It's no secret that I love pink. And more accurately pink & navy. But recently the pink has started to seep from my girly office and into the rest of our hive. It started when S brought home a few pink orchids for me that I put in my office and then moved on to the pink peony blossom I stuck in a small vase from my brother and SIL's wedding.
While I was out looking for a little pink to add here and there I picked up a pair of these white and navy blue lamp shades at Target. I swapped out the more wintery flax-y/linen shades in the living room and stuck them down in the basement (and added "more lampshade storage" to the reno wish list). I'd love to make a similar white with pink trimmed shade for the corner lamp, which might be a good way to use up some of those lamp making supplies also taking up space in the basement....
I might just have to start making sail bags with hot pink customization. Or at least make one for myself. I guess you could say I'm falling into the honeysuckle trend, or maybe it's just always been there, since we did have that hot pink wedding afterall.
Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card. I bet you could buy a lot of pink accessories with $100!
Look at these basement windows!
|current utility room|
This recipe makes a generous number of buns, depending on how you roll and slice. Not to worry, they freeze really well. S reports that they're delicious when the foil-wrapped packets are re-heated for just a few minutes in the totally ghetto oven on his plane. And we made sure each member of his crew got a foil-wrapped, double serving to eat for breakfast on the second day of a recent aid mission to Japan. Sticky buns, donations and aid missions are how we're helping Japan; you can help too.
Sticky Buns for Japan
for the buns
1 c. plus 2 T. milk, warmed to 110 degrees
2 packets active dry yeast
6 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
2 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly
for the filling
2/3 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. nut, finely chopped
1 c. raisins, optional
for the topping
2 c. light corn syrup
2 c. light brown sugar
1 c. nuts, chopped in larger pieces
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm milk, set aside until bubbly
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add eggs, melted butter and yeast mixture. Mix until combined and then continue to knead on medium for 5-7 minutes until elastic
3. Transfer dough to a well-greased bowl and place in a warm spot to rise. When doubled in bulk, approximately one hour, punch down and let rest for five minutes
4. Prepare two 9x13 pans by coating generously with non-stick spray. Evenly spread 1 c. of corn syrup, 1 c. of brown sugar and 1/2 c. of the coarser chopped nuts into each pan
5. On a well-floured surface, roll dough into a large rectangle about 1/4" thick. It should be a pronounced rectangle with the shorter side measuring about 15" and the long side much longer
6. Spread dough with sour cream, 1 1/2 c. light brown sugar, finely chopped nuts and raisins. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon
7. Beginning with the longer edge, roll the dough tightly into a log
8. Using a serrated bread knife cut the log at one inch increments and arrange the pieces evenly, cut-side down, in the prepared pans
9. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight
10. In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake rolls for 30-40 minutes until golden
12. Enjoy the gooey, extra special treat
don't forget to tell us how you make an ordinary night special for a chance to win a $100 gift card!
window fiasco, S mentioned that we'd be doing the basement windows and the window guy offered to install them for a price that soooo made it worth it. Especially since the current windows have metal frames that are actually encased in the concrete foundation.
Tell me we're not the only die-hard DIY'ers who call in the experts every now and then? 'Cause we're facing another dealio we can't refuse with the basement remodel and we're this close to hiring someone to do the majority of the work.
Don't forget to enter to win a $100 gift card over at our review site!
Just inside the front door was this push mower, exactly like the one I wanted to buy when our mower died two years ago.
I strolled past the overpriced furniture; chairs from Ikea that were priced $20 more each than the Ikea price, huh? And made my way to the tchotchke to see if I could find some cute plates for photographing food, or maybe a white ceramic bird like the one I passed up at Home Goods two weeks ago and have kicked myself for ever since. I was just about to stroll over to the electronics when I spotted this lovely couple:
|Back Row, standing: Katelyn, Kyra, Shannon, Kathy, Angie, Andi, and me|
Front Row: Cassie, Amy, Renee (behind Amy), Sarah, Laurie, and Melissa
These ladies' blogs are definitely worth checking out. I'd love to add a list of DC area bloggers to our sidebar, so email me if you're blogging in the greater DC area and want to be added.
Angie of Seriously a Home Maker
Danielle of Fresh Quince
Cassie of Primitive & Proper
Kyra of RACKS and Mooby
Shannon of Hase Haus
Kathleen of All About Vignettes
Melissa of HOUSEography
Katelyn of The Eclectic Traditionalist
Andi of Jane of All Crafts
Laurie of Little Blue Chairs
Amy of My Sun Shines Here
Renee of Where the Grass is Greener
Sarah of The Thriftress
And of course me, Felicity, of Our Little Beehive
I brought a sausage and goat cheese frittata that took forever to bake last night. I'll post the recipe for it next weekend and make a few recommended changes. Speaking of breakfast foods, be sure to check out next Tuesday's Tuesday treats when I'll post the recipe for the most delicious sticky buns I made for S before he left for a long trip recently. So sticky, so amazing. I wish we had leftovers....
Thanks for a great day, Melissa! Let's do it again soon; I'll bring our favorite boozy baked french toast next time. xoxo
As much as we want to tell you guys all the deets and how everything went down, we're not going to dive into it today because we're hoping for a clean resolution and there's no need to point fingers before the problem is resolved. You all know who manufactured the windows and where we bought them, we're just hoping they can work together to make it right.
On a much happier note, we're moving forward with our basement renovation plans and we definitely have some awesome ideas to share with you. Like ideas that involve tons of closets. And nothing makes me happier than nice, neat, organized closets.
One more look at the "before" as I scrubbed our bathroom window with bleach, in tears over how disgustingly dirty they were...and this shot doesn't even show the broken panes to the right or in the top sash.
I nearly turned blue last summer when my friend Amy and I took several blueberry picking expeditions to her aunt's prolific blueberry farm. Despite near daily blueberry baking, eating blueberries for three meals and day and popping handfuls of blueberries into my mouth each time I passed the fridge, I managed to freeze gallons and gallons of berries. It was a bumper crop.
Sadly, last night I discovered that we only had a few cups of berries left in the last of our frozen stash. So rather than horde them like precious jewels until they're so freezer burned they've lost all their flavor (a process similar to that which we follow with Halloween and Easter candy), we decided to make something special.
Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Sugar Topping
12 regular or 6 bakery style muffins
for the lemon sugar topping:
1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. lemon zest
for the blueberry muffins:
2 c. frozen or fresh blueberries
1 c. + 2 T. + 1 t. sugar
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4 T. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
for the topping
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and lemon zest. Set aside.
for the muffins
1. Preheat oven to 400, spray muffin tin with cooking spray and line with muffing liners, if desired
2. In a small saucepan, combine 1t. of sugar with 1c. of blueberries. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently and carefully "popping" and mashing the blueberries. Reduce until mixture is slightly thickened and reduced to ~1/4 cup, about 5-6 minutes. Set aside
3. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Gently mix in the blueberries to coat with flour
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and remaining sugar until pale and thick ~ 1 minute by hand. Add butter, oil, buttermilk and vanilla, mixing until well combined
5. Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be lumpy
6. Divide batter evenly among prepared pan. Drop a small amount of blueberry jam mixture onto the top of each muffin. Using a chopstick or toothpick, swirl the jam gently into each muffin. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins evenly with the lemon sugar
7. Bake 17-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack
Serve warm or freeze as soon as the muffins are completely cooled, if they last that long.
We had a little cedar extravaganza a few weeks ago after I discovered one of my favorite sweaters had several moth holes in it...when I was in the car on the way to dinner. I was pretty pissed. But thankfully a review of all my other sweaters didn't reveal any more holes. Plus the sweater was in the hand-wash hamper for a really long time and not near any other tasty moth treats. And I just admitted that I wore a sweater from the hamper before washing it. It wasn't actually dirty, it had a deodorant stain on the front that I wiped off and then I tossed it into the empty bin to wash that weekend, a dozen weekends ago. Excuses.
I'm no stranger to moths or moth larvae. My mom was pretty conscientious about storing off-season and heirloom clothing/woolens, carefully washing everything by hand at the end of the season and storing it in a cedar lined closet or chest. Since I moved from my parents' house I've stored my off-season sweaters packed with dozens of lavender sachets. Plus I've been knitting and amassing expensive yarn for more projects than I can do in one lifetime since I was wee and part of keeping all that yarn in good condition is making sure to keep the moths out. We have a cedar chest that I got when I was younger, but it's full of special stuff like our hand knit Christmas stockings.
So I decided to store my yarn in the little red chest in our basement and line it with aromatic cedar. When I went to the 'Depot to buy a package of cedar closet lining I discovered the price was about half as much as the last time I bought cedar.
herringbone cowl, which I obviously won't be wearing this winter.
If the magnolia tree that's about to bloom across the street is any indication, making dozens of lavender sachets to pack in among our sweaters as we transfer them from the cedar drawers to rubbermaid totes very soon. But first I'll be doing some serious closet purging with that hope that maybe we'll just be keeping our sweaters in their cedar drawers year-round from now on. Of course I think I said the same thing last Spring. Am I the only one who purges a closet only to end up with a full closet after making a car-full-of-clothing donation?
To quote S earlier this week, "do you think Feeney knows he just became the ugliest dog on the block?" Whew, good thing that didn't last because ya' know, I think he did know.
We have magazines coming out our ears. We each have an inbasket (that's an inbox basket) on the triangle shelf in the living room, which always have a few unread magazines in them, my bedside table is full of magazines, and I have a sail bag and a magazine holder each chock full in my office. In his defense, I think S probably has four unread magazines to my four hundred. Somehow I got suckered into a whole bunch of $5 magazine subscriptions last year. Oops.
I let a bunch of subscriptions lapse to try to get things under control, but one that I just can't give up is Martha's Everyday Food. We usually find at least one recipe in each issue to put on heavy rotation and even though I'm sure all the recipes are available online, I like that S can reach into the baskets in our coffee table, where the little magazines fit perfectly, and open an issue to an easy dinner recipe when I ask, "what do you feel like for dinner?" and he responds, "I don't know." It's the most frequently repeated conversation around here. Right up there with, "can you please put your socks in the hamper?"
Spiced Shrimp with Ginger Rice & Peas
2 t. canola oil 4 scallions, chopped and white and green parts separated
1 T. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 servings brown rice (we use minute brown rice)
kosher salt & ground pepper
1 1/2 c. frozen peas (or more, if you'd like)
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
2 T. lime juice
fresh lime wedges for serving
for the rice:
1. In a medium saucepan, sautee the garlic and scallion whites in 1 t. of the canola oil, stirring frequently until soft ~3 minutes
2. Add rice and water according to package directions. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender
3. Remove rice from heat and add peas, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Add scallion greens and fluff with a fork
for the shrimp:
1. While the rice is cooking, in a bowl, coat the shrimp with the cumin, coriander and lime juice
2. Heat 1 t. of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just pink throughout
Serve shrimp over rice with lime wedges.
If you're anything like us you'll start dreaming about what you'd buy with your winnings. A couple gallons of paint?
Back when we created an little sewing nook for me in our den so I can efficiently sew up a storm of sail bags, I put a bunch of baskets full of supplies interspersed with some ugly books on an ugly bookcase. I thought for a hot second that I would paint the ugly bookcase a less ugly color and maybe spray its tarnished brass feet with some brushed nickle spray paint. But painting the bookcase doesn't make the books any less ugly. So I sewed a bookcase slip cover to hide all of the sins within.
Poor Feeney looks like he was groomed by an 8 year old with dull sheep shears. Grooming a dog with a full coat of thick, fluffy fur is clearly not our forte. Maybe next year we'll send him to the groomers for the first cut of the season. Sorry, little buddy. Next weekend, I think we'll stick to house projects.
I had a work event last week where my co-workers and I were all up well before five in the morning (more like 4) and working well into the evening. All. Week. Long. The toughest part of the whole week was that we all needed to appear chipper, smiling and friendly for the couple thousand people we were hosting. I work with the friendliest bunch of people you'll ever meet, but even friendly people need a little pick-me-up at two in the afternoon (or ten o'clock in the morning) when the energy levels start dropping and we all just want to take a nap.
Mocha Brownie Cupcakes with Kahlua Mocha Frosting
makes 22 brownie cupcakes
for the brownie cupcakes:
11 T. unsalted butter, at room temp
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. espresso powder
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. coffee liqueur like Kahlua
for the frosting:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 c. butter, softened
16 oz. confectioners sugar
1/3 c. coffee liqueur, or more as needed
to make the brownie cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line 22 cupcake tins with paper liners
1. Combine butter and chocolate in a double boiler over a pot of simmering water, heating until melted and stirring until smooth. Let cool slightly
2. In a medium bowl combine flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine eggs and sugar and beat on medium-high until pale. Stir in the chocolate mixture and the liqueur on low until combined
4. Add the dry ingredients with the mixer on low, mixing until well combined
5. Divide batter equally among the 22 cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full
6. Bake 20-22 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool in pans for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely before frosting
to make the frosting
1. Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high for 1-2 minutes, mixing every 30 seconds. Cool completely
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, chocolate and sugar, slowly adding the liquor until all ingredients are incorporated
3. Increase the speed of the mixture to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping down the sides frequently. If the frosting is too thick, add additional liquor one tablespoon at a time
3. Spread or pipe onto cooled cupcakes
The "A" shaped bookshelf has always been a bit of an issue for us in this house. In our old house it fit perfectly in the room above our garage that was my office. Here we don't seem to have many walls that are large enough to accommodate it without blocking a window. When we bought new living room furniture last year and found ourselves with a bit more open space, the shelf found its perfect home in the living room. I jumped at the chance to have a better home for our cookbooks on the bottom shelf instead of having them stacked in the impossible-to-reach cabinet above the fridge.
The new layout left us with two problems: the lamps that used to be plugged into the only outlet controlled by the switch at the bottom of the stairs were moved; and the cookbooks looked totally chaotic on the bottom shelf. We lived with both issues until S finally begged me to buy a new, smaller lamp for the shelf so he'd have light before he tripped off the bottom step in the morning. S rarely asks me to shop.
So I hit the 'net looking for lighting for S and searched the house for more baskets to better organize (hide) the cookbooks. And this weekend we went from messy looking to less messy looking:
for the fish:
1 T. olive oil
2 T. lime juice
zest from one lime
1 1/2 t. honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. Old Bay seafood seasoning
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1 t. hot pepper sauce such as tabasco, to taste
1 pound fish fillet (tilapia, salmon, or any other fish will work)
for the dressing:
1 - 8 oz. container light or fat-free sour cream
up to 1/2 c. adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
2 T. fresh lime juice
zest from one lime
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. chili powder
1/2 t. Old Bay seafood seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
small tortillas, warmed
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
sliced avocados or fresh guacamole
1. In a small bowl, combine all of the fish seasoning ingredients except for the fish, whisking until combined
2. Place fish in a frying pan and coat all sides with the marinade. Cook fish over medium heat, flaking apart in large flakes as it cooks
3. While fish cooks combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, starting with just 1 T of adobo sauce and adjusting to taste. Brands vary and some can be incredibly spicy!
4. Spread a generous amount of sauce on each warm tortilla, add several flakes of fish and top with toppings as desired, serve