Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art Inspirations & Home Art Ideas

About six months ago, someone pinned this painting on pinterest. The price? $299. I was obsessed with it. I day-dreamed about it, stared at it, thought about it, etc. However, I could never shell out that kind of money for a painting, especially since we had just bought a house, appliances, bedding, furniture, and more.

I figured I could paint this myself. It's just impressionistic, modern paint on a canvas. I should preface that I have been painting for a long time, but nothing like this. And I'm also not that great. But, I knew I could probably do something similar and for much less money.

My friend and fellow painter, Mandy, encouraged me to try. We have been painting every Monday for several months now, and I took the initiative.

I had a bunch of home paint samples left over from painting the new house, and thought it would be really neat to have a painting in this style with paint colors from all around our house. We bought a house built in 1953, and my husband and I love mid-century colors, so the majority of the colors we painted were inspired by that era.

Over several weeks, I just splashed, painted, dripped, and dotted colors from the home paint onto a large canvas that I bought at Michaels for around $25. Here is my result:


I threw in some detail shots, because why not? Now, my camera is not the greatest, so I don't think it did the colors of my painting justice, but I really love it. I wouldn't trade it for the $299 painting.

Again, I did this with a whopping budget of $25. The paints were all just paint samples of house colors, and brushes I had hanging around the house. I chose a large, wide canvas with big sides to have the painting sticking out from the wall even more. I don't think it even needs a frame.

I hope this will inspire you to challenge your crafty ways and create art that you are inspired by.

Any ideas? Inspirations? Tell me about them.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lemon Mustard Pasta Salad

One of my favorite recipes to bring to get-togethers and family gatherings is my lemon mustard pasta salad. I make it often for side dishes for dinner, and its just a light and delicious pasta salad. It's citrus-y, sweet, salty, soft, and crunchy all at the same time!

You can make substitutions and additions. Some people like olives or capers in their pasta salads, some people hate onions, etc.

It's very easy to make - it probably takes about 20 minutes to finish and about an hour to chill in the fridge.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Around My Kitchen

Seeing as a lot of my posts will be centered around recipes I create in my kitchen, I thought I would give you a peek into what my favorite room in my house looks like.

My husband and I bought our home in May, or about two and a half months ago. The kitchen needed some help, but it was probably one of the best features of the house. One of the biggest (and most expensive) things we did for our new home was to purchase all new appliances. I splurged on my stove, but it was totally worth it. When we bought the house, the back-splash of the counter tops was just white Formica. We wanted something more cheerful and special, so my husband and I painted a custom chalkboard paint. We used a formua created by the one-and-only Martha Stewart that you can find here. Anyways, we love the result. We can write messages, bible verses, or draw in a tiled look. It's fun and cheap!  What do you think?

We also painted some of the same chalkboard paint on a large built-in that was getting rather old looking. That space is now used for the menu plan of the week. My husband can see what I'm planning on making for dinner, and it also helps to remind me.

Another thing I have tried to incorporate into my kitchen is bright patterns and designs. One easy solution is to get bright napkins or towels to put around. Here is a towel I have hanging from my stove. Cheerful, right?

I also have a wonderful calendar that I got at Anthropologie that I plan to use for years to come. How? I figure I will cut out the beautiful pictures of tea cups, plates, etc. and frame them and hang them around the kitchen. The actual calendar part is small enough to cut out. Have you done anything similar that you would recommend?

Lastly, I used more *ahem* chalkboard paint to label some things around my kitchen. What can I say? I'm obsessed! I also like the organization of having all your important utensils in one area, and I have it sitting right by my stove. Its been a lifesaver!

Well, there you go! I hope you've enjoyed this mini tour of my kitchen. What are some things in your kitchen that you love and would recommend?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

{Healthy} Zucchini & Carrot Muffins

I have been looking for a way to get more healthy snacks in my husband and I's lunches, as well as for our around the house snacking. I was looking online for recipes for zucchini muffins, and I found some good ones. However, I love carrot-cake and anything to do with carrots-in-cakes, and I usually try to have some healthy snacks around the house. So, I made my own version using healthier options and added carrots to the muffins. I think it was a success!

My recipe and picture tutorial is below, and I hope you'll make it and love them. I shared the muffins at a friend get-together, and a lot of people loved them. If you have another idea, please feel free to comment and let me know how to improve my recipe! I should also mention that I do not have any fancy kitchen appliances, like food processors or stand mixers. You can make this recipe (and any other recipe I show on this blog) using simple kitchen appliances and utensils that most cooks have around the house.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Motivation of the Day

Every Wednesday, I hope to help motivate you to try or do something out of the ordinary. I hope you listen to my advice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Free "It is well with my soul" printable

Here is a new printable I created for your walls. I love the chevron print. I love it. I think you can probably tell by how first two printables I posted contained a background of chevron.

Anyways, I love the song "it is well with my soul." It gets stuck in my head quite often. I thought a free printable would be a good thing, especially for those who love the song as much as I do.

You can find the full version to download for a 8.5'' by 11'' printout here.


Vegetarian Mushroom Risotto

My husband LOVES risotto. I mean, he really, really loves my risotto. I cannot remember the first time I made it, but after he had it, he looked at me like I was a five-star chef. And you know the best thing? It is really, really easy to make. Risotto sounds really fancy and hard to make, but it is not. I am not a trained chef, and I think I make a good risotto. One of my favorites to make is my mushroom risotto. I thought I would share my recipe for you today!

One thing you should know is that risotto does take a lot of care and a decent amount of time. I would say you need to block out about 30-45 minutes of cooking time, where you are actively in the kitchen stirring the rice. This is not a "put in the oven and walk away" type of meal. But, if you take the time to make it, the payoff is worth the care.

I am a vegetarian, so I make a vegetarian version of risotto using vegetable broth. If you are not a vegetarian, and you prefer chicken or beef broth, feel free to substitute. Also, if you are not a fan of onions, garlic, or mushrooms, use another ingredient you enjoy, like asparagus.

This recipe makes about 2-4 people's portion. I cooked this exact recipe for my husband and I, and we managed to eat it all. I should mention one more time, however, how much my husband loves this recipe. I think this portion could feed four people. If your family eats like us, then I would suggest doubling the recipe.

Free 1 Corinthians 10:31 Kitchen Printable

I thought I would make a new printable for kitchens inspired by a favorite "food" bible verse of mine, 1 Corinthians 10:31. I hope you enjoy it! I'm working on making my kitchen feel more "at home," and what better way to accomplish that then free printables? Tell me what you think!

Also, I am working on a few recipes for future posts in the upcoming week or so. They include some savory and some dessert.

God bless!

Raspbery Apple Bread Pudding

One of my earliest food memories is making bread pudding with my mom. Now, to explain one thing, my mom is not the best cook in the world. We typically had some sort of mexican food or hamburger helper when I was young. I will say that her mexican tacos are delicious, but I cannot really remember much else. Then when I became a vegetarian when I was 16, my mother stopped making me food. Not because she was mad at me for changing my diet habit, but more because she had no idea how to really make vegetarian food. Of course by that time, I was fully capable of cooking for myself. I soon developed a real love for cooking that I continue to have.

Anyways, I remember a time when my mom gave me a bunch of bread to break apart into little pieces by hand. We made bread pudding a lot because it was cheap and easy to make. I know now another reason was because it was also delicious. So delicious.

Since I have been married, I have made bread pudding twice. I thought I would share the recipe and the how-to for my latest creation: Raspberry Apple Bread Pudding with Raisins and a Lemon Sauce. What a mouthful. I had no intention to made it so fruity, but I figured I had all these fruits. Why not?!

Here is the recipe. I did not measure exactly, but here are my estimates:

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