Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Improvement

I have recently been inspired by two different blogs I read in the home improvement department.



First of all, I love this workspace that was on Cupcakes and Cashmere. I don't have a workspace at home (unless you count my bed). I chose to have an art table instead of a desk. I don't really work from home, but it would be nice to have a pretty, girly "me" area (besides by closet) that I could sit down and pay bills, write my Thank You notes, make To- Do lists... that sort of thing. Her area is so feminine, it leaves me longing for my own work space.






The second space I have been inspired by is from Oh!Apostrophe. I have a rather large blank wall in my living room that I have been wanting to do a frame collage, but when I saw this, I was at the same time inspired and depressed. I love the way it looks- so cute and clean. I am depressed because there is no way my pictures will ever look that good. Look how cute and a little artsy they are! My two favorites are the one on the top row, far left- the one with the dog (His name is Duncan, btw), and the one on the bottom far right- the one where it is there bottom halves and they are holding hands.

Would anyone like to take some cute artsy pictures of me and Charlie and Buddy so we can have a cute wall of pictures besides just our wedding pictures??

As much as I love my apartment, I miss some of the touches of pink and girly details that Charlie won't allow...

Here is my apartment (semi) currently

Part of my Living room (Lauren, don't get mad I used this picture!)

Back behind the couch to the right, where that blank wall is, is where I want the picture collage.

Other part of my living room, and the office/dining room in the back

Sunroom, Buddy's favorite hangout

Office/ dining room

I didn't include anything on my kitchen... its so small there is nothing I really can do.

Any decorating tips or thoughts??

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fantastic Fish



On Saturday, I went to the Farmers Market (as I normally do). And there is giant trailer with deep freezer boxes loaded with seafood. I love seafood, so I frequent this place alot. Remember the tuna? That was from there.

So this week I got grouper because I had this Weight Watcher recipe that my grandmother (HI MAWMAW! Have a good lunch break... she reads my blog on her lunch break) had printed off for me. My fish guys don't have tilapia, which is what it called for, so I used grouper instead.

This was such an easy recipe that there is no way (Lindsey, I'm talking to you) that you could mess this up. And its Weight Watchers, which of course I don't actually follow, but they have great recipes! I use more cheese than they call for, but thats OK.

Baked Parmesan and Sour Cream Fish

Ingredients:
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Dash of salt and Peper
Dash of Paprika (can you tell I don't really go by the measurements?)
Italian Bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 350

1. Put your fish on a cookie sheet. I covered mine in foil for easy clean up, but you could also spray some nonstick spray and go without the foil.
2. In a bowl, mix sour cream, parmesan, salt, pepper, and paprika.




3. Spread a thin layer of mixture over the fish evenly



4. Top with bread crumbs and drizzle melted butter over the top.



5. Put in the over for about 20 to 25 minutes.



Wasn't that easy as can be??

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bluebery Lemon Cupcakes



I told you last week that I was making blueberry lemon cupcakes this past weekend. I thought they turned out pretty well. They are more like a mixture between a cupcake and a muffin, but everyone that had them really liked them. Especially the cream cheese icing.



I am going to give you the recipe that I used, but I have a few modifications and suggestions that I will include too.

Makes about 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
Cupcakes:
3 1/4 cups four (I used self rising, and you won't need *these is you use self rising)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda*
6 Tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup canola oil (I used vegetable oil, because that is what I had)
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (I used 2% because thats what I buy)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used a capful)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (**OK, I personally feel they aren't lemony enough, so my suggestion is to use the zest and juice of 1 lemon)
1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (I used fresh, and I am sure I used more than 1 1/4 cup)

Frosting:
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (again, capful)

Recipe suggests you top with blueberries and mint, but I didn't.



1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin pans with paper liners.



2. Mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a large bowl
3. Whisk oil and melted butter in separate bowl, add in eggs and whisk



4. Whisk in buttermilk, milk, vanilla extract, and lemon to wet ingredients
5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to blend



6. Fold in blueberries carefully





7. Fill cups about 3/4 full of batter
8. Bake until tester comes out clean (Recipe says about 23 minutes, but my oven took about 30)



9. Let them cool really, really well before you ice them!

Icing
1. Combine powdered sugar, and cream cheese until well blended.
2. Add butter and blend
3. Add vanilla extract and blend





**You are going to be mixing this for a little while if you don't have a mixer. My suggestion is to put the icing in the fridge for a little bit so it isn't super runny when you go to ice your cupcakes (mine was SUPER runny)



A note on frosting:
I read or saw somewhere that cupcake making experts put one thin layer of frost on (called the crumb layer) and then a second layer for the decorative layer. I did this and it worked out pretty well. Let that first layer dry a bit before you do the second.

Also, if you like to pipe icing on, you need to double the icing recipe... there just isn't enough for all the cupcakes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DIY: Jewelry Board

I don't know about you, but I'm not really a jewelry box kind of girl. I like to see my jewelry all out so I can make my decisions. I have this piece of antique furniture that, well, we aren't really sure what it is. It doesn't really matter, because I asked the hubs to turn it into a jewelry armoire a year and a half ago and he still hasn't done it. My guess is, it isn't going to get done...


So here is what my jewelry has been looking like:



Fabulous, right?

So I decided to make a jewelry board so that my jewelry doesn't become a crazy tangled mess. One thing I really like about it is that when it is on the wall, it looks kind of like decoration, but it is functional too!

Materials I used:
Cork Board
Paint
Ribbon
Buttons (4)
Glue Gun



I wanted to match my bedroom, which is blues and browns, so I went with brown and white polka dot ribbon and blue buttons. I chose to paint the cork white so my jewelry would stand out. I did a light layer of paint so that you could still see some of the brown cork showing through, and it looked kind of rustic.

So start by painting your cork board.

I used a combination of paint brush and paper towel to paint the cork


Next, hot glue gun your ribbon to the outside wood border.

Just use a thin line of glue

You can either fold your ribbon in the corners, or do what I did, and cut mine at the corners. I knew I was going to use buttons in the corners, so I went ahead and cut.




See how I did my edges? Not so neat, but easy and the buttons will cover it up.




Next, I glued on my buttons





It took my forever to get Charlie to hang it... I might have lost what they give you to hang the bulletin board. We only bought 3 different things to try to hang it.

Note: DO NOT LOSE WHAT THEY GIVE YOU TO HANG IT

The big reveal...


Ta Da!

And here it is on the wall! The flower is just a pin that I have. I hung my necklaces and some bracelets too. I used just clear push pins, but you could use colored ones, or even some cute decorative pins to hang up your jewelry. Make sure your board is good and secure on the wall though. I'd hate to have all your jewelry come crashing down after a door is slammed!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Look for Less

This morning, I left my apartment and for the first time in months I did not break out into a sweat. Although the high today is going to be 92 (which is cool compared to the sweltering 100 degrees we have been having), I am still inspired by this semi-cool spell to take a look at some fall must haves and their cheaper cousins.

Lovely Lace



Paul and Joe Festi lace mini skirt $590 from Net-A-Porter



Xhilaration Lace skirt from Target $16.99


Peep Toe Booties



Prada Cut Out Bootie from Neiman Marcus $895



Peep Toe Oxford Booties from Forever 21 $25.80


Blazers



Wool flannel Marion jacket in Navy from J.Crew $188



Band Blazer in Navy from Gap $98


Sequins



Alice & Olivia Berry Sequined Miniskirt from Neiman Marcus $297



Sequin Mini Skirt from Express $39.99


Oxfords



Camden leather brogues in Weathered Stone from J. Crew $250



Xhilaration Soraya Oxfords in Brown from Target $16.99

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pasta and Veggie Bake



Remember this post, when I said there are certain staples Charlie and I could eat over and over? Well this is another one of those meals. It is originally from Giada from the Food Network. It is on of my absolute favorites. This is another one that you can make ahead of time and then heat up one night. If you are going to do that, stop before you bake it.

Ingredients:
1 white onion (I used a Vidalia)
2 Zucchini (they didn't have zucchini when I made this)
2 Squash
Mushrooms
*You can really use any veggies you want... Bell Peppers, carrots, it is up to you. Some of them, like broccoli, I don't think would be as good, but it you do, then go for it!
1 pound of pasta (I used Whole grain Penne by Barilla. I'm not a wheat pasta person, but this is really good)
Maranera Sauce (We like Ragu)
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesean Cheese
Butter (about a tablespoon)



1. Cut up your veggies, put them on a baking sheet (I'd line it with foil for easy clean up), drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for about 20 minutes on 350. Cook until veggies are tender.



2. Cook your pasta, according to package directions (normally 8 to 10 minutes), drain pasta.



3. Put your past into a bowl (I actually just put mine in the casserole dish). Spoon in your veggies. Make sure to not get too much olive oil mixed in. You may want to pat your veggies with a paper towel to avoid excess oil.



4. Add your Ragu and some mozzarella and parmesean (I'd say about a cup of each). Mix well.



5. Top with a layer of mozzarella and parmesean mixture
6. Cut the butter up and put on top spread out (It helps with browning).
7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is good and melted.

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