Monday, November 23, 2015

Minted Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter the Minted giveaway!  I used to select a winner...

Congrats Suzluvsflowers - you are lucky comment 59!  I hope you enjoy using your $250 credit!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

$250 Minted Giveaway

It's that time of year again - time to start planning your holiday cards.  I am happy to be bringing you a great giveaway to help you get started.  Minted is giving away a $250 credit to one lucky reader!

I am a longtime fan of Minted.  Their Holiday Cards are by far my favorite.  They offer so many design options, including a completely custom option that let's you submit your own artwork and turn it into your Holiday card. How fun is that?!  The image below is an example.

I also love the option of adding an patterned envelope liner and a return address label wrapper.  Look how pretty these cards looks all assembled!

Also, did you know that Minted will address your envelopes for free?!  Huge time saver and the many designs you can choose from are so pretty!

Another thing I love about Minted?  The huge selection of non-photo Holiday cards.  Don't get me wrong, I love receiving photo cards, but for me, the non-photo cards are perfect and I always have a hard time deciding which design to go with because the options are endless!

I also love that Minted offers Custom Wrapping Paper.  So cool (and really pretty)!

How to Enter:
Visit Minted and pick out your favorite Holiday Card design.  Come back here and leave a comment telling me the name of your favorite design.  That's it!

Giveaway will remain open until Monday, November 23rd.  I'll pick a winner by random and post the winner here.

Please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you are the winner.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weekend Kitchen: Balsamic Glazed Roasted Carrots

This past weekend I did some Fall clean-up in the garden and harvested this whole bunch of carrots.  I waited all summer for these carrots!  I planted them from seed in early June, and boy, they took a long time to grow.  They were delicious though, so I guess they were worth the wait.

Balsamic Glazed Roasted Carrots
- 1.5 - 2 lbs of carrots; cleaned and trimmed to equal size; if preferred
- 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley; minced (use dried if you don't have fresh on hand)
- sea salt, for garmish

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Add balsamic and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to a small glass bowl.  Gradually add olive oil while whisking vigorously.  Continue whisking until mixture is combined and emulsified.

2.  Place carrots in large glass bowl.  Pour balsamic mixture over carrots and stir to coat all sides of carrots.  Place carrots on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer.  Place in oven and roast for 40-45 minutes, or until carrots are soft.  Roasting time will depend on the size of your carrots, so check often.  Turn once while cooking.

3.  Remove from oven and top with parsley and sea salt, if desired.  Place on serving dish and enjoy!

{ Recipe adapted from this one on Cravings of a Lunatic }

Right before going into the oven:

And, here they are, fresh out of the oven:

These really were delicious.  Wouldn't they be a delicious side dish for Thanksgiving? Speaking of Thanksgiving, Can you believe this is the last week of October?!  Wow, this year has just flown by.  

Hope you are having a wonderful week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Sausage, and Pesto

I planted Brussels sprouts in my raised bed garden this year and waited patiently all summer for them to grow.  Last weekend I was able to pick a whole bunch of them to use in this delicious pasta dish.  They were fantastic!  I loved this pasta and it was the perfect way to enjoy my homegrown Brussels sprouts.

Isn't the shape of this pasta delicious?

Here are the Brussels sprouts growing in the garden.  Isn't it cool how they grow on a long stalk?  Lots of time at the market, I see the whole stalk for sale, but I only picked the largest sprouts at the bottom, and hopefully the smaller ones near the top will keep growing.  

All ready to go into the oven for roasting...

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Chicken Sausage, and Pesto
- 1 lb of fresh Brussels sprouts; cut in half.  Remove any outer yellow leaves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- salt
- pepper
- 1 lb pasta of your choice
- 4 fully-cooked chicken sausage links (flavor of your choice; I used an Italian style flavor), sliced
- 3 cloves garlic; minced
- 1/2 cup pesto (prepared, or make your own)
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat mat in a single layer.  Roast for 10-20 minutes.  Roasting time will depend on the size of your Brussels sprouts.  Stir halfway through cooking.

2.  While Brussels sprouts are in the oven, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium low heat.  Add garlic and cook for a minute or until fragrant.  Add pasta, Brussels sprouts, sausage, and pesto to skillet.  Stir and cook over low heat until sausage is heated through.  If mixture seems dry, add reserved pasta water until desired consistency.

4.  Serve immediately and top with shredded Parmesan, if desired.

{ Recipe adapted from this one at Gimme Some Oven }

I decided this pasta would be best enjoyed with a glass of vino.  Perfect Sunday dinner :)

If you like Brussels sprouts, I think you will love this dish - It was the perfect Fall meal.  I'm off to the garden to check on the rest of my Brussels sprouts.  I can't wait to use more in another recipe!

Monday, October 5, 2015

One Pot Thai Pasta Bowl

If you like Thai - you will love this dish!  And, it couldn't be simpler.  It's a one pot meal - place all the ingredients together in one pot, cook for 10 minutes, and enjoy.  It's doesn't get much easier than that!  I made this on a Friday night after a long week at work, and it was perfect.

(Recipe adapted from this one at Your Cup of Cake)

One Pot Thai Pasta Bowl
- 12 oz. pasta (spaghetti or linguine; uncooked)
- 4 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2" section of ginger root; cut into 1/2" long pieces
- 1 large carrot, sliced into 2" long slices
- 1 red bell pepper; sliced into 2" long slices
- 6 green onions; sliced lengthwise and into 2" long pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, plus additional for garnish
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste (I found this in a tiny jar in the Asian section of my grocery store)
- Juice of 1 lime
- Lime wedges, for garnish
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish

1.  Add all ingredients (except for lime juice, lime wedges, and cilantro) to a medium size stock pot.  Place on stove and bring to a boil over medium / high heat.  Reduce heat to medium / low, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.  If all of liquid is not yet absorbed, cover and let sit, about 5 minutes.  Remove ginger pieces and discard.  Stir in lime juice.

2.  Dish out pasta and top with chopped peanuts, lime wedges, and chopped cilantro for garnish.  Enjoy!

I really loved this dish - I'm putting it on my regular meal rotation list.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall Tablescape & Centerpiece Box Tutorial

Fall officially begins this week.  I can't remember a summer flying by as quickly as this one did.  I wouldn't mind a bit more summer, but there's no stopping it!  I started Fall decorating last week with the project I worked on with the Home Depot (see it here).  Today I am back with a tutorial on the centerpiece box.  It is so easy and only took an hour to put together. 


Supplies for Centerpiece Box:
- (2) poplar 1 x 6 boards; 30" long (for the sides)
- (2) poplar 1 x 6 boards; 8-3/4" long (for the ends)
- (1) poplar 1 x 8 board; 30" long (for the bottom)
- Finishing nails; 1-1/2" size
- Wood glue
- Stain-able wood filler
- Sandpaper
- Stain of your choice (I used Minwax Classic Gray)

1.  Apply a small amount of wood glue to the end of the bottom piece and attach one side.  Use finishing nails to secure.

2.  Attach other side in the same way.

3.  Attach one end.

4.  Attach other end piece.

5.  Now, use a counter-sink tool and recess each finishing nail (please ignore the glue on my hand in this photo!)

6.  Using a putty knife, fill each recessed nail hole with filler.  After filler has dried, sand entire box.

7.  Now, your box is ready to finish any way you'd like.  I used Mixwax Penetrating Stain in Classic Gray, and then finished of with a touch of DecorArt's Metallic Lustre in color Champagne Ice.

That's it!  I had all my wood cut at Home Depot, so this project was super easy to put together.  Next up, filling the box.  I used floral foam blocks in the bottom of my box (not wet, just dry) to bring up the height a bit.

Then I added candles.

And then a variety of pumpkins, gourds, and squash.

And finally, greenery.  I used lamb's ears and kale, picked from my yard, and ornamental purple kale from a plant I bought at the farmer's market.

Tuck the green in all the bare spots around the box. Just keep adding greens until the box is all filled out.  Of course, if you want this to last all season, just use artificial greenery.

Here are more photos of the finished box and my Fall tablescape.

Have a great week and enjoy the official start of fall!

I've shared this post with:
- The Fall into Fall Party at DIY by Design


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