DIY: The Ultimate Wire Holder

On this episode of hoarders…

Do you have a wire hoarder as a significant other as well? After I got married, I moved into my husband’s place. As I started to unpack my crafts, I found bins and bins of wires. Wires galore! TV cables, electronic wires, headphones, chargers, lions, tigers, and bears! I knew I married a techie; I didn’t know I married a wire wholesaler.

Wire hoarder
Organizing the large cables

Wires/ChargersMore cables!

If you have a significant other like mine, then I have the perfect Valentine’s gift idea for you. It’s an easy weekend project. If you’re the wire hoarder, then treat yourself to this organizer.

DIY Project – The Ultimate Wire Holder

Displayed

What you’ll need:

  • About 77 poster tubes 2″ in diameter and 6″ in length or 30″ in length so you can cut your desired length yourself
  • Hot glue
  • Crate (ask someone at the local farmer’s market for a crate)

Line up tubes 7 in a row (or until the row reaches the end of the crate). Line the second row in between the first. See the diagram below:

wire-holder-instructions

Second step, glue the tubes together. I glued the tubes inside the crate as I worked so that I know exactly how many rows I can make. My crate was able to hold 11 rows, 7 in a row.

Once the glue is dry, start organizing your small cables, chargers, headphones, etc.

Cut
I actually bought kraft tubes in 30″ length and we sawed each of the tubes into 6″ inch lengths. This is a lot of work! Next time around, I am simply going to purchase the 6″ tubes.

Stacked
Lined up and glued in the crate

Done
Organized and displayed on MG’s table top

Organized
Reminds me of honeycombs (just a little?)

Organized

MG and I put shoelaces, extra car keys, iPod cases, headlamps, Krazy Glue, basically anything that can fit into the tubes. Or you can put your paws in…

Chubs
“My Box… Muahaha!!!”

Isn’t this a perfect gift for a crazed wire collector? How do you organize your cables and chargers? What are some other ways you’ve seen people organize?

What are you getting for your loved one for Valentine’s Day?
Jay
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Buy kraft tubes at Uline here

  

DIY: Jeweled Frames

I’ve come across some super cute jeweled frames, especially from Z Gallerie. Look how pretty these are!

Jeweled Frames

Too bad they range from $18-40. Wah. wah. wah. That’s more than what I’m willing to spend.

This only means one thing! It’s time for a DIY! For under $5, you can make jeweled frames.

frame 1

Materials:  frame, paint, E-6000 craft glue, and mosaic tiles

Simply paint the frame and let it dry overnight. Then align the tiles, and glue each piece to the frame.

Similar mosaic tiles here.

Frame 2

Materials:  frame, E-6000 craft glue, beads, and spray paint.

For this frame, I purchased silver beads. I first aligned the beads and glued them onto the frame. Next I removed the glass, picture, and picture mat, then sprayed paint the entire frame with the beads white. Let it dry overnight.

Similar beads here.

Frame 3Here’s a different design for our bookshelf.

I like the juxtaposition of the tiles and beads. Each one has a personality, and every piece doesn’t match in size, shape, and alignment. Put your favorite photo of you and your friend and it will make for a great Christmas gift!

Is this a project you can do? What would you use these frames for? I actually used these frames to display my engagement pictures at my wedding.

DIY away!
Jay

Also check out my revamped frames from JCP for the house!
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1  //  2  //  3  //  4

  

Yummy Fruit Tart Recipe

Fruit tarts are like little delicate bites of goodness – flakey, sweet, creamy. Yum! No only are they tasty, but also eye candy, so pretty!

Delicious

My sister shared with me this amazing recipe and now it’s your turn to try it out. Typically I make one large fruit tart, but it can’t be easily served. If you have an amateur server, you sometimes get cheated of custard or fruit. I’m sure you know what I mean. You saw that strawberry fall off your piece but then it was served to the next person or worse, your server ate it! And you could have sworn that part of that custard was yours because you can see straight to the pie crust on your plate… The frustration. I get it!

Big tart
A big one is so pretty though!

For this recipe, I made mini fruit tarts because its easier for large parties (especially with Thanksgiving coming up). More importantly, you feel like you had your fair share, all the custard and all the fruits!

By the way, remember that homemade vanilla extract post? It’s time to use it!

Ingredients for vanilla custard:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:

1. Combine milk and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until it’s simmering.
2. Whisk egg yolks and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a separate bowl. Then add cornstarch and mix until pale yellow and thick.
3. Slowly add milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return to medium heat until mix is thickened.
4. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract.
5. Place custard into a bowl and cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure that the wrap touches the top of the cream so skin does not form. Refrigerate until cold throughout (can last up to 2 days).

As the custard is cooling, work on the crust!

Directions for the pie crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar (aka powdered sugar), 1.5 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of unsalted butter (softened and sliced). Knead until the dough feels tacky. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Spray the muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Roll out dough, and flatten it  across each cup of the muffin pan (keep in mind that this recipe is for mini tarts). Bake for 10-12 minutes until light brown. Pop each pie crust out and cool on a rack.

mini piesI flattened each cup with my finger tips

crustTake a butter knife and pop each of these tarts out, one by one

Now put everything together! Scoop custard into the little pie crusts. Decorate with fruits. I also glaze the tops of the tarts with apricot jam (simply microwave the jam until it’s spreadable, let it cool, then brush it onto the tops of the tarts). Glazing is totally optional.

Fruit
Don’t use fruits that brown (fresh apples, fresh pears, fresh peaches, and bananas)

Glazed
Glazed. Told you, eye candy.

YumEnjoy!

What’s your favorite dessert? Are fruit tarts on the top of the list? If you’re making this, who will you be making it for?

I love little delicate bites of goodness,
Jay

  

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Next week is Thanksgiving! What will be on your dinner menu?

I’ve been going to Costco very frequently since I started juicing. MG and I buy all our organic veggies in bulk. Now that it’s the Fall season, I came across a big box of organic butternut squash, already cut up into bite sized chunks! Yes, an exclamation mark because there’s that much excitement!

I then ventured to make butternut squash soup, and I’m so glad I did! I revised a Whole Foods recipe, and now I’m definitely making roasted butternut squash soup as an appetizer for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s an easy soup to make, and you can make a big pot of it so it’s perfect for guests.

Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup of diced carrots
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped ginger
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1.5 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. First things first. Preheat your oven to 350°F. As the oven is heating up, lay out the butternut squash chunks onto a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper generously. Once the oven is heated, roast the squash for 40 minutes or until chunks are soft. When time is up, let the squash cool. Practice self-control and don’t snack on all the squash!
2. In a large pot, heat up the oil. Throw in the carrots, celery, onion, and ginger and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add the roasted butternut squash and thyme and cook for about 2 minutes.
3. Stir in chicken broth, coconut milk, and red curry paste. Bring to boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
4. This is the tricky part. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup. I don’t have an immersion blender, so I scooped out all the veggies, and puréed the ingredients in a blender then added everything back to the soup base.
5. Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy!

Roast
Roasted butternut squash is such a yummy snack! Simply drizzle olive oil, sprinkle salt & pepper, and roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 350°F.

Yum
So creamy and delicious!

DrinkDon’t burn your tongue!

DoneAll clean! 

I love the spicy kick from the curry. I love the thickness of the soup. I love the warmth in my belly after I drink a bowl. So tasty!

What are you making for a Thanksgiving appetizer? Do you have your own butternut squash recipe you can share with us? Is this something you can try?

Are you hungry now?
Jay
—–
Original Whole Foods Recipe

  

A New Look For My Wall Rack

If you’ve been reading along, you know I’m a bargain hunter. Hunting for goodies at thrift stores, Cost Plus World Market, and Marshall’s for home decor is my hobby! Okay, maybe not but I really enjoy doing it.

One knows that you can never have enough wall racks in your bedroom. I have two but it’s weird how my clothes still like to leave a path on the floor of where I walk. Does that happen to you too? Strange right?

Recently I came across a wall coat rack at Marshall’s for $10 in the clearance area. It was on sale because someone had put some nail polish paint on the corner and a knob was missing. I couldn’t pass up such a good deal and had to have it!

Marshall's Find

All I saw was potential!

Marshall's rack

I love the grain of the boards and the marbling of the knobs. I didn’t reuse the knobs for this project, but I’m going to save them for something else. Nowadays there are so many decorative knobs. The Anthropology knobs are swoon-worthy, but for $8 a knob, that’s almost the price of my wall rack! Nope… cannot. Fortunately I went to Cost Plus World Market and came across adorable knobs for $1.99 a piece. Done!

Knobs I love the colors of these knobs and how they are different. The blue helps bring them all together.

First off, I sanded down the rack so that new paint could stick and so that the nail polish paint was gone. I put a fresh coat of paint on the wall rack, a light and sheer white to make it a lighter color. The sheerness also allows the grain detail to show through. Then I took off the old knobs and screwed in the new colorful ones. This is the final product:

Done!

It’s hanging in our bedroom, and it’s the first thing you see when you walk in. I just need to be careful to not put my delicates on the rack so that guests don’t see!

What do you think of the revamped wall rack? Is this something you can do? How many coat racks do you have in your bedroom, and do you need more too?

Happy deal hunting,
Jay
—–
White Frost Acrylic Paint by FolkArt

  

Reece’s Pieces & More Pieces

Candies

Cleaning is fun when you find random surprises. The best is when you find money! Though I didn’t come across any cash, I did find a 25lb box of Reece’s Pieces. You might not be so lucky, unless you had a roommate that owns a yogurt shop. Because that’s what happened to us and fortunately winner, winner, chicken dinner… err Reece’s Pieces, you know what I mean.

25lb box

Obviously snacking is a good choice for these little, circular goodies. Also baking!!!

If you don’t bake often, here are a few helpful tips.

  • Mix the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients.
  • Butter and eggs should always be at room temperature.
  • In case you’ve forgotten to take the butter and eggs out to sit, you can heat the butter in the microwave in 5 second bursts until it’s softened. You can also submerge the eggs in warm water for 5 minutes for room temperature.
  • Freeze the dough if there’s too much! That way you can always bake cookies when guests come over or if you’re craving freshly baked cookies.

Onward to two delicious cookie recipes for you to try.

CookiesRegular Reece’s Pieces cookies on the left. Reece’s Pieces Muesli Cookies on the right (I call them my healthy cookies).

Reece’s Pieces Cookies
(makes 4 dozen large cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup and 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups Reece’s Pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Beat the eggs, then add the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix the granulated sugar and brown sugar together. Then blend the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Blend the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add in the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix in the Reece’s Pieces.
  7. Form dough balls onto a baking sheet. I like to make bite-sized cookies, so I use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon to help me form the dough balls.
  8. When the oven is ready, put the tray into the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Eat them!

Reece’s Pieces Muesli Cookies
(makes 2 dozen large cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of muesli
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups of Reece’s Pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg (at room temperature)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Beat the eggs, then add the vanilla extract.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix the granulated sugar and brown sugar together. Then blend the butter into the sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Blend the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture. Add in the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix in the muesli and Reece’s Pieces.
  7. Form dough balls onto a baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

These recipes are amazing. When I make them, my husband can eat a dozen in a sitting, and people are always grabbing for more!

With so many Reece’s Pieces, I had to make a Reece’s Pieces cake too.  I baked chocolate cake from the box, put on frosting, and then places the Reece’s Pieces on top. This is going to be such a hit for Fall.

CakeIsn’t it so pretty?

Cake

What else should I make with Reece’s Pieces? Any ideas?

Get in my belly,
Jay

  

The Legendary Steak

Who doesn’t love a nice piece of meat?

Steak with butter

If you’ve ever been to our house, you might have been lucky enough to have MG’s fricken awesome steak. After having this for dinner, I honestly don’t care to go to steakhouses. We’ve been to a few restaurants for steak since, but I still compare it to the one we eat at home.

I’m finally willing to share the recipe with you! If you follow these steps, your steak will turn out amazing every time.

First off, get a nice piece of meat. I love bone-in ribeye – it has a good texture and enough fat for a flavorful steak. If you’re willing to splurge, get the Prime cut at Costco. If you’re really willing to put some money down, find a butcher for a dry-aged piece of meat. Whole Foods sells their dry-age ribeye for ~$22/lb. Five Dot Ranch has mind-blowing cuts of meat, you can find them at the Oxbow market in Napa Valley, ~$25/lb for dry-aged, but totally worth the cost.

Whole Foods - Steak^^^ This is at Whole Foods

Let’s get started! Preheat the oven to 500° F.

As you’re pre-heating the oven, sprinkle McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning onto the steak, not too much because you want to still taste the meat flavor. I also love Gibson’s Seasoning Salt (a steakhouse located in Chicago), but for this recipe, we’ll stick to McCormick’s.

Favorite Seasonings
^^^ My two favorite seasonings

Sprinkle

Once the oven hits 450° F, heat up your cast iron skillet on high. Get it as hot as you can (if this is a used skillet, the previous oil residue will start to steam, which is a good indicator that it’s hot).

Once the skillet is hot, hot, hot, add a slice of butter onto the pan. When the butter is melted, place the steak onto the skillet. Sear each side for only 30 seconds. Searing helps to keep all the juices in.

Melt the Butter

Sear the Steak

Other Side

The oven should be at 500° F at this point. Place the entire skillet into the oven. Bake the steak 2 minutes on each side (this is for 1 inch steaks only). If the steak is thicker than 1 inch, place the steak in the oven for 3 minutes on each side.

Baking

Last step, after taking the steak out of the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes. Basically this lets the steak soak up all the juice. And yes, a juicy steak is where it’s at! This is the hardest step since your house probably is filled with mouth-watering smells of steak.

SteakLook at that char!

Now savor every bite of steak because it’s probably amazing, and juicy, and flavorful, and all kinds of goodness. As I’m typing this, I feel like I can smell the deliciousness.

Delicious Steak

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served

Few tips:

  • A cast iron skillet is best because it allows you to sear the steak with some char, which adds some crispiness to the texture.
  • This is a little trick I learned from an outdoors man that I used to work with. Poke at your thumb nugget to gauge how well done the meat is.

Doneness of Steak

  • Wine? Pshhh… I love eating steak with milk. The milk is so sweet, and steak is the perfect match. Anyone else like to do this?
  • To clean your cast iron skillet, soak up the oil with a paper towel. Simply use hot/warm water and scrub off residue. Add some salt and scrub to get stubborn food remains. Do NOT use soap. You want your cast iron to become “well-seasoned” to prevent rust.

Washing the cast iron

What do you think? Is this something you will try?

Are you hungry now? Cause I am!
Jay
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I have the Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet in Caribbean from Macy’s

  

Flaming Cake & Revamped Goodies

Not every weekend needs to be an epic one. Sometimes, one needs to stay home to rest and buy groceries/run errands (basically my entire Saturday afternoon) and do some house things (basically my Sunday).

Three very serious and awesome things happened this weekend.

One:  this cake.

Baked Alaska
Coffee ice cream, fudge brownie, torched/flaming meringue, and bittersweet chocolate. Get it! Get it!

I went to Vault 164 in San Mateo with some friends on Friday night for dinner and drinks. The restaurant has a really scrumptious menu and fun cocktails, also very reasonable prices. I’d recommend you check it out if you’re ever in the area.

DIY projects are usually posted on Wednesdays, but I have a special treat right now. Since I am thrilled to show you some of my projects that I worked on over the weekend, I’ll be posting a DIY today!

Back on track… second very serious and awesome thing: I painted my storage unit for the bathroom! Do you remember what it looked like before? Since Chubs now owns the cabinet under the sink (his litter box is there), we had no place to put extra toilet paper. That could be a very awkward situation for guests, so you’re welcome everyone that comes over!

Bathroom Unit

Third and best thing that happened: I finally revamped that bench I bought at Salvation Army! Remember this bench that had so much potential? Remember how I paid only $15 for it? I’ve finally repainted and reupholstered it!

Bench - Before

Bench Top - BeforeIt’s so old! Look at those stains…

I’m excited to reveal this! Drumroll please!

DSC01785

What do you think? I’ll be putting this downstairs in our foyer. Can’t wait for people to walk in and see this beautiful piece!

Here’s a tutorial on how I revamped this baby. It’s an easy DIY, and the end product is well worth the effort!

Bench revamp tutorial

Bench revamp materials

Chubs
This happened during the process. Chubs approves of the fabric!

Do you like my revamps? Are you thinking about thrifting for a bench now?

What did you do this weekend?
Jay
——
Grey Wolf Satin Acrylic Paint by Martha Stewart from Michael’s (I use this for pretty much everything!)

  

Make Your Own Ramen Burger

THE RAMEN BURGER.

It’s the new food craze, and I get it! It is amazing!

A Juicy patty. Crunchy noodles. A kick of spice. The peppery taste of Arugula. And a runny yolk flowing onto your tastebuds. Have I sold you yet?

You can totally make it yourself! I’ll teach you how.

Ramen Burger

Ingredients:
1 Ramen pack (can make 4 ramen buns)
Ground beef burger patty (marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic salt, and pepper)
Cheese (Whatever you like, I used cheddar)
Arugula
Green onion – cut lengthwise into 2 inch slivers
Egg
Sriracha
Ketchup
Oil for pan frying

Instructions:
1. Cook the ramen as the pack tells you. Then drain out the soup in a colander.
2. Heat up a teaspoon of oil in a pan over medium heat.
3. To shape the ramen buns, put ramen into a bowl that is wide enough for the patty. Layer the bottom of the bowl evenly until there is no empty space, and slowly pour the ramen into the hot pan, keeping the circular shape. Do this again for the other ramen bun. Pour some oil onto the ramen buns.
4. BE PATIENT. If you move the ramen buns too early, the shape will not stay. Let the ramen buns cook for at least 5 minutes on one side. Move the ramen buns around with a spatula. If it is moving in one whole piece, you can carefully turn the bun over. If not, continue to let the ramen bun fry. Fry the other side of the bun. The bun is ready when you can pick up the entire thing in one whole piece, no loose ramen. Take it off the heat.
5. Cook the beef patty and place the cheese on top to melt.
6. Fry the egg, sunny side up or over easy.
7. Mix the Sriracha with the ketchup. More Sriracha for a spicier burger.
8. Now combine the ingredients! Spread the spicy ketchup on the bottom ramen bun, put a handful of arugula, add your delicious patty with the melted cheese, then place your fried egg on top. Place some cut green onions, and put the other ramen bun to top it off.
9. Admire your work of art, and then eat it!!!

How to Make a Ramen Burger

Then stuff this baby into your face hole!

Delicious

Yum

You know it's good
You know it’s delicious when you use multiple napkins and all 10 fingers are greasy!

What do you think of this food craze? Have you eaten it at a restaurant? Do you think you’ll be recreating it yourself?

Get in my belly,
Jay