Friday Link Love

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Something really strange happened this morning. I woke up in a good, nay, great, mood. I was almost….dare I say it….perky. I can’t even remember the last time this happened. Andy learned early on in our relationship that talking to me before breakfast was incredibly dangerous and even more so after I had to stop drinking coffee. I have no idea how this happened I was bopping around the house humming “Macho Man” (WTF?) and giving the cats extra ear kisses. I think I scared Andy a little bit. I am a little afraid that this is some sort of indication of a weird Freaky Friday-esqe weekend. Who is this person, and why is she so happy?

How creepy cool is the abandoned Wizard of Oz theme park?

OPI and Clark + Kensington have created a line of house paint based on popular OPI colors. I may have to paint a room in my house Lincoln Park After Dark; it was my signature shade in college.

I hate to admit it, but Andy and I have had similar conversations many times.

This open knit cardigan is calling my name. Perfect for the summer to fall transition.

I have two other books that I am trying to get through right now, but as soon as I turn the last page I am one-click ordering the latest Cainsville novel.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake seems like the perfect farewell to summer dessert.

Is an all natural homemade beauty routine for you? This lady DIYed from head to toe, and this is how it turned out.

The clear glass in my front door can be a bit unnerving at times; recently I heard about these decorative pieces that can be put up to afford everyone a little more privacy. Now on my Home DIY list.

 

Image from here.


Thinking Inside the Box: Sun Basket Week 2

Well, I am a little disheartened to admit that week two of the Sun Basket subscription did not go nearly as smoothly as week one. First, our delivery day is supposed to be Wednesday, and when I checked the tracking info on Wednesday to find out where my package was, the delivery date was listed as Thursday and still classified as being “on time”. I wasn’t overly worried, things happen, but when we finally received the box, it was merely cool, and the bag of greens had partially liquefied from the heat. Even better, the spoiled bag had attracted those teeny fruit flies, and they have gleefully taken up residence in my kitchen despite my best efforts.

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Aside from the arugula, everything else seemed to be more or less undamaged.
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Shrimp scampi with romaine salad
The scampi turned out to be much better than I anticipated; lots of garlic, lemon and some fresh herbs. Really, really good. I even liked the salad, which was a super simplified Cesar. We tucked the recipe card away to be used again.
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Roasted salmon with red chermoula and seared endive
This was the best meal we’ve had from Sun Basket yet. I had never tried chermoula sauce before and was a bit doubtful to be honest, but I LOVE it, like whoa, big time, didn’t-want-to-share-with-Andy love it. We had a little left over after cooking, and I demanded that we make un-box related food the following night so we could use the rest of it.
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Quinoa fritters with arugula-strawberry salad
These should have been the simplest to prepare, but while tasty, the fritters were time consuming and problematic. The end result was delicious, but ultimately we both agreed the they weren’t worth the effort. Andy did hide the rest of the tahini sauce in the fridge and is plotting to procure falafel in the near future so he can justify consuming the remaining 3/4 of the container.
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Not quite as wonderful as week one, although the food was better. The bloom has gone of the rose a bit, and instead of feeling like “yay, two more weeks!”, we’ve settled into more of a “fine, I guess we’ll finish this out”. Who knows, maybe things will shift back the other way.


Baklava Muffins

When I was much younger, I religiously watched the Style Network. Growing up in a small town, I was determined to get out there and see the world and be just as together and fabulous as those chic accomplished ladies. One of the shows I adored was Nigella Bites. Watching the beautiful Ms. Lawson navigate her beautiful kitchen and create delectable looking baked goods was one of the reasons I wanted to learn how to bake.

Last year, a client of ours brought in a HUGE box of cook books (she was hard core dieting, and sugar and bread were the devil) and had us rummage through her collection and take whatever we wanted. I came a way with a small stack that included How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. Some how it ended up packed away, and I forgot about it until I stumbled across it again this weekend. Clearly, it was time to put its glossy pages to good use. Thus, Baklava Cupcakes.

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Notes:

  • Super easy to throw together, and they have the added bonus of sounding impressive when you tell people what they are.
  • Flavor was really good; I did add a teaspoon of ground vanilla to the batter because 1 – I could and 2 – I like vanilla in my muffins. Andy LOVED them, especially the bits of filling that baked over the edge; they were basically cinnamon pecan brittle.
  • You have to be very careful not to over mix your batter. I got a bit carried away, and although the flavor of the muffins was still on point, the texture was just a tad on the chewy side.

All in all, a really positive baking experience, and I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes.


Dellz: Charleston

Travel food can be a bit hit and miss, but sometimes the stars align and you find that gem of a place that not only provides an excellent meal but makes you lament that there isn’t a place like it in your town. Dell’z in Charleston was one of those places for me.  D1 D5 D6 We rolled into Charleston late Thursday afternoon, and after checking in with our host, food was very much a priority. After getting lost with our GPS and doing some serious navigating around detours and construction, we finally pulled into the small gravel lot behind the restaurant. Getting out of the car, we were immediately optimistic when we saw the colorful murals and the small garden at the back of the establishment. D7 D3Our optimism continued to grow as we took in the colorful decor and chatted with the sweet and very informative cashier (Hello, Caroline!). She helped us navigate the menu and gave us lots of recommendations for our dietary restrictions and culinary preferences. D4 D2 The place was so laid back, and the decor was fun and eclectic. We both loved the found treasures displayed on the walls and the chairs that had been reupholstered with coffee and produce bags. D8 D9 D10 The food…oh, my goodness, the food. I had their vegan chicken cordon bleu wrap, and it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, vegan or other wise. There was crunch from the veggies and melty from the “cheese” and sauce! I let Stefanie try it since my food came out first, and there was a brief but very real moment where I was unsure if I’d be getting my food back or not. Of course, this only lasted until her thai bowl came out, and then she was very interested in her own meal (and rightly so, it was awesome!). The last thing I want to talk about is the green goddess dressing/dipping sauce that they make in house. Both our orders came with a side of it, and even though we were both stuffed, you can bet your ass we ate every last chip and piece of pita bread just to justify eating the dressing.D11I can honestly say if there was a Dell’z in Tallahassee I would be there at least once a week. Grab a wrap on the way home; go out for a low key dinner. I’d probably even have my very own table. Who knows, maybe the owners will someday feel the need to retire to the unrelenting heat of Florida.


Getting My Paint On

One of the things I really wanted to do this year was to take some creative classes and subsequently get to know more people in my local community. I’ve been incredibly lucky; early on this year I discovered a lovely local shop called Miss Mandy’s that sells wonderful refinished furniture and local artwork. It is also home to my favorite tea shop All Things Tea. After having tea there a few times, I realized that the space also included The Backroom Studio. Every month local artisans teach classes that are appropriate for creatives of all skill levels. Last week I again took what has quickly become one of my favorite monthly installments, intuitive painting.

Intuitive painting is about coming, rolling your sleeves up, and playing. I’ve taken the class three times now, and every time it’s something different. The instructor Suzanne is a local artist, and her creative process is always evolving. Every class we are introduced to new techniques and products that she has been playing with. This class we went organic.

Paint4 Suzanne has been playing with a lot of floral themes lately in her own creative journey. She brought in some of her more recent pieces to show us. We’d all taken classes with her before, and since it was a smaller class, we quickly came to the unanimous decision that we wanted to skew our class along this new theme.Paint5We spent the first part of class picking out lots of different colors/types of acrylic paint and doodling abstract flowers on the newsprint and eventually on our canvases. Paint6 Paint1 The painting process was kind of interesting for me; normally I am all about deep rich colors, but the subject matter was really inspiring me to go with bold bright colors. There might have even been an neon accent or two.  Paint2
We topped the dried acrylic with tar gel and a matte medium that had tiny glass beads in it. Sounds a bit strange, but when it dries you get a lot of interesting shine and texture.Paint3The final product didn’t photograph as well as I would have liked, but in person I LOVE the shine and texture on the finished product. So much so that it isn’t hanging out in my office, it is currently propped up on the mantel in the living room. I haven’t quite found a permanent home for it yet, but for now I can run my hands over it and watch the light play over it whenever I want. I am excited to try some of the different techniques in my own at home painting.