Garlic Lime Chicken with Cilantro Corn Relish

Garlic Lime ChickenIngredients

FOR THE MARINADE:
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 whole garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 5 whole limes juiced (about ¼ Cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
FOR THE RELISH:
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 whole fresh jalapeno (seeded and chopped)
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper (diced)
  • ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 avocado (cubed)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced (1 lime should give you about 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Pound the breasts thin for even grilling. To do this place a piece of plastic wrap over the chicken breast. Use the smooth side of the meat pounder to pound the piece thin.
  2. Place thinned chicken breasts in a large plastic storage bag. Combine marinade ingredients (lime juice, crushed garlic cloves, salt, and black pepper) and pour over chicken. Seal bag and marinate in refrigerator for several hours to overnight. (Personally I do not think you need to do it overnight. In fact I do mine for about 30 minutes to and hour and I think it is perfect.)
  3. Before grilling, combine all corn relish ingredients (corn kernels, chopped jalapeno, diced red bell pepper, cilantro, avocado, lime juice, and salt) in a medium bowl.
  4. Set grill to medium heat and cook chicken breasts about 4 to 6 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Remove from grill and serve.
  5. For serving, spoon corn relish over each piece of chicken
  • Source: The Pioneer Woman
  • Recipe Yields: 2 servings (This recipe could be stretched to 3 but you will obviously have to add an additional chicken breast)

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Pom Pom Flowers

It is no secret that I am obsessed with pom poms poof balls. I usually make mine out of tissue paper, but I decided to create some out of yarn to give them a different feel and texture. I love the yarn because it takes the paper poof and turns it into more than just a party decoration. You can truly use this flower poof as decor in your home and not feel like you have tacky fake flowers in your house. I have really struggled with this in the past, because I love the look of flowers in the home, but hate the price tag that goes with maintaining them weekly. I rarely have plants, because I pretty much kill anything that does not meow to remind me to feed it. I used to do fake flowers from time to time (don’t hate), but I feel like fake flowers suck the energy out of a room, where as real flowers add energy. The yarn poof balls are a happy compromise for the domestic goddess with a glitter thumb rather than a green thumb. 

Supplies

  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Wrapped floral wire

Directions

Step 1. Wrap the yarn around your fingers. Use 2 fingers with 75 wraps for a small poof, 3 fingers with 100 wraps for a medium poof, and 4 fingers with 150 wraps for a large poof. Be sure to not wrap too tightly!

Step 2. Carefully slip the yarn off your fingers and tie a piece of yarn (about 6 inches long) around the center of the wrap so it makes a figure 8. Secure the tie as tight as possible.

Step 3. Cut the yarn loops all the way around, creating a shaggy poof. Then trim your poof until the desired look is achieved. 

Step 4. Decide where you want the bottom to be and place a small dab of hot glue deep in the center of your poof, stick in your stem and allow to dry. Trim any remaining uneven areas, and then stick your flower in a vase and call it a day.

Notes: I would recommend using wrapped floral wire. I only had regular floral wire and it was a tad flimsy for my medium poofs. You could also get creative with the stems and use other materials, such as pipe cleaners or even real tree branches.

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Gameday Fashion UT Austin

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DIY Outdoor Dining Table

The hubs and I spent the last month putting together a beautiful outdoor dining table for our deck. Isn’t it pretty? It took us about a month, because we mainly worked on weekends with a few weeknights sprinkled in here and there, but is also turned out to be a little more labor intensive than we thought. Cutting some boards and screwing them together always seems like an easy enough process… Skip ahead 4 hours when you only have half a bench done and you realize, ‘Hmm maybe that $799 outdoor furniture at Patio World is totally worth it.’ We ended up spending about $180 on our little labor of love ($130 lumber, $30 stain, $20 screws), which is not too bad when you leave out the cost of the crappy miter saw that died on us.

It’s official, our brand new miter saw the hubs got for his birthday is broken. The blade brake totally stopped working, so after you make your cut it just spins and spins. More annoying than anything else, but I am sure it is dangerous as well. It is too late to return it to Home Depot (you only have 90 days). Since it is under a year old, you can apparently take it to some Rigid service center here in town and they will fix it for free. The only thing that sucks about that, is they are only open 9-5 on the weekday, which means the wifey (me) has to take the hubs’ big heavy miter saw and try to explain what is wrong with it. This probably is not going to go very well.

On a positive note, we were pretty much done with all of our cuts for our table and benches before the brake went caput. After all the cuts were made, we decided to stain our wood individually, since we were using untreated “mixed” wood. We wanted to make sure we were able to cover ever inch of wood, so it would weather well outside. I learned a lot about staining with this project, but mostly that I don’t enjoy it. Staining each individual piece was such a pain in the butt. I am a perfectionist about certain things, which usually gets in my way more than it helps me (I am working on how to use it to my advantage), so when the stain drips on the edges or rubs on the bottom it drives me crazy. It is totally impossible to stain an entire piece of wood at one time, but it is even more impossible to stain a 2×4 without it getting on the edges. In retrospect, I would have loved to be able to put the table together and stain it as one piece of furniture. Staining furniture is wayyyyy easier than staining individual pieces of wood. On the other hand, I have never stained a piece of furniture, but I would imagine my last statement to be true. I will get back to you on that one.

We got the plans for our table from the Ana White Homemaker website. (That is her beautiful table pictured above.) Ana White is a wife/mother/homemaker living in Alaska, who loves building and sharing her creations with the world. Her site is pretty awesome, you should check it out. Anyway, I stumbled on her site when we were looking for woodworking plans for around the house, and the cost of her plans were right up my alley. They were $FREE! We decided on her Simple Outdoor Dining Table, wrote down the cut list and we headed to Home Depot to buy some lumber. We made a couple of mistakes along the way, but we learned from them and now I am here to share our trials, tribulations and successes with you. For the complete plans click on the links above and they will take you to Ana White’s site. She has tons of great ideas that will totally inspire you to pick up a hammer.

Simple Tips:

Tip 1. First off, spend the money and get some good wood. We ended up buying “mixed” wood, which was cheaper, but still looked pretty. It worked ok, except it’s more delicate than real wood and had a tendency to split if we weren’t careful. It also warped when we stained it, but it is my understanding that all wood moves and warps with stain, time and weathering. We will see how this table does overtime, especially with winter just around the corner. Hopefully our Ikea grade wood table will hold up ok.

Tip 2. Sand  the wood splinters off the edge of your wood before you stain. This will help the table look more finished and those pesky slivers won’t end up getting in the way during the staining process. You will notice I was too lazy to sand my pieces prior to staining and those areas soaked up the stain more than the rest of the wood, making it look uneven. Laziness and perfectionism are not a good combo. Rah!

Tip 3. To stain your table, I recommend using a sponge roller… I repeat, use a sponge roller! I started with a paint brush and it was a disaster. It is very hard to control the amount and the movement of the stain with a brush and it ends up being a big ol’ mess. After the paint brush I tried the rag method, but I think that works better when staining an entire piece of furniture, not a flimsy piece of mixed wood lying on top of a tarp. The hubby suggested a roller twice apparently, but I only heard him after I suggested it and he agreed. However we got to the idea, the important part is we got to it and it worked. The sponge roller puts on an even coat and eliminates brush stroke marks. In my opinion, it is the way to go, but like I said I am a staining amateur and I am sure there are better ways to do everything I did. If you have any tips, please share in the comments below. I am always open to learning new ideas. However you do it, be sure to evenly apply your stain from head to toe. Never start or end in the middle of the wood.

Tip 4. When putting the table together getting the correct spacing is very important. No matter how many skew ups you make along the way, if the boards are evenly spaced, nobody will ever notice. To ensure even spaces we purchased tile spacers at Home Depot. They come in many different widths and luckily they had 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch. They worked perfectly and now we are prepared if we ever have to tile a bathroom. (I love how the spacers make it look like a mini graveyard. Morbid, yet kinda cute.)

Tip 5. Have fun and enjoy spending time with the person you are working with. My favorite thing about these projects is that we do them together. Sure there are times when only one of us is working, like while he is at work and I am out in the 90 degree Houston weather staining 50 boards at a time under the hot Texas sun cursing my Hubby’s name, or when I am too annoyed with the mosquitos biting my legs, arms, neck and face that I leave him in the garage to build by himself. ( Iswear I think bug spray attracts mosquitos.) Those times definitely exist, and there are moments where you think, ‘What the F are we doing?’ But at the end of the day, or in this case month, you can say, “We built this together.” I love that.

Notes: If you screw up, don’t give up. Just keep moving forward! Make the adjustments you need to make the table work for you. The slight alterations in the end will make the table unique and special just like you! If you fo’t have a kreg jig and have to screw in from the top, it is not big deal. Just buy some wood filler and cover up your nails. Nobody will ever know. We actually ended up doing both, but I have yet to fill in the holes.

EGG Signature

Beer Can Chicken

Beer Can ChickenYou had me at beer. My hubby looooves chicken and I loooove beer, so when I was searching the internet for new chicken recipes and came across Paula Deen’s Drunken Chicken I knew I had hit the jackpot. I posted her version along with a couple of others on the blog a while back, and have been meaning to try one of them forever. The fact that we did not have a grill and other intimidating factors, such as removing the giblets and shoving a beer can up a chickens yoohoo deterred me. But I knew the time had come, so I put my big girl panties on and finally defiled a chicken. I ended up using Simply Recipe’s version pretty much to a T, and all in all I think it turned out pretty good. The coolest part is I was able to use the leftover chicken in my chicken chili recipe the next night. So, essentially we got two meals out of one. I love when that happens!

Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 opened, half-full can of beer, room temperature (I used a blonde ale, but next time I am going to try Guinness!)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried thyme (I used fresh thyme.)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Directions

Prepare your grill for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill, leaving another side free of coals. If you are using a gas grill, fire up only half of the burners.

Remove neck and giblets from cavity of chicken, if the chicken came with them. (Mine did and it was simple, so don’t get scared! It was all tied up in a little bag inside the chicken cavity. Super easy to throw away)

Rub the chicken all over with olive oil. Mix the salt, pepper, and thyme in a little bowl, then sprinkle it all over the chicken.

Make sure the beer can is open, and only half-filled with beer. You can drink the other half! (I did that and had a couple more while I was at it.)

If you want, you can put a sprig of thyme, or another herb like rosemary or sage, in the beer can. (I did that and it turned out well.)

Lower the chicken on to the open can, so that the chicken is sitting upright, with the can in its cavity. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, using the legs and beer can as a tripod to support the chicken on the grill and keep it stable.

Cover the grill and walk away. Do not even check the chicken for at least an hour. (I love recipes like this!)

After an hour, check the chicken and refresh the coals if needed. Keep checking the chicken every 15 minutes or so, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160°F – 165°F. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken, and the internal temperature of the grill. A 4 lb chicken will usually take around 1 1/2 hours. (Mine was 4 lbs and some change and it took exactly 1 1/2 hours.)

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke it deeply with a knife (the thigh is a good place to do this), if the juices run clear, not pink, the chicken is done.

Carefully transfer the chicken to a tray or pan. I say “carefully” because the beer can, and the beer inside of it, is quite hot. One way to do this is to slide a metal spatula under the bottom of the beer can. Use tongs to hold the top of the chicken. Lift the chicken, beer can still inside, and move it to a tray. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the chicken off of the can. If it gets stuck, lay the chicken on its side, and pull out the can with tongs. (Or call your husband in to pull it out while you hold it.)

Notes: This recipe was a complete success! The chicken was moist, the flavor was just right and we had enough for left overs. I am definitely making this one again, but like I said, next time I am using Guinness.

EGG Signature

Ikea Stool Makeover

I have tons of furniture makeover projects piling up around the house, so I figured it was time to start one of them to get the ball rolling. I started with a very small project, mainly to see if I liked the design. I’m sort of testing it out for a bigger project I have been mulling over for a while now. Since everything went well, and I really like the finished results, I think it is a go ahead. For this particular project, I took a basic Ikea stool and transformed turned it into a much more attractive Ikea stool. Like I said, we are talking basic stuff here… A little paint, a little Modge Podge and craft paper, and voilà! Now onto bigger and better things. I see a matching filing cabinet and a fabulous desk in my future.