Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Kitchen Mis-adventure!

My not so little helper, Alex, is assisting me in blogging tonight. He wanted to add his input on my kitchen failure, and my attempt at redeeming myself, since he helped there too. In fact, he's usually my shadow, especially in the kitchen. Wonder why that is?

So, I've been reading all about what's fresh and in season now.  I've seen all these very yummy recipes using fresh figs. I wanted to try fresh figs after reading a recipe with them in Jim Shirley's Good Grits cookbook. (which is a GREAT cookbook I picked up after eating at The Great Southern Cafe in Seaside, FL)

After searching high and low for fresh figs, I finally found some this week at Publix, of all places.  Like a kid at Christmas, I grab them and bring them home for making yummy goodness.

First, you have to know your ingredients though. So I decided to make what I thought would be the simplest preparation to allow the fig-flavor to shine through. Sliced  'em up, put some Brie on the fig halves, and drizzled them with honey.  Sir Alex eagerly watches, hoping for a treat. I taste it. YUCK!

I WAS NOT a fan! A few bites of this- to give it  a fair shot, then it went in the trash.  I hate wasting food, but this was inedible.

In case you aren't familiar with fresh figs, they are VERY fragile and have short shelf lives. Today was my last shot at these figs before they spoiled.

Tonight, here goes, not expecting much. I again sliced the figs, but this time roasted them for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven with  some kosher salt and olive oil. I pulled them out, and they looked much better, sticky and sweet. In to a bowl they went with some crumbled goat cheese and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

This I liked MUCH better. Figs were hot and sweet, the goat cheese tart and melty, the balsamic adding depth to it all.  Figs, you are redeemed.

I think I'm going to get some more, so I can try this Fig and Beef recipe that  started it all, and  this fig tart recipe, with puff pastry as the crust.

And if you're ever near Seaside, go check out Jim Shirley's food. I especially loved the Grits a Ya Ya.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

I've been cooking

When I wasn't working on finishing the bathroom, I did manage to cook a few things.

After being out of town for work a few days last week, I was really looking forward to sleeping in my own bed! There's nothing quite like home, is there?

I love lazy Saturday mornings, and I appreciated this one even more since I'd just gotten home! To celebrate, I made Mom's cinnamon rolls. They are so gooey, and not hard AT ALL!

The Ingredients are:

1 loaf frozen white bread dough or dinner roll dough (the unbaked kind)
Cinnamon Sugar

For the glaze:
Powdered Sugar

Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. Dust a cutting board or the countertop with flour, and roll the dough out into a rectangle, 9-10" wide. Spread the dough with margarine, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and raisins. Roll lengthwise into a roll. Take a 12" piece of thread or dental floss. Slip it under the roll, cross the ends, and pull, cutting off a piece. This is so much easier than trying to use a knife.  Place your roll slices into a greased baking dish (like a 9" round cake pan). Make sure they have room to grow. Let rise for 30 minutes in a warm, draft- free place (like the microwave).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slide the risen rolls in there, and let them bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar with just enough milk to form a thick glaze. Spread/ pour on top of the hot cinnamon rolls.

Eat. Don't forget to lick your fingers.

These are so yummy! One loaf of bread dough made 12 rolls, which I figure is enough for 3-4 people or 1-2 teenage boys.

Thanks Mom, for making this for me growing up. I love how comforting it is now.

It's FINALLY done!

You can have it fast, cheap, or right, but not all three.

That would totally summarize the bathroom renovation.  True to my perfectionism, I had to have everything RIGHT. And to say I had a beer budget would be disgraceful to the beer. So, of course, the timeline had to give. What I'd hoped to be a one or two weekend project has stretched over a month and many many worknights as well as weekends.

But, she's FINALLY done. And I LOVE IT!!!!

Here are some pictures of the before:

This is actually more "during", but I forgot to take pictures before. Notice the lovely beige carpet, original light fixtures, cabinetry, countertop, everything! The only thing anyone had done to "update" was paint the walls yellow.

And now, the AFTER!

Freshly painted, new flooring, new accessories, new light fixtures. It's so much brighter!

LOVE my new bathroom!!!!

Now that this project is done, I'm going to wait a while before I tackle any other major re-dos. And notice to all my friends, especially any prospective Prince Charming candidates- I'm asking for help next time!

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Julia's Living Room re-do!

You know how you spend hours planning a re-design of a space? You pour over magazines, find inspiration photos. Gather up a million fabric swatches. Agonize over every decision and pour all your love into making your room "perfect". And when it's FINALLY done, love every perfect inch of it.

So what happens after a few years? You've loved and loved and loved things, and now the poor dears are starting to show it. The upholstery looks a little faded, the cushions a little less plump. 

That's where Julia's living room is. She loves the layout, the colors, the styles, but it needs a little updating to be perfect again.  So that's what we're gonna do!

Here is the room as it is now:

We're taking inspiration from the beautiful Oriental rug (that I helped pick out 10 years ago!)

and this art print,

 and re-upholstering the sofa in this soft diamond fabric.

The wing back chair (affectionately nicknamed the Edith Ann chair after Lily Tomlin's character) will be re-upholstered in this fabric:

We're painting the walls Sherwin Williams Hinoki, since she loves the warm tones, but I think it needs to be a bit less yellow.

I'm recommending she update the two ginger-jar lamps with:

this Wrought Iron lamp

This crystal lamp

I also suggest she get an upholstered side chair like

this one  to use for a desk chair or additional seating.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Since I don't have enough to do...

Here's a list of all the upcoming renovation projects I'd like to tackle:

Upholster a headboard for my bedroom
    Like this one shown done by Young House Love

Take up carpet and paint my stairs.
     I love the chocolate brown and white shown here on Twice Remembered

Make a picture album of all the old family photos

Make a slipcover for the living room ottoman I previously posted about

Exterior stain my patio chairs to protect them from the elements!

Re-upholster the vanity stool in my guest room to match the decor

Make new curtains for the guest room

Other things I'm thinking about:

Make slipcovers for my lounge chairs

Make over my bedroom dresser

Re-do the fireplace in the living room

I don't have many things to do at all, do I?

What's on your project list?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Upcoming adventures!

Since the bathroom renovation has been way more work than I ever thought it would be, and keeps adding side projects, I've been MIA blogging lately. However, I have been very busy planning new recipes to try next week and thinking about what I'm going to start next after I finish the bathroom.

I must be crazy! My first "little Project" will be to re-upholster my living room ottoman in some oatmeal colored cotton duck I found on sale. I'll post pictures so you can see my handiwork!

Anyways, since I'm going to be out of town this weekend visiting my wonderful Momma, I went ahead and planned my menu for next week. Thought I'd share:

Rice noodles with Chicken and Veggies, with Orange Broccoli
Gnocchi Florentine with Caesar salad
Ham steak with sweet potato fries, cinnamon apples, and creamed spinach
Tomato-basil soup with Jalapeno jelly grilled cheese sandwiches
Artichoke-Goat cheese stuffed chicken breasts with Pear and Walnut salad

I'm a bit worried about how the grilled cheese are going to turn out, but I think they SOUND good. A bit spicy, cheesy, gooey, and sweet. With crispy grilled bread.

Now, for the travel part. As I mentioned, I'm going to see my Mom. I have been after her for about a year now to re-do her living room. I love it, it's so pretty, but has been the same for 10 years, so it's time for an update! One of the benefits of having a designer as a daughter- you get all that spectacular design advice for free.  We're going to have a consultation and then go source fabric to re-upholster her existing sofa and wing back chair.  Stay tuned for pictures/ design board!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Continuing adventure of the Bathroom Renovation

I know, I know. I said I'd reveal pictures of the great Master Bathroom re-do. It's taking a bit, ok, a lot, longer than I thought.

If you know me, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. And I seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish this to my standards.

Just a warning- don't watch so much HGTV and DIY network you forget that there's an army of helpers. Yes, I should, and could ask for help. But I'm also a bit stubborn and decided I would do this myself.

I have set a revised goal of having the bathroom completed by the end of this weekend so I can shower in my new spa-like bathroom Monday morning.

Until then, here's my inspiration board for the new space:

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Bunco time!

Last night was Bunco night! As always, it was a lot of fun and a nice chance to relax with girlfriends.

For those of you not familiar with Bunco, it’s a dice game played at tables of four. It’s similar to Yahtzee. A Bunco primer can be found Here . Basically, it’s an excuse for girls to get together, gossip, eat, and drink!

For our monthly group, we are each responsible for bringing an appetizer or dessert, plus our $5 buy-in. The hostess provides the place, the drinks, and the Bunco prize.

My appetizer this month was Pizza Breadsticks.

This is a combination of several online recipes. I always try to bring something special to Bunco nights, so I start researching and brainstorming a week or so out to figure out what to take.

So, for Pizza Breadsticks:

1 tube Refrigerated Breadsticks ( I used Pillsbury)

Prepared Pesto

Prepared Bruschetta topping ( I used Private Selection by Kroger)

Shredded Mozzarella cheese

Shredded Parmesan cheese

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unroll breadsticks, do not separate. I recommend smushing them together to re-seal the perforations. Spread pesto on top. Layer Bruschetta topping on top of Pesto. Top with cheese. Bake according to package directions. Cut into 1” x 2” pieces and serve warm.

Kristen brought these AWESOME "sliders" that are really cupcakes. They were so cute! And really really good too. I could have eaten about 10. Kristen has said she is going to start a blog too.. So  when she does, I will post the link so you can all check out the yummy goodness. Until then, here is a picture of the sliders:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Random thoughts

It's been a busy weekend in my household! In addition to my Weekly Home Blessing, I worked on my bathroom renovation. It's not complete by a long shot, but every little bit makes me feel better. It's been frustrating to me, being an interior designer and not having a "perfect" house. I have this feeling my home should always look like a page from a magazine. But, I'm working on it slowly, and it is coming together!

The first place was my Master Bathroom. I have hated it from the moment I bought the place. So here's the renovation plan: scrape the ceiling to get the popcorn off! New paint, new vinyl tile floor, New door hardware, new towel bars and hooks, New lighting, and a new Vanity mirror. As I can afford it, I will replace the vanity, replace the closet doors, and add a nice closet organizing system. Here's a picture of the work in progress. Stay tuned for the reveal!

Also this weekend: Ran my first 10K! I was very nervous about running 6 miles, then on Wednesday night I turned my ankle and was concerned I wouldn't be able to race! But, Saturday morning I felt great, so I ran. I'm so proud of myself for finishing, and I kept to a pretty good pace. My time was 1:17:08.  I'm hoping to do as good at my next race,the Labor Day 10K Classic.

I also made a new recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake. I got this recipe at my Weight Watchers meeting this week, and decided to try it, since I had a can of Pumpkin I need to use up.

It's really simple, and makes a really moist cake with the texture of a pound cake.  And it's YUMMY!!

Just three ingredients:
1 15-oz can pure Pumpkin
1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 400. Mix together the ingredients. The mixture is VERY thick. Bake according to the package directions.

I put a powdered sugar glaze on top.

Update on Fly-ing with FlyLady.... Making progress on my routines. I have done a lot of cleaning out and organizing. I think I'm going to max out my Goodwill donations for the year! But Mom, I'm making my bed EVERY day. I know you thought that would never happen. And I'm still meal planning. And I'm picking out my outfit before bed, so I'm not having a wardrobe crisis every morning. So, still a ways to go, but definitely progress in the right direction.

This week: Bunco!, and a much-deserved pool day Saturday!


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