Monday, July 24, 2017

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (Healthy)


My addiction to this dip is real. My lovely friend Maggie brought this to my house a while ago and everyone that ate it became obsessed with it. I am sure you are thinking okay it is a cookie dough what is the big deal..... BECAUSE it has no eggs, no flour.... and is healthy. I am sure you are like that sounds weird. Honestly, I ate like half the container before she told me it was healthy and then I was laughing about it. Anyway it is delicious and I want to make it all the time. Maggie served her's with vanilla wafers and I do the same. To make it even more healthy you can serve it with celery too. SHHH... Here is the secret recipe.

What you need~
1 can of rinsed and drained chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup maple syrup *If you want it more sweet at more
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rolled oats
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Seasoning ( I used pumpkin pie spice)












Start by adding all ingredients (not the chocolate chips) to the food processor or blender. I blended mine for at least 2 minutes. I stopped the food processor and scrapped the sides down periodically. I layered the chocolate chips on the bottom of the dish and then scooped dip on top. Then I sprinkled the remainder of the chocolate chips on top of that. I like it chilled but you can serve it any temperature and it is outstanding.


Ready to blend.


Time to get creamy.


I love when it is almost done. That is when you get to taste it.



NOM NOM NOM.


I have had babies to picky adults love this recipe. You just have to try it. I promise it will become your new addiction. It is creamy and filling. PLUS with the chickpeas you get a ton of protein. It is also perfect for a potluck as it  can sit out!

Okay I will stop talking about it now. Just go make this amazingness.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Friday, July 21, 2017

Bath Renovation: Master Bath Finished


Done. Finished. Yes.

I was typing out the title to this post and it became real that we finally finished this huge project. There was literally blood, sweat and tears during this project. I thought the easiest way to do the before and after pictures was to break each section down below. I know this is a long post but I am really proud of our work so hang in there. You can always ignore my comments and look at all the pretty pictures too. I won't judge you either way. We are really happy with the outcome.

Shower-




Most people saw the post about this already so if you want to see more details on it click on there. This was the easiest part but most expensive part of the remodel. Would I hire again to do it? Yes. It was expensive but after doing everything else ourselves it was worth it.









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Floor-


I wanted a gray/brown wood looking floor that would tie the shower into the rest of the room. We looked at a couple places and settled on this option from Menards. It is a bit thicker than other options but we really liked it and it seemed extra durable. One thing you learn really quickly when you strip a bathroom down is that people do strange things when trying to make things right. For us that meant the sub floor, a layer of linoleum and then another layer of subflooring. We worked around it. We also had to install subflooring where the old vanity was as they did not extend the floor out that far under it. That and putting in the t-strips was a little rough. T-strips if you an unaware are expensive and supposed to just "snap" in place. Yea.... Not in my house. Ryan did a good job installing the floor and I love it.





















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Trim-
This was bad. The old owners did a poor job of painting so the trim had a ton of paint on it. Not to mention years of scratches. The house was built in the 80's and needed some major updating. We bought pre-primed trim that I painted it all brown. Once installed I went back through with a tiny brush and touched up all the trim. This was time consuming but it really freshened the bathroom. I sadly did not think to take a pictures of the old crappy trim. Please enjoy some after pictures instead. We picked a chocolate brown color to paint the window trim, door trim, base boards and little dividing wall.



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Toilet-


Our old toilet was fine. It was one of those energy savings ones we first put in when we bought the house. I just hated the button it had on top. It was not good looking. So, we decided to replace it easy right? WRONG. Turns out even the plumber we hired (who is an older gentlemen) had never seen such a stubborn toilet. We personally tried to install the new one (which I love) at least 4 times before we gave up and let him deal with it when he showed up to move the vanity plumbing. It is the effort that counts right? I love the new one it is more classic looking.




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Cabinet-

We have a giant built in cabinet next to the toilet. I HATED it. It was all brown and dated looking with these giant weird handles in the middle of the doors. I could go on and on about it but originally I wanted to rip it out and replace it. The bones of it were actually really good and Ryan talked me into repainting it. I wanted to tie it together with the vanity so I painted to doors the same blue chalk paint that I painted the vanity. The rest of the cabinet was updated with the same hardware as the vanity and all white exterior. I have no idea why but I got extremely excited seeing this finished. It really made the room look so much better.

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Light fixtures and power outlets-
We had cream gross outlets and we replaced them with white. You can see that in some of the pictures. Ryan also did some electrical work in this bathroom moving the light fixture. This bathroom was renovated for him to be able to use the vanity and not have to bend way over or have to have the light in his face. The light we had was really cool (we installed it when we moved in) so we used the same one and moved it up. Ryan did a great job doing this as it involved A LOT of work. I won't bore you with all the details but it had him cutting drywall, removing old fixture, watching youtube etc. It was time consuming but worth it for us tall people. If you look at this picture the light used to be where those mirrors are. Now it is way higher.








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Vanity-
Never again. I say that because this thing was a major labor of love. I ruined shirts making this thing and wore real cool masks in the process. Click HERE HERE HERE to read about my overall progress. 8 coats of tung oil, 2 coats of poly later the top was done. The rest of the vanity had 3 coats of blue chalk paint and 2 coats of poly. The top was made by my father-in-law and really after all the stress it looks amazing. This thing involved at least 40 hours of work. When it is all said and done I have a gorgeous piece of art in my bathroom. Here are like a bunch of pictures of it so enjoy!


 
 
 
 





In closing. I love this bathroom. It sucked up 2 months of my life though. When people would ask me what I was doing I am sure they were not pleased when I talked about toilet flanges for 20 minutes. So I am sorry friends and family thanks for hanging in there during this long process. Sadly home ownership involves constant projects and we already started with our next last week before this one was finished. Onto the retaining wall project!
 
Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HEALTHY Mac & Cheese


O.M.G. I cannot believe something this simple is so delicious. Most of the time when someone tells you to try a healthy recipe you want to laugh in their face because let's be real mac & cheese is not something that you think of as healthy. One of my best friends Liz made this for her son Sawyer who is a baby and if he loved it I knew I had to try it. I mean there still is cheese, milk and butter but what really makes the difference is there is less of these things. This is due to the magical veggie you add to the sauce..... butternut squash. I have never in my life cooked this squash but it was easy to do and let me tell you this is going into normal recipe rotation at our house. I had enough from this recipe to make 4 full bowls of the mac & cheese for Ryan and I. We did not eat all that but we do have some tasty leftovers for lunches.

What you need~
2 cups pasta (I used elbow)
1 cup milk (I used almond)
1 cup cheese (I used mild cheddar)
1 butternut squash (medium in size)
1 tablespoon of butter
Mrs. Dash (or seasoning) to taste






Start by pre-heating oven to 400 degrees F. Cut your squash in half and brush with olive oil. Roast until fork tender. I cooked mine for an hour due to the size. Make your pasta while the squash roasts. Remove squash from oven and peel off the skin. Place the squash in a blender. Add the milk, butter, cheese and seasoning to the blender. Blend until you get everything smooth. Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta. You do not need all the sauce you will have some left over. This is good for when you reheat the pasta you can add a little of the extra sauce to make the pasta creamy again.







In the blender and ready to blend.

Make sure it is smooth.

Pour all that yumminess over the pasta.

So creamy!

I mean look at it. Perfection.

I bet you will eat an entire bowl.
This was the best mac & cheese I have personally ever made at home. I was happy I did not have to make a flour paste or anything like normal mac & cheese. PLUS this has a ton of healthy things in it with the squash. I topped ours with chicken. You can top it with bacon too if you wanted.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, July 17, 2017

Juicing a Watermelon

Perfect for margaritas! I saw this video of Alton Brown doing this technique and I knew I had to try it. I watched his video which you can easily find by googling it and set off to attempt this myself. It worked perfectly if you know what you are doing. I did not so it was a bit of a mess. Word to the wise do this in the sink. Pairing this with some tequila and fizzy water/sprite it is a really refreshing summer drink.

What you need~
1 seedless watermelon
Knife
Stick blender/ emersion blender
Large pitcher













Start by cutting a large hole in the top of your watermelon with your knife. Make sure the hole is large enough to fit the hand blender in. Slowly start to blend the watermelon in a downward motion. My husband is smarter than me and recommended I do this after it sprayed me. After about 3 minutes of blending I poured some of the juice into the pitcher so I could better see what I had left to blend. I only blended enough for a large pitcher and I actually cut the rest of the watermelon up to eat. It was actually really easy to do this once I worked out using my hand blender. I hardly use it at all except for like soups and such. We made some tasty margaritas with the juice and what is left I plan to drink with sparkling water.






In other positive news we have a couple days left and our bathroom reno is going to be complete. I know you all cannot wait to see all the pictures. Soon my friends!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2017 Mid-summer recap

Summer, summer, summertime. This summer is flying by and I can barely keep up it seems. I almost feel bad because I have not been able to do my normal vagabond life this summer due to us doing non-stop home renovations. I thought this would be the perfect time to do a little mid-summer recap of what has been going on with me. So hang tight here we go.

1. Home renovation.
This is mostly what takes up almost every waking moment and free moment of my life. We are finally on the home stretch we had the plumber in yesterday to move our vanity plumbing and fix our messed up toilet. Renovating a bathroom so it works for someone 6 feet 2 inches is ruff. Really I am a luck girl because my husband is like crazy handy without him I would have to hire someone to renovate this.  Here is the thing about renovating a bathroom or really anything in your home. You will come across stuff that you either did not expect (hello messed up sub-floor) or have to watch a ton of internet tutorials to learn how to do stuff. Is it exhausting? Yes. Is it frustrating? Yes. Do you save a ton of money? Yes. Do you feel accomplished? Yes. In the end was it worth it? I think so. I will of course in the end post a detailed before and after post with pictures. I mean in the end you don't want to know all the details you just want to see the pretty bathroom.





2. Concerts.
Usually I go to a ton of concerts in the summer. This summer started with a bluegrass festival (Blue Ox  you rock!) and have seen a couple bands along the way as well. Outdoor concerts tend to be the best but I for sure endured a intense weather event this year at Summerfest seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers.














3. Canoe.
We love to canoe that is no secret around here. We have gone out about three times now to different lakes. I can for sure say I enjoy smaller lesser known lakes after attempting on the fourth of July to go out on a popular Chain O' Lakes. That was a bad idea there was way too much traffic. We plan on even doing some kayaking this summer. Ryan and I love being active and being on the water when it is hot is a big plus.













4. Food.
I am a die-hard foodie. I dream of food, I watch food shows, I go out to eat a couple times a week and I cook all the time. It is a huge part of my life. Sadly with this home renovation going on I have less time to cook lately. I try to fit it in more though because it is relaxing to be in the kitchen. Here are some pictures of things I have managed to cook lately.



 
I know at the end of the summer I will reflect again and be sad how fast this summer flew by. So far it has been really busy but I like it that way. Here is to hoping that the bathroom is done soon and I can be outside more the rest of the summer!
 
Until next time~
XoXo Emily
 
 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Korean Tacos


Are you lazy but really love tacos? This is the recipe for you. Everything can be prepared ahead of time so you can throw together quick tacos for many meals. Heck we had tacos one night, tortilla wraps for lunch the next day and nachos last night. The meat you throw together in the crockpot will be flavorful and is perfect for when you are busy.

What you need~
Pork butt (2 pounds is what I bought)
1 cup seltzer
1 cup Gochujang sauce

Gochujang what the heck is that I bet is what you are thinking right now.

Per WIKI:
Gochujang or red chili paste is a savory, sweet, and spicy fermented condiment made from gochutgaru, glutinous rice, mejutgaru, yeotgireum, and salt. The sweetness comes from the starch of cooked glutinous rice, cultured with saccharifying enzymes during the fermentation process. Traditionally, it has been naturally fermented over years in jangdok on an elevated stone platform, called jangdokdae, in the backyard.

I bought it at Aldi in a bottle. Most grocery stores sell it. Look for it in the ethnic isle.

I always start by placing my meat in my slow cooker on the low setting for 8 hours. I pour in the
seltzer around the meat and then Gochujang sauce over the meat. Let this cook down for the full 8 hours. Shred it and then let it sit for another half hour before eating.

Like I stated above it goes well on everything. It is not overly spicy which I adore. It reheats well in the microwave or oven for a couple days. I highly doubt you will have much left over by the end of the week though. I serve mine with cilantro and spicy coleslaw I made.








Can even use the meat for nachos!

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

PS: We are getting a plumber in to work on the toilet and moving some plumbing this week. Bathroom renovation is chugging along. This is exhausting but I can see the finish line.