the worst thing that could happen is that you find you enjoy eating more fruits and veggies!
I’ll do a full recap of what I’ve been eating and will be posting more recipes over the coming weeks, but right now I want to tell you about the banana muffins pictured above. Although some may argue that a few of the ingredients aren’t 100% Whole30 compliant (baking soda & baking powder), I say…pick your battles. I’ve been having a hard time getting a decent breakfast in me before work, so if a wholesome muffin can do the trick I think that’s worth it!
My recipe is inspired by this one. Because I didn’t have cashews or walnut oil, I figured I’d fudge the recipe a little and create my own. (BTW- this gal’s blog has been such a great encouragement to me and has supplied some pretty awesome recipe references! PLUS she’s a young Christian woman who met her husband while working at Camp. Bonus points!)