Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's That Time of Year Again

The time of year where DIY adventures are put on hold for another important Saturday ritual...

Game Day.


Let's go HOKIES! 

:)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Appetizer of the Week: Taco Pie

With football season on the horizon, I am about to show you my ultimate tailgating masterpiece.  It is called the Taco Pie, and is legendary with my family.  My mom was the one who originally created it, and since then, the Taco Pie has reigned during every sports event, dinner party, birthday party, barbeque, and holiday that has taken place since then.  Leftovers also make fantastic burritos the next day.  You can mix and match toppings all you want, and your guests will absolutely love it -- I promise.

Taco Pie
Courtesy of Marmie

Ingredients: 
- 4 cans of fat free refried beans
- 1 large container guacamole (or make your own!)
- 1 large container fat free sour cream
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 2 bags shredded Mexican cheese
- 2 jalapenos
- 1 tomato or handful of grape tomatoes
- Ground cumin
- Ground chipotle chile powder
- 1 large bag tortilla chips

First, bring out a giant casserole dish.  Empty the cans of refried beans into it and smooth it down.  Sometimes I add a heaping or two of salsa to mix in with the beans -- your call.


Add a layer of guacamole on top of the refried beans.


In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and the packet of taco seasoning together, until well blended.


Layer the sour cream / taco seasoning mixture on top of the guacamole.


Toss on a thick layer of cheeses.


Then, dice up your veggies.  I typically do jalapenos, serranos, bell peppers, and tomatoes -- or whatever else I may have on hand.  Some folks like cilantro, green onions, and olives, too.


Sprinkle the toppings over the cheese. Add several dashes of cumin and ground chile powder over top.


Serve with a large bowl of tortilla chips, and enjoy!



I can't tell you how many times I've slaved in the kitchen for a big barbeque to make dozens of appetizers and side items, and the one thing my guests gush about is this 10-minute Taco Pie.  It's certainly a crowd pleaser.  


One time, I forgot to make a Taco Pie for a Hokie game tailgate, and people gave me death stares.  True story.


Hope your guests will like it as much as mine do!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Foyer Reveal

I've always adored our foyer.  It's fairly large and has a sizable coat closet.  Its beige and lackluster walls also gave me the opportunity to truly transform the space into an inviting room to our home.



To add some warmth, I first painted the walls yellow with Olympic's "Japanese Koi" in a satin finish.  I usually avoid yellow, but I found this one to be bright yet cozy.  It also compliments the other wild colors in our Crayola house well.


I also spray painted the electrical outlet covers with Rustoleum's "Oil Rubbed Bronze" to give them a little pizzazz.


The front door was originally white, but accumulated a lot of grunge and dirt over time.  I gave it a makeover by painting it with Rustoleum's door paint in "Cranberry." This paint is extremely durable, fade-resistant, prevents rust, and works wonders.  It has survived nearly two year's worth of scratches from my Corgis' nails, and still looks beautiful.


As I mentioned in a December 2011 post, Evan also replaced the brass front door and closet door knobs with oil rubbed bronze ones from Lowe's.


I then installed board and batten throughout the room to give it some built-in character.  I painted the molding and wall behind it with Olympic's "Crumb Cookie" in a satin finish.  Step-by-step instructions on how to do this may be found in my May 2012 Board and Batten Tutorial


Since every room in our house was adorned with one of these lovely brass light fixtures, Evan also replaced the foyer's fixture with track lighting from Lowe's.


After I finished my master bedroom, my goal in life was to never have a white ceiling again.  Therefore, I painted the foyer's ceiling with Olympic's "Amaretto" in a flat finish. To add a little fun, I mixed in a packet of Valspar's gold crystals to the gallon of paint.  That way, the track lighting now makes the ceiling shimmer!


Finally, to top everything off, Evan and I used a miter saw, air compressor, brad nailer, and painter's caulk to install crown molding in the foyer.  I painted it the same white as the board and batten so that it would pop against the brown ceiling and yellow walls.


Do you remember what our foyer looked like when we first moved in?



Well, here it is now!








This frame was unhinged on one side, so it was massively discounted at Bed Bath and Beyond; I fixed it up with a staple gun.  Good as new!


We have similar track lighting fixtures all over our house now.  They are placed on dimmers for both mood lighting and to save on electricity. 


This is the summer wreath that I made this year, using an old grapevine wreath, a hot glue gun, and flowers that were on clearance at Michael's.


Our foyer makes me smile now.  These changes also make it feel more like an actual room than a simple entryway.  I adore it.


Hope you like it as much as we do!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dinner of the Week: Fresh Corn Chowder

It's been awfully chilly in the mountains the past few weeks, and certainly feels more like late September than mid-August.  Therefore, I've been craving a lot of comfort food.  One of my favorites is corn chowder, and I searched online for a healthier version of this timeless soup.  I made a few twists off of one inspired by SimplyRecipes.com, and though it took an hour to make, it was easy and delicious.  It tastes even better the second day!

Fresh Corn Chowder
Courtesy of SimplyRecipes.com

Ingredients: 
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 ears of fresh sweet corn
- 1/3 cup chopped carrots
- 1/3 cup chopped celery
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium Russet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
- 3 1/2 cups skim milk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

First, rinse and chop the carrots, celery, bell pepper, and jalapeno.


Then, remove the kernels from the corn cobs.  (Save these cobs for later!)  Wash, peel, and chop the potato, as well.  Place the potatoes in a bowl full of water so they won't brown.


Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the chopped carrots and celery to the pan and cook for five minutes.


Break the corn cobs in half and add them to the saucepan.  Add the milk and bay leaf.  Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce heat to make it as low as possible.  Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes.


After cooking, discard the cobs and bay leaf.  Raise the heat, add the potatoes, bell pepper, jalapeno, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes can be pierced with a fork.


Add the corn kernels and fresh thyme.  Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and simmer for five minutes.  Serve immediately.


Enjoy!


We served this with a side of fresh and hot crusty bread.  I think the fresh sweet corn really made the difference here; I now know to avoid canned or frozen corn for similar recipes.  The soup was sweet but had a surprising kick, too!  The potatoes helped thicken it without making it feel heavy or unhealthy.  


I will certainly be making this again, and I hope you'll give it a try, as well!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Final Living Room Reveal

The living room was the only room Evan and I weren't thrilled about when we first saw our home.  It is a little on the smaller side, and since our house has an open floor plan, it experiences a lot of foot traffic.  There also isn't much allotted space for furniture.  My goal for the room was to make it inviting, beautiful, and exciting.  

Here is what the living room looked like when we first toured our home in August 2011:

The Living Room: Before Move-In
The Living Room: Before Move-In
It was a lot of beige with little personality.  So, I decided to spice things up by painting it with Olympic's "Georgian Leather" in a satin finish.


We lived like this for about a year until we saved enough money for new furniture that fit the space well.  


Last fall, I painted the ceiling with Olympic's "Volcanic Ash" in a satin finish.  Just as I had in our master bedroom, I added a packet of Valspar's silver crystals to the gallon of paint so that at night, the ceiling resembles a starry evening.


Our living room was also extremely dark at night because we didn't have any overhead light fixtures there.  In February, we hired an electrician to install two sets of track lighting and a ceiling fan. Shortly thereafter, I decided that I wanted to do something big for the primary wall where we planned to mount our TV.  When we first toured our house, Evan mentioned that he'd like to have a stone accent wall in the living room.  Why not install one ourselves?


Therefore, I built one using Lowe's AirStone product in "Mountain Autumn."


Installing the stone wall was a lot easier than it looked, and step-by-step instructions may be found at my DIY Stone Accent Wall post. By this point, the living room was truly starting to come together nicely and attaining its own personality.


As the final touch, Evan and I installed crown molding throughout the living room a few weekends ago.  I painted them with Olympic's "Crumb Cookie" in a satin finish so that they would pop against the dark gray ceiling and orange walls.


Remember what the living room looked like before?  



Here it is now! 



I inadvertently turned the living room into Virginia Tech colors with those curtains. Oh well, go Hokies!





I sealed our slate coffee table in December 2011 with polyurethane, and it still looks great.  The corner shelves were on sale at Lowe's. The curtains were also on sale from Walmart for $6 each.  The sectional sofa was on massive clearance at Grand Home Furnishings and... the pillows were expensive ones from Pier 1.  You've got to splurge a little, right?


My dad painted and created this scroll for me for my fifth birthday.  It's nice to have a home for it now!


I'm also thrilled that the crown molding worked out perfectly.



 Our living room finally feels like home now.  Hope you love it as much as I do!

You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI'm Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday's Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt's Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It's Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different... Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt's OverflowingIt's So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

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