Mar 29, 2013

Lusting After

This bathing suit from Anthropologie.  I would totally not be embarrassed of rocking the mom suit in this number.  Oh, it is so cool.  With my big black shades, and wide brimmed sun hat?  Total rock star at the club pool.

Unfortunately,  the price is waaayyy too cool for this mama.   You will probably find me chasing after Dell Harper in a ratty visor in something like this one from Land's End.

Perfectly cute.  Just not super cool.

At least I will still have my big black shades (from the sale rack at Target).

Mar 28, 2013

Elvis Enchiladas

Kingsley and I were chatting the other day and she remarked on my recent cream based diet.  "What? Cream based. .  ." I began to protest.  Weakly.  There's been a lot of undisclosed poppyseed chicken and the like in there too.  Mmmm.  I'm chasing after the faster crawler in the world.  I need fortification.

Anyway, I made a couple pans of these enchiladas for a friend who had a baby, and had to make a couple for myself as well.  Last time I made them, Buddy leapt on the counter, nosed them to within the grasp of his nose/paws and devoured an entire pan that was cooling.  I was rather heartbroken, but lived to make them again.  They remind of the Elvis Burrito from my favorite Mexican place in town, (that I never get to go to, because long waits and a loud toddler are no bueno).  The Elvis is a chicken burrito topped with spinach con queso.  These chicken and spinach enchiladas are doubly delicious because ether are topped with the filling and sour cream.  Oh, and cheese.  Lots of cheese.

The recipe is adapted from the Taste of the South Comfort Food magazine that I am always yammering on about.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced in rings
2 (6 oz bags) of fresh baby spinach
cream sauce (see below),  or 1 can cream of chicken soup, or 1 and 1/4 cup cottage cheese
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 8 oz shredded cheese (I actually used pre-shredded cheese- the queso blend with the cream cheese in it)
1 (4 ounce) can diced roasted green chiles
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
2 T fresh lime juice (one lime)
12 corn tortillas
1 (8 ounce) container of sour cream
Garnish- sliced red onion and cilantro

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a 13x9 baking dish (or 2 8x8's) with PAM and set aside.

2.  In  large dutch oven heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for five minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until the spinach wilts and releases its liquid. Remove the spinach and onion from the pan, and put it in a colander.  Press with dish towels and squeeze all the water out of the spinach.  Nobody wants watery enchiladas.

3. In a large bowl, combine the cream sauce and 1 cup of chicken broth, whisking until smooth.  Add the chicken, spinach mixture, 1 package cheese, green chiles, spices, and lime juice.  Stir to combine.

4.  Spray aluminum foil with PAM.  Wrap tortillas in foil and place in the oven on a baking sheet until they are warm and pliable (about 10 minutes).

5.  Place about 1/2 cups filling in the center of each tortilla, and roll the tortilla around the fillings.  Place seam side down in the baking dish.

6.  Add the remaining 1/2 cup broth and sour cream to the leftover filling.  Pour over the enchiladas.  Top with the remaining package of cheese.

7.  Bake until bubbly- about 30 minutes.  Lightly cover with foil if the cheese starts getting too brown.  Garnish with cilantro and onion if you want!

Cream Sauce- substitute for Cream of Chicken soup
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

  1. Melt butter in heavy saucepan.
  2. Blend in the flour and salt, cooking until bubbly.
  3. Whisk in the milk and broth, using a wire whisk to prevent lumps.
  4. Cook until just smooth and thickened.
For the new baby dinner, I made Mexican rice, and took tortilla chips, salsa and cheese dip along with the enchiladas.  I mean, who doesn't like cheese dip?

Elvis sure as hell did.

Mar 27, 2013

A Watched Pot

I have officially given up on Dell Harper walking.  Ha!  Today she is 14 months old, and climbs onto the couch, into an adult size rocking chair, but refuses to walk without a hand or prop.  I'm determined to stop focusing on it, because that child is never going walk if I keep stressing about it.  This is damn near impossible, but I'm giving it up to God.

She's not letting it slow her down though.  We went over to a friend's house today for Easter Egg dying- how cute are all the little buddies?

We were giggling at her clasping her little hands.

In other news, I have a cornea infection caused by my contact.  I'm driving around with giant sunglasses on in front of my glasses like a cataract patient.  It hurts, but I am just glad it's not pinkeye.  I would much rather put 10 days of drops in my own eyes (every 2 hours!?!), than one day of drops in my pre-toddler's eyes.

Finally, are y'all watching the Mindy Project?  You should.  It's funny.  Ellie Kemper was on last night, which remained me of this.  I could watch that video all day long.  You're a male prima donna. . .

Mar 24, 2013

Welcome! (aka the Mudroom)

Erin reminded me that I have not shown y'all pictures of my kitchen redo, and I realized that my mudroom has not been posted either.  Then I remembered why.  There are a thousand projects that I want to implement in here before the room is ready to be shown.  Matching bins, and a cute recyclable can, and a dog food bin that is opaque, and ornament containers that are not boxes from the liquor store.  Then I realized I would never show you this room that I love, and I decided to hell with perfection.  Here is some function.

I walk in and out of this door a hundred times a day- it leads to the carport where I park.  This is also our "friends' entry" out of happenstance and habit.  This door used to open into the laundry closet.  Where the desk starts now was a kind of funky outdoor closet.

Ignore the shower curtain draped over the utility sink.  Sewing the curtain into a skirt to cover my utility sink is on the to-do list.  It will probably get done next year.  This whole section was the outdoor closet before.  The new closet behind the folding doors houses brooms, paint, and the hot water heater.  The door on the left leads to the powder room (the one with the beadboard and purple toile wallpaper I showed Friday), which used to be accessible only through the dining room.  That was weird.  Now, it's handy- especially since I invariably need to dash to the restroom the minute I get home.  It's a Pavlovian response.
Speaking of dogs, this is also Buddy's room- the Budroom.  That's his super attractive bin of food he's gazing at.

My desk/office since I now work from home.  The window was the location of the former door to the outdoor closet.  Our contractor used stock cabinets from Home Depot and added the beadboard on the sides.  The butcher block top was from a local salvage place (I found it for a great price in a bad part of town, naturally).  Someday (on the tenth day of never) I will have matching bins, and file folder holders, and all my notebooks will be fabric covered and lovely.

The TV was something I thought ridiculous that Morgan insisted upon.  I am not anti-television, I just want to keep them to one or two rooms of our house (and never, ever in our bedroom).  It is the greatest thing ever.  I can watch TV and cook!  Or iron, or fold clothes!  Amazing.

The door on the left is to the kitchen, and straight ahead is the dining room.  Here's where you need to ignore the hampers, and bubble waiting to be ironed.  Oh, and the picture waiting to be hung.

And the liquor boxes housing Christmas decor.  That's more of the butcher block cabinet, and stock cabinets from Home Depot (or Lowe's- I can't remember, honestly).  The cabinets are painted Georgian Green by Benjamin Moore- one of my go-to colors.

Here's my favorite part.  The Dutch door into the kitchen.  It is awesome.  Perfect for keeping Buddy in his room, but still keeping an eye on him.  Our contractor made it by cutting a stock door in half.  He looked askance when I described what I wanted, then totally got on board.  With multiple dogs and two small kids of his own, I think he is cutting all of the doors in his own house in two now.

The floor is travertine that I found at a close out flooring place for $2.69 a square foot.  It is cheaper than porcelain tile would have been, and it really transformed this area and the kitchen.  Here's a picture of the kitchen that shows the old gray tile from before.

To help with depth perspective, the bin behind the ladder in the before picture is where Buddy is laying in the after.  It's amazing what ditching fluorescent lights will do for a space.

Okay, I'm off to put away some dishes so I can show the kitchen/family room changes later this week.  I also have a bunch of recipes that I will be sharing once I get some get-up and go.

Mar 22, 2013

Dancing on the Ceiling

An interior designer friend of mine once mentioned that she had done a room with this Osborne and Little wallpaper on the ceiling

I also love the same paper in this color on the ceiling in a little girl's room:

I'm digging wallpaper on ceilings in general right now-

Source: via Samma on Pinterest

Source: via Samma on Pinterest

Mama is redo-ing the wallpaper in my old bathroom at their house, since I ruined the existing wallpaper when I was 14 or so, by taping magazine pages all over it.  Kicking myself now, because I just love that paper- a large scale floral, with giant rose blooms.  A friend described it as what she pictures a Southern teen girl's bathroom in the 1950's looking like (she meant this as lovely compliment, and I took it as such).  I'm picturing something similarly old fashioned to replace the damaged wallpaper-

I just love the middle one- silver vases filled with blooms?  Perfection!

I doubt I can sell Mama on it, but my brother's old bedroom has this marvelous peach and brown original tile (mine has the orginal almost wedgewood blue tile, which is  a bit funky as well) .  Anyway, I love this bird print- I would love to really make it fun in there.

I'm feeling totally inspired by Bailey McCarthy's embrace of her funky tile in their new Houston home:

Does it get any better?

Well, her new bathroom-

I'm in love.  If I did not have a budget and Morgan to rein me in when we move in our "forever" home in a few years,  well, things might get crazy up in there.

Mar 21, 2013

Working on a Budget

What is this weather?  I am dying over here- I refuse to wear tights once it is officially spring, so I will be showing off some pale, frosty legs Sunday at church.   Hotness.  After last weekend's glorious taste of spring, Dell Harper is just utterly confused why we can't go play outside.  Things are blooming, the sun is shining- it's just downright confusing, and has been the source of several a temper tantrum this week.  Thanks, Mother Nature.

Thank you for all of your helpful comments on my bathroom plans.  Yesterday I trekked out to my favorite stone supplier, where I purchased the condo's kitchen counter tops, as well as my current house's.  I loved an entry level marble similar to this:

Then, I found a "Crema Marfil" slab already cut for a seven foot double sink vanity, with a chip.  I love chips, dents, any imperfection that allows me some budget finagling.  The chip can be fixed, and the price of the "second" slab is a third of what the above marble would cost.

It actually matches the marble in the guest bathroom.  Is it my top pick?  No, I prefer the white above.  Do I like it enough to live with it and enjoy it?  Yes!  For a third of the price, it is great!  It gives me more wiggle room on the vanity and the tub.  The rosy tones will look great with the pink (err, I mean, "warm cream") on the future walls too!

Our original estimate for this addition was above and beyond what we wanted to spend.  I adore this house, but it is not our "forever" house, and we did not want to price ourselves out of our end of the street (the other end gets pretty fancy, but we keep it real on this end).  Our contractor (full disclosure- he is a close friend) came back with a lower number that we could handle.  However, we are paying for  finishing out the space- bathroom flooring, tub, shower and bath fixtures, vanity, light fixtures, etc.  

Not everyone would like that, I realize, but it is exactly my cup of tea.  I love scouring salvage places, and going to low rent areas of town, looking for the best deal.  My antennae start bristling whenever a store is located in a sketchy part of town- a chorus of "low overhead=lower prices" begins to buzz in my brain.  It's a sickness, really- parsimoniousscottishitis (genetic, inherited from my mother, begins to manifest around age thirty).

Now onto a vanity and tub and my work is complete!

Mar 19, 2013

A Pink Elephant

Source: via Samma on Pinterest

I think I mentioned to y'all that we are looking at adding on a master bathroom/closet area to our house. It's a bit more of an undertaking than I anticipated, so I am having to keep the budget low, low, low in order to do it.  I'm okay with this.  It makes it more of a creative undertaking, and I love to hunt out a bargain.  I am thinking everything needs to be simple and classic, since I do not have room in the budget for the finishes I could really go crazy with.

I like this hexagon tile from Home Depot, and the price is right.  If I am going to use porcelain tile, I want tile that looks like tile, not stone.  Be yourself, tile!  My same beef with laminate countertops that look like granite.

Source: via Samma on Pinterest

Source: via Samma on Pinterest

Paired with simple white subway tile, I think it will be classic and budget friendly.  Although, I could also use bead board for the wainscoting, similar to our powder room.

Excuse the poor picture quality.

I love this-
Source: via Samma on Pinterest

How can I convince Morgan that pink walls will be the best thing ever?

Imagine the black and white floor, white wainscoting- either subway tile or beadboard, a white subway tiled shower, a marble topped gray painted double vanity, and pale pink walls!

Source: via Samma on Pinterest

Like that above

Mixed with this.  My complexion would look so divine I wouldn't even need to put on makeup in the morning!

Now off to find the perfect marble at a price I can afford.  Hmmm, this should be interesting!

Do y'all prefer the beadboard or the subway tile?

Mar 18, 2013

Social Butterflies

I don't know if it's the whisper of warm weather giving me spring fever, or just renewed energy after adjusting to my new job, but I have been out and about quite a bit lately.  Lots of fun dinners with friends, and too many nightcaps after said fun dinners.  I mean, it's been both nights a weekend every weekend lately.  What am I going to tell Miss Priss in 17 years?  "Sorry sweetie! Mama and Daddy spent your college money on babysitters.  Study hard and get a scholarship!"

Speaking of nightcaps and their ilk, my favorite pre-dinner drink of late has been a dirty gin martini, served on the rocks in a tumbler instead of a martini glass.  Does anyone else find martini glasses just impossible to drink out of?

Miss Priss has been quite the busy bee as well.  Her calendar is filled with Easter Egg hunts and birthday parties.  I think I need to take a break, as I am feeling a bit puffy, and focus on her social engagements as opposed to my own.

I say this now, and will end up making plans at one of her parties next weekend. . .

There is still no independent walking around these parts.  She teased me last Friday night (when I actually stayed in- maybe she was telling me something), and took 2 steps, then 4, then 6.  Since then? Jack squat on the stepping.  It is killing me.  I actually brought her little stroller to the egg hunt at church on Sunday, so she could put eggs in that.

Could you not just eat those precious dimpled non-solo-strolling legs?  I'm gritting my teeth just looking at these pictures.

Mar 14, 2013

This and That

  • I am just loving seeing the sun shine after five or six o'clock!  Now, it just needs to get warmer and we will never go inside.

  • I was perusing the Target aisles the other day, and happened up on this cute little workout skirt/capri combo.  I feel so cute in it, but the darn thing slides down when I am shaking it in exercise class.  Super annoying to be tugging your britches up, when you are trying to grapevine or hip shake.  Or shimmy.  Or bounce around in general.
I was thrilled to find the same look in my beloved Old Navy compression wear (above is the Target pair).  Old Navy ones have been ordered, and I anxiously await their arrival.
  • A super easy cheat way to make a good homemade creamy Italian or Caesar style dressing?

Mix a good quality bottled vinaigrette with mayo, Greek yogurt or sour cream (don't use fat free), a little chopped basil and some Parmesan.  It is delicious!

  • Dell Harper got a happy prize when I was feeling rather generous at Buy Buy Baby last night.

Ignore my video voice.  I hate it.  Anyway, she can't climb up it yet, but loves shooting down the slide. She lands in a heap at the bottom, and we both think it it hilarious.

  • An excellent way to water your orchids?  I just learned that three ice cubes per orchid per week does the trick while they are blooming.  I always worry that I am over watering, and this is a perfect way not to drown those beauties.
I love the way the purple picks out the purples in the painting.  Morgan and I purchased that Woodie Long on our honeymoon after a long visit in his studio.  He died shortly thereafter, and every time I pass that painting it brings back such strong memories of the day and that time in my life.

Okay, I'm off to go defrost a Chicken Divan from the freezer (cooking has just not happened this week), and take Dell Harper and my droopy drawers on a chilly walk.

Mar 12, 2013

Weeknight Chicken and Dumplings

Don't y'all just love Daylight Saving Time when it springs forward?  Despite the havoc it wreaked upon my toddler's sleeping habits, and my day yesterday, today was one of the days that I celebrate its length.  My child was lovely, our day was both productive and pleasurable, and the sun shone through the chill.

Anyway, although it feels like we have more time in the evening, I still don't have all the day to make chicken and dumplings (although yesterday I would have gladly trading a day of stirring chicken broth to temper tantrums in the Trader Joe's).    This recipe is from that excellent cookbook, "Quick Fix Southern", by Rebecca Lang that I have raved about in the past.

Instead of using biscuits in a can (insert side eye), it uses rotisserie chicken and homemade dumplings.  You gotta have Crisco for proper dumplings.  My brother and I would always explode with sheer happiness when we saw Mama put on her flour dusted old apron and reach back in the cabinet for her battered can of Crisco.  It meant homemade biscuits, chicken and dumplings, or both!  JOY!

Anyway, this tastes as good as completely homemade, and can be whipped up quickly even with frequent interruptions from a baby underfoot.


12 cups chicken broth (low sodium, and organic if you can- it tastes better, I swear)
1 rotisserie chicken
3 cups self rising flour, plus a little more for the counter top when you roll out the dumplings
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons Crisco
1 cup milk

In a large stock pot with a lid, heat the chicken broth over high heat. Remove the skin from the chicken, pull of the meat and shred the chicken.

Add the chicken to the broth and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, combine the flour and spices in a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse once.  Add the Crisco (now you're cooking), and pulse 6 times.  Add the milk and process until the dough comes together (about 30 seconds to a minute).

Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured counter top. Use a floured rolling pin, (or a glass, or a wine bottle if you don't have a rolling pin), and roll to a 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a pizza cutter to cut into strips 1 by 3 inches.  Drop the strips into the boiling broth a couple at a time.  They will look waterlogged and gooey (that detail comes straight from he cookbook, and is one of the reasons why Mrs. Lang is an excellent cookbook authoress).  Stir very gently just once, and reduce heat to medium.

Cover and simmer for 35 minutes.

That's it!  The leftovers were even better the next day.  Serve with biscuits (this is a great quick recipe for biscuits, although Crisco-free), and green beans.  Your family will begin to tap their feet in excitement when you reach for the Crisco!

Just ask Minnie!

Mar 11, 2013

Lollling Away

I might fall asleep while writing this post, due to a case of an insomniac baby and sick husband.  Quite the dastardly duo.  However,  I have taken the day off work, since my brain does not work right on three hours of sleep, even after a diet coke breakfast infusion.  Unfortunately, I didn't send Miss Priss to school today, since she was fussy from her freak out last night.  Oh, and she has a black eye, incurred while gardening.  That pansy picking is dangerous.

So I picked up some trashy magazines while getting Gatorade and bananas for Morgan (I'm putting him on the BRAT diet, whether he likes it or not), and I'm going to loll my heart out during this precious nap time.  I only have about 45 minutes left, by conservative estimate (please be twice that).

I also had a busy friend packed weekend, going downtown for dinner and then to see Mary Poplins Thursday night, which was absolutely delightful.  The sets themselves were with the cost of admission- I just wanted to go play in them.

My hair looks so dark in this picture.  Time for some highlights, perhaps?  We also had a nice dinner out with friends, and some nice walks with friends and babies in the weekend's sunshine.  Now it is pouring and I am lolling.  Time to rest my eyes for just a couple minutes. . .