Thursday, November 15, 2012

Nat's Vegan BBQ Street Taco

I kind of accidentally created this taco, and boy was it tasty! I had some grilled veggies, along with some avocado, and thought it might make a good taco. Then it dawned on me! I could make it similar to one of my all time favorite tacos!
My all time favorite taco consists of BBQ grilled chicken on a corn tortilla, cilantro, fresh squeeze of lime, and some hot sauce. You cannot image how good those simple ingredients taste! It's perfection!
So tonight the Vegan BBQ Street Taco was born!

Following is how to put one together. Place all these ingredients on a warm corn tortilla:
1 - 2 slices of grilled red bell pepper
1 - 2 slices of grilled portabella mushrooms
1 - 2 thin slices of avocado
Very sparing amount of BBQ sauce down the length of the other ingredients
Fresh squeezed lime
Fresh chopped cilantro
Hot pepper sauce to your taste

Fold over and enjoy! I ate mine with a side of brown rice with a squeeze of lime juice. This would also be nice with some black beans.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fall Colors Add to My Inspiration

Things have been BUSY! Not only have I been traveling, but that kitchen renovation I'm working on is STILL underway. Surely by now I've won the Slowest Renovation Ever award. The good news is that I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel and I just might have a 98% complete kitchen by Christmas!

Meanwhile, Fall has inspired me to play with color and new ideas.
There is something so magical about pumpkins!
Zinnia from the pumpkin patch. Love the punch of color!
The urge to create something has really taken hold. Like I really have time for additional things in my schedule! I did not resist the urge though, and decided to hand carve a stamp in order to make cards for the Fall season. I've never made a stamp before, but I think it turned out pretty cute! What do you think?

I also could not pass up the opportunity to send my sweet nephews some Fall inspired chocolate pretzels!

Since I had my heart set on Fall colors for the pretzels, the store did not have Fall colored sprinkles. That would be too easy. Unwilling to give up, I decided to chop up Candy Corn. Please learn from my mistake. It was not an ideal solution. When I tried to cut the candy they just gummed up the knife. In my brilliance I decided to freeze them, thinking they would be easier to cut. If you do this please where some safety goggles! There were rock hard Candy Corn piece shooting off the cutting board in all directions! I did manage to get most of them into usable pieces, and there you have it, Fall inspired chocolate pretzels!

Enjoy the rest of the Fall!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Getting Crafty!

My son asked if we could please decorate for Fall and Halloween and I'm so glad I said yes. We had so much fun together! I showed him how my sister and I used to make ghosts out of tissues.

We also made a candy corn garland.

When we were done crafting he went outside to play. I got busy and put up all our decorations. When he came back inside he was so excited to see everything up!

So easy, and so rewarding!

Next up, some pumpkins and acorns for a great center piece at the table. Happy Fall everyone!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Industrial Fun

Recently I've been exposed to a really fun lamp on two different occasions, one was during a design presentation from a supplier who is from Europe, and the other was at ICFF.
These really fun industrial lamps are brightly colored, whimsical, and have been handmade in France since 1950. The company is Jielde. You can check out their full story on their website linked here.
With industrial decor trending strongly right now, I love that you can add a touch of humor to the setting!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ICFF 2012 - Things That Inspired Me (Tops!)

I recently had the pleasure of attending ICFF and Design Week in New York City. What an amazing experience. Not only was I in one of my favorite cities, but I was surrounded by creative people and the products they have labored to make. My inspiration tank was on empty when I arrived, but I came home refreshed and excited. Such a great feeling!

The little things.

While the whole experience was well worth the trip, I'm going to break down a few specifics. Things that really caught my eye.

Wood spinning tops! I spied them is a great shop called The Future Perfect in the SoHo area (click this link to go to the top's page on The Future Perfect website). These beautiful little guys are around and 1.5" to 2" tall, so they are small and could easily have been missed. Thankfully I didn't walk passed them. Displayed in a small dish in four different types of wood, hand turned in Japan, and in various shapes, they make lovely little kinetic sculptures.
These are the three I purchased! My 6 year old son and I have fun playing spinning top wars together.
I also had the pleasure of seeing the Herman Miller Pop-Up Shop. A designer's playground! Very inspirational. Interestingly enough, they also had spinning tops available for sale. These were much larger and in Walnut. I wanted to take all three of the designs home with me but they are approximately $60 each. Sigh. While doing some research I found out that this is not new for Herman Miller. This link will take you to Herman Miller's blog from 2009 and show you the limited edition tops from that year. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to get this year's set.

To quote Charles Eames “Toys are not really as innocent as they look. Toys and games are preludes to serious ideas.” The Herman Miller Pop-Up Shop also had a book of quotes from Mr. Eames that would be a great addition to my library!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Finally Finished!!! (Well, almost.)

March 25th of last year!!! Over a year it took me to complete my dining room! And truth be told, it's not really 100% complete. I was just tired of waiting on me and decided to hang my art wall.

I love how it's all come together. The colors are bright and happy!

There actually is a victory in this story. See that framed piece on the wall? Well, that is an original produce crate label that I purchased at least 3 years ago. It's finally framed!! Not only is it framed, but somehow it has made it to the wall where it belongs!

This seems to be a reoccurring theme for me. A heavy dose of procrastination along with a full time job, and family, things just take a very long time to accomplish around here.

Are you curious what I still need to complete in this wonderfully bright and happy dining room? Not too much (thankfully): the crown molding needs to have a touch-up coat of paint applied, I need 6 matching place mats, and I'd like two small art pieces for the small walls on either side of the opening into the kitchen, which is to the left in this photo and just out of view.

Maybe a year from now I'll be able to show you my completed kitchen. Maybe.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fresh Baked Bread!

I have always been intimidated by bread. I've had some disasters like the dough just turning to sand and not coming together in any recognizable dough consistency. I've also had bread just not rise and become rock hard. Through the years I've had to continue to try because in the Orthodox Christian Church each family who wishes to offer bread for Holy Communion bakes the special bread called Prosphora in Greek, or Alter Bread in English. It's a very simple yeast bread that has a special seal stamped on it before it is baked.

Lately I've been wishing to make more of our food from scratch in order to know exactly what's in it. No nasty preservatives and what-nots for me. I'm tired of guessing if the pre-made food is safe or not. So this weekend I decided to experiment and try bread based on the simple Prosphora recipe. Following is the Prosphora recipe followed by the alterations I made to it.

Prosphora (basic recipe)

5 cups white flour (sifted)
1-1/2 cups warm water
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. In a large bowl add sifted flour and salt and make a "well" in the center. Pour the yeast and water mixture into the well and knead until smooth. Cover the dough and let rise (about an hour). When double in size, knead again. Then divide dough in half and put in cake pans that have been floured only (no grease). Let rise for about an hour then place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. Wrap in a clean cloth while cooling so crust will be soft. Makes two loaves.

Alterations to the basic recipe (for home consumption, not for alter bread).

3-1/2 cups white flour (sifted)
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (sifted)
4 to 5 tbsp. roasted and salted sunflower seeds
1 to 2 tbsp. flax seed meal
1-1/2 cups warm water
2 pkgs. dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar

Follow directions as above. I did rub the two loaves with a bit of olive oil before letting them rise in the cake pans. I was hoping that would give the loaves a nicely browned top.

The resulting bread is very tasty with just enough texture and added flavor from the whole wheat flour. The sunflower seeds add a nice dimension as well. It was really difficult not to eat an entire loaf right out of the oven!!

Super yummy with a butter spread of your choice.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Better Late Than Never

The last two weeks have had me frazzled! Working on a minor renovation, husband's birthday, son's birthday and party, add in Valentine's Day, and I am wooped. I did manage to make my son's Valentine's for his class party which made him very happy. He actually wanted to give them to his classmates before the class party as a birthday "give-away". He was a little disappointed when I told him he'd have to wait for the 14th.

I got inspired via Pinterest, this link takes you to my "Fun for Kids" board, which shows you the original idea. I decided that Kindergarten and 5 to 6 year olds do not need love sayings and hearts on EVERYTHING, so I purchased a star shaped punch to make mine. Also, not everyone appreciates pink, in fact, my son's favorite color is blue. I gathered several different bright colors of paint chips from the home store and began crafting. To make it more appropriate for a Valentine, I added the lollipops to each of them and my son signed his name to the backs.

These bookmarks turned out cute and they were so easy to make. A plus for this busy working mommy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pretzel Love

A couple of nights ago my son and I made these yummy little treats as a Valentines Day gift to his cousins in Arizona. It was so easy and fun. I actually got the idea from a photo on Pinterest. I didn't actually follow the link to the directions because they looked easy enough, and they were, but if you do have a moment to check out the original blog (linked here) they are really nice looking.

I lined a couple of cookie sheets with wax paper and armed my 5 year old with a bottle of sprinkles. I melted a bag of Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips in a double boiler and dredged the little pretzels through the melted goodness. After placing the enrobed pretzels on the cookie sheet they were blasted by colorful sprinkles. Once the sheet was full I placed it in the fridge over night.

So good, so simple, and so cute in a Mason jar for a gift to loved ones!