Friday, May 4, 2012

Mom's Sunny Kitchen

My Mother's beautiful kitchen, needed a bit of a face lift this spring. So at her request while she was out of town, I removed the pink floral wallpaper that was installed before they bought their home and then painted it a totally different color.

Here it is before.

This angle is really hard to capture due to all the light coming in from the high windows. You can see the wallpaper continued up to the ceiling WAY up there.

Luckily Mr. B has a good friend that owns a wallpaper business, and he came by and removed all the paper for us, and did it in no time! Plus no mess. It was SO worth it.
Mr. B patched any holes and sanded. I primed and then we tested swatches. My mom really wanted a sunny yellow, which is some what of a risk, especially with all that golden rich oak.

Picking the right yellow was the hardest part! First we painted some of my moms choices on cardboard pieces.

Then we tweaked the colors and put those up on the wall.

We ended up going with the second swatch from the bottom, it's a custom color in flat using Benjamin Moore paint.

Here it is! Complete with ceramic speckled chickens, our favorite kind of chicken.

I mean how cute is this chicken?

I had to adjust this image to be able to view the color. I have no idea how to take a picture with my phone against such bright windows.

I also painted a quick kitchen still life for my moms corner, mainly to cover up a phone jack that was unattractive to look at. The painting still needs a frame, but it works for now.
You can really get a good view of the wall color in this shot.

I think the improvement is clear. She is really happy with our choice of yellow, and that's all that matters. I just wanted to give her a great (early) Mothers day gift that she loves! '

Before & ..................................................After!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dulce de Leche

I first tried Dulce de Leche years ago after my parents brought back jars of it from their trip to South America.
This delicious and hard to find sweet, it a real treat. It has a caramel like taste with a creamy texture. It's made by cooking down milk and sugar, very very slowly until this spreadable texture and caramel brown color are achieved. You can find it in some specialty stores here in the US and all over South America.
Unfortunately we don't have any stores in my area that sell it. The way people have made this dessert at home for years is by cooking an unopened can of Sweetened Condensed milk in a crock pot (slow cooker) for 8 hours. It works well, but I have a few problems with that process.
1.) I don't like the idea of cooking anything in a can. BPA can leach into the food that is in it, especially when heated to a high temperature! Yuck!
2.) I don't own a crock pot, or slow cooker.

So I came up with a very fast and safe solution to making my own Dulce de Leche at home.
In a glass jar, and in my pressure cooker.

Pour the contents of one can of sweetened condensed milk (I used Organic) into a pint Ball jar and tightly secure the lid.

Put the jar in your pressure cooker and fill half way up with water.

I closed up the pressure cooker and turned it up to high for 18 mins. After it was done cooking, I turned off the pressure cooker and let it release all the pressure slowly on its own. I opened the lid removed the very hot jar carefully and placed it on the counter to cool.
It's a much prettier color now!

This is the really cool part. The Dulce de leche continues to cook on the counter, actually it starts to boil after about the first minute out of the cooker and continues to boil for about 15 mins.
I took some video of it so you can watch in amazement as I did!

Here it is all cooled and done. Yum, yum.
Now you could certainly cook it longer to the desired color, getting darker and thicker the more you cook it, dulce de leche is good at all stages really.
I prefer it a little lighter, and more spreadable.
I just love how fast this is, its like instant gratification!

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