Monday, September 22, 2014

. . . Keep your apples from browning and Peanut Butter Fruit Dip . . .

I love apples but I hate biting into them so I always cut mine up into chunks.  If I don't finish them quick enough then of course they get brown...yuck!  My mom used to soak them in lemon juice and that made a big difference to prevent the browning but then they tasted like lemon juice...go figure!  My grandma then taught us this little trick and it works like a charm--it is simple and doesn't change the taste of the apples.  The solution is SALT!  Yes, I know it sounds weird but it works and it will still leave your apples tasting great and no browning!

Finally, you can pack those apples in lunches or serve them at a party and they won't be ugly and brown!  It just takes a small little bit of salt and cold water.

 This is such a simple trick!

 Cut up your apples the way you like them.  I like the skins off when I cut them but you could leave the skins on.  Totally a personal preference and will not change the outcome of your apples staying fresh.

Fill a bowl with cold water and about a 1/2 teaspoon to a full teaspoon of salt depending on the quantity of apples. I honestly don't measure, I just dump some salt in and if I'm doing a big batch of apples then I add extra salt to be sure it's enough.  I also add ice to the water to be sure it's good and cold but you wouldn't have to do that step.  Just be sure to put the salt and water together first and then add your apples once the salt has been mixed into the water.  Let the apples soak for awhile and then serve them or put them in a bag and store them in the fridge.  You can also fill a ziploc bag with salt and water and let them sit in that mixture overnight but I usually just soak them for a little while and then bag them without the salt.  When I say "awhile" I would say a half hour to an hour.

It amazes me that this works without changing the flavor of the apples but it really does!  So much better than doing lemon juice.  No more face puckering when you eat sliced apples.
• • •
Here is a bonus recipe for a great Peanut Butter Apple Dip (or any fruit or snack that you like with it) that my grandmother uses for parties or just to have in the fridge to dip your apples and snacks in.  I am sure you've seen this dip idea around before because I know a lot of bloggers have shared similar recipes and I've seen variations of it on Pinterest but if you haven't made something like this before I'd recommend it!  Your kids will love it in their lunchbox too.  I honestly could just eat the dip by the spoonfuls.  It tastes like Peanut Butter Pie Filling.

Peanut Butter Dip
1 Cup Peanut Butter, smooth not crunchy
1 jar of Marshmallow Fluff
1 8 ounce package of Cream Cheese, softened
1 Cup of Cool Whip

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix everything together with an electric mixer.  Make sure your mixture is smooth and you are done!  Can it get much easier than that?  I don't think so!

Place the dip in a container to keep in the fridge or serve it for a sweet treat at a party.  This works well with plenty of other fruit and snack foods as well. Try smearing it on a chocolate graham cracker, yum!

 Look how great those apples look!  No browning even after they had been in the fridge all day before serving them.

 So good!

Don't these look amazing even the next day?  I just love cutting up a bunch of apples and keeping them in the fridge for several days without the browning!  We can all have a quick and healthy snack with this little salt water trick.


Monday, September 8, 2014

. . . Farmhouse Paint Class and Coffee Station . . .

Over the summer my mom and I really enjoyed going to thrift shops and antique shops to find little treasures.  Along the way we came across Vintage to Vogue Emporium at Golden Antiques and Treasures in Summerfield, North Carolina.  We met the owner, Denise Hall and realized how knowledgeable she is about painting and refinishing furniture.  She does beautiful painting and faux finishes but best of all she gives painting classes.  We fell in love with the paint line she carries called Farmhouse Paint.  It has the most beautiful finish and the softest feel when it's dry.  We talked to her for a bit and she showed us some of the great items she has transformed with the paint and we decided to take a class as soon as possible.
 These are just a few of the beautiful things Denise has painted with the Farmhouse Paint.  
Aren't they gorgeous? 
 If you live in the area you should stop by and check out her shop and the great paint line she carries!  I am sure she might even be willing to ship paint to you if you are interested.  You can also like her Facebook Page HERE.

 Here are the gorgeous colors available from Farmhouse Paint.  I can't choose a favorite but for my project I used Coastal Palm.  Since taking her class we have used several other colors and they are all beautiful!

Denise Hall from Vintage to Vogue Emporium

• • •
 For the paint class we were all to bring a piece of furniture or an item we wanted to paint.  We had a friend along with us and she brought a gorgeous table and then my mom took a very pretty table and I took the smallest piece but I still learned so much.  I had purchased a wooden "toolbox" and wanted to transform it to make a coffee station.  I am really glad I took this piece because it was heavily varnished and had text on it and it proved how well this Farmhouse Paint covers and adheres to any surface.  I was so worried it wouldn't work with my piece but it only took 2 coats and they weren't real heavy coats at all.
 Top left:  Sherry's beautiful old table
Top right: My mom's very detailed table/shelf that turned out so pretty!
Bottom left:  my tool box
Bottom right:  a few of the paint options available from Farmhouse Paint.
The paint goes a really long way which is very nice!  For my little tool box it took such a tiny bit of paint.  My mom and Sherry did their tables with one of the small containers and still had plenty left over.
 When Denise gives you a class she goes over everything from what sandpaper to use to what waxes are best and SO much more!  I have been painting for years and really thought a painting class may not be worth the money but I am SO very glad I took it because she is a wealth of information and has so much to tell you from her own experiences.  It is information that can carry through with any paint so that too was greatly appreciated.

 We all painted our items and then distressed them with sandpaper and got them ready to stencil.  I had never really stenciled much so this was another thing that I was thrilled to learn more about.  

 I wanted a dark grayish/black for my stencil so Denise mixed up something for me and then taught me how to place it and how much paint is best and then how to distress it when it was finished.  She has so many great stencils and brushes but since the class my mom and I have both done it again and her tips and tricks worked like a charm for us at home!

 The larger pieces that my mom and Sherry did were a little trickier to measure and place the stencil but again Denise showed us the best way to do it and it was brilliant and look how awesome these pieces look with a little extra something added to them!

 My mom chose a grayish/black for her stencil.  I am in love with bees so I am over the moon with how both these pieces look with a bee on them.

 Sherry did the inside of her drawer to match the bee stencil and it really added an amazing amount of "pop" to the finished piece.

Three very happy and very proud ladies showing off the pieces we painted during our class.

Just love how these three pieces ended up and the class Denise gave us has given me a boost of confidence when it comes to distressing and refinishing items I have been wanting to do for a long time.  

I would so highly recommend her class if you live here and the best part is how affordable it is.  Some other classes I have checked into are so expensive and you don't even leave with a finished piece but her class allows you to finish an item as well as learn all the tips and tricks she has up her sleeve.

• • •
Here is my finished Coffee Station set up in our kitchen.  It's very convenient to have everything in one spot, especially when you have guests over.  It's a perfect spot for everyone to make their coffee to their liking. 
 Coffee "Filling" Station

 Easy peasy!


 Stop on by for a cup of joe!