Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Another Woman's Donation is Another Woman's Treasure

On my Christmas break so far I have done my fair share of blog surfing. I am WAY inspired... after reading one of my favorite blogs... The Nesting Place, my mom showed me a local blog Let It Shine. This woman shops the Dollar Store and local thrift stores to create a beautiful home. On a newlywed budget, especially after buying Christmas gifts the Dollar Store was speaking my language.

My sister will tell you, I love shopping. Whenever I am in my favorite stores my stomach starts to hurt because I am so excited. Kind of nerdy!!! Yes, I do love shopping... But I am quite cheap, I will not pay more than $15 for almost anything... (well except for shoes.) So decorating a whole apartment full of stark white walls has been tough on that self proclaimed budget.

I woke up SEMI early this morning giddy to start my hunt. I started out at the Dollar Tree and I was pretty upset walking out the door without this shiny disco Christmas tree to turn into this masterpiece. But when I walked into the first Goodwill, my luck started to turn.... and my stomach began to hurt... with excitement!

I am so excited to show you my bargain finds and how they have each found their place in our apartment.

Look at this adorable bathroom towel rack!!! I am in LOVE with the knobs and the slightly tarnished look. It is perfect in our bathroom replacing the hideous plastic/ metalish towel rod.
CCA Resale: $3.99

It does have this silly cha-chi tile which I will be replacing. Look at those cute little knobs! :) I'll show you the finished product later.

This beautiful tin container... CCA Resale: $1.99

Right now it's sitting on my kitchen table hiding random things until it finds a permanent home.
CCA Resale: $.99!!!!

I used some antique metallic glaze I bought with a gift card and it now looks like this!!! So pretty!

After reading about these moss grapevine balls at Let It Shine... I was ecstatic to find these!!!
Goodwill: Small ball: $.99! Large ball: $1.99

For now they are tucked into our knook above our TV. Moss addition coming soon...
Warning: Lately I have had a slight obsession with wreaths. I admit have a problem after buying THREE today. I am preparing for the holidays in 2010!
Goodwill: $2.99!!!!!!!! I LOVE the neutral berries!
I attached it above our mirror with two nails after many tries losing countless tacks behind the couch. I learned from the Nester, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful... I think I might keep this wreath up year round.

I love berry wreaths! I have been searching for a red berry wreath on sale for winter and was giddy when I found this orange berry wreath for Fall 2010!
CCA Resale: $2.99!!!!!

Red, White and Blue Berry wreath for the 4th of July
CCA Resale: $1.99

Yes, I do love a good wreath!!!

Our 2nd bedroom is a crazy mix it is a manroom, holding some of my man friend's sports memorabilia.. it is an office, with our desk for a studyspace for my police officer in training... and it is a guest bedroom. When we move and Tom gets his man room I want the guest bedroom to be full of light blues and whites. So when stalking each shelf at CCA this crazy candle holder caught my eye... the red berries had to go.
CCA Resale: $3.99
I brushed on a little bit of glaze to give it a tarnished look. To take off the red berries I moved the metal back and forth over and over... no technical term for it... and they came off!
Here it is on my dresser in the 2nd manroom/office/guestbedroom.
The Birdhouse: CCA Resale: $2.99!!
I put a few white birds inside. The birds were 3 for $1 at the Dollar Tree.
I want to get a samll nest for the birds in the candle holder. LOVE IT!!!

I also wiped some metallic glaze on this letter K... another item for my dream Guestbedroom!
CCA Resale: $1.99!!!!

Cornucopia steal for Fall decorating in 2010! CCA Resale: $.99!!!!

I love this stone column "thingy". CCA Resale: $1.99!!

Before it was this pinky looking color. I painted on some metallic glaze. Add and candle and viola... this is in our kitchen. TRUE LOVE! :)

Love this little leaf plate... CCA Resale: $.99!!!!

I saved my FAVORITE FAVORITE find for last. I loved the Nester's church steeple and almost screamed when I saw this beautiful church!!!!!!!! I am head over heals for the turquoise cross at the top! There is a cute little bell inside the steeple... its true LOVE!

Along with wreaths I have a crazed obsession for turquoise right now. Look at that cross!
Church: CCA Resale: $3.99!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhhh!!!

I painted over the red roof with a chocolate brown. The red still kind of shows through leaving a maroon (WHOOP) burgundy color. Right next to a fav wedding picture... "Going to the chapel and we're gunna get ma-a-a -rried!"

Geez Louise!!! Look at that loot.... I am so excited and inspired. I found out that the CCA store gets their main shipment every Tuesday so I may be a frequent customer on Tuesdays! CCA and Goodwill, two stores, many treasures... right around $30 for all of this!!!!!!!
Do you see Laila??? She is on the hunt. She would not leave my feather birds alone....

She's a hunter...

There they go... bye bye birdie! :) Sorry that was corny.

Have you shopped your local thrift store lately? It may be worth a trip...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

You're the butter to my bread, the breath of my life.

I love my husband. He has taken good care of me these past few days when I've been feeling a bit under the weather. I heard this quote watching Julie and Julia last weekend and I loved it.
Yes I do love my groom!
"You're the butter to my bread, the breath of my life..."

My best friend, my strength, my one true love. You listen to me complain, you laugh at my stupid jokes, you literally... literally give me the clothes off your back. My provider, my comfort, consumer of my meals (even when they turn out... blah) , blanket of warmth in the cold. I cannot imagine this life without you. The butter to my bread and the breath of my life.

You are my life... I adore you! You are the best husband. In fact you are walking in right now with my sprite and saltines... more than butter! And I do love butter...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

OH HOLY.... Cinnamon Rolls!

Scenario 1: Last weekend Hruskocy Living Room
Tom: "So what makes this Pioneer Woman so great?"
(Flipping through my brand new signed cookbook ... I just roll my eyes at my silly husband then he turns to the cinnamon rolls....)
Tom: "Oh, you are SO making these on Christmas morning.." There may have been some drool!

Earlier this week after looking at the recipe I got really nervous when I saw that the dough was self rising with Active Yeast. I remembered how excited Tom was about the cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning and thought I needed a test run. Sunday's Tom heads to Arlington for a study group which left the whole day for baking. A sister day was planned! And on the agenda: the Julie and Julia movie on demand, Pioneer Womans Cinnamon Rolls and her Beef Stew with Mushrooms.

After a quick grocery store run for necessities and a quick Old Navy run for slippers, also a necessity for a day of cooking on your feet...

Seester Day commenced!

Here is the recipe for Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls. (My additions are bolded.)
Let’s start by making the dough.
Mix 1 quart of whole milk (whole milk... Megan and I got a bit more nervous as we watched the thickness pour out), 1 cup of vegetable oil, and 1 cup of sugar in a pan.

"Scald" the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point.) DO NOT turn your back to look at face book pictures while "scalding" or your mixture will almost boil over and you hearing your sister call out, "Take it off, take it off!" Your aftermath of a pan will look like ours...Noted.
Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. Go fold laundry or sculpt or play Twister with your mailman or something. Or multi task: watch Julie and Julia to get those baking juices flowing WHILE tackling the mountain of laundry that has been piling up for... well TOO LONG. Pause movie...When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in 2 packages Active Dry Yeast YIKES!!!. Let this sit for a minute so the yeast gets all warm and moist and happy. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. This totally reminded me of the yeast ball from Baby Mama with Tina Fey and Greg Kinnard.
Cover and let sit for at least an hour. Go throw away the rest of your wrapping paper or build a Lego Rottweiler or do Yoga or watch Home Shopping Network and order a frozen pizza oven for your countertop or some cellulite cream. Unpause movie. PLAY. After an hour, the dough will look like this.
Pause movie. Now add 1 more cup of flour… 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder…
And 1 "scant" (less than a full) teaspoon baking soda and 1 heaping tablespoon of salt.
Stir mixture together. At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it—overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to splurge out of the pan, just punch it down. Or, of course, you can just go ahead and make the rolls. Haha I hadn't read this part. We just made them.

Let’s do that, shall we? Sprinkle surface generously with flour. We used my kitchen table... I need a bigger kitchen work space. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle.
Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Rectangle should increase in both width and length as you roll it out. Here’s my beautiful, weird, lovely, delightful friend, Hyacinth. Here is my gorgeous sister Megan. She came over to make cinnamon rolls with me. Ain’t she purty? I love her.

Now drizzle 1 1/2 to 2 cups melted butter over the dough. This scared us a bit!Don’t be shy; lay it on thick, baby. You know you want it. Oh, by the way? This is not non-caloric. In case anyone asks. We wish. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter…followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Some of the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture may ooze out toward the end, but that’s no big deal. Some... Some. Do you see all of that brown ooze? A lot of the mixture oozed out giving my kitchen table a sugar and cinnamon facial scrub. We got smarter with the second half of the dough. We mixed the butter and the sugar in a bowl and then spread it. Instead of pouring the butter then the sugar. Next, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in seven round, foil cake or pie pans. More butter...

Then begin cutting rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick I was a bit discouraged mine didn't look like her pictures... and laying them in the buttered pans. Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. This recipe makes approximately seven pans of rolls. SEVEN PANS! Make sure you share the wealth.

Let the rolls sit for 20 to 30 minutes to rise, (Megan, we forgot to do this... WOOPSIE DAISIES!) then bake at 400 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

While the rolls are in the oven, make the deliciously sinful maple frosting. To a mixing bowl, add 1 bag of powdered sugar. To this, add about 2 teaspoons maple flavoring… 1/2 cup milk... 1/4 cup melted butter…and 1/4 cup of brewed coffee. We were going to skip this but it needs it for the consistency. Also add 1/8 teaspoon (a generous pinch) salt. Then have a big, strong, virile man stir it up for you. I chose Marlboro Man. My marlboro man was studying so I relied on my Kitchen Aid mixer. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed.

Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven. And take a walk on the wild side. Don’t be afraid to drown them puppies. Be sure to get frosting around the perimeter of the pan, too, so the icing will coat the outside of the rolls. These are not non-caloric. Did I mention that?

The frosting will settle in and become one with the cinnamon rolls. And you’ll be another step closer to being the most popular person in town…or the jiggliest, depending on whether you Not that I’ve ever done that, mind you. I don’t ever do things like that. I’m a model of self-discipline. And I don’t have time to do such things—I’m too busy doing the Stairmaster. Yeah, that’s me—Miss Will Power. I don’t ever consume wasted calories. And if I do, I’m always vigilant about compensating with a higher activity level and weeks of fasting. Isn't she funny?!? I felt 10 lbs jigglier just making these bad boys. Hence the apron... covering my belly full of dough. I taste as I go...

Go forth and conquer! Yes you can. And report back... My man friend loved them! Here is his first bite... He approved. :) Press play and finish the movie! We kept one pan for ourselves but my man friend is taking 3 pans to his Police Academy class tomorrow and I will take 2 pans to the teacher lounge at school! Cinnamon Rolls were a hit, I highly recommend them. Your family will love you, your waistline... not so much! Happy Holidays! :)

**Read on... I wrote one more blog post tonight about meeting my hero, THE Pioneer Woman** Two posts in one night... I know!

Dear Pioneer Woman: You had me from, "It’s a sweat ring self protectionist thing."

From one hot natured woman to another, I instantly loved the Pioneer Woman! It took little convincing from my mom and a Sunday morning of reading Black Heels to Tractor Wheels and I was hooked on everything Pioneer Woman. After reading a few of her blog posts about her Basset Hound Charlie, with paws that smell like fritos and her very good looking, chaps wearing, husband Marlboro Man, we became instant friends.

Well I got to meet my new friend, when she came to Dallas for her cookbook tour. My AMAZING mom called me at school telling to me to drop my plans for the night because she was giving me an early Christmas present. Early that morning she had driven to the Border's in Dallas to get a VIP, Gold bracelet for the book signing which meant we would be one the first 100 people to meet Mrs. Ree Drummond herself! I was ecstatic! My mom picked me up handed me my present, the Pioneer Woman cookbook and we were on our way!
It was a very cold, wet and rainy night which cut us close with our 6:45 pm deadline to get in line... I appreciated my mom and my shiny gold bracelet when I walked into the book store and saw this Pioneer Madness!
We later found out that the bookstore had handed out 900 bracelets!!!! The color bracelet you had determined what time you would get into the "official" line. Our gold bracelet allowed us to walk up to the front of the line and we followed that blue tape to the path that led to the Pioneer Woman!

Me and my beautiful mother! (Please ignore the warn off makeup; that's is what 19 kindergartners and indoor recess will do to a girl!)
Here we are with our gold, VIP bracelets.
Even though we were with the first 100 people in line that line sure did creep along. I cannot imagine being part of the last group to join the line. The signing started at 7:00 and we got to the front at 8:25 p.m. Here is our first Pioneer Woman sighting...
Ree, I wondered if you were as nervous as I was... you looked quite calm when we finally reached you. I wondered how your hand held up signing all of those cookbooks. How did your smile hold up? I always get the half smile/ half wincing look after too many pictures... not you.
We kept asking one another, what are you going to say to her? You only get one chance... and I honestly cannot remember what I said to her. I hope something came out... I remember smiling, giggling, not much else. I was so excited...

(My mom is so cute! I want to be just like her...)

When the man running the show shooed us along after glaring at us for walking behind the table to take a picture we were handed a free Tshirt!!!! Then we saw her sweet little "punks" she likes to call them. The Pioneer Woman's daughters came with her to the signing and I snuck behind to take a picture with them after getting them to sign the cookbook as well.
This was a great night. We found out that the store stayed open until 2 a.m. until every person had their book signed. I was thankful for my mom's "with it" knowledge to go early to sign up and for the gold bracelet! I like to think that my signed cook book gives me special powers as I brave recipes like her Cinnamon Rolls and Beef Stew... we will see! :)
Happy Cooking! P.S. She told us she will be publishing her and Marlboro Man's love story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels with juicier details! Can't wait!