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Sunday, February 21, 2010

I've Got You Covered

The light switch covers I fell in love with 3 years ago have been discontinued. This was probably a good thing since the brushed silver and porcelain model pictured ran me $8 apiece. I kid you not. I spent that. Do NOT tell Sam.

So with the house being remodeled, I need some new fixture covers. Gather your gear, this was simple and fun. How simple? It was my first decoupage project.

You will need:
Mod Podge
A sponge brush
Cheap plastic outlet covers
Decorative papers, like scrap booking or wrapping paper
A pencil
A tape measure
An exacto knife

Cover your work surface with newspaper. Measure your covers and mark and cut the paper, leaving a 3/4 inch overlap all the way around. Spread a generous even coat of Mod Podge over the face of your cover, then smooth the paper over in, pressing out any air bubbles.

Flip the cover over and apply Mod Podge to the edges of the back, then fold the paper over. Spread more Mod Podge over the top of the paper until it really becomes limp and easy to press down with your fingers.

Take the exacto knife and slice X's into the outlet openings. Fold the paper to the back, and working with Mod Podge on your fingers, open the holes completely, wetting the paper thoroughly.

Turn the cover face up and give it a coat Of Mod Podge on top of the paper. Let that dry and repeat.

I LOVE the way they turned out.

Totally Cool Receipt:

Mod Podge $5.75 (and I have a ton of it)
Switch Plates $.20
Scrapbooking paper $.50 per sheet, six covers to a sheet
Each cover? I averaged them out to $.40, since the larger ones were more. Go clean the change out of your couch and make some of these!

Sweet Equations: Chocolate Fudge Pie

As promised, we're going to share Sunday dessert with you, as prepared by my son Thom. This is Southern Living's Chocolate Fudge Pie, lightened up considerably using fat free sweetened condensed milk. It was simple, and amazingly delicious! In fact, it was so good no one thought to take pictures of the pie topped with whipped cream before it was devoured.

Photography by Savannah Helene.


* 1/2 (15-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
* 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking squares, chopped
* 1 (14-oz.) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
* 1 (8-oz.) container fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
* Garnish: fresh raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 425°. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. Line piecrust with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or oven safe plates, as we did.

2. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes. Remove weights and parchment paper, and bake 5 to 7 more minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 15 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, microwave chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.

Whisk in milk until smooth; let stand 2 minutes. Fold half of whipped topping into chocolate mixture until combined; pour mixture into crust.

4. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours. Spread remaining whipped topping over pie; garnish, if desired.

Comments from the Chef: I did like the desert as well, I also have this recipe copied and pasted on my laptop just in case if I am doing this again.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sweet Equations

My youngest son, Thom, has autism and OCD. He’ll be 17 in April.

I mention his autism only because you hear so many negative, heart-wrenching things about children growing up with this. We never skipped a beat after his diagnosis. We were actually relieved. We now knew what we were dealing with and could research it and find out how to accommodate it. We had a gorgeous, plump, blue eyed boy to raise. We were still determined to get him to the goal every parent should have: get him out of our house.

And I found that if we set out expectations, he rose to them.

He’s the rather handy, lanky guy pictured in a lot of the demolition pictures. He likes to sledge hammer walls, strip wallpaper, take up vinyl floors, pry up bad parquet floors, knock out drywall, and disassemble gazebos. I never have to remind him to put on safety gear first, it’s reflexive. He also designs websites, video games, computer art, and writes amazing fiction.

And he makes seriously killer desserts.

We sit down for dinner every night, but with me being a Southerner, Sunday is special. Dinner needs to be traditional, topped off with a fresh, homemade dessert. Since baking is essentially science and instructions, and Thom is a math and science whiz, I paired the task with the skills. I’d like to share the results with you each week, starting this Sunday, in a segment called Sweet Equations. I will include photos provided by my talented daughter, Savannah, full recipes, instructions, and a little commentary from the chef himself. I hope you’ll read it, enjoy it, and by all means make it. Because cooking is, as they say, a piece of cake.