Carmel Bourbon Apple Crisp


There is nothing better when you realize you have all the ingredients in your home to make something yummy and unexpected.  I bought apples for dipping in caramel last week for a ladies night and didn’t use them because of this wonderful bug that has been going around.  So, when unpacking this weeks groceries, I noticed about six apples that needed to be used before they went into the trash.  Throwing food away makes me feel terrible, so those apples had to be used.  

I really was not in the mood for going out to get more items at the food store since I had just gone, so I turned to my mother’s trusty go-to dessert, apple crisp.  Apple crisp is delicious, but I wanted it a little bit different, so when I came upon the recipe for these shooters by The Boys Club, I was in. With caramel in the cupboard, why not use that as well?

The crisp was made in a casserole dish instead of the shooters and used bourbon instead of rum because in this home we like bourbon better.  No matter the liquor or the dish, this is a recipe to make your stomach and sweet tooth happy.

Carmel Bourbon Apple Crisp

6 baking apple (Granny Smith and Gala)
1 ½ ounces bourbon
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon all spice
4 tablespoons granulated sugar

8 tablespoons flour
3 tabelspoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons oats
4 tablespoons walnuts
4 table spoon chilled butter
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Peel, cut and chop the core out of the apples. Then just chop the apple slices into chunks.
  • Combine the apples with the bourbon, sugar, flour, and spices. Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the apple mixture into the bottom of a greased casserole dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugars, spices, salt, oatmeal, walnuts, and cold butter that has been cut into small pieces.
  • Using a fork or pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles course crumbs the size of peas.
  • Top the apple pie filling with the topping mixture. 
  • Bake 30- 40 minutes until the apples are cooked and bubbly.
  • Serve warm with melted caramel on top.
<3 mk


Berry Frozen Cheesecake Mini Bites


With the temps hitting an all time low it really isn’t the time of year for a frozen treat. These are just like a frozen fruit cheesecake minus the calories and fat. It is worth a little cold to taste these delicious cheesecake alternative. 

Triple Berry Frozen Cheesecake Mini Bites
Adapted from Jo and Sue

2 cups berries of choice
8 oz package light cream cheese
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 cups lowfat cool whip

Puree your fruit of choice (blackberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries), agave nectar, and cream cheese with hand mixer. Leave the cream cheese out of the fridge to take off the chill, it will blend better. Leave out the whipped cream to thaw a bit then gently fold it into mixture.   

Pour the mixture into silicone ice cub trays.  The silicone allows the bites to be popped out easily.  You can also put the mixture into ice pop trays for lickable enjoyment. Freeze and enjoy.

<3 mk


Scarf Organizer- Four Methods


What do you wear if …(1) you don’t have a necklace (2) need some color or (3) need volume on the top?  Answer.  Wear a scarf.  

There literally are forty different ways to wear a scarf.  With so many options, why wouldn’t you want to own a lot of them?  They are affordable and available at every clothing store that sells women’s clothes.

My current collect is approximately 37 and growing. I’m not even counting the thick winter fleece scarves for wear outside, this is only counting fashion scarves!   My job doesn’t really allow me to be super bold with fashion and as flexible with my clothing options so I need something to “spice” it up. 

Organization of a prized collection is important.  Below are a four ways you can take this large quantity and make it easily accessible and visually available.

Under bed shoe storage (similar) - This is my current system and used from the extra under shoe storage left over from my boot organization project. There was no reason to modify the holder.  Roll the scarves and color code according to your liking.  I like that there is still more room for future scarf purchases.

Metal binder rings on a strong hanger.  This will work for about ten scarves.  Anymore scarves and you won't be able to see all you have. You can also use the binder rings to hold those small buckeled belts that wont hang on ordinary belt holders. 

The scarf hanger from IKEA called the KOMPLEMENT.  It's eight dollars and is a really good holder if you dont have an abundant amount of scarves.  This was my holder until the collect outgrew it.  The scarves on the top tend to cover the bottom layers.

Specialty scarf holder.  This holder is specially designed for scarves.  You can see all the scarf patterns using this system and it would hold probably about ten.  For about six dollars each, you could buy a few and see your entire collection while hanging them in the closet. 

<3 mk


BoConcept Clock


When you have a large wall you always are looking for something that will decorate without overdoing it.  I first spotted this guy when we were in Germany this past summer.  We loved the clean modern look of almost everything in BoConcepts, but lacked the necessary funds to have our entire house decked out in it all.   This 'Mega' clock was about fifty so it was one of the few items I could afford.

I knew I wanted to get the clock from the minute I had seen it.  So, I started on a quest to get the last remaining clock in stock at the store near my home.   You aren’t able to order online so you need to pick it up.  I'm lucky enough to be living right near a major city so I had two store choices.  The store locations are here

Purchasing the clock was an easy decision, but where we were going to put it was another decision. There is an eleven foot wide wall in our office that this clock was exactly what I had imagined it for. 

There were originally these metal fixtures that had votive candle, but never used. They were arranged 4 in a row horizontal row and were tired to look at in the office. I already have some crazy outdoor ideas for them in the future that may involve spray paint.  They did create lovely little holes (2 per fixture times four = eight holes) some patch and sanding action was required.  A little touch up paint was also called for.

I have to admit that I did my touch up paint to the wall the incorrect color.  In my defense, I am organized but it was also a yellow colored paint.  At one point the current guest room was the office so I found a yellow can labeled “office”, but, it wasn’t the right color .  I thought it might just dry to the same color, but it didn’t and I had to do twice the work.  I must have been really hopeful or really stupid that day.  Whatever, it got done.

Putting the clock up was easier for us since we weren’t putting it up in a perfect circle.  Inside the box there is a template that allows you to put each number in the direct line it should be placed for the clock to actually tell the time.  Once you choose you center, it was easy from there.  The numbers have built-in adhesive stickers to hold them onto the wall .  They are also really light and made of foam with a plastic exterior.  The one downfall might be that if you want to move the clock  you probably will be taking part of the wall off with it.  Jeff only used part of the sticker on each letter in the event we want to move them.

If you aren’t living in an area that has a BoConcepts store and you really like this style, here are a few more accessible options.

<3 mk


Repurposed IKEA Shelf


I am going to admit it, I’m a hacker…an IKEA hacker.  IKEA hackers take what IKEA has to offer and redirect their usage for other furniture purposes.   Some of the ideas that people have come up with are out of control awesome.  This one can be done in just a few minutes!  Read below to see how we did it, including a trick to keep the leg base uniform in color.

Lack Wall Shelf

Capita Legs
The IKEA Lack floating wall shelf was used in our office when Jeff and I first started living together about six years ago.  The shelf looked great on the wall, worked perfect for its purpose, and only cost $14.99.  The concealed wall mounting was right up our style ally too.  After a while we switched rooms and made the guest room the office and the office the guest room.  The shelf didn’t work in the new office and we didn’t have another wall for it.  What’s a girl to do?  I couldn’t just leave anything alone that is a useful decorating tool.

There is a nook in our office that we were using for money trees (the Pachira plant), but my poor aloe plant looked so sad and weak, sitting flush on the floor.     My husband was the one whom suggested repurposing the shelf into a stand for the plants.  Brillant!  We bought the 4" Capita legs and attached.  They come with all the necessary parts (four legs and screws) all in one and range from $10 -$14 depending on the height.  You'll notice the leading edge is blacked out with electrical tape.  This is so you can't see the silver mounting base on the edge.  It can be painted, but electrical tape has held up just fine.

So, we were able to repourpose the shelf and the plants.  Having the 4” height to the windows allows them to thrive.  The height of the shelf has allowed my once sad aloe plant (it was literally down to just one or two fingers - look at it now!) to grow to the monster you see in the pictures above.

Do you have anything in need of hacking?

<3 mk


Orange Spiced Tea


Spot my DIY terrarium from last year?
With the weather getting increasingly colder, one needs a good cup of tea.  There is nothing better than a cup of tea to warm you from the inside out, especially when there is an addition of liquor.

I came upon this recipe while going through a Southern Living magazine.  I am a proud New Yorker, but the southerners sure do know how to add liquor to their food.  I bought Tazo Wild Sweet Orange tea bags last week at the food store and have been ingesting it three times daily (without the liquor!) during work.  It was nice to see this recipe the following week with some added twists.

Orange Spiced Tea

Recipe adapted from Southern Living

2 cinnamon sticks 
½ tsp clove
6 cups boiling water
6 bags wild sweet orange tea (TAZO)
1 orange rind (about 10 inches)
½ cup sugar or three packets Truvia or equivalent sugar substitute
1/3 cup orange liquor, such as Cointreau

Steep the cinnamon and clove in water until fragrant.  Add tea bags and orange rinds for about 5 minutes.  Discard the bags and rinds.  Stir in the sugar until dissolved.  Take off heat and add in the liquor.  Pour into mugs and garnish with cinnamon and slice of orange.


<3 mk


Personal Subway Art


Subway signs are all over the place.  They can go by the name of typography but all usually have quotes, words of encouragement or even personal family info. I looked into getting one made for me on Etsy, but the cost didn’t outweigh what I was getting.  This is too easy of a task that would cost about $100 on something I knew could be done by myself.

The Process.

Canvas. I purchased a canvas that would fit the space I've imagined.  I went for a long rectangle canvas at  40"x 16"x 1.5".  Purchasing a canvas at Michaels is a must because they have printable coupons directly from the website for 40% off a single item.  Teachers also get a discount with work ID. All you have to do on the website is click on the weekly ad and put in your location to print the coupon. How could you lose?

Letters. Figuring out the lettering a bit harder.  I knew stencils were out of the running because stencils are tough to get just right.  When wandering around the craft store I came upon felt and foam sticker letters ranging from 1/2" to 1".  My whole goal for this subway sign was to have different fonts and sizes so the variety of these stickers was plentiful. What they had was perfect.  I bought three different sizes and fonts.

Color. I chose a metallic Rustoleum hammered gray spray paint that I've used before.  I already knew that the canvas sides would need to be painted black to look like a frame, but choosing the color was a bit harder. The walls are already a light gray color and the darker, splattered gray color is a nice contrast. It really is a personal choice and is based on what color you have going on in your home as well as what you want.

The process.

First. Take a ruler and measure the lines to space the words.  Draw horizontal lines every three inches for the placement of the words.

Next, plan out the words that you want to include on the sign.  Jeff was involved in this process as well as with the placement.  We choose to use family names, states, nationalities, colleges, important dates, zip codes, etc.  It is really important that you lay the letters out before you stick them on.  We changed placement a few times before they were finally stuck on.  We choose staggering from right to left, but it’s all a personal choice.

We got lucky with a warm day when I brought the sign outside to be painted. Put down a drop cloth and spray the canvas with even strokes a few times.  Make sure you get at each angle with your desired color.

When I knew the paint was mostly dry I peeled off the letters and numbers.  This was a process that I wasn’t sure would work out.  With bated breath I pulled them off one by one.  I was so happy with the results.  I loved the fact that there weren’t perfect paint lines as it makes it look far more authentic.

After a day of curing/drying, use a small roller to paint the sides with semi-gloss black paint.  Place the canvas on top of a cardboard box  (new boots box :)) so you can easily access each side.  There were some touch-ups to make sure the black didn’t end up on the front, but a paper towel and finger solved that problem.  After some drying I hung up my personalized subway sign.  

In the beginning it was hard to imagine how this project was going to turn out.  The colored letters and numbers really made it more difficult to imagine the final project.  Once the process was done, I was in love.

<3 mk

* Disclaimer -  We are not a "DRAB" family... it's my maiden name. 


The Bitter Sweet Cucumber


Mixing prohibition style beverages has been hobby of mine for some time now.  A little while back I had posted one of my favorite drink concoctions, the Gin Germain.  I put a little spin on my favorite and added an ingredient that usually goes in salads and not drinks.  The cucumber.  This drink is extremely refreshing; I just wish it were in the high 80s and sitting outside by the water.  It's winter, so no luck with that.  Instead I will sit by a warm fire and watch some travel shows. 

This drink requires some muddling. Muddling is a technique used to infuse fruit or herbs into a drink.  As part of your bar tools, one can own a wooden muddle or a plastic toothed muddler.  Personally, I have both.  The wood muddler is used for mostly herbs while the plastic version is used for thick ingredients such as fruits or veggies in my case. I'm sure you can use other tools in your kitchen drawer to muddle, but if you want to make the process of drinking your adult beverage a lot quicker, purchase an actual muddler. 

The Bitter Sweet Cucumber

3 slices of English Cucumber 
2 parts Gin
2 parts St. Germain (Elderflower liquor)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 splash of lemon bitters

In a tin, muddle the cucumber until the vegetable is mashed and liquid has collected on the bottom.  Measure all ingredients into the same tin and add ice. Rim outside of glass (preferably a martini glass) with lemon remnants. Shake tin and strain into the lemon rimmed glass.  I even don’t mind this drink in a rocks glass without being strained.  Noshing on the pulverized cucumber also counts as a snack.  Enjoy!

<3 mk


Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole


When visiting new parents it is always nice to bring food or make food while you are there.  This past weekend Jeff and I visited some of our best friends in NJ.  The family of now four just welcomed their newest child, a son named Ben in December.   The last thing we wanted to do when visiting over night is making your visit more work on the already busy family.  My way of saying thanks for having us is by making food.  I feel like an Italian mother.

The morning after we got there,  I woke up when the house was still quiet and made this simple breakfast casserole.  It didn’t take much time and didn’t require using anything that might wake up a sleeping almost three year old and newborn (and husband).  I am a huge fan of tater tots so this recipe was right up my ally.

The recipe is adapted from its original, but can be done according to your taste.  I used turkey sausage as my meat, but regular sausage, bacon, even veggie sausage can be used.  If I were at home I would have tried to make it lower in fat using skim milk and 2% grated cheese or even egg substitutes.  I might have even bought sweet potato tater tots that could work as an alternative.

Tater Tot Casserole

Adapted from Lilac City Momma


6 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups grated chedder
1 package of turkey sausage
16 oz package of tater tots
salt and pepper
cooking spray

  •   Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  •   Cut sausage out of casing and in a large sautee pan cook the sausage until no longer pink
  •    In mixing bowl combine the milk, eggs, and some salt/pepper.  Wisk until eggs are broken up.
  •   Grease 9” x 13” pan with cooking spray
  •   Layer the cooked sausage, egg mixture, and half of the grated cheese
  •   Layer the tater tots on top
  •     Bake for 30 minutes, put remaining cheese on top and bake for another 10 minutes
-       Enjoy!

 <3 mk

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