Nature’s candy in my hand or can or a pie… or pastry

I recently had some of my girlfriends over for an evening of Sangria, tapas and some much needed catching up. The sangria was flowing, the tapas were delicious but the dessert, a peach pastry, was fabulous.

Recipe was from Martha (love her) and rather easy for even the most unskilled of chefs. A pack of phyllo dough, some brown sugar, butter, and of course fresh peaches (Jersey grown is preferred) is all you need to impress your guests.

Add some vanilla ice cream for serving and there ya have it! A peaches and cream summer scrumptious dessert to enjoy.

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Custom Up my Buttons Baby

You are ALL welcome for getting that award winning song in your head. (Obnoxiously catchy pop music by sexually suggestive named groups anyone?)

In an upcoming post I’ll be divulging you all with my first ever recovered furniture piece. A tufted upholstered bench that lives at the foot of our bed. A bench, I might add, that was plucked from the garbage. Got to love free.

The first (and easiest) step of recovering the garbage picked bench was creating covered buttons to match the new fabric. A quick trip to Joann’s landed me a pack of buttons for covering complete with the covering tools. I believe the kit cost $4 for 10 buttons.

Directions found on the back of the box were very straight forward. First use the fabric template to trace the pattern onto the desired fabric. Step 2, cut around the traced circle.

Step 3 assemble the fabric, button, button back, and circle tool for hammering, then hammer the set up into place. I found it was easiest to kind of push everything together by hand just enough so it stayed in place and then hammer it in for good.

After a few good taps remove the freshly made button from the assembly, give it a push or two for good measure and get pumped that you have made custom fabric covered buttons in no time flat.

Chalk Board and Chicken Wire

Even though we’re currently a small family of 2 (with no plans on expanding any time soon) we still have a lot on our plates. From fire house activities to family gatherings we can be a pair of busy bees. I’m a rather organized gal and when I feel lost in a sea of information you know there’s a project right around the corner to fix things.

Our “message center” was pretty pitiful; a calendar strategically hung to block the fuse panel in the kitchen. I wanted more. Places to jot notes, see the month at a glance, hang important info, pictures, gift cards so we don’t forget to use them. I wanted an impressive fully functioning (and pleasing to the eye) message center that all the cool Mom’s get.

After stalking a few ideas on Pinterest (beyond obsessed with that site) I made my decision. Chicken wire bulletin board with chalk board doodling counter part.  Love the idea of listing menus for the week or happy notes to my significant other who at times can be 100% opposite schedule.

Chicken Wire Inspiration Board

from forageddesign.com

We changed a few parts of our design to include a frame and a fabric back (to hide the ugly electric panel). Construction for the chicken wire board was pretty straight forward. Well, after working out the kinks and a few failed attempts it ended up being straight forward. For the chicken wire board cut:

  • cut chicken wire to desired size (including width of trim)
  • For us, we wanted to cover a semi unsightly electrical panel so we also cut a piece of fabric (muslin) to the same desired size as the chicken wire.
  • Cut trim pieces to fit; miter for nice 45 degree joints.
  • Square up trim and fasten with glue and scary looking metal wood joiners. Let dry.
  • Create a sandwich of trim-chicken wire – fabric face down on a flat surface.
  • Add one staple in the center of one side of the back.
  • Add staple on the opposite side.
  • Continue around with 1 staple, centered on other 2 sides.
  • continue to pull/stretch fabric around on all sides. (Working out from center staple out mirroring on opposite sides)
  • Flip over and hang with everyone’s favorite no hole hangers (command hooks)

For the chalk board, we used leftover extra thin plywood from our floating dining room shelves and more trim. This time we used a little fancier trim with a little more of a revile. Cut the plywood to desired size, trim to match. Miter fasten with glue and staples and bam. Ready to go. I do recommend doing all painting before assembly. It at least made my life easier.

Let’s just say I am darn happy with our new super organized and rather stylish message center. Also for the super thrifty lad or lady, free calendars can be stunning when folded in half (blocking the ugly UPS picture) and adding your own picture above.

Banoffee Pie Anyone?

Well folks, it’s finally here. The Olympics. (Or ‘Lympics as I lovingly call it.) I guess my admiration of the elite games can be thanks to my Father who is an avid runner, cyclist, cross country skier, and all around active guy. He always made time to watch the games, and include us kids,  for as long as I can remember. My favorite summer sport is Women’s Gymnastics (YAY USA GOLD! WOO!). I was a little die hard obsessed back in 6th grade when the 1996 Atlanta games rolled in with the Magnificent Seven (yes I hung their newspaper pictures all over my room, knew all their names and back stories and was beyond crushed when the VHS tape didn’t record Kerri Strug’s winning/injuring vault. It was all squibbly and snow covered. 11 year old me was devastated to say the least.)

So, anyway, due to my die-hard ‘Lympic spirit we had a few close friends over Opening Ceremonies night to ring in the latest games. We embraced the London spirit with Fish and Chips, New Castle beers, Snake Bites (what all the cool kids in the London pubs drink), and Banoffee Pie. Oh Banoffee Pie, my new love.

Snake Bites, is something my Sister, who studied abroad in London for a semester, introduced me to. I will confess I’m not a beer drinker. (And I confess this with the heaviest of hearts.) For you non beer drinkers like me, this drink is the tastiest beer you’ll ever have and super simple to make. Half a bottle of lager (New Castle Brown Ale), half a bottle of hard cider (Angry Orchard) and if you want to really fancy it up a splash of Squash. Hands down the tastiest beer I’ve ever had.

Now, for the main event. Banoffee Pie. Oh you British seductress you. I was searching for a classic English dessert to serve my guests. This Banoffee Pie thing continued to come up throughout my searching. Having never heard of it, I read on. Basically it’s an AMAZINGLY delicious pie which is also SUPER easy to make. I started baking as “Afghanistan” entered the stadium and finished (and ready to eat) before  “Madagascar” was announced, not too shabby.

Recipe by Curtis Stone. It’s a no bake pie (score one for perfect Summer recipe) and to make the recipe even easier may I suggest a pre-made graham cracker pie crust?  I found that 1 pint of heavy cream and everything else called out in the recipe was enough for 2 regular sized pies. I also American’d it up with a chocolate cookie crust, as well as the traditional graham crust.

So happy I took a shot in the dark on this strange named pie. It is absolutely delicious and magically easy. I’m right with Keira Knightly with her “you would have broken my heart if you said yes” comment, “Love Actually” anyone? One of my favorite movies. (I will confess I always thought she was saying felafel pie, not that that makes any sense but a much more familiar word than “Banoffee”.) With out a doubt my new favorite pie.