Sunday, March 24, 2013

a corner for reading and writing

I have yet shared photos of E's room after a year of reflooring, painting, decorating...and I'm still not finished.  Today I would like to share his reading/writing corner, an area which happens to be 100% complete.  Alot of "pinspiration" went into this room and especially this corner.

After months of stalking IKEA for their BEKVAM spice rack and coming up empty handed, I found myself perusing the random bits and pieces of furniture in the dark corner of a Pottery Barn Outlet.  Hoping I'd find a treasure to match IKEA's spice rack, mainly their price ($3.99), I stumbled upon PB Kids Collector's Shelves.  I paid $15.00 each (not bad) and had to find hardware for one.  They are a tad bit bigger than the spice racks and I am going to guess a little bit sturdier.  They do the job and look great stacked up on the wall.

Another super idea from Pinterest was the Oil Pan Chalkboard.  Yet again, I ventured into a dark (and dirty) corner of another store.  The oil drip pans I found at Wal-Mart, actually had "Wal-Mart" stamped into the metal.  It was large and smack dab in the middle of the tray and I didn't care for the look; so I found myself stopping in at AutoZone to purchase their galvanized drip pan.  The brand name Blitz is embossed into the metal, but it is circular and I think Blitz is a cool word for a boys room.  Ten dollars for the pan, a good cleaning to remove the greasy film found on it's surface and a nice coat of chalkboard paint made a great writing/drawing/magnetic board.

Can't you tell he is happy!?!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

wednesday was...(recipe: spring vegetable pizza with gremolata)

the first day of Spring
and pizza night!
Spring Vegetable Pizza with Gremolata
serves two
resource: Cooking Light April 2013

6oz Quick Beer Pizza Dough
1 half of a large fennel bulb with stalks, thinly sliced; fennel fronds reserved
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup frozen peas, rinsed and drained.
6-8 stalks asparagus, cut in 3-in. pieces and halved lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 oz. Parmesan Cheese, grated
pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 small garlic clove, minced

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Flatten dough into a round on a pizza stone or baking sheet.  Par-bake the dough for five minutes and remove from the oven.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, milk and pepper.  Spread mixture evenly over the par-baked pizza crust.  Place pizza back into oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare the veggie topping, heat olive oil in a skillet and saute fennel, asparagus and peas for 2 minutes.  Add sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Carefully remove pizza, raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.  Top pizza with the pea mixture and bake for 5 minutes, until crust is brown and crisp.
  5. While pizza is baking, prepare gremolata, combining parsley, 1/2 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds, lemon zest and garlic clove.
  6. Remove pizza from oven, while pizza is piping hot, sprinkle a pinch of salt and gremolata evenly over the pizza.
  7. Cut into 8 wedges.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The Best Tuna Salad (slightly adapted)
source:  Cooks Country
yield:  2 cups or four sandwiches

3-(5 ounce) cans solid white albacore tuna packed in water
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 celery rib, chopped finely
  1. Marinate Tuna:  place tuna in a fine-mesh strainer and press dry with paper towels.  Transfer to medium bowl and mash with fork until finely flaked.  Microwave shallot and oil in small bowl until shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes.  Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.  Combine onion mixture, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and sugar with tuna and let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Finish Salad:  Stir mayonnaise and celery into tuna mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve.  (Can be refrigerated in airtight container for 1 day.)
*Note:  We love Wild Planet Tuna and Hellman's Mayonnaise-they are dynamite in this tuna salad

 Spiced Nuts
6 ounces pecan halves
4 ounces whole almonds
4 ounces cashews
4 ounces walnuts
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place nuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes, or until light brown.
  2. Combine cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt and melted butter in a large bowl.
  3. Toss warm nuts into the bowl with melted spiced butter.  Toss until coated.  Serve warm or pack it up in a take-out container and go on a picnic!
**You can find Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread here.  Need something to drink?  This lemonade rocks!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

around the hive: austin kite festival

I have been hosting Easter brunch for my family ever since we moved into our house four years ago.  This year however, I had changed my plans because we will be attending a wedding on Easter weekend.  So instead of egg hunts and Easter baskets, we ate a small breakfast in my kitchen and picnicked under a kite filled sky.  You can find the menu & recipes here!

Tickled that a dog came to join their picnic

Such a good baby.
After almost five years of being back in Texas I have finally accepted the fact that we will be sticking around for a little while.  With that knowledge and despite the fact that I loathe the Texas heat, I have found a little glimmer of hope within my surroundings.  I love how close I am to Austin, as my dad says, it is right out my backdoor.  I love that I can go to parks, museums, and festivals, and I do love the city.  As E grows older I feel more comfortable bringing him to the city's events.  This was our second visit to the kite festival and this time I brought my parents, sister, nephew and niece.

This is why I'm beginning to *almost* like it here

We found a spot along the rim of the festival and laid down the blanket.  I spread our picnic feast onto the blanket; mom's chicken salad, tuna salad, pumpkin bread, spiced mixed nuts, mini croissants, flatbread, the kid's pb&j fruit & potato chips.  We sat and ate and watched the hundreds upon hundreds of kites fly across the park, slightly battered by the cool wind yet basking in the warmth of the sun.  This may become the new tradition rather than our Easter celebration.  We shall see how my family weighs in on that idea.

Sno-cones...a must have