Friday, November 7, 2014

Candied French Toast Recipe

Since the holiday months are full of cooking homemade goodies, I thought it would be fun to share some of my own recipes, favorites around our house. 

I was quite good at the lab component of chemistry. That could be why I am excellent in the kitchen, since cooking is just chemistry. Or, I just listened really well to my mom. In either case, I don't say this to brag, it's just a talent that I have been blessed with and love to share with everyone. I am finally ready to share some of my secret recipes with you that have kept family and visitors in our home coming back for more. The recipe I am going to start with is candied french toast.

What you will need:
Bread: I like Nature's Own Butterbread, but the Texas Toast size slices are the best for french toast

5 eggs
2 Tbls of milk
2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp nutmeg
(Combine above in one dish).

2 Tbls sugar
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
(combine above in a small dish or a spice container that you can sprinkle the mixture out of).

*Do not mix the cinnamon and sugar in with the egg mixture like traditional french toast recipes.*

Mix the eggs, milk, vanilla and nutmeg together in a pie plate. It's easiest to soak bread slices in a flat pie plate.

Soak the bread slices for just long enough to coat both sides, then put it in the preheated butter pan.

With one side cooking, sprinkle the sugar mixture on the raw egg side of the bread. Now, the point of this is that you want the sugar to be on top of the mixture, not mixed in with the egg. You want the sugar coating on top to have immediate contact with the heat. Why? What happens to sugar when it is heated? The white sugar turns to a hard coating and the brown sugar caramelizes.

The reason I don't sprinkle the sugar mixture on the first side that is cooking while it is soaking in the egg mixture is because I don't want to get any of the sugar and cinnamon in the egg mixture. With adding more as you cook, it could get overwhelming in flavor if you add it to the egg mixture as well.

Turn your bread slices over so the sugared part can caramelize and the egg mixture can cook. 

Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture on the cooked side of the bread. When the other side is done cooking, flip slices again for just a moment so that the other side can caramelize. This will happen immediately.

I always sprinkle the finished product with a bit more cinnamon sugar on top for good measure ;) Can't have too much.

Happy tummies make for happy dinner table conversations and a happy day!

If you try this, let me know how it comes out. I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November sponsor: Film Funding and update on October sponsor

Another month has passed for the Meli family, and I hope they are doing well. We had a successful month and were able to donate $285.00 to their family. The Window Treatments by Melissa family wishes them the best and hope this small amount will help them.

This month we are helping a budding film director, Jared Cooley, fund his first full length film, taking him to the next step in his career as a film maker! A few years ago we helped Jared with a short film project called "The Black Bird." The Black Bird film is about a young boy in elementary school who becomes witness to a series of coincidences between his fellow classmates and a strange black bird that seems to target the next to die.

You can check out the Chattanooga Film Festival Recap podcast here where at 26:46 it is said about The Black Bird, "... It looked like a professional film shrunken to 14 minutes. . . the story was clever. . . . . the highlight of that segment of short films. . . ." Statement by Scott Phillips. I'm excited to see what Jared can do with a full length film! 

Here are some fun facts about the film The Black Bird:

The animal trainer for the "cravens" used in the film were trained and handled by David Sousa(The Matrix, Harry Potter films, Thor, Game of Thrones). We had them for one day and cost most of the budget. A storm came in causing the script to be slightly rewritten because of a location change.

It took four days to shoot, one of which was reserved entirely for the climax scene.

The Film was shot on a RED One MX camera.

The band Jukebox The Ghost allowed the use of their song "Devils On Our Side."

Jared says:
I was very fortunate with the making of The Black Bird with the crew and talent involved in making it come to life. The obvious one would be with the black bird itself. I met the animal trainer, David Sousa, on a previous set I was working on. He told me about birds he was raising and training that needed set experience. From that point the gears were turning and six months later the script took shape. There was no question of who I was going to for the bird in this film. David's long list of work speaks for it's self and my experience with him and his animals were phenomenal.

I also need to mention my cinematographer, Devin Keebler. I have known him from the beginning and there is no one else I would rather have behind the lens with me. His passion and vision is beyond anyone I've encountered in the field. His work with the colorist on this film is unbelievable.

Visual FX on this film came for an intern from Valencia College. No one would know but there were many visual fxs that are seamless: guide wire removal for the bird, sky replacement, and window replacement with entire outside environment and rain created.
Last but not least my actors John Corbin(Billy) and Bill Huggins(mystery character). First John was leaps and bonds the best child actor I have ever worked with. Amazing talent and can't wait to work with him again. Now, Bill had never acted in anything at all and exceeded my expectations. He worked weeks on his character and only had one shooting day. He mastered everything I was looking for and made the character real for the scene.

Jared's next film is underway with casting, set locations, script writing, etc. And we're going to help on the funding end of the project! It's going to be a mystery thriller and is set to film in May. We're excited to help out on Jared's film and hope our small donation will get him that much closer to achieving his dream.

For the month of November, domestic sales can get free shipping in our etsy store. Custom window treatments can get pricey to ship since they are unique sizes and often mounted on heavy mounting boards. Our shipping prices START around $15.00, so take advantage of this coupon code:


This code will be good through all of November on domestic US shipping. 

We're so glad to be a part of this film project and hope to be a support in reaching this goal and dream! Good luck, Jared! The film is going to be amazing! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The origin of zombies

Note: This is a repost from two years ago, but I thought it was so fascinating! Enjoy! Happy Halloween!

Any loyal reader knows already that I love The Walking Dead. 

I love zombies, monsters, all things gore! The gore in The Walking Dead is FA-BYU-LUS! But if we're being honest, we all know that's not why I watch it.

Oops. Did I just put that on my blog?. . . 

So, my husband LOVES NPR and especially loves "Science Friday." He listens to it while he's driving, while he is doing the dishes. . .  all the time. Last night he was listening to a review of a book by Matt Kaplan called The Science of Monsters. He had me listen to the portion about zombies, and it was fascinating! 
Here's the jist.

The zombie state of being is a very real thing. It is induced by a powder that, until recently studied, was called "coup de poudre," or "powder strike," by Haitians where the zombie state of being was often seen. The zombie state occurs when this powder enters the blood stream via open wound.

This powder is called tetrodotoxin, or TTX. This is a fatal neurotoxin that is often found on the skin of a pufferfish. When this powder is introduced into the blood stream it paralyzes the person and they appear dead. During this time the person undergoes a psychosis and their memory is completely wiped out. They then "re-awake" with no memory and no knowledge of how to live of function, talk or do basic things. The paralysis leaves them stiff and unanimated. Having no recollection of how to do anything, even speak, they are basically "the walking dead" surviving on only instinct.

The earliest recorded occurance of this dates back to 1800 BC. There are many records of it from Haiti during times of Voodoo and black magic practices which is when it began to morph into the "pop culture" zombiism we are familiar with today. It was said in Haiti that a person could do Voodoo on another person to make them their "slave" by putting them in a zombie state. And that was the beginning of the modern day zombie.
Anyway, I thought that was fascinating and wanted to share it with you all. 

After taking the kids for their first round of trick or treat, it's my husband's turn and now I am on candy duty. I feel a little like Elizabeth Taylor as Amy in the 1949 version of Little Women. There is a part when she goes to help feed that family of poor people. There are a whole slew of little children and Amy has candy for them. She passes it out and every two or three kids she keeps one for herself until all the candy is gone. "One for you, one for you and one for me!" 

Happy Halloween!!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Win A Custom Room Design with Caitlin Wilson!

I've partnered with Caitlin Wilson and several other contributors to offer a custom room design makeover!

Check out the details at Mom's Best Network and enter for your chance to win a print painting, custom bedding in a Caitlin Wilson fabric, custom curtains in a Caitlin Wilson fabric, and many more new items for your room! 

View all the details and enter to win here!

Which pillows will you choose?? Let me know in the comments.

Good luck, all!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Black Dog Salvage from the HGTV show "Salvage Dawgs"

Salvage Dawgs!

If any of you have seen HGTV's "Salvage Dawgs," I live about a five minute drive from their warehouse, "Black Dog Salvage." It is one of my favorite places in town. 

My mom is in town visiting while her new house is being built. We thought we'd check out what Black Dog had to decorate her new house with. 

Here's what Google has to say at Black Dog Salvage: "Acclaimed warehouse carrying an eclectic variety of antiques and restored furniture in an airy space."

When homes in our area are gutted and remodeled, all the pieces of the home that are salvageable go to Black Dog right down to the nails! Here is what we found!


Entry Doors

Pocket Doors

Jail doors. . .  Just kidding. I don't really know
what these are, but they look like jail doors.


You can buy separate pieces to construct your own staircase. . . 

. . .Or you can just buy the stairs. 


They had so many mantles in many different sizes, woods, designs, etc. All of them were gorgeous!


There were many different lighting options. My mom bought the chandelier on the left for her new home!!

Vanities and sinks. . . 

There was an endless supply of door knobs and hardware.
Antique Pianos. . .

. . .  and TONS of wall decorations.


Coke Products and tons of old glass jars.

. . .  old EKG reader. Kinda makes me want to watch Roy and Johnny and good old Squad 51! ("Emergency").

Spotlight and, one of my faves, the stomach roller massager! 


 There was no shortage of knobs and handles. Each drawer in the image above was full of whatever the knob was on the door.


A box of Tetanus. Just kidding. But seriously, they have boxes of old nails.

Old window hardware, locks and pulley systems. . . 

They even have plumbing parts! Probably not up to code, but might be cool when designing a movie set or something.


Mermaid statue and bench made out of a Chevy truck. . . 

. . .  Real turtle shells and a lava lamp with a floral arrangement around it. Seems hazardous to me, but whatever.

This place is huge and there's no way I could possibly relay it's massive amount of inventory and awesomeness through words. You must check it out if you are in Virginia. You won't be disappointed. Or check out the show "Salvage Dawgs" on HGTV.

See anything you like???