Archive for ‘June, 2013’

There’s something about the kitchen.
It’s the hub that makes a house a home. Ever notice how everyone congregates there when you have a party or dinner with friends? I think it’s the idea of the center-point that draws me in – it makes me want to add special touches to raise the interest level for those who gather there. These are four of my favorite kitchen accoutrements, some owned, some on my wish list.

  1. Glassybaby candle holders – Delightfully unique and hand-blown candle holders. Their tagline says it all: “One of a kindness.” Love that and love literally every single color. Right now, I’m lusting after “Roots” for a splash of lively yellow.Glassybaby_Roots_chair
  2. Silver Cheese Markers – One of a kind, handstamped silver cheese markers. What a lovely addition to that perfectly arranged cheese plate. No more questions about kinds of cheeses, just the feel of silver in your hand and the craftsmanship of being handstamped.CheeseMarkers_Etsy
  3. Painted Measuring Cups – My hub & kids gave me these for Mother’s Day. First thought: Too precious to use! Then I remembered my grandmother’s house and baking with her chipped measuring cups. Precious? Yes. Precious memories worth the risk of chipping these whimsical hand-painted measuring cups.MeasuringCups_Anthropologie
  4. iPad Stand – Versatile stand for your iPad in the kitchen to reference all those Pinterest recipes for the perfect meal. I especially like this one because it can hold your iPad both vertically and horizontally, nice.iPad_KitchenStand
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Source: Leah Miller Photography blog

In honor of my aunt’s amazing talent… I’m sharing her adorable idea on how to make paper plate bunting. For grand daughter’s 5 year old birthday, she creating the princess party to beat all princess parties. For this “once upon a time” bunting, you’ll need:

  • 16 pink paper plates, 7″ diameter
  • 16 circle-cut scrapbook paper to fit inside the pink paper plates, ~5″ in diameter
  • 16 plain paper plates for backing, 7″ diameter
  • 16 large doilies, so the edges stick out
  • die cut or pre-packaged letters to spell “once upon a time …”
  • glue

Glue a doily between a plain and a pink paper plate – pink paper plate on top. Press tightly together so the doily ruffles (so cute!). Then glue the patterned scrapbook circle onto the pink plate. Add the letter to each plate (glue or double-sided tape) and pin to a ribbon or twine. Super easy and especially precious!

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It’s the end of the school year

My kids say “Hurray!”

My head jumps to, “Time for teacher thank you gifts.”

And those gifts must be clever, friend. They must stand out and be noticed.

I often default to gift cards – who doesn’t like free money?! But my clever side challenges my wallet beyond just a plastic rectangle… what am I going to do to make it noteworthy? Different? Memorable?

Enter creative juices. Whatcha got for me this year? I pondered long and hard, and with a bit of inspiration from my buddy Pinterest, I created a fun way to say “Thank You for Helping Me Grow” to our boys’ elementary school teachers:

Thank you for helping me grow

Quick DIY How To

  1. Visit your local Home Depot and buy one of those adorable mini succulents.
  2. Cut a brown lunch bag open, and wrap the plant like an ice cream cone; secure with double-sided tape and trim the bottom and edges.
  3. Print out my Teacher Appreciation Tags, and cut out the one you like best.
  4. Using a hole punch, punch a hole in the top and bottom of the printout.
  5. Thread the printout through a kabob skewer, and stick it into the soil.

Voila… adorable teacher appreciation gift. Wait! Don’t forget a nice handwritten thank you card with that plastic rectangle gift card tucked inside the envelope. Now you’re all set.

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Grilled steak, fresh cilantro and homemade pico de gallo – what could be better? Not much, friend. I discovered this recipe on Pinterest (oh how I love Pinterest) from Feasting At Home, and made it that very night for the hub and I. Can I just say, in a word… YUM! I mean really YUM. So good, my hub says:

This could be a signature dish on Master Chef!

We had restaurant left-over tenderloin and little interest in cooking, but with a food processor and fresh ingredients, we had a healthy dinner in a heartbeat. Below is the recipe for your pleasure – slightly adapted for JulsJuls.

grilled steak taco

Grilled Steak Taco with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce
Feeds 4 easily
Steak and Marinade:
2 lbs Flank Steak or pounded skirt steak (though I prefer a better cut – leftover tenderloin was perfect)
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced
1/3 C soy sauce
1/3 C olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
4 smashed, chopped garlic cloves
1 tsp ground cumin
In a bowl, mix together ingredients for marinade. Place steak and onions in a gallon size Ziploc bag and pour marinade over, sealing and turning several times to coat well. Let sit at room temp for 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (Or marinate for up to 3 hours in fridge, bringing to room temp before grilling.) Remove steak from marinade (you can toss the marinade, but you may want to keep the onions to grill them as a side) and grill on med-high until medium rare. Let the steak rest for 5-10 mins, then slice against the grain (think diagonal) into thin strips and add to warm tortillas.
grilled steak

Cilantro Chimichurri:
1 bunch Cilantro or about 1 cup packed
1 bunch Italian Parsley- about 1 cup packed
1/4 C fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp ground cumin
2 ground coriander
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped

In a food processor, add jalapeno, garlic, onion, and pulse several times until chopped. Add cilantro (stems are fine) and Italian parsley, pulse again. Add oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pulse until combined. Set aside in small serving bowl.

Pico De Gallo:
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
1 Serrano chili, minced (remove the seeds)
1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 1/2  limes, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Finely dice tomato, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and fresh lime juice. Place all in a bowl, mix and let sit for 15 min to 1 hour.

chimichurri and pico

Final Assembly:

Sliced steak in a fresh warm tortilla, then slop some of that yummy chimichurri and fresh pico de gallo over the meat. Go ahead, garnish with a squeeze of lime, crumbed cotija cheese, a shake of Pico Pica hot sauce, and some sliced avocado. Delish, my friends, delish!

final assembly

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Have I Mentioned I’m a Pinaholic?
Indeed. Head over heels obsessed. These four fellow pinners are my favs right now.


These four fellow pinners are my favs right now. You won’t find your typical popular pins on these boards, these folks pin extra interesting god stuff. Take a look and give them a follow.

  1. Elena Valtcheva :: eclectic mix that will make you browse happy
  2. Feast of Dead Bees :: diverse and edgy pins abound – not for the easily offended
  3. Bairbre Aine :: a crafty gal who post not-so-run-of-the-mill handmades
  4. Air Am :: long-time favorite for me – deeply thought provoking, cause for introspection
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