Blanket Ladder

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Sometimes you just need to have a lazy unproductive day to keep your sanity. Which is exactly what I did today. I’ve been a little over-stressed from work lately and finally had a day off with nothing planned and I did exactly that. Nothing. Ok, well not exactly nothing. I did have a morning to night marathon of Season 1 of Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, which is my new favorite guilty pleasure show.

This DIY blanket ladder was the easiest and quickest project ever! I think it took about 30 minutes to put together and only cost about $10 to make!!

Supplies
2 2×4 @ 8ft
1 2×6 @ 8ft
2″ wood screws
Skill saw
Kreg Jig
Drill

1. Use your skill saw to make the following cuts:
2 2×4 cut to 5ft each
4 2×6 cut to 17″ each

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2. Use your Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes into the 4 2×6 pieces for 2 inch wood screws.

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3. Lay one of the 2x4s on flat, level ground. the left side of the 2×4 will be the front of your ladder. Measure and mark every 12″ along to front of the ladder where your rungs will sit. Take one of the 2x6s and set it on the 2×4, turned slightly diagonal, so that the bottom of the 2×6 is even with the front of your ladder and the top of your 2×6 is even with the back of the ladder. Attach with 2″ wood screws.

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4. Continue with the other 3 2x6s at each of the 12″ marks.

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5. Once you’ve attached all 2x6s, measure and mark every 12″ on the other 2×4, lay it on a flat ground and turn the ladder over so that the rungs meet up with the opposite side and attach with 2″ wood screws.

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Easy peasy! Now paint or stain to your desired color and add your blankets!

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As usual, I used Minwax stain in Dark Walnut. Both blankets are from Target.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

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Somebody please help me!! I’m not kidding, not exaggerating…I CAN NOT STOP EATING THESE! For some reason, because I made them, I don’t feel nearly as guilty as if I were eating the store bought kind. I can’t get over how good these peanut butter cups are. No bake, only 3 ingredients and little mini sizes that are only 100 calories each, so it’s a tiny little snack for your dessert cravings. At least, that’s what I told myself…then my husband and I ate the whole pan…The secret is the coconut oil mixed into the peanut butter, makes it extra creamy.

Ok, go make them now and let me know how much you love them so I can justify my addiction.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 mini-muffin sized cups
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate
4 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp coconut oil, warmed

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can create one with a heat proof bowl sitting on top of a saucepan of boiling water. Watch the chocolate closely, stirring occasionally to make sure it melts smoothly and doesn’t burn.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and coconut oil until combined.
3. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Spoon a tablespoon of chocolate into 1 of the muffin tin cups, spooning it mostly to one side, then add a spoonful of peanut butter to the other side of the cup. Continue this until all the cups have been filled.
4. Use a toothpick to swirl the chocolate and peanut butter together.
5. Place the muffin tin in the freezer and allow them to set for at least half an hour. When you are ready to each, run a knife around the edge of the cup to pop them out of the tin.

Original recipe from Cooking Light.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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I made frosted sugar cookies for Valentine’s day last night. I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in sugar cookie dough and cream cheese frosting…Needless to say, I have a stomach ache this morning.

In other news, what is everyone doing for Valentine’s Day?? I want to hear all your cute plans. I’m not big on holiday’s in general, especially Valentine’s Day and Halloween. On top of that, we both work weekends so going out on a night when everyone else is out, restaurants are booked and parking is hard to find, probably not going to happen for this couple. Nice night in with dinner and a bottle of wine it is!

I made these lettuce wraps a few nights ago and they were DE-LI-CIOUS! A little messy, but delicious. And very easy to prepare, marinate the chicken, mix up the sauce and chop some veggies. The chicken marinated for about 2 hours but the actual prep & cook time was about 20 minutes. Great for a weeknight if you start your marinade the night before or in the morning.

Korean Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Makes 8 wraps
2 1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp gochujang sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 cup uncooked brown rice
2 tsp canola oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
8 Bibb lettuce leaves
16 cucumber slices
3 green onions, sliced diagonally

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Place 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken slices to remaining soy sauce mixture in bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours.
2. Cook rice according to package directions.
3. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle sesame seeds over chicken.
4. Place 3 tablespoons rice in each lettuce leaf; top each lettuce leaf with 1/3 cup chicken mixture, 2 cucumber slices, and about 1 1/2 teaspoons green onions. Serve with reserved 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. Serve.

Original recipe from Cooking Light.

Inspired by…Home Office

It’s official…I’m fully addicted to Fixer Upper. I can’t stop watching, and I watch the same episodes over and over. I’m watching an old episode from season 1 as I type! I love the work, ideas and inspiration of Chip and Joanna. And they are so cute and funny together! If you haven’t seen it, check it out. And if you like “rustic farmhouse” style, this show will make you wanna remodel your entire house.

Anyway…looking at inspiration for home office spaces today. I have this awkward space off my living room that I have been trying to figure out what to do with. It is completely open the living room and dining room but is only big enough to use for a seating area, office or maybe a bar. I don’t feel like we need an additional seating area as our living room is pretty spacious and while we do love to have a cocktail once in a while, not sure that we need an actual bar in our home. So, home office it is! What is really going to make the space are the bay windows behind where the desk will sit. I’m excited to get started on this space and show you all the progress along the way. Until then…here is my inspiration.

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Antique Coffee Table

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My mom refinishes old furniture, which is where I got this DIY bug from. She had an upcoming show and was low on pieces and asked me to shop around some Portland thrift stores to see what I could find. I called her from the Habitat for Humanity Restore to let her know I found this amazing cedar chest that she had to have and it was only $40!!! She got just as excited about it after I sent her some photos. Unfortunately, this was the only piece of furniture I found for her that day, and even more unfortunate, I decided I loved it so much that I wanted to keep it for myself. Oops. Luckily I have a very understanding mom! And since then she has found plenty of furniture to refinish.

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This chest is so well built and sturdy, when I got it home I started researching it. I found an almost identical chest that originated in Mexico for $800! Did I mention I got it for $40?!?! Now for the refinishing…really simple this time. The wood was very scratched and banged but I wanted these characteristics to show through an almost white washed look. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in Pure White and just painted on one thin coat and let it dry. Then I took a very fine grit sand paper (220 grit) and sanded the surface so that the white still remained but so you could see each seam and scratch in the wood. Then I finished with a coat of Annie Sloan Soft Wax to seal the wood and paint.

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Quick change! Now time to coffee table style…

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Squash Egg-in-the-Hole

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I’m beginning to feel like the struggle of juggling the many things I have to do will never go away. No matter how much a plan and schedule, something will always come up to throw things off track or derail the progress. This is just something I’m working on dealing with right now. Trying not to be overwhelmed by all the things I expect myself to get done and not getting frustrated when things don’t go as planned.

One thing I got used to this summer, while not working, was having delicious and healthy food all the time. I had so much time for meal prep and cooking that I made breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. As you probably guessed by my above rant, I have not been keeping up on this lately. The search continues for things that are quick and easy to prepare but are still filling and healthy…enter Squash Egg-in-the-Hole. So delicious, so filling and so fast! It took me 30 minutes to prepare this, I could make a dozen and it would serve as breakfast for an entire week for the two of us. This is a great weekday breakfast for busy mornings that you can make ahead of time, pop in the microwave and eat before running out the door.

Squash Egg-in-the-Hole
Makes 4 servings
1 large acorn squash
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
cooking spray
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. Trim off about 1/2 inch from each end of the squash; discard. Slice remaining midsection of squash crosswise into 4 (3/4 inch thick) rounds. Remove seeds and membrane with spoon.
3. Brush both side of squash with oil, and place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and crushed red pepper. Bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
4. Remove baking sheet from oven. Crack an egg into the center of each squash slice; sprinkle eggs with remaining salt. Return pan to oven, reduce oven temperature to 350° and bake for 12 minutes or until eggs are cooked. Transfer to plates using a spatula; sprinkle with thyme and bacon. Serve immediately.

Original recipe from Cooking Light.