Sunday, July 24, 2011

Full of Hot Air!

Last weekend I found out that about 30 minutes north of us there is a Hot Air Balloon Festival held each year. There is tons of stuff to do, but I was really interested in what they call the Balloon Glow. So, I dragged Jeremy along on another photo adventure.

We were supposed to pay $8 per car to enter, but apparently since we got there at the tail end of the evening, we got a free pass! Come to find out, they were worried they wouldn't be able to do the glow because of the winds. See, winds are great for flying a balloon, but not so much for making it sit on the ground, stationary.

This balloon was called the flying purple people eater....ala "One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater....sure looks strange to me!" (Please tell me that song is now stuck in your head too)

I loved seeing the HUGE flames to create the hot air to inflate the balloon.

They had to do the glow when they could get the balloons up, so anytime anyone got theirs up and stable, we would count down and they would GLOW!
Almost all lit up!

This was one of my favorites and stayed lit for most of the show.
All 5 lit up!

Then at the very end, skydivers with pyrotechnics....fireworks in normal terms....on their FEET came down from the sky. Yep, as if skydiving wasn't enough of a thrill, they had to attach exploding balls of fire to their feet. Hmmmmm, wonder if I could do that tandem??? :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sprocket Spunky!

I finally got around to making my sprocket pillows from this awesome site!
Something about the circle appeals to me in the way color wheels do....hmm there's an idea....maybe I should make a ROY G BIV version!
She was the inspiration for the quilt I just recently finished too. These pillows are pretty easy. The edge is sorta tricky (at least for my amatuer sewing skills) but I was pretty happy with it. I think I will make more.

The backside. I might have to do a double sided sprocket with multiple fabrics on both sides! So much fun!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Latest Project

I finally finished my most recent project. Jeremy jokes (okay maybe he's serious), that I start all sorts of projects and never finish them. Well on top of all the house projects that I (and he) have completed this year because of putting it on the market, I also finished my first quilt.

I used a simple stripe for the backside.
I found a blog that I love! She has the most beautiful combos of fabrics and lots of fun ideas. They aren't even all quilts so check it out even if you don't want to quilt.
But anyways, this is her tutorial that I used for this quilt. It was not difficult but very time consuming.

I love the way it already looks worn in with the raw edges on the circles!

I learned how to stipple or free-motion quilt on my machine....not the easiest thing in the world.

Somoa even likes it! Just kidding, I totally staged this picture. I like to use my quilts but I am not letting her lay on this one.
I put a vintage filter on this photo and I love how fun the quilt looks in the tree.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Food Mood

Its been a while. I have been cooking....just not blogging. We have our house on the market and so any time not spent on anything to do with that has been spent doing other things....outside. Except this week Ohio decided to plunge itself back into winter. Its snowing out right now....for realz!
I apologize....I somehow became a 14 year old there for a sec.
Anyways, here are a few things I have made lately

Huevos con Chorizo (Eggs with Sausage....mexican style!)
I bought some yummy fresh Mexican Chorizo at Findlay market. I finally got my husband to go. ( I had to go once I found out about it when I moved to Cincinnati....while he has lived here his whole life and had never been.) Now he's hooked! He loved it and even convinced his ma and pa to go down....I think they are hooked too.
Anyways, just cook 2 chorizo in a skillet (remove it from the casing and cook like ground beef.) In a separate bowl, whisk 6 eggs with a bit of milk. Move browned chorizo to one side of skillet and pour eggs into the other side. Scramble eggs and then combine with chorizo. I added a couple tablespoons of salsa here in this step.
This is the brand my store sells. Go with whatever you find!
I serve this with refried black again: black beans. Super super full of flavor and better than their normal counterparts for your waistline. So, back to what I serve this with, refried black beans, sliced avacado, sour cream, corn tortillas, cilantro and queso fresco. There are a bunch of different mexican cheeses that even Kroger now carries. They are usually in the Hispanic aisle refrigerated case.
This is an extremely quick, cheap and yummy meal.....and actually pretty healthy!

Chicken in Cream Caper Sauce
This is a modification of a recipe that a friend made for me coupled with an allrecipes recipe. I will tell you the modifications I made to the allrecipes version below.
I read a bunch of the comments and took different advice. Hopefully you can follow what I did.
Seasoned chicken with S&P and lemon pepper.
Cooked in skilled according to AR( All Recipes)
Deglaze the pan with juice from half a lemon and a swish of white wine. (I don't measure much....sorry!)
Then begin to add the cream, but double it....every review said you needed more sauce for 4 pieces of chicken, plus its so yummy I wanted to put it on everything!
If you are impatient like me and you want to thicken the sauce quickly, remove about 3 Tbsp. of the sauce and add 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder or cornstarch...mix thoroughly and then add back to pan. (You must do this or you will just have lumps of cornstarch....YUCK!
In addition to the capers added at the end, I grated about 1/4 cup of Parmesean cheese into mine and gave another good squeeze of lemon at the end.
Served with Jasmin rice cooked in chicken stock and green beans......oh and the sauce went on everything. It's super yummy!

Blackened Mahi-Mahi, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Quinoa and Green Chile Corn Muffins
I know what you are least what my sister is thinking....brussel sprouts? Have you gone crazy!?
My parents gardened a lot when I was little and while I don't remember eating much of it, my sister does.....and they aren't always fond memories.
Not to mention the fact that when we got married, Jeremy wouldn't eat anything but meat and potatoes.....and by meat I mean red meat. I once tried to use ground turkey instead of ground beef. That brewed into an argument about how I was trying to poison him! :)
He has become such a different eater! He will try anything! In fact, he suggested the fish and the brussel sprouts!
Anyways, I just use the spices from this recipe and cook the fish for about 3-4 minutes a side in a cast iron skillet.(I don't use the recipe, just the ingredients)
The brussels were baby sized and super fresh. I cut them in half, threw them in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice and S & P and tossed, put them on a baking sheet in the 450 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. They get sweet, tender on the inside and have a nice crust on the outside.
I cooked the quinoa with 1/2 onion sauteed, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp cumin and red pepper and chicken stock.
Green Chile Corn Muffins are a Paula Deen recipe that is naturally only uses corn meal. (No, Jiffy is not just corn wouldn't believe how many people think the corn muffins they are used to eating are just corn meal....they usually aren't!) Although, I had to add some sugar because we always had sugar in our cornbread growing up.

I saw a few new recipes today that I want to put on my menu for next week so I thought I would share them with ya'll!
Slow cooker Chicken Curry
Beef with Peppers Stir Fry

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cleaning, Crafting, and Chinese food!

So after months of having our house on the market and being excited for people to come see it, we finally had a showing. (We had one a couple of weeks ago but it was a drive by, not a scheduled one.) Jeremy and I spent much of yesterday putting finishing touches on the house and cleaning up. We haven't heard yet how it went but are keeping our fingers crossed!

We had to run a couple of errands. One for some baby bok choy and other veggies to make this meal from my meal plan. I haven't done much home chinese cooking but they turned out really yummy and didn't take a lot of time....and they are pretty cheap! Only downside is that they made a lot of dirty dishes!

The other errand was to pick up some fabric to make this!

My friends just adopted their first baby and I was honored to photograph him last weekend. His room is decked out in argyle so I came up with this idea for sprucing up a plain gray hoodie. I didn't take a before shot, but it was an inexpensive hoodie from Target. With a little bit of fabric (could have used scraps if I'd of had any that I liked the pattern and color for) some interfacing and fun colors of thread, this is what I came up with!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food Mood....spring is coming

I don't have a whole lot of super springy meals this week, but I am leaning away from comfort food and towards using more veggies and stuff again....and the grill!

#1 Porkchops with Mushroom Risotto
I seasoned the porkchops with salt and pepper, basil, parsley, red pepper and coriander. Its a nice herb blend that is just a hint of flavor. Grill on medium heat for approx 7-8 minutes per side for a 1" thick chop.
The link for the mushroom risotto is above.
I also just steamed some green beans.....and cooked some crescent rolls for Jeremy b/c he says he never gets any "real"(meaning gluten filled) foods! :)

#2 Lasagna Rollups
These can be made from a bunch of different recipes online and also can be prepared and frozen to be cooked another night. BONUS!
I just brown 1 lb ground beef in a skillet with 1/2 onion and 2 cloves garlic. Mix into bowl with 1 container ricotta cheese. Add in any spices....we like Italian seasoning and red pepper. You can also add 1/2 package frozen spinach drained to this for some health benefit. While the ground beef is cooking, boil water and cook lasagna noodles till they still have some bite. Then simply roll up your rolls, putting some of the beef/cheese mixture into each noodle and placing seam side down in a 9x13 pan. Pour marinara sauce over the top and cover with Italian cheeses. Bake until bubbly at 350. About 20 minutes.

#3 Spinach Meatloaf & Potatoes
This is based on a meatloaf I saw the other day on some HGTV show. They used turkey, feel free to do the same, but we have lots of ground beef b/c we bought 1/4 of a cow back in the fall. Its all grass fed and hormone free so I never feel bad about eating it. You don't even have to drain the meat after browning b/c its so lean!

Mix together 1 lb ground beef with 1 egg, 1/2 breadcrumbs (GF of course), Italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup marinara sauce. Spread mixture on parchment or aluminum foil on sheet pan. Take 1/2 pkg of frozen spinach and drain (squeeze to get all the moisture out) spread over the meat. Sprinkle 1-2 cups of mozzerella cheese over spinach. Roll meatloaf up and place seam side down on baking sheet. Brush more marinara sauce on top.  Bake at 350 until cooked through. Serve with oven potatoes or mashed potatoes.

#4 Egg Foo Yung
this is a new recipe for me so if you make it, let me know how it turns out and how you like it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday what!?

This is pretty much how I feel today....some of it for good reasons:

#1. I am super busy at work....always a good thing (because it means you have work to do),even if it is because you finished the directed work on time...even early...only to have someone change it 6 hours before it has to be mailed out to the client.

#2. We got a call that we have a showing on our house tomorrow.
       a. This is a VERY good thing
       b. This means I have to finish painting the ceiling in the office....tonight
       c. We need to clean b/c all I did this weekend was pickup and vaccuum. Dusting and mopping on the list        for.....tonight

#3. We are completely out of food at my house and therefore need to make a trip to the grocery store.....tonight

#4 I don't have anything made for dinner add that to the list.

Is anyone seeing a pattern here?
Too much to do after work tonight.....but here's to hoping for a good showing and eager buyers!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sugarcreek MetroPark

Last weekend on one of the warmest days this season, Jeremy, the dogs and I set out for a new to us anyways. While I miss hiking in the smokies, I have found some nice areas around here to go. This was no exception.....

The trails are very nicely marked and there is a lot of water running through the park, which is something I like...the sounds and the sights.

Somoa likes the creek crossings and almost always dips her feet in as she crosses.....Rosco on the other hand usually does everything he can to stay out of the water.

These ducks were quite intriguing...but way too shy of our pups!

This weird knot in this tree made me wonder what it had grown over.
I told Jeremy that I kept getting pictures of him without his eyes b/c he was looking down....not sure this goofy smile is what I had in mind....but then again, it is kinda cute.

This is the osage orange tree tunnel. Apparently back in the 1800's people planted these trees extremely close together to form a sort of fence. They have since grown over the trail and made an absolutely beautiful little tunnel. I want to go back to see this in the spring!

Rosco and Jeremy had to pose on top of this fallen tree. 
Then Jeremy made me pose.....then I decided to never again take a photo with my hair all pulled back like this....I look bald!

This little fuzzy catepillar almost got nixed when Somoa decided to jump down the creek bank and then back up it. I think he was okay when we left.

This was a look down the creek....I am guessing Sugarcreek....since the name of the park and all.
These last two show Rosco and his true love of the water.
Jeremy decided to "take" him out into the creek. I realize that the first photo he kind of looks like he is enjoying splashing through the me, he's not. 
The second photo is more characteristic....

Can someone help me get off this rock?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Clean out the Cupboard Meals

This week I didn't really feel like making a real meal plan....and I had some random items on here we have it. Two recipes (I call them that loosely) that you can hopefully make from leftovers in your fridge and pantry.

The first is what I ended up calling Enchilada Lasagna. 
What you need:
Corn tortillas
1 lb ground beef
large can of refried beans
1/4 onion chopped
can of enchilada sauce
cheese...lots of it

I sauteed the onion and then added the ground beef in a skillet. Add the refried beans.Add a little bit of enchilada sauce. Heat remaining enchilada sauce in a small saucepan. When you have everything cooked in the beef skillet and heated in the enchilada sauce pan assembly goes like this.....#1 Dip corn tortilla in enchilada sauce. #2 Layer 6 tortillas like this in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. #3 Cover with 1/3 of the bean/beef mixture. #4 Cover with cheese. #5 Repeat from step #1 until the pan is full. Then pour remaining enchilada sauce on top. Bake at 375 for about 20-25 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and heated through.
We served ours with mexican rice (which was just instant brown rice cooked and then a can of Rotel added toward the end of cooking time.) and sour cream and fresh cilantro on top.

Recipe #2 Pantry Pasta

This is definitely a variation on the pasta rosa, tomato/cream, alfredo thingy that I love.
Here's the ingredients I used:
1/4 jar of Ragu left in the fridge from making pizzas
1/2 jar of Alfredo sauce left in the fridge from making pizzas
1 can diced tomatoes
3 chicken breasts diced
2 cloves garlic
the end of a block of parmesean
Italian Seasoning
Crushed Red Pepper flake
8 oz pasta swirl (or any other short cut pasta)

Sprinkle chicken with S&P and Italian seasoning and saute in skillet with EVOO. In the meantime, cook pasta according to directions just to al dente. Add minced garlic to chicken. Add canned tomatoes. Add leftover sauces and Red Pepper and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. (If you had any leftover white wine that would be good here too) Once pasta is finished, drain and add to pan with chicken mixture. Allow to cook for about another 4-5 minutes. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce and will absorb the flavors. Add shredded parm. Add fresh parsley to the top if you have any. (I did not, so I added some dried).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pioneer Woman rides into Cincinnati!

Please tell me you know who this is.....if you don't, I'll forgive you, but only this once.
See, this is my kind of celebrity. For the past month or so George Clooney has been shooting a new movie here in Cincinnati and many people are out trying to catch a glimpse of him....not me. I am after this chica!

I found her! In a bookstore in Rookwood! (Okay, she was there for a book signing and I had a line number and was only pretending to be the papparazi hiding behind the kiosk of windchimes....which is why there is so much bluriness in these photos....but still!)

Oh she isn't going to like that shot! Who am I kidding? She isn't reading my blog....but just in case, Ree, sorry about that one!

Not sure why once I got to meet her that I was afraid to touch her....and you can't see the fact that I am totally giddy in this photo. Oh, and, if you catch me wearing this outfit a bunch.....there's a reason. Ree said, "You look really cute! I like your outfit!" Yep, I was pumped! I mean, after all she is the queen of cute style, cooking, photography, and generally making everyday things funny.....not that its my everyday to have cow manure on my porch....but in her world it is, and its hilarious!

And this is my friend Allison, without whom I would have missed this glorious evening. See, even though I read the Pioneer Woman every day, somehow I missed the small detail that she was coming to Cincinnati. Luckily Allison was in the bookstore and saw the promotional banner and since her love for her basset hound Daisy gave her a connection to Ree right away, she was nice enough to get a line letter for me.

So, in case you haven't heard of her/(are living under a rock) check out her website blog....and her cookbook. They are fantastic! And if you hear of her coming within 100 miles of Cincinnati again, please call me to make sure I know!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


 This is a bit different from my regular posts but since I actually work as an Interior Designer for 40 hours a week it seemed fitting to share.
About a month ago the design group from my office took a field trip just north of Dayton to a place called Aileron. Its difficult to explain but is basically a place to work but unwind from the norm. It was created by a man who used to own the Iams pet food line after he sold it and wanted to do something for businesses. We were there taking in the designs.
This is the main lobby (oh and Andrea is going to love me for posting this:) and then if you turn around...
 you see these stairs leading to the lower lobby. The day we went was obviously during the winter and the outside was just a vast sea of snow, but during the rest of the year they have beautiful reflecting pools outside these huge expanses of glass.
 and then this is the lower lobby with wood burning fireplace and all. It was very cozy on a cold day!

This is looking back up the fireplace wall. These are limestone bricks from what I could tell. Very soft to the touch and then inspirational words in place of some of the stone.

These next pictures were from the "dream" room. I would have stayed here all day. Three sides of the room are glass and the whole space is actually cantilevered off the building. (that means there is nothing holding it up like columns or a wall below for you guys that are looking at me like I am smart....I am not, I just went to school for this stuff so I can use big words and sound smart :) All of my large vocabulary relates to architecture.
The carpet is plush, the chairs are plush, the room is designed to feel like a cloud and even these curtains make me want to curl up and never leave. Look at all the fun nubbies!

 There is a wrapping wall (no that's not a technical term but at least I didn't make up a word....just a term!) that is a cloud graphic with a chalkboard for ideas.

 and I loved this ceiling detail

Okay, done with the dream room. This little piece was in a hallway and I loved the idea here. If you look closely, the log looks like it continues right through that pane of glass. In all actuality it is cut but what is neat is that at one point it was one tree but now the part that is outside is weathered by, well, the weather and the part that is inside is "weathered" by people touching it. Neat to see the difference! (Oh, on a side note, this place won a LEED certification. It sits on a lot of acres and most of the trees that were cut were used for construction. There are many other things that make it a LEED building but that pertained to this log that I was talking about and I can't get too far off topic!)

And this last picture you have to look far in the distance to see the "aileron" sculptures. I will leave it to you to google that word and find out what it means. These sculptures actually wave or flap when the winds are strong to imitate a bird in flight. Pretty cool!