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22 Sep 13:15

Customize Your Closet Doors With Trim!

by A Beautiful Mess

This would look so good in our house

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)      So, our new bedroom has a bit of a problem. It's a fine room. It's just, well, boring. It doesn't have giant picturesque windows or beams in the ceiling or a fireplace or well, much of anything that can give a room some personality. It's kind of just four walls and a few small windows that are weirdly high in the style of a midcentury modern house. That being said, I've made it my mission to add things into the room that give it some more personality, and I thought that customizing the double closet doors would be a great way to do that. I love all the trimmed closets and doors in Parisian apartments that make the room look so chic and expensive. So I thought it would be fun to add some trim details to our closet and bring a little of that vibe to the space.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)          Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)    Since we had metal doors on the closets, I had to first swap them out with flat front wooden doors the same size so I could build the trim on top of the doors. I couldn't find a link to the doors I bought, but I got them from Lowes so I would try your local home improvement place or door store if you need flat front doors. Each door will probably be installed a little differently, so just follow the directions for the doors you get.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)   Once those were in, I used a tape about the same width as my trim pieces to decide what type of trim pattern I wanted to do. Since this is my first go at adding trim to doors like this and the trim I picked is already a pattern, I thought I would keep the design fairly simple. Once I had the tape estimate where I wanted it, I used a miter power saw to cut all the pieces to the right length. You can cut and fit trim pieces together at a 45 degree angle, but since I had the patterned trim with the squares, it seemed better to cut the ends off straight instead since it didn't seem like the pattern would line up as well on an angle. Trim wood can be pretty easy to cut by hand as well (especially the pieces that are made of softer wood like mine were). So you can also just use a hand saw and a miter box if you don't have a power saw. For this design I ended up using about 2 8' trim strips per door panel.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)  Once I had the pieces cut, I used masking tape to hold each piece in place so I could make sure they all fit and so I could center the design. Once I was happy with it, I removed the tape on one piece at a time, used wood glue on the back of each strip, and nailed the trim in place with very small nails. It takes a bit of time to do all that. But're making your doors awesome, so quit whining and get back to work!

SIDE NOTE: Make sure to check and see if your doors fully open once you tape your trim pieces in place. It may sound like a no-brainer, buuuuut I totally forgot to do that, nailed and glued the whole door set in place, and then couldn't open the doors the whole way because the trim was in the way. D'oh! I had to rip off all the trim pieces, switch the door hardware the opposite way so the bad side was on the back, make a few cuts, and redo the whole thing on the other side. No fun at all!!!

Once the glue has dried, you can fill any gaps where the trim pieces come together with wood filler and lightly sand those parts smooth. I really wouldn't skip this step if you can. It helps make the separate pieces all look like one unit. If you get really fancy, you can even fill gaps between the crease where the trim hits the door front (kind of like you would with trim around doors or windows and the wall). 

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial) Once your wood is looking good, pull the doors off and use a semi-gloss paint to paint the doors (I chose Beach Blanket by Valspar). Then put your doors back on when dry. I would suggest using painter's tape over the hardware where the doors come together when you paint so the metal doesn't stick together once you close the doors.

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)Drill a hole and install a door pull if there isn't one already on your doors, and your closet is back in business!

Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)         Customize your closet doors with trim-so pretty! (click through for tutorial)       I. Love. These. DOORS! They add SO much to the room and look so custom compared to the basic doors that were there before. The trim looks sophisticated, but the color adds a pop of fun that modernizes a classic idea. The first few days of waking up to the new minty doors made me so happy. So even though it was a bit tedious of a project (especially with my big, stupid mistake), it was totally worth it, and I'm so happy with how they turned out. Looks like a good start to de-borifying our room if you ask me! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

19 Sep 17:42

Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread by Joanne

by Joanne

I will eat this WHOLE THING myself. Let's make it.

Every year I get tremendously excited for football season to come around. Not actually because of the football, but because of the football food! It’s funny how football has become so positively associated in my brain solely because of the food. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on in that game.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

This Pepperoni Pizza Pull-Apart Bread is one of my favorite game day recipes. I mean, a cast iron skillet filled with little knots of fluffy pizza dough coated in herbs, cheese, and spicy pepperoni? Such things will always excite me. And it’s so easy to make!

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

To get started, combine warm water, yeast, and a tiny bit of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let it sit for 10 minutes until foamy. When the mixture gets foamy, it means the yeast is alive and well! Let’s proceed.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Add bread flour, salt, and olive oil to the wet ingredients.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Use the dough hook to stir the ingredients together until roughly combined.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Then it’s time to attach the bowl to the mixer and knead with the dough hook for about 10 minutes, until smooth.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour. It will have doubled in size, like this.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

And you’ll see stretchy, webby dough strands all over the sides of the bowl.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Roll the dough into a rectangle and divide it into 16 strips.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Now switch gears and cut some pepperoni slices into small triangles.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Fry the pepperoni for a couple of minutes until crispy, then add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Toss that around for a minute, then add fresh parsley and turn off the heat.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Pour the pepperoni mixture into a bowl and combine with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Take the 16 dough strips and tie them into knots. Then add them into the pepperoni bowl.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Give this all a toss until the knots are coated in the cheesy pepperoni goodness.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Pour everything into a 12-inch cast iron skillet. It will look like there aren’t enough knots to make the skillet full and happy, but don’t worry.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

After another rise, it will look like this. Now the pizza bread is ready for a hot oven, where the dough will puff up and brown.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread

Serve the bread warm, and enjoy its fluffy lightness.

Pepperoni Pizza Pullapart Bread



15 Sep 19:00

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich by Julie

by Julie

Why am I calling these ultimate? First off, I love grilled cheese sandwiches. There are endless combinations, and honestly, since I love cheese, bread, and butter, I don’t think I’ve ever met a grilled cheese sandwich I didn’t love.

I also LOVE making fried egg grilled cheese sandwiches, so I was thinking of how to make an ultimate version. For starters, the egg yolk must be runny. But that’s my preference. You could, of course, customize this part if you prefer scrambled eggs or a completely cooked yolk.

The other components that make this an ultimate sandwich? Bacon and avocado! I love avocado in sandwiches, and bacon, well, who can say no to bacon!

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

To make this sandwich, start by cooking the bacon. I like to cut the pieces in half before cooking. After they finish cooking, place them on a paper-towel-lined plate to allow the grease to drain off until the bacon is cool enough to handle.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Next, fry the egg. I have these little mini cast iron skillets that are perfect for frying eggs. Make sure your skillet is well seasoned.

To fry the egg, add butter and let it melt.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Add the egg and season with salt and pepper. I cook my eggs for two minutes.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Flip and cook for another 45 seconds.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Prep the remaining ingredients: grate some sharp cheddar cheese, spread butter on the bread, and slice the avocado.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Now it’s time to stack! Turn the heat to medium. Take one slice of bread and put it on the skillet, buttered side down. (By the way, I like to use a nonstick skillet for making grilled cheese. You can use the same skillet you cooked the bacon in, just wipe the pan dry first.)

Add most of the cheddar cheese on top of the bread.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Then add the bacon. Mmm, bacon.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

I like to add cheese on both sides of the bacon so that when it melts, it acts as the creamy delicious glue that holds the grilled cheese sandwich together.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Now it’s time to add the rest of the goodies! Add the fried egg on top.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

The sliced avocado …

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

And then the Muenster cheese. (Muenster cheese rules!)

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

Top with the remaining slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook for 5 minutes, then gently flatten the sandwich. Carefully flip and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the other side is nicely toasted as well.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

A runny yolk, the combination of melted cheddar and Muenster cheese, warm avocado, crispy bacon … Oh yes, this is my ultimate grilled cheese sandwich!

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

What about you? What would you put in your ultimate grilled cheese sandwich?


11 Sep 09:00

Brunch Nachos

by Gaby


Where do I even begin?

I’m an Arizona girl turned California girl, and I believe nachos are a very important part of life. They’re quite versatile, too. You can whip them up at a moment’s notice, and they make particularly delicious lunches and dinners. But have you guys ever had BRUNCH NACHOS? I know, you’re welcome.

Brunch Nachos

My girlfriends and I were off on a weekend getaway in Palm Springs, and our last morning there, we had tons of leftovers for nachos and a dozen eggs. I decided we couldn’t waste any food and we needed to use everything up before packing up the car and heading back to Los Angeles. So brunch nachos were born.

Brunch Nachos

These have everything you put in your regular nachos, with softly scrambled eggs on top. You could easily add a fried egg or two, or perhaps poached eggs, but after making this countless times since Palm Springs, I’ve decided that scrambled is the way I like to go here.

Brunch Nachos

Load them up like the nacho artist you are, and add on different kinds of cheese, beans, corn and eggs. Then pop the whole thing into the oven until the cheese melts. Once the cheese is perfectly melted, quickly top with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Brunch Nachos

Then dig in! They are messy, fun to share, and absolutely perfect. You guys won’t be disappointed!


14 Sep 19:00

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

by Erica

This pizza looks meh but I LOVE the use of parchment! DUH!

Some food marriages are a match made in heaven: they were just meant to be. Like cheesecake ice cream, or cronuts, or French onion soup grilled cheese. Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza definitely has a place on that list.

But I wasn’t always so sure it should be. The first time I heard of such a thing, I thought, “How could this possibly be good? Pickles on pizza?!” The first few bites changed my mind. It was amazing how much it actually tasted like a real cheeseburger! It quickly became one of my favorite pizza flavors.

So of course, I wanted to try my hand at making it at home. I threw what ingredients I had on hand onto a thin-crust dough and shoved it into the oven. To my surprise, it was excellent. In fact, my husband said it was even better than our favorite pizza-chain one.

Let me show you the simple steps to make it for yourself!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

First, you’ll want to get your pizza dough going. I used a thin-crust recipe, but if you prefer a thicker crust, go with that!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

While the dough is rising, fry some ground beef with onions.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook a few slices of bacon as well.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

About 20 minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat your oven to 450ºF (230ºC). Put a pizza stone in to preheat.

Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to get busy!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

I like to roll my dough out on a piece of parchment paper—it makes it SO much easier to transfer the pizza to the stone in the oven. I’ve had my fair share of pizza spills. Not fun.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Next, I like to spread some butter all over the crust, right out to the edge. This accomplishes two things: it acts as a bit of a barrier so the sauce doesn’t make the crust soggy, and it adds some awesome flavor. You could also use the bacon grease from cooking the bacon instead of butter. That’s what I’m going to do next time, if I remember.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Now, squirt some ketchup all over the crust and spread it out with the back of a spoon. Because cheeseburgers and ketchup belong together.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Add cheddar cheese. LOTS of cheddar cheese.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Sprinkle the ground beef and onion mixture on top.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Add 2-3 slices of torn or chopped bacon.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Now the best part: pickles! I think this is what really makes this pizza taste like a cheeseburger. I like to use the pre-sliced ones, but you can always slice up whole ones if that’s all you have on hand.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Drizzle some mustard on top …

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

And finish it off with an extra squeeze of ketchup.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Slide the whole thing onto the pre-heated pizza stone. I find it’s easiest to put the pizza on a wooden cutting board or pizza peel before attempting the big transfer.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Bake for about 8–10 minutes, or until the crust is dark golden brown all the way across the bottom (use a metal spatula to lift up the crust and check), and the cheese is melty.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Allow to cool a bit, then slice it up using your favorite pizza cutting tool. I like to use a big knife.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

You guys, you have no idea how difficult it was to take these photos. I just about gave in and gobbled down a slice. It smelled fabulous. I was in agony. I think this is the best pizza I’ve ever made.

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Notes and tips:

1. I think that freshly grated cheese is much better than the pre-shredded bags you buy at the store. It just melts better in my opinion. You can quickly shred a lot of cheese using a food processor. Of course, the pre-shredded will work in a pinch.

2. I like my pizza crust on the sweet side, so I add a bit of extra sugar to the dough recipe. It helps to balance out the salty bacon and pickles.

3. Don’t cook your bacon too long because (of course) it cooks longer in the oven. Unless you like your bacon super crispy!

Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza

Also, I’m curious: What do you use to cut your pizza? Scissors? A knife? A pizza wheel? Ulu? Let me know in the comments!


16 Sep 09:00

End-of-Summer Quinoa Salad by Brenda

by Brenda

Every time I bring out the jar of sweet curry from the spice drawer, its warm, intoxicating scent draws little noses from around the house straight to the kitchen. And I don’t blame them. Curry is one of my favorites, too. Its flavor is full of depth from a variety of ingredients, and its scent is almost exotic. I really don’t know how anyone can resist it.

This End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette is loaded with veggies, fresh from the garden’s harvest. And with a sweet curry vinaigrette, it’s a salad recipe that’s sure to return to your menu planning again and again.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but it took me more than a few tries to officially hop on board the quinoa bandwagon. But then it finally clicked. The secret formula was in the use of a vinaigrette.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

I tend to like a variety of textures in my meals, and have always been drawn to the earthiness of grains and seeds. So when quinoa came fully on the scene a number of years ago, it felt like it would be a natural fit for my taste buds. I found myself liking quinoa dishes I’d order at restaurants, but I never really loved it when I made it at home myself.

Until I discovered the magic of folding a flavorful vinaigrette into the quinoa, that is.

A vinaigrette works like magic, soaking into the little nuggets of quinoa, softening it up a bit and infusing it with flavor. And the vinaigrette in this salad is particularly lovely. It’s sweet from honey, tangy from white balsamic vinegar, and warmed by oh-so-wonderful curry. I’ve found myself doubling this portion of the recipe, just to have extra to drizzle over fresh greens for lunch salads throughout the week ahead.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

Our garden isn’t a large one, mostly consisting of raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. This year we added to the mix some snap peas, bell peppers, and for the first time ever, a ground cherry plant (so fun and delicious!). And we always have a nice selection of fresh herbs. I don’t want to know a life without fresh herbs growing in my backyard!

I’ve been making this salad with tomatoes from our garden, yellow squash given to me by friends from church, and sweet corn and peppers from local vendors and farmers markets. This time of year is simply meant for indulging in all the glory from the garden.

End of Summer Quinoa Salad with Sweet Curry Vinaigrette

There’s a bonus with this quinoa salad, too, as it keeps very well for a few days in the refrigerator. I eat it morning, noon, and night. It’s awesome for breakfast with a couple of eggs, tossed with some fresh arugula for a lunch salad, or as a side dish for evening dinner. Bright and beautiful, and super tasty to boot.


22 Sep 09:00

Tomato Ginger Jam by Heather

by Heather

I have had a long and complicated relationship with tomatoes. Let me tell you the story.

I used to hate tomatoes. I just couldn’t do it. Perhaps it was something about those weird, squishy seeds. I remember being very young and watching my baby brother Jonny out in my mother’s vegetable garden. He had a halo of golden curls and chubby cheeks, and everyone would coo over him and fawn over what a good eater he was because he had a mouthful of cherry tomatoes, juice oozing over his chubby little arms as he reached for even more tomatoes. I was so jealous of the way he would win praises just for eating those tomatoes.

Tomato Ginger Jam

Jonny would also win dessert for his tomato-eating prowess. My aunt had a very strict clean-your-plate rule at her house, and while I tried my best with everything else, I just couldn’t get those last few tomatoes down. They were swimming in the bottom of my salad and sadly, that’s where they stayed. Alas, I still remember the gingerbread man I didn’t get.

Then there was that time my grandparents tried to get me to eat tomatoes. My dad’s parents lived right outside Chicago and the hot midwestern summers blessed them with a bountiful vegetable garden. Grampy just couldn’t believe he had a 10-year-old granddaughter who didn’t eat tomatoes. His solution: a fresh garden tomato slathered in mayonnaise. He insisted that I would love it. I don’t know whether I was too scared to tell him that the only thing I hated more than tomatoes was mayonnaise (it’s a well-documented fact) or if I simply hoped against hope that he might be right—maybe two wrongs would suddenly make a glorious right and I would love them both! Well, to his deep shock and horror and to my great disappointment, the mayo-slathered tomato wedge found itself making a very quick trip from my mouth to his spotless linoleum floor. (I know it sounds like I need therapy for my deep emotional tomato-based scars, but actually, that last story made me laugh out loud.)

Tomato Ginger Jam

There is, however, a happy ending to this saga. I did eventually learn to like tomatoes in high school, spurred by a bit of tentative salsa-dipping. You know, where you just get the liquid on the chip? With none of the chunky pieces? From there, I graduated to the real tomato stuff after discovering bruschetta. I think all the balsamic vinegar and fresh basil did it for me.

And now, as an adult, I absolutely LOVE tomatoes! I can finally appreciate their delicate sweetness and yes, even those juicy little bursts of seeds! I grow them in massive quantities in my own summer vegetable garden, and have one child who will eat them, and one who would rather eat anything else. (There’s hope for that one yet. I’m sure of it.)

Tomato Ginger Jam

One of the reasons I love this tomato ginger jam is that it’s sweet, a little spicy and sour, with a deeply concentrated tomato flavor. I love to serve it on a cheese platter (it’s best with goat cheese), but it would also be delicious with grilled fish or on a sandwich as a spread. This recipe also does well doubled, quadrupled, etc. And if I knew anything about canning (it’s on my bucket list), you can be sure I’d be canning an extra supply.


09 Sep 18:58

Baked Cheesy Apple Sandwiches

by A Beautiful Mess

Baked Apple and Cheese SandwichesI love a good baked sandwich this time of year. It's a great compliment to a salad or small bowl of soup. This is one of my favorites. It's sort of a vegetarian twist on the classic croque monsieur. I guess you could call this a croque pomme et fromage, maybe? It's a crispy apple and cheese sandwich. If any of our French speaking readers want to weigh in on this, feel free! 

Baked Apple and Cheese Sandwiches  Whatever you call it, this sandwich has it all: crispy apples paired with melted cheese all baked together on sourdough bread with pesto and spinach. The following recipe allows you to make three or four sandwiches at once, but if you are making less, just cut back on the amount of sauce (béchamel) you make at once.

How to make a baked apple and cheese sandwichBaked Cheesy Apple Sandwiches, makes four.

8 slices of sourdough bread
8 tablespoons of butter, divided
2 tablespoons pesto (store bought or homemade
1-2 apples (depending on size)
8 slices of provolone cheese
2 big handfuls of spinach
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup milk
salt + pepper
1-2 teaspoons chopped parsley for garnish, optional

First, I just assemble the sandwiches so they are ready once my sauce is done.

Best baked veggie sandwichMelt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a small bowl or dish. Brush onto the outside of two slices of bread. Assemble the sandwiches so each one has pesto, thinly sliced apple (I like to use a mandoline for this), spinach and a slice of provolone. 

Next, make your sauce by melting the remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until a thick paste forms. Then whisk in the milk and season with a little salt and pepper. After a minute or so, it will begin to thicken into a gravy. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the sauce over the top of each sandwich. Add another slice of provolone cheese, and then bake the sandwiches under the broiler until bubbly and well toasted. You may need to rotate the pan so each sandwich gets toasted evenly, but just keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

Baked Apple and Cheese Sandwiches Top with a little chopped parsley and serve warm. You've gotta make these sometime this season, guys. They're seriously SO good. If you just can't get behind apples and cheese together, then you could change the apple out for sautéed mushrooms. Up to you. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

06 Sep 14:20

DEAL: $750 worth of vintage vector graphics for $9

This week’s MightyDeal is $750 worth of vintage-style vector graphics – that’s 150 files across 880 MB – for a mere $9.

Easily change up the text, colors and details by customizing any of these illustrations with the included .EPS vector format. Scale these files up or down in size as much as you’d like without fear of losing a single ounce of detail, and use any of them for both commercial or personal purposes.

The professional collection of vintage vector illustrations usually sells for $750, but for a limited time only, you can get all 150 vectors for $9. That’s a savings of 99% off the regular price!

Check out the deal here.

07 Sep 13:00

Creamy Double Potato Soup

by A Beautiful Mess

Creamy Double Potato Soup (via  I call this soup creamy because, well, it is, but it doesn't have any actual cream in it. It's got a silky smooth texture and a subtle taste of cheese, but it's still totally vegan-friendly. This is a super comforting soup that you can feel good about eating.

Creamy Double Potato Soup (via guess what else? I make this in my crockpot (also called a slow cooker). So you can throw this together in the morning, set the timer, and have soup ready within 5 minutes of arriving home after work or school later that day. It's like magic. ;)

How to make potato soup in the crockpotCreamy Double Potato Soup, serves 4-5. (or you can save some for another night and serve less)

2 russet potatoes
2 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon chopped onion (much less than pictured above!)
8-10 baby carrots, or 2-3 regular (I always have baby ones around for snacking)
3 cloves of garlic
32 oz. vegetable stock
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

First I peeled and gave my potatoes a rough chop. I cut up the onion and minced the garlic. Then I added all that to my crockpot along with the vegetable stock. I set my timer to cook on low for 8 hours.

Easy crockpot soup recipesLater that day I came home and added the nutritional yeast and cayenne. I used an immersion blender to blend everything together right in my crockpot, and that's how I got that silky smooth texture. Then taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Most store bought stocks will vary a great deal in how much sodium they contain, so wait to season with more salt until you can taste the (almost) finished soup.

If you've never cooked with nutritional yeast before, I highly recommend you try it! It's got a cheesy taste to it. So it's a great way to add that flavor without adding any dairy. 

Creamy Double Potato Soup (via Serve with a few chopped green onions, bread or roasted chickpeas. Wear comfy socks and get your Netflix on because this is a sit down and enjoy yourself kind of dinner. :) If you don't consume all the soup in one day, you can freeze leftovers in ice cube trays and thaw the cubes in a pot when you want to eat it another night. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

04 Sep 13:30

5 Things Holding You Back From Creating a Truly Great Home

by Adrienne Breaux

"Maybe you're busy at work. Or you'd rather just lay around. Or you think you can't do anything because you don't have a lot of money. Or you're not going to be here very long so why bother? Lack of effort — really trying to take the home you've got now and turning it into the home you want today — is a big road block on the road to creating a truly great home."

Want a truly great home? However you define a truly great home for you, there are a few things that can hold anybody back from achieving a great space that brings them peace, motivates them and is a place they love being in. Peruse this list to see if any of these items are keeping you from creating the kind of space you'd like to have.


02 Sep 19:13

Homemade Whole Wheat Flatbread

by A Beautiful Mess

Homemade Whole Wheat Flatbread  I've been experimenting with whole wheat flours and alternative flours lately. Why? Well, to tell you the truth, over the past couple of months, I have been changing the way I eat. I'm trying to educate myself and make healthier choices. Which is a lifelong process, but as of late, I've been making some pretty big changes to my diet. It's been overall really, really positive and I'm loving the process.

One change is I've been seeking more whole grains and whole wheat (or unprocessed) flours. Experiments in baking tend to take longer because you can't just adjust as you go like with cooking. I've made some version of this flatbread recipe quite a few times this past month. Some turned out rock hard and completely inedible, while others although edible, were not very tasty. But this version, this one is a keeper. :)

Homemade Whole Wheat FlatbreadIn fact I would go so far as to say that if you served this to someone and didn't tell them it was made with mostly whole wheat, I don't think they'd be able to tell. Which wasn't exactly my goal, but I'm just trying to give you an idea of how the texture of this flatbread is. One thing that totally changed it from my original attempts: white whole wheat flour. What a revelation!

What is white whole wheat flourWhat the heck is white whole wheat flour? I had honestly never used it before. I've mostly been experimenting with whole wheat and then a few alternative flours (like spelt, teff and coconut flour). But then I saw a bag labeled white whole wheat flour at the grocery store (King Arthur brand), and I immediately had to give that a try. You can see a side by side comparison of all-purpose flour on the left and white whole wheat flour on the right in the above photo. Apparently it's just a whole wheat flour that's made from hard white wheat, so it has a more mild flavor and texture. Cool. I love whole wheat but it can be a little testy to work with in baking as it can drastically change the texture and taste of a recipe fast. 

Whole Wheat Flatbread, makes 6-8.

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

In a bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the warm water and sugar, stir to dissolve. Then sprinkle the yeast over the top and let that foam up for 5-6 minutes.

How to make flatbreadIn a large bowl, combine the flours and salt. Pour the yeasty water mixture in with the flour mixture and stir until a dough ball forms. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow to rise for an hour.

Punch the dough down and divide into 6-7 small balls. On a floured surface, roll the balls until they are flat and about 1/4 inch thick or a little less. You don't have to flatten them into tortillas, but you don't want them too thick or they won't cook all the way through. 

Cook in a hot (medium/high heat) skillet with a little oil for 3-4 minutes on each side. They may puff a little as you cook them and that's OK! That's how those more pronounced brown spots are formed. 

Homemade Whole Wheat Flatbread So what the heck do you use flatbread for? Well, for breakfast you can spread a little peanut butter and sliced fresh fruit over it. For lunch you can make an open face sandwich for tuna, egg salad or whatever you like to eat at lunch. For a snack you can use flatbread for dipping or spreading hummus over (or other dips). And for dinner I highly recommend you add sautéed veggies, add some cheese and then broil for a minute or two for an easy and light pizza. I'm not saying you should eat flatbread at every meal—I'm just giving you options here. :) Any flatbread you don't consume the day you make it I recommend storing in a ziplock bag or wrapping in plastic wrap and keeping them in the refrigerator, as they will last a little longer that way. Just toast them a few minutes on the stove or in the oven when you're ready to eat. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

02 Sep 09:00

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

by Erica

One thing I remember from my childhood was the fear of burnt bacon. There was nothing my dad hated more. But somehow the bacon inevitably ended up singed. We even tried one of those microwave bacon gadgets, but to no avail.

In my teen years, I was determined to find a way to cook bacon without reducing it to ashes. I found that if I cooked it in a skillet over very low heat and flipped it often, it came out very evenly cooked. But it was so time-consuming and demanded so much attention that I dreaded making it.

Then I discovered that bacon cooks up beautifully in the oven—no turning necessary! I’ve been hooked ever since.

There are several ways to cook bacon in the oven. I’ll show you three methods and let you know which is my favorite!

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

First off, we have The Cooling Rack Method. I lined my baking sheet with aluminum foil, placed the rack on top, and laid out the bacon. It’s okay if the bacon is touching—it will shrink up a lot while it cooks.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Bake for about 20–30 minutes, or until it’s as crispy as you like it. I like mine about medium crispiness: not too limp, but not shatteringly crisp either.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Remove to a paper-towel-lined plate.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Look at that: a completely clean pan underneath!

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

The next way I tried was The Parchment Paper Method. I simply lined the pan with parchment paper and placed the bacon on top.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

I was surprised that the bacon cooked more quickly than the cooling rack bacon. I was sure that the parchment would block the reflection of the pan and slow the cooking process.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Isn’t it gorgeous?

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

I was also very surprised to find that the pan underneath the parchment paper was clean. I thought some grease spots would leak through the parchment paper.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

The last approach I tried was The Directly-on-the-Pan Method. Pretty much just as it sounds.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

The bacon cooked up very nicely. This is actually the method that I’ve been using for years. But this way has the most cleanup.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Lovely, lovely bacon.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Of course, you can strain and save the grease for cooking, storing it in special grease storing containers or glass jars.

I know this is so granny, but I like to save yogurt or sour cream containers from time to time to pour cooled bacon grease into if I intend to get rid of it. Then I can just throw out the whole container. You can also freeze the grease before you put it in the bin on trash day.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

So, which is my favorite method?

I didn’t really see an advantage to cooking the bacon on a rack, other than that it cooked out more of the fat. The ends seemed to cook faster than the middle. And you have to scrub bacon bits off the rack.

The directly-on-the-pan method is very simple and works well, but there is a lot of cleanup. You have to soak the pan before you can wash it.

I really didn’t think this would be the case, but I liked the parchment method the best. It had the least cleanup, and the bacon cooked really nicely. But it’s important to pour off the grease and throw out the parchment quickly—I made bacon again and left the parchment on the pan for hours, and the grease soaked through.

You can get the same effect by lining your pan with aluminum foil, but I’m kind of a hippie health nut, so I don’t like to cook my food directly on aluminum.


I cooked my bacon in a 400-degree oven, as directed on the package. If you’re cooking bacon ends and pieces or thick-cut bacon, a lower oven temperature works better. I cook uneven bacon at 350 degrees.

I like to check my bacon after 10–15 minutes of baking. When it’s getting close to being done, make sure to peek at it every few minutes. Bacon can go from not-quite-done to burnt very quickly.

I had heard that placing your bacon in the oven BEFORE you preheat it helps it to cook more evenly. I tried it with the first two batches, but I didn’t really see a big difference. It saves on energy, though!

It works best if you pour the grease out of the pan while it’s still warm. If you’re using a plastic container to hold the grease, make sure to wait until it cools a bit, otherwise it will warp or melt the plastic.

I don’t find the need, but if you’re really particular about cooking your bacon evenly, you can flip it halfway through the cooking time and also rotate the pan.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Now, go make yourself a BLT with all that awesome bacon!


02 Sep 12:58

make-believe: pencil case.

by erin

I lost my pencil case on a train three years ago. And I haven't really recovered.

It was more of a pencil pouch. A thin tube in soft leather that I'd bought for myself in France where such a thing is called a trousse. Over the years I'd filled it with carefully selected treats from my travels: a German pencil sharpener, an eraser from the Czech Republic, pencils from France, a pen from Italy. But all of it was gone without fanfare when I left the poor thing on my seat on the MetroNorth commuter line.

Risk of loss and subsequent heartbreak aside, if you have a soft spot for souvenirs but aren't sure you need a whole lot of pint glasses or commemorative plates filling your shelves, filling a pencil case is a nice alternative. Picking up a pencil or pen to tote home as a keepsake becomes doubly nice when put to use. (Which is, of course, the point.) There's something nice about sharpening a pencil picked up from a stationery shop in Paris until there's nothing left but a tiny nub and then replacing it with another from a tiny shop in Tokyo.

I may not be headed back to school this fall, but that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming about my ideal pencil case (and travel itinerary). I can practically hear the dull rumble of rifling through the filled pouch. Here's what I'd put inside:

1. This beautiful Missouri-made pouch.
2. This multi-holed sharpener.
3. This Czech eraser.
4. This extra-shiny pencil.
5. This softer version of a classic.
6. This fountain pen, because why not?
7. The accompanying ink, because of course.
8. A chubby set of colored pencils.
9. This brass ruler.
10. These brass clip numbers. Because, fancy.

More make-believe, HERE.
01 Sep 08:31

Ikea, move over: Bertolini Steel Kitchens introduces affordable, ready-to-assemble metal kitchen cabinets to the U.S.

by pam kueber

31″ steel sink base — including a drainboard sink (!), legs and pulls — just $173 [+ shipping]

bertolini kitchensWatch out, Ikea: Bertolini Steel Kitchens, which has been manufacturing metal kitchen cabinets for 45 years in Brazil, is making its move on the U.S. market. Offering affordable, ready-to-assemble steel kitchens with seven door styles, Bertolini has signed six dealers in Florida, with more in the works.

Steel kitchen cabinets were immensely popular in midcentury America following World War II — we’ve identified more than 70 vintage brands. Considering that Americans are now comfortable with the idea of ready-to-assembly [thanks, Ikea!] AND considering the renewed popularity of retro style AND considering that, according our price comparison, Bertolini’s steel cabinets appear to be competitively priced vs. Ikea’s fiber- and particleboard cabinets, the question now is: Can Bertolini win over a new generation of buyers in the U.S., the world’s largest market for cabinets, to the value, benefits and aesthetics of metal kitchen cabinets?

modern steel kitchen cabinetsLuis Garcia, director, Bertolini Steel Kitchens USA, is leading the effort to set up distribution and sales here. In a phone interview, he told me that as Bertolini has become increasingly efficient, it’s been able to grow into new markets. The company today sells $300 million (USD) worth of steel kitchen cabinets globally. Latin America as a region accounts for the majority of sales. Bertolini cabinets are sold in Walmart in Mexico! Sales in South Africa also are strong.

Steel kitchen cabinets
In a news release earlier this month, the company said, “their entry into the U.S. market marks their intentions to extend the availability of their exclusive DIY modular steel kitchen cabinets to the entire North American region.” Stay tuned, Canada!


Allegra in Ivory – a special-order color

Driving the decision to enter the U.S. market, Garcia said, “is that they’re a bigger company, have grown more internationally, with sales in the millions. This growth has allowed them to drive down cost and improve quality, packaging and marketing materials. They continue to make changes to product according to new markets in term of sizes, colors and styles.

And, he said, “Finally, my belief is that the time was right now, and that consumers are more willing to assemble and use affordable steel kitchen cabinets.”

Single center no Holes bertolini sinkSingle center with holes stainless steel drainboard sink bertolini

stainless steel drainboard sink bertolini

Full-width, integral stainless steel drainboards sinks are included in the price of all the sink bases.

Indeed, Garcia told me that Bertolini had looked at entering the U.S. market ten or 12 years ago, but a research firm advising the company expressed concern that consumers in the U.S. were not yet familiar enough the “knockdown” (KD) concept. That’s industry speak for assemble-it-yourself. Today, though, Ikea kitchen cabinets have taken the mystery out of the idea and in fact, those Ikea cabinets arguably have a cult following — at least at that price point in the market.

Bertolini seems to offer several benefits at similarly competitive prices. Not only does Bertolini make steel cabinets, but its KD sets are ready to rock and roll — they include legs, cabinets pulls, the laminate countertop and — get this — on sink bases, you get a stainless steel drainboard sink. I priced out a basic 30″(ish) sink base + sink + countertop at both. According to my comparison, Bertolini’s current list price [we’ll see if that holds up as the products are rolled out] is less — even so, they are made of steel — like Superman!  Note, there are a few product differences in my price comparison, though: Bertolini’s standard cabinets are about 3.5″ less deep than Ikea’s, and Bertolini’s larger drawers are wire bins. And, there is the issue of shipping. I am not Consumer Reports, though! There may be other pros and cons — on both sides — that we can assess when Bertolini’s cabinets can be placed side-by-side with Ikea’s and when consumer feedback about Bertolini’s entire value proposition — design + quality + price + ease of assembly + purchase experience — starts rolling in. 

Winning back U.S. customers’ affection for steel kitchen cabinets

Garcia acknowledged that a challenge in the U.S. will be reintroducing consumers to the benefits of steel kitchen cabinets. Here, everyone is now accustomed to wood — even though we may have memories of these cabinets. Luis himself remembers steel kitchen cabinets from his childhood — they were avocado green, and he thinks that his mother bought them from Sears.

Why did steel kitchen cabinets — once so popular — “aspirational”, even — fall out of favor in the U.S. I’ve written about this before — see my entire [Epic] history — but will repeat it in short:

  • Introduced in the 1920s or 1930s — very upscale — “hygenic” with the ability to fight spread of germs because mice and other vermin could not chomp through or on them
  • During World War II, massive build-up of steel production for armaments meant that after the war, the U.S. had all kinds of capacity to make steel — which then got poured into products. One of the main products: Steel cabinets
  • Popularity raged for 15 t0 20 years, into the early 1960s. Then, I hypothesize, a few things happened to change preferences:
  • 1) It’s possible steel prices increased, making steel kitchen cabinets less affordable.
  • 2) The one key downside of steel kitchen cabinets — that you cannot repaint them at will, easily — started to bother homeowners. With care, that painted enamel finish never wears off. You will get sick of it before it wears off.
  • 3) Marketeers — especially marketeers in the wood cabinet industry — pushed new doors styles not easily replicated in steel. The new styles had lots of molding on the front, much more decorative. Plus, they were just — new! Wood marketeers also pushed re-paintability as a feature. And yes, there is a “warmth” factor in wood, and it was likely symbiotic with the changing times.
  • The last steel kitchen cabinet company left standing was St. Charles, which was very upmarket, always the creme-de-la-creme. They stopped production in the early 2000s. The Viking Range company bought the brand and reintroduced steel cabinets in Dec. 2007, but they discontinued sales in Aug. 2012.

I love steel kitchen cabinets. Steel kitchen cabinets were the catalyst for my starting this blog. They definitely have benefits.

Bertolini points out: “Apart from the fact that they are Ready-to-Assemble (RTA), the cabinets are affordable and very easy to maintain, largely due to the mere fact that they are made of steel. The inherent properties of steel are passed on to the customer and maintained in the finished end-product line, such as being recyclable, non-toxic and harboring the ability to withstand harsh outdoor elements.”

As another example of a benefit, Garcia told me that they just finished a project outfitting 35 kitchens in St. Croix. St. Croix has a terrible termite problem, so the property owners wanted steel cabinets.

Nitty gritty

Some details about the Bertolini cabinet sets, from my research:

  • Entry level — no one is suggesting these are high-end cabinets.  [I don’t think anyone suggests Ikea are high-end either, hence I felt comfortable using that comp.] That said: Continue reading, and you will see reader Gert’s reaction to the Bertolinis that he just purchased and assembled: He called the doors “rather sturdy.”
  • You will not be able to order them online. You will need to order via a dealer. To find a dealer in your area, contact Bertolini directly.
  • Prices are the same for six of the door styles; Evidence [the flat slab door] is priced higher.
  • Measurements are in millimeters. See the catalog for the dimensions and then go online to translate. I am sure, that as Bertolini gets its distribution network in place, these will be converted to inches in the marketing materials.
  • Standard depth for base cabinets is 520 mm, which is 20.4724 inches; all the main styles offer an optional 600 mm depth, which is 23.622″, closer to the current U.S. standard of 24″ depths.
  • Note: A 20.7″ cabinet depth would be good for a bathroom! Can you say: Welcome backs, Lavanettes and Lavanities!
  • Similarly, standard wall cabinet sizes are a bit more dimunitive than current American standards — but upsizing is possible on a number of units.
  • Sinks are shallower than what we’re accustomed to in the U.S. They are about six or seven inches deep, Garcia said. Note: I looked and Ikea has the same issue with some of their sinks.
  • Cabinet pulls are a plastic with a laminated finish when you order the six standard door styles. With Evidence you get aluminum pulls. You can order the aluminum pulls for other door styles as an upcharge.
  • There are rounded what-not shelves.
  • There are wide little undercabinets with sliding glass doors in the vein of of GE Cabinettes.
  • There are optional chrome legs.
  • Filler pieces are available.

To make them look more retro — ditch the legs:

  • Ditch those legs — too contemporary. Build a plinth to set them on (plinth = kickplate thingy underneath base cabinets), be sure everything is level, install the base cabinets on it, and cover the toe board with molding painted black. Or: Install them on the legs, then put a plinth cover over them. Ikea makes plinth covers, maybe they would work.

Seven Bertolini Steel Kitchens door styles:

Bertolini Steel Kitchens “Allegra” door style:

bertolini-kitchens-allegraThere is something really likeable about Allegra. For a midcentury modest — or modern — kitchen, the curvy pressed metal under the door and drawer pulls soften the contemporary edge imposed by those long cabinet pulls. That is: Modern — but not eschewing all ornamentation. The whole look reminds me of the earliest Genevas, with their plastic recessed handles. A few other early steel cabinet designs also had reminiscent curves. For the dampering effects of these Goldilocks curves on the contemporary pulls, Allegra is my favorite door style.

Coinkadinkally, we had a reader — Gert Berntsson in Sweden — post his Allegras on our Facebook page earlier this month. You can see their shape much better in his photos than in the CAD marketing images:

bertolini-kitchenbertolini-cabinetsGert told me via email, “I always check out the local hardware stores when travelling, and years ago I found the steel cabinets.” I guess he then was able to obtain them locally, although I did not pursue those details.

Anticipating that I would ask about his impression of the quality, Gert said that he hasn’t handled a vintage steel kitchen cabinet, so could not make the comparison. He said that the sides feel “a bit thin/flexible — but I haven’t yet fixed them to the wall and floor. I will have them on plinths. The paint work is good, handles are plastic but acceptable. The doors/fronts are double skin and rather sturdy, some small dents can be found, probably from production rather than transport.”

Gert also told me that this color is not white — it is ivory — and while it is not shown in the catalog, is available on demand.

THANK YOU, Gert!!!!

Yes, I asked Luis Garcia of Bertolini, and he confirmed you can order ivory — and beige, here in the U.S. He sent me these photos:

bertolini-allegra-ivorybertolini kitchens


Discontinued “Personale” door style. But you can still get this color.

I LOVE that ivory! I think that it makes the cabinets even more retro-looking [rather than contemporary]. In general, my eyes can’t take bright white anymore. I would probably not pair it with white appliances, though. I’d go for stainless, or a color if I had the dough-re-mi.

The value-priced “Pratica” package combines pre-selected options from Allegra:

modern steel kitchen cabinets“Pratica” is the name for Bertolini’s value-priced package of pre-selected Allegra cabinets, all boxed up and ready to go. Perfect for a small kitchen where a no-muss, no-fuss, low-priced installation is desired. There are a couple of different options, you can see them in this snip from the Bertolini-Brasil catalog:

pratico-packagesTwo choices of sink base… matched with four choices of the other three cabinets combined… and boom, out it goes. If you want to add pieces later, choose from the Allegra line to do so.

Bertolini Steel Kitchens’ “Classica” door style:

modern steel kitchen cabinets

In this CAD image, we get a sense of how the cabinets would look if they were set on a plinth, rather than on legs.

modern steel kitchen cabinetsmodern steel kitchen cabinets

Bertolini Classica steel kitchen cabinets

Not a CAD image — Classica as photographed in the showroom.

Bertolini Classica

Another photo of Classica in the showroom – [I think the pulls are not the standard aluminum pulls]

Classica has slab doors, which is what we see most on vintage steel kitchen cabinets. It is the only door style that comes with metal pulls — these are aluminum [you may special order them for other cabinets at an upcharge.] And, it also is the only door style that costs more than the others.

With the long, chunky aluminum cabinet pulls, I see these cabinets entering Dwell-contemporary [rather than Retro Renovation retro] mode. For that reason, I would hesitate to put these in a midcentury modest kitchen.

Bertolini Steel Kitchens “Gourmet” door style:

I also like the look of the Gourmet door style for a midcentury kitchen — either modest or modern. Dig that glass!!!
bertolini steel kitchen cabinets gourmet door stylebertolini-gourmet-kitchen-cabinetsbertolini steel kitchen cabinets gourmet door style

Bertolini Gourmet metal kitchen

“Gourmet” kitchen cabinets photographed in the showroom

Bertolini kitchens Gourmet glass

I love the glass in Gourmet!

Bertolini Steel Kitchens “Evidence” door style:

Some additional curves go into Evidence, you get different glass, and the white pulls:

bertolini-kitchen-sink-base-evidencebertolini metal kitchen cabinets bertolini evidencesteel kitchen cabinets bertolini evidence

Bertolini Steel Kitchens “Ideal” door style:

These steel doors are pressed to look like cottage beadboard. Knowing what I do about historical steel kitchen cabinets, this style gives me cognitive dissonance, but here you go:bertolini-kitchens-ideal bertolini kitchens ideal door stylebertolini ideal kitchen

steel kitchen cabinets

Ideal as photographed in the showroom (not a CAD image)

Bertolini Steel Kitchens “Luna” door style:

If I were to tie this to any decades, I’d say 1980s and early 1990s. Ditto the cognitive dissonance:


Pantry cabinet kits:


All the door styles can be made up into pantry cabinet kits, too.

Choosing cabinet pulls:

  • Most of the styles come with cabinet pulls that are some sort of plastic laminated with a metal-look finish. Classica comes with aluminum pulls — you can order up to these, if you like.
  • You could also looks for replacements elsewhere. Center-to-center measurements are in millimeters, I don’t know how tough it’s going to be to find these sizes in the U.S.:
    • 40cm door: 192mm/  or  (7-9/16”) inches
    • 60cm door: 256mm/  = (10-5/64) inches

Choosing a countertop:

carrara-laminate-bertoliniAll of the base units include a choice of laminate countertop in the price. To get as close to an historical look, I’d go with the Carrara. The way I understand the modularity of these kitchens is that: If you are screwing several units together, you are going to have the laminate countertop edges butting up one against another. In this case, if you can afford it, order your Bertolinis sans the countertops, then go to Home Depot or Lowe’s or another big box store, and order custom laminate countertops there. Or, check out Heffron’s for special-order retro laminates. See all of our research on kitchen countertops by clicking here.

Links to more information about Bertolini Steel Kitchen cabinets:

The post Ikea, move over: Bertolini Steel Kitchens introduces affordable, ready-to-assemble metal kitchen cabinets to the U.S. appeared first on Retro Renovation.

31 Aug 19:00

BLT Stuffed Avocados

by Joanne

omg. omg.

If there’s one thing I get at the grocery store every time I go, it’s avocados. Avocado is like the bacon (aka ruler) of the plant world, and I must have it in my kitchen at all times (like bacon). You’ll find me eating avocado toast for breakfast most days, and all of my life’s BLTs have turned into BLATs. Avocado makes everything better!

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

I have my father-in-law to thank for my frequent practice of stuffing avocados. A few years ago, he brought over shrimp salad stuffed avocados for Thanksgiving (a little odd, but delicious nevertheless), and since then I’ve been stuffing avocados with all sorts of yummy collections of ingredients. These BLT stuffed avocados are my favorite. Ripe avocados are filled with crispy bacon bits, homemade bacon fat croutons, tomatoes, and romaine. It’s one big happy family of flavor.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

To get started, cook four slices of thick-cut bacon in a skillet.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

While that cooks, cut two slices of sourdough bread into small cubes.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

When the bacon is crisp and finished cooking, remove to a paper towel lined plate and toss the bread cubes into the skillet.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Cook for about five minutes, tossing often, until the croutons are golden and crisp.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Chop the cooled crispy bacon up into small pieces.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Hello, bacon + bacon fat croutons. Best friends forever.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

To prepare the tomatoes, slice through the middle hemisphere and push out the seeds and juice with your finger or a butter knife.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, as well as some fresh romaine lettuce.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Then add a couple tablespoons of mayo, a sprinkle of salt, and some freshly cracked black pepper.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Stir it all together to coat. The stuffing is now done!

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Slice 3 or 4 avocados in half through the middle, around the pit.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Sprinkle the tops of the avocados with sea salt.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

Spoon a couple heaps of BLT filling into all of the avocado halves.

BLT Stuffed Avocados on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Joanne Ozug of Fifteen Spatulas)

It’s ready to eat and enjoy!


30 Aug 21:00

The Ultimate Guide to Hand Washing Your Laundry

by Jennifer Hunter

Add to list of things to do before winter

Stop dropping big bucks at the dry cleaner. You really can clean your delicates at home in your bathroom sink as long as you do it the right way. Here's everything you need to know.


31 Aug 09:00

Lettuce Wraps

by Ree

Lettuce wraaaaaaaps!

Lettuce wraps are everything. Absolutely everything. And I know they’ve been around forever, and I know they’re everywhere, and I know I shouldn’t have worn turquoise mascara when I got my senior pictures taken back in the eighties. I get that. But I’m not sorry.

(For the lettuce wraps or the turquoise mascara.)

Here’s how I like to make them!

Lettuce WrapsFirst, make the marinade for the chicken, which is the cat’s meow, the bomb, and Heaven. It starts with hoisin sauce…

Lettuce WrapsAnd soy sauce

Lettuce WrapsNext, squeeze in a little Sriracha, also known as I Love the Stuff.

Lettuce WrapsA little rice wine vinegar (or heck, any vinegar!) is good…

Lettuce WrapsAnd some minced garlic and minced ginger.

Lettuce WrapsNext, just slice a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips…

Lettuce WrapsAnd add them to the marinade, tossing it around to coat it. Then cover it and pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours. You’ll be soooooo glad you did.

Lettuce WrapsAfter that time, grill them on a grill pan (or you can saute them…)

Lettuce WrapsUntil they’ve got fabulous grill marks and are totally cooked through.

Lettuce WrapsOh, and one more thing! Grab a package of those super thin cellophane noodles and pour boiling water over them in a bowl.

Lettuce WrapsRead the package to see how long they need to sit; it doesn’t take long at all for them to be soft and tender and magical. Then rinse them in cold water so they’ll stop cooking…but also so they’ll be cool!

Lettuce WrapsGracious. Will you look at that chicken for a sec?

Oh, and what the heck, go ahead…take two secs!

Lettuce WrapsPile it on a board with shredded carrots (these are the packaged ones), sliced red cabbage, cilantro leaves, julienne cucumbers, and of course…lettuce leaves.

Lettuce WrapsInvite your friends over!

Or don’t, depending on how hungry you are.

Lettuce WrapsOh! Chopped peanuts! (Cashews are good, too!)

Oh, and another thing: Bean sprouts. Love those in lettuce wraps. I just didn’t have any.

Lettuce WrapsTo build the beautiful babies, grab a lettuce leaf and drizzle in a little sweet chili sauce…

DSC_0760Lay on a couple of pieces of chicken…

Lettuce WrapsThen throw on everything else: noodles, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts, a little more chili sauce (or hoisin or soy or Sriracha.)

(I didn’t take a photo of the lettuce wrap—or me—after I took my first bite. It wasn’t pretty.)

(But it sure tasted pretty.)

Enjoy, friends!


Note: The printable recipe is at the top of this post, over on the right sidebar. You can also access the printable recipe here:

Lettuce Wraps Printable Recipe

I’m still working to get the actual printable put into the post itself, but in the meantime, here’s the straight-up recipe if you’d like to see what’s in it!

Lettuce Wraps


1/3 cup Hoisin Sauce
1/3 cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Grated Ginger
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
3 cloves Garlic, Grated
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Strips
1/4 cup Chopped Cilantro
8 whole Butter Lettuce Leaves
1 cup Bean Sprouts
1 cup Thinly Sliced Red Cabbage
1 cup Julienne Carrots
1 cup Cucumber Slices
2 Tablespoons Chopped Peanuts
1 cup Cooked Thin Rice Noodles
Sweet Chili Sauce, For Serving


For the chicken and marinade: Mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, grated ginger, Sriracha, rice wine vinegar and grated garlic in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken strips and marinate, refrigerated, for 2 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken strips from the marinade and grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the peanuts and cilantro.

For the lettuce and fillings: Set out the lettuce, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and rice noodles on the serving platter.

To assemble, use the butter lettuce leaves to contain the chicken and fillings. Add some chili and hoisin sauce, then roll them up and eat!

27 Aug 13:18

Make Your Own Rose Water Face Mist

by A Beautiful Mess

Make your own hydrating face mist! All natural ingredients- super easy DIYI've been a fan of face mists for a couple years now. (I've used this one and this one and love them both.) Recently, when I started looking at the ingredients in the mists, I realized this would be super easy to make at home. I customized the formula to my own preferences and it turned out super well. Today I'm here to share an easy recipe for making your own refreshing, hydrating face mist at home. 

Make your own hydrating face mist! All natural ingredients- super easy DIY In a glass spray bottle, combine—2 teaspoons Pure Aloe Vera, 1 teaspoon Pure Vitamin E Oil, 1 teaspoon Pure Argan Oil, 4 drops Geranium Essential Oil, 2 drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil, 4 drops Peppermint Essential Oil, 6 tablespoons Pure Moroccan Rose Water. Next, fill half the remaining bottle with Unscented Witch Hazel Toner and then top it off with distilled water. Shake and spray. 

Other things I used—glass spray bottle (I used this one but on second thought a tinted bottle might be cuter since the oil and water do not mix, which my husband called "gross". Here's another good option.), tiny funnel, distilled water. 

If you don't have every single ingredient, it's OK! You can tweak the ingredients list a little. It's really not a big deal. Essential oils are kind of expensive if you only need them once, so I borrowed mine from a friend! 

Make your own hydrating face mist! All natural ingredients- super easy DIY  Make your own hydrating face mist! All natural ingredients- super easy DIY   Since this mist contains both oil and water, just shake it a little before you spritz! 

Oh—I also used letter stickers from the art section at the craft store to label my bottles (I made two. I'll share the second one sometime soon!) 

This face mist smells SO GOOD. I use mine in the morning (makes me feel more awake) and throughout the day I'll do a little spritz if I want to add a little moisture on top of my makeup. 

Make your own hydrating face mist! All natural ingredients- super easy DIY    As an added bonus, I've been using my new aloe and vitamin E oils on their own, just on my skin. So even though you do have to buy a bunch of ingredients to make this mist, it's good to know that it's stuff you can actually use anyway. Also you can use the ingredients to make refills for a long time, or make extras as gifts! 

xoxo- Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

26 Aug 08:30

From sketch to advertisement: Louisa Kostich Cowan’s 1954 bedroom design

by pam kueber

That bed piece! Headboard! Side tables! Dressing tables! Wall divider!

louisa cowan designHere’s a before-and-after of a different stripe: Up top, the original rendering for a 1954 Armstrong Flooring advertisement by Armstrong’s Louisa Kostich Cowan. And just below it: The rendering as it was actually built out and featured in publications. Hey — I spy George Nelson Bubble Lamp Pendants — don’t forget to enter our giveaway for one, contest ends tomorrow [Thursday, Aug. 27.]

louisa-cowanAbove: This photo of Louisa Kostich Cowan’s rendering was taken by Al Reist of Reist Auctioneers, who ran the Cowan estate sale auction this summer. I connected with him, and he gave permission for us to feature it here. I had such a lovely talk with him about these drawings — like all of us, he was mesmerized.

mid century modern bedroomAbove: This photo is taken from a very large image in my personal collection. So interesting, how Armstrong decided to keep the basic design, but changed up the palette. I will guess: Armstrong may have already had the orange lounge chairs, so to economize they reversed some things. Or perhaps, they decided to address other colors they were marketing this year? In any case: Such a beautiful bedroom!

The post From sketch to advertisement: Louisa Kostich Cowan’s 1954 bedroom design appeared first on Retro Renovation.

24 Aug 12:11

one-pot pasta.

by erin
one-pot pasta for camping and tiny apartments | reading my tea leavesWhile we were in Maine we attempted one-pot pasta for the first time. I've been meaning to make it for forever and what better excuse than camping to try something new and easy and that dirtes only one pot to boot?

The result was a delicious, creamy, wholly satisfying meal that required nary a strainer or second pot. A camping dream, but a tiny apartment dream, too.
one-pot pasta for camping and tiny apartments | reading my tea leaves
We opted for the classic approach ingredients-wise: olive oil, fresh tomatoes, sea salt, garlic, onion, and pasta. Because we were working with the cast iron pot that's slightly on the small side, I improvised on the measurements that I found on a few different recipes that I found online. I also decided to add fresh mozzarella while camping. Minus a slight foible in filling the pot with a bit too much cheese in an enthusiastic attempt not to have cheesy leftovers to deal with, the experiement worked and then some. I recreated the same here, with slightly less mozzarella. I'd say you can follow measurements I've provided if you want to, but you can also wing it depending on the size of your pan, and you'll probably end up a-ok.

To make preparation even easier, we used tiny sungold tomatoes and bocconcino mozzarella so that I didn't even need to dice tomatoes or cheese. I've used them here, too, but you can certainly make the same thing with diced tomatoes and cheese.
one-pot pasta for camping and tiny apartments | reading my tea leaves
One-Pot Pasta
adapted mostly from this recipe on Martha Stewart

What you need:
12 ounces of pasta (we used fusilli but you can use what you love)
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic
12 ounces sungold tomatoes (we didn't slice them, but they all burst beautifully)
a small handful (or so) bocconcino mozzarella (or cubed mozzarella)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 sprigs of basil, stalks removed
3 cups water (or enough to cover the ingredients)
olive oil
one-pot pasta for camping and tiny apartments | reading my tea leaves
What to do:
Add all of the ingredients to the pot, finishing with a generous glug or four of olive oil. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the water has evaporated and the pasta is al dente. Serve. Gloat.
one-pot pasta for camping and tiny apartments | reading my tea leaves
If you want a mess-free approach to meal cleanup, forgo the mozzarella. Even with using less of it, it was a little bit of a bear to clean up in round-two, too.

More tomato-y stuff, HERE.
18 Aug 20:30

Here's How Young Kids Can Help in the Kitchen — The Kitchn

by Apartment Therapy

Want to involve your kids in cooking? We've put together a list of all the ways young kids can help out in the kitchen, with activities tailored to their age and ability. So whether they're two or 10, you can train up a little sous chef!

From The Kitchn → How Young Kids Can Help in the Kitchen: A List of Activities by Age


29 Jul 08:30

Emily transforms an old TV entertainment center into an adorable play kitchen

by Kate

vintage play kitchenRemember Emily & Drew’s charming 1940s style kitchen remodel? Well Emily has been at it again, building a second kitchen for their vintage home. This time, though — it was a child’s play kitchen upcycled from an old TV entertainment center — and it is quite possibly the cutest thing ever.

vintage play kitchenEmily mentioned that our first 1940s kitchen design mood board was among her inspirations. She paid close attention the details, including installing a faux marmoleum countertop with metal edging, real stove burners, oven knobs that turn, a tile backsplash, what-not shelves and even a chrome thermometer for the refrigerator. Emily spent four months on this project from start to finish, and predicts this play kitchen will likely become a family heirloom to be passed down throughout the generations.

vintage play kitchenEmily isn’t the first person to transform an old TV stand/cabinet into a play kitchen. This upcyling DIY trend has been gaining momentum on the internet over the last several years — resulting in many different variations of play kitchens created from cast off furniture. Because the old TV cabinets like the one Emily used are falling out of favor due to newer sleeker flat screened televisions that do not require cabinets to hide their bulk, these cast off cabinets are often found very cheaply or even for free on Craigslist and along the side of the road.  If you have the ability to see potentials in these pieces, a little bit of creativity, some carefully chosen materials and time to put it all together, you too could make an adorable vintage style play kitchen for the weebit (or weebit at heart) in your life.

Congrats on a job well done, Emily, and thanks so much for sharing the results with us.

Read more about this transformation project over on Emily’s blog:

  • You can read more about Emily’s project — and see more photos — over on her blog prairie loon.

Can’t get enough of the play kitchen cuteness? Check out the links below to other adorable DIY play kitchens:

vintage play kitchen

The post Emily transforms an old TV entertainment center into an adorable play kitchen appeared first on Retro Renovation.

04 Aug 15:09

takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber

by deb


takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber

Is there anything more inspiring than a farmer’s market at the height of the summer, piled high with funky heirloom tomatoes, eggplants from fairytale to freakishly large, crinkly peppers, bi-color corn as far as the eye can see and stone fruits in every color of the rainbow? Wouldn’t this be a great time to cook with all of them? Isn’t it almost a moral imperative to fill our systems with as much of summer as we can before it passes and we spend the rest of the seasons pining for its return? Probably, I mean, yes, of course. But cravings are cravings, and what I’ve really been dreaming about is so-called Chinese food, like, the terrible stuff that comes unceremoniously in white boxes with an embarrassment of chopsticks (because they thought you were ordering for a dozen people, and not just the three of you). I’ve long accepted that if I don’t at least occasionally indulge cravings, they’re never going to pass.

... Read the rest of takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber | 154 comments to date | see more: Chinese, Cucumber, Gluten-Free, Lunch, Photo, Quick, Summer, Vegetarian

22 Jul 18:50

dinner for two: thai summer veggie bowls

by kickpleat

summer thai veggie bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

I whipped this up one night last week when I didn’t feel like cooking. I was this close to ordering in take out, but take out is unhealthy and my fridge had some very healthy items that needed to be used up. Cute, tiny summer squash from the farmer’s market, a few random leaves of kale, some baby bok choy, and a 1/2 a can of coconut milk. It seemed like my fridge was telling me: make a stir fry now! And so I listened.

After my vegetables were prepped and ready, I realized that I was out of soy sauce. Instead of panicking, I decided to go with fish sauce as an instant replacement. It was a good move. I also added in some Indian curry paste (though I’m sure a Thai curry would have been more authentic) and my good ol’ standby, chili garlic sauce. If you want something really hot, a squirt or two of sriracha is the way to go.

summer thai veggie bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

In no time, or so it seemed (really, this is a 30 minute meal), dinner was ready. I served this over Japanese sushi rice, which is probably the quickest rice to use when you’re in a hurry and you don’t want to heat up your kitchen any more than you need to. Lucky for us, it was really delicious and way better than greasy delivery pizza.

summer thai veggie bowl | everybody likes sandwiches

thai summer veggie bowl
This can easily be made vegan if you substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. And if you’re gluten free, fish sauce fits the bill. If you’re both vegan and gluten free, well, I’m guessing you have your own tricks and say in the matter. This makes 2 servings, but you can scale this up easily. 

1 T coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 T fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/4 onion, sliced
2 baby summer squash (or a small zucchini), diced
8 heads of baby bok choy, cut in half
4 kale leaves, stems removed, leaves sliced
1/2 can of coconut milk
1 heaping T chili garlic sauce
1 T fish sauce
1 t curry paste or powder
1 t agave syrup or honey
1/2 lime
cooked rice or grain of your choosing, to serve

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat and add in garlic, ginger and onion. Let it get fragrant, but not brown. Stir in the summer squash, stirring to make sure it gets a bit of colour on a side or two – 1 minute or so. Add in the kale and bok choy and stir it for a minute before pouring in the coconut milk, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, honey and curry paste. Let the liquids come to a boil and reduce slightly. Give it a big squeeze of lime and serve it immediately over rice or the grain of your choice. Makes 2 servings.

24 Jul 17:30

How To Clean Electric Stove Burners — Apartment Therapy Tutorials

by Ashley Poskin

Does your pot frequently runneth over? If you're part of the regularly-sets-off-the-smoke-alarm-while-cooking-dinner club, chance are your stove burners are in desperate need of attention. Whether it's your fault, or the previous tenants', the burners aren't going to clean themselves.


21 Jul 16:30

Storage with Style: 15 Bins & Baskets

by Carrie McBride

For most of us, it's just not practical to stash everything away in a drawer or closet. Bins and baskets are a great way to keep things handy, but also contained. Whether you're looking for an attractive way to store some toys in the living room, a place to stash your knitting project or your favorite magazines, here are fifteen stylish options that will look good in any room:


15 Jul 12:12

life in a tiny apartment.

by erin
life in a tiny apartment: tiny storage | reading my tea leaves
Tip #126: Find Tiny Storage Solutions

People ask me an awful lot how I manage to stay organized in a small space. Usually my answer is that I stay organized in a small space in the same way that I would in a much larger space: namely by not having too much stuff to organize. But while that's largely true, I realize that it might seem like an unsatisfactory answer. Even for someone who tries to keep her material goods in check, there's still the question of wrangling and organizing what we do have and the wrangling of tiny things themselves can be particularly challenging. For me, a frequent solution is tiny bags. In packing for a weekend away and in keeping little things from spilling out of my kitchen cabinets, small cloth bags—typically of the variety that come for free with with gifts or clothing purchases—are probably my number one organizing secret. Not so secret anymore.

I keep one in the medicine cabinet with medicine and other things that would otherwise look cluttered and messy out on the shelf. I keep a collection of them in a kitchen cabinet where I use them to store everything from extra mason jar lids to wine bottle stoppers and extra cheese cloth and spice bags. There's another one in my toiletry kit for stashing hair elastics. There's a small zipped pouch with essential oils in a basket in the bathroom. And another one with nail polish. There are even slightly larger bags kept under the sink for housing plastic garbage pags and dishwasher detergent.

For me, organizing without these kinds of catchalls requires too much commitment to keeping things perfectly lined up or beautiful enough to merit display. Little bags make it easier. Because I find that anything that gets tucked out of sight can end up getting lost (or unruly), the key for not having the bags become part of the problem themselves is to keep only like with like. Once I start using a single bag to store mason jar lids and extra spice bags and bottle stoppers, the likelihood that it will also trap other unwanted things seems to grow exponentially. But keeping one small bag filled only with mason jar lids keeps the number of them that accumulate in check and means that I always know where to find them.

In case you don't have a stash of these bags handy, here's a little set you can buy. (Though at 50/pack I'd suggest going in with a friend or five.)

If you're hoping for something larger and lightweight, produce bags might do the trick. And

If you're looking for something that's a little more sturdy, these waxed canvas ones with a zipper would be awesome.

And definitely keep your eyes peeled: there are more of these bags floating around out than you'd think.

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips #1 - 125, RIGHT HERE.
08 Jun 13:12

Spicy Tempeh Taco Salad

by A Beautiful Mess

MMMMM I want this, please!

Tempeh Taco Salad (via  This is probably my favorite homemade salad. I know, right?! I may change my mind someday so don't hold me to it, but this is at least my current favorite and easily in the top five. 

I really can't take all the credit either because this salad is very much inspired by a favorite salad I order at a bar I love (in Springfield) called JOB Public House. Mine is a little different, plus I'm not entirely sure what all they put in theirs. But this is at least quite similar, so I gotta give them the credit and also say thank you because I LOVE that salad. :)

Tempeh Taco Salad (via So what's so great about this taco salad anyway? Well, first off, it's vegetarian-friendly, which is nice for me, because a great vegetarian taco salad is hard to come by. It's super filling because the tempeh provides quite a bit of protein, and I actually like the texture quite a bit better than ground beef. And my favorite feature is the spicy mayo. Yum! Use a good quality mayo with no added sugar and you'll find that this salad is exceptionally healthy for how flavorful it is. Which is a major win-win in my book.  

Tempeh Taco Salad (via    Spicy Tempeh Taco Salad, serves 2.

8 oz. tempeh
1/2 white onion
3 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt + pepper
small handful of fresh cilantro (maybe a heaping tablespoon once chopped for those who MUST have a measurement)
half a head of lettuce (or more if you want even more veggies)
2-3 tablespoons salsa (make your own, or use a jar like I did)
1/4 cup mayo
1 tablespoon Sriracha
2 flour tortillas

Cube the tempeh. It will crumble more as you cook it, so it's OK if it's larger cubes. Finely chop the white onion. Mince the garlic.

You can go ahead and stir together the mayo and Sriracha. Set aside until you need it.

How to make baked taco salad shellsIf you want to turn the taco shells into plates, then drape your shells over two oven safe bowls that have been lightly coated in oil. Bake at 350°F for 8-12 minutes until the edges begin to brown. In case you're skipping flours/breads right now, just know that this salad is still super delicious without the shells too. I often eat it without...just giving you some options. Plus the tortilla plates are too cute. 

Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until the pieces begin to brown (2-3 minutes). Add a little more oil to the pan. Then toss in the tempeh and garlic. Generously season everything with salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes so everything gets nice and hot. 

Tempeh Taco Salad (via up the lettuce. Assemble the salad: tortillas, lettuce, tempeh mix, salsa, chopped cilantro, and spicy mayo. I like to enjoy this while the tempeh is still warm. Give it a try this week! xx. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman, Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

24 Jun 13:08

At Home With Emory Kurysh

by A Beautiful Mess

I love SO MUCH about this house. 2nd only to booth seating: half a picnic table seating!

Dining areaToday we are welcoming Emory Kurysh to the blog as she shares her beautiful, rustic home with us!

Emory Ann Kurysh"My husband and I built our home from the ground up. We had originally wanted an acreage and had searched for one with an old farmhouse for nearly six months. We weren't having any luck in finding our perfect home. On a whim, I went for a drive to a provincial park that was only 20 minutes from the city in which we currently lived and worked. I immediately fell in love with the area, and had a feeling that this was the type of country life that would best suit us. With very few homes for sale in the park, we ended up purchasing an empty lot, and thus began building our new home. Being influenced by the lake and the surrounding area, and having both lived on an acreage, we decided to build our version of a reclaimed cabin and barn-like home. We designed it from scratch and employed contractors that I have known for seven years. It came together like a dream. We named it The Little Barn, and moved into our new space in January 2015.

The little barnLiving roomAt Home with Emory Ann KuryshKitchen"My favourite space in our home is our kitchen. In five years, this is the fifth home that we have lived in together, and it is also the first one with a kitchen that is big enough to fit a table. Our kitchen is technically 9' x 12'. However, because it is open concept, it is more like 12' x 24'. It seems like such a silly thing, but actually having a large kitchen is the one of the reasons why I love this house so much. To celebrate this achievement, I ordered a custom picnic table with built-in seating on one side. The other side is a 9' church pew that was gifted to us from my mother. I put a childhood blanket of my husband's on the pew, as well as a few animal hides that were my Baba's. Her antique household items are displayed on top of our table, in addition to some from my mother, and a plant from my in-laws on the large kitchen windowsill. I do all of my reading and blogging whilst sitting at the table, and I love when my two dogs curl up at my feet on the shag rug that I placed underneath the table. 

Kitchen storageShelving"In keeping with a rustic home, we specifically decided against countertops and cupboards. Instead, we hung vintage crates from my antique store and use an old armoire that my mother restored when I was a child to hold all of our kitchen wares. We purchased a stainless steel commercial sink, and kept with the industrial theme with a 7' tall fridge and double oven. Our only countertop is a reclaimed wood island with metal sheeting for a workspace. I just love it!

Entertainment areaDecor details"Our entertainment unit is one of my favourite pieces. We designed it to fit the long, narrow space beneath the stairs, and my husband constructed it out of reclaimed barn wood that he collected with my brother-in-law. I adore the items that I collected from my Baba's estate as well as the ones that were given to us by my mother.

BedroomBathroomGuest bedroomBedroom details"I love our IKEA purchases, mainly our stainless steel shelving solutions and all of our lighting that can be found throughout our home.  I could not live without our vintage wool blankets or cast iron antique spare bed, nor could I part with our record, book, and movie collection. I have hand-picked every item to fit into The Little Barn. It's still not much, but all that we own, I can honestly say I cherish."

Thank you so much for sharing your space with us, Emory! You can find more of Emory on her blog and on Instagram. xo.