Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zesty Pasta Salad


This zesty pasta salad is full of flavor and always popular at cookouts. I know cookout season is winding down but Labor Day just around the corner!
Zesty Pasta Salad
Ingredients:
1 cup Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
3/4 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2 cup White Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup Green Pepper, chopped
1/3 cup Pepperocinis, chopped
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
3/4 cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
3 cups Cooked Rotini Pasta (about 2 cups when uncooked)
In a large bowl, combine first seven ingredients. Pour dressing over top and toss to coat. Add pasta and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Serve cold.
Makes: About 5 cups

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday Link Party 31

Awesome link party last week as always! Check out all of the links here. Now onto my top picks of the week...

These Refinished Stairs from Remodelaholic are absolutely gorgeous. They started out as regular carpeted stairs. You should check out the before pictures - the transformation is amazing!


This Birthday Cake Ice Cream from It's Just Called Spicy looks delicious and the best part is that you don't need an ice cream machine!


Conspicuous Style made some Monogrammed Lamp Shades to go in her dining room. I can't wait to see what it looks like once the entire room is done. It is already absolutely stunning! I love the black and white contrast.


Jeremy would love this Scooby Doo Haunted House from Home Grown Beanes. I love the little Mystery Machine. So cute!

This Baby Pillow by Larissa Hill Designs is absolutely adorable. What a perfect gift!

Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my side bar. Now on to this week's link party!

PARTY ETIQUETTE:
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Polish The Stars

Friday, August 26, 2011

Funky Record Clock

 
This project actually comes from my Dad. He made a clock using a blue vinyl record probably twenty years ago and I have always loved it. I made one awhile back but ended up getting rid of it during one of our many moves. I like this one even better though!
It is pretty easy to make and doesn't take much time at all.


Gather your supplies:
12-inch Record (the hole on a 7 inch record is too big unless you glue an adapter in place)
Clock Kit 
Spray Paint (optional)


Using an electric drill, carefully make the hole big enough to fit the base of your clock kit (mine was 3/8"). I didn't want to crack the plastic so instead of going straight to the 3/8" bit I started by making a 1/4" hole and then moved up to 3/8".
I would have taken a picture while actually drilling the hole but I only have two hands and couldn't juggle the camera. You get the idea though.


If you are like me and hate the gold clock hands, then find all of the parts that go on the front of the clock and lay them on a piece of cardboard. Carefully spray them with a thin, even layer of spray paint in your color of choice.


Assemble the clock according to the directions on the back of the kit and you are done!

I love the colors on the label of this record and Frank Sinatra is my husband's favorite singer so it was the perfect choice for a clock to go in our living room. Just in case you are worried - this is a duplicate record that we previously had just hanging on the wall - not one from his beloved collection. :)
This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

 
Even though it is still eighty degrees most days, I am dreaming about Autumn and in anticipation of it's arrival I decided it was time to break out the apple recipes! Like these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. Yum!
I don't usually take photos of the cooking process because it is a pain and the lighting in my kitchen stinks but this time I have included pictures of each layer so you can get an idea of what it should look like when you are baking it for yourself.
Because you should definitely bake this for yourself.
You will regret it forever if you don't. :)


Press the crust into a foil-lined 9x13 inch pan.


Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spread the cheesecake mixture over the warm crust.

Sprinkle the chopped apples evenly over the cheesecake.

Mix together the streusel topping.

Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set and the topping is lightly browned.


Cool for at least four hours before serving. Serve chilled and drizzled with caramel ice cream topping, if desired.
So there is the basic idea. Now for the actual recipe:

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
(adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
who adapted it from Paula Deen)
Ingredients:
Crust:
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup Sugar 
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

Apple Layer:
3 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Ground Saigon Cinnamon (regular ground cinnamon can be substituted)
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Quick Cooking Oats
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened

Caramel Ice Cream Topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

CRUST: In a medium bowl, combine flour, and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a knife and stir as you go so that the butter doesn't all stick together. Press evenly into a 9x13 inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

CHEESECAKE FILLING: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Add vanilla and blend until combined. Pour over warm crust.

APPLE LAYER: In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture.

STREUSEL TOPPING: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, and butter. Stir until butter is evenly distributed. Sprinkle evenly over apple layer.
Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set and streusel topping is lightly browned. Let cool on counter for 1 hour. Move to refrigerator and cool for at least 3 more hours. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping and serve chilled.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Link Party 30

There were some really fun projects linked up last week! Check them all out here. My top picks of the week are:

I love the fun, retro feel of this Happy Hour Rolling Bar Cart from Art Is Beauty!


Fall is just around the corner which means it is time to break out the apple recipes! This Apple Walnut Zucchini Bread from Cooking With K looks delicious.


I am in LOVE with this Arsenic Apron by Closet Crafter! I need to make one of these for myself. It would be perfect for a Halloween party but I would wear it year round!


Check out this tutorial from Racks And Mooby to find out Have You Been Pinned? I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest and it is fun to look and see which projects people like the best.

Head over to Boy, Oh, Boy, Oh Boy! to learn how to make this fun Paint Splatter T-Shirt. So cute!
Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my side bar. Now on to this week's link party!

RULES:
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • No advertising or Etsy shops.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Please add my button to your post or sidebar to spread the word. :)
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.
Polish The Stars

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rearranging Furniture Made Easy

Now that the basement floor is finished it's time to start moving things back downstairs. We are changing things up though and need to do some rearranging. Instead of drawing up the floor plan a bunch of times with different furniture arrangements I brought back an old trick I made up years ago. My friends and family always teased me about it but when it came time to rearrange their rooms they would always ask me to do this for them.

First, I draw up the room's floor plan. You can use whatever scale you want (like 1 inch = 1 foot) but I like to do 1/16 inch = 1 inch.
On another piece of paper draw out all of the furniture that will be going into the room using the same scale. Cut out all of the furniture pieces.


Then just arrange the furniture pieces on your floor plan...


...and move them around until you find a layout that you like.
I like doing it this way because I can try as many different layouts that I want but I only have to draw it out once!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preparing a Cake For Decorating

This one has been hanging out in a folder since Jeremy's birthday in May. I forgot to take pictures of the actual decorating process (which I didn't do a very good job of decorating in the first place anyway) but I do have some tips for getting the cake ready for decorating.


First you need to flour your pan. Spraying cooking spray on it just won't get the job done. Use a paper towel to grease the pan with vegetable shortening then sprinkle some flour in and shake it around until all of the shortening is covered in it. Hold the pan over the sink or trash can and smack the bottom to get the excess flour out.
Pour your cake batter in and smack the bottom of the pan for a minute to release air bubbles in the batter. You can wrap the pan with insulated cake strips to make in bake more evenly but I never remember this step. Besides if it bakes too evenly then you will miss out on the next step which is my favorite part!


Once your cake is done baking, let it cool for a while. Use a long knife to cut the mound off the top of the cake and even it out.


Eating the top layer that you cut off is the best part of cake decorating! Some people call it the "sugar layer" and it is soooo yummy!


You can buy a board to put your cake on but I usually just cut down a piece of cardboard so that it is about 3-4" longer and wider than my cake pan. Wrap it in decorating foil and tape it to the bottom of the board. You can use plain aluminum foil in a pinch but it will tear when you are cutting and serving the cake.


Place the board on top of your cake with the foil-covered side facing the cake. Make sure it is centered over the pan.


Carefully hold on to the pan and the board, holding them together tightly. Quickly flip the cake over.


If it still looks centered then remove the pan. If the cake is still wanting to stick then tap the cake pan or shake it a little to loosen it.

Put a thin layer of icing over the entire cake (mine is a little thick in some areas). This is called a "crumb coat" and it glues all of the crumbs in place so you don't see them in the final frosting layer. This is particularly handy if your cake is a different color than your icing. You don't want chocolate cake crumbs showing up in white icing.
Once the crumb coat is dry you are ready to put on your main icing layer and start decorating!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday Link Party 29

Thank you all for your support about my health problems that I shared in Adventures In The ER. The really bad things have been ruled out and I finally got a diagnosis! It is easily treatable. I just started the new antibiotic a couple of days ago and I am starting to feel a little bit better. They are running one more test to make sure that I don't have something else (I can never remember any of the names they rattle off) as well. It should take about a week to get those results and it is also easily treatable.
I'm still not feeling up to crafting though and my mom is staying in my makeshift craft room for a few more days anyway. Hopefully I will be back with some craft tutorials next week. For now I have a few saved drafts of posts that I may share with you and of course today's link party! Check out all of last week's links here.

This Outdoor Seating Area from Tres Chere is absolutely gorgeous! They created the entire area for less than $30!


These Etched Glass Coasters from The Greenbean's Crafterole are so simple and elegant. There are so many different designs you could try too!


Check out the Homemade Butter recipe and tutorial over at Davis Domestications. It looks so easy!

Tres Chere re-purposed parts from an old lamp for a few different projects. I love the "Faux" Chandelier that they made. Such a fun color! I love the whole old school Hollywood feel of the room too.
Thank you all for linking up! If your project was featured, feel free to grab a 'featured' button from my side bar. Now on to this week's link party!

RULES:
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc.
  • No advertising or Etsy shops.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Please add my button to your post or sidebar to spread the word. :)
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.

This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Polish The Stars.
Polish The Stars