Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I love this bedroom

It's simple and pretty.
And those curtains would look great in our bedroom... would match the duvet and headboard perfectly.
Don't even get me started on that pendant chandelier. Sigh... It's beautiful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just realized something...

There are a lot of bloggers out there that have marked their "blogiversary" or their 100th/200th posts.... evidently I am not one of those. It's not that I think it's not worth noting, it's just that I guess I haven't really been paying attention.
My one year blogiversary?? Oh, it was in May.
My 200th post?? Oh, it was earlier this month.

I guess I'll just have to pay better attention and wait for post #300 or 2 years - whichever comes first.

Trim-It-Down Tuesday: Pumpkin Pie Sundae

As the days and nights get cooler, I'm sure I'm not alone as I gravitate towards those traditional "comfort" foods. Pumpkin pie is definitely a seasonal food for me - I really only have a want for it at this time of year. Unlike Jenny (who I totally stole this recipe from!), I don't have an abiding love for the pumpkin pie. But at this time of year, it just sounds and tastes delicious to me. So, I was really excited when I saw this recipe. You see, I DO have abiding love for sundaes! I can get 2 fixes in one here, and not spoil my diet in the process.

I present to you, the Pumpkin Pie Sundae:

PER SERVING (entire sundae): 136 calories, 1g fat, 98mg sodium, 30g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 16.5g sugars, 3.5g protein -- POINTS® value 2*
1/2 cup Breyers Double Churn Free Creamy Vanilla fat-free ice cream
1 tbsp. canned pure pumpkin
1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 low-fat honey graham crackers (half a sheet), lightly crushed
4 tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-wip
Place ice cream in a small dessert bowl, and allow it to thaw just slightly (a few minutes). Then stir in the pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice until thoroughly mixed. Place bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes to allow the ice cream to firm up. Then top with the Redd-wip, followed by the crushed graham crackers. Enjoy!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Office Organization

On Mondays, I usually try to plan out my week ahead. This has been helpful to pass the time and keep myself busy and focused with Chris out of town. Sometimes it's as banal as what day I think I might want to vaccuum, to which dogs to give baths to this week. Sometimes it's a little more jammed with painting the headboard one night, distressing the furniture, and getting the house ready for guests!

This week, I think I'm going to start working on getting our office more organized. Right now, it's a mess (much like how our guest bedroom was), and I'd like to make it more of a functioning part of our house. I have visions of something like this:

Do you see all that order??? It's beautiful.

Martha's own personal "crafts room" (wouldn't it be nice?) looks to be the picture of organizations too, naturally. I love Martha (I really do), and I wouldn't be ashamed to call this my office:

The biggest problem that I see is that lots of the "stuff" in the office belongs to Chris. It's easy to go through and organize your own things, but I'm still trying to navigate how to best go through and organize his things in a way that he will like. A big black trashbag would be my way of dealing with a bunch of the mess (both his and mine), but I can't do that with his things without talking to him about it first.

Kinda throws a wrench into the whole 'getting-on-a-roll and just getting-it-done'. I can't just do that, I need to discuss some things I'd like to do with him - it's his office too.

Combining households and "stuff" has been one of the hardest things about getting married, I think. It's especially hard because we're both stubborn, and we were both kind of set in our ways before we met. So it can be *fun*, at times... but we're getting better at communicating and working together on things.

Have any tips or advice?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our bedroom

You know those chilly mornings when you don't want to get out of bed??

Now that I have the guest bedroom finished (for the most part), my attention has turned to our bedroom. There's nothing big that I want to change here, but it needs something. Some excitement, some pop of color or pattern that will liven up the color scheme.
Ever since I first saw this pattern on the cover of the Pottery Barn catalog, I have really loved it. On the cover, it actually looked like it had a little green in it, which I think I liked better. In these pics, I really looks more blue and rose and brown only. Which could work. But I wonder if it's too "sweet"?? You know, a guy does stay in this room too (at least on the weekends). Too bad this design is internet/catalog only - I'd really like to see it in person.
If I went this route, I'd only order the pillow shams. I like my duvet and headboard (both linen). These would be used as an accent.

If I don't use those shams, I'm thinking I could make a 12 x 16 accent pillow to go on the bed. Maybe something that was kind of monochromatic??

I do also really like this bright green. And I like the pattern. But would it just be like throwing a bunch of colors together?? Would it work?

I actually already have this fabric. I thought I'd make some pillows out of it for another room, but that didn't happen. So it's sitting around. It has the linen color in it, but would it work with the pale blue gray on my walls?

There are some other fabrics I've seen around that I like, but can't afford really, so they are not going to even be in consideration because I just don't want to depress myself.
Argh! These little decisions make me want to just go bury my head!

Any opinions or suggestions?

Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I think I am finally kind of catching up. After last week furiously trying to get the guest bedroom finished, the entire house cleaned, and everything ready for guests to come in and stay - as well as get prepped to host a party Saturday night to watch the Texas Tech/Texas game - I think I'm finally catching my breath.

I had a wonderful time with my friends this weekend! The only spoilers?? Tech losing and my Cowboys (more specifically Tony Romo) delivering a less than stellar performance on their first regular season game at the new stadium. 4 turnovers?? Really?? Ugh.

I'm going to be trying to catch up with everyone soon. Our network at work has really been spotty and gone up and down this week. So frustrating! And at home I've had some errands and small things to do that have eaten up my nights. I'm sorry I haven't been around as much, but later tonight (after going over to my sister's for dinner) I'm looking forward to cozying up with the 5 dogs and my netbook and surfing around! Oh, and there may be some wine involved, too.

*I'm not sure where I got that picture of the boat dock, or even what lake it is, but wouldn't it be so nice to be there right now???

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trim-It-Down Tuesday: Potluck Potato Casserole

Now that fall is here, I crave warm comfort foods. Cheesy casseroles are pure goodness, but not alway calorie friendly. This is a recipe that I ran across last week when I was preparing to host a football watching party at our house Saturday night. I needed something that was easy to make (you know I love easy-to-make dishes!), calorie friendly, but still appealing to the bunch of guys that would be invading my house. Celery and carrots were just not going to do it.

Since many of the reviews talked about it having a lot of sour cream, I decided to cut it down by about 1/2 a cup and increase the amount of cheese. I probably could have added about 1/4 cup more sour cream, but it still turned out well. Also, I decided to add green onions (1 bunch) instead of the regular ones, and some turkey bacon chunks. Those did add to the calories somewhat, but not too much as it was turkey bacon.

This was a real winner for us - everyone commented on how good it was!

Potluck Potato Casserole
The crunchy topping on this side-dish casserole gives way to a cheesy interior, resulting in a comfort food winner. A bonus with this dish is that you can make the casserole ahead--assemble and refrigerate it until time to bake. Sprinkle the cornflakes over the casserole just before baking.

Yield: 10 servings

1 1/2 cups fat-free sour cream
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) finely shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh onion
5 teaspoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (30-ounce) package frozen hash browns, thawed (such as Ore-Ida)
1 (10.75-ounce) can reduced-fat cream of chicken soup (such as Campbell's Healthy Request)
Cooking spray
1 cup coarsely crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine first 10 ingredients in a large bowl; spread evenly into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle cornflakes over potato mixture.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until bubbly. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 194 (30% from fat)
Fat: 6.4g (sat 3.7g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.4g)
Protein: 7.9g
Carbohydrate: 27.1g
Fiber: 1.5g
Cholesterol: 21mg
Iron: 1.5mg
Sodium: 283mg
Calcium: 166mg

Lenna Watson, Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005

Friday, September 18, 2009

Guest Bedroom re-do: The Reveal!

So, after 2 gallons of paint, and lots of rain, here is our new and improved guest bedroom!

Because we are watching our budget, everything you see is something that we already had. At the moment, it's a little bland.... but I'm going to keep my eye out for maybe a darker blue printed pillow, or fabric I could use to make one. I also need to get another curtain panel from Pottery Barn for the window. The sheer I thought I was going to use was supposed to be "ivory" - it was more like yellow! So for now, old mini-blinds will have to make due.

I'd also love to find some more artwork, or something, to put on the walls. Below is a painting that Chris' grandmother did. It is one of his favorites, and so was included in the room. I do like how it adds a pop of color to the room.

Here is some more details of the bed, after I was finished "antiquing" (Is that even how you spell it???).

Our first "visitor"! Rascal gave it his wag of approval.

All in all, I am very pleased with how the new room looks. Is it 100% "done"?? No, but the extra "stuff" are things I can look for at my own pace. Some accessories, more artwork, a curtain.... But it is so much nicer than it was just 2 weeks ago, and I no longer feel like I'm banishing guests to the junk-room!
Total cost of this project? Less than $50 + lots of elbow grease.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Guest Bedroom re-do: the progress continues

I have a tip for you: when it's raining for over 48 hours straight, don't try to paint outside. Even if you're under your porch, with a tarp nailed up. There will be some bad results. Paint doesn't dry, wind gusts come and knock your stuff over, water starts coming down on the INSIDE of the tarp and the paint washes off your stuff..... it's an experience. I'm one of those people that seem to like to learn from experiences this. Let's just say I learned a lot.

So. I painted the armoire inside. But the headboard/footboard and the side tables all were affected. This is what the headboard looked like after it dried off and was inside. You can see where all the off-white paint has washed off, exposing the black underneath.

So, with my trusty paintbrush (Chris has previously tested out how paintsprayers work inside. Pretty much, paint goes everywhere.) I took my paint and fixed it the best I could. It's still not the best paintjob - it's kind of globby in some places - but it's all one color now.

The side tables weren't as bad off as the headboard. We had them upside down, so the tops didn't get covered with paint, so there was nothing to "wash away" there. And the legs didn't get as much water on them as the bed (which was laying down in the water) did. I painted the tops and touched up the legs.

The next step was deciding that I wanted to "antique" the furniture so that it didn't look too juvenile in the room. Also, it saved me from doing a second coat on the armoire! So, I took some light sandpaper and went to work on the edges of the furniture.

Here is the armoire before:

And here we are after:

You can see the "distressed" finish a little better here:

All that's left to do is put it all back in the room together and hang some art!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trim it Down Tuesday: Beef and Orange Stir Fry

This week, I took pictures!! (Yay!)

I found this recipe off Yahoo, listed as a simple meal with few ingredients. Ding!! I hate recipes that call for 100 ingredients, spices, and steps. I'm all for simple and easy food, so this immediately appealed to me. After reading the recipe, I saw that it's only 371 calories per serving, so I decided to road-test it for our Trim it Down Tuesday.

Beef and Orange Stir-Fry

3 oranges
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 pounds trimmed boneless sirloin or rib eye, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 scallions, green parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths

Into a small bowl, finely grate zest and squeeze juice from 1 orange. Add garlic and soy sauce.

With a sharp paring knife, peel remaining 2 oranges. Slice oranges crosswise 1/2 inch thick, then halve slices; push out, and discard any seeds. Set aside. (*note: I just peeled the oranges with my fingers, old school style!)

In a medium bowl, toss meat with cornstarch until coated. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Working in batches (adding more oil if needed), brown beef on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes; remove from skillet and transfer to a plate. (*note: I left out the cornstarch, and all was fine. Also, I cooked all the meat at once. I used the thin cuts of sirloin/top loin.)

Pour juice mixture into skillet, and boil until syrupy, about 1 minute. Return beef to skillet; add orange slices and scallions. Toss until coated and heated through. Serve hot. (*note: I forgot to get scallions at the store!! )

Nutritional Info
Per Serving
Calories: 371 kcal
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Fat: 19 g
Protein: 30 g
Sugars: 12 g
About: Nutrition Info
Powered by: ESHA Nutrient Database
I served this over brown rice, and while I probably had about 1/3 of the batch (instead of 1/4), I was very full afterwards. It's really really good - the sweetness of the oranges is balanced nicely by the soy sauce, and I imagine the scallions if you were to include them. It was really easy to make, and all in all, the meal cost me under $10 and should feed 4. A fabulous deal!
I will definitely make this again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Guest Bedroom re-do: In Progress

Halfway done! The walls are painted.

Here are some "in progress" shots:

You can really see the difference between the old color and the new here. It's more green than it appears in these photos, but it does have a lot of gray in it too. It's very pretty - I'm pleased with how it all turned out!

All done!

It's a little darker "in person" than it appears here.

All I have left to do now is paint the furniture... which of course I was going to start on tonight until it started RAINING!! I was planning on having a little fun with the paint sprayer out in the backyard, but it was not meant to be. However... there is the weekend!

Once all is finished, I'll show you how it turns out!

Anybody want to go for a run?

As part of my mission/plan to lose weight, I need to start exercising. Lately, I just haven't felt like it. I've been lazy. To my credit, though, it's really hard to want to go and sweat when it's 100 degrees outside! However, the time has come. I need to break my lazy ways.

I came across this running plan at Women's Health. Running is something I've never been good at. I've kind of tried it in the past, but never really got to the point where I'd actually tell somebody that I jog or run for exercise. I might admit to "run-walking", or short bursts of jogging interspersed with lots of fast walking. But running is wonderful exercise, burns lots and lots of calories, and best of all - it's free! So I'd really like to give it another shot. This plan seems easy enough to follow and the goals attainable:

Week 1: Run 2 min, walk 3 min; repeat 6 times
Week 2: Run 3 min, walk 3 min; repeat 5 times
Week 3: Run 5 min, walk 2 min; repeat 4 times
Week 4: Run 7 min, walk 3 min; repeat 3 times
Week 5: Run 8 min, walk 2 min; repeat 3 times
Week 6: Run 9 min, walk 1 min; repeat 3 times
Week 7: Run 30 minutes

Since fall is almost here (it's Texas, and still hot), I've thought about trying to wake up early to exercise in the morning when it's nice and cool. However, as I'm a notorious night-owl, this may not happen. So, I may be out pounding the pavement at night - we'll see. But I hope to start this plan next Monday. And don't be surprised if I repeat week 1 twice. Just giving you fair warning!

Any tips out there from runners for me?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Trim It Down Tuesday: Grilled Apple Salad

While I don't know the exact calorie content of this, I know it's not too high. This is an easy and delicious salad. Try it with Balsalmic Vinegrette instead of making the dressing (I did, and the balsalmic was yummy!), and if you can't find white cheddar use the blended cheddar instead. You could also use feta cheese for a more intense flavor.

This could be a nice dinner salad, in which case this would serve 4.

Grilled Apple Salad

Makes 8 servings

1 cup pecan halves
Vegetable cooking spray
4 Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)
1 (6-oz.) package baby spinach, thoroughly washed
1 (5-oz.) package spring greens mix, thoroughly washed
3 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shaved
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring after 4 minutes.
2. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Cut apples crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings, cutting from one side through the other.
3. Grill apple rings, covered with grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until crisp-tender. Arrange spinach and spring greens mix on a serving platter; top with apples, cheese, and toasted pecans. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Brown Sugar-Cider Vinaigrette.

This recipe is from the September issue of Southern Living. You can go here to see it online.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

While the husband is away...

Last Friday we found out that Chris was assigned to a new project in San Antonio, so he's back on the road again during the week. Usually this is not a big deal when it's a week here or a week there, but this time it's for 14 weeks! That's right, until the beginning of December.

To help pass the time, I've resolved to try and be a busy bee accomplishing some different projects like organizing the office, cleaning up in the garage (or helping Chris when he's home on the weekends!), and cleaning up and setting up the guest bedroom for guests that will be visiting us this fall. In a couple of weeks we have our friends from New Orleans coming up, and after that in November, we have a friend from Michigan coming down followed a few weeks later by my sister in law and her husband and friends. We've had it "set up" before with various mis-matched furniture and bedding, but I'd really like to get it looking a little nicer.
My plan is to paint the bedroom walls a pretty green color, and to paint the mis-matched furniture in there a creamy white so that it all co-ordinates. I already have the bedding and curtains I'd like to use (not anything new, they are hand-me-downs/left overs/and re-purposed), but I do need to get a new curtain rod for the window as the one that is there now is tiny and flimsy and without finials (so the curtains slide off of it all the time!).

I'm not expecting to spend much on this "project" - 2 cans of paint and a small curtain rod - but I think by the time I'm through it will be a guest room I'll be proud to have guests stay in!

This is our guest room right now:

It's really more of a "junk" room right now.


And these are some pictures of a pretty green I spotted over at Brooklyn Limestone's blog. She has it painted in her guest room as well:

It is Saybrook Sage by Benjamin Moore.

I haven't checked the paint chips in our room yet (I left them at work last night!!!), but I do think it's a really pretty green, so I'm pretty sure it'll work.

I'm really excited to get to work on this, and I'll be sure to keep you all up on the progress!
By the way, you should hop on over to see Brooklyn Limestone's blog and pictures of her amazing Brooklyn Limestone! It is gorgeous and perfect, she's really done a fabulous job renovating it. Lots of before and afters.

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