Friday, January 31, 2014

Baked Italian Pinwheels {Recipe}

Happy Friday, Y'all! 

I am so excited to share with you a family recipe for these awesome baked Italian pinwheels. This delicious bread, referred to as 'sandwich bread' in our family, is just soo good, and pretty easy to make. We bring it out for all of the holidays, it's gone on snowboarding trips, and I'm about to add it to our Super Bowl menu. It's even great to freeze and reheat by the slice. When I bite into it, it nostalgia takes over! 

After my oldest was born, we started a tradition of baking the 'sandwich bread' with Nanna , myself, and my kiddos each year. Just as I did with my siblings and mom. Ella's first cooking lessons were in the mobywrap ;-)
So because this is a family recipe, and there aren't exact amounts, please bear with me as I'm sharing it for the first time. 

  • Prepared bread or pizza dough (I have made this with the pizza dough recipe from The Joy of Cooking, as well as frozen bread dough from the store.) For two sandwich rolls, it takes 1 recipe of pizza dough. 
  • 1/2 lb ham
  • 1/2 lb hard salami
  • 1/2 lb provolone cheese
  • 1/2 lb muenster cheese
  • Small package of pepperoni
  • Zesty Italian dressing
Preheat your oven to 325.

Start by rolling out 1/2 of your dough to into a rectangular shape, roughly 15 x 12.

Drizzle with italian dressing and spread to cover the entire rectangle. 

Top with some provolone cheese and then some muenster cheese, leaving a space along the long edge without. This will allow you to have a sealed edge to contain the ingredients and keep things pretty ;-)

Layer salami on top, still leaving the space.

And then comes the ham.

Add some more cheese, and a row of pepperoni. Roll up. Seal edges with a bit of water, taking care with the ends as well as the seam. 

Place seam side down on a cookie sheet, cover with a damp towel, and let rise. Remove towel, & place in oven with pan to catch drippings below. Bake at 325 for one hour, or heated through the center. Let cool for at least 10 minutes and slice into 1.5 inch pinwheels. 

Go, make this now. I'm going to make one for game day. I take no responsibility when your guests randomly show up at your house asking for more. 
Hope you guys have a great weekend! 

Which team are you rooting for?
Bloggers and Etsy shops, don't forget to check out our upcoming giveaway! We've got a few spots left!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yellow Dresser Makeover

So you guys know how much I love to use Craigslist to find new projects {as evidenced here, here, here and here}. I think the key to finding good deals is to just be patient. I usually have a price limit in mind and I absolutely refuse to budge. Being stubborn can sometimes be a good thing.


But this Craigslist deal was far and away my best one yet. I had been keeping an eye open for a large dresser that I could fix up and use as both a changing table and dresser for my daughter's nursery. I was able to score this little beauty {actually, the words" little" and "beauty" really didn't apply at the time} for only $5! How could I pass that up? Plus, while it was not the prettiest dresser, I could definitely see the potential for a makeover in all the cool details---like the trim work around the top and the awesome middle door.


A diamond in the rough, just like Aladdin.  Excuse me...I've been watching WAY too many Disney movies.
 I had been thinking about painting the dresser yellow when Annie Sloan released her new chalk paint color, English Yellow. I took it as a sign from the paint gods. I had been dreading the prep work involved with using regular paint but didn't like any of the yellows that were already out there for chalk paint. Just as I was resigned to choosing a different color of chalk paint {because ain't nobody got time to sand down a dresser that large}, ASCP debuted the yellow. The paint gods are merciful indeed.

To begin the makeover, I started by removing all the brass hardware and spray painting them oil-rubbed bronze.  I am always amazed by how big an impact this simple step makes.  {Unfortunately, it's such simple step, I just blazed ahead and did it without taking any pictures for ya. Whoops.}

After that, I wiped down the dresser using some Simply Green to remove all the dirt and oil before getting started. I mixed the English Yellow chalk paint with some Old White that I had leftover from my headboard makeover in a ratio of 2:1. I also watered it down a little bit. I find this helps prevent streak marks, if you are going for a more modern, smooth finish {which I was}.


Luckily, I had my sisters and mom {and wine} on hand to help with the initial painting. Since chalk paint dries really fast, we were able to paint three coats on the dresser in a day and a half. {Because I water the paint down, I have found that I need at least three coats to give my pieces the coverage that I want.}

My middle sis, Kelly.
My youngest sister, Rachel. What are sisters for, if not free labor?

After the dresser was painted, I wanted to add a little something to the three middle inside drawers. You wouldn't see the drawers when the big door was shut but I liked the idea of a surprise when you opened it.  I decided to transfer an image to the wooden drawers and I found a floral picture on Google that I liked and printed it off. {Make sure your printer uses toner! An inkjet printer won't work.} I had read a few tutorials about how to do this and most recommended using Citra Solv as the transferring agent but some mentioned that ANY orange degreaser would work. Since I couldn't find Citra Solv at the store {and I am an impatient soul} I just bought a generic cleaner and used that. I think I should have been a wee bit more patient this time around.

While I was able to get the image to transfer, it wasn't as easy as I had hoped. I laid my image on the drawers, coated with a thin layer of the orange degreaser and then, using the back of spoon, burnished it onto the wood. It worked okay but I had to go back after and touch up with a sharpie marker. I am extremely happy with the finished product but next time, I want to try Citra Solv and see if it works a little better.

Once my image was transferred, I began to wax the dresser. I applied two clear coats of wax to the entire dresser, using rags to wipe on and wipe off. I found I was able to control the application of the wax much easier this way.

Then I was brave. I used the dark wax. {cue dramatic music} I was really terrified that I was going to wreck all my hard work and that I wouldn't like it once it was applied. Luckily, I discovered a method that worked really well for me. I would rub the dark wax on, making sure to apply it to all the nooks and crannies, and then immediately wipe it off, using a little bit of the clear wax to aid in the removal.

While this seems a little counterproductive, even the little bit of dark wax that remained darkened the paint color in a very natural way and most of the wax stayed in the cracks so it had a very realistic aged look to it. I LOVED it!!

Once I was finished with the waxing, I put all the hardware back on and stepped back to admire my new yellow dresser.

It was such a labor of love but totally worth it.

It's hard to believe that this little beauty {the word "beauty" does apply now..."little" still not so much} was only 5 smackeroos!

When my youngest daughter leaves her nursery to share a room with her big sister, the yellow dresser will stay in the guest room and provide a ton of storage.

And now I will leave you with the obligatory Before/After parting shot. 

Isn't it wonderful what a can of paint can transform?

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Huckleberry Life: When Life Gives You Lemons {And Oranges!}

One of the things I love most about living in Texas are the (usually) mild winters. We're lucky enough to have many days in December and January where the sky is the blue, the sun is shining and we're able to enjoy time outside. It's definitely a luxury, especially considering how hot it gets down here in summer. (Although today is an exception. The kids school was cancelled due to a possible ice/snowstorm. Crazy!)

Another great advantage to living in a sub-tropical climate, is the addition of fruit trees to your landscaping. When we first moved into our home, we were a bit overwhelmed by the number of plants in our backyard. They included: 1 fig tree, 1 persimmon tree, 1 lemon tree, 1 orange tree, 3 papaya trees, 4 plantain trees, 1 GIANT rosemary bush and atleast 15 aloe plants. Talk about plant overload!

Most of the plants died in a freeze during our first winter in the house and the rest were removed when we realized that we had black thumbs and just weren't able to care for them properly. The only survivors were the orange and lemon trees. And boy am I glad that we have them! A few times a week during the winter, once the fruit is ripe, my boys and I have "picking days". They love running back and forth between the trees and picking the fruit themselves. They're great helpers! :)

There's nothing quite like walking out into your backyard and picking a ripe orange off the tree for your afternoon snack. Or simply plucking a few lemons off the tree to use in your favorite lemon bar recipe.

Oh yes, I said lemon bars. I'm a lemon addict and they are hands down my favorite lemon-y treat. In fact, since I just love y'all SOOO MUCH, I'm going to share with you my recipe for the greatest lemon bars ever! They're sure to please any lemon lovers in your life. :)

* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 2 cups flour
* 1/4 t salt
Lemon Filling:
* 4 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup flour
* 2-3 lemons juiced, plus grated rind
* powdered sugar to dust top
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together your crust ingredients. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 18 minutes, or until lightly browned.
3. Combine filling ingredients. Stir until well mixed. Pour on top of baked crust. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Dust hot lemon bars with powdered sugar. Spread with a knife or spatula to evenly distribute. Let them cool completely (atleast 45 minutes), then cut into squares.
{For a more detailed tutorial, complete with pictures, you can check out the original post on my personal blog here.}

Do you have any fruit trees in your yard? What's your favorite lemon recipe? We'd love for you to share it in the comments!
Linking up with these fantastic parties:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Much Ado About Monday {No. 44}

Did everyone have a nice weekend?

We're hoping that all of our readers up North survived Polar Vortex #2! Here in Houston we had a bit of "winter weather"... no snow, but LOTS of ice! They even cancelled schools on Friday, which is unheard of in these parts.

(This is pretty accurate.. ha ha!)

Over the weekend the weather warmed up and both days were filled with sunshine and 60 degree temperatures! Unfortunately, my boys and I have been sick, so we chose to stay inside and nurse our colds. Hopefully we'll be able to get outside tomorrow for a bit of sunshine. :)
We have some exciting news we want to fill all of our loyal party-goers in on. Since we love you so much, you're the first to hear what we've got up our sleeve!

We're hosting a BIG Giveaway and we want YOU to participate!

The details:

Show Me the Green- Saint Patrick's Day Visa Gift Card Giveaway
Sign ups end Friday 2/21/14 at 11:59pm
 Giveaway Dates 3/01/14 – 3/16/14 at 11:59pm
Winner will be announced on March 17, 2014- St. Patrick's Day!
Grand Prize
$$Visa Gift Card$$ {Amount will be determined by number of bloggers participating}
Individual Links: $5 for first link and $3 for each additional link
Co-Host Pages: $20
*4 Free Links
*Listing at top of Rafflecopter
*Your blog URL in event HTML to be listed on all participating blogs

Sign Up Here!
In addition to an awesome giveaway for all of our readers, we've also decided to change up our format just a smidge, too. We'll still be sharing two great project/recipe posts a week and hosting Much Ado About Monday. But, instead of having our Friday Features, we're going to squeeze them in with MAAM to make things easier for us!

Speaking of features, be sure to check out these amazing ones from last week's party. We had a mixture of mouthwatering treats, Valentine's Day décor and DIY ingenuity! Thanks again for coming back every week to share your great posts with us, it means so much. :)
The rules:

*We love our followers, and always follow back. Please follow us on GFC as well as BlogLovin:
Follow on Bloglovin

You can also find us at these favorite social media sites: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Google+
* Please link back to us in your post. Whether it be through a text link or by posting our super cute button somewhere in your post. We appreciate it!

* If you do NOT link back to us in your post, you will NOT be Featured on Much Ado About Monday. So, link back! You'll thank us later. :)

*Features posts will be pinned on Pinterest and promoted on Facebook and Google+

* Feel free to link up decorating tips, DIY projects, recipes, organizational ideas, sewing and crochet creations or anything else crafty or that you find inspirational.

* Please do not link up giveaways, Etsy shops, or projects that were not made by you.

* You may link up to three posts a week!

* If your post has been featured, please do not link it up again.

* Remember to visit, visit, visit! That's the point of a party, right? Have fun!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Features {No. 43}

Happy Friday!!

Welcome to another Friday Features! Down here in the Houston area, we are hunkered down, waiting for the possibility of ice and snow. Of course, the snow we will get is nothing like the snow the rest of the country seems to be getting. We will be lucky if we can make a marble sized snowball. But it's exciting, nonetheless. 

While we are ensconced in our warm abodes waiting for the nasty weather to abate, let's take another look at what we did on the blog this week. Jill introduced us to the newest, furriest member of her family, Maizy; Jamie revealed the amazing and colorful Rainbow Birthday Party she threw for her daughter's 4th birthday; and Emily put together an inspiring Valentine's Day Round-up. It was a busy week for us!

And it was a great week for the Much Ado About Monday link party! Thanks to everyone for coming and joining us week after week! We love love love you guys and are so grateful to have such incredible projects to look at every time. Seriously...thank you! 

Now on to the picks for this week!

Emily's Pick

Smore's Ice Cream Cake submitted by My Life of Travels and Adventures


Jill's Pick

Bourbon Brown Sugar Marshmallows submitted by Two Live Colorfully

bourbon brown sugar marshmallows

Jamie's Pick

Nice and Easy DIY Valentines Heart Tree submitted by Crafts by Courtney
 Nice and Easy DIY Valentines Heart Trees 
Lydia's Pick

DIY Cafe Shelves submitted by The Koenig's Create

If you were one of the picks above, do a happy dance {it can celebratory or just a way to stay warm} and then grab yourself a shiny button.

Can't wait to see you all again on Monday! Have a fantastic weekend!