Pinspiration Wednesday: Black-tipped French manicure

Let it be stated for posterity that I am not a pro at painting nails. I usually stick with one color, be it funky or vanilla, and call it a day. For example, my toenails have been glitter-fied enough to make a disco ball envious. That’s about as funky as this redhead gets.

I was feeling girly Thursday and found this pin of a black-tipped French manicure. Nude-color polish is my current fascination but it can be a bit blah against my already pale skin. But adding black makes it edgy, right?! (Sidenote: Can I still get away with this at 28?)

So while binging on a multiple replays of my favorite The Piano Guys videos on YouTube and staying up way past my bedtime, I gave this manicure a shot. Here’s what it looks like today:

Nothing says redneck glamour like a nail shot with a mason jar...

Nothing says redneck glamour like a nail shot with a mason jar…

I know you all are so jealous of my blue Ball Heritage Collection jar turned drinking glasses. For the record, that’s water in the bottom, not moonshine.

Now, the one pro tip I can offer – the only reason this looks half-decent is because I used reinforcement labels as guides. You know, those little stickers that I commonly call doughnuts that are used around the punch holes of loose-leaf notebook paper? Cut those suckers in half and stick them on your dry nails before painting the tips. That’s the poor girl’s way of doing a manicure!

I really didn’t raise a lot of eyebrows with this manicure. The best comment came from my dad, who jokingly (I think) said that it looked like I had grease under my nails. Specifically, that grease was “Valvoline with about 500 miles of dust” in it. I died laughing at that.

So, what do you think? Do it again with a steadier hand or leave it to the teenyboppers?

Apple-palooza

This turned up at my house on Monday…

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…and promptly consumed my soul and kitchen for two days straight.

A jazz bandmate of my husband has a few apple trees and is gracious enough to give us any leftovers when he has them. Apparently this year was a doozy for apples! What you see is one 3-gallon bucket and two 5-gallon buckets of fruit. And when these apples turn up, I have to can them fast so they don’t rot. I hate to waste free food, especially when it’s GOOD food.

I believe these are Summer Rambo apples but I’m not an apple expert. I just know they’re darn good baking apples and make the best freaking apple butter and apple pie ever.

I knocked out the 3-gallon bucket myself on Monday and turned that into five quarts of applesauce. I called in the troops (aka my sister, the fastest apple-peeler alive) last night to crank out the rest.

Out of that entire haul, I only had to pitch roughly 10 bad apples.

The final applefest tally was:
- 9 pints of pie filling
- 10 pints of unsweetened applesauce
- 5 quarts and 6 pints of cinnamon applesauce
- 2 baked apple crisps

That’s the most apple products I’ve canned to date. And I was warned that more are likely coming, so the second round will go to apple butter if I get it. Hopefully cider will be in the stores by then so I can make the apple butter!

Are any of you canning yet this year? What have you put up so far?

Pinspiration Wednesday: Tennessee sweet cornbread

So after getting a week-long break from the rain in Ohio, we’re back to cool and soggy weather. It rained so hard here last night that my pasture field was turned into a series of rushing creeks and a pond. Thankfully, everything’s back to normal today and I can actually see the sun again.

The cool weather has me craving fall foods though. I know, it’s almost August (and canning season!), but all I wanted Monday was a huge pot of soup and cornbread. I have to have bread with my soup – it’s a rule.

I was jonesin’ for cornbread, of all things, to accompany the sausage vegetable soup I made. Since I’m a Yankee, I like my cornbread sweet. I have a million cornbread recipes but I wanted to try something new, so I found this recipe for Aunt Marcia’s Tennessee Sweet Cornbread on Pinterest from http://www.justapinch.com.

I had to take a bite first to make sure I wasn't recommending something nasty to my readers! (Read: I have no self-control.)

I had to take a bite first to make sure I wasn’t recommending something nasty to my readers! (Read: I have no self-control.)

I may have also been looking for an excuse to use my Lodge cast-iron wedge pan that my mamma scored for me in a store’s clearance section last year. It’s an absolute bear to clean and needs a lot of lard for greasing still so my cornbread doesn’t stick, but I love how it gives baked items a great crust on all sides! I’m tempted to make brownies in it one day for that reason…

I really liked this cornbread and am still snacking on it today. I made the second round of it with blueberries tossed in for an extra treat! This cornbread really isn’t that sweet after I made some slight modifications and is a dryer cornbread if that’s what you prefer.

Here’s the recipe, with my modifications based on what ingredients I had:

1 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white sugar
4 Tbsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil

To make, mix together the first six ingredients together in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon. Pour into a cast-iron skillet or pan.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

What’s your favorite cornbread recipe?

(Not) Pinspiration Wednesday: Paint edition

After this week, my husband has forbidden me to mention the word “paint” for a good long while.

For the last six days painting has consumed our lives, so I don’t have a Pinspiration Wednesday for you. We’ve been painting the exterior of our 1950s ranch house pretty much the entire time and finished today. This is really the first time in two weeks that it hasn’t rained in Ohio, so we made a break for it. Go big or go home, eh?

Our house and the attached garage needed a paint job when we bought it four years ago, but other projects needed more attention, like a new furnace so we don’t freeze to death in the winter. It was getting to the point that the paint was peeling off and it starting to look like a hoopty house. The idea of vinyl siding was kicked around but it was beyond our price range. So, paint it was.

We did this completely on our own. The majority of people we announced this to thought we were nuts. It’s not rocket science, but it definitely was a bear of a job.

Sax Guy power washed, scraped and painted and I helped when I was off work and on the weekends. It took a lot of elbow grease and a lot of primer, but we’ve successfully changed our house from a dark green to a sunny yellow. Thanks to some awesome Independence Day sales, we saved $70 on the paint!

Check out the before and after action on the west side of our house:

The before shot with the original green and new primer.

The before shot with the original green and new primer.

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The after shot, with a new coat of white on the trim and overhang and our new exterior color!

Pinspiration Wednesday: Angel chicken in the slow cooker

Whoa…I kind of fell off of the face of the planet for a bit. Sorry about that. It’s been storming, I’ve been weeding, berry picking, running to a wedding…and the next I know its been more than a week since my last post! Dukes.

So, to atone, I have a really good slow cooker recipe for my Pinspiration Wednesday post. Unfortunately, I forgot to snap a pic (again) for my own visual and Pinterest’s new embedding system is completely fubar, so I don’t have a pin either.

I’m sharing the angel chicken from Cleverly Inspired (click the link for the recipe). I’ve had this one pinned for more than a year and just recently got the chance to try it.

The ingredients include mushrooms, butter, Italian dry seasoning mix, cream cheese and a can of golden mushroom soup (Yes, canned soup! The horror!).  I did make a few changes based on what I had. For example, I used two packs of button mushrooms instead of button and shiitake, regular cream cheese and adding onion and chives myself instead of purchasing chive and onion cream cheese, and chicken broth instead of the white wine.  I also tossed my chicken in frozen because ain’t nobody got time to thaw that out first.

You’ll want to keep an eye on this as it’s cooking. Mine cooked faster than the instructed five hours.

I served this over rice. Sax Guy loved this dish and he’s not much of a chicken eater. I love it because it’s done in a slow cooker and doesn’t heat up the house. Win, win!