Monday, April 29, 2013

CHICKEN & AVOCADO SALSA


Usually when I pass along a recipe to you, it's something like Oreo Chocolate Sundae Pie, Triple Chocolate Cake, Indian Tacos, or Southwestern Ham & Turkey Sandwiches.  Oh so yummy, but not exactly healthy. Today I have a yummy AND healthy recipe for you!  With summer right around the corner, this dish gets added to our menu often.



This recipe came from a sweet lady in my church, one of those who instantly makes you feel comfortable around her and is genuine through and through.  She is the ultimate decorator and hostess, has impeccable style, has raised beautiful kind children, and her love for the Lord shines through everything she does.  Last year she and her husband were kind enough to host our entire church ministerial staff at their home and she made this incredible lunch for everyone.  I begged her for the recipe and it's been one of our favorites ever since!  Even my kids love to scoop up the salsa on a chip.

A few in advance, place chicken in a baking dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lime juice, and sprinkle on the magic seasoning...



Just let that sit in the fridge for a while until your ready to prepare the dish.  (I recently made this for a family birthday party, so I made about 4 times the normal recipe...that's why it looks like so many ingredients!)



When ready, grill chicken and after it's turned for the last time drizzle some honey over chicken.  Keep chicken on a plate covered with foil until ready to serve...it will stay nice and juicy that way!

Meanwhile while chicken is cooking, get to chopping!  The ingredient measurements don't have to be exact, add what you have or like.  I usually almost double the veggies when I make this so we'll have some leftover.  I actually prefer it cold right out of the fridge!




In a large skillet, wok pan, or dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil and the butter.  I like to start the peppers and jalapeños first, and after they've cooked a little add in the onion, then corn.  Add salt, spices, and sugar to taste.  



Go ahead a dice avocados and drizzle with the juice from 1-2 limes, but don't add avocado until the other veggies are finished cooking and the heat is off. 



When everything is finished, scoop out a bed of veggie salsa and top with chicken.  



I usually serve this with chips and salsa and we're good!  I think it tastes even better after all of the flavors have mixed together, so it works to even make it an hour or two ahead of time and just let it sit until you're ready to serve (although you probably wouldn't want the chicken to sit out that long).  It doesn't have to be piping hot to be delicious...works out great if you're having guests!


Chicken & Avocado Salsa
serves 4

Chicken (strips or breasts, enough for your family)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Lime Juice
"Montreal Chicken" seasoning
Honey

1/2 red onion, chopped                              2 T. butter
1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped                    coarse salt
1 red bell pepper                                      dash of cayenne pepper & cumin
3 ears fresh corn, removed from cob           sugar (1-2 teaspoons)
2 avocados, chopped                                 

Note:  I've made this using fresh, canned, and frozen corn.  Fresh is the best, but frozen is almost as good, and canned is okay if you're desperate.  I would use almost a 16 oz. bag of frozen corn for this recipe, or 2 cans drained.  


Let me know if you try it, and what you think. It tastes like summer!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NEW RUG FOR THE ENTRY


Hey there!  Happy Wednesday everyone!  A few weeks ago when I showed you my new-to-me green lamps in the entry, I mentioned that I was hunting for a new rug for the space, and that I might have stumbled across one.  

Well, I happened upon the right sale at the right time at RugsUSA and picked a winner!  


I bought this rug (now sold out although maybe it was in a different lot or something because I've seen the same rug under a different name) and I think I'm in love.  Stripes+bold colors+graphic pattern...what's not to like?  (Although I know my friend Pat will say this would make her dizzy...sorry Pat!)


Although it's navy, I took a chance because it looked really dark on the screen. It IS dark, but still noticeably blue.  The front corner of the photo below is a good representation of the true color.


I'm not sure how I feel about that mix in here, but it's growing on me.  And, I was sure that if I didn't think it was a good fit in the entry, that I would use it in my bedroom.  So, it may be moving in the future.  All of that white by the front door makes me a little nervous.  

So, although I love this one, it may not be in it's forever home.  I'll still have my eye open for something else for this spot if I move it elsewhere.

I was a little nervous about buying a rug online, but since I knew I had a back-up spot for this to go I didn't worry.  Although RugsUSA has a good return policy, I didn't want the hassle of sending it back if I didn't like it (I don't believe they pay return shipping).  

One thing I have noticed on their site, it's really hard to find good larger rugs that are a TRUE black and white or cream.  Most of them are charcoal, which reviewers say tend to have a blue-ish tint.  They truly have the best prices when you catch a good sale, but when you're looking for something as specific as I am the search can be tricky!  I'm still on the hunt for a few other rugs, so I'm still looking at options.

I'm happy for now, though, this one will work!

Before:


After:



**By the way...this isn't a sponsored post, just passing along my thoughts about my new purchase!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

GREAT IDEAS FROM HGTV MAGAZINE


This weekend between a soccer game and three baseball games and having friends over to play and church activities, I had a few minutes to flip through some magazines. HGTVMagazine is one of my favorites to check out, and it didn't disappoint this time!

I caught up on two issues, and there were several fantastic ideas that I just had to pass along to you.

First, from the January/February 2013 issue:

Some of our favorite HGTV designers used grocery store flowers to create unique arrangements.  Vern Yip used a bright green spider mum (love the color!) in a low vase filled with pebbles,



and Casey Noble used blue hydrangeas-and this is the smart part-carrot tops!- for a beautiful combination.




Phyllis used the same faux-tin plastic backsplash panels that I used in my kitchen to cover her stair risers. Brilliant!



There was a great round-up of affordable wall-art sources, and I loved this piece from minted.com. Someday when I get around to it I'm going to attempt a contemporary painting, and this one offers major inspiration.



They also had a spread of lots of ideas for using all of the fun duct tape that's available now. These were my favorites:

Updating a ceiling fan...WAY quicker than my painted fan makeover!



Personality-filled switch plates-



And this one is the best: chevron magazine files.



This savvy homeowner painted the Ikea Maskros chandelier gold....yummy!



And in the same home, I got some encouragement that my master bedroom armoire could maybe stay as-is and work beautifully with other wood finishes in the room.  Chiang Mai Dragon pillows never hurt anything either.



The April 2013 issue was power packed as well.

I want to try these dip-dyed pillows, but maybe on some cloth napkins or dish towels. So cute!



The bamboo shades over the skinny side windows beside the front door caught my eye in this photo.



I have windows like these next to my front door, and although I like them open sometimes some privacy would be nice.  I'm going to keep these in mind to add to my order when I buy new shades for my bedroom.

Finally, if you haven't seen this amazing house that Emily Henderson decorated, you must! There are lots more photos of several rooms on her blog, but these frames in the play room were a great idea. I like the paint treatment and how the child's artwork is informally displayed inside.



If you missed either issue, I left plenty of ideas inside for you to discover for yourself, be sure to check them out!



Thursday, April 18, 2013

GRASSCLOTH LINED CHINA HUTCH SHELVES


Yesterday I showed some some options for adding interest to your bookshelves by adding color or pattern to the back.  And as promised, here's my latest shelf update.


There is a built in china hutch in my hallway, and even though I have another china cabinet in the Dining Room, the storage of this one comes in handy as well.  I love dishes and have gathered quite a collection of serving pieces, which I use regularly for entertaining and parties.




Many of these are thrift store finds or wedding and birthday gifts, and I've collected some pewter pieces from one of my favorite haunts when we go to Dallas.


I used this image from Pinterest as inspiration, and decided to pull many of my serving pieces out of the lower cabinets and pile them together for display. Most of these are pieces I use all the time so this arrangement gives me easier access.  


This built in started out with a stained oak finish,


and about 4 years ago I painted it black and added a green and white damask fabric to the back.



Although the green fabric was perfectly fine, I was ready for a change.  I found this roll of fabulous old grasscloth at a thrift store for a few dollars and was saving it for just the right project.  


At first I cut the paper and hung it with the grass going horizontally, but I had to patch another piece in to get the right width.  Seams never match well with grasscloth, and it was driving me crazy.  So, I tried the paper with the grass running vertically and it fit perfectly.  I used Scotch poster tape and just cut the paper to size and taped it to the back.  Easy! 


I like the texture of the grasscloth and the quieter neutral background.  With everything going on in this hallway (mirror wall here), it needed to be a little less busy.  I also removed a collection of green and white plates that were hanging over the china cabinet.


The kids are out of school tomorrow, so we're planning a few projects and lots of play time.  I'm skipping out tomorrow and will see you on Monday!  Thank you so much friends for your continual kind words, encouragement and support by following along with my decorating adventures! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HOW TO ADD INTEREST TO THE BACK OF YOUR SHELVES


In case you haven't heard, painted or patterned shelf backs are all the rage!  There are countless ways you can add some interest and variety to the back of your shelves.

PAINT

Life in Grace

Little Green Notebook

S.R. Gambrel

                                                                Source: frommylivingroom.blogspot.com via Elaine on Pinterest





PAPER

                                                                  Source: shadestonehome.blogspot.com via Jenny on Pinterest


Pam and Jennifer used some fun graphic wrapping paper found in the dollar spot at Target...
FABRIC

This is my before.  Come back tomorrow to see the after!





Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PRETTY POTS AND EMPTY BEDS


As I write this post, we're watching news coverage of the bombings in Boston.  I know we're all aching for the victims and their families, and my thoughts and prayers are with them today.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 

This isn't a big project reveal today, just consider it an update...a progress report if you will on the status of our landscaping.  As long as my list is of projects to get done inside the house, the time is now to get some things outside in order.

First up on the list, my urns were pretty sad.  I bought these 6 years ago right when we moved into this house, painted them black then, and then have done some spot touch-ups with spray paint every year since then.  This year, they needed some major work.  Major like I broke out the paintbrush and some exterior paint. 


After a good clean off with a stiff bristle brush, they got a new coat and were ready to go again!  But, I couldn't stop there.  I decided to bring a little of my favorite gold that's inside my house to the outside...
 

I wasn't even very precise and did one quick free-handed coat with a small brush and gold acrylic paint.  After it dried I sprayed two coats of Polyurethane to protect the gold trim from the elements.




And yes, if you noticed, the ferns are still in their plastic pots just stuck in there.  We're expecting another freeze later this week, so I wanted to be able to just pull them in overnight until this crazy Oklahoma up and down weather is over!

The porch still needs a little more attention, but there's a sneak peek for now!

In the rest of the yard, we've decided to overhaul all of the front flowerbeds.  Our house is closing in on 20 years old, and some of the foundational plants were original.  Our hope was that with some fresh landscaping our house would look years newer.  Our goal last weekend was just to clean out.  This week I'm shopping for new bushes and finalizing plans of what we want where.  These before and afters may seem backwards, but they actually show progress!

Garage wall- overgrown boxwoods and rosebushes with brutal thorns that need trimming regularly to keep from attacking guests walking to the front door-  


Office wall-uneven boxwoods and another scraggly rosebush-


I left the crepe myrtles in place for now, but we're most likely moving those to another spot. I'm planning to do a fresh boxwood hedge in each of the beds above, with something tall and evergreen on each end.  I want something that will stay narrow and will frame the beds but not get too tall.  Any suggestions?  I love arborvitaes but I see them returned...dead...left and right at Home Depot.  They seem to be tricky to keep alive here.

Center bed-for now we just moved the nandinas.  That tall Golden Deodar Cedar will move...it's never done well in that spot and we'll try it elsewhere.  You can't quite see them but there are 2 big hydrangeas right in front of the window.  That's a great spot for them but I hate how scraggly they look through the winter right there at the front door.  We're going to re-work the center of that bed when we decide what to put in place of the tree. 


This little bed along the side of the house is still clearly visible from the street.  It was full of wayward honeysuckle from behind the fence and random hosta plants.   We moved the 4 nandinas here with one of the big rosebushes in front, and I replanted a bunch of hosta that was already growing in that spot.  It's a little hard to see now but when the rosebush is blooming there should be some pretty color there. 
 


So, no fantastic beauty shots YET, but we're off to a start! 

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

I'm so happy to be over at Kristin's today for her "Great Reads" series.  Kristin is DIYing one project at a time to make her rancher home -which is the same home that she grew up in!- reflect her amazing style.  I was in love with these storage ottomans she just recovered-

DIY No Sew

Aren't those right up my alley?

Click on over and visit Bliss at Home to see one of my favorite DIYs that I've done, and Kristin's pick of her favorite project of mine.  You'll want to stay a while!