Monday, May 31, 2010

Hello summer.

If the holiday didn't remind you that the start of summer was here - the heat here in DC sure would have! 

One of my favorite things about summer are all of the fresh veggies - especially ones you can plop on the grill right next to your meat.  Tonight we had delicious ribs served along side with a delicious homemade tomato pie that my friend Alice made us and grilled corn on the cob and roasted asparagus.

All of this was washed down by yummy beer-ritas.  Recipe here if you didn't get it before.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
Corn on the grill is super easy if you just shuck the silks out of the middle of the ears and then pull off any wimpy, loose husk from the outside.  Leave the rest to surround the corn and place it directly on the grill.  It'll give you extra moist corn on the cob.

Roasted Asparagus
Usually we put asparagus in a grill basket but our space was limited because of the ribs and the corn on the cob.  So, you can achieve the same effect in the oven if you layer aluminium foil on a baking sheet.  Trim the ends of the asaparagus and lightly layer on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and pepper.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Why can't every weekend be long like this one?  Hope you had a good holiday!

Low Fat and Delicious Key Lime Pie!

Happy Memorial Day! 

I rarely make desserts but since it was a holiday, I thought I'd make one.  This is my husband's summertime favorite and so I'm surprising him while he is off on the golf course.  It is SO easy and delicious and low fat to boot.

You'll Need:
1 14 ounce can of fat free, sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tsp grated, fresh lime rind
1 container fat free whipped topping
1 reduced fat graham cracker crust
lime wedges for garnish

What you do:
Preheat the overn to 350 degrees.

In a blender add the first four ingredients and blend until frothy (this won't take long!).

Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes until set.

Let cool and then cover with whipped topping.  Garnish with lime wedges.  Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fingers Crossed!

I am addicted to American Idol.  It is my guilty pleasure and I don't care who knows.  It all started back when I was living in the UK watching Simon Cowell's original Pop Idol.  The only shows better than that at that time were Ready Steady Cook and Cilla Black's Moment of Truth.  I don't know how on earth those didn't make it to America...

Anyway, unfortunately I am like those annoying people who complain about politics ALL the time except they didn't exercise their right to vote.  I don't spend the money to vote on American Idol, I just prefer to yell at the television like a crazy person.

That said, if I were going to vote, it would be for Lee.  He's awesome.  So, here's hoping for a big win for him tonight!  Too bad I was too busy at book club drinking wine last night with the girls to get to see their final performances.  First show I've missed all season.  Sadly, I'm not kidding.  My husband said Crystal smoked him last night.  We shall see...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Power in Numbers

I am a big fan of grouping smaller pieces of art into interesting displays on your walls.  I have one such display in my house with old family photos that I lined up the stairs that I talked about here.

There are so many cool ideas out there and it takes very little effort (and funds oftentimes) to come up with arrangements that make big impacts in your space.  You can use this trick to cover a big expanse of space or to jazz up a nook or cranny.  You don't also have to limit yourself to pictures - mirrors or other hanging objects can give the same effect.  Check it out.

first two images seen on

Two Images from Design Hole Online

Image from Finding Fabulous

Image from Get Taste Blog

Image from Live Like You

Image from Manolo Home

Image from Niche Interiors

Image from Real Simple - goes to show that you don't even have to put pictures in those frames!

Tuesday Tip: Measuring Tricks

Okay, so I ganked 98% of this from my girl Martha.  But everybody knows we are like THIS so I don't think she'll mind.  Anyways, she's my idol (except for that whole insider trading, jail time thing - a blip on the radar of her amazingness, really).  The other two percent came from, surprisingly enough, the hubby.

Let's say you are out shopping and you find something really amazing and you don't have a measuring tape with you (this tip is clearly not applicable to me since I would never not have a measuring tape in my purse at all times!).  That's cool, you can use some other ideas to measure:

1.  Your foot.  If you aren't trying to be exact, I'll sometimes count it out to roughly, you guessed it, a foot.  But for exact purposes, according to Martha, "a man's size 10 1/2 shoe is about a foot long. A woman's size 8 is about 10 inches. Using the length of your shoe, you can measure a rug by traversing it heel to toe. For longer distances, count strides (to determine the length of your stride, walk through a puddle so you'll make footprints, and measure the distance between them)."

2.  A dollar bill.  (This was the one my husband knew about and actually used it against me in an argument about the length of my hair that looks like sh*t because he insists he prefers it long.)  Anywho, a dollar bill is 6 inches long and 2 and a half inches in height. 

3. A credit card.  The typical plastic in your wallet is 2 by 3 1/2 inches.  Yeah, I probably wouldn't remember that.

4. A quarter.  Again, blame Martha if this doesn't work.  "It's about an inch in diameter, and its edge, rolled in a straight line, measures 3 inches (start and end with Washington's profile facing the same direction)."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carrot Orzo

I love risotto.  I recently saw a receipe for carrot orzo in Southern Living.  It is made similarly to risotto but with two ingreidents I wouldn't have thought of using - carrots and orzo (instead of risotto).  It turned out to be pretty good.  This recipe makes a ton so unless you are looking to serve a crowd, you may consider cutting it in half.  Although, I gotta say, this recipe might not be bad as a cold salad for leftovers...  Here's my slightly modified version:

What you'll need:
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups orzo pasta (uncooked)
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste (be generous!)

What you do:

Melt butter in large saucepan and add carrots, onion and garlic.  Cook until tender, stirring regularly. 

Meanwhile, heat up broth and equal parts water.

Once carrots are tender, add orzo and cook for one minute.

Slowly add the broth, and salt and pepper to taste.  Continue adding the broth until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in the parmesan (reserve a little for the top) and thyme.  Season once more with salt and pepper.  Top with remaining parmesan.  Serve immediately.

We had ours with marinated pork chops (baked instead of grilled since we ran out of gas for the grill!). 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Safari Overload

For anyone who knows me or has read my blog, I have made my love of animal print in a room well known.  I think almost any room could do with a boost of a LITTLE animal print, which as I've said many times before, I view as a neutral.  I was looking today and found some humdingers of animal print gone TOO WILD.  I don't know who in their right mind who do anything like this but thought you might find some of them amusing too...what is up with that bathroom up there??

In general, I believe you should leave babies and young children out of being subjected to anything with an animal print...just because you color something hot pink, green or blue, does not make it acceptable for a young child.  In fact, clearly after seeing these images, it could be permanently scarring.


Mixing animal prints is tricky at best.  Displaying this many (and ugly ones at that) is obnoxious and creepy.  I don't know about you but I certainly don't want to hang out in this room.

Leave those d*mn babies alone!

This one attempted to be tasteful but it is still too much. 

Ya'll might disagree with me on this one but I'm gonna go ahead and announce, however classy other design blogs and mags hailed this to be, it is too much.  The zebra print no longer takes the backseat as a neutral but instead is front and center and frankly makes me dizzy.

Images via HGTV, Your Store Images, Home Movie Design, Unique Baby Gear Ideas, Hooked On, via Tezas Home Living.

A headboard fit for a king (or queen)

So you may recall one of my latest finds that I talked about here which is my plan for my new headboard.  I was looking through more inspirational pictures today and came across this one.  I'm not saying mine would look anything like it (and I'm not sure I'd want it to) but how regal does this look?  There is something very unique and authentic about it.  And I love a chandelier in a bedroom.

Image seen via So Haute

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Done with the third draft of a database at work - one of the biggest projects I've ever worked on in my working life. I am exhausted and drained but also over the moon about my accomplishment.

Speaking of over the moon, this bathroom sends me there.  Love, love, love everything about it from the clawfoot tub (a must have in my dream house one day), to the chandelier to the wood color (is that a repurposed mantel?!) juxtaposed with the almost all white everywhere else. 

Image seen here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hat Trick

So, after writing post after post about my baby hats, I decided to branch out and venture into the world of adult hats.  I got this pattern from Fibre Space in Alexandria, and despite the two types of stictches and the button, it really was very easy. 

I especially love how the first one turned out.  The pattern actually calls to make it a beanie but I like how it looks with the pom pom on top.

I also made one for my husband.  It isn't winter but after all of the snow we had last year, we better get prepared!

Tuesday Tip: Cute and Efficient Pet Food Storage

Pet food is not the most pleasant smelling of things nor is it particularly attractive.  That doesn't mean the way you store it can't be cute.  Especially in city living, many of us have small spaces with which to store things.  I keep my dog food in an old, oversized popcorn tin with a tight lid.  The smell doesn't get out and it doesn't get stale.  Just yesterday, I saw two other cute options:

Harry Barker - on sale now at One King's Lane

Monday, May 17, 2010

Beer in the Rear Chicken

I've heard of beer can chicken for many years and still hadn't tried it.  My mother in law gave me one of the Deen Brother's (as in Paula's sons) cookbooks for my birthday (what a great gift!) and they had a relatively simple recipe - and their name for it made me laugh.  We changed up some of the ingredients slightly but this recipe is from their Ya'll Come Eat book.

What you'll Need:
4-6 pound chicken
1/2 cup mayonaise
1 Tsp paprika
dash cayenne
1 lemon or lime (juice and zest)
salt and pepper
1 beer in a can

What you do:
Heat up the gas or charcoal grill - you'll want to cook the bird on indirect heat so if you use charcoal, make two piles of the coals on either side of the grill.

While the grill is gettin' hot, take the chicken out and remove giblets (I suggest pawning this task off on someone else if you can).  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

In a bowl, mix together mayonaise, spices and zest and juice of lemon or lime. 

Salt and pepper the bird directly and then rub the mixture all over the skin, top and bottom.

Open a can of beer and drink a little and then shove it on up in the bird. 

It was a little wobbly so we had to use the legs to support it.  We had a little bit too much fun with it...

Put a drip tray under the bird so that the grease doesn't get on your grill and place bird on the grill (again, making sure the heat hits the bird indirectly.  Cook for approximately 2 hours - keep in mind, chicken should be at 180 degrees on a meat thermometer so use can use that as a guide to help you.

Remove from grill and let it rest for about five minutes.

Then eat you some goooood chicken.

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