Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This or That?

Several months ago I selected this fabric with the help of designer, Melanie.  It seemed to be the perfect addition to our family room windows and door.  I have been so excited to have the window treatments made with this fabric.  I am savoring the whole decorating process...trying to let it just happen as it should.  This is hard for an impatient person but fun at the same time.  It may seem like we are going slow with our projects, but I think it make the progress that much sweeter.

The original fabric selection for my family room
You may be asking what's with this "original" fabric selection.  Once Melanie ordered a sample of this, we found the color to be a much lighter blue and just not right at all.  I learned from a previous fabric purchase that the die lots can be totally different.

So, Melanie found a new selection and I could not be happier.  It somehow seems more current, more hip, more WOW!  So, we are into the ordering and sewing stage and I hope in another month, I will be able to show you the finished project. 

New fabric for family room
At the same time these window treatments are installed, I will have another surprise to share.  Stay tuned!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Travesty or Beauty

Confetti Hydrangea?

Last week while at the grocery store, this caught my eye.  At first, my thoughts were that this flower looked like a hydrangea.  Upon second glance I realized it WAS a hydrangea!  But, with all these colors?  Considering myself a lover and admirer of hydrangeas, I could not retrieve any such hydrangea grown in normal circumstances.  I will admit to turning my nose up.  I finished my grocery shopping and went home.

I thought about this flower and the next day while at the grocery decided to take a photo and share with my millions of readers to get their opinions on this.  Is it beauty? Is it creative? Is it artsy? Let me know what you think.

I finally decided once I got off of my snotty horse that it could really be fun in certain circumstances.  I thought about the 4th of July and how nice a large bunch of these would look mingled in with all the red, white and blue.  Then I thought about how happy a few would make me sitting by my kitchen sink.  Or how fun they would be for a birthday party.  The list could go on.  So let me know what you think?  Travesty or Beauty?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oldie But Goodie

EGG & OLIVE SALAD



THE SANDWICH!  AHHH!


The other day my refrigerator was EMPTY!  Really, you could see empty shelves and drawers.  After all, I had just cleaned it out really good.  You know that once or twice a year cleaning where you sort through everything...even the sauces and mustards and discard the old.  This was making me feel so accomplished until lunch time started drawing near.  I had not thought about the fact that the refrigerator is a conduit to meals.  I began to think about lunch and look really hard into my fridge and I found an old treasure.  Eggs, green olives and mayo.  That's right, all the makings for Egg & Olive Salad.  It had been years since I had made this salad and the thought of it made me happy.  I remember my grandmother and mother both making this salad when I was younger. There is really not a recipe, but here is how I made mine.

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
6 or so large green olives
Some mayo (just enough to bind your ingredients)

I want to share a funny story about hard boiled eggs.  My mother and I used to disagree about how long to boil eggs.  She would say 10 minutes and I would always say 15 minutes.  One day my girlfriend was boiling eggs and I told her that my mother and I always disagreed about how long to boil eggs.  I told my friend that 10 minutes just was not enough that sometimes the yolks were still too soft.  She argued with me and told me my mother was right.  Upon completion of boiling her eggs, she cracked them open and sure enough they were still too soft.  I remained silent.  Sometimes silence is golden.  Later that night my mother told me my friend had called her earlier in the day to ask how to boil eggs.  Well my friend never let that secret out of the bag, but I wonder how long she boils her eggs today? 

A disclaimer - I think eggs are larger these days and I boil them for close to 20 minutes.  This way I am sure they are hard boiled. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Food Equals Fun

Son 2 left this weekend with Mr. Sparkling to attend a baseball camp for pitchers and catchers.  While Mr. Sparkling returned home after dropping our cherub off, Son 2 stayed with a family friend.  

This family friend is actually the son of Mr. Sparkling's college room mate.  He graduated college in recent years.  I never gave much thought to what Son 2 would be eating while away.  If I had to have made a guess, I would have said eating out would be on tap.  Well, boy was I wrong!  Son 2 sent a picture of his first meal.  I must say I got a big smile on my face when I saw this.  How nice was it for this young man to cook a meal for my son?



While I was "home alone", I decided to take full advantage of the situation.  I popped some popcorn and watched the movie, Erin Brockovich.  I must say I had so much fun.  This is one of my all time favorite movies.  

The next day, Mr. Sparkling made the almost 5 hour drive back all by himself.  I must say I had a little guilt at my leisure activities the day before, so I decided to make us a meal for when he returned from his journey.

I have recipes all over my house.  I tear them out of magazines, print them off the Internet and jot them down on random sheets of paper.  I can't remember exactly where this recipe for Fancy Pants Chicken came from, but I have it scribbled on a sheet of copy paper.  I thought this sounded really good and made a salad to go along side it.  Once Mr. Sparkling returned, we enjoyed this meal.  We both liked this chicken so I say give it a try!


  
FANCY PANTS CHICKEN

2 packages thin chicken breasts (for me, this was 6 breasts)
6 slices prosciutto
1/2 bag fresh spinach (this is about 2-3 cups)
1 - 8 oz. package sliced mushrooms
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Savory Herb and Garlic seasoning
1/2 cup white wine (I used chicken broth so I would not have to open a whole bottle)
1/4 cup olive oil
8 oz. shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish

Place layers of chicken in a pan. (If I make this again I will use a larger dish and not layer chicken)

Cover with prosciutto

Top with spinach

Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper

Top with mushrooms

Whisk olive oil, wine (or chicken broth) and savory herb packet

Pour over all ingredients

Place a tented foil over the baking dish

Bake 30 minutes

Top with cheese and bake 5 more minutes.  

YUMMY!!



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

FARMHOUSE RULES AND A NEW FARMER'S MARKET


Nancy Fuller
Nancy Fuller of Farmhouse Rules

  
I love many of the hosts on Food Network.  It seems recently that there are some new ones that I plan on learning more about.  One of those is Nancy Fuller of Farmhouse Rules.  She is a fun lady that lives on a farm with I think 6 children and 13 grandchildren.  Combine those two things and you have to know she is a good cook to begin with.  In addition to this, she was a caterer and now I believe a food business owner.  She is accomplished.  In one of her recent shows, she made an eggplant and sausage pasta salad.  It looked so good and different that I have not been able to get it off of my mind. 

Tonight, I visited a new Farmer's Market in my town.  When I saw these eggplants, I knew I had to make the pasta salad.  Oh yea, I got our new canine some doggie treats made from all homegrown ingredients.  Do you think she will know?  At any rate, just based on the packaging I had to bring these home for her.  

I thought it would be fun to share this recipe with you and we can try it together.  If you make it, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think of it and if you would change anything if you made it again.  I am going to use my fresh, homegrown tomatoes instead of the grape tomatoes listed in the recipe since I have them on hand now. 

Eggplant and Sausage Pasta Salad

2 Reviews

Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller

Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller

SHOW:
Farmhouse Rules
EPISODE:
Dance-a-Thon

339

Total Time:
55 min
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
40 min

Yield:
8 to 10 servings

Level:
Easy

Next Recipe
Ingredients

Kosher salt
1 pound bowtie ( farfalle) pasta
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant (1 pound), cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 pint (10 ounces) grape tomatoes, sliced in half
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large lemon, juiced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain in a colander and let cool a bit before transferring the pasta to a large bowl. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons olive oil and mix to combine.

Add the eggplant to the prepared baking sheet; drizzle with the 1/4 cup olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss it all together. Roast until golden, tender and caramelized, about 30 minutes.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and saute until cooked through, using the back of a wooden spoon to crumble the sausage, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook until heated through and starting to soften a bit, 1 minute. Add the sausage mixture to the pasta bowl. Add the lemon juice, basil, parsley, olives and roasted eggplant to the bowl and toss together. Top with the feta cheese. Serve at room temperature.
CATEGORIES:

Eggplant

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Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nancy-fuller/eggplant-and-sausage-pasta-salad.html?oc=linkback



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Rest of the Story

So the other day I shared some of the projects I have been working on in my home.  This post will conclude my projects so I will have to start some more.  
 
I could not help but laugh at these chairs in my garage while I was working on them.  Somehow it just looked like I was almost ready for a party or something.  You may recall that these chairs came from Europe and are thought to be from the 1930's.  I took my time and worked on them one by one to bring them back to their natural beauty. 



Here one was before I worked on them.  The seat cushions were in terrible shape.

Here is the finished project all cleaned up with the cushions reworked and new fabric.

This set fit in the space like it was made for it. 

This was our set before we found the European jewel.  I thought I was the coolest person on earth when we purchased this set.  Fast forward to over 20 years later and I was no longer feeling so special.  This set is still in really good shape and is in storage for Son 1 or 2 to use when they first get going in life without Mom and Dad.

Finally got this window treatment.  You know how it is when you get something in your mind, you want it at that moment.  Well, I waited almost a year to have this put in place.  I love the colors in my kitchen.

Another view.






The keeping room matches.  This is starting to make me happy.

I will share more projects in the future.  Happy decorating!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

BEFORE & AFTER

If you have been following my blog then you know we moved close to a year ago and I have been trying to make this new house OUR home.  I pour over and I dare say even study home decor magazines and blogs.  I have learned a lot over the years and secretly want to be a designer.  While I have my ideas sometimes I am just not sure how the finished product will come out.

Enter Melanie.  The most wonderful designer and great person.  She is going to stay with me on my journey of making our home into a comfortable and inviting space for all of our family and friends.

A while back I promised I would show you some of my projects.  It seems like these took forever to actually come to fruition but they are finally here!

I found 2 of these chairs at a consignment shop.  I had a vision of a future life for them 
.
They were in great shape but just a little "tired" from a design standpoint.


And here they are now!!  My designer friend Melanie is the best faux painter around.  She painted these and distressed them a little.  Then we covered them in the pretty checked silk.  They did such a great job with the trim and pillows.  My vision for them was surpassed.  To top it off, they are really comfortable.






When we redid one of our rooms in our former home for my husband, we purchased this buffet and had it painted to work beautifully in its new room.  When we brought it to our new home, the color looked awful with our new colors.  What had been something I loved, seemed to make me cringe.  One day Melanie said she could make it work better in our new home and she went to town.  Here is the finished product and we just love how it turned out.



One day as I was looking at all of our walls that are painted Sesame, I wondered if I should break it up somehow.  I thought about the entry and kept this thought to myself for months. I wondered if wallpaper would be a good solution.  One day I mentioned it to Melanie and in about an hour I was looking at wallpaper samples.  We narrowed it down to two; a tone on tone damask and this shimmery blue grass cloth.  The grass cloth won and we could not be happier with what it does to our room.



Grass cloth in entry


A little closer view
Up close with a little bit of shimmer

As soon as I saw our dining room when we were first looking at our home, I knew I wanted some beautiful draperies.  These match the fabric on the front doors.  I love the touch of blue velvet and am so happy with these.

We have tall ceilings and these take your eyes right up there.
Fabric up close....I love the texture
When we moved in, there was a TV connection in our keeping room above the fireplace.  I fought putting a TV there.  I felt like a pretty painting would look so nice.  Who was I kidding?  I live with too much testosterone and if I was getting all this foofy stuff, the least I could do is give in to a TV.  Well, I studied and studied the situation.  Still not happy about the TV but hey, we actually live here.  So one day I thought I could add plates above the TV and give myself something else to look at.  I started collecting these plates one at a time.  A little Majolica and a little blue and white.  Then, one day I got my nerve up and asked Melanie if my plate idea would work and she said YES!  I love looking at these and they add such a nice, bright splash to our room.  I don't think my boys have even noticed them.

Plate love!
The chest you see below has a story.  Apparently it had originally been my mother-in laws.  At some point she gave it to her sister.  It was originally maple and her sister antiqued it in a yellow color.  When the sister passed away her daughter said that the chest would look great in our house and that it had been my mother-in-laws.  We loved it and kept it yellow as it went with our decor.  When we moved to the new house, the yellow just did not work at all with our Sesame walls.  So, Melanie painted it this pretty blue and it looks fantastic up against the walls.  We are so happy with it.

Faux painted blue chest
Another view
Stay tuned for the rest of the changes.  I will post again soon.  Hope some of these ideas inspire you to work on a project in your own home.  There is nothing sweeter than to have a comfortable home filled with family and friends.