April 30, 2012

Emily's Roasted Granola

Posted by Laura

I've been taking advantage of these recent chili days and cranking up my oven while I still can. Our apartment, being on the 2nd floor, gets pretty toasty in the summertime so I always like to stalk up on oven-type-foods to prepare for the days ahead.

This is a recipe from one of Caleb's co-workers, Emily. There is something very heartwarming about her, so naturally I jumped on this recipe that Caleb brought home for roasted granola.

The ingredients are so wholesome. Oats - good for the heart and immune system. Walnuts - rich in Omega-3s. Wheat germ - loaded with folic acid and vitamin E. Just to name a few.

-6 cups uncooked oats
-1 cup walnuts
-1 cup wheat germ
-1 cup sunflower seeds

Then Add:
4 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat Up and Add:
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup honey
-2 teaspoons vanilla

Once everything is combined, spread out onto 2 cookies sheets and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 325° F

Store in glass containers.

April 28, 2012

Penne a la Awful

Posted by Kristin

Do you ever just make a really dumb mistake that has no rhyme or reason? Well, this is a story of one of those times. I like to think of myself as a fairly adept cook. I've cooked a lot, pretty much since living on my own in college, and have made countless pasta dishes in particular. A while ago Mike asked for Penne a la Vodka and I thought "no problem". I read the recipe over, gathered all my ingredients and started cooking away. Now envision it in real time:

Water boiling for pasta? Check
Sauce simmering on the stove? Check
Vodka out for the sauce? Check..or so I thought.

As the sauce gets nearer to being done, I taste the vodka sauce a few times just to see if it needs any more salt and pepper. At first it tastes a bit off. Not bad, just off somehow. I can't place my finger on what it is so I just throw in a few more spices and call it done. I haven't eaten Penne a la Vodka too often so I think its just an unfamiliar but perfectly normal taste.

I set the table, plate up the steaming pasta, and ladle some sauce on top. After pouring some drinks, I call Mike over the table, we say grace, and dig in.

The "interesting" penne a la vodka with a side of sauteed swiss chard.
If we only knew...

Now despite looking delicious, it still tastes off. Again, not bad just off. I ask Mike what he thinks. He says, "Yea it's okay. Not great but okay,".

I tell him that I followed the recipe exactly as it read so I don't know what could have gone wrong. Then he asks the question that makes it all go down hill.

Mike: "Did you use the Grey Goose Vodka?"

Me: "No, that's the good stuff so I used the other one".

Mike: "You mean the 42 degree one?".

Me: "Yea, the one with the white label."

Mike: "You mean the passion fruit vodka?".

Me: "What? Its not regular vodka? Oh (insert inappropriate word here)!".

Mike: "Well, at least we know why it tastes so weird!".

The culprit that started it all.

After that I have to admit that I just couldn't eat any more. Mike happily munched away, saying it didn't bother him too much. But me? Well, I just couldn't get past the oddly sweet flavor of the sauce. And this is coming from someone who usually adds a little sugar to their homemade spaghetti sauce. Despite that, passion fruit just doesn't belong in spaghetti sauce, period.

My husband willingly eating the passion fruit penne. Bleh!

What I could stand to eat. 

And my husband's clean plate.

Lesson learned: no matter how thorough you think you are with reading recipes, and ingredients mind you, be prepared to have some major flukes every once in  a while. And then be prepared to laugh and eat a big bowl of ice cream for dinner.

April 26, 2012

Spring Cleaning, Room by Room in an Apartment

Posted by Laura

Spring. The time of year to throw the windows open, de-stuffify and purge. Since I have a black lab I feel that I clean things more often than I would if I didn't (for example, the white bathmat in our bathroom and the full size fitted sheet that covers my futon both get thrown in the wash every week whereas if I didn't have my little shedding machine I would probably wash those things every couple months); however I still get giddy at the feeling of a bright and airy home after a good solid spring cleaning.

My apartment consists of one living room, one kitchen, two bedrooms (which I use one as an office), one bathroom, one closed porch, and one open porch. It's not a very big apartment but I still feel the need to itemize the tasks in order to keep myself more organized so I don't end up starting too many things that I can't finish (otherwise I'll end up on the show hoarders!).

via A&E Hoarders

Here is my comprehensive room-by-room list of the deep-cleaning-types-of-things that I only do when I fear my home is going to look like the picture above. If you're interested in making your own list, you can copy the list below and paste it into a word document, then modify it as needed.

Spring Cleaning 2012

Living Room
☐ spot clean couches
☐ dust tv and other electronics
☐ organize dvds

☐ skip the dishwasher for a couple week and wash all dishes by hand to scrub off built up soap scum from the dishwasher
☐ clean fridge and check expiration dates on condiments
☐ update freezer inventory
clean pantry and check expiration dates on food
☐ clean the stove top

☐ dust!
☐ organize filing cabinet
☐ sterilize computer keyboard and mouse with alcohol

☐ replace shower liner
☐ wipe down walls
☐ take items out of medicine cabinet, wipe down shelves, replace items

☐ vacuum under bed
☐ go through clothes and donate unused to Goodwill or sell to consignment
☐ clean mirrors

☐ hose off exterior wall near dryer vent
☐ wipe down clothesline with a wet rag
☐ sweep

Whole Apartment
☐ wash windows
☐ vacuum
☐ mop
give plants a shower
☐ vacuum cobwebs off ceiling (yeek!)
☐ pat myself on the back and enjoy my clean and organized home :)

Have a great day and happy cleaning!

April 24, 2012

A Happy Home

Posted by Kristin

We've given lots of blog love to Going Home to Roost, but when something's good you just gotta share it. I recently read this post that Bonnie wrote about their relatively new California home and it just made me happy, plain and simple. The pictures, the story behind how she and her husband found this place (and how it was literally a God send), the beautiful landscape that she gets to gaze at every day- they're all smile-inducing and heart-warming.


outside dining


Read the whole story here. Hope it makes you smile!

April 22, 2012

Artsy Fartsy

Posted by Laura

The blank wall on my bathroom has been beckoning me for months to be dressed with a picture, art, photography, something, anything!

A few months ago I bought a basic art canvas and thought "this will be great! I'll make something for the empty bathroom wall". Well, I got home, put the canvas in the closet, and forgot about it. Until now.

I took it out of the package and brainstormed for awhile, staring at it.

THEN, the most amazing thing happened. I flipped it over and totally fell in love with the raw wood on the backside.

I love the look of negative patterns, or "white" patterns (where the color of the pattern is the white background space - in Photoshop this would be the deleted space). So, instead of painting a design on the canvas, I "deleted" the design.

First, I started by creating a "white" border using painters' tape (wow, I'm really "using" a lot of parentheses or "bunny ears" as some call "it").

I then made my pattern out. I love imperfect things. That's why I chose to rip the stem and leaves instead of cut them.

Mixed the color.


Let dry and peeled off the pattern and boarder.

I added a simple sawtooth hanger the the back (which is technically the front of the canvas).

Let's get one more before shot...

New wall art, costing a mere $3.99.

I love the feeling of walking into a room when there is something new about it.


Quick exciting announcement. I just wanted to share that my headboard was featured on Handmadeology last week. I feel so honored. If you don't know about Handmadeology, I recommend you check it out. It's a website LOADED with great information for online entrepreneurs. Here's the direct link to my headboard tutorial.

Handmadeology exists for the purpose of teaching artists how to successfully sell their handmade goods online, and to feature the newest handmade, vintage and supply items found on Etsy. 
- Timothy Adam, Founder

Have a splendid day!

April 20, 2012

Free Stuff is Great- Especially When You Can Sleep In It

Posted by Kristin

I love free stuff. And even though I have high standards for what I'll take for free (no one needs any more junk after all) every once in a while I come across something really good. When I can get free stuff from family or friends, and have the peace of mind that it was well cared for, that's even better. So what did I get for free that I can sleep in? Let's back up a few steps first.

You may recall my bedroom reveal here.  Our current full size bed and headboard was alright but nothing to get overly excited about. I loved the headboard because I made it the summer before we got married but I've always wanted a nice, cushion-y pillow-top mattress, which this one was not. Some more room to avoid waking up to an elbow in the face would also be nice.

Our bedroom digs up until this afternoon...

You may also recall that my sister Catie recently got engaged to a great guy named Kevin. Yay for engagements and yay for brother in laws who own homes and have comfortable beds that can accommodate a future wife.

Now that brings us to today. Since my sis was moving into Kevin's house and she didn't need her bed anymore she offered to trade and use our bed in their guest room and let us use her bed. It took 0.2 seconds for me to say YES YES YES! Mainly because I've slept in my sister's bed enough to know that its uber comfortable and definitely has a nice amount of pillow-top-ness to it.

Soon enough we realized that it made sense to just switch our headboards as well, since mine was built for a full size mattress and her's was built for a queen (mattress that is). So after borrowing a friend's truck, we switched it all out and now have this lovely bed to woo us to sleep each night.

Yay for queen size mattresses and new headboards.

Now I just need some white painted night stands. Some day.

The headboard was actually made out of an old door turned sideways and trimmed down.

This was the bottom of the old door.

How about you guys? Have you gotten anything free lately that you'd call a bargain with a capital B?

April 18, 2012

Ross Insurance: Simple and Tasty Guacamole

Posted by Laura

Howdy! Just wanted to share that we were featured over at Ross Insurance for another guest post. This week's topic? Simple and Tasty Guacamole. Check out Ross Insurance for the full post.

April 16, 2012

Pop! How to DIY a Hot Air Popcorn Popper

Posted by Kristin

I love popcorn. Sweet, salty, spicy...you put it in front of me and I'll eat it. Pair that with the fact that our hot-air popcorn popper recently went kaput and it resulted in this face:


Well, maybe I wasn't quite that dramatic (and I was wearing clothes mind you) but a little exaggeration never hurt anyone right?

But before I could pout for too long, Mike discovered this DIY air popper in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine. Even better- it actually worked and only requires 1 ingredient besides the popcorn. 

Step 1: Grab a clean brown paper bag, measuring cups and fresh popcorn kernels (old kernels don't pop well).

Step 2: Place a 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in the bag.

Step 3: Fold the end of the bag over a few times to a make a tight seal. You can also tie it closed with string. Just don't use a clip with any metal on it or you'll have a lightning show in your microwave.

Step 4: Microwave the popcorn for 3-4 minutes until you hear the popping stop, or the kernels are only popping 1-2 seconds apart. It all depends on how power-licious your microwave is.

Step 5: Remove bag using an oven mit and tear it open to see the oil-free popcorn in all its glory.

April 14, 2012

Spotlight: Wit & Whistle

Posted by Laura

Has anyone seen this great project circulating around Pinterest?


The beauty of Pinterest is that is leads the curious to the world that lives beyond the picture. This picture belongs to a shop/blog called Wit & Whistle. The owner, Amanda, is a self-proclaimed design nerd and has everything on her site from room makeovers to DIY projects to her shop.

I find myself drawn to her style, especially this rug in the gray office.


She also has a shop of 'stylish quirky paper goods'. Click here for the shop link.

I am so freaking glad you were born. via Wit & Whistle.

Because I am a sucker for all things witty, well-colored, and uniquely-designed, I am definitely going to keep Wit & Whistle on my blogroll. Check out more of Wit & Whistle here.

April 12, 2012

Lessons from the Landscape:Urban Agriculture is Taking Root

Posted by Kristin

Oh puns, they kill me. If you're scratching your head right now just reread the post title until you get it. Still not there? Well, check out this killer documentary on urban ag and how simple it really can be. I stumbled upon it the other day while scanning some urban farming websites I follow. The video, from this site, delves into new adventures in urban ag in the city of Kelowna, BC. I loved how it told the story of how different people were making simple changes in the way they feed themselves and their families. Like turning your lawn into a corn field and then having a corn roast with your neighbors. Once those neighbors taste the buttery sweet goodness of fresh corn, they won't miss that green carpet at all. And yes, I did want to add "eh" after every sentence. Canadians may talk weird different but they sure know how to grow food.

So what does this mean for someone like me who works multiple jobs, rents an apartment, doesn't own any property, and can't quite go into farming full time? It makes me think. Think about what I'll try to grow this summer. In window boxes and planters and small pots here and there.It makes me think about the need to find a good farmers market to go to since we're not doing a farm share this year (sad, I know). It makes me think about pairing up with a friend who has room for a large garden but needs some design help and some extra hands. And in my book, trading my design experience and two working hands (attached to fairly functional arms) for some fresh veggies and herbs sounds great to me.

The bottom line is, taking a step, any step, towards growing anything is a good step to take. Try out some herbs in a pot. Stick a tomato in plastic five-gallon bucket and watch it grow (after poking holes in the bottom of the bucket of course). Fill a window box with some lettuce seeds. Once you've tasted fresh lettuce that you picked, you'll never want to go back!

So...what are you going to do? I say we all grow something this year- just be ready to get addicted!

April 10, 2012

Lance and Holly's Basement

Posted by Laura

During our trip to Colorado, Kristin and I had the opportunity to do some work on my brother and sister-in-law's recently finished basement (thankfully my family-full-of-quirkiness didn't scare Kristin off too much and she was just as excited as I to take on this project). With the help of one of my best friends from home, Marli, we tackled this bad boy.

Laura. Marli. Kristin.

This basement was a typical basement before my brother finished it. He put down new flooring, new walls, a new ceiling, new lighting, and many other things that I know I'm missing. Our job was the most fun because we got to add the finishing touches. With all of the furniture already available to us, we asked Holly to purchase just a few things to add some detail and polish things off.

The vision for this room was to have it serve three purposes: craft room, tv room, workout room. Here's a basic layout drawn freehand, not to scale:

Here are the basic before and afters. Details below.

looking toward the craft section

looking toward the workout section


Here are some different angles

The craft area

One of the best things about this project was customizing the bookshelves.

Holly picked out the fabric to go along with the lime and blue color scheme. After trial and error, we figured out how to add the backing. We found large pieces of cardboard that we cut to the exact size of the back of the bookshelves. We wrapped them like presents and secured the fabric with a few staples. After removing the shelves, we inserted the pieces into the back of the bookshelf and replaced the shelves.

We were also able to use some of the leftover fabric to make some custom pillows to pull the room together.

Handmade pillows to tie the color scheme together

Basking in the finished product :)

We're so glad we were able to partake in this project. PEC Yea!