Monday, September 26, 2011

Homemade Chalkboard Paint!

My kids have been bugging me about painting huge chalkboards on their walls.. I didn't really want the black chalkboards so I found this chalkboard paint recipe.. I dug out the left over paint for their rooms and voila..

I marked off a section with painters tape and put about 3 coats- drying and lightly sanding in-between coats.  I spray painted a scrap of chair railing and nailed it up for a chalk ledge.  The only difference you can see on the wall is a slight line where the paint gets thicker, otherwise, without the chalk, looks like the rest of the wall!

Homemade Custom Color Chalkboard Paint from Martha Stewart
Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.
1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.
2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.
3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.
4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.

Have fun and post your results!!  We would all love to see them..

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Paint Can Halloween Buckets!

The girls were getting tired of their Halloween bags they have been using for the last 10 years, so we got creative with some paint cans from Home Depot.. Here is what we came up with!

 It was SOOO easy!  We took empty paint cans we bought at Home Depot for about $4, some Halloween print paper and modge podge.  When we finished, we hot glued some googly eyes and added a ribbon.. Cheap, easy and cute!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sisters' Gourmet Brownies in Dubai....

We received this link today (to another blog), and thought it was fun and quite interesting! We at Sisters' Gourmet have a distributor in Dubai that sells our products to some of the local gourmet stores. Because we don't do a LOT of international business, we haven't thought through some of the translation/cultural issues that apparently we need to address. In this "story", you will see what I am talking about! Enjoy!

**above photo courtesy of (my niece) Rebekah L Photography

Granny's Disappearing Chocolate Cake

Our Grandma was a fabulous cook! As she got older, we tried to get her to write down as many recipes as possible so they wouldn't be lost forever. This cake was always a family favorite, so of course, we got the recipe. It's been over 10 years since Grandma passed away, but I still think of her every time I make the cake.

The problem was that she wrote it down wrong (but I didn't know that until last month)!!! So every time I made it, I wondered why I had such differing results. Sometimes it seemed to work out ok, but other times, it would just fall in the middle. Finally, I decided to do some research and see what I could find. Because Grandma always called it "Hershey's Disappearing Cake", I was able to find the original recipe on the internet, along with the following note, "We found this recipe in a magazine at a doctor's office where my wife discovered she was pregnant over 19 years ago. It has become our favorite recipe." Finally, I was able to see where Grandma had copied the recipe wrong. She had written 1 1/4 cups of flour, instead of 1 3/4 cups! Now, it is truly our favorite recipe, since we can make it without fail - literally!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup milk

Grease a 9x13 pan. Cream butter and shortening, then add sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Blend in eggs. Combine cocoa, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt in a bowl. Add milk and flour mixture alternately to batter. Blend well and pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until cake bounces back when touched. Cool for 10 minutes, then spread the warm chocolate frosting (recipe below) on the cake.

Granny's Chocolate Frosting
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 TB butter
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix first 4 ingredients in saucepan over low heat, stirring occassionally until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. (at this point, sometimes I transfer the frosting to my Kitchen Aid for mixing, so that the frosting will be really smooth and creamy, or you could just use a hand mixer in the saucepan).

Tips: You want this frosting to be a little "runny" when you spread it on the cake. As it cools, it will harden - sometimes to the point of fudge! So, I often add a tablespoon of milk before spreading it on the cake. That keeps the frosting a little softer after cooling. Either way, it is delicious!!