DIY Cork Stamps

Happy Monday, y’all!! We were up bright and early this morning – me so I can blog this post & the hubs so he could finish some work for his teacher’s certification. Aaand I’ll probably need another cup of coffee by noon. The struggle is real, peeps. The struggle is real.

Any who, we had an eventful weekend! Our church hosts a volunteer appreciation dinner once a year for all of the serve teams in the church and each year, they somehow top the previous one. It’s always a wacky, crazy, belly laughs, fun night, full of ridiculousness. So that happened last night and boy howdy… what a night! It was medieval themed, complete with crowns and jousting. Yes, you read that correctly. Jousting. Oh! And our pastors made an epic music video remix of “What Does The Fox Say?”. Why, you ask? Because they’re awesome like that. I’ll post that video as soon as it’s up. And if you follow me on Instagram (_theculturedcavewoman), there’s a short clip of the hubs and I dueling it out in the jousting ring! I’d like to let the record state that I WON. I’d also like to believe it was fair and square, so let’s pretend, okay? Okay.

OH! And I got 2 of the most gorgeous chairs for our livingroom yesterday!! That’s a whole other post for another day, but here’s a sneak peek. Thank you, World Market, for fulfilling all of my heart’s desires. Gah, I would live in that store if I could.

LOVE at first sight!

LOVE at first sight!

And now, the REAL reason I wrote this blog post! Another Valentine’s Day craft!!! Yippee, right?! I’ve seen this craft all around Pinterest, so I decided to try it out myself. It was SO easy, only took 30 min and I didn’t even lose a finger. I’d call that a success! There are soo many possibilities with this craft – so dream big!

First, find some old corks (make sure they’re actual cork, not the foam corks!) & trace out your letters or symbols or whatever you’ve decided to do! And make sure you write the letters in a mirrored image. I didn’t on the “L” the first time and theeen realized it. Bah. ;)

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Using an exacto knife, CAREFULLY (I repeat, CAREFULLLLLLLLLY), trace your letter with the knife, then cut sideways into the cork, to make the two cuts meet. The excess cork should pop out pretty easily. Do that on the remaining letters. It took me about 30 min to draw the letters and cut them out. The first few cuts are kinda nerve wracking, but I promise, it gets easier!!

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Make sure your cuts are deep enough so the edges don’t smear ink everywhere! I went back later and trimmed mine down a bit more because of that very issue!

Alrighty, here’s how mine turned out! I LOVE them!! And now I want to make cork stamps of EVERYTHING!

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So, what do you think?? I’d love to hear from you!! You can find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (search “theculturedcavewoman”) :)

California Highlights (Christmas 2013)!

Guys, I haven’t posted in over a week & I’m having some withdrawals over here! I decided not to blog while we were in California for a few reasons – the main one being that family is so incredibly important to us & rather than sit & stare at the computer, we chose to put it away and actually spend time WITH everyone. I’m sure you all understand that! We had such an awesome time, just laughing and talking and being with one another. We packed quite a bit into 9 days, but loved every second of it. It went by way too fast (as per usual) so we’re back and already thinking about planning our next visit out there!

But for now, we have to face reality. In the form of unpacking and catching up on bills. Womp womp. HA. We got back late Sunday night and feel like we’ve been trying to recover ever since. The house is an absolute wreck right now (seriously, like, it’s embarrassing). Laundry needs to be done. I need to get my hiney to the darn grocery store, for goodness sakes! That empty fridge has been taunting me for the past 2 days. Why is it that I always need a vacation after a vacation?! Anyone else feel me on that?? ;)

Alrighty, so.. while I didn’t blog on the trip, I DID take a lot of pictures! Below are some photo highlights of Matt’s sister’s wedding & our Cali trip, for your viewing pleasure! PS: I can’t believe the next time I post it’ll be 2014!! Where the heck did this year go?!

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The beautiful bride and groom! And my Jersey Shore husband ;)

The wedding was perfect. And went off without a hitch! They decided to go with a rustic Christmas theme & the end result was honestly one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen! We are all dyyying to see the pictures – hopefully we’ll get a sneak peek soon :)

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Goodness gracious, I love this man!

We left the next morning for California on 4 hours of sleep, got stuck outside IN THE RAIN for 45 mins just to check our bags (because the airport was so dang crowded), only got in 1 argument and then finally landed in LA. Grandma had lunch waiting for us at the house & then immediately took us to Trader Joe’s (the way to my heart)!

Grandma spoiled us & bought our groceries for the entire week! Here were a few faves :)

Grandma spoiled us & bought our groceries for the entire week! Here were a few faves :)

My phone had been on the fritz for quite awhile (and Sprint service is terrible where we live), so we took the plunge, joined our phone accounts & switched to Verizon!! Best decision ever. I’m not usually a gadget person, but the iPhone 5s is just so beautiful, it makes me want to weep. Camera quality = A+++.

We became iPhone 5s owners!

We became iPhone 5s owners!

My awesome uncle (who’s been a Canon Rep for over 20 years) gave us tons of lessons and tips for shooting better pictures. He also blessed us with a tripod!! So excited to see the difference it makes in my cooking posts :) the hubs has been playing around with the ISO and aperture every day since then. It’s a perfect mix – I see the artistic shot and he knows how to set the camera up for it! Teamwork, y’all.

My Canon Rep Expert uncle gave us a few lessons in how to take better pictures! If you look closely you can see all of us in the reflection!

My uncle, husband & I! If you look closely you can see all of us in the reflection!

My stepdad gave me one of my fave Christmas presents :)

My stepdad gave me one of my fave Christmas presents :)

My almost 80-year-old Grandma showed Matt the fantasy football stat sheets she makes every week. My Grandma is a G!

My almost 80-year-old Grandma showed Matt the fantasy football stat sheets she makes every week. My Grandma is a G!

The cheese platter I made for Christmas!

The cheese platter I made for Christmas!

Oh the beauty of California… I seriously cannot express in words how much I miss mountains. And hills. And terrain of any kind. Houston is just so darn flat!! After spending 9 days wandering around in this glorious creation, we decided that we are definitely gonna have to travel more in 2014. Fo real.

We went hiking. A lot. (This is a pic of my brother and sister!)

We went hiking. A lot. (This is a pic of my brother and sister!)

We hiked across water.

We hiked across water.

Up a 200 ft incline.

Up a 200 ft incline.

And to a waterfall!

And to a waterfall!

All in all, it was a beautiful trip that filled my heart with so much happiness!! We are going into 2014 with joy and expectation for what’s to come. So many changes and new beginnings –  I, for one, cannot wait to see what this year holds. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a big one!! So on that note, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your New Year’s celebration tonight!! Stay safe and bring it on 2014 :)

Our first married Christmas picture together :)

Our first married Christmas picture together :)

Find me on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram (username: @itsbrenae)!! I’d love to hear from you! :)

Friday Finds!

So excited for this weekend –  celebrating a sweet friend’s birthday tonight & then spending tomorrow afternoon with another lovely friend! We are heading to the Nutcracker Market here in Houston – which I’ve never been to, but apparently it’s this huge stadium that Christmas throws up in, in the form of decorations, crafts, and endless glitter. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited. I’ll try to capture the magic and take some pictures for you!

And if case you were dying to know how the fireplace paint job is coming along – I haven’t done a second coat of the whitewash yet, but I think I might just stick to one! Once it dried completely, I actually didn’t hate it. So yay for that! I’ll try to post a before/after picture and y’all can weigh in :)

Anywhoo, back to Friday Finds, these posts are some of my favorite to write! Seriously. I love discovering new pieces of furniture and other home decor – dreaming about the beautiful spaces that can be made from these gems is so fun! I am in LOVE with this week’s finds!

Emerson Shelving $399.99 @ World Market

Emerson Shelving $399.99 @ World Market

This shelving. See what I mean? LOVE. At first sight. Gah. I can’t get over them! Love the look of these – the metal and rustic wood. They’d be perfect in a dining room or home office – especially with some wooden crates or metal wire baskets on the shelves!

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Antiqued Wall Clock – Teal (on sale) $103.20 @ Pier One

This clock. I have a similar one hanging on my fireplace that I ADORE. I love the subtle blue and the antique look of the clock face. This would look great in a kitchen, entry way or on a mantle! So many possibilities.

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White Wall Window Frame $28.00 @ Pier One

This frame. Isn’t this just perfect? I die. It would look so good in an entry way or bedroom. You could hang your favorite pictures from it or even use it as a cute display for all of those Christmas cards you’ll be getting soon (do people still send Christmas cards? Is that still a thing?). Either way, I’m sure you could put this piece to good use!

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“Abstract Garden” by Elinor Luna $129.99 @ World Market

This painting. I LOVE this! I actually was going between this painting and another one from Pier One for the loongest time! I wanted something to go over our TV console and I was having the hardest time deciding. But alas, the elephant won out over the flowers (I’m gaga over this elephant – I’ll post a picture soon so you can drool with me. Is that awkward? Co-drooling? Yes? Ok ,forget I mentioned it). I would still love to find a place for this in my house though – it’s just so gorgeous!

Retro-Classic White Accent Chairs (set of 2) $166.99 @ Overstock.com

Retro-Classic White Accent Chairs (set of 2) $166.99 @ Overstock.com

These chairs. Words cannot express my feelings for these beauties. I wish I had a different dining table so they could live in my house. Or that my living room was slightly bigger so I could use them as accents. Sigh. I LOVE the look of these – especially the wooden legs. I hope someone out there falls in love with them and then messages me a picture of what they decided to do with ’em! Please. Someone. Anyone. I need to live vicariously through you!

Welp, there are my favorite finds this week – and now I’m off to put real clothes on & get to work! Being an adult is so overrated, don’t you think?!

Cauliflower Pizza with Grilled Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes and Basil Pesto

Alright people. I have searched high and low. I have slaved over my hot oven in 95 degree weather in Houston, Texas. I have wept bitter tears over endless attempts (not really… but it sounds really good, huh?) And alas… I have created the PERFECT cauliflower pizza crust. But hey, don’t just take my word for it! Try it out for yourself… and prepared to be amazed! ;)

CAULIFLOWER PIZZA CRUST

The ingredients!

The ingredients!

  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (Optional! If you don’t want to use cheese, add an extra egg instead!)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Toppings:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 TBSP Emeril’s Chicken Rub seasoning
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes

PESTO (recipe from Fed & Fit)

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted

Directions:

Because it takes the most time, the first thing you’ll want to do is get the garlic in the oven for the pesto. Preheat your oven to 375 and then peel all of the outer layers off until you’re left with just the bulb. Cut the tops off of the cloves, as this will greatly assist in the roasting process!

Make sure to get the ones on the sides too!

Make sure to get the ones on the sides too!

Next, wrap the bulb in foil, so it stands upright. This will ensure that all of the juices stay inside the cloves. Roast for about 30-45 minutes or until super tender and then set aside.

You can use a muffin tin to help if yours won't sit by itself

You can use a muffin tin to help if yours won’t sit by itself

Next, cut the florets off of your cauliflower- you won’t really need the stem, so throw that bad boy out! Using a food processor, Vitamix or something similar, pulse the cauliflower until you have “crumbs”.

It should look something like this!

It should look something like this!

In order to have everything done at nearly the same time, I would suggest starting your chicken at this point. Cut or slice 2 chicken breasts into small pieces and cook over medium high heat in 1/2 tbsp olive or coconut oil. Add Emeril’s Chicken Rub seasoning and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.

I cooked it a little longer because I like the slightly burnt bits on my pizza!

I cooked it a little longer because I like the slightly burnt bits on my pizza!

While the chicken cooks, microwave your cauliflower “crumbs” for about 4 minutes. You want them to be slightly tender but not mushy. Transfer the “crumbs” to a tea towel or something similar, and squeeze out as much of the excess water as you can.

Get ready to squeeze!

Get ready to squeeze!

You miiight consider allowing the cauliflower to cool for a few minutes on the towel before you wring it, otherwise you will burn the bejeeszus out of your hands! But cooking is all about sacrifice, right?!

I usually get at least 1/2 cup of water out!

I usually get at least 1/2 cup of water out!

Place the squeezed cauliflower crumbs into a medium/large mixing bowl and add the eggs, cheese, almond flour & seasonings. Mix together.

It doesn't feel anything like dough, so don't freak out!

It doesn’t feel or look anything like dough, so don’t freak out!

I did individual pizzas, simply because I feel that they crisp up better when they’re smaller. A little more pizza-y. A little less crumbly. But it’s your call! Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Form the “dough” into circles and press down on the paper. You don’t want them super flat, just enough to cook through evenly.

Getting closer to the prize!

Getting closer to the prize!

By now your garlic should be done. Turn the oven to 400 & bake the pizzas for about 12 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

They should look a little something like this

They should look a little something like this

While the pizzas are baking, toast your pine nuts to finish the pesto. Place the nuts in a small frying pan and turn to medium/low heat. Stir constantly (as they burn easily), until the nuts start getting brown and toasty. It usually takes about 3-4 minutes.

They smell pretty yummy too!

They smell pretty yummy too!

Add the basil leaves, half of the olive oil & pine nuts to your food processor. Squeeze the garlic bulb from the bottom into the food processor. The cloves will ooze right out (for lack of a better word). If not, just gently peel off the outer skin and add. Juice the lemon right over the mix. Pulse until smooth.

Add the rest of the olive oil, salt and pepper to your liking and blend again.

Blend until smooth!

Looks a little wonky, but the taste is UNREAL.

I could eat this by itself. Okay, let's be honest and change that to I DID eat this by itself.

I could eat this by itself. Okay, let’s be honest and change that to I DID eat this by itself.

Spread a layer of pesto onto the cooked pizzas and then pile on your toppings. Bake for an addtional 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

Try not to drool too much yet, mmk?

Try not to drool too much yet, mmk?

The finished product!!

The finished product!!

Guys. This pizza might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. The crust was moist, but not crumbly and even had a pizza-y texture. Some friends of ours came over the night I made these & they’re not even paleo & they loved it!!

This recipe definitely requires more a longer time commitment than some, in which case, if you wanted to shorten the process, you COULD make the pesto ahead of time. It’ll last 2-3 days in your refrigerator, so feel free to save a few steps the night of! :)

Another thing I love about this crust-it’s versatility! You could literally add any toppings/sauce to it and it’ll turn out to be mouth-wateringly good. I have a few other pizza recipes I’m looking forward to trying out in the near future! In the mean time, let me know what you think of this one!

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