Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guest Post from Nici at Posed Perfection

Hi there!

I'm so excited to be guest posting today here at Claiming Our Space.  When K asked me if I'd like to do a post swap, I was thrilled at the prospect of meeting you, her sweet bloggy friends. I'm Nici Higby and you can find me over at Posed Perfection.

I am married to Mr. Perfect for Me and I am a homeschooling mom to two great kids. At Posed Perfection, I share simple, delicious recipes, easy-to-duplicate craft projects, household tips and whatever is on my heart for the day.  I hope you'll stop by for a visit soon!

I recently ran across a recipe that had been scribbled down on a torn piece of paper in my well-used, over-stuffed recipe box. When I read the ingredients and pictured the finished product, I just knew it would be something I wanted to share with you.  I call these Wild about Chocolate Brownie Bites.  With all the fun animal print party themes out there, I think these would be a perfect dessert to serve to your party guests.

Here's what you need:
family size brownie mix, cocoa, oil, water, an egg and Hershey Hugs

Here's how you make them:
Start by mixing all the ingredients(except the HUGS) in a bowl and stir until combined.

Drop by teaspoonful into mini muffin tin sprayed with baking spray(with flour). Bake for about 11 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from oven and let cool for a minute. Then place unwrapped HUGS on the brownie bites and press in slightly.

Carefully move to wire rack and cool completely. As the HUGS melt, gently press down the tip for a smooth top.

Wild about Chocolate Brownie Bites
(makes about 3 dozen)

36 to 40 Hershey Hugs 
1 family size package of your favorite brownie mix
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup water 
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pan with baking spray. Remove the wrappers from the Hugs. Mix together brownie mix, cocoa, water, oil, and egg in medium bowl until combined. Drop by teaspoonful into the brownie cups, filling them about halfway. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 1 minute. Gently press one Hug into each brownie bite. Carefully remove the bites from the pan and place on wire rack to completely cool.

If you like this recipe and would care to see others like my Chocolate Yummies or Chipper Chicken Soup, I'd love for you to visit. I also share simple seasonal crafts like my Fabulously Frugal Pumpkins

Thanks, K, for the opportunity to meet your sweet friends. I just know my readers are loving your post at my place today.  

Don't forget to head over to Posed Perfection to check out my guest post!  See how I ended up taking a total disaster into a delicious dessert.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tout It Tuesday - #25

Sorry that there is no Tout It Tuesday this week.

We are having internet issues and I haven't been able to stay online long enough to get anything posted.

But I should be back up and running in the next day or so  (keeping fingers crossed.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grilled Peaches - An Easy & Healthy Dessert

I love peaches!

I love them on their own as a snack, love them in jam, love them in baked goods and love them in ice cream (I think you are getting how much I love them) so I was very alarmed when we began to hear news that the peach crop in our area was going to be severely limited due to our early spring heat followed by crushing frosts.  We are trying to avoid buying produce shipped long distances so this was sad news.

Luckily, some trees did manage to produce small numbers of peaches so we have been able to secure small amounts.  No canned peaches this year but enough to enjoy some of the usual later summer treats.This is one of those tasty treats.  It is the perfect ending for a grilled dinner since it uses the grill and no need to fire up the oven or cooktop.

Now grilled peaches, on their own, with no added "stuff" are very good but when you pair it with brown sugar, vanilla and a little zing of ground ginger. Wowie! You have yourself something delish. For added decadence, serve with a creamy vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Peaches with Ginger
Modified from this recipe found on Quick Dish from Tablespoon
  • 4 peaches, ripe yet not too soft, pitted and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, ground ginger and vanilla.
  • Add peach quarters, mixing to ensure all pieces are covered with the sugar mixture.
  • Let sit 15-30 minutes. During this time the mixture will become wetter and more liquidy.  
  • Toss every 10 minutes or so to ensure peaches stay coated.
  • On a hot grill with clean grates, place peaches, flesh side down. Cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the heat, which should be turned down if the peaches begin to burn. 
  • Flip peaches to other flesh side and grill for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Peaches should now be soft and ready to serve.
Some serving ideas:
  • drizzled with a little honey
  • paired with vanilla ice cream (my favorite)
  • topped with toasted almonds

Sunday, September 23, 2012

DIY Hand Stamped Tile Magnets

Have you ever realized that you bought materials for a project but then never actually did what you were planning? 

That is what happened with this project.

I had intended to create some magnets to coordinate with the DIY Hand Stamped Coasters I had made earlier on in my blogging.  Instead, the materials went onto the shelf and waited< and waited and waited< for me to find them again when I was organizing for my craft space. 

Just like the coasters, these are a quick and easy addition to any kitchen, gift basket or hostess gift.

  • Sheet of 2 x 2 inch porcelain tiles (36 total tiles)
  • StazOn Stamping Ink (this is a permanent stamping ink available at many scrapbooking stores or where scrapbook supplies are sold)
  • All Purpose Adhesive Glue (I used Aleen's 7800 adhesive)
  • Magnets (I use 2-1/2 inch magnets per tile)
  • Stamps
  • Rubbing alcohol (to remove the ink in case the stamped images get smudged)

1. Remove tiles from backing. You may need to soak them in water overnight and scrub the backs a bit to loosen the glue.

2. Let tiles completely air dry.

3. Place dry tile in center of your work area.

4. Select your stamp color.

5. Select your stamp.

6. Ink entire image, taking care to wipe off any excess that may have gotten on the edges of the stamp.

7. Line up stamp and press stamp with steady pressure onto tile, making sure to not "jiggle" the image. (If you make a mistake at this point, you can use the rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to remove the ink).

8. Fill in any spaces in the image on the tile with permanent marker of the same color. (I bought a package of sharpies that had all different colors)

Isn't the owl so stinkin' cute?
9. Let ink dry for 15 to 20 minutes, then place tile onto a cookie sheet and place in oven preheated to 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

10. Let cool completely.

11. Apply magnets to back of tile with adhesive (I used 2 magnets per 2x2 tile). Let dry overnight.

12. Place magnets into an organza bag for gift giving.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

From Grandma to Gorgeous - An Endtable Update

This post was originally posted on 4 You With Love.

Last winter D's grandmother passed away and her apartment at the assisted living facility needed to be cleaned out and everything put into storage.  However, there were some pieces that weren't going to fit into the storage unit and my mother-in-law was going to donate them to Goodwill.

Not wanting to pass up free furniture and wanting D to have some of his grandmother's things in our home, I loaded them into Donnie Durango (yes, I have named my vehicle) and brought them home.  This is one of the end tables. 

Over Labor Day weekend, I was finally able to get around to updating this lovely lady of an end table.  I hate to say it but it does look a bit like a piece of furniture a grandmother would own.  The medium brown stain, the very traditional shape, the doors style...yup, a piece from Grandma.  But as we have seen a million times, a traditional shape with an updated paint job can equal a beautiful piece to be treasured.

First up was a good cleaning.  I wiped her down with a damp rag and then let dry while I got my sanding stuff together.

The top, which was a solid piece of wood got sanded to bare wood.  Thank goodness for my orbital sander.  I used 80 grit first, followed by 120 grit.  A sanding blog took care of the curvy edges.

A wipe down with a microfiber cloth and another with a damp cloth to prep the wood for stain and I was ready to go.  Three coats of water-based espresso stain later, I had a gorgeous deep and dark top.  A couple of coats of clear paste wax and this part was done.  I love the sheen from the wax.  I was surprised how much I love it versus the usual poly I usually use.

Once that was done, it was onto the base.  Since I didn't want to sand the whole thing - chalk paint it was the obvious choice.  I was so happy with how my last chalk paint project turned out so I used the same recipe I used before that I found on Elizabeth & Co.  Using leftover light greige paint from the living room, some dark grey oops paint and white flat paint, I created a barely greige color that looked great with the top. 

2 coats of paint, a light sand to smooth the paint out, some light distressing and a coat of the clear paste wax and I was done!

What do you think?

I think she turned out lovely.

Best part, Since I was able to use stain and paints I already had and I was able to use the knobs that were originally on the end table so my cost of this project was $0.00. Can I hear a wahoo?

She looks great in the space and best part, other than the price, is that I am already using the cubby in the middle to store some of the Christmas presents I have already purchased.

Marilyn, thank you so much for letting me share this project with your readers!

And for those that made it all the way to the end of my post, be sure to head over to Claiming Our Space to check out Marilyn's stool project and maybe stay a while to see what we are up too. I would love to have you as a follower.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Willow Wednesday

I told Mom to talk to the paw cuz the ears weren't listening...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tout It Tuesday - #24

It's time for Tout It Tuesday - #24

I love Tuesdays! Why? Because we get to see what you all have been up to.  
I am currently spinning my wheels with lots of stuff  "in progress" but can't seem to finish anything.  It is very frustrating.  I just can't seem to focus.  But all your completed projects give me hope! Hope because there are people getting stuff done all over the world. And if you can do can I! (is it weird that I felt like that was a bit of a Braveheart, blue painted face, charging up and down the field of battle, sword overhead moment? 
Yeah, I though so...weird).  I bet I would also get more done if I stayed off of Pinterest so I don't keep adding to the list of more things I want to do!  (stupid addictive I love you!)
Willow continues to be on the mend. She had her 2nd Gotcha Day last week and so I made her a party hat. She wasn't thrilled but I think she looked so cute. 
Now that you got to see how cute our silly dog is, it is time to get to this week's Features!
First up, Homa Styles Faux Mantle.  
Oh my goodness, it is gorgeous!! I want one of my very own for my basement.  
You  need to check this out to see how she made this and spent less than $125 doing so.
Second Chance to Dreams Olive Garden Copycate Zuppa Toscano
Perfect to help us use up the kale from our CSA basket and the potatoes from our garden.
The Moody Fashionista and her adorable Halloween Ghost Feet
What a cute keepsake!  
Atlas Findings and her S'more Brownies
Oh my do these look a-freaking-mazing. Perfect dessert for a fall party.
Make sure to grab the featured button!

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" /></a>

Finally, it is time to reveal our Fan Favorite.  This is the link up with the most clicks. 
Poised Perfection's Frugal Pumpkins
What a clever way to decorate using a something you already have in your cupboard.

Nici, make sure to grab the Fan Fav button.
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src=";current=COSButton-FanFav.jpg"/></a>

I can't wait to see what people will be share this week and know that I will be inspired by everyone's projects and recipes. 

Just a few rules/guidelines.

1. I would love it if you would follow through GFC or Bloglovin'.

2. Please do not link shops or link parties that are not related to a project, photo or recipe challenge. Everything else is accepted.

3. Linking to Claiming Our Space isn't required but I would appreciate it if you would grab my button and either display it with the post you are linking up or under your list of parties.

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src=" Tuesdays.jpg" /></a>

4. Don't forget to click on the "like" button on your favorite project or recipe so I know which one should be the week's Fan Fav.

5.  Please try to visit at least two posts for each link you submit and leave a comment. Comments make everyone happy!

With all that out of the way, let's Tout It!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

OK, full disclosure here,  I have no idea what this recipe tastes like. I don't like banana bread.  Never have, probably never will.  However, D loves it!  He said it tasted great and he took a loaf to his work and it was gone in less than an hour.  Additionally, several people asked him for the recipe.  So I am thinking that means it was pretty good.

How did I end up making banana bread when I don't even like it? Well, D loves the stuff and I found a bag of bananas in our freezer when looking for ice cream something else.  When we have a banana that is too spotty, it goes in the freezer banana bag for use in baked goods.

I modified the recipe slightly using agave nectar instead of white sugar.  We had bought some a while ago and needed to use it up. The only change that this made was the color was a bit darker, which is pretty common in baked goods using agave nectar, so don't be alarmed if this happens to you too.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Adapted from:  La Petite Vie who adapted it from Southern Food

  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • Grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan.
  • Cream brown sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • In a second bowl, mix together agave nectar, bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract.  
  • Add wet mixture to creamed butter and sugar.
  • Combine dry ingredients in a third bowl and stir into the mixture in the mixing bowl just until moistened.
  • Fold in chocolate chips until well incorporated. 
  • Pour batter into loaf pan
  • Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. 
  • Cool the loaf in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely, right side up.  


Blueberry Smoothie - a tasty healthy snack

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Nectresse product family.jpg

We have been trying to eat healthier.  While we have has some sucesses - getting our beef and pork from a local farmer, getting our fruits and veggies from the farmers market, trying to use eat processed food, and making more meals from scratch - one area that has been a struggle is snacks. Me - sweet, D - salty.

Admittedly, I am a big snacker.  I have little willpower when faced with a sweet treat, even if I know it isn't very good for me.

This is why I was excited to learn about NECTRESSE™Sweetener - a 100% natural sweetener made from monk fruit extract.  I can swap out regular white sugar for this 0 calorie sweetener, making a less healthy treat better for me.  Plus for the snacks that are good for you, like the blueberry smoothie I used it in, are even better.

In an effort to sooth my sweet tooth, and add more fruit to my diet this weekend, I found this recipe for a blueberry smoothie.  I used blueberries we picked last summer and froze for future use, organic plain yogurt and rBGH-free skim milk.  The addition of a 100% natural sweetener was perfect since is it allowed me to keep the recipe all natural.  On the "good for you" scale, this checked all the boxes.

The Nectresse sample I received was in packets, so no need to measure.  And no temptation for me to add just a bit more sugar if I was getting it out of a tin. (though Nectresse is also available in canisters for those with more willpower than I have.) :-)

This smoothie is delicious! Just the right amount of sweet and tart. Yum!!

Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberry Smoothie
(modified from this recipe on Smoothie Web)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
2 packets of Nectresse

Place all ingredients into a blender
Blend to desired thickness

To make thicker or if you use fresh bueberries, add a couple of ice cubes before blending, or use plain greek yogurt and use an additional packet of Nuctresse since greek yogurt is more tart that regular plain yogurt.

Click here to get your own FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener

Lisa Ling is the Nectresse™ Sweetener spokesperson. Due to a family history of diabetes she has always been cautious about her sugar intake and relied on no calorie sweeteners to satisfy her sweet tooth – but she hasn’t liked any as much as Nectresse™! Check out her video testimonial:

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fall Is Here! Time to Get Garden Ideas from Miracle Gro.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

MiracleGro Logo(1).jpg

Fall is here! Well maybe not officially. but after having seen my breath several mornings in a row, I know that Summer is over. While I am not crazy about this because it meaning Winter is right around the corner, I am happy because it gives me a chance to start planning for Spring.

Check out Find beauty in the Fall for ideas to go into your garden, yard and flower beds.

First up for us, planting bulbs. With our huge squirrel and deer population - daffodils are our bulbs of choice since they don't seem to be the tasty snack that tulips are.

Source: Gurneys

Next up, getting color into the Fall landscape.  I know that just because we have cooler weather, it doesn't mean I can't have color in my flower beds and pots.  Mums are a great flowering plant that lasts until the bitter end of the growing season.  They come in a variety of colors, though the maroons and yellows are my favorites!  We have a white house and those colors just pop against the white background. 


This Fall I am going to combine my love of pumpkins with my love of mums.  Once the pumpkins are available (we have several weeks yet before they will start showing up at the local farmer's market or area farms), the plan is to get a couple of good sized pumpkins, hollow them out to create a pot (making sure to drill a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage), fill them with Miracle-Gro potting mix and plant my mums right inside.  Something like this!

Source: The Stir via Pinterest

Isn't that gorgeous?!? Once Halloween is over, I can cut the pumpkin off and plant the mums in my flower beds, right along with the Miracle-Gro potting mix to fertilize them during the rest of the Fall and then again in the Spring so they can grow again next year and give me more Fall color.  Sounds like a win, win to me!

Make sure to check out Miracle-Gro Facebook page to connect with other gardeners and to share stories and photos of all the things in your garden that love Miracle-Gro. 

And don't forget to check out other Fall gardening ideas from Miracle-Gro. Projects like planting trees and shrubs, growing cool weather veggies like lettuces and chard, and fertilizing before winter.


Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guest Post from Marilyn of 4 You With Love

It's guest post day here at Claiming Our Space!

I am so happy to have Marilyn from 4 You With Love sharing her great stool revamp. She is totally talented and has a great blog.  You should become one of her followers so you don't miss anything!   I am posting over on Marilyn's blog so head on over and check out my end table update.  

Hello to all my new friends at Claiming our Space.  It's so fun to be visiting!  I'm Marilyn and my blog is 4 You With Love.  On my blog you'll find recipes, knitting patterns, tutorials, and more!  Today I'd like to share my most current DIY furniture project.

I just love the look of those retro chrome kitchen stools.  However, they are so expensive.  Here's one of the cheaper ones I found at for $86.99 (marked down from $125.00) with free shipping.  WOW! so if I purchased 4 for to use around my island, it would cost *gulp* $347.96!  Way out of my budget.  But aren't they cool looking?

Well, when I went to Goodwill, I found 4 wooden stools:  2 at $3.00 each and 2 at $4.00 each.  So I've now spent $14.00.  Here's one of the $3.00 stools.

Okay, let's get started on this transformation.  After I sanded down the stool, it was time to paint!
1.  I used Krylon metallic paint.  
2.  I turned the stool upside down and painted the stool following the instructions.  (note:  don't forget to turn your can upside down and "spray" to clean out your nozzle between coats)
3.  I turned the stool right side up to paint the other side of the rungs.

After I was sure the legs and rung were completely painted, it was time to add batting to the seat.
4.  For this step I used quilt batting and spray adhesive.
5.  The batting wasn't quite thick enough so I folded it over for double thickness.  (I secured these layers with spray adhesive)
6.  I sprayed adhesive on the top of the stool seat and placed it on the batting.

7.  Using scissors, I trimmed the batting so that it was about 2-3 inches wider than the stool seat.
8.  Using a staple gun, I began stapling the batting to the under side of the stool.  Be sure to pull your batting tight as you staple so that it is snug.
9.  Once the batting was completely stapled, I trimmed away the excess, especially around the legs.

 Okay, the batting is on, now it's time to cover the seat with vinyl.
10.  I laid the stool seat on top of my large vinyl piece.
11.  I then cut the vinyl so that it was easier to work with.
12.  I trimmed the vinyl into a circular piece.

13.  Using a stable gun, I begin attaching the vinyl to your stool.  Keeping the vinyl snug, I then stapled the opposite side as well.
14.  Next I rotated the stool 90 degrees and repeated step 13.
15.  I continued to staple the vinyl to the under side of the seat.  Once it was firmly attached, I trimmed away the excess vinyl.

Okay, we're in the home stretch.  Are you getting psyched?  I am!
16.   I had accidentally scuffed up some of the paint while I was attaching the vinyl.  I covered the new seat with plastic wrap and then I carefully spray painted the marred areas.
17.  The last step!  I placed some felt circles on the bottom of the legs so that they would not mar my floor.

Are you ready for the big reveal?  Here it is!

Isn't it cool?  Here's the price breakdown for 4 stools:

Stools $14.00
Vinyl (1 yard at 40% off of $16.99) $10.19
4 cans of spray paint $24.00
Batting $4.00
Total cost for 4 stools:  $52.19 or $13.05 each!

Okay, so now what should I purchase with my $295.77 savings?  Decisions, decisions.  

Thanks K for allowing me to visit today.  It's been a blast!  And friends, don't be shy.  Stop by and visit 4 You With Love sometime!