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Board and batten (in progress)

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Hushpuppies

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Donut holes vs Hushpuppies? Hushpuppies 100%. 12 for $1.39? Even better (though I can’t eat all of them). There’s lunch: 6 Hushpuppies and iced tea. Don’t judge!

Life expectancy

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Cleaning

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Caramel iced coffee

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I love coffee. However, I’m kind of a sissy when it comes to its cream and sugar. When I drink it hot, it must have half n’ half and sugar, or some other reasonable substitute. When it’s cold, I can do 2% milk and simple syrup. I can’t do black and I can’t do low fat milk and I like it mildly sweet.

I can think of at least 4 Starbucks stores within 2 miles of my house, so there is a temptation to pick up coffee whenever my heart desires….but a Starbucks habit is an expensive one.

I’ve figured out how to do Starbucks-on-a-budget by ordering “tall in a venti” or substituting brewed coffee for espresso, etc.  But, I think I’ve finally nailed down how to make “fancy” coffee at home just the way I like it.

 Caramel Iced Coffee

For the iced coffee:

  • 2 cups or 1/4 lb coffee (I use Jose’s Vanilla Nut from Costco and freshly grind the beans each time)
  •  2 qts (8 c) water

For the simple syrup:

  •  2 c sugar
  •  1 c water

Caramel sauce:

  • Make your own or buy some. I use Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce, but any other REAL caramel sauce will work (corn syrup-based ice cream topping will NOT cut it, sorry).

Milk (optional *for some people*)

Method:

  1. Grind the beans (if using whole bean coffee) and combine with the water in a large container or pitcher. Cover and let sit at room temperature 8-10 hours or overnight.
  2.  Meanwhile, make simple syrup by bringing the water to a boil, then stir in the sugar until it is just dissolved and remove from heat. Allow it to cool and then transfer it to a container for storage. (I use a bottle with a cork.)
  3.  After the coffee has cold-brewed, strain the grounds with cheese cloth or a towel or a fine mesh strainer lined with double coffee filters (<– my preferred method). Store covered in a pitcher, jar, etc. The iced coffee can be kept at room temperature for about two days or refrigerated even longer.

To serve, drizzle caramel on the insides of a very dry glass, add enough ice to adequately chill the coffee, pour the coffee over the ice, sweeten with simple syrup and add milk to your liking.

Great decorating news….like THE best!!!!

I was asking my dad today if he knew where to find barn door hardware (and thinking he’d roll his eyes at another one of my harebrained ideas), and he said that he did know and wanted more details on my plan.  Sounding as non-chalant about the whole thing as possible, I explained that while I like our master suite with the cased-in doorframe between the bedroom and bathroom, but we are lacking a little privacy and some art on that side of the room.  I said that I’d like to use track and roller hardware to hang some distressed/weathered wood or a crisp white door that matches the ones in the rest of our house.  He told me that the little garage he is renting across the alley from his house has an extra weathered wood barn door with hardware that I can have….FOR FREE!!!!!  (*squeal*)  I haven’t looked at it yet, but that was just about the best piece of news I have gotten since wanting to redecorate our whole house.  I’m so excited (and I just can’t hide it).  Yes, you can all call me a dork now.  Here are some pictures of interior barn door inspiration so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about:

 

 Barn Door Love

 

The best ribs I ever ate…

Phil’s BBQ Beefy Ribs were my inspiration.  We have established that I do not photograph my cooking projects, but let not thy heart be troubled….the recipe below is mouth-watering!

Beef Ribs

For the Braising Liquid:

  • 3 lb rack beef ribs, cut in half/about 4 ribs per section (on sale this week at Safeway stores for $1.49/lb!)
  • 1 c clear juice (I used white grape juice concentrate from a jar of peaches)
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T seasoned salt
  • enough water to cover

For the Glaze:

  • 2 c bottled barbecue sauce (feel free to make your own…I used Sweet Baby Ray’s)
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey or molasses
  • 2 T strong brewed coffee (or whatever is leftover in the french press from that morning)
  1. Layer the ribs in a  large pot with the juice, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer for 1-1.5 hrs, or until the ribs are tender.
  2. Remove the ribs with tongs to a large dish (a roasting pan works well) and cool them enough to handle.  Cut between the bones into single ribs.  (The first 2 steps can be done a day ahead.)
  3. Preheat the grill.  Meanwhile, mix the barbecue sauce, vinegar, honey, and coffee.
  4. Brush the ribs with the glaze and caramelize/char them slightly, turning every few minutes to re-glaze.  (I glazed each side of mine twice, grilling for a total of about 15 minutes.)
  5. Grab a roll of paper towels and FEAST!