The Long Hunt

Bedside tables don’t necessarily come to mind as one of the more hard to find pieces of furniture for you home….but let me tell you….I’ve been on a journey to find something!

When I first moved to town, I decided I needed up advance my furniture situation. I needed a bedside table….among other things. I had been using a “standard height” bedside table that I snagged for cheap at Walmart when I was in college, but it looked really awkward. The height difference was really the issue. A standard height bedside table comes maybe halfway up my bed?! Halfway might only be generous to the standard height table. It really created the need to dangle off the side of the bed every morning to shut off the alarm clock, and there was no way to scroll through your phone comfortably while ensuring it was plugged in and charging. Ya know…..the things that early 20 somethings care about! The size of bedroom in my first rental townhouse really dictated the width and depth restrictions of a new replacement table, and I found one at the World Market. It was on that day….approximately 8 years ago that I made a fateful error….I only bought one table!

Image result for world market vanity table
The OG….the table all other tables have been compared too

It’s maybe important to clarify why even finding that first table was such a struggle. I have my bed mounted on legs, it isn’t sitting on any sort of frame. The legs screw directly into brackets that are mounted to the bottom of my box spring. You’re probably thinking to yourself, just put shorter legs on your bed….problem solved. The issue with dropping my bed back down to a “normal” height is that Madam Scout a Roo prefers to sleep and hide under the bed. It’s become her safe space over the years, and watching her try and hide herself under a bed of regular height is just very sad. She usually just ends up wedging herself in up to her shoulders and then just crying and shaking cuz her lil booty remains exposed to the terrors of the world….usually thunderstorms.

Once I purchased and moved into Casa MisHappenings I suddenly had so much more bedroom space to be taken up! I’ve been on the hunt for a table with varying degrees of intensity for at least 4 YEARS! In the meantime I was using a piece of painted press board on top of a luggage trunk flipped on end. It was functional, but small and a bit ugly in the far corner. It was semi easy to ignore because my tall bed obscured the view of it for the most part. Tall beds….hiding ugly things in the corner and allowing for safe pupper caves….two birds one stone!

After looking at several dud tables that were too tall, too small, too wide, or the worst…..too expensive…Momma MisHappenings came through with an epic Facebook Market find!

It was the wrong color, and sitting right on the knife edge of being too wide….but otherwise it was perfect! You’ll notice it has a small front drawer …much like my round vanity stand. It has long, spindly little legs…oddly similar to my vanity stand. It struck me as enough similar to seem complimentary, but enough different to still pull off the difference between His and Her sides. And…the price was pretty decent. It wasn’t great especially because I needed to repaint it, and the build of the table isn’t the highest quality, but it was too good to let slide.

A few hours in the garage, 2 coats of chalk paint and some waxing elbow grease later, and The Engineer has a new, spacious bedside table. I wasn’t sure about the color I put on it…it was just so I had leftover from a previous project. Once it’s all in and finished I actually really like it. I think I might repaint mine to match this Spring. My vanity started out a sort of distressed mint green. I repainted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White a couple years ago…and I’ve always hated it! I feel like I can still see the green peaking through for whatever reason and I’ve just never liked it. My stash of Old White had gone bad, so I used French Linen on The Engineer’s. It’s so much better! I was worried it would clash with the paint colors in the bedroom, but it blends nicely I think! Repainting mine to match would really help pull the room together. Different tables in the same color seems better than different tables in different colors.

The next project is to remember to stain The Engineer’s table organizer next time I have the stain open. I just keep forgetting, but if you ever feel like you need a way to wrangle up and contain your pocket contents, chargers, and other miscellaneous items I would totally recommend one of these. I snagged this one off Amazon.  It’s really helped keep his side looking neat and tidy…it might honestly be neater than my side. I should maybe work on that!

Here’s a lovely little photo outtake courtesy of Madam Scout-a-Roo!

Ol’ Fashioned Apple Goodness

Have you ever made a recipe that is easy, yet at the same time awkwardly hard?! For me that would be my Grandma Peterson’s Apple Pie Bars. Maybe I just went into the first round of creating the recipe with perceived notions of how it would be. Momma MisHappenings had really talked up the ease with which Grandma used to just whip these all together….it’s so easy…. Let me tell you, that wasn’t my experience but I’ve adapted, concurred, and overcome!

Momma sent me the recipe that Grandma had submitted to the church cookbook, or the county cookbook or some other small town cookbook collaboration. I submit it here as evidence that what my Momma and Aunt remember her doing maybe isn’t correct. They both claim that instead of rolling the first layer of dough, Grandma simply smeared it into the pan with a spoon. I just don’t see how it can work the way they remember! I tried it once and couldn’t at all get it to work for me at all. I’ll guide you through my “new” way, and it comes together fairly easily once you know what you’re in for.

In a mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix on low. Slowly add the margarine, or butter, in small cubes to the mixer. The fat should be cool but not cold. If it’s soft enough to smear on bread that’s too soft. I’ve made the recipe with both butter and margarine and I don’t see a marked difference between the two…..just use what you have on hand.

Let the fat combine with the flour and sugar until it reaches a grainy, small pebble consistency. While that works away in the mixer, separate your egg. Add the yolk to a measuring cup and save the white for later. Break up the yolk a bit, then add milk up to 2/3 of a cup. Add the yolk and milk mixture to the mixer and let it work until it comes together as a dough. Shouldn’t take long. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and give it a knead or two to just ensure it’s all together.

I would recommend splitting your dough in half, and then steal some from one half and give it to the other. The bottom crust liner needs to come up and a bit over the sides of the cookie sheet, so give that ball a little bit extra dough to get the job done. Grandma calls for using an 11×15 cookie sheet. I don’t have one of those. I have 2 different sized cookie sheets, a 10×15 and a 12×18. I used the large 12×18 for my first batch because I was afraid of overflowing the pan. This created very thin bars and really there wasn’t enough dough to make it work. This week I used the smaller pan and everything came together much better.

Roll out your bottom dough to the approximate size of the pan, and carefully transfer into the bottom of the cookie sheet. I find that using the rolling pin to help pick up the dough and move it. This bottom crust, according to my Momma, Grandma used to use a spoon to just spread the dough into the pan. I tried this once, but for the life of me I can’t get it to spread. The dough isn’t sticky like a cake batter, it’s stiff like pie dough. If you try this and figure out the secret for spreading the dough be sure you let me know!

I don’t measure out the cornflakes, but just do 3-4 handfuls of cereal and crunch it up a bit in your fist before you add it to the top of the rolled dough. I’m not sure the function of the cornflakes. You can’t taste them, but maybe they help absorb liquid from the apples and keep it from soaking into the crust?! Who knows….I just do it cuz Grandma says you need to. I’ve attempted changing Grandma’s recipes enough to know that they only work the way she says they work…..so I just do what I’m directed now!

You’ll add your apples in on top of the cornflakes. The recipe calls for fresh, but if you’re like me and went a little overkill at the apple orchards this fall….you can also use frozen. I have several quart sized bags of prepped apple pie filling in the freezer so that’s what I use for this recipe. You’ll need 1.5 quart bags for this recipe so just be sure you have the bags thawed in advance. You might notice some liquid at the bottom of your thawed bags, just carefully add that to the apples….don’t worry it won’t make the bottom crust soggy. If you’re not using pre-spiced apple filling, you’ll need to sprinkle a layer of cinnamon over the top of the apples at this point.

You’ll now roll out the top crust for the bars. This needs to join with the overhang of the bottom crust, so you can make it a bit smaller than you did the bottom. You want enough to join the two crusts, but you can’t want too much crust piled up along the edges. Again I find it helpful to use the rolling pin to pick up and move the crust onto the top of your apples. Then just carefully work your way around and pinch the edges together till the whole thing is sealed up. You might get a leak or two, but you don’t need to worry about that too much.

You’ll need to find your egg white at this point….hopefully you still have it sitting there! Add a small splash of water to the white and whip it up a bit using a fork. You don’t have to whip it into stiff peaked merengue, just till it gets a bit frothy. If you have a pastry brush, use it to brush the white across the crust to help create a golden crust. I don’t have a pastry brush, so I just drizzle the froth across the top and then use my fingers to carefully spread it evenly over the crust.

Bake at 400 for 40 minutes or until it’s golden brown. The top crust might have puffed up a bit at this point, it will be fine you don’t need to worry about it too much. You don’t need to glaze the bars if you don’t want to, but if you’re going to you need to do it when they are fresh out of the oven. You’ll need to add a bit more lemon juice or water to the powdered sugar than Grandma says to make a glaze. I find it easiest to use a large spoon and do several haphazard passes of glaze drizzle across the top of the bars. Then, gently use the back of the spoon to spread the glaze….or leave the messy drizzle if that’s more your style. You’ll need to let the bars too before you cut into them, otherwise the apple filling won’t set and you’ll end up with a little bit of a mess. True life story….the slight messiness is totally worth it to eat one of these babies warm!