Saturday, June 9, 2012

My New Thrifted Closet System

Earlier this week, the husband brought home a huge set of *real wood* closet shelves/drawers.  He and his sister split the closet system, which came from her boss's beach house on Fox Island.  I think he is some sort of cosmetic surgeon.  The system originally cost just under ten grand to purchase and install, but his wife wanted to switch it out for something different.  Good for you lady, put that man to work!  ;-)

Anyway, because our house and his sister's, we were able to fit most of this closet system into our walk in closets.  YEAH, I know, right?!  I wanna say this "beach house" is probably more like a beach Mansion!

So...last night Chad worked on fitting it all together how he wants it.  This weekend, he is going to build a base to lift the system about 7 inches, and also install molding at the top so it takes on the floor-to-ceiling-built-in look.

See the LEFT view, and RIGHT view (as best I could take the pictures, as I did not want to step into the disaster of a bathroom just behind me):
 And of course, the Grand Central view:
It's pretty apparent in the first view that the "light fixture" may just be a simple bulb on a dangling plate...LOL.  I would like to replace it with a cute, easy to clean fixture.  I like the idea of the EDEN pendant from CB2, but this is already in the attached master bedroom - so the light in the closet should probably be smaller, or different in its design.
I actually have this light in my daughter's room as well.  It is VERY well priced at $49.95 + $4.95 flat rate shipping.  Ceiling plate not included however.  We used this Conversion Kit from West Elm, in chrome.   It is $15, but we got it during a blanket Lighting sale, so I believe paid a little over $10 - we bought quite a few.  They are nice to have around since no other retailer offers this product to fit with modern interiors.  

I have been eyeballing the Black Iron Pendant from World Market, which shows $89.99 online, but I swear I saw this, or something very similar, on clearance for half the price in the store!  This may be a little too dark for a closet done up in dark cherry, however, the interior looks like hammered gold.  So maybe it would work?  
Or maybe that is my inner artist trying to convince herself to buy something based solely on its beauty - and not based on whether or not it would "work" in its intended space!

I should probably keep looking!  Probably will hit up Ebay for vintage milk glass pendants, Jetsons style  ;-)

Well, this is all for now.  I should get my bum out of this coffee shop before my husband suspects I have gone out for a good time after a long morning consisting of stops at the DMV, Vehicle Licensing (2 different places in this state), and the sweaty gym!



Friday, June 8, 2012

Amaretto Sour with REAL Juice

Yes, a return to my ever popular Tortellini Soup (well, at least popular at MY house)!  This bowl has spicy chicken sausage pieces, and baby carrots instead of cut carrots...because it is what I had.

I think I had this bowl of leftover soup a few Thursday's ago, and, due to a rash decision, I also made myself an Amaretto Sour to go along.  

Now, I am a firm believer in avoiding all corn-syrup-based anything, so I never bothered to purchase the sour mix.  Instead, I created this drink via the following recipe:

All-Natural Amaretto Sour
1 part Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
1 part lime juice (pulp and all - no need to put in the extra effort to strain it out)
1 chunk of pineapple (to stir, of course!)

If it is too sour, just add a little splash of Amaretto in.  Some use grenadine, but I am afraid that might be too sweet for me...?  However, I plan on making these tonight and experimenting with lemon juice and a bit of grenadine anyway - for the sake of trying it all  :-)

WARNING:  most Grenadines DO contain corn syrup.  If I come across an easy recipe for Grenadine, I will definitely be trying to make it at home!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Tortellini Soup and Editing Frustrations...

Last week, I made tortellini soup.  I made it this week as well.  I have been using a dry, cheese-filled tortellini pasta which I purchase at Costco.  I like it JUST FINE on a plate with simple Alfredo or marinara sauce, however the husband is not a big fan of it...until I put in in a soup!  I also like the soup, so it is a WIN-WIN.

I had originally planned to do a post on the easiness of this dish by superimposing a bullet-point list of the ingredients on top of the image:


My intent was to exclude any measurements because all I ever do when preparing this soup is EYEBALL it...or I use whatever amount or FORM of any ingredient which I find lying around.  For example, I either use a can or two of chicken broth, or mix chicken bouillon with water (TO TASTE).  I might use powdered Parmesan or shredded, or drop the Parmesan all together and use Pecorino~Romano.  I prefer fresh minced garlic, however occasionally use fresh crushed or garlic powder to save time.  I actually forgot the garlic the last two times I prepared this soup, and it was just fine!  Last week, I tried chopped carrots.  This weekend, a couple bags of single-serving baby carrots (I just bought another box of these from Costco so was trying to use up my old ones).  

Sometimes I add a diced tomato and/or tomato paste - especially if I am trying to use up the last bit of leftover ingredients from a past meal. Here are ways to "mix-it-up" with your soups:

diced tomato
tomato paste/sauce
chili oil or red pepper flakes
sausage chunks!
saute garlic/onions/tomato in olive oil before adding broth
bay leaves!
swap out cheeses

THE POINT BEING:  On a weeknight, (or any night for that matter?!) who needs measurements?  As long as it's quick, healthy, tastes good, and utilizes what you have on hand, it's good!!  Just remember, *to taste* is the key here.  If you are the type of cook who relies on measurements, when you try cooking without your measuring cups (saves on dish!  yay!!!) you should always taste as you go.  Don't over-salt-and-pepper your meal!

SO, MOVING ON...I thought I would be all cute and write my ingredients over image.  I know NOTHING about editing software, so I use paint.  Plus, this is sometimes my "lunch hour gig" at work, and Microsoft Paint is all we have.  We cannot bring our home computers to work, so no point in buying a fancy program for my laptop to bring with me.

See below for my FIRST attempt, I took a .JPG image, and saved as a .JPG image.  But the writing blurred!!! 
 On my next attempt, I tried saving as a .GIF, but that degraded the image quality - it looks like it was printed in a cheap newspaper (please click on the image to get the full cheapened effect...):
Then I tried saving in .TIF and .PNG, and I think got the desired effect FOR NOW. (By the way, the color difference in text across these images is intentional, I was experimenting with these shades of pink).

.TIF file:

.PNG file:
 I still notice a little bit of blurring around the word "YUM", but these two formats keep the quality degradation to a minimum.  Now I just need to find some time in my life to find out what sort of editing programs all the other food/fashion/fun bloggers are using to incorporate text on top of their images.  

Well, that's it for now, I hope you enjoyed my approach to easy cooking and comical view of a poorly-tech-savvy blogger's attempt to edit her images.

Until next time, XOXO.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Bread Pudding from Apartment Therapy!

A couple weekends ago I made amazing bread pudding using a recipe I found at The Kitchn on Apartment Therapy.  I DID tweak the recipe a bit by adding a tablespoon of Knob Creek BOURBON (I've been calling it Rum all this time...) into the liquid mixture.  I also made a caramel sauce with cardamom to go on top.  It was for our neighbor's birthday down by the creek!  I liked my bread pudding so much I made it again last will have to excuse the stains on my oven window...  ;-)