Monday, September 15, 2014

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes

I don't know if it's only me, 
but have you noticed that zucchini is getting a big boost
in popularity lately?

For some reason, I keep seeing recipes 
dedicated to this green squash everywhere.  

I have always liked zucchini, 
well...mostly breaded & fried, 
and as I get older, I'm finding I like it other ways as well.

I have enjoyed this recipe for a few years now 
and thought I would share it with you today.

I believe the recipe came from Everyday Food magazine.  
Oh how I miss that magazine!

These cupcakes are so yummy
and the cream cheese frosting is a wonderful
little bonus that compliments the cupcake perfectly.

Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes

1½ cups all purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 zucchini (10 ounces) coarsely grated (1½ cups)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (below)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cups of a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners.  Set aside.  

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Mix in nuts.

In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla; add to the flour mixture and mix just until combined (do not overmix.)

Divide batter evenly among cups.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.  (I find this was too long and baked mine about 25 to 30  minutes.)

Cool in tin on wire rack for 10 minutes; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make Cream Cheese Frosting.  Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes.  The frosted cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.

Yield:  12 cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting

In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat 4 tablespoons room temperature butter and 4 ounces room temperature bar cream cheese until smooth.  Add 2 cups confectioners' sugar and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract; beat until light and fluffy.  Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 day.

Even my picky son, who will go to
great lengths to extract anything green
or remotely healthy from any dish I've made,
loved these, so please give them a try!

And yes, if you're wondering,
I am still dieting, but I do find
I can indulge every now & again, but 
still keep on track.

Have a wonderful week!


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Ready for Autumn

I've been ready for Fall for a few weeks now.

I know it's not right to push Summer aside, 
especially when Summer is so short lived in these parts, 
but when my calendar shows "September," 
 my mind automatically thinks "Fall."

Things were going along smoothly too.
There was a nice chill in the air.
 Until...this past week.
We had a couple of hot & humid days, 
with temperatures in the 90s.  

This left me wondering how it is that you girls in the warmer climates
 can decorate for colder seasons/holidays when it's so darn hot outside.
 It messes with the mojo, I tell ya!

Today I am happy though.  
Today is a sunny 70 degrees...a perfect Fall day!

So I guess it's time to start sharing all the 
Autumn goodness going on around here.
I feel like I've been a crafting & sewing fool lately.

I'm going to start nice and easy though, 
with the dining room chalkboard.

I think this is my favorite chalkboard design to date.
I'm no artist, but this task seems to be getting a tiny bit easier
than when I first began.

So friends, tell me, 
are you getting ready for Autumn, too?


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Emmy Fashion 2014

It's been awhile since I did a red carpet fashion post.
And you all know how I love my red carpet fashion!

Here are my favorites from this year's Emmys:

Lena Headey

Sarah Hyland
(Age appropriate)

Halle Berry
(She always looks fabulous, and this color on her?  Amazing.)

Julianna Margulies

Allison Janney
(Gorgeous color)

I also thought Kaley Cuoco, Debra Messing,  and 
Anna Gunn looked great.  

 Did you watch the Emmys?
Who were your fashion hits & misses?  


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New Curtains and DIY Curtain Rods

Living in the city,
 it's a necessity to have some type of window coverings. 

There are many times I wished I could go without,
at least for the Summer, 
but I know it would not feel right somehow...
especially at night with my massive windows bare for all to see inside.

I grew tired of my cream lace dining/sitting room curtains,
and I needed a solution that would
let the light in, 
give us privacy,
but not cost a fortune.

I decided on cafe style curtains.
It seemed the best of all worlds.

I found the curtains online at JC Penney.  
Here is a close up:  

The fabric reminds me of what burlap would look like
  (if  burlap was more of a fabric),
 with ivory embroidered flowers and vines all over.

There is another obstacle with curtains for this room.
The windows are so large it makes it difficult to find curtain rods.  
When I do find them,
  aside from the fact that they cost more than the curtains,
 the rods are so big and heavy,
they require middle brackets to keep them from buckling.
With cafe style curtains,
I couldn't put a bracket in the middle of the window,
so I needed another plan!

I researched a bit and decided to make my own curtain rods!
 My husband thought I'd lost my marbles when I suggested it,
but he dove in and got to work on it anyway.

It's nothing more than electrical conduit, spray painted,
along with L brackets and hole straps.
Then I capped off the ends with furniture knobs from Hobby Lobby.  
Piece of cake and so inexpensive!
The best part for us is the conduit isn't super heavy,
 so they don't require a middle bracket to hold them in place.  

See?  Kind of cute, huh?

Here's how it all looks now:

I have no problem sliding the curtains aside if I want,
like in the photo below.

I love this new look for my dining/sitting room.
It was just what I was looking for.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cheerful Cherry Kitchen (Summer Fresh)

This Summer, I wanted to add a little fun to my kitchen.
I thought I would begin by trying to make curtains.

When I got to the fabric store, I struggled to find a fabric that I liked.
Then I spotted the cherries and thought, 
why not?

There was just something about them...
so fresh, so fun, so full of Summer...
so I went for it.

The simple curtains I made led me to switch out our
 cobalt blue pendant light to a bright cherry red one.
I love it!

As I continue this "one thing leads to another" saga,
I decided to pull out some cherry dishes 
and put together a counter top vignette.

My cabinets with the glass doors got a lot more red added to them.
(I had to open the doors in order to get a picture without the glare.)

The wall art below was already hanging in the kitchen, 
so no need to change it.

And that is how I gave my kitchen a cheerful cherry Summer fresh look.
(now there's a mouthful!)  


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Proper Foundations for Women and Rug Pads Alike

How's that for a title?

Can we talk today?

I would like to talk about rug pads.  
Now I know what you're saying...
"Rug pads? Seriously?"

Please bear with me, I'll tell you a tale, we'll share some wisdom 
and maybe we'll even have a laugh.  Deal?


Any fashion expert will tell you in order
for your clothes to look their best, you must start with the basics.
Those basics being properly fitting undergarments.
They are essential to how your clothes will look on you.
(Spanx, anyone?)

Yes, I know you're now saying...
"Wait.  What?"  
"I thought we were talking about rug pads?
We are. 

 When it comes to area rugs, the rug pad
is the foundation for making your area rug look its best!
(Just like those properly fitting undergarments.)

I shared my new rug with you a few months ago.
We purchased a rug pad from one of the big box stores,
laid it down, added the rug on top and called it a day.

I noticed, however, that the legs of my furniture
were digging into the rug, making it look,
for lack of a better word, wonky.  

 My husband was quick to tell me that this "wonkiness" was
because I had bought a poor quality rug.  I quickly dismissed his
statement, but secretly began to worry that he might be right.
(And you know as well as I, we don't want our husbands to be right.)

But then....
I got my hands on a Premium Lock rug pad
from Rug Pad USA.

Now take a look:

Pretty amazing, right?

This is what the pad looks like: 

One side is rubber, the other felt.
I used the rubber side on top since my rug was
going over a carpet.  If I was looking to put the
rug on a hardwood floor, I would put the rubber side down,
making a perfect non-slip surface.

Honestly, not only does my area rug look better, 
but it also feels better underfoot.  Which really surprised me, 
I wasn't expecting that at all.

If you are in the market for a rug pad, please keep
Rug Pad USA in mind! 

Their pads are eco-friendly,
made in the USA (I love that),
and are shipped quickly with free shipping!

They can be cut to size!
(Because just like women's undergarments, one size doesn't fit all!)

What more could you ask for really?

I'll be working on my living room soon.
New couches are on order and will be here shortly.
I know, without a doubt, I'll be ordering
a new rug pad for the living room area rug.
I've been spoiled now, there's no turning back!

Have a super weekend!
I'll be taking a short blog break to enjoy Summer.
See you soon!

**I was provided a rug pad by Rug Pad USA, however, all opinions are strictly my own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pantry Door Whimsy

Back in 2009, I painted my kitchen cabinets. 
They went from oak to white.

 I have a pantry that's just off the kitchen.
For some unknown reason, 
I never painted the doors to the pantry 
when I painted all those kitchen cabinets in 2009.

I guess I was thinking the pantry is not actually in the kitchen, 
so I could leave them alone.

 It only took 5 years for me to realize those pantry
doors would look better in white!!! lol
 I wish I had a before picture. 
 Why didn't I take a before picture?

Here are the doors, after I finished painting them:

In this narrow hallway,
the kitchen entry is to the left, 
a window to the right.

I bought new curtains for the window.
Having always admired these from Country Curtains
for their cottage appeal, 
I decided it was high time I bought them:

I love those wide ruffles!

Now the trouble was, 
because there is always trouble when I do something,
there seemed to be a lot of white in this hallway now, 
with most of it concentrated in this one area.

So, I decided to add just a little something to the doors to
break up some of that white. Something different.

A little whimsy.... the form of  vinyl decals, purchased on Etsy,
(This was the same shop where I purchased my stair decals.)

It's funny how just by adding a little detail
like this, is enough to change
the look, break up all the white, and make me happy.

When I come in my back door, 
I now see this as I enter the kitchen.  
Simple though it may be,
the little birdies make me smile every time.

A lovely week to all of you!

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