Feb 17, 2012

What's Brewing?...Homemade Margaritas

I love tequila, it is my go-to liquor. Most people have had a bad experience with a particular liquor...mine was Jack Daniels Whiskey. Not tequila though. Tequila is always a good time, it is smooth, relaxing, and fun! When paired with lime is can only get better. (I love lime, just look at my blog name!) I used to only drink margaritas in the summer, but recently I wanted to spice up a cold evening, so what better idea than a homemade margarita.


Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila (use a shot glass to measure)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 limes
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 2 ice cubes

Directions

Dip the rim of a martini or other wide rimmed glass into a saucer of tequila. Next, dip the glass into the kosher salt to coat the rim. Set aside.

Cut a garnish off of one of the lime. Juice the rest of the limes and pour into a shaker...or two glasses. Add the agave nectar and a few ice cubes and shake well for about 1 minute.

Pour into your rimmed glass and top the side with a lime wedge.

Feb 16, 2012

New Flavors

A few weeks ago I made some truffles for a Guerilla Gallery art opening that was put on by a good friend of mine. I did them as "art" along with some photographs of mine. The whole gallery was a huge success and my truffles went fast. I should have charged for them, but since it was a free art opening I wanted to be able to provide free truffles as well.

I made a total of 5 kinds of truffles, of which 3 were new flavors. Below are pictures of the new flavors. I was mostly pleased with them, but of course tweaking will be done before I make them again.

(Cinnamon Orange in a mild dark chocolate)


(Ginger Lemongrass in white chocolate)


(Red-wine Rosemary in milk chocolate)

Feb 13, 2012

My Projects: Refurbished Dresser


Refurbished Antique Dresser

This was another glorious back alley find. Andy and I were walking to brunch last July, when we happened to glance down an alley. Lo and behold what do we see...this dresser! It was in bad condition, almost not worth a second glance. When we looked around though, we were able to find all the drawers for it, so Andy ran home and grabbed his truck. Lets just say we never made it to brunch that morning. :)

We went back and forth about how to finish this bad boy. Should we sand it down to the natural wood and varnish the whole thing to make it shine, or should we give it a funky paint color. I won in the end with a funky paint color. And obviously I chose turquoise, as it is my favorite color. We started by sanding the whole thing, drawers included. Now that was a task! There was some damage to the sides and the bottom, so Andy sanded the sides down and added some boards to the bottom to stabilize the dresser and cover the damage...so smart that man. Then we got to painting. We painted a few coats which took about a week. Then we bought these cute silver handles, screwed them on, and voila!

Costs:
-solid wood dresser: Free
-sandpaper: $5
-wooden baseboards, found around the house: Free
-paint, left over in our basement: Free
-silver handles: $2 each, 20 total: $40
Total: $45
We sold it on craigslist for: $500!!

Feb 10, 2012

What's Cooking?...Vegan Brownies

I am not vegan or even vegetarian. I am however, curious! When Andy and I lived in Columbia Heights, DC (we recently moved neighborhoods) there was a vegan restaurant/coffee shop called Sticky Fingers. I loved the name and every time we walked by, the place was packed out. Something good was happening there. Finally one day we stopped in for breakfast. I ordered the tofu scrambler, and a blueberry muffin. I was curious about the tastes since there would be no eggs, butter, milk, or cream in anything.

When my food came I was immediately surprised. It looked normal and delicious! When I dug in the taste was fantastic. The tofu scrambler tasted like tofu, obviously, but it also tasted like scrambled eggs with curry. Yum! There were no eggs though.

The blueberry muffin that I had ordered was surprisingly delicious as well. The outside was crispy and the inside was moist. So I became a vegan believer. I still love my meat and animal products, but now I know that it is possible to cook without eggs, milk, butter, and cream. This could just make my baking a LOT healthier!

So only now have I finally gotten around to trying my first vegan recipe. I wanted to make brownies to I figured I would veganize them for the healthier aspect, along with curiosity as to how they would taste. I looked up quite a few recipes and ended up creating my own with pieces and ideas from other recipes...yes, ballsy move for my first attempt at vegan cooking! I am SO happy with how they turned out though! I couldn't be more impressed with myself! Enjoy!

Ellie's Vegan Brownies:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray 9x13 pan.
Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients.

  • -2 cups flour
  • -2 cups regular, or cane sugar
  • -3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • -1 teaspoon baking powder
  • -1 teaspoon salt
  • -3/4 cup coffee or espresso
  • -1/4 cup water
  • -3/4 cup applesauce
  • -1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • -1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix well and pour into greased pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. (I baked them a tad bit longer after poking at them with a toothpick)




Feb 9, 2012

Old Photo Thursday

(found this image on Pinterest, could not find initial source)

What a cool photograph. There are so many things that I enjoy about this picture. Let me just talk about a few of them... I enjoy how the photo was taken in 1898 and is so crisp and clear. What wonderful quality! I enjoy that the two men on the left have both of their feet on the pedals and are holding each other up. I enjoy the mustaches. I enjoy the man on the right with his laid back stance and pensive look. I enjoy the mountains in the background, where are they?? And lastly I enjoy their outfits. The funny thing about this picture though, is that you can find similar images to this today...can anyone say "hipster"? The hipsters of today are totally stealing the style of these authentic 1890's hipsters. I love it all!

Feb 8, 2012

Snow Dog!

What a cutie, I love shaggy dogs!
I thought I would share this picture with you today as Andy and I are off to Oregon for a few days. Andy's brother, sister in law, and a bunch of cousins live out there. Since we spent Christmas with my family this year, we decided to cash in on some of our Southwest miles and take a free trip to Oregon to visit some of Andy's family. I can't wait! Oregon is one of those places that I have always wanted to visit, but have just never made it there. We will fly into Portland, probably spend some time there, and then visit family and friends in smaller towns outside of Portland. I am hoping to drink some great beer, laugh a lot, hit up the outdoors, and thoroughly enjoy myself. I'll have some posts scheduled while I am gone so you won't miss me too much. Happy Wednesday!

Feb 7, 2012

Turquoise & Lime Decorating

These are two takes on turquoise and lime decorating that I very much enjoy. I found the images on Pinterest, along with a whole lot of other turquoise and lime images. I guess I am not the only one with a passion for these colors.

I enjoy the above decorating for its simplicity. I often try to bring more simplicity into Andy's and my apartment, but clutter always abounds. I am a huge fan of white with color accents though. It is a more recent decorating scheme that I have enjoyed.

The image below is so much fun! It is truly turquoise and lime decorated! I don't think it is too over done though. This could really work nicely in a house or apartment. Not only are there some great colors in this room, but the texture is amazing. I think some of the texture could be taken out, but overall I quite enjoy it.

Feb 6, 2012

Weekend in Pictures





Oh what a wonderful weekend! Andy and I went back to our hometown this weekend and had such a great time. A good friend of mine created an art show in a vacant building downtown. She called the show Guerrilla Gallery and it was up for one night only. She asked me if I would make some chocolate truffles for the event, so I agreed and then Andy and I decided to make a weekend of it. The truffles turned out great an the art show was fantastic...such talented artists! My friend who put the whole event together actually sold most of her artwork. She rocks! The rest of the weekend was spent with good friends and family enjoying ourselves completely. One morning my brother made us personal homemade latte's from his espresso machine. He roasts his own beans and takes great pride in pulling the perfect shot of espresso. It was so much fun to watch him and learn about the process. I am on such a high from this weekend, but now it is back to reality. Happy Monday!

Feb 3, 2012

What's Cooking...Basil Flatbread Crackers

Last Friday I posted a similar picture to the one above. The recipe was Zesty Pineapple Salsa, but I paired it with this flatbread chip/cracker. I still don't know weather these would be called a chip or a cracker. The recipe calls it flatbread, but when you break it into pieces it is more of a chip/cracker.

This recipe is really easy and yield's the perfect amount of flatbread, for whatever purpose you may be using it. I used it with homemade salsa, but because my salsa was chunky it was a bit hard to use the flatbread to scoop it up. I ended up using a spoon to put the salsa onto the flatbread. Not everyone prefers that method though.

This flatbread is VERY flaky and could almost be used as a crust. I want to try it as the crust of a quiche. One of these days I'll get around to doing that and I'll be sure to post about it here. Until then, try out the recipe and let me know if you used it for anything special.

Basil Flatbread adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, plus 40 whole basil leaves (leaves are optional)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten for egg wash

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, chopped basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and the sugar in until combined. Add butter; mix until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and continue mixing until dough forms.
  • Briefly knead dough on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces; shape into ovals, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  • Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a very thin oval (about 12 by 16 inches). Transfer to a parchment-lined, or greased baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and more dried basil. (Optional: press 10 whole basil leaves into top.)
  • Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. (be sure to watch it because it will brown quickly and may burn.) Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Repeat 3 times with remaining dough, egg wash, salt, and whole basil leaves. Break into individual crackers using your hands.

Feb 2, 2012

Old Photo Thursday

This is an old photo from Life Magazine. It is Jackie Kennedy painting watercolors with her daughter. This photo was taken in their home in 1960. I enjoy how this picture depicts their life as being very slow and calm. That is the great thing about photographs, they can convey feelings and emotions. This photo makes me feel calm. I enjoy Jackie's slouched figure and her hand resting gracefully in her lap. I wonder what she is painting?

Feb 1, 2012

From my shop

This vintage camel colored skirt is very versatile! It can be dressed up or down, which is what I love about it. It was also made really well. This is the kind of skirt that seriously lasts forever and will always look good no matter the era. I paired it with a skinny belt, a plain t-shirt, a fun animal print scarf (also in my store) and black wedges. Wearing it with a shirt dressed it down and made me feel really comfortable. Adding the wedges and scarf were to play it up just a little bit. Check it out in my store here: Turquoise & Lime Vintage Shop.
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