Garlic and Soy Green Beans

Getting my kids to eat anything green is usually a losing battle for me.  But, these green beans are the exception.  I make them all the time.  Every time I go to the grocery store and buy green beans, I think my family will be tired of them.  But, that’s never the case.  In fact, the smell of these things cookin’ gets my kids running for the kitchen. They are delicious, healthy, quick and easy to make.  You’re going to want to file this recipe away.

Garlic and Soy Green Beans

1 lb green beans (go ahead and snap off those ugly ends and break ’em in two)

2 tsp sesame oil

1/4 cup water

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup soy sauce

dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Grab a wok or large saute pan and crank the heat up to high.  Add the sesame oil.  Once it’s almost smoking, add in the green beans.  Toss them around for a minute or so–until they start to get some brown spots on them.

2.  Add the water (it should steam up, so watch out!).  Cover with a lid, and let those babies steam for about 3-5 minutes, or until they are crisp-tender.  Remove the lid, and cook off any excess water.  Then, add the garlic and stir fry 1-2 minutes, or until really fragrant.

3.  Make sure your pan is screamin’ hot, then add the soy sauce.  It’s gonna sizzle and steam and you’re going to feel like a real chef.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any dark bits from the pan.  Stir fry another minute, until all of the beans are good and coated with the caramelized garlic and soy sauce.  Remove from heat and toss sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

4.  Serve ’em with pork chops, chicken, or salmon.  Basically serve ’em with anything. Enjoy!




Loving My Lantern

Remember the old lantern I found while out and about a couple of weeks ago?  Well while Gilby was home last weekend he wired it and hung it for me…

I couldn’t be happier.  I wish I had some before pictures, but you aren’t missing much.  What hung in it’s place before was just a builder-grade boring old chandelier.  It wasn’t awful, but I really wanted something with charm hanging over our beautiful breakfast table.

I’ll have to go back and take pictures when it’s dark outside so you can see the nighttime effect.  It’s a nice, soft light with the Edison bulb…perfect if you ask me.  I’m so pleased with it, and our total spent for the whole thing:  $55.

(linking up here and here)

What I Woke Up To

I haven’t posted any photos of the personal nature (me, my family, etc), and I’m not quite sure why.  But, what I woke up to this morning was so sweet that I decided to share…While Gilby is traveling during the week, Ave and Zoe sneak down almost every night for a “sleepover”.  I woke up a bit earlier to enjoy my coffee in peace, and when I went back to wake her up for school, this is exactly how I found them…

Being a parent can be so hard sometimes.  And lately I’ve been having a bit of a hard time myself.  There have been a lot of moments lately that have left me feeling deflated as a mom, and I’ve actually found myself thinking “oh, I’m so ready for this stage to pass”.  Then, you get to walk into your bedroom and find your baby 7 year old looking so comfortable, peaceful…and loved.  And I realize, I must be doing something right.



(linking up here)

Gold on the Ceiling

Ever heard of The Black Keys?  If not, you have probably heard some of their music but don’t know it.  It’s everywhere.  And it’s freakin’ awesome.  My big brother got me listening to them last summer and I can’t get enough. Anyways, the other day after dropping the kids off, I was rockin’ out to “Gold on the Ceiling” high school-style (you know…loud, with the windows open) and I started thinking about a room with gold on the ceiling.  I got inspired, man.  So, I made a moodboard.  I was picturing a super-masculine room, maybe a den or man-cave (even though I hate that term).  Anyways, I’ve got no place for a room like this, but maybe someone else does.  Even if you don’t, go to iTunes right now and download some of their stuff. Then turn it up really loud.  I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s intended to be.

(message me for sources)



Pad Thai with Shrimp and Tofu

Gilby went for a 60-mile bike ride on Saturday.  I know, crazy huh?  Well, when he came home he said all he wanted for dinner was some Pad Thai.  I am not going to argue with that.  After all, I do looooove me some Pad Thai.  When I was younger, we had some close-family friends that owned an authentic Thai food restaurant.  They introduced me to the fresh flavors of the region, and I have been hooked ever since.   If you’ve never tried this dish before, give it a shot.  It’s a quick cooking meal, so be sure to have all of your ingredients prepped beforehand.  Here’s the recipe…

Pad Thai with Shrimp and Tofu

8 oz dried rice vermicelli

2 T sugar

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup rice wine

2 T vegetable oil

1/2 pound firm tofu, cubed (be sure to pat dry with a paper towel)

4 T sesame oil

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup bean sprouts


chopped roasted peanuts

green onions–white and green parts, chopped

limes, sliced


1.  Start by soaking the noodles in really hot water for about 20 minutes.  (be sure to read  your package directions, as they may differ).  Then, spread on a cookie sheet to dry while you do the following…

2. In a small bowl, add the sugar, oyster sauce, and rice wine.  Set aside.

3.  Heat a large pan or wok and add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  When the oil is really hot, add in the tofu and stir-fry until lightly browned.  Set aside in a large bowl.

4.  Add 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil to the same pan and heat till almost smoking, then add the shrimp and toss until the shrimp is no longer pink.  Add garlic and stir fry about 30 seconds longer.  Transfer to the same bowl as the tofu.

5.  Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan, then add the eggs.  Stir fry about a minute or two, until the eggs are cooked.  Transfer to the bowl with the tofu and shrimp.

6.  Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan over medium-high heat, swirling to coat.  When hot, add the drained noodles.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, then toss and cook 2-3 minutes longer.  Push the noodles to the side of the pan and add the oyster sauce mixture.  Cook until the sugar dissolves, then toss the noodles in the sauce.  Add half of the bean sprouts, and all of the reserved tofu/shrimp mixture.  Toss to coat.  Turn out to a platter and garnish with plenty of peanuts, lime juice, sprouts, and cilantro.  Enjoy!




Out and About Friday

So this past week I spent cleaning out my closets.  And let me tell you, it was not fun.  It was rewarding, though.  I’m not going to share any photos because I didn’t take any…my closet re-dos aren’t any of those beautiful or even clever ones that you see all over pinterest.  They’re just closets.

Anyways, by yesterday I was finished (I even dropped off the donations immediately, which is a first) and needed to get out of the house.  So, I ended up wandering through my local favorites and these are the things that got me inspired this week.  It is pretty clear looking through this week’s finds that I’m totally inspired by all things country right now.  It think it’s because we’ve been spending so much time at the lake lately.  We’re home this weekend, but with summer pretty much here, how can I not have it on my mind?

First up is this screen door.  Sorry, there’s a million other things in the shot, but this vintage red door has caught my eye several times before.  I decided to finally snap a shot.  If I had a place for it at the lake, I’d have taken it.  But, as of now so such luck.  It’s $90 and full of charm.

How cute is this vintage recipe box?  I could see this making a great gift for a bride-to-be, filled with handwritten family-favorite recipes.  $4.50!!!

Oh my gosh, I love a good Pyrex.  I’d love to have this set at the lake for mixing up salads, eggs, pancake batter…you name it.  It’s a great set in excellent condition for $65.  A bit too much for me, but inspiring nonetheless.

And, last but not least is this beautiful sideboard.  It is from the 1850’s and has beautiful details and great storage.  $494.

Well, that’s it.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.



Makin’ Whoopie(s)

You know what I like to do?

Eat chocolate.

I’ll admit there are certain times of the month when I like it more than others.  And, during those times I’m perfectly OK with just eating a handful of chocolate chips from my baking cabinet.  Other  times I need to eat a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips all over it.  I know…I have no shame.   But, every once in a while when that just won’t cut it, I’ll turn on the oven and actually use the baking chips to bake something.

My mom used to make these cakies all the time.  They are an old Weight Watchers recipe, but they are actually really good. I haven’t made them in a long time, but since I’m craving chocolate right now, I decided to dig for the recipe.  We always called them “cakies”, but I think most people refer to them as whoopies.  They look like a cookie, but have a more cake-like consistency.  Let me tell you:  Fresh out of the oven, these things will definitely do the trick.  Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Cakies (makes 24)

2 cups flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/3 egg substitute (or you can use 1 whole egg + 1 egg white)

3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Beat sugar, butter, and eggs till combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until combined.

4.  Add yogurt, vanilla, and chocolate chips and stir till combined.

5.  Bake 10 minutes and enjoy!



This Week’s Finds

I’ve had several good finds recently, and I actually made some purchases.  I went with a plan, strayed from that plan a bit, but came out with a pretty good haul for my $50 budget.

First off is this rocking chair…I scored this baby for $10!  It is super comfy, due to the little curve in the back.  I may add a seat cushion, but the finish is great.  I plan to take this to the lake, but for now it’s sitting in my living room, and it’s getting used more than any other chair in the room.  The kids love rocking in it.

Second, I found this cool mid-century table.  The top is laminate, but the base is solid wood–which needs no refinishing.   I only paid $5 for it!.  I’d love to replace the top with a piece of Carrera marble, but for now it’ll do just fine the way it is.  I’ll probably take it to the lake, too, but for now it’s in my master bedroom…perfect for putting my coffee cup on it in the morning.

This lantern is making me giddy.  I scored it for $35.  It needs to be rewired, and I’ll have to add some chain, but this is going to add so much character to my breakfast room. I actually took the picture of it upside down, because that’s how I plan to use it.  I’ll post pics when I get it finished.  Hopefully soon.

Have an awesome day!


The Big Reveal

I finally had time to go photograph the little girls’ room that I just wrapped up…

This client is a friend of mine and we had so much fun surprising the girls with this makeover.  Newly divorced, she and her two young daughters are setting up their first home together.  Just starting out means they didn’t have much with them, and this mother’s first order of business was to give her girls a room that they could feel special in.

The challenge was not only budget, but in addressing both of the girls’ personalities.  One loves pink, the other not so much.  This is a temporary home, so I wanted to give them a room that works for the both of them now, but also when they move on and get rooms of their own.  They needed storage for books, toys, and all of that other stuff little girls have.

I started with the black and white polkadot headboards (which I made).   If they ever grow tired of turquoise or pink, they can reuse these headboards with just about anything.  Their mom says they are taking them to college.

I found this heavy bookcase at the Salvation Army store for $60!  I just gave it some fresh, white paint and accessorized it with their things, plus a few new things to tie in the theme.

The room was a success.  She said it hasn’t solved any sibling disputes about sharing a room, but at least they can find their books and lay their heads on a pretty pillow.

TOTAL BUDGET:  about $550