DIY Project Recipes

A New Project – German Schmear

It’s been awhile since we’ve tackled a project. But here is a new project – German Schmear. Or German Smear, just in case you’re not German.

Remember when we redid hub’s office with a faux brick wall? We have loved the look in there, but the wall is pretty red and it didn’t have much depth.

So, hub tried something new – German Schmear. This is applying mortar to bricks and wiping it off for an old-world look.

After a couple of false starts, a repair and help from our dear neighbor Gary and his expertise with his jig saw, the results are fantastic.

It was a big mess and since John threw his back out in the middle of the project, I got everything in the office cleaned up and put back together.

Here’s a pic of the happy customer in his updated (um old-world?) office.

Spicy Nuts

My DS Monique gave me a recipe for spicy nuts several years ago and I haven’t made them in a long time.

Because they are addicting. And delicious. When I know they are in the pantry, I can’t keep my hands off them.

But I decided to make them this year for the holidays and I want to share the recipe with you.

Any type of nuts work; a half a bag of mixed nuts from Trader Joe’s is what I used this time.

Spicy Nuts

A sweet and spicy treat for the holidays or anytime!


  • 2 cups whole blanched almonds, or whatever nut you'd like I used Trader Joe's mixed nutes
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
  • tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • paprika and cayenne to taste


  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the nuts and sprinkle the 1/2 cup sugar over them.
  • Sauté until the nuts become golden brown and the sugar carmelizes
  • Remove the nuts from the pan and toss in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and remaining sugar.
  • As this cools, the nuts may form a big chunk. Let it cool and break it up before serving.

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