Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cooking Motivation

No doubt, the bean and I have been enjoying our summer.  However, I have been lacking a little in the craft and culinary areas.  I have either been putting my effort in keeping up the outside or we've been out having fun in the sun while we can.  Oh, and my little bean stopped napping too, which of course gives Mommy even less time.

So, in an attempt to get some of my mojo back, I have given myself a little challenge.  I went to our little local health food store and picked up some spices that I don't regularly use and I am going to try to plan recipes around the spices.  I have also purchased a half a dozen cookbooks in the past month or so (now if I could find the time to sit down and go through them all).

First up:

Chipotle Chili Powder
Here are some of the recipes that I have found:

Fiery Chipotle Baked Beans (I'd omit the chorizo though)
I want to try using it in place of regular chili powder in my butternut squash and black bean chili
Also want to try in tacos

And next:

Smoked Paprika
Goat Cheese With Paprika, Garlic, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Capers a Bruschetta recipe
Smoky Black Bean Soup
Baked BBQ Tofu (always wanted to try backed tofu - worth a shot!)

 Fennel Seeds
Fennel Seed Focaccia with Kalamata Olives
Spicy Turkey Sausage With Fennel Seeds
Marinara Sauce (always looking for a new take)

Garam Masala
Butter Chickpea Curry
Chicken Makhani

I also ordered za'atar from Amazon.  It's an Arabian spiced commonly used simply on bread brushed with oil.  Absolutely delicious!  I grew up in the Middle East, so it is very nostalgic.

I will report back if I find any to die for recipes.  And by all means if anyone has a recipe using any of these spices, please share a link!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Furniture Revamp

 I was very fortunate that my mother wanted to pass on this lovely hutch for free.  It has a lovely antique quality.  It fit beautifully in her home.  She has a very eclectic and antique-y style.  She is a retired interior designer and has a beautiful home.  I, however, have a much more contemporary and non-eclectic style.  So, I decided to revamp the hutch to fit in with what I have (and kept my fingers crossed that Mom doesn't hate it!).

Here is the before picture, and please try to ignore the very, very messy garage in the background.  The upper glass doors were already removed for travel, so they are not shown in this picture.

Now, drum roll, here is the after:

I think it cost me about $35 to redo this, including all of the hardware.  I just bought some white paint (obviously) for the outside, a turquoise (Turquoise Bay at Ace Hardware) for the inside, and new knobs, pulls, and hinges.  I already had primer on hand.

Here is a close-up of the inside of the upper part.  I just love the pops of red with the turquoise.

And I stuck pretty true to the knobs that were on the original piece...the glass was just really yellowed so they needed to be replaced.  Very classic looking, I think.

I went a little more contemporary on the pulls, though.

All in all, I am super happy with how this project turned out.  It makes a beautiful addition to our home and gives me TONS of extra storage.  Also, it is an interesting process refinishing old furniture...when you get in there and see all of the stuff prior owners have done.  All of the nicks and nails...it makes you wonder about them - who they were, when they were, etc.

Have you had any successful furniture refinishing projects.  If so, give me the link or email a pic.  I am always inspired to see other peoples decorating!