12.28.2011

seasonal eating: winter vegetables

I'm so lucky to live in the Northwest where our mild winter means that you can buy/grow fresh vegetables almost all year round. Next year we're hoping to build planter boxes with cold frames foir the backyard so we can start a year-round garden, so this year I'm really trying to eat vegetables that are in season. Hopefully, eating this way will give us an idea of which winter veggies we like to eat and should therefore try to grow.

Before now, I honestly had never thought to pick up a beet or parsnip at the grocery store. Joe and I love veggies, but we were pretty limited in what we'd eat every week. Tons of spinach and tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli, but really not much else. When I went online to find a list of seasonal vegetables in the Northwest, I was surprised to find that I had tried so few of them before. For a list of seasonal vegetables grown in the Northwest, look here.


My first experiment was with beets. I tried these beet chips and Joe and I both really loved them. We actually had these with hummus on a football Saturday, which I found a little unusual since game food is usually all cheesy, fatty goodness. But, honestly, these were easy and tasted so good! I think we ate a whole bunch of beets (like 4 or 5) in one sitting.

Next up came kale. Kale is a green and as such I figured it would probably taste about like a leaf (you all tasted them as kids, don't lie). I usually mix a few cups of spinach into our marinara sauce whenever we have spaghetti/lasagna/etc., so this time I substituted kale for the spinach and waited with trepidation. I am very devoted to my marinara and I was having visions of leafy-bitter, inedible sauce. But when our pasta was sauced and served, I was pleasantly surprised. The flavor of the kale wasn't overpowering at all. It paired really nicely with the acidity of the tomatoes and since its one of the sturdier greens, it held its shape in the sauce instead of melting away like spinach usually does.

Two for two. I call this success.

This week, Joe and I have a challenge going to see who can eat two servings of fruits or veggies with every meal. Even breakfast. It's intense, but it's giving me some good motivation to try out some more winter veggie recipes. Here's what we'll be trying this week:




Stuffed Acorn Squash w/ Quinoa & Leeks

Now I have to get to the grocery store and pick me up some delicious winter veg!

12.25.2011

12.14.2011

in progress: living room

I keep thinking that I'm going to get better pictures of the living room...or more at least...but with the gray weather setting in I doubt that's going to happen any time soon. So here goes...

Joe and I built and stained the ledges. I love the look of them up close, a picture for another post.


I watched this buffet on craigslist for weeks - $125, $100, $75 - then came the special phrase:
"One day only, $55!" and that's when I snapped her up right quick.

The wonderful piano that Joe surprised me with for our third anniversary :)

And that's all you're getting for now. I will try to take more pictures soon, especially now that the Christmas decorations and tree are up. Yay for the holidays!

12.07.2011

diy: jute rope wall art

When I took the month of October off, I set a goal for myself that I would finish make livable the public rooms of our house: entry, living, dining, and kitchen. And I did...just barely. It took a ton of work, a ton of diy and by the end I was running low on ideas for super affordable (read almost free) decorating ideas. But as I was scraping the bottom of the idea barrel, this little gem came to me.

I really love nautical and coastal inspired decor. It started in our old guest bedroom and now that we're in the new house it's spread to almost every wall (for example, my paint colors are gray, sand, and various shades of blue and teal). So, I guess what I'm saying is that I should've expected something nautical and beachy to be the answer to the question "what in the world am I going to do with that wall?!"

Without further ado, here she is:

I know it doesn't look like much in the pictures, but this was so simple and affordable (not to mention easily update-able depending on your mood) that I just love it. I used jute rope from the jewelry section of the craft store. I was originally looking for hemp, but the jute was 1/5 the price ringing in at $2.50 with my ever-useful 40% off coupon. All the pictures are old ones I had around the house or pics I cut out of magazines, so in other words free. I also had the clothespins hanging so those were repurposed too.



As far as putting it together, all I did was measure and mark exactly where  I wanted the ropes to hang on the wall. Then I hammered in a nail with a medium-sized head on each side (I wanted the nailheads to show a little bit). Then I cut my cords to equal lengths, tied the knots in the end, and hung them up. The whole thing took maybe 30 minutes.

I think I'd still like to try weathering the wood on the clothespins to give it a more battered driftwood look, but other than that I'm really happy with the outcome. I can't wait to start changing out the pictures for Christmas cards as the season gets into full swing!

12.06.2011

weekend fun: gingerbread houses

 This weekend the hubs and I had a great time building some gingerbread graham cracker houses. Actually, we were in a pretty serious gingerbread house competition. One hour, two packages of graham crackers, mounds of candy, and all the frosting glue you could steal from the other couples. When the final bell rang here's what we had:


This was such a fun holiday activity and so simple and affordable to put on.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun party theme or date night for this holiday season.

All you need are:

Graham crackers (we needed about two packages per team, but it depends on how elaborate your house is..and how many you break)
Frosting Glue (recipe is linked)
Lots and lots of candy for decorating (mixed candy from the bulk bin works great)
Hard surface to build on
Foil

Building the houses is completely up to your imagination! If you look below, you can see that Joe and I added a little minivan to our house and even put in some gummi bear versions of ourselves :)


All in all, it was such a great evening and an event I definitely want to add to the holiday rotation in years to come...you know, along with that cookie exchange I want to host, the Advent calendar I want to make, and the annual Christmas letter I'm determined will become tradition. One step at a time, right?

11.28.2011

recipes: whole wheat bread

Ever since middle school, I've had the ambition to make my own bread. I'm not talking about a single foray into the world of yeast and flour, I mean "make my own bread" as in only have bread I made sitting around the house. I blame my geometry teacher who ground her own flour, made jam from her own berries, and pressed her own apple juice, for first giving me this inkling. Our move to real food eating was the other catalyst that created the perfect opportunity to give weekly bread making a whirl. And now here she is...


Isn't that beautiful?? My first two loaves were abysmal, squashed little bricks, but Joe ate them like a champ and told me to keep trying. My loaf from two weeks ago tasted better, but completely collapsed in the oven. We ate that one too. But this loaf...this one was perfect. So tall and delicious! I couldn't believe it. Joe said he knew all along that I could do it, but secretly I think he was thanking his lucky stars that he wouldn't be having his pb&j on dry, dense brick bread this week.

I've been using the yeast bread tutorial from Naturally Ella and it's worked wonders for me. Being such a visual person can be a real hamper to success with normal recipes that hardly ever tell you what something should look like at a particular stage. But Erin includes a video with her tutorial showing exactly what the bread should look like at the different stages which helped me immensely. In fact, I loved it so much I would like to dedicate that beautiful loaf above to her. :)

I made a few adjustments to her original method to account for using whole wheat flour instead of white, which has more gluten. So far, adding 1/3 cup of flour with 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten and kneading the bread for a full ten minutes in the mixer has seemed to do the trick. I would HIGHLY recommend this tutorial if you're interested in making your own bread. It's a great starter and you can basically adjust it to make anything you want to (cheesy garlic bread? mix in some cheese/garlic, cinnamon raisin bread? toss those babies right in there with everything else). Now, I better go get to work on my loaf for this week. Here's hoping it turns out just as good as my last one!

11.27.2011

twelve by 2012: update


Here's an update on my 12 by 2012 goals list:

crossed out = completed
italics = in progress

1. Paint the bedroom...we only purchased all the supplies six months ago

2. Complete our bed, building and finishing

3. Take a Christmas picture as cute as this one and this one and actually SEND IT.

4. Make at least one more batch of pear vanilla bean jam.

5. Celebrate Christmas with handmade gifts and wrappings.

6. Crochet this scarf for myself in that deep blue yarn I've had sitting in the yarn basket for a year.

7. Try at least three new vegetarian recipes. Any suggestions?

8. Make a date with myself for coffee/lunch on a Saturday. Take a journal.

9. Make these rolls the "real food" way for our Thanksgiving meal.

10. Roast and freeze the pumpkins from our garden for pies and cookies. You should try this method, you'll never go back to canned pumpkin again.

11. Find the perfect "quiet" spot in the house for morning devotions.

12. Bake a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Enjoy every bite!


I'm feeling pretty good about these. I've accomplished six of them and have two in progress. The only ones I'm not sure will get done are the two biggies: painting the bedroom and finishing our bed. I always get caught up in thinking that I need hubby's help to get the big ones done, but by the end of the day or on weekends he's so busy with upkeep on the house (i.e. raking leaves, winterizing sprinklers, etc.) that there really isn't time to add my to-dos to his list. Just gotta get up the courage and tackle those big projects myself. Here's hoping I manage to do that before January 1, 2021 rolls around.

11.16.2011

$10 ledges a la ana white

Well, I finished up another Pinterest-inspired project. I originally came across these plans on Ana White's great website (if you haven't already checked her out, do it!), but I couldn't picture them in my house until I found this inspiration photo:


Cookbook storage! I so needed cookbook storage. As it was, we were wandering over to the living room bookshelf whenever we needed a recipe and half the time I'd forget what I was doing and end up...well... confused as to why I was in the living room. Now those cookbooks are right at hand whenever I need them. Love it!


This project was so easy. The hardest part about it was trying to be patient while Joe did all of the sanding. This is definitely a project where I would recommend sanding your pieces first and then building them. I ended up making seven of these shelves. Two here for cookbooks, three above the imaginary buffet I will one day have (c'mon craigslist!), and two that I used as traditional picture shelves in the living room. Hopefully, I'll get a post up about the changes that have gone on there soon. The weather has been so stormy lately that I haven't been able to get any good photos. We'll see.

All in all, this was a simple, fun project. and I really love the way it turned out. Once again, if you haven't been to Ana's website...go there...now. :)

10.31.2011

this weekend


enjoyed some r&r (and coffee) with dear friends in the beautifully dreary gray of Portland.

Ready to take on the world now.

10.28.2011

twelve by 2012

I ran across this challenge when Katie at The Bright Life posted her twelve by 2012 list, which led me over to oh, hello friend who created this great challenge. I love setting goals now instead of waiting for the new year because, let's be honest, by the time the new year rolls around I've been in creative overload for so long all I want to do is hibernate until spring. Also, with a new job looming in front of me (I'm going to be working full time, ack), I know that I'm going to need some extra motivation to finish everything I want to this holiday season.

Without further ado, here are my twelve goals to be completed by 2012:

1. Paint the bedroom...we only purchased all the supplies six months ago

2. Complete our bed, building and finishing

3. Take a Christmas picture as cute as this one and this one and actually SEND IT.

4. Make at least one more batch of pear vanilla bean jam.

5.  Celebrate Christmas with handmade gifts and wrappings.

6. Crochet this scarf for myself in that deep blue yarn I've had sitting in the yarn basket for a year.

7. Try at least three new vegetarian recipes. Any suggestions?

8. Make a date with myself for coffee/lunch on a Saturday. Take a journal.

9. Make these rolls the "real food" way for our Thanksgiving meal.

10. Roast and freeze the pumpkins from our garden for pies and cookies. You should try this method, you'll never go back to canned pumpkin again.

11. Find the perfect "quiet" spot in the house for morning devotions.

12. Bake a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Enjoy every bite!

10.25.2011

diy art: geometric painting

 The last two weeks I have been tackling a ton of projects for our house trying to get everything more "finished" before the holidays get here. Most of my projects have been coming from Pinterest (what did I do before we had this wonderful thing??). I originally saw this pattern on a painted rug and loved it, so when I found a couple canvases on sale for 50% off, I decided it was time to try one of my own.

Here is my inspiration image, found here:


All of these geometric painting projects start pretty much the same way: pick your pattern and get out the painter's tape. The hard part with this one was getting everything straight. I chose to run my tape all the way across the canvas and then cut out the pieces that I didn't want in the design. That way all of my squares were exactly aligned. You can check out the original rug post for more hints about getting this particular design perfect.


After the taping was finished, I got ready to paint. I used this tutorial as my guide for how to get almost no bleed through. Unfortunately, I found it after I had already taped and wasn't able to paint my whole canvas white before taping. I did put a coat of white all around the taped areas before painting it with my colored paint. Painting with white first is supposed to minimize bleed through since the white paint will be the one that bleeds through and should, ideally, seal up an spaces you missed between the tape and the canvas.

After painting with white, I put three coats of colored paint on, letting the canvases dry for 30-45 minutes between coats. A little bit of my blue did bleed through onto the white, but I took a white paint pen and corrected anything that was too obvious. All in all, this was a simple, cheap, and fun project :) I love the finished product!



10.21.2011

diy: shutter apron rack

Remember this little image? Check out number three because it's about to become something very cool. :)


Behold the apron rack...made from that little ol' shutter. I. Love. It.


This was another project on my Pinterest to do list and it was so easy. The paint color is actually John Deere green spray paint from Lowe's and I picked up the extra knobs from Restore for a couple bucks. After a few coats of spray paint, I drilled holes for the knobs, attached them, and hung it up on the wall. I'm so happy to have my aprons out again (I thought I had lost them in the move, but it turns out they were just hiding in one of the kitchen drawers...phew, that was a close one).

That wall of the kitchen/dining room is now finished! And just in time too...I only have about sixty-five other projects going on and just one week to finish them in.

Here's what I'll be up to...

Building these $10 gallery shelves for the kitchen, buffet area, and living room (mine are shorter, so I'm actually building seven of them for only $30!!)



Making two of these mail/key/general junk organizers to hang side-by-side in the entry...we have a lot of stuff to organize :)


And finally, using this picture as inspiration to create my first two strictly-for-fun art pieces. Can't wait!


Pictures to come...assuming I finish them all today like I'm planning. I better get to work!

10.18.2011

diy: framed chalkboard calendar

Last week I was determined to start my Pinterest to do list. I'd been pinning and pinning and hadn't made anything yet, so it was definitely time. I decided to kill two birds with one stone by creating a menu/weekly calendar and trying my hand at making my own custom color chalkboard paint. Fortunately for me this project only cost $1.43 (for unsanded tile grout) because I had all of the other necessaries laying around the garage. Scraps (by which I mean free projects) are one of the best perks of building things yourself.

Here are my inspiration photos foudn via pinterest:


First, I started with a large piece of 1/4" plywood. I was using left over from building our full-sized headboard a while back, but a full sheet (4ft by 8ft) only costs about $10 to $15, and it will make at least four chalkboards, so get some friends together and throw a party.


I sanded my plywood with 100, 150, and 220 grit sandpaper to get a super smooth finish and filled any holes with regular old joint compound (the stuff you use to fill nail holes in walls). When I went to paint my first coat though, I realized that the plywood was full of litle grooves made by the grain of the wood (this was probably an issue caused by using a scrap that had been living outside in all kinds of weather/temperatures for almost a year, I don't think you'll have this issue with new plywood). So I thinned out some joint compound and spread it over the entire surface of the plywood then scraped it smooth with a putty knife. Once it was dry, I sanded with 220 again and then moved forward with the painting.

Chalkboard paint is SUPER easy to make yourself. I always check the "oops" paint cart/shelf whenever I'm at Lowe's or Home Depot and grab it if I like the color (even if I don't have a use for it right then, you never know). That's how I ended up with getting a sample size (8oz) of the perfect chalkboard gray. Paint samples are perfect for this project because you don't have to measure the paint since it already comes in an 8oz size. Just mix 2 tbs of unsanded tile grout right into the sample container and go to town. I tried sifting my tile grout into the paint hoping that it would help me avoid clumps, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference...still a little clumpy.

I taped off my weekly squares and used a 2" high density foam roller to paint on a couple of coats of chalkboard paint. When I finished, this is what I had.

I painted the lines the same gray as my wall color and used some old chair rail trim that we had removed from the dining room as a frame. Frames are very straight forward to build...if you have a nail gun. I ended up using wood glue and clamping it to a square while it dried. Seems to be holding up just fine.

Now all I need is one of those cool chalk ink pens and a nice little basket I can mount on the wall underneath the chalkboard to catch all of the miscellany (chalk, recipes, bills, etc). Can't wait to start using it!

10.10.2011

meatless mondays: stuffed red peppers


Ingredients
2 red bell peppers
14.5oz can of low sodium black beans
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup sour cream/plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
6-7 green onions, chopped

Slice bell peppers in half lengthwise and clean out the center and seeds so you have a nice cavity to fill. In a bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Stuff filling into peppers and top with more grated cheese (optional). Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

I like my peppers crunchy, but if you want a softer pepper, steam them for a few minutes before stuffing them and they should come out just about perfect.

10.09.2011

article love: you just need to be hungry


I so enjoyed "Back to the Land, Reluctantly" that recently appeared in the NY Times. My sister sent me the link and it is well worth the read. Her story inspires me to do more, grow more, and just in general have the grit and determination to make things like simplicity and sustainable living a reality in my life.

10.06.2011

eating real

Slowly, ever so slowly, over the last two years Joe and I have been moving toward eliminating all processed food from our diet. We do have some hold outs though. Condiments are the worst. I suppose I could give them up all together, but what is a sandwich without some mustard or bbq chicken without Sweet Baby Ray's? I know there are fillers in there, but it's just so darn good. And remember this has been a two year long process, maybe by year three I'll be making my own mustard and whipping up delicious bbq sans modified corn starch...or maybe by year four...Sweet Baby Ray's is that good.

Today I wanted to share a few articles that I found recently on eating real food, or clean eating. I found them very informative and really enjoyed putting a name to what we've been doing for the last few years (our clean eating journey started because I would look at something at the store and say to myself: "Self, we could so make a less expensive, more delicious version of that at home."). These articles were very informative and the writer has lots of suggestions for other books/movies to check out.

100 Days of Real Food: Real Food Defined (The Rules)

100 Days of Real Food: 100 Days of Mini-Pledges (I'm hoping to do this soon!)

Finally, I'll leave you with a recipe I'm dying to try out...if only I could get one of the grocers to identify kale for me ;)

Baked Kale Chips

10.04.2011

diy: shutter table

This weekend I accomplished a goal. I built an entire piece of furniture in one afternoon. Every time I start a project I think: "This will be a piece of cake." I can picture exactly how everything should fit together and work, but it never does. Take our bed for example...the bed that we started in July that is still waiting for the final two pieces of trim to be attached. Fortunately for us, the trim doesn't affect the structural integrity of the bed, but still why isn't it finished?

That's why completing this little project in one afternoon was such an accomplishment for me. Now if I can only keep up the momentum and get it painted before next weekend rolls around. :)




Putting the table together was super simple. Like I mentioned before, we had picked up this shutter closet door from the ReStore for free (they were moving and needed to get rid of inventory). I didn't want my table to be the full length of the shutter so I used a jigsaw to cut it in half just above the thick middle crosspiece, which gave my table some nice finished ends.

Then I cut aprons (the long pieces that are underneath the table and attach to the legs) from a scrap piece of 1x2 and used the Kreg Jig to attach them to the spindle legs. Finally, I used another couple pocket holes to attach the frame to my shutter and...viola! complete. I can't praise my Kreg Jig enough becasue it makes getting a project perfect so easy! And all of my screw holes are hidden out of sight which makes finishing that much simpler too.

I had a couple of concerns about using a shutter as a table top. Namely, that nothing would be able to sit flat on it. However, because I used a shutter that was never meant to be opened or closed that actual surface is pretty flat and doesn't move at all. So far I haven't had any mishaps with setting glasses or picture frames on it, so here's hoping. If it gets to be a nuisance I can always get a piece of glass cut to size to cover it. But for now, it's the perfect little free project.

9.26.2011

yard sale finds

A few weeks ago was the annual yard sale for one of the little towns around where I live. This town is a registered historic site and as such the powers that be have deemed it unseemly for residents to hold yard sales on any day except for one designated weekend each year. This is my kind of yard sale. No hunting down addresses, no driving around for hours, just arriving early and walking around a quaint little town full of great finds at even better prices. The streets are all lined with residents having sales and people from out of town even purchase space to set up their sales because of how popular this event is. I love every minute of it .

Here's what I found this year:

1 - Originally this was a closet door. I'm planning to cut it into two pieces and make one of these tables to keep and one of these apron racks to sell.

2 - These are technically spindles for a stairrail, but I'm going to repurpose them as legs for my shutter table.

3 - I picked this little guy up for $2. I think I'm going to try making one of these mail organizers out of him (can you sense a shutter-theme emerging here?)

4 - Old wood-framed windows, need I say more. I found these as we were walking to our parking spot. A man was just setting up his sale and he obviusly didn't know what he had because he sold me two of these 3.5' x 2.5' windows for $3! I had to contain my excitement until we had walked away, but now I can't wait to get them up on the wall.

All in all, it was the perfect yard sale day. Now I just have to wait for next year's to roll around...or learn how to use the GPS so I can yard sale hop the regular way.

9.19.2011

diy: knockdown wall texture

The first official day that we had our house I ripped the wallpaper out of the kitchen. I think I had heard the mantra "wallpaper=bad" so often when reading about home decorating or talking to friends or relatives that I was sure I couldn't possibly live with the stuff in my house. This being my first project in the house, I had yet to learn an important lesson about myself...I am not a closer. In the common speech: I don't finish things. At least, I don't finish things quickly. In fact, I've realized in the last five months of home improvement madness that if I don't have a VERY exact plan of how I'm going to go about an ENTIRE project, I make it through the first few steps and then stall...possibly for weeks or months...before continuing.

That's why after attacking the kitchen wallpaper and discovering that the only thing behind it was paper backing and unfinished wallboard, I walked away and didn't look back for four months. Four months, no joke. You'd be shocked at what I'm willing to put up with if I don't have a vision of the changes I want to make. Gross, yellow, papery walls that's what. And here they are.


You'd have to look very close to truly appreciate the grunginess of my kitchen walls, so just trust me that it wasn't pretty. I had a couple of options for handling the wallpaper backing (the yellowish papery stuff left behind after you pull off the patterned half of the wallpaper). Option 1: Purchase the special wallpaper removal tools and chemicals from Lowe's. Remove paper as instructed. Option 2: Concoct a magical solution of fabric softener and other various ingredients, score the backing and soak the walls in the solution. Scrape paper off. Option 3: Ignore the paper and put some paint on those walls.

I know Option 3 sounds lazy, but I figured why not try it first and see if I could get away with it. It was worth a shot, but no such luck. The paper backing showed through the paint something fierce. Unfortunately, both of my other options required soaking the walls, which concerned me because the wallpaper had been glued directly to unfinished wallboard, a substance that doesn't normally take well to being saturated with liquid. So, the project stalled, yet again.

This is where the knockdown finish technique comes in. It was actually my lovely mother who first suggested adding knockdown to the kitchen walls so that they would match the finish in the rest of the house. My first response was, "Gee, Mom, that sounds like A LOT of work." But after my first few ideas never really got off the ground, I started to wonder if it wasn't possible to add texture to the walls right over the wallpaper backing and then seal it with a primer. The knockdown texture would hide the grainy bumpiness of the wallpaper backing, but I wouldn't have to go through the process of soaking the walls and scraping all of that darn paper off before painting it.

So off I went to Lowe's for supplies. I used this tutorial and this one to plan out my process and then Joe and I just went for it.



First grab a five gallon bucket and mix your drywall compound. I liked using the powdered wall texture because it was easier to mix to the right consistency and the leftovers store really well; however, according to the second tutorial you can use any type of drywall compound as long as you can get it to the right consistency (somewhere between the thickness of frosting and peanut butter).

After you've mixed your compound pour it into a paint tray and start rolling it on the walls. We used a plastic loop roller, which is exactly what it sounds like...a roller covered in tiny loops of plastics. We tried using a regular old paint roller too, but the results with the plastic loop roller were much better. Your goal is to create lots of  peaks and valleys all over the walls so that when you come back and "knock-it-down" the wall doesn't become one big schmear of drywall mud.


 
Look closely and you'll see those peaks and valleys. :)
 
 
 Once you've rolled all of your walls, go back and using a 10" or 12" drywall knife lightly flatten out (knockdown) the tallest of your peaks. This should create the well-known knockdown texture effect on your walls. The drywall compound dries very fast, so Joe and I split up the jobs and he painted texture on while I followed him around the room and knocked it down. Overall, we were very pleased with the results in our kitchen. Especially once we finished up with a few coats of Blue Bayberry by Olympic.

As far as the wallpaper backing goes, the drywall mud stuck to it really well and we haven't had any problems with bubbling or peeling so far. All in all, it seems like a great solution to our wallpaper dilemma. Now, I need to go get to those other 10 projects that I've left sitting while we worked on this one...it never ends.

9.15.2011

bounty

Joe cutting up some of the delicious canteloupe that we've been enjoying from our very first garden. I'm loving all of the fresh produce in the house and I already have plans to expand next year!

P.S. Yes Mom, that is a sneak peak of the kitchen wall color. A post on that tomorrow...as long as the kitchen being clean happens to coincide with daylight. :)

9.10.2011

donut love


Donuts are my favorite breakfast junk food, so when I first started seeing recipes for baked versions I was all ready to jump on the bandwagon and go to town. Unfortunately, I soon realized that I was going to have to invest in yet another baking pan if I wanted to enjoy these bad boys. In our tiny apartment kitchen I just couldn't justify taking up space with one more pan I might only use a couple of times a year.

I hadn't thought about baked donuts again until last week when I was browsing a local thrift store and came across a donut pan in almost new condition for only $3! I snatched that baby right up and brought it home to my new house-sized kitchen (complete with plenty of storage for superfluous baking pans). I had big plans to whip up the perfect batch of Saturday morning donuts, I just needed the recipe. I ended up coming across this post on Tastespotting with a list of a bunch of donut recipes. I used the Vanilla Cinnamon recipe, but substituted wheat flour for half of the white flour. The glaze was the perfect added touch. Mmmmm.....

9.07.2011

flowers all around

In honor of the crape myrtle that suddenly decided to come alive and bloom, I thought I'd post a few pictures of the flowers that are popping up around our yard. It's been great to discover all of the plants that are already here and growing.

Beautiful pink crape myrtle...and to think I almost chopped this shrub down thinking it was dead. So glad it's still here :)



Black-eyed susans that I picked up with my mom while she was visiting...Mom, I haven't killed them yet!!






These roses are from this spring. They were all so beautiful!