Giani Granite Paint for Countertops Review

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Before…
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After!

I decided at the beginning of the summer that the kitchen needed a little updating. Our appliances are mostly new and we changed the outdated knobs on the otherwise nice cabinets this spring. However, it needed some help. It could have had something to do with the 90s wallpaper that was original with the house. I stripped the paper and painted a nice buttery yellow color to contrast nicely with the sky blue counter tops we had. Well, the lovely laminate countertops had a 5″ laminate “backsplash” glued to the wall and essentially the paper I was trying to take off. I pried that off and took the paper off behind it, revealing uneven counters and some pretty messy caulking. I cleaned that up but there was no way to put the laminate back and the uneven up-to-1/2″ gaps between the wall and the counter didn’t help. After making trips to Home Depot and Lowes, I realized we could just put new countertops on, no big deal. I picked out some stock counters and we were all gung-ho until we were told that because we needed an extra food (The stock tops only come in 12 foot sections or something like that) that we would need to custom order and that would run us nearly double. What!?

Money wasn’t really the issue. We wanted these things done. So I went on a business trip and had every intention of coming home to replace the counters. While I was away, a friend “liked” a page or said something about the Giani Granite Paint for Countertops on Facebook. I was like hmm… So I looked into it. I watched a youtube video and was intrigued. After checking it out on the Giani Granite website and reading other reviews, I found there really wasn’t much to be said about them that was negative. Actually, they had surprisingly rave reviews.

I ordered my Bombay Black kit from Amazon and with my Amazon Prime membership, I got the kit in 2 days with free shipping for $75.55. Giani sells them on their website direct for $79.95 (with about $10 shipping) so I was pretty thrilled. I figured if it sucked, we were going to replace the counters anyways so let’s do this! It was a total experiment.

The kit comes with a priming paint, 3 mineral paints, and a top coat. It also comes with a big sponge, a roller with 2 roller heads, a practice paper, an instructional DVD, and a foam brush. I kind of expected the box to be really heavy but it wasn’t. The paints are really rich so a little goes a long way, which I loved.

We went to the store and bought some MDF board to use as a backsplash. We basically glued it and caulked it with paintable caulking (you will need to get rid of any silicone caulk because it won’t work with the product). I used 5/8″ board so it would look similar to granite. In reality, the granite would probably be much thicker, but we just didn’t have the room behind the sink to be any bigger. Now we are ready!

Here’s the Process

Put simply, you prepare, prime, sponge, and topcoat.

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Cleaned and prepped
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You probably can’t tell from the picture, but my counter is a good 1/2″ from the wall over there…
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Also ready to go. Notice the outlet and how I will need to fix around it because the lovely builders of my house papered over the hole -_-

After reading the directions, you have to clean your counters. You can use a simple degreaser and a scouring pad. I SOSed the shit out of the counters to make sure all the crap and wax I’ve spilled wouldn’t affect the outcome. Again, they want you to make sure you don’t have the silicone caulking but we had already taken care of that. It is also recommended that you rinse at least twice with water. You also have to tape around the backsplash. Giani recommends 2 strips of tape and being lazy, I only did one. Do two (believe me). AND!!!! DO NOT USE FROG TAPE. Someone told me that is the only one to use because it is just soooo good. LIES. It sucks.

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Taped and ready
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New backsplashes for everyone!
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Prepped and taped.

Once our counters were ready, I used the primer that they supply. You use the little foam brush to get on top of the back splash and in the crease of the backsplash and the counter as well as the little spaces the roller can’t reach. You have to wait 8 hours after putting the primer on. It did cover very well but I missed a few spots and after reading another review, noted the woman put 2 coats and it came out ok so I did another primer coat and it was perfect. The primer did cover very well, though.

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The primer covered really well
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Looks better already!

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Next, you cut the sponge into pieces and start with the mineral paints. It gives you detailed instructions on how to sponge the paint on and in what order. This was almost fun. I was nervous it wasn’t going to match from one end to the other, but the beauty of it is that you can go back and add more if you need it. There are 3 different colors. In this particular kit, it has a pearl/white/silver color, a nice glossy black, and a copper color for accenting. The accent color is used sparingly and I used it to paint some veins into the scheme. It looked like I just painted the counter at first but after the blending and adding the different colors, it looked pretty neat.

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After the sponging process. This part was easy because this section was small.
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This was a little more challenging because this section was much larger. Here you can see the difference.
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Hard section finished!

By the way, the paint washes out of the sponge and foam brush really easily with just water. Also, be very careful not to use any strong degreasers on your stove while th primer is bare… another reason I needed a 2nd coat. OOPS!

So the topcoat is the last of it. After waiting 4 hours for your spongepainting to dry, you can topcoat. There are detailed instructions and an extra video included in the DVD on how exactly to do it. I was a little nervous it would come out cloudy or with laplines but it came out nice. You wait 4 hours and do another, which really came out great. The next day you can use your counters and your dishwasher. Wait 72 until you can put small appliances back, and 14 before you should really be cleaning it. It should be totally cured in 30 days.

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Finished product!
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Done :)!
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Closer look…. notice the bleeding from the paint 😡
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Counters in use!

Ok, so it seems like a lot of waiting but it isn’t. I did a little bit here and there and even put a topcoat on before work so it was ready when I came home. The results really are great! I couldn’t believe it! The only downfall from the project was the bleeding I had from the TERRIBLE FROG TAPE and so I will have to figure a way how to get some of that off my wall above the backsplash. I totally agree with the reviews. It saved me about $600 from start to finish (including the adhesive, backsplash, caulking etc). So for a total of less than $100 I have brand new looking counters. The original counter’s integrity was great so it is great I didn’t have to waste a perfectly good top. My mother in law didn’t even know it wasn’t granite until we told her.

Thanks, Giani-you make a great product.

*disclaimer: I totally didn’t get paid to do a review nor was I supplied with the product from the company. I just love it THAT much. And don’t buy Frog Tape.

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Easiest Buffalo Chicken Dip; Last Minute Recipe

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My schedule can be crazy. I travel a lot for work and so sometimes I need to fit a month’s worth of life into two or three weeks. An old neighbor of mine graduated high school last week and they had a graduation party. I didn’t know if I would be able to attend, so I only planned on going loosely. Of course, my mother taught me never to arrive anywhere empty handed, so I figured if I did go I would bring a bottle of wine. I have a wine rack and usually keep a small sample of good and cheap wines. When my family called on Sunday morning to tell me they would be going, I agreed to meet them there. I looked at my wine collection and to my horror, realized I only had the $2.99 Walmart specials left and a bottle I had received at my wedding. I hadn’t been food shopping in a while and we were on our last leg of “real” food in the house. I didn’t have time to go to the store. Super.

I looked through my cabinets and didn’t even have brownie mix. I had to get creative. I rummaged through my freezer and pantry and came up with an idea. Buffalo chicken dip! I happily took down a bag of tortilla chips, but then realized that they had expired in May. The only other thing I had was a bag of pre-sliced everything bagels that had a sell by date of the week prior. After careful inspection, they were not stale and had no mold, so I was good to go.

I cut up the bagels into quarters and peeled the pieces apart so it was actually eighths. I used 5 of the 6 in case my husband needed breakfast on Monday and so I had about forty pieces. I melted enough butter to cover the bottom of a frying pan and fried the pieces with a heavy pot on top to make them more flat. While doing this, I took 2 breasts of chicken I had in the freezer (I like to have single frozen breasts in the freezer for these types of emergencies!) and boiled them. Of course, they weren’t cooking fast enough so I cut them into large chunks and finished boiling them. After the bagels were fried and flat and the chicken was boiled, I put the bagels on a cookie sheet and baked at 300* while I made the dip.

I drained the water from the chicken and stuck it in my standing mixer and put it on low. While the steaming hot chicken was being batted around in my mixer, I added a couple of small tabs of butter. I had a block of cream cheese in the fridge and stuck that in the mixer as well. I added about half of a small bottle of Frank’s Red Hot into the mix and drizzled honey in. Of course, I did this all to taste. I didn’t even have a serving plate to bring with me so I used some stoneware I had and made it “look pretty”. No wine, but I had chicken! It came out awesome and I got a lot of compliments. I even had some dip left over to enjoy by myself the next night.

Here is my recipe:

(Oh Shit) Buffalo Chicken Dip

Serves 10-14

Ingredients:

  •  2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (use 2 for creamier dip, 3 for a thicker dip)
  • 1 block of cream cheese
  • 1 cup or half a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or equivalent
  • 6 tbs butter, divided (4 for frying and 2 for the dip)
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 6 bagels
  1. Preheat oven to 300* and add water to 2 qt pot and bring to boil. Add chicken.
  2. While chicken is boiling, cut bagels in half and then into quarters. Add 1 tbs at a time and fry the bagels “face down” in the butter. Add a heavy pot on top of bagels to flatten them out. After each batch, add another tab of butter for frying. Transfer to cookie sheet.
  3. After chicken is fully cooked, transfer to standing mixer (otherwise shred and mix by hand). Make sure to use the mixer while the chicken is hot or it won’t shred well. Mix on low.
  4. While chicken is shredding in the mixer, cook bagels in oven until crisp (usually 15-20 mins).
  5. Add remaining 2 tbs of butter to chicken while it is in mixer, then add hot sauce, cream cheese, and honey. Mix until uniform in color and consistency.
  6. Serve bagel chips with dip.

And! Here are my pictures:

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Rainbow Sweet and Sour Chicken

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Leftovers… Mmmmm.

I love sweet and sour chicken. I think my love is really just in the sweet and sour sauce to be honest. Every time I go out for a night on the town, I MUST have chicken nuggets. The limo driver for my bachelorette party was even nice enough to pull through Micky D’s so I could indulge in my absolute need for chicken nuggets and sweet and sour sauce. Truth be told, I would be totally ok with just licking the sweet and sour sauce of the nuggets and tossing them.
You can only imagine my elation when I found this recipe. Sweet and Sour Chicken made at home! I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to fit my lifestyle and that is what I am going to post here because the original recipe is actually two recipes.

I made this this week because the chicken was only $1.99 a pound and the peppers were only $1.99 a pound (both usually at least 1.00 more!). I’ve also figured out that this is about 325 calories a serving (6 servings).

Ingredients:

Part I: Chicken

  • -egg white
  • -1 tsp cornstarch
  • -2-3 chicken breasts, cubed (I think it was about 2 pounds of chicken…ish)
  • -1 tbsp oil for “frying” (I used veggie)

Part II:

  • -1 yellow pepper, cubed
  • -1 orange pepper, cubed
  • -1 red pepper, cubed
  • -1/2 large white onion, cubed (you can probably use any onion and have it taste good except for red onions; I’m not sure those would taste quite the same)
  • -1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tbs fresh grated (I keep a chunk of ginger in the freezer but I used ground ginger this time because of pure laziness)
  • -1 lg can pineapple chunks with juice reserved
  • -1 tsp oil for pan (again, veggie)

Part III: Sauce

  • -1/2 c brown sugar
  • -1/2 c white vinegar
  • -1/2 c ketchup
  • -1/2 c pineapple juice from can
  • -1/2 tsp salt
  • -2-3 tbsp cornstarch

1. Toss the cubed chicken, cornstarch, and egg white together in a bowl to coat the chicken. Allow this to sit while you cut and cube your veggies and make your sauce.

2. Whisk together all ingredients of your sauce except for the cornstarch. Set aside.

3. Turn large pan on high heat and add oil. Coat the bottom of the pan and allow the oil to heat up. Cook chicken so all sides are browned. The middles may still be pink, you are going to let them cook more later. Set the chicken aside.

4. Add the extra oil to the pan and add veggies. Add ginger. Fry for 1 minute. Add pineapples, and HALF the sauce to the pan (keep other half reserved).

5. Once the sauce has started to simmer, add chicken. Cook together until chicken is cooked through. (Maybe 4-5 minutes, but that could be a bit long, so watch it)

6. While this is cooking, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining sauce to make a slurry. Add this when the chicken is almost done. Stir in the remaining sauce and allow the sauce to congeal a bit. Serve.

I served this over white rice. You could use brown rice or a rice noodle or a pasta, but I used white rice. My husband really enjoyed this. This was one of the first recipes I used when I started to become domestic we started dating. I have also used green peppers when the fun colored ones aren’t on sale and it came out very yummy too. You can add carrots and celery or any veggies you like in your meal and it should have good results.

Enjoy!

-C

Caramel Apple Jello Shots

I owned my own event bartending company for 5 years before I gave it up for my career. This, I have never even heard of before. Thanks to a girlfriend from work, Pinterest, and BuzzFeed Food, I was able to try these little wonders. I just had to have them last night. Here is what I did:

20121116-110049.jpg Mmm. Apples. The recipe calls for 5, I only had 4, you really do need 5, I had leftover jello yumminess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20121116-110057.jpg Cut each apple in half and scoop out seeds and meat to make a nice jello shot shell. Note: Do not cut out stem area because jello liquid leaks. I learned my lesson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20121116-110104.jpg Put apples in a muffin pan. Genius! Brush apple cups with lemon juice to prevent browning.

Make jello filling:

1/2 cup water
1 envelope caramel hot chocolate mix (regular is cool too, I didn’t find caramel)
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup caramel sauce
1 envelope unflavored knox gelatin
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup vodka (I used vanilla vodka)

In a medium saucepan, combine water with hot chocolate mix and whisk until the cocoa dissolves. Add evaporated milk and caramel sauce and whisk again to combine. Sprinkle gelatin onto mixture evenly and allow to sit about 2 minutes. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until it just reaches a gentle simmer — this is to ensure gelatin is fully dissolved.

Add sugar and simmer gently for about a minute. Turn off the heat and let mixture cool to warm. Add vodka. Transfer to a container with a spout.

20121116-110116.jpg Fill each apple half with jello filling. I had leftover so I put them in the muffin tin. Refrigerate.

 

 

 

 

20121116-110123.jpg Cut slices out of each apple half and serve. Note: These are “dangerous”. Besides being absolutely amazing, the apple shell kills the alcohol note and makes you think you can eat a hundred of these. If you do, you may find yourself waking up on the neighbor’s lawn spooning with their lawn gnome. Just a fair warning.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies: Amazing

So like every other female between the age of 18 and 80, I am in love with Pinterest. I am a scientist by nature and LOVE experiments. Pinterest gives me millions of theories to test out. Case in point? This bad Larry right here. Meet Chocolate Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies from Cookies and Cups. They are so yummy and so easy, you won’t even believe it. I will definitely be adding these to my arsenal of goodies to bring to parties and have people compliment me on my excellent culinary skills and me be all “Oh, well, it wasn’t too much trouble”.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Breakfast Cookies

  • 2 pkgs of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 pkg of Cream Cheese (8 oz block)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Chocolate/chocolate chips (mini ones work great)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Warm cream cheese to room temp (so you can mix it) and mix in sugar and vanilla.
  3. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam or grease. Roll out the dough.
  4. Spread cream cheese over dough and sprinkle chocolate. (I also used Lindt chocolate in chunks and it came out FREAKING AWESOME).
  5. Roll up the dough (super easy because it was just in that same shape in the container it came in).
  6. The website calls for the dough to be chilled. I did not do this. You don’t have to but it is way easier to cut if you do.
  7. Cut dough in 1/4″ slices and lay out on cookie sheet. The website calls for parchment paper. I’d use this as they would probably come off easier. You can just twist the cookies off if you don’t use the paper.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Enjoy!

Seriously, these were very tasty. I deem this experiment a huge success. I also have seen a bunch of different cheeses and meats and sauces rolled up in the Crescent dough… the possibilities? Endless.

 

 

 

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Easiest way to shred chicken-ever!

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Now, doesn’t that look wonderful?? So I have been shredding chicken by hand since I don’t know when. While I am extremely book smart, I have about 2 ounces of common sense to my whole being so I never really thought to ask or try another way. And then! I found this! How absolutely perfect and very time saving! Here’s how to make a 30 minute chicken shredding project into a 5 minute one. (Ok, times aren’t accurate and don’t make fun of me if this is how EVERYONE does it because there has GOT to be someone out there with a dim bulb like mine who could benefit from this information!!)

1. Cook your chicken like you normally would. I boiled it up. Kind of chewy because of this but its cool. Just cook it like the recipe calls for and don’t pay me any attention.

2. Take your cooked (and still hot) chicken out of the pan and stick it in your mixer. I stuck all 6 breasts into my Kitchenmaid and latched down the top. Turn it on. I turned it on the lowest setting because I figured that’s all you needed. I walked away, turned the TV on in the living room, walked back and Voila! That picture is what I saw!

Seriously, why did I not ask or research this earlier??