Painted Wine Bottles

With the holiday season here, I thought this week I would try and do something festive. Pinterest has a million fun Christmas projects to choose from so it was a tough decision on what to pick. Painted wine bottles are something easy and cheap to create so I thought I would attempt to do it. I got inspired by a few different pins I found and thought I would combine a few styles.

I loved the sparkle of these wine bottles and how “Christmasy” it looked. So I went to Hobby Lobby and bought glitter spray paint in silver and gold. They happen to have a sale going on for 30% off so I got each bottle for only $5!

I have also always wanted to try and use chalkboard spray paint so I thought I would combine the glitter from the top picture with this version of the chalkboard paint below.

I already had leftover wine bottles at my house that my roommates and I finished (and don’t worry we are all of age :)). The chalkboard paint was also on sale for $4 so I only spent about $16 total! I also bought primer to spray on the bottles first.

Priming the bottles went smoothly but when I moved on to the glitter paint, my spray cans stopped working half way through.

So this project turned out to be a fail….but only for now. I really want to redo this because it is still easy and I loved the way it started to look. If your going to try this please don’t get discouraged by my mishap. I believe it is possible!

Supplies I used:

  • 3 wine bottles
  • Warm soapy water (to take off wine labels)
  • 2 cans of glitter spray paint (silver and gold)
  • White primer spray paint
  • Old newspapers or any sort of covering for surface you will be painting on

Merry Christmas Everyone and Happy Holidays! Stay tuned for my corrections and let’s hope it turns out right the second time!

Does anyone else have any fun holiday crafts they are trying out? I’d love some more ideas to add to my Christmas board!

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Three Cheese Macaroni

This week I wanted to make something that was warm and comforting since it’s getting a little chilly here in Wisconsin. I’ve always wanted to make homemade macaroni and cheese so I figured this was the perfect time. There’s a million recipes on Pinterest for mac and cheese but for some reason this one stuck out to me the most (probably because of the three different cheeses). This recipe is from the Food Network so I knew it had to be good.

The recipe was pretty easy to follow but of course I had a few set backs. With my limited college cooking supplies, I had to buy a cheese shredder to shred all the fancy cheese. I also had to borrow a bigger pot from a friend because this recipe was pretty big and could probably serve a whole family.

The end result was amazing. The mac and cheese was so ooey and gooey and so cheesy and I was very impressed it turned out as good as it did. Since the recipe yielded up to six servings, I had a few friends help me eat it all. They all said it was the best homemade macaroni and cheese they’ve ever had so I would definitely make it again.

Next time I would try and make it a little healthier though since the recipe may be little fattening, So I researched some alternatives you could substitue in. For the heavy cream, you could replace it with Greek-style yogurt, evaporated milk or sour cream. I would also use less butter.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound white Cheddar, shredded
  • 4 ounces Romano, shredded
  • 4 ounces Asiago, shredded
  • 2 cups bread crumbs (suggested: panko (Japanese) available at most markets)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In large pot filled with water add 3 pinches of salt and the macaroni and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking until a roux or paste forms. Add cold milk and whisk vigorously until dissolved. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly. Add heavy cream, all cheeses, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Cook until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked macaroni to cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Place macaroni mixture in a 13 by 9 baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and serve.

I’m Feeling Crabby

My first food fail (and I’m sure there will be more).

Well this week I was REALLY craving crab cakes. I’ve never really had them until this summer and I fell in love! So I thought I would try to whip up some of my own. Well needless to say they didn’t turn out very well. But hey, oh well, I’m not an expert yet!

I found this great recipe for crab cakes on Pinterest of course and I will definitely have to try making it again. The recipe seemed really easy and had ingredients that I actually heard of. So I thought it was a good recipe to start with for a beginner like me. However, I think my major fail was the fact that I didn’t use actual crab meat. I used imitation crab which I thought would probably be the same… Well folks it’s not!

My advice for you all would be to find real crab! I went shopping at Festival Foods and probably should have asked if they had the real thing. Now I’ve learned my lesson for next time. But they kind of look good right?:)

Ingredients:
1 lb. Lump Crab Meat
2 Slices White Bread, crumbled, crust removed
1 Egg, beaten
2 tbsp. Mayo
1 tsp Seafood Seasoning (such as Old Bay Seasoning)
1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp. Dried Parley Flakes
2 tsp. lemon juice
Extra virgin olive oil or butter (for sauteing)
Directions:
Combine all ingredients except the crab meat in a bowl. Gently fold in crab meat and chill for one hour before forming into three ounce cakes.
Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil or butter in the bottom of a medium skillet.  Saute the crab cakes over medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side, adding more olive oil or butter as needed.

I also made this very delicious horseradish sauce I found from another recipe, crab stuffed mushrooms.  I will probably attempt to make this as well because I’m kind of obsessed with mushrooms.

Horseradish Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
2-3 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce
Directions
Stir to combine. For a fuller fat version you can use more mayo or substitute the mayo in this recipe for horseradish cream.
Even though this was a fail for me, I really suggest you guys trying to make it. Let me know how they turn out for you! And remember use real crab!

Grilled Cheese Mania

I love the traditional grilled cheese sandwich. It is my go to staple food for when I’m out of groceries, in a rush and have no time to cook a full meal or on a cold day served with a bowl of tomato soup. So when I started my Pinterest journey I was really into finding foods that were unusual and out of the ordinary. Earlier this year I randomly found a recipe for Guacamole Bacon Grilled Cheese that looked amazing and was dying to try! When I finally made it, it gave me a new outlook on the traditional sandwich and I began my search for other fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.

So I turned to my trusty site and found a ton of new recipes to try! My first fancy sandwich I wanted to try was a Parmesan Crusted Pesto Grilled Cheese. The outside has a delicious parmesan crust with an inside of gooey mozzarella cheese and basil pesto. I love pesto and I never would have thought to make it in a grilled cheese. The finished product was scrumptious and something that I definitely would make again! The best part is that the recipe is only 3 easy steps and made with cheap ingredients!

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Ingredients

  • 2 slices ciabatta or French bread
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter, for brushing the bread
  • 2 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

I also found a little more of a challenging grilled cheese that I pushed myself to make and probably never would have made. This Spinach and Mushroom Grilled Cheese took a little more time and effort but was definitely worth my while. The sandwich is filled with mushrooms, spinach, garlic, and monetary jack cheese topped with Dijon mustard. The recipe also called for goat cheese but I thought I’d skip it to save a little money. This sandwich was pretty tasty as well but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the mustard in it.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 3 ounces (about 1/2 bag) spinach
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices whole wheat bread
  • Softened butter

Now these are only a few of the great grilled cheese sandwiches that I found. I also found a pin from the Food Network website that had 50 different grilled cheese recipes! Who knew there were that many kinds out in the world!