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Crispy Chicken

Here is a skillet supper that truly uses one pan to create all the components of a great meal. Crispy Chicken Breast Filets, flattened to quicken the cooking process, are paired with sweet corn medallions, bulb onions and fresh tomatoes. It’s a delicious party menu that utilizes peak seasonal ingredients to keep the flavor high and costs low. Outside of the pan, I’ve also included a dessert of Cherry Cream Pie which is a revelation in contrast to the recipes found on the back of cream cheese packets.

Norm’s Notes: Seasoning Salt and Blends

In today’s culinary world, salt and pepper reign as the undisputed kings of flavor enhancement. The numerous variants of sodium chloride and pungent berries are prized among cooks who often adjust and combine different types to meet specific uses. However, store-bought seasoning salts and blends, popular with most home cooks, often get no love. Since many peoples’ cabinets are littered with half full cylinders of them, I think salt and pepper elitism needs to be addressed.

Seasoning salts and blends are great because they will go with just about anything you can think of, quickly enhancing the taste of foods with little effort. The main problem is many of the seasonings lose potency and pungency over time. So that seasoning you bought for that one recipe you made, for that thing, two years ago, may be past its prime. A good rule is if you haven’t used it within the current calendar year, it probably needs to be discarded, but check the expiration date to be sure. My advice is to use seasoning salts and blends often and boldly. Shake a bit on fresh cut veggies, salad, eggs, grits or anywhere you would use salt and pepper or hot sauce. If anyone sticks their nose in the air about your love of seasoning salt and blends, smile at them, shake on more, and enjoy.

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Calling all Harry Potter fans: Your favorite scar-sporting wizard is back. Even if you’re not a Potter nerd like I am, you’ve probably already heard about the new story J.K. Rowling published Tuesday on Pottermore. Loyal HP fans flooded the site, eager to read more about the famous fictional wizard. Considering it’s been seven years since Deathly Hallows was published (crazy, right?), the reaction is no surprise. The frenzy even crashed Pottermore.com for a period of time, but don’t fret! The site is back up and running!

The short story comes in the guise of a Rita Skeeter gossip column in which Rowling gives readers a glimpse at the lives of Harry and crew, now in their mid-30s. We learn sparing details, like how Harry has a new scar and “a couple of threads of silver” in his hair sorry, no more spoilers. Instead, to honor this momentous day in the lives of HP fans everywhere, I’ve compiled pictures of furniture and accessories that are reminiscent of the Wizarding World — without resorting to the obvious broomstick or wand. Here are 6 ways to translate elements of Harry’s world into decor even us muggles could actually use:

Harry Potter Inspired Decor

Top, L to R: Red and Gold Living Room (Gryffindor Common Room), Tree Canopy Bed (Enchanted Forest) | Middle, L to R: Eclectic Mirror (Mirror of Erised), Upcycled Bottles (Potions) | Bottom, L to R: Telephone Box Book End (Ministry of Magic Entrance), Stair-Step Bedroom Dresser (Cupboard Under the Stairs)

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If you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain,” then National Pina Colada Day was made for you. And how perfect that it falls in the dog days of summer when nothing seems more refreshing than a cold, tropical cocktail in hand. So “put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up,” I say. But if you’d rather skip past the drinks and head straight to dessert, then try these pina colada baked doughnuts or pina colada key lime pie. Both look exceptionally sinful.

Strawberry Pina Colada Pops

Photo and recipe courtesy of Cornelia Guest

 Spiked Strawberry Pina Colada Pops

Ingredients

3 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup rum
1 cup strawberries, sliced

Instructions

Puree all ingredients (except strawberries) in a blender until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids. Add strawberries, pour into ice-pop molds and freeze for 30 minutes. Insert sticks and continue to freeze overnight. For best results, leave ice pops in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

10 More Recipes to Try

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You guessed correctly if you chose option A. HGTV Magazine experts suggest adding window treatments to your outdoor room to create a relaxing indoor feel. Choose white outdoor-proof fabric to allow natural light in while still protecting you from the sun.

Outdoor Patio With Window Treatments

We randomly chose one person from the comments, and Amy M. is the winner of a pair of HGTV gardening gloves, plant markers and this month’s issue of HGTV Magazine. Congrats!

Check back next Wednesday to decorate a new space.

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Congratulations to this week’s winner, Amy M.!

Can you guess which window treatments belong in this outdoor room?

Decorate This Space

Type A, B or C in the comments section, and we’ll reveal the answer tomorrow. One lucky winner will win a pair of HGTV gardening gloves, plant markers and this month’s issue of HGTV Magazine. You don’t have to guess correctly for a chance to win.

Choose A, B or C

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win.  All entries (comments) must be entered between 10:00 a.m. ET on July 9, 2014 and 12:00 p.m. ET on July 10, 2014. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prize: $20. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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It’s no secret that I’m kind of obsessed with freezer paper stencils. So far, I’ve created a nautical, anchor-stenciled boat bag and some adorable onesies, but I’m not done yet. This week, I’m turning this cute cloud-and-raindrop stencil into a sweet summer dress.

Make Your Own Freezer Paper Stenciled Dress - HGTV Crafternoon on Design Happens

If you’re new to this adaptable technique, prepare to be smitten.  To get started, simply print or cut out the design of your choice, then affix it to fabric or clothing with an iron. Then, paint on fabric paint, let dry and peel away the stencil. The result? The look of a custom screen print in a fraction of the time. Watch this week’s video to learn more about the process:

Pretty cute, eh? I used a patterned cotton dress for this project, but it would look equally cute on a shirt, table runner or set of white cotton napkins. Download the stencil here to get started with your own design! If you’d like a longer pattern, pair the cloud and raindrop stencil with this extra set of raindrops.

Tell me, have you tried freezer paper stencils? Where would you use this cute cloud-and-raindrop design?

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Illuminated driftwood centerpiece-1

I just returned from the beach where it was all seashell accents, palm prints and driftwood decor. I’m back home now, but can’t let the summer end just because vacation is over. To keep the dreamy summer look coming, here are some of my favorite driftwood projects.

illuminated driftwood centerpiece

I’ve done a few driftwood projects in the past, and in yesterday’s video for HGTV Handmade, I show you how to make an easy illuminated driftwood centerpiece for your summer entertaining. Add some shells and a Mexican blanket as a tablecloth, and you have a whole tablescape that brings bohemian summer vibes to the party.

driftwood wall garden

Driftwood is really such an easy material to work with, and can easily be hung on the wall. In this video on my channel, Meg Allan Cole Crafts, or MACC, I created a simple summer driftwood wall garden using air plants.

More Driftwood Projects

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Did you go anywhere fun for the 4th of July holiday? I went to the beach with my folks and bought a handful of souvenir postcards to send to friends, but then I saw these adorable postcard ideas and considered keeping them myself. Hey, can you blame me? Take a look at these creative ways to use and display old postcards and you might be tempted to hoard yours as well.

5 Pretty Postcard Ideas to Try: Banner

Credit: Emily Fazio

OLD POSTCARDS —> NEW BIRTHDAY BANNER
This birthday banner (made with Pantone postcards) by Emily Fazio is festive, cute and cheaper than a banner you’d find at a party supply store if you use postcards you already have. Get all the how-to instructions on DIY Network’s Made + Remade blog.

MORE PRETTY IDEAS FOR POSTCARDS

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You all love the nautical look just as much as some of us HGTV.com staffers. And after a beautiful and relaxing weekend on the water, I just couldn’t resist this week’s mood board pick. Happy Monday!

Mood Board Monday: SailboatsTop, L to R: HGTV.com, Coco Cake Land, The Hearabouts | Middle, L to R: Erika Layne Photography, Style Me Pretty | Bottom, L to R: HGTV.com, Jagger Photography, Colin Cowie Weddings

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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