Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now we're cooking!

Recently I was flipping through a copy of.......(I'm almost embarrassed to admit this).......Better Homes & Gardens (it's actually got some great decor stuff in it), when I came across a recipe that sounded delicious. So I added the ingredients to my shopping list and the next time I came home from the store I was prepared to fix us some Stacked Sweet Corn, Bean & Beef Casserole.


Now we're not a beef family. Really we're not even much of a meat family, but every once and a while we do indulge and considering our love of all things Mexicano, this recipe sounded like the the right way to take the plunge. It was fairly easy to make and definitely a crowd (Ben & Mia) favorite.

I won't get into details about the recipe, but here's the link (Stacked Sweet Corn, Bean, and Beef Casserole Recipe) - I strongly suggest you try it for yourself.

I will however make a few comments/suggestions based on my experience.

* I left out the chorizo (Mexican sausage) - not a fan.
* In leaving out the sausage, I think we lost a bit of the spice, so next time I think I'll add some taco seasoning to the beef.
* Actually, next time I think I'll use ground turkey. I firmly believe that there's a time and a place for making the turkey instead of beef substitution. Definitely not in burgers (when you've really been craving the real deal) - we made that mistake recently, but I think with all the other flavors going on in this casserole, it would be fine.
* Most definitely use a springform pan if you have one. It really helped hold the whole thing together nicely, but during the prep & after the baking.
* You must must must top it with sour cream. It makes all the difference. (I'm a sour cream fanatic!)

If you know me well, you probably know that I'm not much of a cook. I can cook, but I just don't really like to do so on a regular basis. Now if we're entertaining that's a different story - I tend to break out all the pots & pans, but I find complicated cooking for just the 2 of us too boring to do daily. Lucky for me, I have a husband that (1) is ok with that & (2) likes to cook, so we get by just fine. But something has come over me this summer and I'm all about holing up in the kitchen. Maybe it's the fact that summer is my favorite season but here in the south it's just too unbearable to play outside so I'm channeling my energy into cooking. I wonder how long this will last? Well until it's gone, I'll be sharing my favorite recipes right here.

And if you're wondering about that little old renovation project we've got going on upstairs, it's still there. There was a slow spell due to some tile setbacks, but this week things are back in action. Hopefully I'll have some photos to share by the weekend. Until then, happy cooking!

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's in your walls?

I'll tell you what's in our walls. Our new Icynene spray foam insulation!

(master bathroom shower nook)

Not only is this stuff top of the line insulation, it also was a no brainer for us in the fact that it allowed us maximum ceiling height in our already lowish ceilings. With our soon to be installed new windows & our new heat pump, this renovation is going to be super
energy efficient which felt pretty impossible for our 82-year-old this past winter. We can't wait!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just like that

Have you ever come across something that you absolutely love, something that is so YOU, that there isn't one single thing that you'd change about it? It's rare for me, but it does happen. Most recently, I "discovered" some amazing ikat plates that were exactly my style. It was love at first sight, but I didn't take the plunge. Instead I hemmed and hawed for a few weeks - I've really been trying hard to make smart purchases & return less. Then one day last week while browsing after work, I stumbled across them again only to find that they were nearly sold out. Well that did it- they HAD to be mine.

found here

I was so psyched. They were just the inspiration I had been longing for. But when I got up to the cash register the store associate made a comment about these exact plates being featured in Elle Decor and how popular they had become and my heart sank. Did I really want the same thing that everyone else has? How unfair! I had fallen in love with them knowing nothing about their popularity. And now just like that I was falling out of love because too many other people were also in love? Do I really think that I am so unique that no one else shares my style? Silly, I realize, but I guess I sort of do did.

Have you ever tried to convince yourself to change your mind just because you wanted to be different? Now that I think about it, it's happened to me more than once. But should I even care? Deep in my heart of hearts, I knew those plates were so me, so why should I fight it? Who cares if someone else like them too? They can make me happy just the same. And surely I'll use them in a way that is unique to me. So after almost returning them, I've decided to hold onto the plates and even find myself revisiting some old loves that I almost gave away.

I'm convinced that no matter how popular they become, there are just somethings that I'll never let go of. Here are a few.

Otomi textiles


Hicks Hexagon

Cane chairs

Ombre paint finishes


Leather Captain's mirrors

Anything & Everything striped


What about you? What will you always love?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Proof of Life

Hey y'all. Long time no blog, huh? We're in over our heads with this house. What else can I say? There's been so much going on the past couple of weeks and I promise I'm going to get it all posted - hopefully sooner rather than later.

How about this to hold you over?

Ok, so it may just look like a crappy iphone photo taken in a parking lot to you, but to us it was the unbelievable! If you look a little closer you can see that the red Honda Element parked next to our silver one is also an Ecamper. (If you're new around here and not familiar with ECamper you can click here to see what it is).

We finished up our shopping one Saturday afternoon at Lowe's and returned to the car to find this one strategically parked right next to us. The parking lot was rather empty so they obviously did it on purpose to make sure we saw them. Since we had to go the whole way out to San Diego to have ours put on, we figured that we were probably the only people in North Carolina with one - guess not! We left the driver a note (how could we not?) but we never heard a thing. I guess they don't want to go camping with us! Or maybe they are intimidated by our hard core epic journey in Latin America.........who knows? Looks like we're not as alone as we thought we were!