Monday, June 29, 2015

Cookie Bites and Ottoman Covers, Oh My!

I posted this picture on Instagram recently, and a number of people asked me what exactly it was and if they could have the recipe.

I figured it would be easiest to share the recipe here, so here ya go!

Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites*

1/2 c. unsalted butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
8 oz. chocolate chips (about 1 c.)
1 tsp. coconut oil or shortening (for thinning the chocolate)

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and sugar together on medium speed until light and creamy.  Add the milk and vanilla.  Mix.  Add the flour and salt all at once and slowly mix until everything is moist.  Add the mini chocolate chips and mix.

3. Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2-2 tsp. of dough per sandwich, depending on desired cookie size.  Sandwich balls between two pretzels and place on baking sheet.  Freeze for 20 mins.

4.  While the pretzel bites are chilling, melt the chocolate and the coconut oil or shortening in microwave for about 1 minute, stopping to stir every 20 seconds.  Dip the pretzel bites halfway into the melted chocolate and place back on the baking sheet.  Refrigerate the dipped bites for at least 15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.  Cover and store pretzel bites in the fridge for up to five days.

*recipe found under my "Sweet Treats" Pinterest board.

It's an added bonus that this recipe is egg-free, which allows Wade to enjoy them!  And enjoy them he did.  I can't say that I blame him; they are quite tasty.

Switching gears, I just have to share a fun little project I just completed.  Remember when I shared pictures of our entryway last year?

I'd always planned to come up with some sort of slipcover for those ottomans because I knew that some fresh fabric could go a long way with their nice shape.  (I was originally inspired by what Emily A. Clark did with a similar pair of ottomans.) I finally did it, and I have to say, I am so proud of myself!

Seriously, it is a minor miracle that I somehow managed to pull this off.  I mean, I sewed these babies with minimal mistakes along the way and very little frustration.  I can hardly believe it.  I honestly find it challenging to even sew a straight line, so I really don't know how this happened.

After I completed the first one, I was so tickled with myself, I may have giggled out loud with delight.  (Let me be clear--I was also quite tired because I stayed up way too late getting these done.  But I say, sometimes all a mama needs is to enjoy a finished project in the midst of the chaos, and the satisfaction that is found makes up for some of that lost sleep!)

The fabric I used is by Nate Berkus.  I had pinned it and then quite fortuitously found it for a very discounted price on eBay.  I ordered it through this seller.

Gosh, I love the feeling when my vision for a project comes to fruition!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Our New Patio Set

Over the past couple weeks, Craigslist has been so kind to me.  Humor me and get excited with me, won't you?

I've been scouring Craigslist for a teak patio set for a while now.  (Did you know that when properly cared for, teak is said to last for generations?  Amazing!) The wrought iron set we had was decent enough, but it only sat four, which made it difficult to host friends and eat outside.  We were always wishing for more space and seating.

Definitely not my house, but note the beautiful teak furniture!

I have an alert set up through the Craigslist app (highly recommend, btw), so I am ready to pounce at a moment's notice when a post containing one of my keywords is found (in this case, "teak").  Can you imagine my horror when I inquired about a post literally six minutes after it went live, only to learn it was no longer available?  Apparently, I was not the only one in hot pursuit of some teak.  Not one to be easily deterred, this setback only intensified my drive, and a week or so later, a set was posted for sale for super cheap.  The icing on the cake?  It was located about 8 minutes from my house!

I'll leave out all the details of how obsessive and crazy I behaved while I waited to hear back from the sellers.  Here I am rolling back up to my house with my new teak set in tow.  Holler at my sweet neighbors who loaned me their van and trailer!!!

I love love love love love it!  It even has a hidden leaf that extends the table to provide for more seating.

grainy photo taken without enough light…

I've started cleaning it, and it's amazing what a little elbow grease will do!  I love the gray look of teak as it ages, but there was quite a bit of dirt that had to go.  Check out what a difference it made:

Our new patio set has given me much-needed motivation to address the rest of our back, so hopefully some improvements will not be too far off in the future.  And while I'm not going to show you just how rough the rest of our "yard" is, I will share some pictures of some gorgeous outdoor spaces I've recently pinned.  Our back yard looks about like the opposite of these images, just in case you were wondering.

all images and their sources can be found under the "Patio & Garden" board on my Pinterest page.