Monday, May 20, 2013

A "Succulent" Coffee Table

Ahhh, sunny California.

This past week I flew to Huntington Beach to visit my cousin and her family.

It was a pretty busy weekend... 
Filled with a birthday party and a baptism. 

(Godmother on duty! Pretty sure I have the most ADORABLE goddaughter.)

But, amidst the birthday brownies and holy water...
my cousin's husband (Simon) tackled another DIY project.
And this time - I got to help!

We converted an old COFFEE TABLE into a plant holder.
How cool is this?!
(The table was from Simon's next-door neighbor... who didn't want it anymore.)

To start...
Simon took OFF the old legs and the original top of the coffee table.
Then, he nailed plywood to the table's frame.

The frame has a nice wave to it - and I love the rusty bolts in the corners!

Simon cut three more pieces of wood to fit inside the frame (creating shelves for our plants.)
He also added caulk to "seal in" the shelves - and help prevent soil and water from dripping.

He painted the background/shelves a medium shade of gray.
(It's the same color as the house.)
We decided to leave the FRAME of the coffee table alone.

Once the paint dried...
It was time to plant!
We chose a wide variety of succulent plants.
(They were purchased at the Home Depot.)

I filled each shelf with soil - and added four succulent plants to each row.

The birthday boy was eager to help water them!

It was time to hang the coffee table/planter.
We decided to put it near the front door.
It's a perfect "statement piece" - and everyone notices it when they walk in!

Simon drilled two holes into the brick wall - then attached an old hook with a few bolts.
(He found the hook on Craigslist with a few others.)
You may remember from this PREVIOUS POST that Simon LOVES finding odd treasures on Craigslist.  

(And... just in case you were wondering...)
The REST of the old hooks were used in the backyard.

Simon filled these old, metal buckets with more succulent plants.

Back to the "succulent" coffee table!

This project was REALLY easy to make.
Simon and I were able to finish it in just a few hours.

It just goes to show... 
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX with old furniture!
Each piece can be used in a different and unique way.

Happy planting!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Margaritas

What a perfect Mother's Day.
Sunshine, steaks on the grill... and raspberry lemonade margaritas!

It's my FAVORITE margarita recipe.
(A recipe I learned from my college roommate, Sara.)

Sara actually learned the recipe from HER mom.

So, I thought it was only fitting to make the recipe for MY mom... on Mother's Day.
(From one great mom to another!)

The recipe is super simple - and only takes a few minutes to make!


1 can of lemon lime soda (Sprite, 7-UP or Sierra Mist)
1 can of frozen concentrate (you can do Limeade, Lemonade or Raspberry Lemonade)
Triple Sec

Fill the blender with ice!

Add the ENTIRE CAN of concentrate. 

Pour the entire can of soda into the blender.

Add shots of tequila and Triple Sec.
I usually add 2-3 shots of Triple Sec and 5-6 shots of tequila.
(This all depends how STRONG you like it!)

Blend together!!!

Pour into a glass!
(One batch will serve 6-7 people.)

Cover the rim with sugar... and garnish with a wedge of lemon - even raspberries!
(If you're making Limeade margaritas, put salt on the rim... and garnish with a wedge of lime.)

A cool, sweet, summery drink.
Perfect for flipping through old photographs :)

Thanks for everything you do, Mom!
Our family is beyond blessed.
Love you!
Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chinese Orange Chicken... with a twist!

My mom is a huge fan of Chinese food.
90% of the time, she ALWAYS orders Almond Chicken.
So, I decided to try and swayyyy her opinion by making Orange Chicken.
It's a delicious recipe... with my own twist!

What you'll need:
2-3 chicken breasts (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup of orange juice
Zest and juice from one orange
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 a yellow onion (grated)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
Vegetable oil or Canola oil
1 cup green onions (diced)
2 celery stalks (diced)
2 carrots (diced)
1 cup pineapple (diced)
Sesame seeds (for garnish)

*Feeds four people - takes about 1 1/2 hours to make.

Dice the chicken breasts, and place in a container with a lid.

In a medium-sized sauce pan, you'll want to combine:
1/2 cup orange juice, 1/3 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 cup of chicken broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce and the zest/juice of ONE orange.

Turn the heat on "low."

1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp black pepper and diced garlic (to the same pan.)

Grate 1/2 an onion... and add to the pan.

Stir together.

Remove 2 cups of the sauce and add to the diced chicken.
Put the chicken in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

While the chicken marinades...
 finish the rest of the sauce.

In a glass...
Mix 3 Tablespoons of corn starch with 3 Tablespoons of cold water.
Add to the sauce.
Bring sauce to a BOIL.
Then, let it simmer on low.

(Make sure the sauce is THICK - like a syrup.  If not, add more corn starch.)

Dice 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery.

Add the veggies to the sauce.

Add about 5 cups of Vegetable oil to a large pan.
(You want the oil to be 1-2 inches deep.)

Heat the oil until it reaches 350 degrees.

Take your chicken out of the fridge.
Get two bowls.

In one bowl... beat 2 eggs together.
In the other bowl... fill it with 1 cup of corn starch.

Take each piece of chicken and dip it in the egg mixture... then in the corn starch.

Place in the oil.
Cook the chicken for 7-8 minutes.

Once the chicken is done...
Add 1 cup of diced pineapple to the sauce.

Pour the sauce over the chicken... and mix together in a serving bowl.

In the meantime... 
Cook a pot of rice.
(Follow directions on the box.)
This usually takes about 10 minutes.

Dice some green onions for garnish.

You can also use Sesame Seeds.

Now you're ready to serve!

Spoon some rice into the bottom of a bowl.
Add a generous portion of Orange Chicken.
Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.

It's a great dish - filled with citrus flavors.
I love the added "crunch" from the veggies... and the "sweetness" from the pineapple.

More importantly... 
My mom LOVES it!
Yes, it takes a little extra time to make... but it's worth it.

Delicious take-out food... at home.