Sensational Salads: Nut Allergy Hack ~ Candied Chow Mein Noodles

A few weeks ago, I was having a friend over for lunch. We both love salad, but like so many people out there, she hates making them. I used to feel the same way, but over time, have found some fabulous dressings and short cuts, so I no longer dread making them. Check out my previous Sensational Salad posts for great recipes and tips.

On to today’s post….I often like to add nuts or seeds to my salads for that added crunch (and extra protein), but being allergic to both, I knew that wasn’t an option. It didn’t seem fair, that she had never even had the chance to enjoy them. It got me thinking about how I might be able to mimic the experience for her. I googled and found some good suggestions for nut substitutes, but still wasn’t left feeling too excited about any of them. One of my favourite salad add-ons is candied nuts. Since I was making a salad with a sweeter dressing (Holiday Lettuce Salad) and the recipe called for nuts, I thought I might see if I could come up with my own alternative for “candied nuts”.

I adapted a recipe for Candied Pecans by substituting the pecans with dry CHOW MEIN NOODLES. They turned out fabulous…nut allergy or not! They served their purpose perfectly by adding a bit of sweetness and crunch to the salad.

Candied Chow Mein Noodle Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 cups dry chow mein noodles

Instructions: 

  • Combine the first 4 ingredients in a skillet and cook over medium heat for a minute or two, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.
  • Add the chow mein noodles and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring to coat the noodles in the glaze. *You may find that you want to add more than one cup of noodles to soak up the extra glaze.
  • Remove from the heat, and spread the chow mein noodles out on parchment paper and let them cool completely.
  • Break apart, and enjoy! I use my food chopper when I want the pieces smaller, but bigger pieces make a yummy and dangerously addictive snack! I’m not gonna lie…you might not want to make a full batch!

Give this simple recipe a try and let me know what you think!

Master Bedroom Makeover Part 4: Bedside Built-ins

Bedside Pocket
Bedside Pockets

If you’ve been following my blog and specifically the series on our master bedroom makeover, you already know that the layout of our master bedroom does not allow for any sort of bedside table or night stand. To compensate for this, we previously used little pockets on the sides of the bed for storage of glasses, lip balm, books, etc. I made the pockets several years ago and although they served the purpose for the most part, what I always desired was built-in cubbies on either side of the bed. I was so excited when my husband agreed to build them! It seemed like the perfect timing because he had already committed to installing sconces that required wiring and a light switch.

Basically, he built boxes that would be installed between the studs of the closets that bank both sides of the bed. The boxes were custom designed from scrap wood according to our individual needs. Mine was built a bit deeper than Tim’s to accommodate my alarm clock and my books. Although this meant that it impinged a bit further into my closet, I was totally okay with that because I only use this space for dresses. We painted the boxes and then added a frame around the edge after installation.

BEFORE:

You can see the wall banking the closet to the left of the bed. This is where the bedside built-in was installed. (You can also get a glimpse of my old ceiling fan before it was upcycled to more of a vintage farmhouse style.)

AFTER:

I love how Tim also incorporated outlets & a charging station into the design. I really didn’t want cords dangling all over the place and this completely solved the problem. I always charge my phone in the kitchen, but my husband keeps his beside the bed, so a USB port was needed. Tim doesn’t tend to use the full height of his cubby, but I like to put my water bottle in mine at night, so needed the extra space. We might install an additional shelf in his at some point. You can see the dimmer switch for the sconces on my side of the bed below my cubby. (We thought of putting one on each side of the bed, but decided that in our house I am almost always the first one to bed and am the only one that reads in bed, so it just made sense for me to have the switch on my side. )

I am so happy with how the bedside built-ins turned out!

Stay tuned for upcoming Master Bedroom Makeover posts on DIY throw cushions, DIY curtains and room reveals.

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Mystery Box Riddle #135

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Master Bedroom Makeover Part 3: Ceiling Fan Upcycle ~ Farmhouse Style

I’ve watched my fair share of HGTV shows and I can honestly say that ceiling fans are generally not in their bag of design tricks. I probably wouldn’t opt for a ceiling fan in my master bedroom either, but the reality is that we live in a 1921 home with no central air. We get by with a few portable air conditioners, but I literally could not survive without the added air movement created by our ceiling fan. Bottom line…it was a non-negotiable. So the only other option was to figure out a way to make it look like it belongs in our farmhouse style design. There are actually some decent options available in new fans, but our fan worked fine and there really was no reason to replace it other than the dated style.

As mentioned in my last post, this isn’t actually my fan, but a picture that I found online that closely resembles what ours looked like pre-upcycling. By the time I thought of taking a picture, mine already looked like this.

Tim dismantled the entire fan and then taped off the parts that needed to be protected from the spray paint. You can see the blue painter’s tape over the light sockets. This upcycle projects was relatively easy to do. I spray painted all of the silver pieces a matte black. I did need to do a few coats to ensure even coverage, but it was quick to paint and the dry time was short as well. I gave the blades a coat of regular white house paint and let them dry. I then used a dry brush technique to distress the blades using a combination of grey and dark brown paint. (Dry brushing is a technique that uses very little paint on a dry brush.) When dry brushing, it is important to add the paint very sparingly, work it in with the dry brush and then repeat until you get the desired look. I didn’t have brown paint on hand, so I just picked up a small bottle of all purpose crafter’s paint and it worked fine. To distress the blades even further, I used a light sandpaper to blend the colours and sand back some of the paint I had applied. Seems a bit counterproductive, but it’s how you achieve the look.

Tim reassembled the fan and replaced the old glass shades with these cool light bulb cages we found on Amazon. We added amber coloured light bulbs that I bought on clearance at Michael’s for $3 (regular $12). I honestly can’t believe how awesome it turned out!

Stay tuned for Part 4 and find out how we solved the issue of “no bedside tables”.

Master Bedroom Makeover: Part 2 Custom Wall Sconces

Initially when we were considering lighting in the alcove, I was set on pot lights. These would eliminate the need for the lamp that rested on the headboard (sometimes…when it wasn’t falling over). The issue with the room layout was that the closets banking both sides of the bed made it impossible for a nightstand of any kind. Years ago, I made bedside pocket storage for both sides of the bed to help solve this issue, but it still wasn’t ideal, as you really can’t fit a lamp in a pocket!!

It was actually Tim’s idea to mount sconces instead of pot lights. Originally, I was like “no” I really want pot lights, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. Of course, the issue with me is that I don’t just want normal store bought sconces….I wanted something original that would fit with the overall design I had in mind. Lucky for me, this wasn’t a hard sale. I found a few DIY sconces on Pinterest that I liked and Tim set to work. Although he didn’t follow this plan to a tee, this is the style he modelled ours after. We had seen some really awesome fixtures with pulleys and decided to incorporate that into the design as well.

Custom Farmhouse Style Light Sconces:

Tim constructed the sconces out of…you guessed it…scrap wood we already had. I decided on a dark stain to contrast the very white walls. We also just happened to have two old clothesline pulleys in the basement. We had removed the previous owners clothesline (from the basement rafters) when we moved in, but luckily Tim kept them. We ordered the wire and light kit from Amazon. The light sockets came in a set of four for $22.99. The cord was a bit pricey at $25.99, but there was enough for both sconces, a new fixture in the kitchen and still extra for another project. This was a relatively simple project for Tim to build, but the wiring made it a bigger project. I am honestly so lucky…my man can do anything!!

I found some amber vintage style light bulbs on clearance at Michaels. The original price was $12 each, but they were clearing them for $3, so needless to say I bought several. We tossed around several ideas and even sampled a few different “shades” for the sconces, but in the end we settled on upcycled lamp shade frames. I picked up this set of shades for $3 at the thrift store, removed all the beads and then rigged up some wire across the top to hold the “shade” in place. I must admit removing the beads was a brutal job. There must have been a million of those little suckers and all were individually beaded onto fine wire. Not only did it take me a couple of hours to remove the beads and wires, but my fingers were filthy and super sore from the tedious work and wire pokes😣. The final step was to spray paint the completed shade a matte black.

I love the way they turned out! Tim did such an amazing job with the building, staining and installation of the sconces. The amber light isn’t as bright, but is still fine for reading. I love that he put them on a dimmer switch, so that we can adjust the light depending on our needs.

Keep an eye out for my next Master Bedroom Makeover post where I’ll share how we transformed our old ceiling fan, so it would work with our new farmhouse bedroom design.

(Disclaimer: I never took a picture of my old fan before we took it all apart, but this one is very close to the original design of ours.)

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