Thursday, June 13, 2019

My latest project: Redoing my kitchen island countertop...DONE



My latest big project is DONE! Redoing my kitchen island countertop took a lot of time and a lot of watching Youtube DIY videos, but I'm proud of how it turned out! Now our family of 6 can all sit at the same counter and all have leg room underneath.

The laminate I bought is called "Cafe Azul". I wanted something that woul bring out the silver colors in the kitchen (like our fridge and knobs and sink). Turned out really nice.


Squaring up the laminate with wooden dowels between the laminate top and the particle board countertop base. The dowels keep the glue on each surface from touching until I'm ready to press and stick the surfaces together.


Clamping the edge strips of laminate after gluing them on. I also had to add two legs to the two counter corners as we realized that the corners were sagging a 1/4 inch and would probably sag more in the future if we didn't support them. Hence, the tall butcher block table legs.


Using a paint roller to apply the contact cement (glue) to the underside of the laminate. I also applied a coat to the top of the countertop particle board. The glue adheres to itself when the two pieces are put together.


My 10-year-old sat on the countertop to put pressure on it while I drilled screws up into it from inside the cabinets. My 7-year-old made sure I was supplied with ice water while I sweated my way through the process. It took a lot more arm and shoulder muscle to drill upwards than it would have drilling down and having my body weight to help. Whew!

I gave my old coffee table a face lift with some of the leftover laminate.
 

Placing the particle board countertop on the cabinets. Squaring it up took a while before I was satisfied enough to secure it.

The piece of laminate I cut, propped up by the old countertop and waiting in the shop until I was ready to glue it to the new particle board countertop.

Using painter’s tape is a good way to keep the laminate edges from cracking or shredding while cutting it with the circular blade.


Thanks to my mom and dad who gave me their old router, I was able to trim the laminate egdes. It sure made a mess of my floor, though, sending shreds of laminate everywhere. I think I spent a good half hour vacuuming and sweeping every bit of it up after I was done.


Yep, I made myself a "plumbob" to help me line up the edge of the counter with the line on the floor. The weights in the background were to keep the cabinet from shifting around while I was moving and squaring up the countertop.

A view of the underside of the particleboard countertop I made. I love having a shop to work in.


Monday, May 20, 2019

Projects I've Been Working On!

I've been busy with end of school activities, schedules, kids, and PROJECTS! Here are some pics of the things I've been doing.

Sewing over 20 hot pad bowls for teacher, bus driver and other "thank you" gifts for the end of the school year. Hot pad bowls are made of 100% cotton batting and fabric so they can me placed in the microwave, along with any bowl or mug being heated up, and not melt, and fingers won't get burned when taking the hot dish out. They can also be used to hold cold bowls of ice cream (as my girls like to do). I make mine reversible. Super useful and fun!

Hot pad bowl next to a small/medium glass bowl that I use for heating soup sometimes.

Our collection at home to match all the things my girls like:
Chickens, Star Wars, Minecraft, Pokemon


All stacked up! We place them by the microwave so they can be grabbed anytime.

Reupholstering my old, ripped computer chair:

The old ripped secondhand computer chair.


Reupholstered using a fuzzy fleece blanket I had. I sewed two separate covers. 
I took the arms off the chair before sliding one cover onto the back and
the other onto the seat and then reattaching the arms through the covers. 


Buying two weathered, secondhand entertainment center end shelves, taking them apart and using the pieces to make a custom-fit cabinet that will go under my extended island that I'll also be making soon: 

I didn't take a picture of the used end shelves I bought for a total of $20,
but they were similar to these pictured here. I cut one horizontally in half to use as
my main cabinet and then disassembled the rest to use the pieces as needed. 

Extra pieces to the left. Holding the sides together on the
future cabinet using a giant rubber band.

I sanded each piece and then applied 2-3 coats of polyurethane onto each.
I used the trim from the old shelves to decorate the doors.
Doors were cut from from the other shelf pieces. 

Installing the hinges and getting the doors straight took some time, but it turned out nice.

This is our current island countertop.
Not a lot of room for the six people in our family. 


This is a cardboard cutout giving an idea of the size of the new
countertop that I'll be making and installing. The cabinet I've been
working will go underneath to support the larger counter.
My 11-year-old daughter is giving me the thumbs up.

So there you go. The projects that have been keeping me busy lately.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Kronk's Spinach Puffs by Rosanna Pansino

I love Disney's THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, and I love the character Kronk. Early in the movie, muscular, good-natured Kronk makes spinach puffs for dinner, and as I love spinach, I've always thought they sounded so yummy. Nerdie Nummies creator, Rosanna Pansino, has shared her easy and tasty recipe for Kronk's Spinach Puffs on Youtube and on Rosanna's site. I've written out the recipe below, though the directions are in my words, typed out while listening to her Youtube video:
Kronk’s Spinach Puffs
NERDY NUMMIES – Rosanna Pansino (link to her original directions)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups frozen, chopped spinach
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box puff pastry sheets (defrosted for a few hours from freezer)
1 (3- to 4-inch-square) cookie cutter
Egg wash (1 egg mixed with a little bit of salt)

Over medium-high heat in a large pan, add oil and wait for it to heat and shimmer. Add onions and let them sweat for 3-5 minutes until they are translucent (meaning kind of see-through, but not brown). Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds until fragrant then add frozen chopped spinach and salt. Cook until liquid is gone. Turn off heat and remove from stove. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses and egg yolk, mixing with rubber spatula or spoon. Add spinach mixture and mix to combine. Set aside.

On lightly floured cutting board or other surface, lay down one large square of puff pastry and give it a gentle roll with the rolling pin just to smooth out the folds. Cut out 9 squares with cookie cutter, then repeat with other puff pastry sheet, making 18 squares total. Remove excess dough from around squares.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and place 8-9 pastry squares on each. Turn squares so they look like diamonds. Brush off excess flour. Place about 1 Tbsp spinach mixture in rough oval-shape in center of each diamond, not letting mixture touch edges. Brush a little egg wash on two lowest edges of pastry and bring them together, pressing hard to seal lower edges, leaving upper edges open and mixture exposed at the top. Should make a rough "cone" shape. Pop pan in freezer for about 10 minutes because puff pastry cooks best from a cold state.

Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-17 minutes till golden. If baking two sheets at the same time, switch sheet positions halfway through baking (so after 7-8 minutes). ENJOY!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Brownie Caramel-Swirl Mug Cake - A great gift idea!

I'm always looking for cute gift ideas for the holidays, and I recently came across some fun recipes for small desserts made in a mug in the microwave. What a neat idea! All you have to do is get a microwave-safe mug, provide the pre-measured dry ingredients in the mug, and attach directions stating the wet ingredients the person needs to add and how long to microwave it for. FUN, RIGHT? YES! I used a yummy recipe for Brownie Caramel-Swirl Mug Cake from Kin Community as my base. There are other recipes for "mug cakes" and "mug muffins" all over the internet. I've provided links to two others at the end. 


Blend these dry ingredients with fork then pour in a little baggie. Tie it off, and then place baggie in microwave-safe mug:

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons hot chocolate mix of choice
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other of choice)
Caramel candy (like a Kraft caramel)

Type directions to mix these wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Attach directions to mug. Wrap mug and mixture in clear wrapping:

Add following ingredients to dry ingredients 
in the mug and blend until smooth:

3 tablespoons almond or other milk
3 tablespoons oil (can reduce to 1 Tbsp)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Microwave on high for 90 seconds.
Let cool for 2 minutes before eating.
Enjoy!



Brownie Caramel-Swirl Mug Cake (original recipe)

Other mug cakes and muffins:




GooeyBrownie Chocolate Mug Cake for One
(from The Kitchen Whisperer)





(from Betty Crocker)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Baked Apple Dumpling Mummies - SO CUTE!

Baked apple dumplings with candy eyes
(photo by Elsie Park)
I like having fun with food during the holidays. Halloween has so many possibilities. I experimented with my regular baked apple dumplings, wrapping them in extra strips of dough to create the "mummy" look. I had placed raisins on them for eyes before baking, but my husband said they didn't look as good as the candy eyes from the store, so after they were baked, I removed (and ate) the raisins and placed the candy eyes on the mummies. I had leftover pie crust dough so I made a mini mummy blackberry pie, too (pictured below). I managed to get a few pictures of them before my husband and girls gobbled the mummies up. Here's the recipe for baked apple dumpling mummies:

BAKED APPLE DUMPLING MUMMIES by Elsie Park

Pastry for one-crust pie (can also use store-bought dough):
     1 cup flour
     1/4 teaspoon salt (can double this is using unsalted butter)
     1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon cold butter (I use salted butter)
     2-3 tablespoons cold water

Mix flour and salt in medium bowl then cut cold butter into it using pastry cutter until it resembles find crumbs. Add water and mix and mash with a fork until a nice dough forms. Cover and set aside.

Apple Dumplings:
     3 medium apples of choice (I like to use Yellow Delicious, Gala, or Fuji)
     Mixture of ~1/4 cup sugar and ~ 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon to taste
     Raisins or candy eyes (usually found in the baking section of the store by the sprinkles)

Divide pie crust dough into three equal portions. Roll separate portions out on lightly-floured surface to 1/8th-inch thickness. Peel and core apples. Place one apple in center of each dough section. Fill each apple center cavity to the top with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Wrap each apple up in the dough, overlapping edges just enough to pinch together and seal. Tear off excess dough and roll out again to 1/8th-inch thickness. Cut into strips with knife or pizza cutter and lightly wrap around your apple dumpling, making your mummy.

If using raisins for the eyes, you may place them into the dough before baking (or after if you prefer), pushing them in so they fit securely. If using candy eyes, do not place on dumplings until after they are baked (I don't know how candy eyes fair in hot ovens). Place dumplings in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour until crust starts to look golden on top. Remove from oven. Place apples on individual plates/bowls and drizzle with the apple syrup that came out of the dumplings during baking and pooled in the bottom of the pan. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if desired. Enjoy!
Dumplings with raisin eyes. My husband said they didn't look as cute as the candy eyes.
(photo by Elsie Park)
The mini blackberry mummy pie I made with the leftover crust (with candy eyes placed after baking).
(Photo by Elsie Park)

Other things we did this year:

Crispy rice ghosts with frosting and candy eyes (Photo by Elsie Park)
Crispy rice treat recipe here:
http://elsiepark.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-perfect-crispy-rice-squares.html
Jack-o-Oranges: Faces drawn onto mandarin oranges with Sharpie pen (Photo by Elsie Park)



HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Canning season is officially over for me! Phew!


I love making use of nature's bounty, but it's a lot of time and work to bottle, preserve or simply use up all the fruit and veggies I get each year from my garden and others. This year was one of the most bountiful yet:

- Apple butter (12 pints, bottled)
- Apple pie filling (7 cups, frozen)

- Carrots, cut (3 one-gallon bags, blanched and frozen)

- Cherry pie filling (10 cups, frozen)

- Grape jelly, purple (8 pints, bottled)
- Grape juice, purple (40 quarts, bottled)
- Grape pie filling, purple (12 cups, frozen)

- Peach butter (6 pints, bottled)
- Peach jelly (10 pints, bottled)
- Peach nectar (6 quarts, bottled)
- Peach pie filling (7 cups, frozen)

- Salsa, mild (24 pints, bottled)

- Swiss chard, steamed (eaten)

- Zucchini bread (8 loaves made at intervals and eaten by my family)
- Zucchini, steamed (eaten)

Now time to rest and enjoy the fruits of my labors throughout the winter.

Purple Grape Juice! YUM!

Lots and lots of carrots!

The entire family (minus our 3-year-old) cutting carrots

An entire garden box-full of carrots reduced down to these two large bowls, later blanched and frozen

One of our weirder carrots this year *laugh*

Making salsa? Hmm

Two pies I made for hubby's birthday. The one on the left was made from my parent's sweet cherries.



Saturday, August 4, 2018

Perils of Wrath featured and part of giveaway!

PERILS OF WRATH is not only being featured on New LDS Fiction, but is part of a book giveaway for the month of August. Go here on the New LDS Fiction site to enter. 

Here is a list of the books available to win in August 
(Note: all books are clean romances):











Perils of Wrath by Elsie Park











Dancing with the Prince - A Royal Secrets Romance by Kennedy Larsen











Serving the Prince - A Royal Secrets Romance by Sophia Conrad











Taming the Prince - A Royal Secrets Romance by Addison Quinn











Dark Mirror Image - A Royal Romance by Anna del C. Dye











Kings Crossed Lovers by Donna K. Weaver