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January 28, 2011

Home | Ideas for Boys' Bedrooms | Children Bedroom Interior Design

Depending on the day, minute, hour or week, I'm always doing something different (as you may have noticed from my  blog entries!)... cooking, diy home projects, event design, etc.  Well today, I'm interior decorating.  

This is a new section of my business that I'm very excited about - home interior design.  My first client has asked me to help her with her two sons' bedrooms.  After seeing photos of the two rooms, photos of the rest of her house, and talking with her about her vision, I've created the following design concepts. 

CONCEPT 1 : Ralph Lauren
I've prepared two versions of each concept - one for each room.  So, the theme is the same, but executed differently in each room.
Ralph Lauren 1 : This room took its inspiration from the Polo's darling children's line.  The bedding will be similar to the classic light blue oxford shirt, layered with plaids (white sheets, of course).  I'd use oatmeal linen throughout the room as the neutralizer amongst all of the color... drapes, throw pillows, etc.  The walls will be a deep, grey-blue.  I think the brass light fixtures and nail head trim on the grey wool chair are very Ralph Lauren.  I like the addition of vintage artwork to the traditional decor. 
Ralph Lauren 2 : Again, I'd use the classic light blue oxford shirt as bedding, but this time the walls are a creamy neutral.  This room will be more heavily accented in the red/brown plaid with touches of navy and grey wool.


CONCEPT 2 : Handsome
 Handsome 1 : The walls in this room are going to be a warm grey (restoration hardware).  I'd use soft plaids of creams, browns and touches of light blue and green.  The artwork has gone to the dogs... a vintage sketch and modern dog light.  The room will feel light because of the oatmeal linen drapes, but cozy from the layering of fabrics.
Handsome 2 : Using the same concept as above, this room will be soft neutrals with accents of light blue and navy.  The brown chair with nail head trim will wear beautifully with heavy use.  More dog artwork and nautical sketches.

Would you like me to help you with your design projects?  Email for more information!

January 27, 2011

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies | Heart Sugar Cookies | Recipe

With an adorable Valentine's Sugar Cookie like these, they really need to be the star of your gift.  So, I chose simple, clean ways to present them as gifts.  The supplies can be easily found and is inexpensive.

Cellophane Bags : The quintessential food packaging go-to.  I included three various sizes of the cookies and tied them with natural twine.

Tip : I like the 'crunchy' cellophane bags.  You know what I'm talking about if you've ever used them.  They are not soft plastic, they are stiff.  They look much more professional than the soft plastic bags.

I love packaging goodies in glassine bags - they leave a little bit of mystery.  I found these glassine envelopes at JoAnn's.  In the past, I've also found them at Hobby Lobby, Paper-Source and Micheal's.  I used a fine point black Sharpie for the message.  

To get my sugar cookie recipe and tips for decorating, click here. 

Valentine's Day Cupcakes & Flowers - Get the step-by-step directions here!

Valentine's Day DIY Flowers - Get the step-by-step directions here!

Valentine's Day Boxed Cupcakes - Get the step-by-step directions here!

January 26, 2011

Arrabiata Sauce with Shrimp & Linguine | Recipe | Quick Dinner Ideas

Arrabiata Sauce with Shrimp & Linguine

This pasta with arrabiata sauce is one of those dinners that takes 10 minutes to prepare - literally.  The simple tomato sauce is made from canned whole tomatoes with a little bit of red pepper flakes added for heat.  It can be made with or without shrimp - add mushrooms, chicken or just parmesan cheese if you'd like!   If you have some white wine around the house, add a 1/2 of a cup to the sauce for extra depth and interest, but it is not necessary. 

Arrabiata Angel Hair with Shrimp

1 pound of Linquine
3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 - 14.5 ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 pound of shrimp, uncooked, peeled

Start by boiling a large pot of water for the pasta.  Add sea salt to the water to help flavor the pasta (about 2 tablespoons). 

In a saute pan, cook garlic in the olive oil for 30 seconds.  Add the juice from the cans of tomatoes.  Add the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan to break them up.  Add the salt & red pepper flakes.  Cook the sauce over medium-high for 5 minutes.  **This is a good time to put the pasta in the boiling water.  It should cook for 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the tomato sauce and cook on medium high for 2 minutes, until the shrimp have cooked, then remove it from the heat.  When the pasta has cooked for 5 minutes total (or until al dente) remove it from the water and add it directly to the sauce.  Toss to coat. 

Budget Friendly Dinner :

pasta - $1.00
tomatoes - $1.50
shrimp - $6.00-$8.00 **
total : $8.50 - $10.50

**I buy frozen shrimp at Costco in 2 pound bags for about $12.  It is really easy to grab a couple of pieces out of the freezer for a quick dinner.

January 24, 2011

Home | DIY Industrial Farm Table | Harvest Table

Industrial Farm Table Tutorial is here.

I found this DIY Industrial Farmhouse Harvest Table at the "Frugal Farmhouse Design" Blog.  I think it is so great.  I can't wait to make one for my new work table in my office!

January 20, 2011

S'mores | Valentine's Day Dessert | Recipes | Homemade Marshmallows

S'mores.  Whether it is in front of your fireplace, over your gas stove, or a real bonfire, s'mores are such a romantic dessert to make - They are rustic and messy and ooey and gooey... perfect for my kind of Valentine's Day.  But, because I couldn't wait for Valentine's Day, I put this romantic recipe to work last night after dinner.  I know, it might seem like a 'no-duh' type of recipe.  But, for those of you that never went to camp or on a hayride... here is the recipe for making s'mores!

Note : I used heart-shaped homemade marshmallows - get the recipe here.


4 graham grackers
2 hershey's bars
8 marshmallows (homemade marshmallow recipe here!)
2 sticks
1 fire

1) Start a/Find a fire.  You can use your fireplace (gas or wood burning), fire pit, gas stove, or microwave, if necessary. 

2) Find two long sticks or long wooden skewers.  Again, creativity is key here.  Last night, I used tongs.  Put two marshmallows on each skewer.

3) Toast the marshmallows over the fire for about 3-5 minutes until gooey and toasted.

4) Sandwich the toasted marshmallows with graham crackers and chocolate.

If you like the heart-shaped marshmallows (perfect for Valentine's Day) you can get the recipe here!

Homemade Marshmallow Smores for Valentines Day | Recipe | Valentine's Party Dessert Ideas

Valentine's Day S'mores with Homemade Marshmallow Hearts
S'mores...  is there anything better?  Well, yes, s'mores made with homemade marshmallows are better!  Usually, I'm not one to make simple things harder than they need to be, but... this recipe for homemade marshmallows is so easy.  And being able to make them in any flavor and shape?  Well, that is well worth the extra effort of making them from scratch.

I was inspired by my favorite bakery/pastry shop/dreamland, Natasha's Mulberry & Mott.  Natasha makes multiple flavors of homemade marshmallows in dreamy pastels and they're packaged in sweet glassine bags, tied with a ribbon.  So, if you're not up for the homemaking yourself, stop by Natasha's Mulberry & Mott,  Buy a couple of chocolate bars and graham crackers and you've got a great gift. 

For my S'mores recipe, click here!

Homemade Marshmallows
1 cup of powdered sugar
3 1/2 - envelopes of unflavored gelatin
2 3/4 - cups of granulated sugar
1 1/4 - cup of water, divided
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon of vanilla (or any other flavoring... orange, peppermint?)

1) Prepare the Pan.  Spray a large (9x13) baking pan with non-stick spray and sprinkle it with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.  Set aside.

2) In a mixing bowl, pour 1 cup of water.  Pour in unflavored gelatin to soften.  Set aside.

3) In a heavy bottomed saucepan, pour in granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of water.  Cook over low heat, stirring, until the sugar has melted, about 2 minutes.  Raise heat to medium and cook, without stirring, for 8-10 minutes until it is hot and bubbly.  Make sure it does not start to turn brown!  If you have a candy thermometer, let the sugar mixture heat to 240 degrees.  If you do not, you can put a drop a small amount of the sugar mixture from the spoon into a small bowl of cold water.  If the sugar stays in a 'soft ball' and flattens out in the water, then it is done.  Remove it from the heat.

4) Pour the hot sugar mixture into the mixing bowl with the gelatin.  With the whisk attachment, beat on high for 6-8 minutes until the mixture has tripled in volume and is white and glossy.  Add vanilla (or other extract flavor) and combine.

5) In a seperate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Fold them into the sugar mixture, mixing just until combined.

6) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Don't worry about getting it all out of the bowl - it is impossible!  Spread out evenly, then sprinkle the remaining powdered sugar on top.  Refrigerate for 1-3 hours (up to 1 day), until it is firm.

7) To cut into shapes, dip your cookie cutter (or knife for squares) into powdered sugar and press down on the marshmallows.

For my S'mores recipe, click here

January 18, 2011

Lobster Ravioli in Lemon Butter with Saffron | Recipes | Valentine's Day Dinner Ideas

Lobster Ravioli in Lemon Butter with Saffron for Valentine's Day

Lobster Ravioli in Lemon Butter with Saffron Recipe

For Valentine's Day, I like to stay in.  Especially when it falls on a Monday night like it does this year.  Nothing sounds better than to stay in for a cozy night and fix a special dinner.  And nothing is better for Valentine's Day than lobster.  This Lobster Ravioli will stretch your lobster dollars... you could even use shrimp, if your budget it tight.

Lobster Ravioli in Lemon Butter with Saffron Recipe (for 2)

Pasta Dough Prepared (Get the Recipe Here)

Prepare the dough and roll into long flattened pieces (just before you would cut it into noodles).

Filling :
1/2 pound of lobster - cooked, 1/4 inch dice
1/4 cup of ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese
1 egg

Mix together lobster, ricotta and parmesan.  In a separate small bowl, beat the egg slightly with a fork to create an egg wash.

Work with two pieces of the long flattened pasta at a time - a top and a bottom.  On the bottom, brush the dough with the egg wash.  Put 1 tablespoon of the lobster filling every 2 inches.

Brush the second piece of dough with egg wash and place it egg-side down on the bottom piece (that has the filling).  With your fingers, press dough together between the filling so no air exists.  Cut in between the raviolis with a knife and place them on a floured board until they're ready to cook.

Bring large pot of water to boil.  Add a tablespoon of salt.  Wait to cook the ravioli until the sauce is completed.  They will cook for only 1-2 minutes.  Then, they go directly into the finished sauce to toss.

Sauce :

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of heavy cream
1/2 of a lemon, sliced
5 threads of saffron
parmesan cheese
Black pepper

In a saute pan, cook the garlic on medium in olive oil for 30 seconds.  Add butter, cream, lemon slices and saffron. Lower heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Toss with ravioli and serve topped with black pepper and parmesan cheese.

January 14, 2011

Tour Our First House

Our first home : )

January 13, 2011

Spaghetti al Pomodoro | Lunch | Italian | Recipes

For me, lunch is usually something I shove in my mouth to get me through the day - peanut butter and jelly, leftovers, banana with peanut butter, peanut butter and crackers... you get the picture.

Today, I treated myself to Spaghetti al Pomodoro - a lunch I frequently enjoyed in Italy.  I always have the ingredients in the pantry... tomatoes, garlic, angel hair pasta and plenty of parmesan cheese.   If you've got it, add shrimp, chicken, mushrooms or even panchetta.

Spaghettini al Pomodoro (for 2)

1/2 pound of angel hair pasta
1 tablespoon of salt
 2 tablespoons of olive oil
 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of tomatoes (crushed, whole peeled, or diced)
parmesan cheese

Start a pot of boiling water with the tablespoon of salt for the pasta - don't add the pasta until you've completed making the sauce... it will take just a little while to cook.

In a saute pan, cook garlic in olive oil on low for 30 seconds, or until it begins bubbling.  Add in tomatoes.  If you are using whole, squeeze them into the pan by hand to break them up.  At this point, you can add the pasta to the water.  Cook the tomatoes with the garlic for 2-3 minutes.  Salt to taste.  After the 2-3 minutes, the pasta should be done.  With a pair of tongs, take the pasta directly out of the water and add it to the pan with the tomato sauce.  Addd parmesan cheese and toss to coat.  Done!

January 11, 2011

Home | Bedroom Makeover | DIY Upholstered Headboard | Budget-Friendly

As you might remember, last week I posted inspiration photos for my 'budget-friendly' bedroom makeover... here is the result!  The 'before' photo is on the left.   I spent a total $150.

One of the biggest finds for the room was this headboard.  I picked it up at a thrift shop in Waldo for $20.  I recovered it in a quilted cream fabric that cost $15.  I also created the needlepoint looking euro pillow cases and the accent pillow with the embroidered pheasants.   The brass lamp was also found at the thrift shop for $10. 

I put a sheer black glaze over our once 'mission' style dresser.  You might remember the color before was a brighter, reddish brown.  I spray painted the pulls with gold spray.  I LOVE how it turned out. 

These are the pillow cases I made.  I really loved the needlepoint looking fabric.  Also, I love that I can just change the cases of these pillows and change the entire room's accent color to, say, blue??  Maybe in the spring.

I reorganized the desk to be functional and less 'bed-side-table'-esque.

This chair adds a great feminine vibe to the room.  $10 at the Thrift shop.

Press | Jenny Steffens Hobick & Mike Hobick in the KC Star

The Kansas City Star did a story about our wedding:

Read the entire article here!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Grilled | PB&J Sandwich | Lunch | Breakfast | Recipes

Peanut Butter & Jelly... Grilled
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich... Grilled!

What is it about grilling a sandwich that makes it something so indulgent?  Think about how "blah" a 'cheese' sandwich would be without the 'grilled.'  Grilling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich turns it into the most delicious treat... one of my favorites for cold winter mornings like these.

Grilled PB&J

2 slices of bread (I used a honey wheat)
2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of grape jelly
1 tablespoon of butter, softened

Assemble peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Butter the outside of the sandwich.  "Grill" the sandwich in a skillet on each side for 2 minutes on medium-high until it has browned.

Enjoy the eewwwy and gooey treat!

To find more of my Entertaining Essentials, stop by my store of specially selected favorites.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing | Recipes | Dessert | Cupcake Recipes

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

It's the simple things in life.  Of all of the sophisticated recipes I make : tiramisu, chocolate bread pudding, outrageous brownies, creme brulee, poached pears, etc... Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Icing is always Mike's request.  It is simple, straight forward and just plain good.

You can use any chocolate cake recipe... but I just use a box.  I like to use jumbo cupcake liners.  I think they look more professional.   And who wouldn't like a jumbo cupcake?

January 06, 2011

Croque Madame | Recipes | Simple Healthy Breakfast Ideas

   Croque Madame

A Croque Madame is one of those things that sound very extravagant, but when it comes down to it is very simple and rustic... basically, it is a french of a ham and cheese sandwich topped with an egg.  It is one of my favorite things to have for breakfast or lunch.  The melted cheese and slightly runny yolk make it seem so deceivingly decadent and rich.  It is also one of those things for which I always seem to have the ingredients.

Croque Madame for One

1 piece of bread
1/2 tablespoon of butter
2 slices of ham
1 slice of cheese
1 egg
salt & pepper

I use one large skillet on medium heat for the entire thing.  In one corner of the skillet I put the buttered bread to toast.  In another corner the slices of ham.  Then I crack the egg right into the skillet.
Turn the ham and the bread to cook on both sides, but do not turn the egg... it is served on top "Sunny Side Up."

After about 2 minutes, I pile the ham onto the bread, top it with cheese.  If the bread is getting to toasted, you can go ahead and put it on a plate while the egg finishes.  The egg will cook for 2-3 minutes more until the yolk just starts to firm up.

 Put the egg right on top of cheese, ham and toast.  Top it with sea salt & pepper.
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