Create these decorative antique blocks from recycled milk cartons!
I love recycled crafts, and this is one of the best. These vintage-look antique blocks are gilded with aged, cracked varnish (craquelure) and glazed to highlight the cracks. This traditional technique has several variations. You can buy the craquelure finish in a kit, or make it yourself..
The folks at VintageImageCraft.com generously share images, tips and tutorials for creating vintage illustration crafts, such as these cool crackled blocks made from used milk cartons. These blocks would look great on the mantel year-round — just change them out according to the season
To receive detailed instructions with pictures for making these blocks than click on Vintage Crackled Blocks
Southern Fried Chicken:
Thanks Paula Deen for the best fried chicken I have ever made! It has a nice, savory flavor and a coating that has just the right amount of crispiness. Although it calls for what seems like a lot of hot pepper sauce, it isn't any spicier than Jack-In-the Box's Spicy Crispy Chicken--you can take it!! I'm not saying it tastes like KFC--only that you won't be doing business with them anymore.
2 lbs cut-up chicken
1/3 cup water
1 cup hot sauce (I use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Heat peanut oil in a large deep pot to 350°F (do not fill more than half full--you don't want a hot-oil spill-over accident!).
For sauce mixture: in a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs with the water.
Add hot sauce and whisk together well.
Pour this mixture into a large plastic zip-top bag.
For seasoning mixture: In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
For dredging mixture: In a another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces with a paper towel.
Cut breast pieces in half across ribs.
Sprinkle chicken generously on both sides with seasoning blend.
Drop a few chicken pieces of chicken into bag of sauce mixture and squish around to coat thoroughly.
One piece at a time, roll chicken in flour mixture and drop into hot oil.
Don't crowd chicken pieces--I cook about half the chicken at a time.
Fry chicken until brown and crisp.
Drain on paper toweling.
Dark meat will take about 14 minutes, white meat about 10 minutes.
Remember smaller pieces cook faster than the larger ones.
You can check for doneness by piercing to the bone in the thickest part with a fork.
If the juices run clear, it is done
Loaded Mashed Potatoes:
6 lbs idaho potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup butter
1 head garlic, roasted
1 (12 ounce) carton sour cream
1 (8 ounce) package sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 lbs bacon, julienned and browned
1/2 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
In large stockpot, cook potatoes in enough salted water to cover until tender.
Drain and return to stockpot.
Add butter, garlic, and sourcream; beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Add a little milk, if needed.
Stir in cheese, bacon, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.
1/4 cup bacon grease
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk warm
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoons pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
Heat bacon grease in a cast iron skillet. Add the flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly about 1 minute. Add the warm milk slowly and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and stir, until thickened, about 5 minutes, adding milk as necessary to control the thickness. Add butter until mixed in. Season the gravy with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits.
This will have more flavor if you use 1-2 tablespoons of oil from the oil you fried the chicken in. If you don't have that, no need to worry, you can use vegetable oil or vegetable shortening.
3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the shortening with a fork until it looks like cornmeal. Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly until well mixed.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly two or three times. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch cutter.
Place the biscuits in a greased iron skillet. Gently press down top of biscuits. Brush the biscuits with half the melted butter. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the hot biscuits with the remaining butter.