Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomato & Tortellini Soup

So I whipped up some soup the other day and it was gooood.  I love soup, it's a one pot meal and usually gets tastier a day or two after it's made.  This soup is super simple and easy to make.  

What you will need and what to do:

1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of pureed tomatoes
1 onion coarsley chopped
A couple of tsps of olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pot)
2 tsp of red pepper flake (add more to taste)
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 bag of cheese filled tortellini (found on the pasta aisle)
1 box of chicken broth
1 bag of fresh spinach
1 container of mushrooms (I used baby bellas, you use what you like)
Pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.

Coat bottom of pot with olive oil and saute onions, garlic and red pepper flake (making sure to not burn garlic).  Add in both cans of tomatoes,chicken broth, salt & pepper  lightly simmer for about 20 minutes to ensure flavors mix well. Add in mushrooms and pasta ensuring pasta cooks through, finally add in spinach to wilt it down.  Ladle into bowl and top with some shredded Parmesan.  I recommend adding any additional ingredients that you like, i.e. fresh basil, oregano etc.  Have fun and enjoy

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lets get organized...shall we?

When you live in a small space with very little built in storage options being organized is key.  I am always looking for creative ways to store extra linens, books, kitchen utensil etc.  And with the fantastic world wide web there is plenty of inspiration and real world ideas that work great.  Here are few things we've done to help make our lives easier and less cluttered along with a  few inspiration ideas.

 Baskets are awesome, not only do they provide storage but they had texture to a space and come in a variety of shapes & sizes.

 This is one of the most affordable and functional storage options for your kitchen cutlery.  It keeps those knives within arms reach instead of rummaging through a draw and running the risk of accidentally stabbing yourself.(always a plus to avoid that)

Paul, did this and I have to say it's kind of genius.  It utilizes the space above the door in the bathroom that  would otherwise be of no functional use.  We keep the "fancy" towels and wash clothes in here.

spring rod for spray bottles
I mean how awesome, a simple and cheap spring rod adds function and creates extra usable space instead of having it cluttered with bottles.

towel bars as lid racks.
This is so smart, whoever thought of should win a prize of some sort.  It keeps those lids organized and utilized normally unused space.

Easy Cleanup
Nuff said, so convenient and organized.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Curb Appeal

Hello folks, long time no chat.  I hope everyone had a fantabulous weekend.  Mine was pretty good, celebrated a birthday for a friend, took in a Punch Brothers concert and hung out with mi madre.  All and all, an ok weekend.  So needless to say nothing of interest was undertaken at the house, but I have been seriously contemplating how I can fancy up the front yard and add some curb appeal.  Here's a little looky lew at what I am thinking about for the front yard.

Awww...white picket fence ;)
This says cottage all over, love the picket fence and massive amounts of greenery with the brick walk way.  

great entry
Love the various types of mobile foliage and the pop of color in the rug and of course that door.

Curb Appeal 
Now, who couldn't love this.  It is so cute, it just says "come on in, enjoy my cute little home".

cute easy the cottage curb appeal, and of course the yellow door

Love the mix of modern fixtures and planters with the pop of yellow door paired with the traditional style architecture.

Love the yellow door and oversized house number, so adorable, great curb appeal.

Love, love, love this.  The bright yellow door, with graphic house number and simple planters on the front steps.

Curb appeal...white picket fence. Climbing greeners. Exploding hydrangeas. I'm home!

Very much a welcoming yard, the fence, greenery and flowers are all so beautiful and work wonderfully together.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bernardus Lodge

So my lazy level is at all time high this weekend.  It's cold and windy here and the thought of going outside to work on any projects is repulsive to me right now.  So instead of a proper diy post or before and after I thought I would share with you a little place we like to visit when we have the opportunity while in California.

On our most recent visit we were blessed enough to be able to go to Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley for massages at their spa and a wonderful al fresco meal.  If you ever have the chance to go....definitely GO.  The service is beyond excellent.  Everyone there is genuinely vested in ensuring their guests have a wonderful experience.  The food is phenomenal and the menu changes from day to day to guarantee the freshest ingredients are used.  They have their own vineyard and the wine is soooo good it's ridiculous. They offer tasting in their tasting room and I would highly recommend, their wine is so good we had a case shipped to us in NC.

Enjoy the beautiful pictures of Bernardus, hopefully if you are like me and trapped in doors, hiding from the cold this will be a nice little mental escape.  Enjoy :)

Bernardus Lodge

 Yes,  I like wine and cured meats....who doesn't? 
 Bocce Ball 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baked French Toast

So, I am very much a breakfast person.  I love eggs, waffles, pancakes, bacon and french toast... in short I love anything breakfast food related.  So this past weekend I whipped up a batch of some baked french toast with a cherry pecan syrup.  Here's the details:

4 oz of softened cream cheese
1/2 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp of white pepper (yes, I had white pepper)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup of milk divided
1 long loaf of French or Italian bread sliced up in about 2 inch slices

Prepare a baking pan with non-stick spray.  Use a blender to blend first 8 ingredients with half of the milk.  Once blended transfer to large bowl and mix in remainder of milk.  Soak each slice of bread in the mixture and then place in baking pan. (This all can be done the night before and kept covered in the fridge.) Just before baking pour remaining mixture over bread.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top.

The sauce:

1 can of cherry pie filling (can use any kind of fruit pie filling your little heart desires)
1/4 cup of honey
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup of applesauce
3/4 cup of chopped pecans
Mix together and warm in sauce pan.

Top the french toast with the desired amounts of sauce and enjoy.

Please note, this pic was taken with my phone and after I had already eaten most of the french toast, my apologies.  Thank you Garret for the recipe. :)


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Color Pop

So I am definitely not one to shy away from using bold colors in my decor, after all I have a teal green pie safe and I will spray paint just about anything to get it to the perfect pop of color I currently desire.  There is a lot to be said for using one or two bold colors in design, especially against a neutral back drop.  These rooms below have that pop of color thanggg down pat. 

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Obviously, the bright orange table is the first thing that catches your eye.  Then after further viewing you take in the rich brown walls, beautiful rug and modern chairs with the traditional table design.

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The coral stools and various spots of red and turquoise in a mostly white kitchen stand out.

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The green credenza turned bar area works perfectly with the painted brick wall and shelving pulling in the colors of the lemon tree.

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The first thing I notice is the orange in the pillows and curtains, it works perfectly with the neutrals of the furniture (yes I consider pale blue a neutral). 

All images from various sites all found on pinterest.