Friday, December 28, 2012

my awful secret

My awful secret has been in hiding everywhere and for a fairly long time. Never leaving because I don't ask it to. Poisoning open spaces of each new dwelling I relocate to. 

Friends, don't submit me to Hoarders (can you watch that show and not think that you're one of those millions of people who will one day have an extreme problem?). I am coming clean. I am kicking the habit. I am taking charge of the stuff that sits in the closets and extra spaces in my home. Boxes are being sorted and the junk is out of here.

Okay, okay, it really isn't quite that bad. (And I'm not trying to make light of real people's problems) But when storage space is limited one room of boxes can be very overwhelming.

And the truth is... 


It is leaving... slowly but surely.

Every box that we've moved to our new home will one day be emptied. I just know it. I have to believe it. Because if I don't, it will never happen.

So I'm going one container at a time and sorting out the box madness that is under my desk in our semi-useless study. (One day I will blog from that desk. I promise.) So happy to have that craziness out of our now usable music room. 

And thank goodness for a husband who is supportive. Every time he comes home and sees a new pile in the recycling bin or freshly labeled files he tells me that I'm getting somewhere. 

I will no longer shift boxes from space to space, but I will simplify the contents of our home. Thanks for allowing me to unload my mental clutter... because sometimes that needs organized too. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A favorite dinner salad

One goal I had for 2012 was to encourage my creativity while cooking. I decided to document a few dishes that I created over the year, as well as attempt to make more kitchen "staples" at home. I created several recipes that were super easy... dishes that I would come back to time and time again. I decided that even if they were not amazingly creative, they should be featured and remembered none the less. I have one more of these. A sweet and nutty type of salad. My new favorite salad to make when hosting dinner or bringing over a little something for a dinner with friends.

Sweet and Nutty Dinner Salad

1 head torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, pistachios, or almonds are my favorites for this salad)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 sliced pear

dressing: apple cider vinaigrette
2 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Salad: Prepare lettuce. Place in large salad bowl. Sprinkle feta, toasted nuts, dried cranberries, and sliced pears over top of lettuce.  

Dressing: Mix honey, olive oil, apple cider vinegar in a jar. Stir/shake. Serve with salad.

If you really want to impress your taste buds, roast some butternut squash and add it into the mix. Delicious, delicious, delicious. Then exchange the feta for goat cheese... you won't be sorry. Not in the slightest.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breakfast Bake

One of my favorite dishes to prepare for when guests are coming for a weekend stay or before the start of a busy week is a good breakfast bake! Hearty, full of good vegetables, bread and eggs that makes the start of any day a bit brighter.

Over the past few years I've looked up many types of breakfast casserole recipes to the point where I just whip something together based on the produce in our home. Here is the general recipe I follow:

Breakfast Bake

olive oil
6 or so slices of bread (it can even be bread that is a bit dry)
1/2 pound to 1 pound sausage
4 to 6 eggs
1/4 onion
1/2 to 1 full pepper
3 or 4 garlic cloves
other favorite veggies
sea salt
black pepper
shredded cheese

Grease a 9 by 13 pan with olive oil. Brown and crumble sausage. Slice or rip bread into small pieces. Toss into pan for the first layer of bake. Put your browned sausage in the pan over top of the bread layer. (Holes and mixing is fine while layering your ingredients) Chop onions and peppers. Mince garlic. Sautee onions, peppers, garlic over the stove (in olive oil or a bit of the left over sausage drippings). Chop and add any other vegetables.

Scramble eggs and pour over the casserole layers. Sprinkle a bit of black pepper and sea salt over top of the breakfast bake. Put casserole in fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Before baking, allow your pan to warm (before placing into oven) and shred some cheese over top of bake.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until eggs are cooked and cheese is melted. 

'Tis the season to be a bit busy... let's start off a day a little easy... I'm thinking about fixin' one of these for this weekend of family time! Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Skillet Potatoes

Some of our favorite dishes are breakfast foods. And since we're not really the best early morning people we often eat breakfast for dinner. {Our intentions are not to rush away mornings, but sleeping in is so nice in our cozy bedroom!} 

One of our favorites is a hot skillet full of tasty potatoes. You can eat them as a side dish with any meal really. We love skillet potatoes with a slice of breakfast bake straight from the oven or on a plate with eggs and toast. 

Skillet Potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium potatoes, chopped in half inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pepper, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and peppers cook for two minutes. Add potatoes and stir occasionally until each side is brown. Place lid to cover skillet. Cook until potatoes are soft. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add rosemary and stir again. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve as a side dish with a favorite meal.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Loads of Loaves

The many breads of 2012

There were wheat breads, squash breads, sweet breads, corn breads and savory breads too.

There isn't anything quite like a slice of homemade bread. This year we have been happily adding homemade bread to our monthly menu. I thought it would be fun to remember some of my favorite recipes. I've been inspired by a variety of websites, cookbooks and blogs. Below are a few links that might be just perfect for your kitchen too! 

Butternut Squash Bread {My favorite breakfast/snacking bread!}

Easy Homemade Bread {super easy way to start making bread loaves}

Oh and these amazing goodies... which aren't loaves of bread but a good change up:

Golden Crusted Fluffy Biscuits

Golden Sweet Corn Bread

{Small Disclaimer: I'm sharing these recipes because I really did enjoy the process and the final bread product(s). I can also report that I achieved delectable baked goods with these recipes on more than one occasion, so I will call them 'tried and true'.  Go ahead and preheat your oven... you know you want to!}

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Humble Homestead: Our Bedroom

::subtle colors::

::important details::

::cherished mementos::

When we moved into our home we decide to dedicate our home improvement time on spaces that we would be awake in and the places where we would make our loved ones feel comfortable. The guest bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, the dining room were all rooms that were painted first. Also, it seems that the guest bedroom and living room are the most decorated rooms in our home. We have some bigger plans for different spaces of our home. Plans that we must save our time, materials, and money for. When we wanted to make our home be ours we found that paint seemed to give us the most bang for our buck. Which is why most of our house has been painted over the last year.

Now here we are decorating and adding personal touches ... so excited to be finally working on creating a beautiful, organized bedroom for us. I think it will make each day start a little brighter. I'm spending time making each drawer a bit easier to contain and getting that closet cleaned out properly. It has been easy now that I'm in love with the colors on our walls.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to you my dear husband and best friend! Everyone had so much fun celebrating this past weekend. Thanks to our friends and family who made it such a special time!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten on Ten: glimpses of a day

10 on 10... ten photos to represent bits of life, to find beauty in the everyday...

After a full weekend of celebrating my husband's birthday it was a busy day of settling things back to 'normal' around our home.

I'm linking up with Rebekah {at a bit of sunshine} for the 10 on 10 monthly photo project (read more about it here). Check out the photos from the final 10 on 10 project of 2012 here. This has been a fun way to capture a bit of daily life. {Thanks Rebekah for being a hostess with the most-est!} 
Happy 11th!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Running in 2012: 5K Completed

Over the past few months I've been writing a bit about my long trek to becoming "a runner" {or at least "a jogger"}. Complaining about how I don't love running, but that I'm making activity goals and for the most part reaching them.

My overall goal of running has been to increase my good health and activity choices - not to get stressed out by the fact that every race I consider to run doesn't work with our personal calendar or savings account. (is it just me or are races expensive and not always timing friendly?) This has been a bit of a conflict for this year's "registering and running a 5K" goal.

So instead of registering and running in a race with others in the community my husband and I ran a "Welcome December" 5K. It was around our town and the "registration fee" was pizza and winter brews after the run. This works for me... we think we have a new family tradition. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

50 Miles in November

Last month I joined the Haus of Girls "50 miles in November" challenge

It's been a beautiful fall for hiking, walking, and running. 

It honestly took me all month to complete this challenge. I meant to complete more miles running, but sometimes hiking happens...

Thank goodness for a husband who was up for a random (and late) walk around town on November 30th. We decided to look for 50 to mark the end of my challenge... we took this photo around 10 o'clock. When we ended our late night stroll I had logged just over 50 miles for the month.

How about 46 miles in December? I'm already in...