Monday, August 18, 2014

Emily's Favorite Banana Cake

When I get too-ripe bananas, I used to always make banana bread. Until I tried this recipe for banana cake. It is so moist and delicious, I have pretty much forgotten about banana bread. I made some for my my friend, Emily, and she loved it so much she hid it from her kids so she wouldn't have to share. I totally do the same thing. She's been asking me for the recipe, so I thought I'd share it with her and with you too! You have got to try this recipe!

Emily's Favorite Banana Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry and add to wet. Stir in bananas. Pour in greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Frosting *
1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2-4 cups powdered sugar

Cream cheese and butter until smooth, then beat in remaining ingredients, adding only enough powdered sugar to give it a good texture.

* Regular buttercream frosting is also good, depending on your mood (or what you have in the fridge).

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY Easy Weathered Wood Stain

Today we're talking wood stain.

 I just finished up this bathroom ladder shelf:

I love how the color turned out! I wanted it to be similar to this swatch from  Restoration Hardware:

Look at the two pictures and I'd say it's pretty dang close. I love how it's greyed and weathered looking, but still warm and cozy. I read all sorts of tutorials online and most of them included staining, staining, sanding, painting, staining some more, and top-coating.

That sounded like a lot of work.

Or there's always the vinegar and steel wool option, which I already know is unreliable.

So I asked my husband what he would do and he suggested Boiled Linseed Oil.

I was so skeptical that I stood in the aisles of Lowes for half an hour thinking before I decided to trust him and give it a try. I should listen to him more often (shh....don't tell him!). It worked like a charm!

Here's my method...

I started with a test piece of wood and mixed different proportions of stains. Don't skip this step. It will tell you a lot.

I settled on one spoonful of Minwax stain in Ebony with three spoonful of Minwax stain in Red Mahogany. Then I filled up the rest of the relish-sized glass jar with boiled linseed oil.

Then I just wiped the mixture on with an old sock. It was so easy. It only took me an hour!

The linseed oil protects the wood, so there is no need for a top coat. That saved me a step and gave me the raw, old-wood look that would be hard to get with a shiny polyurethane top-coat.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

DIY Ladder Shelf Bathroom Storage

Squeal! My husband and I finished a project last night that I just loooove and can't wait to show you!

We've had a plastic storage dresser in the bathroom since we moved in. I even upgraded it once:

But it was still just a plastic dresser that belongs in a dorm room and I was ready to upgrade. I knew exactly what I wanted:

But this ladder shelf from Pottery Barn costs $299. Uh... no can do for this chicka. I showed it to hubby and he said he could build me one. Then I stumbled across building plans from Ana White (HERE) and this little scheme of mine became even more doable.

Hubby added an extra shelf  (five instead of four) and changed the size so it would fit perfectly in my bathroom and this is what we ended up with:

I took pictures of it in my living room because dang, that bathroom is small and I could not get a good angle for photos. But it looks pretty cute with the mint green tiles.

I think we spent about $40 on wood and finishing materials. Not exactly sure because we've been slowly plugging away at this project and I'm bad at keeping track of receipts.

I wanted to give it that Restoration Hardware classy-but-weathered wood look and the pictures do not do it justice. It is perfect! Greyed old-looking wood with a dull sheen. *swoon*

It's the perfect way to display some of my favorite yard sale storage pieces. That green suitcase? First thing I ever bought from a yard sale! Loved it then, love it still. And I think I payed $1 for it. Ha!

Tomorrow I'll dedicate a whole post to the staining process. I found a much easier way to achieve this look. If you need a little RH old wood charm in your life, you won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter

When I saw a recipe for chocolate almond butter in the little booklet that came with my Blendtec, I had to try it. Except I didn't have almonds and I couldn't wait to try making nut butter. So I used peanuts. It was so delicious and I was so impressed that I made peanuts into peanut butter.

I added all the ingredients to my Twister Jar:

40 seconds at speed 7 and I had creamy peanut butter:

One of my concerns was how I was going to get all that sticky stuff out of the jar. Not a problem! The Twister Jar comes with a special spatula and look how clean the jar came:

What?! Yep. Amazing!

And if you think that's amazing, wait until you spread some of this deliciousness on warm toast or dip apples in it. Woo boy! You would win Mom-of-the-Year award if you sent some in your kids' school lunches.

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter

1 1/4 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts (or almonds)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons coconut
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put ingredients in Twister jar in order listed. Use one hand to twist the lid and the other hand to work the controls. Turn it to speed 7 for 40 seconds and BAM! Nut butter. 

Want your own Blendtec with Twister Jar, perfect for making homemade nut butters? Enter the giveaway! You might be the lucky winner!

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