Monthly Archives: June 2015

DIY Bookends

One of the major projects we did in our house was a TV Wall. Instead of an entertainment center, we put up shelves. Which means that instead of a DVD rack, we have shelves. Which means that to put up our DVDs, I needed bookends.

You can see where this is going.

I tried to find cute ones online, but I was not satisfied with any of the ones I was seeing. So I decided to make my own!

DIY Bookends Bull & Gator - Mrs. Dessert Monster

You may be wondering, “what’s up with the bull & the alligator?”

My husband is an alumnus of USF, home of the Bulls. I am an alumna of UF, home of the Gators.

Thank you, Gilmore Girls, for teaching me the proper singular forms of the word alumnus. Yes, that is all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls on the shelf.

So, these bookends are a subtle tribute to our alma maters. They were also really easy to make!

DIY Bookends Bull & Gator - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I bought the bull & gator on Amazon & the birch bases at Michael’s. I had this adhesive for other home projects, & it was perfect for this one since it dries clear! You can probably use one of several other types of adhesives, but this is what I had around the house & it did the trick.

DIY Bookends Bull & Gator - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This adhesive also takes 24 hours to set, which is great because I totally moved the Gator around several times before I found the best spot for it.

DIY Bookends Bull & Gator - Mrs. Dessert Monster

See, totally clear! The whole picture is clearer. The adhesive didn’t have anything to do with that, but still! Clear.

Umm, that’s it.

That’s how easy these were to make.

DIY Bookends Bull & Gator - Mrs. Dessert MonsterDIY Bookends Bull & Gator - Mrs. Dessert MonsterGo ahead, judge our collection. I think it’s pretty sweet, especially now that it’s up with these awesome bookends!

In The New House Designs


Shrimp & Cheese Grits (with bacon!)

My mother in law recently helped us out big time by grouting the floors in our new house. Method of payment requested: shrimp & grits. I had no problem with this!

It all started during our honeymoon in New Orleans. I had shrimp & grits at least 2 out of the 4 days we were there. The best one was at the Palace Café. They make it with goat cheese! My shrimp & grits doesn’t even compare to theirs.

The first time I ever made shrimp & grits was when my husband & I had our families over to watch our wedding video. We were still thinking about our honeymoon & had a little NOLA inspired gathering. That recipe was a little fattier fancier than this one. It had heavy cream & a ton of butter. Come to think of it, this recipe is just as fatty fancy. It calls for bacon fat & cheddar cheese!

I adapted this recipe from one I saw online, & have made it a few times now. My mother in law loved it!

Shrimp is becoming a staple in our freezer; & grits a staple in our pantry.

Shrimp & Cheese Grits with Bacon - Mrs. Dessert Monster

You gotta love a recipe whose first step is ‘make bacon.’

While my husband was making the bacon, I sprinkled some salt & pepper over the raw shrimp & dredged them in flour. I also minced up some garlic. Then I started making the cheese grits. It’s essentially the recipe from the Quaker Oats Quick Grits package, minus garlic powder & paprika since the shrimp has a lot of garlic & flavor already.

Once hubby was done with the bacon, I threw the garlic into the pan with the bacon drippings (I poured a little out until I had about 2 tbsp. left). This alone made the whole house smell amazing.

After a few minutes, I added the shrimp into the garlic pan.

Shrimp & Cheese Grits with Bacon - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Once the shrimp was cooked, I added lime juice, hot sauce, & water.

Shrimp & Cheese Grits with Bacon - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I made sure to stir it up good so all the bacon goodness left at the bottom of the pan was incorporated. I cooked it for just a few more minutes to let the liquid reduce a bit. Then, once the cheese grits are done the only thing left is to crumble the bacon & plate. I used a slotted spoon to scoop up the shrimp without too much of the liquid. You can drizzle as much or as little as you like on the grits!

Shrimp & Cheese Grits with Bacon - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This is so good, y’all. It’s becoming one of my signature recipes.

Shrimp & Cheese Grits with Bacon

Serves 4


  • 1 lb raw shrimp
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 slices of bacon
  • salt & pepper
  • flour
  • 1 cup water
  • hot sauce to taste
  • Juice from 1 lime
  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet, reserving 2 tbsp drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
  2. Season shrimp with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour.
  3. Sauté garlic in bacon drippings for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add shrimp & sauté until they are cooked throughout.
  5. Add water, lime juice, & hot sauce, & cook for 2-3 minutes until liquid reduces a little, stirring to loosen bacon bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
  6. Spoon shrimp & liquid over cheese grits; sprinkle with crumbled bacon.


  • 1 cup quick grits
  • 6-8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 4.5 cups water
  1. Boil water.
  2. Stir in grits slowly.
  3. Cover & reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Cook 12-14 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add cheese. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted.

Wedding Wednesday – DIY Wedding Day Signs

Last week I shared on how I used vinyl records for a guest book. There was a sign on the table asking guests to ‘record’ their attendance.

DIY Wedding Signs Record Attendance - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I know, I am sooooo clever!

I made that sign, and a couple of others, for the wedding!

DIY Wedding Signs Instagram Hashtag- Mrs. Dessert Monster

One of my bridesmaids got me this really cool red & cream card stock with music written all over it. I couldn’t believe it when she showed it to me! This craft paper just screamed GINA’S WEDDING!

I knew right away I wanted to use it for wedding day signage.

So with my special paper & some of the card stock I had left from making my own invitations I made 3 sings: one for our ‘guest book’, one for our wedding hashtag, & one for the bar.

The day of the wedding I never made it to the bar.

We were absolutely spoiled. At our reception the waiters gave us the choice between serving ourselves at the buffet/bar or being served. It was great; I wouldn’t change a thing!

The closest I came to getting a picture of all my signs is this Instagram picture my friend, Caroline, posted. (You should check her blog out!)

DIY Wedding Day Signs - Mrs. Dessert Monster

She came in to town for the wedding a couple days early so we got to spend some quality time together finishing up last minute things!

EDIT: I was looking through our wedding video to grab a screenshot of our card box & I saw this!


The finishing touch on these signs were some picture frame easels from Michael’s. The best part about those is I can now use them for other stuff around the house!

Same time next week?

Platano Maduro Frito – Fried Sweet Plantain

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Our friend, David, gave us a GIANT plantain recently

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster


Since it had already started ripening when we got it, I knew what I wanted to make out of it: platano maduro frito (fried sweet plantain).

We finally got the house in decent enough shape to have my parents over for a father’s day dinner celebration, & this dish was a perfect addition to our spread!

Since Mami was coming over, I asked her to help me make these.

It’s really quite simple.

This recipe uses ripe plantains (maduros). Like, super ripe. Like, the plantain in this picture looks really black, but my mom says I probably could have waited a few more days. The plantain should feel soft when you squeeze it gently.

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

You peel the plantain & slice it up into long, diagonal slices. Then you put a little sugar on them.

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Pour enough vegetable oil to thinly coat the bottom of a frying pan (this isn’t deep frying!) Tip from Mami: adding a tablespoon or two of butter to the oil gives it a great flavor!

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Fry the slices on med/high heat until they are brown on one side, then flip to brown the other.

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

My mom was being silly while we were frying…

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Once both sides are brown you are done!

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster

These plantains are a little delicate – do not put them on a paper towel or they will stick!

I sprinkled a pinch of salt on them to bring out the sweetness even more.

These were a wonderful, sweet addition to our feast!

Platano Maduro Frito - Fried Sweet Plantain - Mrs. Dessert Monster


Platano Maduro Frito

  • ripe plantains
  • sugar
  • oil for frying
  • butter
  • pinch of salt
  1. Peel the plantains & cut into long, diagonal slices.
  2. Sprinkle some sugar over the sliced plantains.
  3. Pour a thin layer of oil in a frying pan. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter & let it melt.
  4. Fry the slices on med/high heat until they are brown on one side. Flip to brown the other.
  5. Once both sides are browned, sprinkle a pinch of salt over the plantains.
  6. Serve & enjoy!

Wedding Wednesday – Vinyl Record “Guest Book”

I can’t believe it’s June, much less Wednesday, June 16th! The year is half way over. This Saturday I will be married for 6 months!

Today I wanted to show y’all what I used for our guest book.

Vinyl Record Wedding Guest Book - Mrs. Dessert MonsterI saw the idea on Pinterest & thought it was perfect for our music themed wedding. 

Since our wedding was also Christmas themed, we looked for Christmas records. We actually managed to find some at Goodwill! Well, 2 out of 3.

For the odd one out, we bought the 1812 Overture, which is pretty cool but didn’t exactly go with the theme. So, I made my own label.

Vinyl Record Wedding Guest Book - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I love these records & can’t wait to display them in our new home! I have no idea when I’ll get to that…

Vinyl Record Wedding Guest Book - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I also made the sign on the table. More on that later 🙂

Enjoy the rest of the week!

First Look At The New House!

My husband & I have a million projects going on right now.

I am not a one-at-a-time kind of person.

We decided to tackle EVERYTHING we want to do to this house before we settled in & got complacent. So I can deal with some unfinished projects if it means getting to dream house (at least at this budget) status sooner.

The biggest change we have done so far is have the outside painted.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Holy crap, what a difference!

Whoever chose that green paint before us clearly doesn’t watch HGTV. Curb appeal, people!

I’m not done with the outside of the house just yet, but my husband did put up one very important feature.

America Flag Day - Mrs. Dessert Monster

It also just so happens to be flag day!

God bless our new home & God bless America.

6/25: Lela @ In The New House Designs just started a link party calling Inspiration Thursday.

This is my first time participating in a link party! I hope to be submitting LOTS more once I start sharing the home projects!

In The New House Designs

Wedding Wednesday – Jewelry

Hello party people! Guess what day it is?

Today I wanted to share my wedding jewelry.

I kept the jewelry pretty simple. For the bridesmaids I bought these long dangly necklaces from Forever 21. They were inexpensive, & went well with the dress & the colors!

Wedding Jewelry - Mrs. Dessert Monster

My husband & I went to Italy last year to visit his family & also take a couple of side trips on or own. In Venice, I saw these Murano glass earrings & knew instantly those were the ones I wanted for our wedding. Not only are they beautiful, but I love that it ties in my husband’s Italian heritage.

Wedding Jewelry - Mrs. Dessert Monster Murano Glass Earrings

From very early on I knew what I wanted my something blue to be: a bracelet that my dad gave to my mom back when they were dating in Cuba. It holds a special place in my heart. My dad bought it for my mom with the little money he had at the time. I proudly wore it on my wedding day. It ended up being my something borrowed & something old, too!

Wedding Jewelry - Mrs. Dessert MonsterWedding Jewelry - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Hope you enjoyed my short & sweet post on wedding jewelry. See y’all next Wednesday!

The Best Banana Pudding Ever

My husband & I took a break from all the unpacking, demo-ing, painting, etc. last week to attend our Chapel Bells end-of-the-season party. It was pot luck style, so of course I signed up for dessert, which was great because I had been looking for an excuse to make the best banana pudding ever.

Banana Pudding - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I got this recipe from my friend Josh. We were in the Pro Life Alliance together in college, & our meetings often involved dessert. The people in the pro-life movement are some of the sweetest I know (no pun intended).

March For Life - Mrs. Dessert Monster

March for Life, January 2012. Washington, DC.

This is one of those recipes that gets better with each step. Sampling along the way is definitely encouraged.

Banana Pudding - Mrs. Dessert Monster

It was like 10PM when I got around to making this the night before the bell party. By 10:30PM I was finished, had sampled it, & gone to bed. It’s a really easy recipe.

Paraphrasing Josh’s instructions: Line a pan with Nilla Waffers. Then in a large bowl mix 2 cups of cold milk (Josh said whole, I used 2% & it still came out good) and 1 and 2/3 packet of instant French vanilla pudding (two full packets is too strong according to Josh) and let sit.

Using an electric mixer – this was my inaugural use of my KitchenAid mixer in the new house! – mix together an 8 oz package of softened cream cheese and a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk until smooth.

I think the secret ingredient in this recipe is the sweetened condensed milk. I love it. Cubans use it a lot. My mom & I used to pour it over corn flakes & eat it as a treat. Vietnamese people put it in their iced coffee. It’s magical stuff.

Sweetened condensed milk + cream cheese = YUM! This combo must be explored further..

Once all lumps are gone, fold in a thawed 12 oz container of cool whip. This also results in a delicious combo. I wasn’t kidding about the sampling along the way!

Banana Pudding - Mrs. Dessert Monster
Take the cream cheese mixture and fold that into the pudding. Josh recommends to take a large dollop as a sacrificial amount and whisk it in really well to make sure the pudding isn’t too thick then fold in the rest gently.

Cut up some bananas & line the baking sheet with the slices. Josh says to use slightly browned ones so they’re kinda soft but still have texture to them, but it’s up to your individual banana preference. I only ended up using 4 bananas in my recipe. You can add more or less!

Banana Pudding - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Those two little bowls are me & my husband’s sample batch 🙂

Pour the pudding mixture over the bananas in the pan immediately to reduce browning. If you are going to serve the same day: top with Nilla wafers & refrigerate for for 2-3 hours before serving. Since I was serving this the next day at the bell party, I didn’t add the top wafers until then. Don’t snack on too many of the wafers, or you might not have enough! This may or may not have happened to me…

Banana Pudding - Mrs. Dessert Monster
The pudding was a hit!

Banana Pudding - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Banana Pudding

  • 4-7 bananas
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 & 2/3 packet Instant French Vanilla pudding
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14oz can sweeteened condensed milk
  • 1 12oz tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  1. Line a 9×13 pan with Nilla Wafers.
  2. Mix pudding & milk together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese & condensed milk with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip.
  4. Take a large dollop of cream cheese mixture & whisk into the pudding. Fold the rest of the cream cheese mixture in gently.
  5. Slice bananas & lay over Nilla Wafers in pan.
  6. Pour pudding mixture over bananas in pan.
  7. Line top of pudding with Nilla Wafers. Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving, or over night.
In The New House Designs

Wedding Wednesday – Ornament Favors/ Place Cards

It’s Wednesday! I’m off work for the rest of the week to do things around the new house. But before I get started, I wanted to share my Wednesday Wedding post.

Christmas Wedding Ornament Favors Place Cards - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I had seen some cute ideas on Pinterest (of course) for ornaments as place card holders. I loved the idea, & also liked that the ornaments could be given away as the wedding favors.

Ornaments made great decorations in general for our Christmas themed weddings, so around October when Hobby Lobby had a sale I went a little crazy.

Christmas Ornament Wedding - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I also knew I needed ornaments for the wedding cake, so it was a great deal!

One of the tutorials I saw on Pinterest for getting ornaments to stand up on their own said to use plastic fabric rings & glue them on to the bottom. I bought some white fabric rings & my hubby spray painted them gold.

Christmas Wedding Ornament Favors Place Cards - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Originally I was going to hand-write on the ornaments. Pinterest made it seem so easy! I bought some cute markers & everything. However, I could not seem to do even ONE straight! So instead I got the idea to order some personalized ribbon from Oriental Trading. My friend Beth came over & helped me mod podge the ribbon & the fabric rings to the ornaments.

The only thing left to do was make the place cards. I decided to do them like gift tags. I happened to have a circular hole punch that made them fit perfectly over the top of the ornaments.


Our place card table looked awesome!

wpid-1433337912374.jpgChristmas Wedding Ornament Favors Place Cards - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Thanks for checking out Wedding Wednesday!

Kitty’s Got A New Home


I’m sure everyone feels like that when they move. I had high hopes of being super organized & getting rid of a lot of stuff before moving. But between projects at the house we wanted to do before moving in, & this pesky thing we call a full time job, we didn’t accomplish nearly what we wanted to & just ended up shoving crap in the UHAUL on Saturday. Not even boxed or anything. I was so ill prepared for this move that I forgot I had loaned out my cat carrier…

Cat Move - Mrs. Dessert MonsterCat Move - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Stanley had the strangest car ride of his life. Luckily we moved less than 2 miles.

I would NOT recommend this method of transporting animals long distances. We were in the car seriously for only like 5 minutes. The pictures were too cute not to share!

Now that we have a garage, we decided we wanted to put his litter box out there. We just had to install a cat door.

Cat Door - Mrs. Dessert Monster

A hefty cat door. He is big boned!

We were nervous he wasn’t going to get the hang of it. We put him through it a couple times & showed him that his litter box was on one side & his food bowl was on the other side.

Cat Door - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Within that first day, he got it!

I think he likes our new home. 🙂