Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RenoVation Part Deux: Spray It Forward

Side note (that's not really on the side of anything): Super apologies for dropping off of the face of the earth. August was rough, to say the least. We are back on track and roaring to go! 

Another not-so-side note: Thing 2 was featured on being tazim. Check it out!!

Getting organized is key when you want to save time and more importantly, money. Prep work will keep the headaches away and the stress levels down. 

Tip #1: Make a production list of things you would like to do. Then make a second list of what can be salvaged instead of purchased new. I reference my Pinterest account under my "For RV Remodel" board for inspiration on where I can save the most.

In my case, I reused the handles. They were very…let's just say, not my style. Every. single. handle was brass and a lot of the RV was just covered in brass. On the other hand, everything was well-made, and definitely not worth scrapping. Our RV just needed a little pick-me-up. I explored on Pinterest, but unfortunately couldn't find any project that I'd like to do. (Hey, it happens.) So I decided that I was just going to spray paint them white. They look brand-new! 21 handles = $6. Done.

Moving on: The shower to the RV was a disgusting shade of diarrhea. It was sort of a "yellow snow" color, if you catch my drift. I wanted to purchase a whole new shower, and I didn’t care how much it was gonna cost. I just wanted it out. That's how much I hated it. Then, my husband convinced me that I should just spray paint the inside and it would look just as new. (Hmmmm? He must be part Asian. LOL) So, he took on that project and voila! good as new.  

Total cost: $40 for a few cans of Krylon FusionTip #2: Always check with the paint people to make sure you won't need to prime or what you'll need to actually get your paint to stick to plastic. 

Labor: He did it all. Pat on the back and a high five for the husband.

(P.S. They make other colors of spray paint. I just choose white.)

 Spray paint has come a long way. It comes in a variety of different colors and different textures. You can pretty much spray paint anything and make it look new. It is extremely easy and the finished product is awesome!

And I heard 'em spray,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Best Summer Purchase Everrrrr: Part Deux

Elias stealing one of his sister's cream pops.

Since I got those popsicle molds, sometimes that's all I wanna do: make popsicles. Unfortunately, most of the time we don't have what I want to make them. Most of the time, I don't wanna follow the rules and directions to do any of it…so I don't. Most of the time, that's ok.

It's been hot here in the East bay for the majority of July and right into mid-August. Triple digit temps. Gross. The only logical thing to do was bust out the handy dandy molds so all of the nuggets in my house could cool off. (Honestly, my crock pot has been doing the rest of the dirty work lately.)

I dubbed these "random crap" pops. Now, I'm very aware that the term "random crap" doesn't sound appetizing. I completely understand that. It's so fitting though. I don't know about your household, but people in my family really like to leave the very end of the carton of milk or the last few chips in the bag. They're freaking pros at it, actually. (My family is also good at leaving empty boxes of cereal, oatmeal packs, etc. in the pantry, too…::ahemThing1ahem::) I'm pretty sure it's their attempt at being considerate, but it actually just ruins my life. Anyway, about the term "random crap": the kids and I threw all of the little leftovers that they always leave…all of the random crap…into the cream pops! This means that each pop is not consistent in what it contains, which completely alters the flavor individually. The one I'm eating will not taste like the one you're eating. That breaks so many rules in the culinary world. Oh well! Thou shall not waste in my damn house.

Best part of these: no processed sugar added. I used raw honey and huckleberry honey!

Strawberry-Mango-Pineapple & Cream Pops
Yield: 8-12, depending on your molds, print recipe

3/4 c. strawberries, frozen
3/4 c. mango, frozen 
1/4 c. pineapple, frozen
1/2 c. cream (or half and half, though they won't be as creamy- that's what I had lyin' around)
1/2 c. ice cream (your choice, what's your flavor?)
1 tsp. vanilla

2 T   honey
2 T   huckleberry honey

Whatever odds and ends food that you find in your kitchen

I threw all of these in our new Ninja Master Prep Blender and let 'er rip. The honey stuck a bit because everything was hella cold, but we can't all be perfect.

What we had left this time.

I made vanilla-cinnamon ice cream the week before with my friend, Becky. We also made apricot jam! That's a whole other post though ;)

The contenders in tonight's Pop Battle

The tools!

Elias put chocolate covered blueberries, cherries, and coconut in his set. He later told me that he didn't even like coconut and didn't want to eat his own creation. Way to go, Kid.

Camryn added some huckleberry honey!

Mixed to a thick consistency, like soft serve.

Camryn said it sounded like someone was SCREAMING!!!!! (For ice cream?) (I had to. Don't judge me.)

Into the freezer we go. 4-6 hours, over night is best.

Things to remember: 

-Tip #1TASTE! Always taste your food as you go along. If it's not sweet enough, add more honey. If it's not creamy enough, ADD MORE CREAM! Use your dome and your taste buds, they won't steer you wrong.  
Tip #2: Layering. If you throw the bits of coconut or whatever you've got in, the stuff'll sink right to the bottom (which is really the top). Fill molds halfway, freeze for an hour. Add other stuff. Fill to the top. Freeze normally. 
Tip #3: After you've filled your molds, give them a few taps on the counter. Air bubbles will be released and you'll be able to get a few more spoonfuls in there.

Ice Ice Baby,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Foodie Penpal: What I Sent: From the Bay to LA

So, the way Foodie Penpal works is kinda funny, but very efficient. You sign up, you're paired up with two people: one person you will be receiving a package from, and one person you will be sending a package. In the previous post, I revealed the packaged that I received from Peggy. Now, I'm gonna show you a little of what I sent off to Monique!

Funnily enough, Monique grew up in San Francisco and currently resides in Beverly Hills. I'm from the Bay Area, as you know, and I've worked in Beverly Hills in the past. I knew instantly that Trader Joe's would be out of the question since those are pretty plentiful in California and probably one right down the street from where she lives. (My initial instinct was to hook her up with some Boudin bread, but I knew it wouldn't last, not in my house nor in the mail. It's pretty blasphemous to not eat it fresh, honestly.) A few things about Monique that I learned:

- She's Italian
- She is a baker more than a cook
- No allergies…right on. Not having to worry about killing somebody is always a plus.

Okay, I'll stop talking now. Here's what I sent:

Full contents! L-R: McCauley Olive Grove Corn Nuggets, Skyflakes/Rice Crackers (#1 strawberry basket), Knox Gelatine, Nagaraya BBQ cracker nuts,  Primo's Spinach Dip mix, local honey sticks, and a bonus gift: little melamine spoon measures. :)
Skyflakes: plain crackers, but they're so much more buttery than Saltines. Rice crackers: The perfect combination of sweet, salty, and all Asiany flavors. (Yeah, I said "Asiany", so?)

Contents of basket: Local items like olive oil (from the orchard down the street), Spinach dip mix (from Tracy, CA), local honey sticks, and the bonus gift: melamine measuring spoons!
McCauley Olive Grove Corn Nuggets: Super sweet, but like the note says, "…like a mix between caramel popcorn and corn pops." Sounds like a freaking awesome combination to me. I like these especially because there's not crap stuck in my teeth afterwards. Apparently, she thought they had a garlic flavor to them (oopsies?), but thank God that wasn't the case. That'd been so weird. lol
Gelatin envelopes and a recipe!
Last, but definitely not least: Nagaraya BBQ Cracker nuts
I used berry baskets to contain everything in a neat little package, and twine/index cards to attach my notes. This was really fun to put together, and by the looks of Monique's blog post, she had fun receiving it! 

What a great first Foodie Penpal experience. Can't wait to do it again!

The Lean Green Bean

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Foodie Penpal! From TX to CA

Apparently, Xenia keeps me in the know about a lot of cool projects: Blogathon Bash was sweet. Now, Foodie Pen-Pals!

This was right up my alley so I joined and was paired up with a lovely lady named Peggy from Kerrville, Texas (I later learned it's about 60 miles northwest of San Antonio). 

The gist of our initial emails were:

- This was our first swap! Noobs! :)
- I'm not allergic to anything, but dislike okra and raw bananas
- I'd love stuff that was local to Kerrville or surrounding areas

Not only was Peggy super sweet and pleasant, but she definitely delivered on the local goods…which obviously, I absolutely loved. She also sent along the cutest letter telling me all about herself, which was SO cool! Peggy is a retired mortician and bereavement educator, and runs numerous newsletters, as well as volunteer. Every email was a pleasure to receive from her and made for an even more enriching Foodie Penpal experience.

Here's the goods:
The contents of my Texas Foodie Penpal Package!
My favorite part: Truffle salt that was bottled in Texas
A recipe to go along with the salt :)
A cute surprise note in the bottom of the bag from Camp Verde General Store
Borracho Beans with Shiner Bock from HEB

Spices of India from Bittersweet Herb Farm

A wooden postcard from the Alamo (No basement…sad!)
Also, Peggy included a Brown Mustard Basil (pictured next to the Spices of India in the package picture) and a spice rub called tale Gator. She was thoughtful enough to include tons of literature on all of the places that she went to compile my package. 

I really appreciated that Peggy took the time to go to a bunch of different locations to come up with the best package she could. Receiving this package was just a friendly reminder that there are still cool people out there in the world. :)

Thanks so much again, Peggy. I told you that I was over-the-moon about my package, and I still am. I will definitely update (all of) you on the fun things I cook with all of my new fun spices and rubs! Can't wait.


I sent a package out as well, stay tuned to find out what I shipped. Here's what my Foodie Penpal had to say about what I sent her! To find out more about Foodie Penpals or on becoming a Foodie Penpal visit: The Lean Green Bean

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Introduction to the RenoVation: I go HARD in the Paint

First, let me apologize for the lack of posting. I have been testing all of the great advice I am sharing with all of you Asians and honorary Asians. 

As Thing 2 pointed out in her "Pin THIS" post, I recently purchased an RV. (See what I did there? In the title? Thank you, Thing 2! LOL dumb) Before you revolt and "unbookmark" this blog, let me explain. I got a great deal on a used one. Remember: We save money so we can enjoy spending it, because...what's the point of saving then? lol

I am not one for camping. I completely understand that it's the best way to vacation when on a budget, but it's just not for me. I don't consider being out in the wilderness with god-knows-what out there ready to make me their dinner. My husband convinced me that we should get an RV as a compromise. I agreed, as long as we both got to choose it. 

We flip flopped back and forth between buying new vs. used for months. Here's tip #1: When making big purchases, definitely take your time. It's not called a BIG purchase for nothin'. Choose wisely. Get online, get books, do your research. There's nothing worse than buyer's remorse because you didn't know what you were getting into. (Email me if you need reference websites or books.)

We wanted the RV for lots of money saving reasons: 
  • We wanted to save money on hotels when traveling to Disneyland and other destinations. 
  • We wanted the tax write-off. 
  • I love taking weekend trips with the kids, but don't like paying tons of money just to stay one night.
In the end, we ended up buying a used RV. Main reasons being: 
  • Used was cheaper. Wayyyyy cheaper. 
  • We could use the extra money to renovate the RV in the style that we wanted.
  • It has more manual mechanics, so if/when something goes bad, it would be easier and cheaper to replace.

When we started to modify the aesthetics, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. Boy, did I find it!! There are so many ideas, but I settled on a relaxing beach theme. Once decisions were made, we set off to the Home Depot and Lowe's. I wanted to keep renovations at as low a cost as possible. 

Since we are having all sitting areas reupholstered and carpet put in, I wanted to paint and decorate first. I started looking at swatches and found some nice colors. Unfortunately, it was $30+ per gallon! I wandered around a bit looking for cheaper paint, but I didn't want to exchange price for quality. Then I had an a-ha! moment and some luck! Next to the paint mixing counter was Oops paint. Ever heard of it? 

The Oops paint section contains canisters of paint that are returned because the customer either didn't like it or the employee made the wrong one. Here's tip #2: Oops paint is marked down by 75%!! I looked at the paint and found a color close enough to the shade we were looking for and fortunately, a whole damn gallon was marked $5.00. Freaking unheard of. Oh well, their loss is my gain! I grabbed brushes, tape, and paint trays before anyone tried to change the price. BONUS TIP (Learn from this one!): I got up to the counter to find out that they were having a sale on that particular brand, and I got a $5.00 rebate! I paid $0.00 for the paint!! (WTH, right?! MIND. BLOWN.)

I know...I KNOW!

What have we learned today, folks??

It pays (almost literally) to check the Oops paint area each time you go to the hardware store when you know that you have a project coming up. It could also be part of the inspiration. 

Obviously, this doesn't only apply to the RV painting job. It could apply to any home project!

OOPS! Saved some money again,

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Ok, I'm not gonna lie. I was not interested in joining Pinterest at all. My first impression was that the idea of it was kind of silly, why couldn't you just bookmark a compelling website on your browser? Then I remembered the whole "social" part of the social media website. Sharing is caring, after all. I think we all share a little too much these days lol. (I say "lol", but I'm actually serious………

Anyway, since I reluctantly drank the kool-aid, I realized I was dead wrong. It's actually quite brilliant. Yes, you could still just bookmark these pages, but honestly, it's so much more interesting than that.  You freakin' set up your boards (with whatever topics you like), search for friends, and get to pinning. Don't know how to? They have a tutorial for that! You start figuring out how to do things that you didn't even know you wanted to do! Wanna learn how to make your own air freshener? OK! Get rid of hard-water stains? SURE!

Right? I didn't know what I was missing.

Now that I'm in it…I'm in it. I love seeing my friends' pins, and being able to organize all of my pins in one spot. I've already completed a few of DIY projects (which is the main reason I joined in the first place…a friend told me it was a great source for inspiration) that I am going to share with you below. Pinterest is so successful because the platform is so easy to use (as is with Twitter, etc.) It's a cinch to pin and share useful webpages, even though it's slightly flawed in that if many people pin the same one, that's all that shows up for practically the whole page. Albeit it's free, awesome, and I love it. I feel all empowered when I put resourceful information to good use. I think I'm friggin' Rosie the Riveter thanks to becoming a seasoned pinner. (Pinterester? Whatev.)

Most importantly, I've saved a crapton of $$ dollars $$! Obviously, this got me all juiced, and I'm sure Thing 1 will chime in at some point since she always has something to say about saving money. Plus, she and her husband recently purchased an RV- so they are DIYing the shit out of it as we speak. Practically ALL via Pinterest inspiration. They started with the color scheme, and went from there.

I would never consider myself the artsy-fartsy type, but I'm definitely feeling more Monet these days. Check out this painting I did the other day via inspiration from this pin:

I love how this turned out! Not bad, right!? It was a repurposed canvas from one of those wine/canvas events. I hated how mine turned out so I did something about it!
I got lazy with the striping, but I just say it gives it character. BTW, Thoreau is a boss.

I did this with my Rolling Stone magazines, and also issues of National Culinary Review. I was a junior member for a bit and it's a really sick magazine if you're into food. (And who isn't, really?) The inspiration for this came from this pin. I have books for days, too…so the plan is to get them on the wall somehow since I have no room for a bookcase. I also have a hanger for sunglasses as the pin suggests!

I've also upcycled a crappy dresser, my headboard and footboard, and now I actually like looking at my room. It's pretty neat.
Dresser- pin

Headboard/Footboard - pin
I'm not a huge Rolling Stone fan or anything.

I challenge you to go join Pinterest, if you haven't yet. I'll invite you, if you want. Save some money, do it your-damn-self! All it takes is a little elbow grease and a few materials, usually. And time, of course.

What have you pinned lately? Any DIY projects you're working on? Feel free to share in the comments!

Wanna be Pinterest buds? Here's Thing 1 and my links! Let's do this.


Thursday, July 5, 2012


Here are the results of the "Junk in my Trunk" Contest (and how we decided on how we were going to determine the winner):

First off, Thing 1 refused to spin around ten times so that was out of the question. I guess it was kinda dangerous. (Whatev!) So, we ended up going the "pick a name out of a hat" route…I wrote 'em up, Thing 1 picked. We had witnesses: John, Becky, and Al, to make sure we didn't just pick who we wanted to win…I told you that fair is fair and this is serious business! 

The four platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Blogger.

Twitter, it is! (Can you spot my friend, Al?)

We had 14 followers, mentions, retweets from Twitter. (Kathleen Garber, you're in there! See your name? lol!)

Rob Co (of The Pitcher Plant Project) aka Coy won the junk in my trunk! Here is Thing 1, she is ecstatic. Al apparently lost interest. Douche.
The "x2" was because he got double entries for retweets and following, which obviously doubled his chances, like we said it would. Lesson to all: be aggressive! haha 

Thanks everyone who entered through every social media platform! It was really fun reading your tips and watching you get involved. Much appreciated!

I definitely have more crap lying around so I'll be sure to do another one of these down the line. Stay tuned until then.

Next post from me: PINTEREST!


I'll be in touch with you soon :)