31 March, 2011


I wanted to upload a few pictures of my living room floors before they begin replacing them tomorrow.  This is actually pergo.  It does resemble real wood until you get close.  Truthfully though, these floors have been a real nightmare to take care of.  If you walk on them barefoot or even in socks you will leave foot smudges all over.  When you clean them the streak badly.  I've tried many different tools and methods and I still get streaks. ugh.  
So, needless to say I'm super excited to finally be getting real hardwoods.  I'm going with a lighter floor that will not only show less footprints and dust, but will also make my room seem a little larger.  
That is my 8 year old leather set.  We still love it.  Yes, it's seen better days but until I find something I like better in my price range I'll be keeping it.  Also missing is my large rug. This room looks naked without a rug. A few weeks ago when my youngest was very ill with a flu type virus he...well, let's just say the damage spewed inflicted on the poor floor covering was significant.  There was no coming back from that.  I was grateful that the particular rug was older and not my favorite.  Still, having to trash any large rug feels like squandering $$$ in a major way.  But...it's just sTuFF.
I may put down my large Anthropologie rug when the floors are done.  It's a beautiful, 8x11, red dhurrie.  I've had it forever years but it's timeless.  Only problem is it moves around too much.
I'll post "after" pictures as soon as my floors are done.
Here's a couple different views.  Excuse the extra stuff laying around in the back. It's a bit of a mess. You can see my dark floors, dark furniture, dark blinds, etc... Thankfully, this room gets terrific light. Very traditional I know but I still love it. That chest/coffee table has got to go too.  You don't even want to know how much that thing weighs from all the junk in there. :) We want to eventually lose the huge armoire that houses our T.V. and mount it on the wall or above the fireplace. The armoire in the back is from Saudi Arabia.  It's a solid, hand carved beauty.  I bought it from an American oilman who lived over there for many years.  One project at a time--my husband has to constantly remind me of this.  
This summer as home school winds down and life becomes a little less crazy, I'm going to give my mantle a facelift via some paint and hang a painting or two I've been working on.  
After pics in a few days.  Yay!!!

28 March, 2011

Shake Yo Pork Chops

My favorite pork chop recipe comes from an older cookbook my mom got me years ago. I've put my own spin on the name.  The ingredients sound strange but it really is a unique and delicious combination.  Anyone I've ever served it to loves it and asks for the recipe.

Shake Yo Pork Chops
4-6 center cut pork chops
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. oregano
1/4 t. paprika
1/2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 c. water
Blend the seasonings together
Brown the chops on both sides.  Sprinkle the seasonings on both sides of the chops.  Blend the worcestershire with the cream of chicken soup and water.  After the chops are good and brown pour soup mixture over all making sure to get up all the browned bits from the bottom.  Cook covered over low heat for 40 minutes.  I like to serve it over rice.  

24 March, 2011

The lovely curtains

I've been contemplating for a while now whether or not to place curtains over my L.R. bamboo shades.  The dark shades are a look I love, and the look is pretty much timeless, so whether I do curtains or not it's all good.  Regardless of what's "hot" now you must do what you love.  I believe design magazines and shows are terrific but in the end you're the one who's got to live with it.  And if you're anything like me (with a husband who's  a finance guy) I'll be living with my choices for quite a while if you know what I mean :)  That's why pieces I choose must stand the test of time.  Thankfully my hubs has lightened up a lot over the years realizing it's only money.  I've grown up a lot understanding that it's all just STUFF that means very little.  My love for design and his love for pinching pennies have melded together and learned to live in peace, harmony and much love. 

In the next few weeks I'm going to be posting some pictures of my living room.  We'll be replacing flooring on our main floor in the next couple weeks.  Not having found furniture I like yet, my 8 yr. old leather  sofas continues to occupy our L.R receiving much-o love from the family.  Blinded by the total comfortability factor is what it is I guess. 

Back to the point of my post----curtains.  I hope you enjoy looking at some of my favorites.  

Anthropologie merchandise is a favorite of mine. We have a store here in Nashville and there is nothing I love more than perusing the store.  Their store displays are epically represented and I find myself drooling while staring and wondering 'who thought this up?'.  They're 'mazing


Next up and probably my favorite (classic-boring I know, but once again I'm trained to look for staying power) are Restoration Hardware's linen striped curtains.  They sing SPRING!


IKEA is a great alternative especially if you're on a budget.  I love most all of their stuff but I can't say I've gotten any major pieces from them.  I love their price point tho' and being Swedish can't hurt either.

I used to be a big Pottery Barn fan from way back when, and I still find many things I love there.  I do really enjoy stepping out of a traditional comfort zone and exploring my contemporary /eclectic side.  This pair is a favorite of mine.


Comments are not only welcome but excitedly encouraged.  smiles.  hApPy fRidAy Y'all!!!

16 March, 2011

Black and Tan

 The Black and Tan is commonly served in pubs throughout Ireland, England, and the United States. It is a drink that is equal parts stout and pale ale. The drink gets its name from the colors of the uniforms worn by the British police who fought the Irish Republican Army in the early 1920s. Not surprisingly, that time and those colors do not elicit fond memories for the Irish, so the drink is often called a Half-and-Half in Irish pubs. I happen to like to say Black and Tan myself.  :) 
Regardless of its title, the drink is made by filling a glass halfway with pale ale (usually Bass Ale, or an Irish favorite, Harp lager gives a lighter touch). The ale poured into the glass slowly and against the side, to prevent a big head from forming. Once the beer has settled, the stout (usually Guinness) is slowly poured over the back of a spoon, which will help keep the darker beer from forming a head, and will also help to keep the beers in two distinct layers. 
I had this amber ale on hand which works really great. Guinness is  what I always use for black. 

 Grab a glass and fill it 1/2 to 2/3 full of the ale tilting the cup and pouring the ale down the side of your glass to cut down on foam. Let any foam go down before pouring your stout.

          Take the back side of a large soup spoon and             carefully and slowly pour the Guinness over. I couldn't shoot the photo as I poured.  See the distinct layers?  You can also use Blue Moon with Guinness for a Black and Blue :)   

          Happy St.Patrick's Day! 

14 March, 2011

Fiesta speckled malted milk eggs (evil in a candy shell)

As Easter approaches every year these speckled Fiesta malted milk eggs ultimately show up in my grocery store.  They stock me.  They have since I was a child. I try to avoid them but they seem relentless. Malted milk chocolate bullies. Before I'm even aware of it they somehow jump into my grocery buggy, make their way home with me and into my kitchen cupboard (if they make it to the cupboard). They aren't there long before they begin to call my name. It's only audible to me but it's definitely real.
Here they are...  plotting against my willpower.

I'm defeated again. Maybe next year I'll gain victory. or not. :)

12 March, 2011

Frozen cheesecake on a stick

On occasion (usually as the weather gets warmer) I will make homemade popsicles for my kids.  It's fun to come up with different ingredient ideas, blend them together and put 'em in the freezer.  We do this often with juices, homemade ice cream, etc...
The other day I thought about a cheesecake popsicle.  It was just an experiment but they turned out pretty great.  I'll definitely be making them again.  My boys and DLP loved 'em.  You could adjust your ingredients however you like.  Any fruit or berry would work or even crushed cookies/candy would be good.  Frozen cheesecake on a stick.
I used my blender
1 c. frozen mixed berries
1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 c. half and half (or milk)
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2 of a can sweetened condensed milk (more or less depending how sweet you like it)
more milk if too thick.
Blend together well in blender.  Taste and adjust. Pour into popsicle molds or styrofoam cups.

11 March, 2011

Lil' Bub's 1st piano recital

A new sports coat was in order for Bub's first recital and it seemed we forgot to remove a tag.  Here's daddy cutting the tag right before the recital began.  Bubs got his curls cut off today.  Broke my heart.
Here's my boy playing Ode to Joy. It brought me such joy. 
All of the piano students after the recital.

07 March, 2011

Thai Green Curry with chicken

As I've said many times before--Thai is one of my favorite foods to make and eat.  (Green curry being my particular favorite dish).
If you're interested in cooking real Thai food, a trip to to your local International Market is likely in order to pick up a couple things not available in your regular supermarket.

The stars of this recipe are green curry and coconut milk.  These are the brands I use most.  Mae Ploy coconut milk is the best in my opinion.  I also like Mae Ploy green curry but it wasn't available.  Maesri brand is good too.  You may be able to get the coconut milk at your local grocer  but for an good and more authentic curry paste I'd definitely head to the International Market.  If you've never been "International-Marketing"--prepare yourself.  Fresh fish and all kinds of other fresh stanky protein really create a disgusting strong aroma in most markets I frequent.  Young children don't usually do well with the smell.  My boys (now that they're older) actually love to watch the fish mongers gutting fish and cutting off their heads right in front of them.  It's a boy thing.
  I always use Bamboo shoots in my curry which is pretty common.  You can also add Thai eggplant or regular eggplant but I usually don't

Use Jasmine rice.  The smell of it cooking is heaven.
What would I do without my rice cooker.  I use is constantly.  For excellent rice it's so worth getting one

Here's the recipe:

Green curry:
1/4 to 3/4 c. green curry paste (depending on how hot you like it)
1 can coconut milk
1 large carrot, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (or  1/2 green, 1/2 red for extra color)
big handful of bamboo shoots, drained
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in small chunks
2 c. water
2 T. sugar
1 t. salt
jasmine rice
Turn your burner on medium and add your green curry.  This is kind of like "frying" the curry.  Now turn the burner on medium high and add half of the can of coconut milk and stir it for a couple minutes until it's smooth
So after a couple (2) minutes it looks like this.
Now add your 2 c. water and stir until smooth
Make sure your curry/milk is on medium high (let it come up to a soft boil)
and then add your chicken

This was 3 breasts
Let the chicken cook until it's completely done and then add your veggies

I don't let the veggies cook too long.  I like a little crunchiness left.
Now add the other half of your can of coconut milk,your sugar, salt and the lastly BASIL!  Stir gently. done.

Serve with the jasmine rice. 
It's so easy and I bet you love it! 

06 March, 2011

Recliner love & loathing

Recliners were clearly fashioned by men.  How many women do you see reclining in a recliner with their feet up reading the paper?   I haven't seen many.  I definitely don't think there is anything wrong with a man relaxing in a recliner after a long day's work.  I would just prefer to have a somewhat more chic piece of furniture in my living room.  Is that too much to ask?  

Fortunately I have managed nearly two decades of marriage recliner-free.  Don't worry though...my husband isn't comfort deprived. He loves his couch and falls asleep sprawled out on it nightly.  I am thankful to have a husband who lets me design and arrange our house however I see fit.  He has no
interest in design, and frankly if he did, I'd be a little afraid.
Of course these are only my personal views and style preferences and if you enjoy a big, puffed out  LaZyboy--more power to you.  Do what works for you.  I'm just sharing my opinions and likes/loves/dislikes here since this is my blog.  

So, there are some really cool recliner choices out there these days.  Recliners have come a looooooonnnggg way--thankfully!!  Below I've shared with you a few of my favorites.  enjoy. :)

ROOM & BOARD:  I love these first two-


Isn't that a wonderful chair?

                                    Eames recliner:  Absolutely beautiful!
I remember first seeing this chair in the movie Author! Author! when I was about 15 yrs. old. Diane Cannon owned an Eames chair exactly like the one above in the movie  and I remember thinking how extremely cool it was.  Popular again and very chic (I thought it always was). 

RESTORATION HARDWARE: a little traditional but i'm thinkin' comfy time


POTTERY BARN: PB's old standby in a recliner.  Timeless.


CRATE AND BARREL: the gray color is pretty great.

Catch you some recliner love!

03 March, 2011

Tarte tatin

 I always love when my whole family gets to eat dinner together.  Tonight I made a marinated pork loin and roasted rosemary potatoes.  For dessert last minute I decided to make a tarte tatin.  Tarte tatin is kind of like an upside down apple pie.  I didn't make make the apples in beautiful rows because of time, and the crust isn't as smooth as I'd like, but believe me it tasted terrific.  Flip it out of pan and serve it up with some vanilla bean ice cream. Sorry I didn't take a picture of it plated up.  
My version was pretty rustic but very delicious.
5 to 6 apples, Granny Smith or your favorite apple
1 cup sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter,
 your favorite pie crust (half recipe) or puffed pastry

 Quarter, core, and peel the apples; cut the quarters
in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the lemon and 1/2 cup of sugar,
and let steep 20 minutes so they will exude their juices. Drain them.

 Set the frying pan over moderately high heat with the butter, and when melted blend in the remaining [1 cup] sugar. Stir about with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the syrup turns a bubbly caramel brown – it will smooth out later, when the apples juices dissolve the sugar.
 Remove from heat and arrange a layer
of apple slices nicely in the bottom of the pan to make an attractive design. Arrange the rest
of the apples on top close packed and only reasonably neat. Add enough
so that they heap up 1 inch higher than the rim of the pan – they sink
down as they cook.

 (Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for the next step, placing the rack in the lower middle level.) Set the pan again over moderately high heat, pressing the apples down as
they soften, and drawing the accumulated juices up over them with the bulb
baster – basting gives the whole apple mass a deliciously buttery caramel flavor. In several minutes, when the apples begin to soften, cover the pan
and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes, checking and basting frequently
until the juices are thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, and let cool
slightly while you roll out the dough.

          Roll the chilled dough into a circle 3/16 inch thick and 1 inch larger than the top of your pan. Cut 4 steam holes, 1/4-inch size, 1 1/2 inches from around the center of the dough. Working rapidly, fold the dough in half, then in quarters; center the point over the apples. Unfold the dough over the apples. Press the edges of the dough down between the apples and the inside of the pan.
 Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped. Being careful of the red-hot pan handle, remove
from the oven.

 Tilt the pan, and if the juices are runny rather than a thick syrup, boil down rapidly on top on the stove, but be sure not to evaporate them completely or the apples will stick to the pan.
 Still remembering that the pan is red-hot, turn the serving dish
upside down over the apples and reverse the two to unmold the tart. If
not quite neat in design – which does happen – rearrange slices as
necessary. Serve hot, warm, or cold, with the optional cream or
ice cream.