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Happy Memorial Day!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children through bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” -Ronald Reagan

History

Memorial day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally it was called Decoration Day and started in the years following the civil war and became an official federal holiday since 1971. Many Americans observe the day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. It unofficially marks the beginning of the summer season.

Recipes

Fruit and Feta Salad Stacks

Ingredients:

  • Seedless Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 1 Fresno Chili Pepper, thinly sliced
  • Fresh Mint or Basil
  • Flaky Sea Salt
  • 6-8oz. Feta Cheese sliced into ¼ inch slices or crumbled
  • Star shaped cookie cutter or a knife if you’re talented

Directions:

Slice the watermelon and cantaloupe into ½ inch slices. Remove the seeds from the cantaloupe. Cut the fruit slices into stars using the cookie cutters into 1-inch cubes. Cut the  Feta cheese into 1/4 inch slices. Arrange the fruit and feta on a large serving plate. Layer alternating the fruit and cheese into stacks. Sprinkle blueberries and raspberries over top. In a small bowl, stir together the zest of 1 lime and the juice of 2 limes, the honey, and the Fresno pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the fruit. Add the fresh mint and sprinkle with salt. Drizzle extra honey if needed. Serve fruit platter chilled.

 

 

Summer Herb Chickpea Chopped Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4-8c. Butter Lettuce, chopped
  • ½ c. Fresh Basil and Parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Thyme
  • 2 ears of Grilled Corn Kernels, removed from cob
  • 1 ½ c. Tomatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 3/4c. Blueberries or Blackberries
  • 1 Peach, finely chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/2c. Cooked Chickpeas
  • 1/2c Mixed Toasted Pepitas, Pecans, Walnuts and Pistachios
  • 1/4c. Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Honey
  • ½ -1 Tsp. Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • Salt n pepper to taste
  • 1 Avocado, pitted and chopped

 

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the butter lettuce, basil, parsley, thyme, grilled corn, tomatoes, red pepper, berries, peaches, jalapeno, and chickpeas. In another small bowl or glass jar combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, chipotle chili powder, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined. Once ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add avocado and goat cheese and gently toss again.

 

 

Guacamole Turkey Balls

  • ¾ # of Ground Turkey
  • 1/2c of ground up mushrooms
  • ½ Tsp. Chili Powder
  • ½ Tsp. Cumin
  • ½ Tsp. Onion Powder
  • ½ Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • ½ Tsp. Salt
  • 1 ½ Avocados
  • A few sprigs of Cilantro, diced
  • 2 Tsp. lime juice
  • ¾ Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tsp. Olive Oil

 

Directions:

Mix the ground turkey together with the ground mushrooms (this helps make the turkey juicy), chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Form into three patties. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 3 teaspoons of olive oil. Cook the patties, making sure they brown on both sides until they are cooked through. Meanwhile, make your guacamole. Mash together the avocados, lime juice, cilantro, and garlic powder in a bowl. Season to taste with salt. Serve turkey balls with a dollop (1 blue container’s worth) of guacamole on each patty.

 

Watermelon on the Grill

Ingredients:

  • 1 Watermelon
  • ¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Grated Lime Zest
  • ½ Tsp. Red pepper Flakes
  • 8 Lime Wedges, 2 limes cut into quarters

Directions:

Prepare grill. Cut up watermelon into triangles about ½ inch thick slices. Combine sugar, lime zest, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Sprinkle the watermelon slices on both sides with mixture. Rub into the watermelon to make it more of an even coating. Grill watermelon until grill marks appear and the watermelon is warmed through about 2-3 minutes on each side. Squeeze lime wedge and serve. It’s optional if you want to add a sprinkle of feta cheese or greek yogurt on it, or a scoop of ice cream if serving as a desert.

 

Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ c. Graham Crackers crumbled
  • ⅓ c. Almond Meal
  • 1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Butter melted
  • 1 pkg. Cream Cheese
  • ⅔ c. Icing Sugar
  • ⅓ c. Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Zest
  • ¾ c. Raspberries or Strawberries
  • ½ c. White Chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 8 small Paper Cups
  • 8 Popsicle Sticks

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together graham crackers crumbled, almond meal, brown sugar, and melted butter until combined. Make sure it is crumbly, the mixture should hold together when you squeeze it. Set aside until ready to assemble. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add in icing sugar, and lemon zest until smooth. Next add in greek yogurt, heavy cream and vanilla, then beat again until smooth and evenly combined. Place the raspberries or strawberries into blender and puree until smooth in a new bowl. Separate ¼ c. from the bowl and set aside for later. Add the remaining puree to the yogurt mixture and beat until evenly combined. Now you can start filling your cups. First, spoon about 1 heaping tbsp. Of the yogurt mix into the bottom of each cup. Next, take the remaining raspberry puree and evenly distribute it in each cup. Next, sprinkle 1 heaping tbsp.  of graham cracker mix. Add another layer of yogurt mix and then add the remaining graham mix on the top. Once the pops are assembled, place a popsicle stick into them. Then place into an 8×8 inch baking pan and place in the freezer to firm up for 5-6 hours or overnight. Now that your pops are frozen, in a small bowl microwave the white chocolate and coconut oil together to melt and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool about 10-15 minutes. While waiting, whisk together a tbsp. Extra of the almond meal and graham cracker crumbs for garnish. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Take out the popsicles and peel away the paper cups gently. Set the pops onto the prepared parchment paper. Dip the bottom of the pops into the white chocolate and use your finger to wipe away the excess and then immediately dip into the graham garnish. Once coated, set back onto the parchment paper. Remove pops from the freezer 5-10 min before serving to soften slightly.

DIY Projects

Table Decoration

Supplies:

  • 3 mason jars or clear vases
  • White Daisies or other preferred fresh flowers
  • Food coloring (red, blue)
  • Water

Instructions:

Fill the jars with water and add 1 drop of food coloring of the red in one jar and blue in the other jar. Leave the third one clear. Add the flowers, after about a day the food coloring will travel up the flower’s stem and change the color of the daisy to the food coloring.

 

American Twine Letter Decoration

Supplies:

  • The twine of your choice
  • Box lettering a U, S, & A
  • Hot glue and gun
  • Patriotic ribbon or bow
  • Red, Blue, or White large button

Instructions:

Start your twine at the bottom of the letterboxes and glue every so often as you twine up the letter. Make sure to wipe the excess glue so you don’t see it as it dries. When you are finished covering the entire letter add a bow or make a bow from your patriotic ribbon and glue around the U letter. Add a button and place the decoration on your mantel or on your table as a centerpiece.

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Happy Cinco De Mayo From Retro Pro!

HISTORY

For many Americans, Cinco de Mayo means enjoying Mexican food and probably a few margaritas. But Cinco de Mayo, which means May 5 in Spanish, is probably one of the most misunderstood Mexican holidays.

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day. Mexican independence is celebrated Sept.16.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla.

Mexico had trouble paying back war debts to European countries, and France had come to Mexico to collect that debt.

Today, Cinco de Mayo has become more of an American holiday than a Mexican one. But most non-Mexican Americans have “no idea” about the day’s history. If you went to any bar tonight and said ‘What’s this day about?’, they would be clueless, and you can’t blame the alcohol consumption either. Cinco de Mayo is a reminder of how many times Mexico has been invaded by other countries.

Recipes

Mexican Street Corn Salad with Avocado

Ingredients:

  • 4 ears fresh corn (about 3c.) husked and kernels cut from the cob
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1/3 c. diced red onion
  • 2.5 oz. cotija cheese crumbled
  • 1 avocado peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Dressing:

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 Tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and let it cook, stirring occasionally until charred about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. In a small bowl whisk together the mayo, garlic, lime juice, cayenne, salt, and pepper. In a large bowl add diced avocado, 1/2 tbsp. of lime juice. Mix with a spoon so juice is soaked onto avocado to keep it from browning. Then add charred corn and the remaining of the salad ingredients. Pour dressing and gently toss to combine. Top with extra Cotija cheese and serve either warm or cold.

 

Homemade Churros

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp. + 1/8 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat to about 360 degrees. In a medium saucepan combine milk, water, butter, 2 tsp. sugar and salt and bring mixture to a boil. Once it boils, remove it from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and flour. Mix it well so that the dough is nice and smooth. Transfer the dough to a piping fitted with a large open star tip unless you don’t have one. Carefully pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of dough out over oil. Using clean scissors or the edge of the pan cut the dough into small pieces and let drop into the hot oil. Only add a few in the pan at a time so they don’t stick together. Allow churros to fry until golden brown. You may need to stir them occasionally to prevent them from sticking together. When golden brown, remove them from the oil and place them on some paper towels to drain any excess oil. In a plastic bag mix the sugar and cinnamon. Toss the warm, drained churros into sugar mixture to evenly coat. For best taste, serve warm.

 

Mexican Fruit Cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 mangos
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 1 small seedless watermelon
  • 1 pineapple
  • 4 limes, divided
  • Chili powder
  • 8 plastic cups

Directions:

Cut mango, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple into thick strips. Arrange an even mixture of various fruits strips into each cup. Cut the limes into quarters and squeeze 1 lime wedge over each cup of fruit. Use the remaining 8 lime wedges for garnish and sprinkle chili powder over each cup to taste.

Sombrero Pinata Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • Gel food color (red, blue, yellow, & green)
  • Cookie icing white
  • Decorating Decors nonpareils
  • Decors pearl cupcake gems
  • 1/2c. small candies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a whoopie pie pan and a brownie pop mold pan with baking spray. Then mix cookie mix with flour, butter, and egg. Divide dough into four equal parts. Color one part red, one yellow, one blue and one green. Divide each colored dough into 8 equal pieces, about a tablespoon each. Roll into balls. Press half of the dough balls into the cavities in the whoopie pie pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool. Increase temperature to 350 degrees. Press remaining dough balls into individual cavities in brownie pop silicone molds, making 4 hat crowns of each color. Use your finger to create a well in the center of each dough ball. Press the dough up the sides of the mold, up to the fill line, about 1/4 inch from the top of the mold. Freeze molds for 10 minutes, then bake for 14 minutes.

 

Remove from oven and use the handle of a wooden spoon to reshape the well in the cookies. Return to the oven for 4-8 minutes until cookies are baked through. Reshape if needed. Allow to cool completely and then remove from the mold. Pipe a line of cookie icing around the base of each cookie crown. Sprinkle on some nonpareils. Allow to dry. Turn cookie crowns upside down, fill with candies, pipe some icing around the top edge, and press a round cookie brim onto the cookie crown to create the sombrero. Turn cookies right side up to decorate. Use icing and sugar pearls to decorate the edges of the hat brims.

 

 

 

 

DIY projects

Wood Accent Wall

  • Barn wood pieces (enough for the length/width of your wall)
  • Hammer and nails

Address Plate for your Home

Supplies needed:

  • A piece of wood cut to size (about 2 ft.x 10in.)
  • 20-30 paint sticks
  • Hammer and small Nails
  • Key Hole Saw
  • Stain
  • Water Seal Spray
  • 5-inch address numbers
  • Clear Silicon (picture)
  • Compact Drill/Driver (picture)
  • Heavy Duty Picture Hangers

Instructions:

Layout paint sticks out and begin cutting them to size with the keyhole saw. It’s best to lay them out randomly on the block of wood so that none of the seams line up. Leave some space between each stick to create some depth. Stain the individual pieces and the block of wood before nailing the pieces in place. Wipe the excess stain off and let dry overnight. The next day seal it with two coats and let dry again overnight. Next, attach the paint sticks with the nails and then drill the picture hanger at the exact location you plan to have the anchors on your outside wall. Lastly, attach the numbers to the front of the wood and hang it out on your home.

 

    

 

Kid Friendly Cinco De Mayo Craft

Pinata

Supplies:

  • Newspaper
  • One punching balloon
  • box cutter
  • A variety of colored tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Two bowls
  • Flour
  • Rope
  • Glue
  • Spoon
  • Candy or toys for filler
  • Masking tape

Instructions:

Inflate the punching balloon and tie a knot to close. Make an “X” with masking tape over the top of the balloon to flatten the pointed end. Cut a bunch of two-inch strips of newspaper. Lay down newspaper on your work surface to keep things from getting messy. Fill one bowl with flour, add water then stir to create a paste. Keep adding more water until you get the consistency of pancake batter. Use the second bowl to hold the balloon while you paper mache it. Dip on paper strip into the bowl of flour paste and use your fingers to spread along the back of the newspaper. Start by making an “X” with the paste-covered newspaper strips over the top of the balloon. Continue covering the balloon pulling the strips tight. You can also add the balloon paste mix on top of the newspaper to secure it even further. Cover the entire balloon three times over to make a sturdy pinata. Let the balloon dry overnight, flipping it every few hours to make sure it doesn’t adhere to the bowl.

   

Use the box cutter to cut a small hole on the top right side of the dried pinata. Make a second small hole on the top left side. (See finished photo at top of this section for string placement) Cut a softball-sized hole in the top part of the pinata. Don’t throw the cut-out section away. You still need it for later! Pop the balloon inside and pull it out. Stick the rope into the small hole on the top right side. Using the large hole in the middle, guide the rope out the small upper-left hole and use this rope to hang it. Reinforce the small holes with masking tape. These holes will bear a lot of weight when the pinata is hanging, so you want it to be sturdy. Fill the pinata with all the goodies. Tape the softball-sized cut-out section back onto the pinata.

    

Now you can start decorating. Cut three-inch strips of tissue paper and accordion fold the paper strips to create a square. Start 1/2 inch down, cut a half-circle shape ending the same distance you started to cut. This leaves you with strips of petal-shaped scallops. Glue the tissue paper on the pinata by making a small spiral of glue on the top. Tear off a few of the petals from the strip and place four petals in a circle on the glue to start your spiral. Add some more petals towards the top, pinching the bottom to make them stand up. Add more glue to each layer. Make sure they are firmly attached. For the next strip of tissue paper, fold the top down 1/4 inch. Add small dots of glue along this folded line. Lifting up the bottom layer of tissue petals, wrap the scalloped strip of tissue paper along the base of the existing petals. Place a single tissue petal in any gaps that need to be filled. Workaround the holes where the rope is located. Repeat these steps with the new color. Again, add glue to the back of scalloped tissue paper strip. Glue the top of this strip below the base of the last row glued down. Continue adding strips until you’re ready to change colors again. Repeat until you’ve completely covered the pinata in tissue paper.

   

 

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Easter with Retro Pro!

Easter is a time of a year when you gather with your family and celebrate a feast of food and memories to cherish. Kitchens play a huge role in Easter. They are the central place for food and entertaining, so get your creativity going and take a look at some of these holiday recipes and decorations that can go a long way with your guests. 

Easter White Chocolate Toffee

Ingredients:

  • 1c. Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1c. Brown sugar
  • 1 stack of saltine crackers
  • 1# pkg. White almond bark melted
  • Easter sprinkles

Directions:

Melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat, bring to a boil and stir while boiling for 5 minutes. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place crackers evenly on the foil pan. Pour sugar mixture over the crackers. Bake at 325 degrees for 8 minutes. While crackers are baking melt almond bark in the microwave using the directions on the pkg. Pour white chocolate over the cracker mixture and spread evenly. Top with your favorite sprinkles or M&Ms. Allow to cool completely and break into smaller pieces.

 

Carrot Apple Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet red apple
  • 1 large Tart green apple
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon juice
  • 3c. Shredded carrots
  • 1/3c. Mayo
  • 1/3c. Plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. Rice wine vinegar
  • Salt n pepper
  • 3/4c. Crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2c. Dried cranberries

Directions:

Cut up apples and shred. It should end up being 3 1/2c. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Add carrots and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, yogurt, honey, and rice wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over apple/carrot mixture and stir to coat. Mix in crumbled feta cheese and dried cranberries. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Refrigerate for at least 30 min. to an hour to allow flavors to blend. If a bit of liquid accumulates at the bottom of the bowl, serve using a slotted spoon.

 

 

Rice Krispie Easter Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 6c. Rice Krispies cereal (split into 1 1/2c portions)
  • 4 tbsp. Butter
  • 1 pkg. Mini Marshmallows split into 4 portions
  • 4 different colors of food coloring

Directions:

You will need to make four batches of Rice Krispy treats for each color. Heat 1 tbsp. of butter in a pot over the stovetop. Once it is melted, add 1 portion of the mini marshmallows. As soon as the marshmallows melt add 1-2 drops of colored food coloring. Add 1 1/2c. of Rice Krispy cereal and mix together with a spatula. Form treat into an egg shape and place on a cookie sheet well greased. Repeat these steps with each color. Let sit 15 minutes or until hard.

 

Peeps Fruit Kabobs

Ingredients:

  • Wooden skewers
  • 1-2 package of peeps
  • Fresh fruit: strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes

Directions:

Layer fruit on a skewer with a peep in the center. Make soon before serving so the sugar on the peeps doesn’t run.

 

DIY Projects

 

Bunny Napkin Decoration

  1. Add the napkin weight to a triangle. The important thing is that the two tips on the sides are even, the one in the middle is not as important.
  2. Roll right against the long side.
  3. Fold, put an egg in the middle and tie a strap just above the egg.
  4. Draw your face, if any. Or maybe write a name?

 

 

Carrot Wreath

 

Cabbage Centerpiece

 

 

Centerpiece Decorations Ideas

         

If you think your kitchen looks outdated it doesn’t hurt to look into your remodeling options, it will definitely be the talk at the dinner table for the next holiday dinner. For a free estimate give Retro Pro a call today 480-649-1422

 

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St. Patrick’s Day with Retro Pro!

Irish Blessing:

May your troubles be less, your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door!

                  History of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patricks Day is a cultural and religious celebration held on March 17th, which is the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Little is known about who he actually was. What we do know is he was a Roman citizen (Britain was Roman back then), he was enslaved and taken to Ireland where he possible escaped and became a priest. Moving back to Ireland.  It was originally a Christian feast day in the early 17th century by the Catholic church. It commemorates St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish. The celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Historically the holiday falls during Lent and the restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the specific day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption. It is one of the most celebrated cultural holidays throughout the world and is considered a public holiday.

 

Leprechaun Hat Smores

Ingredients:

Keebler Fudge Stripes Cookies

Large Marshmallows

Dark Chocolate candy melts                                              

Green candy melts

Green sprinkles or green cake sprinkles

Directions:

Melt dark chocolate candy in the microwave, in 30-second intervals on 50% power. Stir after each heating. Repeat until completely melted. Dip Fudge Stripe Cookies into chocolate, coating completely. Shake off any excess. Set on parchment paper, top side down, until candy coating is completely set. Using a toothpick, dip the marshmallow into chocolate and coat almost entirely. Shake off any excess. Set on parchment paper, until candy coating is completely set. Remove toothpick. Melt green candy just as you did the chocolate. Flip marshmallow upside down and insert a new toothpick on top. 

Dip into green candy, just barely, to create a small band of green around the bottom. Coat green candy band with sprinkles and shake off excess. Place marshmallow in the center of chocolate covered cookie. Carefully remove toothpick. Touch up the toothpick hole with a small dab of melted chocolate. Spoon some of the remaining melted green candy into a piping bag. Ziplock bag or squeeze bottle. On parchment paper, make three small dots of candy in the shape of a triangle. Each dot should be about the size of a chocolate chip. Using a toothpick, swirl the three dots together to form a shamrock shape. Swirl the bottom two dots together first, then the top dot. Pull toothpick straight down to form the stem. Before it hardens, cover with sprinkles. Once it has set, dust off sprinkles. To finish the hat, attach a glittering shamrock with a small dab of melted green. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage 

10min. Prep time

8hr cook time

Serves 6-8

 

 

Ingredients:

2.5# corned beef brisket

1 medium onion

6 red potatoes, peeled and halved

2 cups baby carrots

1 beef bouillon cube

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. Dry mustard

The spice packet that comes with the corned beef brisket (optional)

1 small cabbage, cut into wedges

1 tsp. Caraway seed

2 cups beef broth

Directions:

Trim brisket of all visible fat. Then, spray a large slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place the onion, potatoes, and carrots into the bottom of the slow cooker. Then, place the corned beef on top. 

Next, whisk together the bouillon, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, and beef broth. Pour the liquid over brisket. Sprinkle the included spice packet over the corned beef (optional). Cover pot. Cook on low setting for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours, checking on it every few hours to make sure it doesn’t over-cook. Add the cabbage wedges and caraway seed for the last hour of cooking. To serve, discard cooking liquid, slice meat and serve with mustard if desired.

 

Pistachio Pudding Pie

(Makes 10 servings)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups crushed chocolate graham crackers

3 tbsp. Butter, melted

1/4c. Chopped pistachios

1 qt. Fat-free vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt softened

1 (4-serving) instant pistachio flavored pudding and pie filling

1/2c. chocolate fat-free fudge topping warmed

 

Directions:

Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a 9” pie plate, stir together graham crackers crumbs and butter, press on bottom and up sides. Bake for 8 min. And then let cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, quickly combine the pistachios, ice cream and pudding until well mixed. Transfer mixture into cooled crust. Freeze, covered for at least 4 hours or until firm. Serve with warmed chocolate fudge topping on each slice.

 

Fun projects for St. Patrick’s Day

 

Catch a Leprechaun Kit (for kids)

Supplies:

Special detective badge- green construction paper, black magic marker, scissors

(bond money)Play gold coins- sandwich bag, white construction paper, black magic marker

(field notes) Small green post-it-black magic marker

(sketching tools) Crayons or colored pencils and mini sketch pad

Flashlight

Fake mustaches for disguise

Fake glasses for disguise

(Evidence collection)Disposable camera

(leprechaun bait) Irish spring soap bar

Sandwich bags and colored strips of construction paper for evidence collection

Cardboard box- St.Patricks day tape, stickers to decorate

 

 

Centerpiece with Split Peas

Supplies:

3 glass vases

3 glass candlesticks holders

3 candles that fit in the vases

Bag of dried split peas

E6000 glue

Toothpicks

Directions:

Apply glue onto the rim of candlestick holders with a toothpick. Put the vases on top of them and apply some pressure. Let dry. Add candles to help with added pressure. When dry add dried split peas to the bottom of vases and rest candles on top.

Shamrock Button Canvas Art

Supplies:

8×8 stretched canvas

A mix of green buttons and beads

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Scissors

scrapbook paper

Pencil

 

Directions:

Cut out 3 pieces of paper 4”x4”, fold in half, and cut out a heart on the folded line making sure to cut from edge to edge so that your heart is about 4”x4”. Arrange hearts onto your canvas so that they make a clover. Trace the outside edges, and hand-draw the bottom stem of the clover. Next, carefully glue your largest buttons inside the drawn clover, do not go outside pencil line. Then start filling in your smaller areas with your smaller buttons and begin layering then on top of your large buttons to make sure there are no spaces. Now carefully fill in your empty spaces and outlines with your hot glue a little at a time and top with your tiny beads. Let your clover dry completely, shake off any excess beads and display.

 

 

 

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Christmas with Retro Pro! Kitchen Remodeling Misconceptions

christmas

It’s time to celebrate Christmas! Here at Retro Pro, the holidays are a time for sharing, giving and spending time with family. Majority of the holiday season we are in our kitchens slaving away with the next new recipe or traditional dish we have made year after year. This is the time of year when you also realize that your outdated kitchen is in need of updating to better suit your lifestyle. When it comes to remodeling we would like to talk about how to make your remodeling experience easy. Here are a few misconceptions about kitchen remodeling……

 

 

Letting The Next Homeowner Take Care Of It

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make with kitchen remodeling is living without certain upgrades or new technology to save money. What many don’t get is this could impact the selling price of the home when you are ready to sell. Deciding not to install things like more organized storage or better lighting system might seem like a great solution to save a little extra on the total bill. This will end up hindering your love for the new remodel plus the new homeowner will feel the same way. It’s also about the little-added details you give your kitchen that makes new home buyers want to buy it. For example, one time I went to this open house in my neighborhood just to see what it was like. The neighborhood was older but since the recession, the neighbors had been updating all over. This particular house was small, about 1,200 sqft. and the seller had decided to update everything. The kitchen was still condensed into a small nook with a tiny living room but what I noticed the most was they took their ordinary 2-car garage and added another double door on the opposite side and added a driveway that an entrance and an exit. The house sold that day for $5,000 more than asking and I know it had to be that reason. It was something unique that added convenience to the house. The house still looks small but the little details are what was noticed. 

Style Over Substance

Choosing the next popular fad isn’t always the best choice either when remodeling your kitchen. You want to base your decision on functionality. First, think of “What do I need for my kitchen?” Do you have a big family? If yes, then lots of storage might be important to think about. Range-of-motion from one appliance to another thing to think about when designing your kitchen. With the newest architectural design concepts, there are tons of options to make when remodeling your kitchen. It is possible to make your dream kitchen with a homey-feel we all love and cherish during the Christmas holiday.

Bigger Is Always Better

You watch the HGTV show and they always show these extravagant homes with huge kitchens that can fit 100’s of people. If your plan is to always have that many people at your house then a large kitchen will fit for you but if not then I would suggest keeping your kitchen a minimum size and focus on the efficiency of it. Choosing quality over quantity can actually make it more luxurious for your everyday homeowner and this is a great selling point.  Space can be made by carefully designing your cabinets and floor space. If you free up your counters and have more storage options then you will have room for more cooking space is another way to make your kitchen feel bigger.

I Don’t Need A Designer

It’s very important to have a designer in mind when you remodel your kitchen. Certain structures and modifications may be necessary to allow for certain ideas to come alive. Having a designer will help to maximize your space and add things you may not be able to if you didn’t have a professional who does it all the time. A contractor is not the same as a designer. They have the capabilities of building what you want but the designer has the knowledge to make the end results cohesive and avoid doing redo’s or corrections to the project.

You Always Make It Fit

Homeowners who don’t ensure that their contractor has taken account of their design elements may later have to make major changes to get the kitchen they want. Another scenario might be a homeowner insists on a walk-in pantry or kitchen island when their available space simply cannot accommodate it. All too often you have drawers that can’t be fully opened if the oven door is open or if the fridge door is open. These small miscalculations or oversights can prove annoying and costly.

But It Looks So Good in My Friend’s Kitchen!

You’re invited to your friend’s house for dinner to celebrate her new kitchen. It is amazing and you now feel like changing yours. You love her kitchen style so much that you want the exact same thing. This is probably not a good idea because of two reasons. Wouldn’t you want to be unique and make yours different than hers? You can play off her style and make your own. Plus your kitchen isn’t like your friends so it may not look the same as your friend’s kitchen when you put it in your space.

You Have To Break The Bank For Your Dream Kitchen

Kitchen renovations can vary quite a bit depending on how much you want to do and the timeframe you want it done. From small improvements such as hardware replacement and color palette changes to a full teardown and rebuild, a new kitchen is really more affordable than you think. On average a home remodel can run from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the size and quality of the project. When it’s time to write out your budget, you want to calculate how much money you have to spend. Cabinets should account for 30-40%, countertops should be about 10-15%, doors, lighting, painting, and windows should be about 21-25% of your budget. This will leave you about 8-14% towards appliances and the rest will be put towards labor.

I’m Sure It Will All Come Out Fine….

Putting your full trust is something we all want when seeking out service. We look to professionals to use their best judgment when we are paying them. This is why it is a good idea to make sure your design vision is completely clear and that your contractor/builder completely understands what you want. Open communication is crucial. When homeowners turn a blind eye or put all their trust in without checking in regularly, they open themselves up to errors, miscalculations and a lot of other challenges can arise during the process of the project. Using companies that have everyone in-house will make sure everything is in order and done in a timely fashion.

    

You can’t end a Christmas Blog without the most important thing that goes with kitchens. FOOD! My favorite part of Christmas besides spending time with family is eating delicious food. Below I have gathered a few non-traditional recipes that will add flavor to your next holiday dinner. Enjoy and don’t forget if your looking for a free estimate give Retro Pro a call today! 480-649-1422

 


Alcohol-Free Sangria  (serves 2)

8oz. raspberry juice

2oz. strawberry daiquiri mix

2oz. lemonade

6 strawberries sliced

3-6 blueberries & raspberries

2-4 cubed watermelon

2-4 balls of cantaloupe or honeydew melon

4 to 6 oz. of lemon-lime soda

Fresh mint for garnish

Sliced limes for garnish

Directions: Fill a glass with ice and add raspberry juice, daiquiri mix, lemonade & mixture of fruit. Top with soda and garnish of mint and limes.

 

 


No-Bake Twix Cookie Bars

1 ½ cup of room temperature salted butter

2 tbsp. Of butter for dish

16oz. Of mini marshmallows

11oz. mini nilla wafers

1 cup of brown sugar

4 tbsp. Light corn syrup

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

2 cups of milk chocolate chips

Directions: Butter 9×13 baking dish. Dump marshmallows & ½ cup of the butter into microwave safe bowl. Microwave high for 2 minutes. Dump box of Nilla wafers into marshmallow mix and stir really well until cookies are evenly coated. Pack mixture into buttered pan and make sure to get it in the corners of the pan. Stick the pan in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. In a heavy 2 qt. saucepan combine 1 cup butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Bring to a boil at just under medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes while continuing to stir. (Wooden spoons help keep the caramel from burning.)

Remove from heat and continue to stir for 3 minutes. Remove baking dish from fridge and pour caramel sauce on top. (keep a little for reserve to drizzle on top when they are done.) Spread to the corners evenly with a spatula. Place baking dish back in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish and microwave high for 1 ½ minutes. Stir in the 2 tbsp of butter on reserve. Remove your dish from the fridge and spread the chocolate sauce evenly on top with a spatula again make sure to get the corners.Chill again for another 30 minutes to an hour. After, drizzle the rest of the caramel sauce and then slice to serve.

 

 

 


Chex Mix Christmas Crack

2 (12oz.) boxes of Chex cereal (2 different flavors)

1 (16oz.) bag Snyder’s sourdough pretzel nibblers

1 (7.5oz) bag of Bugles

1 bag of Christmas M&M’s

White candy melts (CandiQuik)

1 bag starlight peppermints

Christmas sprinkles

Directions: Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. In a ziplock bag, crush approximately 30 peppermints and crush them finely. In a very large bowl combine Chex cereal, bugles, and pretzels. Heat the candy melts according to the instructions on the package. In small increments, drizzle the candy melts over the dry mixture and immediately sprinkle the M&M’s, crushed peppermint and sprinkles on the candy. Mix gently with a spoon until all ingredients are evenly coated. Repeat this step until all of the melted candy is mixed in with the dry mixture. Divide the mixture in half and spread in even layers on the baking sheets. Let the candy set either room temp or in the fridge if you are in a rush. Break apart and serve–store in an airtight container.

 


Pull-Apart Christmas Bread

1 lb. refrigerated pizza dough

Egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp water)

7 mozzarella sticks

¼ cup melted butter

½ cup finely grated parmesan

1 tbsp. Thinly sliced basil

1 tbsp. chopped parsley

1 tbsp. chopped rosemary

marinara warmed (for serving)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut mozzarella sticks into 1/2 inch pieces. On a floured surface, divide pizza dough into two pieces. Stretch and roll each piece of dough into a long rectangle, then cut dough into 2-inch squares (you’ll need 33 total). Wrap a dough square around each piece of mozzarella, forming a tightly sealed ball. Place balls seam-side down on the baking sheet in the shape of a Christmas tree (they should be touching). Brush egg-wash on dough balls and bake until golden 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together melted butter, parmesan, and herbs. Brush on baked pizza dough balls. Serve warm with marinara for dipping.

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Remodeling during Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

When it comes to Thanksgiving and remodeling there is never enough time to prepare everything in time no matter how much planning goes on prior. There is always something that comes up or delayed or taken off the list completely. We found that having a new warm environment in your home helps reduce Thanksgiving stresses because everyone’s too busy admiring your newly remodeled space to care if there is no cranberry sauce because you forgot to pick it up earlier in the week and now they are sold out. The planning, organizing, and the patience that goes behind remodeling can also increase stress so here we are going to give you a head start to preparing for a newly remodel space during the busiest time of the year.

And when it’s all said and done, you will have a more efficient space with a variety of storage options for all those Thanksgiving goodies. It will create more functionality for not only you and your family but also your guests.

 

Here are some tips to help stay stress-free during remodeling

Organize

Just like planning a vacation or a wedding you don’t want to just go with the flow. It is important to start a binder or folder where you can put anything and everything about your remodel.

Be Patient

This is a long process so I would start the patience right away. You have to research, pick out ideas, check referrals, not to mention demo day and then the anticipation of seeing little by little done each day. When you are among the chaos it seems to drag on forever but if you start with patience it will be easier to get to your end result with little or no stress. Remember it mind over matter.

Plan Ahead

There will always be setbacks, delays, or even the opposite everything going better than planned just keep an open mind and remember anything can happen and just be prepared.

Set ground rules but be flexible

Setting ground rules in the beginning will help keep your contractor on schedule and also keep you organized but remember flexibility is really what will get the project done faster.

Don’t get discouraged

Getting discouraged is the worst way to go about a remodel project but especially during the holidays you want to stay sane for all those guests who will be amazed at your new remodeled kitchen or bath.

Ways to prepare your kitchen for Thanksgiving during renovation

The best way to plan is to just set up a temporary kitchen in a different area of the house. Ideally someplace with a sink near by. A couple of great ideas is to take a couple of old cabinets and set them up in your makeshift kitchen to help you prep. Think of it like camping but better; it’s indoors and you still have electricity. Plus you’re not in the wilderness. Maybe a folding table and some chairs to make a dinner table will help it feel more inviting for the family. Get some clear storage containers and keep your most used kitchen items inside labeled to help you find it when you need it. Making some big meals ahead of time and freezing them in small portions will help. Some other ideas to help with the weekly menu is clipping coupons for take out and making different sandwiches for dinner to reduce cooking.

 

Recipes


 

 

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Time to Celebrate Halloween with Retro Pro!

 

  

 

  Halloween is a day for being creative, having fun, and bringing out the inner kid. Did you ever wonder how the holiday came to be? Why were we encouraged to go around the neighborhood and beg for candy when we could just go buy it at anytime? Historically strangers giving you candy was always considered a bad thing. So, it’s no wonder you may think Halloween is a strange holiday but it is no stranger than say Valentine’s Day; where you give candy to your loved ones. Halloween has changed so much over the years that I want to give you some facts on how it was celebrated in the beginning.

 

    This day originated from a Celtic festival for the dead called “Samhain.” They believed the ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this day, so people would dress in costumes and leave “treats” out on the front door step to appease the spirits. Instead of wearing costumes made from fabric and plastic, ancient archives noted, traditionally they wore costumes of animal heads and skins so they could connect to the spirits of the dead. Talk about creepy!

 

   And did you know Jack-o-lanterns which were invented by the Irish Celts were mostly made out of turnips, beets and potatoes instead of the pumpkin. Also, later on the tradition of going door to door on All Hallow’s Eve became more of a job and dancing was a custom in order to receive treats. You can see how far we have come in this spooky tradition. Now it is time to have fun and be creative on this one night where all the traditional rules are placed on hold so kids can be kids…or adults can be kids too!

 

 

Recipes from the Kitchen

Here at Retro Pro we are getting ready to celebrate Halloween this weekend. From the tradition of trick or treating, decorating with ghosts or goblins and stirring up some all time favorites in the kitchen; we are excited to celebrate in our favorite place…the home! So take a look at some of these spooky tricks and treats and experiment in the kitchen this Halloween.

 

   Rice Krispy Treat Pumpkins

 

Ingredients:

6 cups of rice krispies

Food coloring red & yellow

1 bag of Marshmallows

¼ cup of cooking oil

¼ cup butter

1 bag of M&Ms green

1 bag Mini Rolos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Heat the butter in a pot big enough to hold 6 cups of rice krispies. Add marshmallow when the butter is completely melted. Mix together until marshmallow is smooth and then add food coloring to the mixture. The amount of food coloring you need is about 6 drops of red and 12 drops of yellow but experiment with a drop at a time is best. Start with the yellow drops and then add a few drops of red until you get your desired color of orange. Then add your rice krispies to the mixture and stir together using a spatula. Having a small bowl of cooking oil to rub your hands will make it easier to roll the rice krispy treats into a ball without it sticking all over everything. Be sure to reapply with each pumpkin for best results. Place the pumpkins on parchment paper. Make a little indent at the top of the pumpkins and place a mini Rolo candy in it. Lastly place the green M&M upright next to the Rolo.

 

 

   Vampire Hot Chocolate

 

Ingredients:

(hot chocolate)

3 cups of whole milk

1 cup of heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 oz. white chocolate in tiny pieces

½ cup mini chocolate chips

Red food coloring

(whipped cream)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp fine granulated sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

(for sugar blood)

½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup of water

1 cup fine granulated sugar

Red food coloring

 

 

 

Directions:

For the whipped cream part add 1 cup of heavy cream, vanilla extract, and 1 cup fine sugar into a bowl. Whip with mixer on medium high until stiff peaks form. For the hot chocolate add the whole milk, heavy cream, vanilla, white chocolate, and mini chocolate chips to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until the chocolate is melted and the it starts to simmer. Do not let it burn or boil! Stir in a drop or two of red food coloring. For the sugar blood combine water, corn syrup into a saucepan. Pour fine granulated sugar and stir. Heat on medium heat WITHOUT stirring until the sugar mixture reaches about 300 degrees on a thermometer. Once it reaches the desired temperature then add food coloring and stir. Let it cool for just a second and then dip the rim of the mug into the sugar mixture. Dip to coat and then immediately sit it upright so the sugar blood will drip as it hardens. Pour chocolate milk into mug and top with whipped cream.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Strawberry Ghosts

 

Ingredients:

1-2 pkg of Strawberries

1 bag White chocolate

Candy eyes

Wax or parchment paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Melt white chocolate in a saucepan. Dip strawberries one at a time in melted chocolate. Drag out some of the chocolate on the bottom to make a ghost tail. Set on wax or parchment paper. Place candy eyes on front. Store in fridge to set desired hardness before serving.

 

 

 

 

How to make the perfect pumpkin seeds

 

 

Ingredients:

Seeds from 2 large pumpkins

½ tsp. Of Lawry’s seasoned salt

½ tbsp. Of olive oil

Dash of salt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Clean your pumpkin seeds well. You want to wash them using a colander  and discard any pumpkin fibers. The cleaner they are the better they will taste. Let soak in a bowl of water for 30 minutes on the counter or overnight in the fridge is fine also. Drain the seeds when ready to use. Fill a pot of water with a dash of salt and bring to a boil. Place seeds into the boiling water for about 10 minutes. This helps cook the inside so when you roast them the pumpkin seeds get the perfect crunch.

Drain the seeds and place back into the bowl. Add olive oil and toss until coated. Lay seeds on a cookie sheet in a thin layer. Sprinkle with Lawry’s salt and place in oven for about 40 minutes but check on them every 10 until roasted. Look for them to be firm and no longer soft. You don’t want any dark spots on them just a darker yellow color. Allow to cool and enjoy!

 

Other Ideas with food

Here are some great ideas to make your ordinary food look Halloween themed. The kids will have fun making these ideas come alive…….

Pumpkin carrots

 

Decorating for Halloween through creative food

 

Clementine Pumpkins

 

Decorating the home for Halloween

  With Halloween just around the corner there are so many fun ways to decorate your house. One popular project families are doing this year is making front door decorations. Instead of your traditional wreath or door hanging, decorating the whole door is taking trick or treating to a whole new level of creativeness. With so many different ideas below are just a few of different ideas you could use or make up a new one.

 

 

 

 

Some ideas for your kitchen

There are so many ideas to decorate your kitchen. Here are just a few to get you started.

 

Some ideas for your bathroom

The bathroom is good place to creep out your guests. They are not expecting it when they walk in so you will for sure get a reaction.