Friday, October 28, 2011

Brown Butter Banana Muffins

Easy Peasy ~ 5 Ingredients and DELICIOUS!

Recipe Courtesy of 5 Ingredient Fix

4 Super Ripe Bananas
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1 Egg (Room Temperature)
1/3 cup Honey or Agave Syrup
1 3/4 cups of Self-Rising Flour

 Chop all four bananas, place in a glass bowl and mash, use a fork to press down chunks. Continue mashing until bananas are smooth. (Bananas will seem pasty)

Reduce butter in small saucepan on a low heat stir occasionally (let butter become a deep brown, it gives the butter a nutty taste)

Add egg and honey or syrup to the bananas stir well until completely combined

Add brown butter to mixture and with spatula fold over well into banana mixture

Add flour to mixture (in my case I used my stand mixer to combine wet with dry) be careful to simply fold in flour or quickly mix in flour do not over mix.

For a little more texture, I added 1/4 cup of roasted walnuts to the batter 

Scoop out batter into cupcake tins and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until firm when pressed in the center. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Fall is officially upon us, and since I am learning how to prepare dinner between all my usual evening routines with my 12 year old daughter and now a 2 month old son, there are some evenings where I rely on quick fix meals to satisfy my family. Here's my pot pie recipe:

3 Chicken Breasts Roasted ~ Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
3 cups of Mixed Vegetables
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
2 Pie Crusts

Roast Chicken Breasts and cube 

Add chicken, mushroom soup, milk and vegetables to pot and reduce to a simmer.

Place one pie crust in dish (I like to use a tablespoon of olive oil on the dish before adding my crust.
Fill crust with pie mixture.

Cover mixture with crust and pinch down sides of crust (I did mine with one hand because Asa was crying, normally I'm much neater about it).

Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.


Monday, October 24, 2011

China Cabinet Revisited

As I mentioned Friday, I planned to change out the fabric in the back of my china cabinet, this was to coordinate with the new lumbar pillow on my settee and help to put more of the same color choice in the formal living room. Here is the china cabinet before:

 I purchased fabric for the lumbar, since it was only 2.00 a yard, I bought enough to cover the back of the china cabinet. I am quite pleased with the result, and since I paid so little for it, I decided I would simply cover the existing fabric and hot glue the four corners of the back panel so that if I ever go back to the red tones, I can have the pattern I love in red. Here's the cabinet now ~

I love the dark finish of my cabinet and I decided for contrast, I would leave the inside of the cabinet the original finish and I like the effect it gives. I would like to eventually purchase a set of china in white or ivory with a gold trim or pattern. I know that china will be beautiful in the cabinet.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Lumbar Pillow to set off the Settee

So as I have mentioned before, I have a lot of work in progress for my formal living and dining room areas, I posted a couple pictures in the formal living room that I hung on Sunday- to compliment the space and wake up the walls so to speak. I included a picture of my settee that I purchased last month. As you could see, there was not much life to the space before hand... 

Here is the settee before

I decided a lumbar pillow would be the perfect touch for this petite seat, I went to my local House of Fabrics to look for a fabric that would compliment the settee and found a Waverly pattern for 2.00 a yard. I bought 3 yards of fabric, I decided to make the lumbar and swap out the backing of the china cabinet with the same fabric.  The curtain panels are currently being made, they are a lovely shade of green.

Here is the settee with the lumbar pillow

I plan to do the backing of the china cabinet tomorrow, I hope it looks just as good as the lumbar pillow is looking on my settee. I think the space is coming together very nicely.

What do you think of the lumbar?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shepherd's Salad

As I mentioned in my statement about myself in the blog, I enjoy cooking~ and trying new recipes at least twice a month. I subscribe to several cooking magazines and honestly had to restrict myself from purchasing any more cookbooks! I have waaay too many!

Since I have denied myself any new cookbooks, I spend even more time going through my recordings of my favorite cooking shows on both the Food Network, and the Cooking Channel. Imagine my delight when Sunny Anderson shared a delightful new (or at least to me) salad recipe "Shepherds Salad" with me. An easy, tasty and hearty salad that will satisfy your pallette.

1/4 cup of chopped Parsley
1/2 cup of chopped Kalamata Olives (I love these so, I use 1 cup)
1/4 cup of chopped Red Onion
2 Cucumbers chopped with skin on (I used one last night for a smaller amount of salad)
1 large Roma Tomato chopped
1/2 cup of Feta Cheese (I buy the crumbled Feta Cheese)
1/2 cup of fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1/3 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup of Olive Oil

Chop all veggies, place into a glass bowl

Add lemon juice, oil and vinegar and fold the liquids into the veggies. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving

Sprinkle in Feta Cheese just before serving and toss


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life Imitating Art

I'm sure we have all heard the expression "Art imitating life", well since I am on a budget and looking for creative ways to enhance the space I have, I thought to look first at pictures I have either taken myself or professional shots that could be used as decor. 

As you all know, I am working on transforming my formal living and dining room with touches of this and that, so one of the areas I like least right now is the formal space because of the blank walls - partly because I have a ton of ideas and not enough cash flow to do everything all at once that I want to do, also because I keep wondering if I am on the right track, and since I am putting things here and there, the only way to tell is to give my ideas a shot.

This is the front window in the formal living room with the settee I purchased last month

Enter the first of two "art" pieces I thought would work well in the space, pictures of bouquets... both mine, both from two separate days, my wedding day on November 7, 2009 and my one year anniversary pictures taken at Little Corona del Mar, CA on October 4, 2010. I thought two pictures of simplicity would be a great thing to add to the walls. 

I went in Target and had the two pictures printed in black and white, as my bouquets were pink roses for the beach and both pink and ivory roses and orchids on my wedding day. I worried about the colors not blending well with the already determined shades of beige, cream, purple, green and gold.  While I was able to print the pictures, I didn't have any luck on the frames, they were out of my price range honestly and I left Target a little discouraged.

A quick trip to to Walmart changed all that... I found frames for 5.00 each that would do the trick with a simple coat of paint. 
 Here are the frames before 

Here are the frames painted my go to color for the house ~ Polished Pearl

What do you think?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

She was a Good Deal!

Several Months ago, I wandered into the local Goodwill, just hoping to find something that I may be able to transform. To my delight, I happened upon a lamp for 7.50! It had a neat shade, for the time being, but the real thrill was the height and the shape of the lamp. I primed it, thinking I would paint it white or gold... then I realized, maybe I should hold off on painting it. The lamp was in the garage, virtually neglected until I decided to transform my bedroom into a more welcoming space. 

So I have plans to change my color scheme in my bedroom and give it a real boost by doing the following:

Paint the lamp navy blue
Paint the secretary navy blue
Select fabric for the curtain panels
Select fabric for the bed (I gave making my own headboard a lot of thought but changed my mind)
Paint the side table Ivory Snow (?)
Create an art/picture gallery
Make pillows
Find a neat chair for secretary

So here is the first item off my list... I must admit I LOVE this! Not to mention I was in Target yesterday evening and saw smaller lamp bases very similar to this one selling for 14.99 or 24.99 and of course, you still have to buy the shade.

I used two products on the lamp by Glidden, the Grey Primer and the new Doors and Trim product which I absolutely adore, its thick, doesn't run, dries super smooth, and doesn't have a strong, potent smell.

Here is the primed white version

Primed one coat of Grey

 Here is the Glidden Paint

 And the finished product

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Big Easy (Apple Fruit Crisp)

 Since its Autumn and we are moving into the perfect season for soups, chili's and ciders... I can't help but want to eat the occasional buttery, toasted flaky dessert. With that being said, enter the fruit crisp idea... I am sure it's not unlike any other crisp dessert you may have tried before, but this is soo simple, I had to share it. I'm on a mission to loose 30 pounds so I decided to make my own treats to cut out sugars and fat.

Here's what you need:

5 Cups sliced apples (peeled and cored; I like to use a little bit of this and a little bit of that so the flavors blend together and make a really sweet well balanced apple flavor)

2 to 4 tablespoons of Sugar
1/2 cup of regular Rolled Oats
1/2 cup of packed Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup All -Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon of either Nutmeg, Ginger or Cinnamon
1/4 cup Margarine or Butter
1/4 cup chopped Nuts or Coconut (I like to toast the nuts)

For Filling: Place sliced apples in an 8 x 1 1/2 round baking dish, stir in sugar (just for looks, I use a rectangular shaped stoneware piece I have.

For Topping: In a mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour and the spice of your choice (I'm using nutmeg and cinnamon). Cut margarine or butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts and sprinkle over the apples.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until fruit is tender. Serve warm with ice cream.

This is an instant favorite, sweet and warm with a bit of crunch to it. I hope you like it as much as we do. Please let me know if you try it.