Sunday, May 18, 2014

Margarita Dessert Bars (Tequila bars with OOMPH!) (Recipe)

I have updated this post since its original posting....

Margarita Dessert Bars (or Tequila Dessert Bars) are a fun and delicious take-a-long adult dessert. I have made the bars for a football party and a concert tailgating party!  It tastes like a little margarita and were a hit!
 Here is the original recipe is from Food Network (including their picture of the Tequila Bars, because I forgot to take a picture. DUH!).  I have revised the recipe though, since I found it needed more OOMPH!  ;)   

My updated ingredients are:
  • one 12 ounce box vanilla wafers
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted
  • 1/2 cup tequila (I used Patron Silver)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (I used a good quality key lime juice)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • one 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • For the drizzle,
    • 1 part - Agave nectar (I have found it in my local grocery store and at the local liquor store near the Patron)
    • 2 parts - tequila (I have tried Patron Silver and Patrol Gold. Both are good!)
Follow the recipe as in the original recipe from Food Network with these updated ingredients.
When preparing the drizzle, mix 2 parts Patron Gold and 1 part Agave Nectar. Apply the drizzle to the Tequila bars just before serving.    

A fun way to present the Margarita Dessert Bars and clue in other party-goers is to place a miniature empty bottle of Patron in the center of the plate and place the cut Margarita Dessert Bars around the bottle.

Tastes like a margarita! Delicious way to celebrate with friends!

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Roadside Find (Photoshop exercise)

 I found an AWESOME find in the parking lot after dinner tonight and had to share!    How often do you come across a classic car like this!

Okay, I admit that wasn't how I found it. Unfortunately, reality doesn't always provide a great backdrop. Instead, there may be construction, wires, and distractions.  Here is the original untouched photo. I could not resist grabbing my camera though and running into the street!

What a difference a few minutes on Photoshop will do!  A little TLC makes all the difference! 

Please swing by and check out my new site Sawdust and Hoops, if you haven't already!  It's a young blog, but with Spring arriving, I plan to have A LOT to blog about very soon!

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

My Sister Blog is launched! (Sawdust and Hoops)

Hey everyone!  I have launched my sister blog Sawdust and Hoops !

Everyday a la Mode is my first blog (launched back in 2011). Over 18 months, Everyday a la Mode has primarily evolved into a Photography, DIY, and Organizing blog with additional topics thrown in, like recipes and music. I felt those topics were becoming too diverse to be on the same site, so I decided to launch Sawdust and Hoops.

Sawdust and Hoops will focus on DIY, home improvement projects, and organization. Moving forward, Everyday a la Mode will focus on photography, travel, music, recipes, or just me rambling on about something.

Through Everyday a la Mode AND Sawdust and Hoops, I will share what inspires me and hopefully will inspire others.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Photo Shoot: Devin

Meet my beautiful model this week!   Seventeen year old Devin is entering her freshman year in college this Fall. She needed a couple of head shots for school activities. I offered her a full shoot instead! 

This next photo was from a spontaneous moment when I was changing lens. I told her to freeze.  I caught a beaut of a moment!    I love when a photo can tell its own story.  For me, this is one of those....

This next photo is so radiant and fun.   I love it!  The grass was wet with the morning dew, so I put towels on the grass and tucked them under so they are not in sight. 

I had a mixed  feelings about the next photo. I was almost deleted it.  After converting it to black and white though, the photo conveys a air of peace and contemplation.

Thank you Devin!  It was great meeting you!  Beautiful shots! Good luck at college!

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Cheese! (or Family Portrait)

While vacationing in Sanibel, Fl last month, I wanted to take advantage of the calm before the daily afternoon storm. I forced the kids out of the water and into clean clothes for a few moments.    Coordinating four kids (16, 15, 14, and 11 years old) to not blink, squint, lean, poke each other, giggle, on and on and on.....   wow, only a miracle can allow all of that not to happen.

With the sun setting, I waited for a cloud to filter the light.  I had them face towards the sun to reduce shadows on their faces.

Here are a couple of my favs....

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Website is coming!

I have decided to launch a new blog!

I attended the Haven conference last week in Atlanta and was inspired to expand the Everyday a la Mode blog idea. I will be launching a new blog that ....well, has a lot to do with power tools, carpentry, and larger DIY projects! I have several more ideas that I'm eager to share (more on those later)!

I am 99% sure I have decided on the new blog name (I will announce that after I allocate the domain. It's fun though!).

Another big change is that I will use Wordpress in the new blog. I currently use Blogger, so I am in the process of researching how to do the transition. 

I will keep Everyday a la Mode up throughout this transition. It will continue to feature photography, recipes, travel, and other inspirations.

I hope you'll enjoy the changes! I will let you know when the new site is up and running!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Music Series ~ Eva Cassidy

Last year, I "discovered" an amazing artist! I think I'm a bit behind the bandwagon though in loving her music, but better late then never.

I found out about Eva Cassidy while reading one of the Fifty Shades of Grey books. There are several references to her music in the books. I was curious about Eva Cassidy
so I tried her out on iTunes. Totally amazing and pure and touches your soul!

Here are couple of my favs....
Stormy Monday (from the album Live At Blues Alley) 

Wayfaring Stranger (from the album Songbird) 

 I think was she was amazing! A gift taken back too soon.

You can read more about Eva Cassidy's life here.

Both songs are on iTunes. I challenge you to check them out and let me know what you think.

PS: The photos are from my latest shoot in July 2013 in Sanibel Island, Fl. :)

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Recipe ~ Very Berry Summer Trifle (Summer Dessert)

It's summer time! Bring on the warm afternoons with picnics and barbeques and pool parties!

I made my Very Berry Summer Trifle last week for my brother-in-law's barbeque!   I searched for trifle recipes, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted. I took the best part of several recipes and came up with this recipe!    

I'm not good at measuring ingredients when I'm experimenting in the kitchen.  I just add amounts until they taste good.  I would describe my Very Berry Summer Trifle as fresh, light, and summery!   Taste as you go to see if you want more or less of the lemon curd or more almond extract.  The measurements below are close to what I used . :)

Enjoy!  Let me know if you try it!

Very Berry Summer Trifle

Very Berry Summer Trifle
10 oz lemon curd (I found it in the baking aisle)
10 oz Coolwhip (I like the non-fat Coolwhip, because it's less dense and it is healthier)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 pints blueberries
1 pints strawberries
1 pint raspberries
1 premade angel food cake, cut into cubes  (You can substitute pound cake, but it will be more dense)
1 large clear glass bowl

Rinse fruit. Toss fruits lightly with lemon juice. Set aside.

Using an electic mixer, blend lemon curd, Coolwhip, almond extract, and vanilla until evenly blended and fluffy.

Assemble the trifle by starting with a layer of the lemon mixture in the bottom a large glass bowl. Add a layer of cake cubes. Add a layer of the fruit mixture. Repeat to make 3 or 4 more layers, depending on the size of the bowl. Finish with the layer of fruits. 
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

I skipped raspberries when I made my trifle since the Mr doesn't care for them, but they would be awesome with the lemon and other fruits. Instead,  I added 2 pints of strawberries and 2 pints of blueberries. The ratio was a perfect alternative.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

My blog banner is updated...FINALLY!

I finally took the time to update my banner! Everyday a la Mode is 18 months old! I'm talking like a mama, still counting her baby's first steps :) .

I wanted to freshen the site up a bit with some of my fav projects and photography. The background on the title section is also from one of my abstract photography pieces.

It's a challenge to pick only a couple pics so the banner isn't too busy looking.   I'm thinking it may be a bit on the dark side, but I do like it more than the old banner. What do you think?

Next on the list is to design my new business cards! I'm attending the Haven conference for the second time later this year. I used most of my cards at the last conference.

If you're swinging by from the Haven page, Welcome!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Faux "Batten and Board" Wall Treatment (and Faux Mudroom Makeover)

A project that has been LONG on my to-do list has been our "Mudroom" makeover. Since I also love Batten and Board wall treatments, I thought it was the perfect place to make big change!  I decided to install a faux batten and board wall treatment.    Here's the reveal!

Our house doesn't have a real "mudroom". In the southern US, mudrooms are not as common as in the north. Being a born-and-bred Yankee, I have long missed having one.   Our garage is directly off our main hall,  so it's not a real mudroom.  I wanted the space to feel bigger and be more useable.

I started with 1x6s for verticals and 1x3s for the hortizontals. The top level is also a 1x3.

I have wanted a more defined "mudroom" area since I moved into the house. I have considered batten-and-board projects eye candy for, well....forever!  Unknown to the Mr, my dream-like vision (ah!) was I like I was waiting for the one day when he would say he thought the hall would look better with some hooks.  My vision came true and that was all I needed!  Hooks he wanted! Hooks he got!   So, he was planning his next business trip and I was measuring! .... Ironic isn't it how that seems to happen. :)

I think it's a BIG difference between the before and after.

Read on for the project bits and details (and befores, durings, and more afters)!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weary in the Blah of Winter (or Where in the heck is Spring!)

I'm one of those people who curls into a ball in the winter and whimpers until spring arrives.  When the sun pokes it is head between the clouds and shares its warmth, I'm in the yard next to the lizards that play on my porch, face tilted up to absorb every bit I can.

I'm craving paint and power tools! I can't wait until the project season begins! The weather looks like it will be warm enough next weekend to sneak a couple of projects in! I'm looking forward to sharing them here at Everyday a la Mode very soon!

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite Sun and spring-related photos! Say warm!

Tulip fields outside of Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands

Key West, 2012
Jost Van Dyke, BVIs 2005

Key West, 2012
Fort Jefferson (south of Key West), 2012

BVIs 2005
Everyday a la Mode 2011

Fort Jefferson (south of Key West), 2012

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Favorite Posts from 2012

Happy New Years! 

I hope your holiday season was wonderful!

To kick off 2013, I would like the share some of my favorite posts from Everyday a la Mode with you!  Here they are in no special order!  Enjoy the recap!

Fav Post # 1: How to do a self-portrait Boudoir photography shoot

A Bourdoir shoot can be very liberating! It is a great way to let your confidence and sexy show, especially if you don't believe you have either! Even if you don't think you are photogenic, it can turn out great and beautiful!  A great photographer can bring that out in you!

My shoot was a bit more challenging than the usual shoot though. I wanted my husband's gift to be ..... well, me.....but also my photography skills. ....So, I did my own shoot!  

Everyday a la Mode_How to do a self-portrait Boudoir photography shoot

Check out the original post and details in this link... How to do a self-portrait Boudoir photography shoot .

Fav Post # 2: Small Sized Laundry Make-Over 

Making over our laundry room tripled the space in the room.  I love how fresh it turned out!

Everyday a la Mode

  Check out the original post and details in this original post here.

Fav Post # 3:   Master Closet Reveal

Check out the original post and details in this original post and all of the detaiils here

Fav Post # 4: Wedding Photography

This was my first serious jump into Wedding Photography. It was a great time.

Check out the original post and details in this original post and more photos here.

Fav Post # 5: Travel & Photography Series ~ Key West, FL

Check out the original post for more photos from Key West and trip details here.

In 2013, you can expect to see on Everyday a la Mode.....more photography covering a variety of themes and more projects involving power tools ...Wo-Ho! 

Have a great New Year!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Celebrating "Norman Rockwell" Family Moments

This week , we are celebrating this season of Thanksgiving!

A couple of times a year, we try to have a small family outing.  This fall, we tried to go camping. But since the end of soccer season and marching band season finished in November and the hurricane brought cold winds and rain to the east coast a couple of weeks ago, we  (or just me....) were concerned about whiny, cold kids (and husbands). So we rescheduled to rent a cabin in the North Georgia mountains for a couple of days. everyday a la mode
The view from the front porch of our rented cabin

The irony was that the weather was AMAZING!  We probably could have gone camping.
 Anyway, we had a great weekend making family memories.  The cabin was VERY remote and we were WAY off the grid. (It took us several tries to get up the road to the cabin because the road is so rugged!) We made to the cabin though....after I remembered the VSA button on our Honda minivan that allows the tires to work sort of like a 4x4).   The kids said they were more scared than when we went jeep off-roading in Sedona, AZ this past summer!  Ahhh!

The weekend was full of  "Norman Rockwell" moments like games that the family played together, hanging in the hot tub, hiking, and roasting marshmallows and making smores by the fire.  I call them "Norman Rockwell" moments because of the iconic, "perfect moment" pictures that Norman Rockwell created. I TOTALLY LOVE those rare "Norman Rockwell" moments where we are able to create memories.  everyday a la mode
My son, channeling his Zen-Fire-Master skills to "challenge" the fire to back to life.

Thank you God for those moments!

Here's to the season of making memories that count! I am SO blessed to have special times with my family like this weekend!  We love that we are creating lifetime memories for our kids. I thank God for those opportunities!

God bless you and your family! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I would love if you could share any of your "Norman Rockwell" moments that you've enjoyed with your family, please share them in the comment section!

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pantry Makeover Reveal - Finally!

First thing is first...Thank you! 
Everyday a la Mode celebrates its first anniversary in a couple of days! Thank you for your interest and comments! I love seeing the countries of my guests on the Live Traffic Feed. It's amazing to share common interests and connect with people around the world! It really is a very small world!

It's been a fun year and Everyday a la Mode has evolved so much! I have posted a bit about everything. Topics started a bit all over the place, but I have noticed that I have focused on two of my biggest passions over the past twelve months.

Various styles of photography have been covered in Everyday a la Mode over the past year, ranging from landscape to travel, abstracts to portrait, boudoir to wedding, silly to inspirational (I hope)! I love the capturing and creating beauty through photography!   My other passion is organization!  I never really thought about it at the time, but as a child, I loved to re-organize my closet and shelves. It was just very normal to me. I would move furniture around looking for balance in rooms.  I wish that I had realized there are careers in the field of organization!  It would be so awesome if my next chapter could be the fields of organization and photography! How sweet that would be!

My goal for Everyday a la Mode in the next twelve months is to continue to post about enjoying life more (please read my About Me, if you haven't had the chance yet).  I love writing and sharing photos about what inspires me, so expect to see more photography, in various styles and techniques, and organizational topics.  

Cheers to 2013 and more inspirations!

While we are on the topic of organization, on to today's post! 

Finally! I have been wanting to update our pantry FOREVER!   I have a serious case of pantry-envy-itis. Surfing around on the web, there are amazing pantries!  I wanted one too!   And, I needed another excuse to use power tools! :)     I finally took the plunge!

Here is the reveal if you like to read the end of the book before the engaging plot!....

Pantry ~ Before Makeover
Everyday a la Mode
Before Makeover

There is the old pantry that I started with.

The pantry is about 73 inches x 47 inches with one window and a swing-in door.

It had the old builder wire shelving. The shelves were starting to sag under the weight of the cans.

And, there just wasn't enough room! I needed to add on the hanging basket to hold small packets and hanging shelves at the bottom to hold lunch boxes.  Bottles continued to fall over because of the wire.

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Before Makeover

Before Makeover  ~ The support bar for this shelf stopped the door from fully being opened.

During Makeover

I selected cabinet grade plywood for this project. It was very smooth and didn't require initial sanding and had very very few voids (I know noticed one total).

I had the pieces cut close to size at at the building supply store, so they would fit better into my car.

At home, I cut them to the exact sizes I needed and painted them Behr White with primer in semi-gloss.

Working outside was a challenge. We had AMAZING weather during the prior two weeks, but during this week of this project, we had heavy winds and cold weather.  I kept plugging though on the project. I have been told more than once that I'm stubborn.  I've decided that being stubborn must be one of the gifts that God gave me otherwise I wouldn't be so good at it.  :)

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To fit in the side shelf, I used a power baseboard cutter.  The baseboard was a bit stubborn too, but the tool is very cool and the cut was very clean!

Everyday a la Mode
The top shelves are 16x47. The lower cabinet is 24x47.

The deeper lower cabinet allowed me to install Ikea's Komplement drawers.  The Komplement drawers are designed to go with Ikea's cabinets that have pre-drilled holes.  Since my cabinet didn't have pre-drilled holes, I needed to make measure and drill the holes to hold the slides.

The drawers were easy to install though. I just measured from the front (about 2.5 centimeters) and from the floor (about 3 inches). Pre-drill holes using the holes in the drawer slides as a guide. Then you can use the screws that come with the cabinet.   For the top drawer, I measured the same distance (about 2.5 centimeters) from the front. Measure down from the top enough room to store what you want to store in the drawer. Pre-drill holes using the holes in the drawer slides as a guide. Again, use the screws that come with the cabinet. 

Put the drawers into the slides as indicated in the directions that came with the drawers.

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This above pic shows extra details such as the baseboard around the center brace.

It also shows the trim I used on the end of the plywood. It is Screen molding.  It worked perfectly!  I used Liquid Nails to attach it with an occasional trim nail to hold it in place when it would slide.

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Everyday a la Mode everydayalamode.comNext, since the lower cabinet is 24 inches deep, I wanted to be able to use it as an extra serving space and wanted to be able to plug in things as needed. In fact, I'm now thinking this area may be a great coffee station!

So, using a hole cutter bit, I drilled a hole.  Well, .....I tried to drill a hole.  I have never used this type of hole cutter, so I just attached it to my drill. I tried to drill, but the bit kept sliding. No matter how hard I pushed down, it slid and ate up the top surface.  ARG!

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What did you say?  You asked if I read the directions?.....Well, ...not at first.

I found out it needs a pilot bit.   So, I drilled a hole using a 1/4 inch bit into the center of the circle. Then, I inserted the 1/4 inch bit in the center hole of the hole cutter (not shown).   WOW! That was much easier!  Hole was successful! I just needed to repair the damage from the slide.

Another thing I added under the hole area is a multi-plug.    I had the wall outlet installed a couple of years ago when we hired an electrician for a separate project.  I put the multi-plug in a wire basket that I had around the house and hung it from two cup hooks.  The additional outlets are in easy reach from the hole (shown in the upper right).   A wine refrigerator will be in this cubby, so no one will over see the basket.  Ha!

Allow access to plug hole by hanging a multi-plug in a wire basket, hung it from two cup hooks.

Final Reveal and Details!
Before Makeover - Yuck!

And After....What a difference!

I labeled the baskets using chalkboard labels. They are attached to the baskets with brass fasteners (from the office supply section).

Trimmed in something called Stop. (I don't know what it is, but it finished off the edges nicely.)

The coffee station. There is a plug hole under the lazy susan.  The lazy susan allows easy access to coffee supplies in the small corner.

This angle shows the corner shelves on the left. It also shows the baking pan and tray shelf at the top.

Shelves mounted in the corner utilize "dead" space over the trash can area.  The bottom shelf has a 45 degree angle to avoid bumped heads while accessing the trash and recycling cans under the shelves.

"Dead" space behind the door is used for mops and shopping bag storage.

This view shows the drawers in more detail. I added a brace to stabilize the middle brace. A wine cooler is under located under the coffee station.  I also store a folding footstool on top of the cooler. It was removed for the pic since it was not photogenic. :)

This project took about 2 1/2 days, including drying time for the paint and cost about $300 total, including the drawers, a couple of new baskets, and a couple of food storage containers. I used several organizers and baskets and the shelf brackets that I already had.  

A much better price than if I had hired the project out!  I also have the satisfaction of knowing I did it myself! And, well, it also fixed my craving for power tools for a little while!  :)

List of Sources
Cabinet paint ~ Behr White with primer in semi-gloss  (Home Depot)
Wall paint ~ Behr Pale Bamboo in satin (Home Depot)
Drawers - Ikea Komplement
Cabinet wood ~ Cabinet-grade plywood  (Home Depot)
Trim on the cut side of the plywood ~ Screen molding (Home Depot)
Trim on top of lower cabinet and under shelves ~ Stop molding (Home Depot)
Chalkboard Labels ~ Martha Stewart collection (Staples)
Shelf brackets ~ They are about 7 years old, salvaged from old shelves I had before this house. I think they were from Lowes.

****Now for the blah-blah-blah..... I did not receive compensation in any way for this blog.  I encourage you to read my full disclosure statement  if you want the bits and details.

Do you have pantry-envy-itis like I do?  What is your favorite organization tip for your pantry?

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