Avocado Hummus

4.30.2012

I've seen avocado hummus at the store lately and thought, "I need to make that." Then I'd forget until I saw it again the next time. This happened my last four trips to store. This week, I listened to the little avocados calling my name in the produce section, and gave it a try. Oh man, you guys. This is my new addiction!!

There are several variations of this dip out there. Some use chickpeas, like traditional hummus, while others use white beans to give it a creamier texture. This dip literally took me 7 minutes to make. (Yes, I timed it just for you.) I'm adding it to the short list for last minute appetizers for times when you think, "Oh crap, that party's tonight?? And I signed up to bring something?!?"

Olive's Hot Air Balloon Nursery

4.25.2012


 My sweet friend Laura just had her second, a precious baby girl named Olive. If you saw Laura's adorable camping themed birthday party for her son, then you probably could have guessed how amazing her nursery would be. 

We've been talking and emailing about her plan for this room since before Christmas, and it turned out to have all the color and little touches of whimsy that she had hoped. There's so much to love in this room, so prepare yourself.

The rug and curtains are from Urban Outfitters.  The dresser was a vintage find. Remember the fabric banner that I made for my 30th birthday brunch? Well, it has found its permanent home...
 
 I love how she found creative ways to incorporate the baby's name in the room.

DIY: Colorful Tea Towels

4.18.2012

It's funny how much a colorful tea towel can brighten up my mood, but for some reason I rarely stray away from buying the basic white flour sack towels. I've always loved how thin and soft they are but often wished they had a little color. Enter fabric markers! I picked up these guys for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby, but I'm sure you could find them at most any craft store.

After allowing 24 hours dry time, the "art" you create with fabric markers is completely machine washable. This is one of those craft items I had never purchased before, but I'm so glad I finally did. For about $2.50 each, I have colorful, unique towels to greet me after washing my hands. I bought my usual pack of 5 tea towels for $6 and then paid $1.99 for each of the pens, which I'll be able to use on many more projects. (I keep eyeing plain fabrics in my house thinking,"What could I draw on that?!")
  You could draw anything from geometric shapes to seasonal pictures, monograms, or your favorite quote. (I stole the one from my friend Dana's kitchen chalkboard...gotta love Ms. Piggy.)

Caprese Flat Bread and a Plant Tragedy

4.16.2012

I am craving summer even more than usual this year, and all the fresh basil in the market is just fueling the fire. I cook with a lot of basil when it's in season. Nothing works better with basil than fresh mozzarella and tomatoes; the three together are pretty much rock stars of Italian cuisine. This flat bread is by no means original. It's found in countless kitchens and bistros for obvious reasons. The simple flavors of a few ingredients are sometimes just what you need for a light lunch or dinner. This would also be a perfect starter for pasta or side with soup.
 
Cooking Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Roll out the dough and form several rectangles. Place them on a foil lined baking sheet or pizza stone.
2. Brush dough with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
3. Seed tomatoes and slice thinly.
4. Layer sliced tomatoes and chunks of mozzarella on the bread. Sprinkle with sea salt.
5. Return pan to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
6. Sprinkle chopped basil over the warm bread and serve immediately.
In other news...remember my paint dipped ceramic pots project and the houseplants I purchased to fill them? I had so much hope that I could keep the little guys alive. I'm sad, but not surprised, to say that I murdered yet another innocent and unsuspecting house plant.
         
You guys, I tried...I really did. I followed all the instructions on the little tag, and still wilting happened after a couple weeks. Then immediately I start to stress out like a high school girl who feels her boyfriend is about to break up with her. I tried to be there for it, but not too much- don't want to smother it. I to give a bit of water, but not too much. "Some sun? I'll give you some sun," I say ever so casually as I try to act coy and aloof.

Frantic inside, I stare at it every time I walk past looking for any signs of a change. Obviously this doesn't help. Within a week the plant is dead, and I have to deal with another failed plant relationship. I just hope the other two don't follow suit...I guess I should just pick myself up and get back out there again. On to the next one, right? Really, I'm not ready for another plant in my life. I just need time to heal before I can walk past the lawn and garden section at Lowe's again. 

One last little bit of good news...This blog is about to undergo a major face lift. I can't wait to share more with you about the new look that's coming soon!

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Easter DIY Round Up

4.06.2012

This week I shared how "unMartha" I am when it comes to seasonal decor, but that's not to say I don't appreciate it. I've got a little round up of great Easter projects and pretties. If I had more time and motivation, I might do more than just Pin them...oh well. {Speaking of Pinterest, see a photo in this post you’d like to pin? Great! Simply click once on the link below the photo and then pin from the original source.}

How adorable are these paper eggs? You could stamp them or have kids draw their own creations. Melanie explains the process for making your own. 
via You Are My Fav

DIY: Spring Table Runner

4.04.2012

Let me start by saying I am not one of those people who has a stockpile of seasonal decor to display around my house. As wonderfully "Martha" as that sounds, the logistics of having decor for Easter, Thanksgiving, Valentine's, and Halloween is just too much for me. Just getting Christmas stuff up wears me out. I do like easy, low commitment crafts that might use seasonal colors however. This table runner was a quick and inexpensive way for me feel a little "Springy". 
I love the colors in our kitchen rug and decided to use the teal and lime combo for my table runner. Our trip to IKEA not only outfitted our new office and a paint project, it also supplied the basic runner for this project. I picked up ribbon and buttons at Hobby Lobby.

Fruit Filled Shortbread Cookies

4.02.2012

Remember my new cookie press? Well, I think I'm in love with it. I found a simple shortbread recipe that calls for only four ingredients. (via the Joy of Baking.) The fun part was finding fillings to make little shortbread sandwiches. I tried three different fillings and am so excited to share them with you.
 
This was my very favorite. Lemon curd has to be the closest thing on earth to sunshine in a jar. If you love lemon, you might become addicted.  It's such an intensely flavored combination of tart and sweet. (I stirred some of the left over curd into my yogurt. Oh my word, it was to die for.)
  
The second filling is a pistachio cream. A little brown sugar, cream, and chopped pistachios make for a cookie filling that's not too sweet. The last filling was strawberries and cream. This was Stu's favorite. He thought it tasted like a strawberry cheese cake. I mixed half a stick of cream cheese with some powdered sugar and then layered thinly sliced strawberries on top.
 

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