Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cheddar-Herb Beer Bread

3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 ounces beer
1 tsp chili/cayenne powder
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Mix the dry ingredients well. Add the beer. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 375F for 50-55 minutes.

I think I might make this today!

Friday, February 26, 2010

We're Goin' Huntin'

No, not really. I'm not outdoorsy. I like the outdoors, but mostly the parts of outdoors that are pool side or beachy. Places that involve the sun, and a drink in my hand. Our backyard also fits the bill.

I'm not woodsy. The big guy wants to go camping sometime soon, and I'll be honest, I'm a little afraid. Ok, more than a little. The big guy might not be able to out run a bear, but he can definitely outrun me. And I bet I look tasty. Just the right size for a snack (that's a short joke).

So when the big guy mentioned wanting a deer or moose head above the bed, I knew this would be one of the many times that our marriage will lead us to that wonderful word- COMPROMISE.

Do I like the idea of an actual animal hanging on the walls in our house? No. Loki bouncing off the walls is fine, but you won't find any hunting "trophies" at our place.

So what to do? We pondered, we hemmed, we hawed, we pondered a little more. Then on one of our many trips to Z Gallerie (seriously, I could live right in the store, but I think they frown on that) we saw this guy.

He's actually pretty big, but beautiful in person. There's something about white ceramic animals that I love. It's the kind of nature I like. It's sleek, it's cool, and it's easy to clean. (Have I mentioned that I'm not outdoorsy?) And since most of our accents in the master bedroom are white, he ties in nicely with everything we have. We've done some more work in the master bedroom that's given it a bit of a modern hunting lodge vibe, so he'll fit in perfectly.

Now we just need him to arrive at the store so we can pick him up.

And hang him.

Above the bed.

Yay for compromising. ;-)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This is my mother in law's recipe for pulled pork. We made it a few weekends ago when we had some friends coming over. It was a huge hit. Easy to make, and very tasty.

2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp mustard powder
1/4 cup plus
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 lbs boneless pork shoulder blade roast (Boston butt)
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tsp crushed red pepper

In 5 -6 qt slow-cooker bowl combine paprika,mustard,1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp salt and 1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper. Add pork and rub all over meat. Arrange pork fat side up in slow-cooker. In medium bowl whisk vinegar, ketchup, red pepper, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp freshly groud pepper and 1 Tbsp brown sugar. Pour sauce over meat and also 1 cup water Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Place meat on platter, remove fat and shred meat using 2 forks. Serve with BBQ sauce on buns

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Sheets!

There's something about new sheets that I really enjoy. Is it the newness, the crispness, or is it the fact that I can now slow down my laundry pace just a smidge. Must be a combination. We just got these sheets in the mail for our master bedroom. We're now up to two sets. This means no more realization at midnight that the sheets are still in the dryer. I've been tempted just to sleep in the guest room.

I ordered these Nate Berkus sheets off of here. I went with the light gray, second from the top.
I also ordered an extra set of pillowcases because we keep four pillows on the bed. We're all about comfort when we sleep! I liked that the pattern was simple and wouldn't compete with the duvet cover, but that it would still bring some visual interest to the room. I'm a bit of a layering kick right now. Everything from pattern and texture to color is fair game. I also thought they did a nice tie in of all the gemoetric shapes we have through the space along with the more natural and organic elements.

It's really starting to come together! And now that they've arrived, all that's left is to put them on the bed and see how they look. There will be pictures of that sometime next week.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clean & Green: Fruit & Veggie Wash

Fruit & Veggie Wash 1

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

1 tbsp baking soda

20 drops grapefruit seed extract

Spray on produce, rinse after 5 minutes.

Fruit & Veggie Wash 2

1 cup water

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp baking soda

Spray on produce, wipe after 5 minutes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

You Like Me!

Well, maybe you like Loki. He's hard to resist with those big brown eyes and that furry smile and those feet that kinda smell like Fritos.

In any event, I've been nosy about my blog. I looked at a few things today and found something kinda interesting.
We're totally being followed!

Loki thinks that's scary. This is Loki hiding. (Not actually from you guys, but mostly from the craziness that was the big guy and I packing up the apartment. Loki turned the futon and a few bags of books into a fort.)

But it's not scary, it's actually kinda cool, and definitely flattering. You can see I have 11 followers on the left side of the blog. I've also got another 16 following me via Google Reader. That makes 27 people.

That's a lot of people to listen to my ramblings. I appreciate you all. You have no idea. Half the time I stop listening to myself.

And then I found this. It's a link to a blog post that references one of my blog posts. It's pretty cool to see your name referenced. And then it makes you realize that you probably want to leave off your last name. So I updated that. Don't want anybody showing up at our door to stalk Loki. Although I doubt he'd mind. If you're willing to rub his belly and pay a little attention you're ok in his book.

So what this is really all about is me saying thank you. For reading, for commenting, and for making Loki and the big guy and me feel special.

We like you too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bathroom Blues- Part Deux

The paint is done. I love the color. It's time to actually decorate. We gave it about 2 weeks, not because that's a time frame that you should use, but because we were crazy busy and having people over that night so I really wanted it done. It could have gone another 2 weeks if we'd been left to our own devices.

Our devices are lazy. They don't necessarily want to do the work that needs to be done. But if properly motivated, they can get quite a bit accomplished. Proper motivation usually involves dinner out, or ice cream, or time with friends.

So we started with the shelves. These shelves were in my apartment when I was living by myself. They made the move into the apartment we shared and then into the house. Although they were originally a set of three. Loki ate the corner off the third. Not chewed. Ate.

But it worked out better in this space to just have the two. Apparently that's how he expresses his design vision. He eats what he doesn't want us to use. Opinionated little thing isn't he?

I used a giant piece of graph paper to trace the shelves. It's the same graph paper that I used to hang our picture headboard in the third bedroom and our martini girls pictures in the family room. This stuff comes in handy. I actually traced and cut out the exact shape of the shelves. In hidnsight, I could have just extended the template to the nearest square and not cut out the curves. But I guess I don't think that way.

Then it was just a matter of poking through the back of the shelves to get exactly where the slots for the screws would be and taping them to the wall. I used painter's tape to hold the templates so that we wouldn't damage our awesome paint job. We leveled the templates as we hung them, which meant that the real shelves would be level as well.

Once the drywall mollies and the screws were in place, it was time to replace the paper shelves with the real deal. Again, thanks to the big guy for making this happen. I'm happy to say that by using the paper templates it took us all of 5 minutes to get both shelves up. Much better than the 25 or 30 it took in the apartment when we were guessing and checking. Not that I'm opposed to guessing and checking for some things, but those things probably shouldn't involve drilling holes into walls. I'm glad we learned that in the apartment and not in our house.

Please note that in the following pictures, the shelves are level. Again, we see evidence that I'm not the best photographer. Neither the shelves nor the house are actually tilted, just my camera.

Once the shelves were up on the wall, it was time to accessorize. Always my favorite part. :-) And usually the part where the big guy leaves the room. Apparently he doesn't enjoy me muttering to myself about smidges and scootching while I rearrange things about a thousnad times only to end up with the first arrangement I tried. Can't imagine why he doesn't want to be a part of that. ;-)

The picture against the sink will eventually get hung on the wall next to the light switch. But for now, I'm happy with it where it is. It's one of three pictures I bought at the base of the Eiffel Tower when I was in Paris. I'll have to find the other two in our storage unit and bring them into this room.
I also love the idea that somewhere in Paris, this is actually a view in someone's home. Imagine drinking you morning coffee and reading the newspaper and looking at the Eiffel Tower every morning. Not that I drink coffee or read the newspaper now, but maybe that would change if my windows looked out on something other than a cornfield.
Probably not, though. I'm a hot chocolate and fashion magazine girl all the way.

Here's a look at the full wall, with the accessories.

I've used this color palette before, in our apartment. Even most of these exact accessories. I love the depth of the blue agains the crisp white and the drama of the black. It's simple, it's elegant (in my opinion) and it's definitely a risk.
Risks can be fun. Especially when they pay off the way this one did.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bathroom Blues- The Beginning

The title of this post sounds a little scary, but it isn't I promise. We painted our guest bathroom, and it's blue.

It's very very blue.

And I love it.

Here's what we started with. Very bland and very beige.

So it was time to break out the paint. We already had the color, left over from the front bathroom in our apartment. We had just enough to finish this room. Yay for reusing a color we both really liked, and yay again for not having to go out and buy another new paint color.

It's Glidden in a satin finish. We used Olympic in the other rooms we've painted so far and I have to say I like it better than the Glidden. Both cover really well and are easy to apply, but the Glidden's fumes were much stronger. I'm definitely a low to no VOC girl. Especially when working in a tight space like a bathroom.

Here's a closer look at the madness about to take control of the room. For the next three hours. It wasn't a big space, but there are tons of little corners and places to edge. I got very good at balancing on the tub and stretching to the ceiling.

Well maybe not that good. We decided crown molding in this room would be a goo addition. Textured walls + textured ceiling= tough edges.

After the paint went up on the wall, here's what it looked like. Lots more personality in the space already. And we do like a room with personality.

Here's another angle of the space. In this shot you can see that it's a bit brighter, and not quite so cave-like.

With the paint done our next step was to give it a little time to set. After that, on to decorating! I'll be back tomorrow with pictures of the final product.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Because Everyone Loves Salsa

It's true. I love salsa, you love salsa. But sometimes salsa can cause trouble. Or maybe I cause trouble for the salsa. I'll let you decide.

Very early Sunday morning, the big guy and I left St. Louis after a fantastic Mardi Gras weekend with friends. We left early because he had to work the booth at a trade show all day. Not easy after a long weekend, and definitely not fun when you're wife would rather have you home since it was Valentine's Day. But, when you have to work, you have to work. So he had a long day ahead of him.

I decided that I would surprise him with dinner. He knew I was going to cook, but I hadn't told him what the menu would be. I hadn't actually deicded yet, which made the secret easy to keep. I went to one of my favorite places to pick up ingredients, the Fresh Market. I found some wonderful food, as I always do there.

Appetizers: fresh sourdough bread, spinach and artichoke dip, raspberry and brie fillo puffs
Dinner: Ceasar salad, Italian stlye sauteed veggies, garlic and herb stuffed pork chops
Dessert: chocolate covered strawberries

Along with that, there was one surprise. Salsa. A single jar of this salsa made it's way into my basket.

How does that happen you might be wondering. Good question. Here's how.

I get into the checkout line. I'm waiting my turn. Then one of the associates opens up another line and offers to check out my items so I don't have to wait. I turn to get into the new line, and then everything happens in slow motion.

There's a display of salsa next to me. I'm clearly not paying enough attention. The corner of my basket bumps into the corner of the top display crate. Approximately 15 jars of salsa go plummeting to the floor. I try to catch them, and fail miserably. I should have paid more attention in gym class.

I'm left staring at the floor that I have singel-handedly managed to cover in delicious salsa. And I do mean COVERED. It's a mess. I'm a mess. And now I'm flustered.

The girl checks me out, and I pay for my items. By some act of compassion and charity, they don't make me buy all of the salsa I've destroyed. They could have, and I would have. They certainly can't sell it now. But they don't. They're more concerned that I might have been hurt by the jars. Just my pride and a little bruise on my ego, but thank you for asking.

I grab my bag and go to my car. I get home, I unpack and then I make this realization.

There's a rogue jar of salsa in with my dinner stuff. I saved one!

But I actually had two bags of groceries. I left one at the store.

So I drag my embarassed self back to the car, and drive back. It's just down the road, so not far. I sit in my car for a few minutes and debate going in. But since all I had at home was the salad, the bread, and some unplanned salsa, I go in. That would be nice, but not for Valentine's Day, not for the big guy.

I go in and say, "I think I left a bag of groceries when I left. I'm the girl who wrecked the salsa."

Grocery clerk, "Sure, I remember you."

Of course he does. How could he not?

They had to put my groceries back since one item was frozen and one was meat. Ok, no big deal. I'll go get more. But I don't get to go alone. Because I've already paid for them, the manager wants to make sure I'm not going to get charged again. Very considerate. So he walks through the store with me and we refill the bag I left behind.

I get home and we have a great dinner. But not with salsa.

My pride is still recovering.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clean & Green: All-Purpose Spray

All-Purpose Spray

32 ounce plastic bottle
2 cups water

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1 tsp pure castille soap (peppermint)

3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide

20 drops tea tree oil
20 drops lavender essential oil

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Place for Everything

I love the feeling that comes with being well-organized. I like the calm that comes with not only having a place for everything, but actually having things in their place. It's the OCD, I can't help it.

It's why our linen closet makes me happy. We hardly use the things that are stored there, since we have space in our bathroom as well. It's also organized, but not quite as well as this one is. This is where we keep our guest towels, our (ok, my) gigantic collection of hotel soaps and shampoos, and a few other random and not so random items.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jumping in the River

Well, not a river, Eagle Creek actually for anyone familiar with the Indy area. It's that time of year, and the big guy and I are signing up to do the Polar Bear Plunge. It'll be his third year in a row and my second.

It's a great event for a great cause. We don't just do it because we're crazy, sure that helps, but there's more to it than that. We're raising money for the Special Olympics. If you're interested in supporting us and the cause, you can make an online donation at my website.

If you can't donate, but are interested in watching us make a spectacle of ourselves early on February 27th, you're more than welcome to come along...

but I insist you bring hot chocolate...

and share.

That water gets awfully cold!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The New Issue of Lonny is Out!

I started flipping through it today, but haven't had a chance to get all the way to the end.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Clean & Green: Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher Detergent

2 cups borax

2 cups baking soda

4 little packages of unsweetened lemon Kool-aid

Mix together and store.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dogs in Oregon Need Homes!

I saw this post on Hamburger's House this morning. Loki is a rescue dog, and if/when we get a second dog, we'll rescue from our local Humane Society again. There are so many good dogs out there who just want to be loved and have a safe place to call home. I can't imagine coming home from work and not having that little tail wagging at me. Not to mention the onslaught of puppy kisses I get just for walking in the door.

There are so many dogs being rescued from the lot, and there are still so many to go. If you live near Oregon, or know someone who does, please forward the link to them.

Click here to read the full story

A Place for Our Guests

One of the rooms that I planned out first was our guest bedroom. I knew that the furniture we'd been using in our bedroom could use some sprucing up- and still dies wuite honestly. There are few surfaces that aren't impacted by puppy teeth and puppy nails in our house and the bed and dresser are no exception.

So we started thinking about what we wanted it to feel like. Since it's a guest room, we definitely want it to be welcoming and comfortable. Once we got to that point, the big guy gave me total control over the space. In his opinion, as long as he doesn't have to sleep there, it can be whatever I want.

Which leads me to my color palette: gray, black, white, and purple with touches of chrome and silver. Very feminine, but hopefully when it's done, very chic as well. I'm tryingto evoke an old Hollywood kind of a feel, and while we've still got a way's to go, I feel like we're on the right track.

Here are some pictures of where we're at right now.

I started with a new duvert cover from I knew I wanted something black and white, and I loved the pattern on this set after seeing it in another blog, You Paid More Than Me. I added a blanket we already had and some purple pillows I found at Michael's. A few more accent pillows were added, this time from Target. If you closely you can see that the gray pillows have tiny black crystals on them. Just a little bit of added sparkle. Then another lamp, also from Target and a new bedside table. The little black parsons table was a nice solution for a while, but ultimately didn't fit the feel of the room, and it was a little too short for the bed. The mattress and box spring are pretty hig. So we spotted this chrome table at Pier 1, and actually managed to get the last one they had in stock. Still need to figure out what to do with the wires, though. And of course, when I found some purple flowers just before my parents got into town for Thanksgiving, I knew they'd be the perfect touch. I love fresh flowers in a guest room.

We still need to paint the walls gray, and figure out what to do on the other side of the bed. I'm debating on what I want to do with the furniture. I know it needs to be repainted, but do I leave it black or paint it white?

What do you think?