Shared posts

19 Sep 19:13

marbled banana bread

by deb

Less than a week after I delivered the ostensibly completed manuscript for that my second cookbook (just 40 days now!), I received an email from someone was looking for a recipe for a chocolate-vanilla marble cake like the one her grandmother had made, one that had great texture and wasn’t too sweet. She said that no recipe she’d tried had achieved this, and could I help?

what you'll need
the batter begins in one bowl

I became obsessed; I loved the idea and I fiddled until I came up with a marble cake I loved, moist, deeply chocolaty in the dark swirls, but no throwaway blandness in the light ones… and then I added it to the book. Editors love this, by the way, almost as much as mine loved the ten recipes I swapped in in December and the three in January, and the introduction that I didn’t write until February. Seriously, just let me know if you ever want me to write that How Not To Write A Book Book.

Read more »

15 Sep 11:10

Vertical Gold Hoop Photo Display

by Laura Gummerman

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) While it’s great to have cool and unique photo frames around the house, it’s nice to mix it up a bit with an unexpected photo display option here and there. I still love this metal hand photo garland that I made last year so I partnered with our friends at Canon USA again to think of another hanging photo display for the living room to add a touch of gold to the walls there as well! Turns out, with the right supplies you can make a simple yet elegant display in a matter of minutes! Here’s how:

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) Supplies:
-gold macrame rings (in 5″ and 6″ sizes)
large jump rings
gold chain spool
-gold paper clips
-Canon PIXMA TS8020
jewelry tool kit

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) Print out square 4″ and 3.25″ photos (2 of each size) to display in your loops. Use scissors or an X-Acto knife and mat to cut out your photos. My PIXMA TS8020 is perfect for printing photos, because regardless if the photos are black and white or in color, the prints always come out super crisp and clear.

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) Use your chain cutters to cut 4 chain sections that are all 3″ long.

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) Attach your large jump rings to each side of your 3″ chain sections and then use 3 of those sections to connect your 4 macrame rings together. Attach the last 3″ section to your top macrame ring and that will be what you use to hang your display once finished.

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) Attach a paper clip to each jump ring at the top of your macrame loops.

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) Slide your photos into the paper clip so that it is evenly centered in your loop. Once all your photos are secure, you’re ready to hang your display!

Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial)
Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial)
Great idea! Vertical Photo Display DIY (click through for tutorial) I love the simple lines and geometric shapes in this display and it’s a nice bonus that you can switch out the photos in a snap as well. You can also buy those macrame hoops in many sizes, so you can also vary the size and amount of rings pretty easily to fit your space. Of course with an adorable little baby face like Lola’s in the house, there’s not enough wall space in the world for all her sweet pictures. But that’s just my mama opinion talking 😉 xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

13 Sep 18:29

Abandoned States

by swissmiss

Watch places in idyllic 1960s postcards transform into scenes of abandonment.

(Thanks Sis)

01 Sep 10:24

Chocolate Flecked Slice and Bake Cookies

by Emma Chapman

I’d like to think I’m pretty fancy, but the truth is when it comes to desserts (and probably most things, if I’m being honest) what I really love is the basics done well. If you feel the same, then you will love these cookies because that’s exactly what they are: classic slice and bake cookies flecked with delicious dark chocolate. They are perfect for dunking in milk, or a favorite serving option of mine is to add a scoop of ice cream to the top of a still warm cookie. Mmmmm.

Slice and bake cookies are pretty self explanatory, right? You make this dough ahead of time and freeze in a roll. Then you can slice off the cookies and bake when you are ready. This is precisely why you want small flecks of chocolate and not big chips or chunks in these. I’m all for oversized chocolate chips, but they would be much more difficult to slice through, so that’s why we want small pieces of chocolate. An added bonus to this is you can use a fairly small amount of chocolate and it will get more evenly distributed throughout all the cookies. And since you don’t need tons and tons, I recommend you choose something high quality for these (I love Askinosie Chocolate myself).

Slice and bake are so, so awesome for two reasons: First, you can have this cookie dough in your freezer for months and months and if you end up with unexpected guests or an impromptu party at your house, just pull this out, slice, bake, and you’re ready to go. But the second reason is probably my favorite. You can slice off just one or two cookies at a time and bake on a night that it’s just you and Netflix. I love a good Friday night in by myself (warning: introvert) and I love cookies, but if I bake a whole dozen I am much more likely to EAT THEM ALL—if not that night then at least by the end of the weekend, which is not a great habit. So being able to make just one or two for yourself when needed is nice. 😉

Chocolate Flecked Slice and Bake Cookies, makes two dozen

1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 oz (about 90 grams) chopped dark chocolate

First, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir in the egg until well combined. Then stir in the flour and salt until a dough ball forms. Then stir in the chopped chocolate.

You may need to use your (clean) hands to press the dough together here. Roll the dough into a long cylinder, cover in plastic wrap, and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight. You can keep this frozen in your freezer for at least a couple months (probably longer).

When you are ready to make cookies, remove from the freezer and allow to sit out for a few minutes while your oven preheats. Then slice into 1/4 inch or slightly thicker rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or parchment paper.

Bake at 325°F for 12-15 minutes in the upper 1/3 of the oven. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack.

Notes: The above recipe will make around two dozen cookies. If you like, you can divide the dough in half before rolling into a cylinder, wrapping, and freezing. This will give you two batches, each being a dozen cookies. Or you can simply do one large cylinder and cut off as you go. It’s really up to you and how much space/options you may have in your freezer.

If you want to use dark chocolate chips, you’re aiming for around 1/2 cup, chopped to get to the 3 oz. measurement.

Also, if you’re not a “chocolate person,” then check out these Vanilla and Thyme Slice and Bake cookies. Happy baking! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
25 Aug 10:12

I’m a motion graphic designer. I was doing some work with the client sitting beside me. Client: I...

I’m a motion graphic designer. I was doing some work with the client sitting beside me.

Client: I wish I had the patience to learn After Effects so I could do these graphics myself.

I paused for a bit, staring into the void, and then, trying to be as polite as possible:

Me: Well, it’s not really like that, you know. What if I said “I wish I had the patience to learn Excel and Outlook so I could be a marketing manager”?

Client: This is not the same thing, because in order to become a marketing manager you have to have special training and management skills and you have to work intellectually. These apps only help me implement the work I do with my brain.

Client: Why are you laughing?

23 Aug 20:05

Jenna comes to love her 1948 pink bathroom

by Pam Kueber

that first bathroom is exactly our bathroom

We pause from our regularly scheduled program — to bask in some glowy pink bathroom happiness to brighten our days! Jenna is fully on board the Pink Potty Procession, Pledging to Protect and Proclaim the Pretty Provenance of her own Puny Piece o’ Paradise.

I hope you enjoy these photos of my very tiny, very pink bathroom. I have always wanted an older home with character and charm, though I was not quite thrilled when I first saw the pink bathroom.

To my dismay, I saw how the tile, tub, toilet, light fixtures (all original to the house!) were in perfect condition. 
Since I had no budget for renovations and an appreciation for the craftsmanship that obviously went into building this house, I turned to your website for inspiration.
All it took was looking at it from a different lens to see it for the gem that it really is. I would love to replace the vanity with something more correct to the time period (1948). If you or your readers have any suggestion, I’d love to hear!  
Your site helped me to not only embrace my pink bathroom, but want to show it off! I hope that more people take the “pledge” to save the pink bathrooms.
Goodness, Jenna, what a lovely bathroom you have. That liner tile! It’s priceless! I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I will, and say, that you look… on the young side. It’s so nice for ole lady blogger me to see members of younger generations taking up the preserve-and-restore ethos. Hooray for our priceless little dream houses! Way to go, Jenna!

Bathroom vanities for a midcentury house

Regarding that vanity: I will guess that originally, the bathroom had a wall-hung sink on chrome legs with attached towel holders. To be authentic, you can go back to that. That said, if the previous renovators pulled out pink wall tiles behind the new vanity, or any of the flooring underneath the new vanity, you will have a *project” on your hands. With lots of searching sure to drive you krazee, you are likely to be able to find wall tile to match. But that floor tile: That will be super difficult, I think. 
Honestly, the vanity you have doesn’t bother me all that much. It’s pretty neutral. If you want to switch it up for aesthetics — and don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of looking for replacement tiles to go the wall-hung route — you can go with a spiffier vanity design made new for you by a custom cabinet-maker or you can start stalking craigslist and salvage places for a vintage vanity.
retro-modern-bath-vanity Above are just a sliver of the vanities we’ve shown over the years. 

Thanks for sharing, Jenna! 

The post Jenna comes to love her 1948 pink bathroom appeared first on Retro Renovation.

23 Aug 14:24

Sorry, Parents: Nobody Wants the Family "Heirlooms"

by Melissa Massello

In a modern world currently intrigued by minimalism, there's something that all three adult generations can agree on: the problem of dealing with the collections curated (hoarded?) by our family members. From younger boomers and Gen X'ers sandwiched between their aging/dying parents and their own children to millennials trying to gently manage expectations (and their own limited budgets and storage space) without hurt feelings, the message is crystal clear. As Forbes said recently, "Sorry, nobody wants your stuff."


22 Aug 16:51

corn chowder with chile, lime and cotija

by deb

I evicted a longtime resident of my To Cook list this week with this corn chowder. I have no argument with traditional corn chowder — it has cream, bacon, and potatoes and thus would be impossible not to love as soup or salad — but I adore to the point of boring everyone around me with my gushing, Mexican-style corn either elote-style (on the the cob rolled in butter, mayo, lime juice and coated with salty crumbled cotija cheese and chile powder or a chile-lime seasoning blend) or esquites-style (all of the above, but in a cup). This corn chowder attempts to celebrate the best of both.

Read more »

21 Aug 19:05

Best Weeknight Nachos 

by Emma Chapman

Confession: One of my go-to movie theater snacks is nachos. I know! It’s terrible. I mean who knows what is in that nacho cheese, plus the entire meal consists of chips, questionable cheese (or maybe I should say “cheese”), and for me jalapeños (from a jar, not fresh, that would be way too spicy). So not exactly a nutritious meal, although in all fairness, who goes to the movie theater to eat nutritious food?

But here is a nacho recipe, complete with some delicious nacho cheese, that you can actually feel good about eating. I should know, I ate this two days in a row since it made leftovers and I can honestly say that I like this a lot more than the movie theater version. I’m not even pulling your leg, I swear! And this version is packed with SO much good for me ingredients (like actual, real plants). Double win!

One more confession before we start cooking. I used to totally roll my eyes at the mere mention of vegan cheese, or non-dairy cheese of any kind. It just sounded really ridiculous to me and, I like real (dairy) cheese. So, why bother? If you feel similar or you’ve felt similar before, believe me, I get it. But, at least hear me out before rolling your eyes.

So this cheese is very similar in texture and color to what probably comes to mind when you think of nacho cheese. It tastes cheesy for sure, but I would say the taste is probably the most different thing about it. It’s made from mostly potatoes and nutritional yeast. If you’ve never tried nutritional yeast before, you totally should; it’s a pretty rad ingredient. Plus it packs a pretty decent plant-based protein punch (say that 3x fast!). The recipe below contains 16 grams of protein just from the nutritional yeast alone (divided by two, the recipe is for two servings). So that’s pretty cool, right? And bottom line: If you’re willing to eat the processed-who-knows-what-it’s-made-of nacho cheese, then there’s really no reason not to give this weirdo non-dairy cheese a try!

Also, I’ll probably still eat the questionable nacho cheese once in a while. But I LOVE that I can make something similar that tastes better AND nourishes my body. I think that’s pretty darn awesome.

Are you ready to nacho cheese yourself? Good, me too.

Best Weeknight Nachos, serves two

For the nachos:
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1 small red onion
2 small bell peppers
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 avocado
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
tortilla chips (see note)

For the nacho cheese:
2 small red potatoes (around 235 grams)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
3-4 tablespoons water (vegetable stock would also work here if you have some you need to use up)

Slice up the onion and bell peppers. Mince the garlic. Cook the onion and bell peppers in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften. Then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Then add in the drained beans and cook just until everything is warmed through. Season with a little salt and pepper.

In the meantime, peel and cube the potatoes. Boil in water for 10-12 minutes until they are soft enough that you can easily mash them with a fork. Drain and add to a food processor or blender. Then add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil, chipotle pepper, salt, and spices. Pulse until creamy. It will likely be quite thick, more like a paste at this point. So use water (or vegetable stock) to thin it to a nice nacho cheese consistency. Just add a few tablespoons, pulse, and see what you think.

Add the cooked vegetables and beans on top of a small bed or chips, drizzle in the nacho cheese sauce, then top with sliced avocado, chopped green onion, and chopped cilantro. Dinner is served!

Notes: For the chips here, I like use something that’s 100% corn or whole grain and organic (or at least non-GMO). But another great option is to swap out the chips for brown rice. Then you have kind of a veggie burrito bowl situation—yum!

– Start with one chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce) but feel free to taste and add more to the cheese if you like. Whenever I’m cooking something with spice/heat, I like to start small and add more as I go, because if you make something too spicy for you it’s pretty much impossible to go back. So just start with one, but I’m sure some of you will want more.

– You could absolutely change up what vegetables go into this dish. To me, onions and peppers just feel right for nachos, but any vegetable the sounds good to you covered in nacho cheese is a go here. 🙂 Experiment with what may be in season or what you have in your refrigerator that you need to use up. There’s lots of possibilities here.

– This will make plenty of nacho cheese for two servings, and you may have some left over. If you do, you can totally save it in an airtight container for at least three days in your refrigerator (probably longer, but that’s how long I’ve done it so far with good results). When you reheat it, if it seems too thick just thin it out with water again. I’ve found that when I reheat this cheese, it seems a little too thick at first, but it’s a super easy solve.

– I suspect that you could swap out the potatoes for a similar weight in tofu for the nacho cheese. I haven’t tried it yet, but I just have a feeling it would work well. You’d need to warm it after blending since the heat from the cooked potatoes wouldn’t be a part of it anymore. But yeah, just options in case anyone is like, “I hate potatoes” or something.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna dim the lights and put on a movie because I’ve got some nachos to DEVOUR IN THE DARK LIKE A PSYCHO. 🙂 xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
16 Aug 16:43

Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

by Lisa Lin
Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

This green curry chicken dish is one of my favorite things to cook on a weeknight. It comes together so fast and it is packed with vegetables!

Continue reading "Quick Green Curry Chicken with Zucchini Noodles" »

16 Aug 16:42

Wise Words by Jackson Kiddard

by swissmiss

15 Aug 13:55

Weekday Weekend – Our Cookbook 

by Emma Chapman

Today we are beyond thrilled to announce that our cookbook, Weekday Weekend, is now available for pre-order! We have shared lots of little peeks as we’ve been working on this book since 2015 (when we let you in on the secret). Elsie and I have emailed, texted, and traveled to work together on this book SO many times over the past year and a half. You can see a few pictures from when Elsie and I shot the final images at her house in this Casual Friday post. Plus, there have been (and will be—you’ve been warned) lots of behind the scenes shared on our IG stories. This is one of the first big projects we’ve completed together while living in two different states and I kind of can’t believe it’s already here!

So what the heck is this book? Maybe the name “Weekday Weekend” sounds like more a calendar project to you than a cookbook. Well, like we hinted at in our announcement post, our goal was not to write just any old cookbook. We really wanted to create something that reflects the overall message of our brand, A Beautiful Mess. So we wanted the book to be brimming with positivity and inspiration, with a message aligned with living a happy and healthy (balanced!) life, and if it would somehow have a sprinkle of goal-setting thrown in, that would be a big plus (obviously we packed it full of recipes and beautiful food photography as well).

The book really has two components: First, there’s a challenge you can take. We call it the Weekday Weekend challenge, which is how the book got its name. For 4-6 weeks, you eat according to five rules for five consecutive days (your weekdays) and then on the weekend you kick back and enjoy a few treats you’ve been craving all week. It’s simple but, hopefully, still challenges many of you. It’s a lifestyle that we both feel really good about living, or you can use the challenge as a kind of reset button after you may have gotten a bit off track (hello holiday season, am I right?). What are the five weekday rules?

Eat a variety of foods.
No refined or artificial sugars or sweeteners.
No refined white flour or white rice.
No dairy.
No alcohol.

It’s basically four no’s and one BIG yes. And the cookbook is also based on a mostly plant-based diet, as basically every recipe is vegetarian-friendly and many are vegan-friendly as well. But there is a LOT more information about the rules, the challenge, and what it all means in the book.

And speaking of information, we developed this cookbook along with two dietitians’ who also provide lots of additional information throughout the book. You will LOVE learning from Lindsey and Sarah; I have learned so much from them already. And I hope many of you will get to know them through this cookbook as well as through a small series we are going to begin on the blog later this month called “Ask a Dietitian.” I don’t know about you but I’ve found that eating healthy can become really challenging when you’re presented with lots of different, and often conflicting, information. So it was really important to us to work alongside our experts, Lindsey and Sarah, so that we can all learn more together and feel empowered to make the best choices we can. 🙂

And if you are wondering if every single recipe in the cookbook is based on the weekday rules, the answer is no. A large portion of the cookbook is dedicated to recipes that fit within the challenge, but we’ve also included recipes for your weekend too, including desserts and cocktails. We believe the good life is a balanced life.

And if taking the challenge just doesn’t sound like your thing, that’s cool. No pressure! But if you enjoy beautiful cookbooks that are filled with a blend of healthy and indulgent recipes, then you’re already gonna love this cookbook anyway.

So in a nutshell that is what our cookbook is all about. I promise we will be sharing lots more here on our blog as well as on our IG, but for now above are just a few peeks of some of the recipes you can find in our book.

Weekday Weekend is currently available to pre-order, and it will be in bookstores (as well as available online for immediate purchase) on November 7. We also plan to host a Weekday Weekend challenge for you all to join in on via social media starting January 1 for the New Year, so I do recommend you pick up your copy before then if you want all the info and recipes.

Maybe some of you are wondering what the deal is with pre-orders. Like, you don’t get the book now so why bother ordering now? We get it, really we do! Pre-orders are a way for retailers to gauge how interested people may be in an author’s new book, so for us it’s a really, really good thing if you pre-order. But for you, it just means you buy something without getting anything yet, and that’s not so great. So it was really important to us to create some fun and super exciting freebies that you will receive if you pre-order. It’s our way of saying THANK YOU for showing interest in our cookbook early, because it really does mean a lot to us. With every pre-order, you will receive four REALLY fun downloads you can use. Here’s what you get …

First, we commissioned Brittany Wright of @wrightkitchen to create a print that communicated the theme of the cookbook and we LOVE how it turned out. I am a huge fan of Brittany’s work and have followed her online for years. If you’re not familiar with her photography, go check her out immediately because she creates some really beautiful and artistic images—mostly centered around food. She created the above image just for our pre-order readers and you’ll receive the high-res version with your pre-order (see instructions here), so you can print it as large as you like for your home. I have this print hanging in my dining area right now and it adds so much color and excitement to the wall. Rainbow food? Sign me up!

We also created three more digital downloads that are useful for the challenge. You’ll receive a calendar to mark your progress, a meal prep game plan you can print for any or every week (includes shopping list area!), and a fun sheet of icons you can use all sorts of ways. The icons can be printed on any kind of paper so they could become: stickers, magnets, vinyl decals, or even temporary tattoos.

Something beautiful
Something useful
Something fun

You get it all with your pre-order as our way of saying thank you. To get instructions on how to receive the downloads after you pre-order, check out our cookbook info page.

I turned the icons into both magnets and vinyl decals, which I added to my phone (similar to this post I shared recently). But you do you and please someone make them into temporary tattoos and send us a pic!

Friends, I also have to add a big, huge THANK YOU to all A Beautiful Mess readers. I have about one million cookbooks on my shelves at home. I would say the word “obsessed” might apply to my love of cookbooks. And I’ve been dreaming about getting to write one for probably nearly a decade by the time this one comes out. And really, truly, I don’t know if we would have gotten this opportunity without this blog, and without all of you who read it. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. I am silently thanking the universe as well because I feel so incredibly happy to be writing today about our cookbook coming out. It feels so good and a little bit surreal.

If you want to know more about our cookbook, check here. And if you have any questions or want to know more, please let us know in the comments. xo. Emma (+Elsie)

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer, Emma Chapman, and Brittany Wright. Other pre-order designs by Mara Dockery.
14 Aug 19:12

Cold Pea Salad

by Elise Bauer


Cold Pea Salad

Long warm summer days are perfect for chilled pea salad!

This recipe uses frozen peas, which you don’t even have to defrost, green onions, water chestnuts, and smoked almonds. The peas do thaw a bit, but they’re wonderful crunchy and cold too.

I first encountered this delightful salad at a friend’s potluck. It was one of the dishes that everyone went back for for seconds.

I’m not sure of the original source of the recipe, but since the recipes calls for Smokehouse Almonds, perhaps the almond company? It could easily be made with tamari almonds as well. You just want salty, crunchy, roasted almonds for this salad.

Do you have a favorite pea salad? Please let us know about it in the comments.

Photos and recipe updated, first published 2007


Continue reading "Cold Pea Salad" »

14 Aug 19:12

Turkey Taco Salad

by Sally Vargas
Turkey Taco Salad

For a quick supper, especially in warm weather, you can’t beat a big taco salad like this one.

Make the bean and turkey topping in a big skillet, and serve it warm over lightly dressed crisp romaine. Or make it ahead and serve it cold. It’s up to you.

Continue reading "Turkey Taco Salad" »

14 Aug 19:11

9 Back-to-School Ideas! by PW Food & Friends

by PW Food & Friends

Is it just us, or is summer is flying by? It’s hard to believe, but school will be starting before we know it! As we prepare for all things back-to-school, the thought of packing school lunches every day can make us want to lie down and take a nap. To gear up and adjust our attitudes, we combed Food & Friends for some fresh ideas to help us earn an A+ in school lunch. The following are some great recipes that we think are contenders to be go-to lunchbox items this year. We’ve got alternatives to the basic sandwich, homemade nut butters, delicious granola bars and more!

You Rule! Decorated Cookies on The Pioneer Woman: Food & Friends. (Recipe and post from Bridget Edwards of Bake at 350)

You Rule! Cookies. Yes, school means no more sleeping in. But cookies make everything—even homework—a little better!

Oats 101 and Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread. This bread can transform even a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a special treat.


5 Pinwheel Sandwiches for Lunch Boxes. The kids will enjoy these colorful sandwiches, and these are easy enough for them to make on their own!


5 Gluten-Free Lunchbox Ideas. Can’t do regular wraps and sandwiches? These gluten-free options are just what you need to escape the lunchbox rut.


How to Prep Veggies for the Week. Take control of your busy schedule with these tips for prepping veggies ahead of time. Then you can easily incorporate them into your weekly menu!


How to Make Granola Bars. Better than store-bought, and easily customizable to include their favorite ingredients.


Baked Apple Chips. Give them a healthy alternative to regular chips. For an added protein boost, dip these in almond butter or go nut-free with chocolate sunflower butter spread.


Fruit and Nut Energy Bites. These morsels are the best thing ever. Make extra for yourself!


How to Make Chocolate Pudding. Perfect for their lunchboxes, or for an after-school treat!

We hope these recipes help you introduce some fresh, homemade options to your lunch packing game. Please tell us in the comments if you have favorite lunchbox meals or tricks to keep them interesting. And enjoy your summer while it lasts!


11 Aug 10:06

A Certain Silence

by swissmiss

Is this the artist that your mom has a painting or two from?

04 Aug 14:43

Screen Time

by swissmiss

“There’s not a single exception. All screen activities are linked to less happiness, and all nonscreen activities are linked to more happiness.”

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

03 Aug 13:55

Radical Women Print

by swissmiss

This Radical Women screen print is inspired by the women who came before us, the feminists inspiring us today, and our sons and daughters who are up next. Including Judith, Gloria, Hillary, Michelle, Chimamanda, Susan, Carrie, Angela, Betty, Ruth, Kathleen, Raicho,Jane, bell, Dolores, Flo, Naomi, Winona, Doris, Audre, Wilma, Nellie, Cecile, Emmeline, Sylvia, Linda, Sophie, Patti, Elizabeth, Harriet, Mary, Virginia, Malala.

02 Aug 16:48

To Stay Married, Embrace Change

by swissmiss

“Nostalgia, which fuels our resentment toward change, is a natural human impulse. And yet being forever content with a spouse, or a street, requires finding ways to be happy with different versions of that person or neighborhood.”

To Stay Married, Embrace Change, by Ada Calhoun

01 Aug 16:44

Vietnamese-Style Noodle Bowls with Chicken

by Sheryl Julian
Vietnamese Noodle Bowls with Chicken

An entire meal in one bowl is a brilliant system. That’s one reason the bowl trend has taken off and shows no signs of declining.

Another is the ease. You can put a bowl together without any heavy lifting, and at the end of your assembly line you have happy eaters.

Here is a riff that I like to do on Vietnamese “bún” – one of the original meals in a bowl! This is a cold salad of vermicelli rice noodles, chicken, fresh herbs and vegetables, and a tangy rice vinegar dressing.

Continue reading "Vietnamese-Style Noodle Bowls with Chicken" »

01 Aug 16:44

Old-Fashioned Peach Pie

by Cindy Rahe
Peach Pie

I could wax on and on about my love for pie. The flake of the crust, the sweet filling, that sparkle of sugar on the crust — but I’ll spare you.

Peach pie is right up there on my list of favorite things to make and eat. One of my very first memories is of riding my grandfather’s shoulders, picking peaches right off the trees in a California orchard, taking that first bite, and letting the juices flow down my arm.

This is the memory of summer for me, and peach pie is a recipe I think every baker should have in their recipe box.

Continue reading "Old-Fashioned Peach Pie" »

31 Jul 17:29

DIY Handpainted Faux Wallpaper: Easy & Beautiful, Even on Textured Walls

by Guest of Apartment Therapy
(Image credit: Katherine Freeman Hocke)

Meet Katherine Freeman Hocke, a Texas-based artist who specializes in mixed media, layering textures and colors to get her signature look. While she primarily practices her art on canvas and paper (check out her shop here), with her recent purchase of a 1930s home she has begun translating her painterly visions and passion for interiors into DIY-able projects in and around her home.


27 Jul 18:32

Anniversary Giveaway: Power Tool Kit

by Emma Chapman

Need to get those sofa arm tables back on the list

We have something really fun for you all today as we continue our anniversary giveaway series celebrating A Beautiful Mess turning 10 years old!!!! Our friends at ACE Hardware are giving away a power tool set (see more details below), including a power drill. For any of you DIY gals (or guys) who have been afraid to take the power tool plunge, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE! There is absolutely nothing to be intimidated by and there are SO many projects you can create with this. Here is just a few things you could make:

DIY Photo Ledge – Cute and less than $25 to complete
Sofa Sleeve with Cup Holder – This makes an awesome DIY gift idea, too
Transformable Hairpin Leg Desktop – A fantastic renter-friendly project or for those who change up their work space too often (raises hand sheepishly)
Modern House Number Planter – Spruce up your front porch area
Modern Credenza Restyle – Easily customize inexpensive furniture (this one is an Ikea hack)
DIY Sewing Desk – Looking for cute, quick, AND easy? Well, you’re in luck.

We’ve been sharing easy furniture and wood-based decor projects for many years. Some of the first projects we ever shared on ABM were Emma’s wood pallet table DIY (ah, the days when all DIYs were made from pallet wood) and Elsie’s dining room table (a classic!). We hear often that readers sometimes feel intimidated to try projects that involve power tools, and although yes, you should indeed take care when using them, I swear I’ve hurt myself much worse while making candy than anytime I’ve used my drill or saws. 🙂 If you love making things for your home as much as we do, you should totally give it a try—and here’s your chance to win some!

One lucky reader will win a DeWalt Cordless Drill Driver and Impact Driver kit from ACE Hardware. We cannot wait to see what you create from these!

And just for fun, here’s a recent favorite (advanced) project we shared—Elsie’s Mid-Century Play Set. Too cute, right?!

Enter the giveaway below! Giveaway is open for U.S. residents only until 8/3 and the winner will be contacted directly.

Ace Hardware Cordless Impact and Compact Drivers

Credits//Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.
24 Jul 20:27

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend by Erica

by Erica

This is the most ridiculous, glampy food prep

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

When I was a teen, my family became obsessed with camping trips. We would go with a group of families and spend the weekend hiking, canoeing, playing sports and card games, and cooking hearty food. I loved every minute of it. A a bonus, I got to spend three days with my major crush (now my husband).

This was the age I became obsessed with cooking. So of course I wanted to take charge of the food while we were camping. I was able to hone my planning skills by figuring out the meals for the weekend (with the help of my sisters). Things didn’t always go as planned—once, we left our cooler at home!—but over the years I learned a few tricks to avoid some of those pitfalls.

Here are my top 10 tips for making a game plan so your cooking-while-camping goes as smoothly as possible.

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

1. Assess if this is a relaxed camping trip or one where you’re always on the go.

If the whole point of your camping trip is to sit around the campfire and relax, it’s okay to plan some more-involved meals. But if your entire trip centers around hiking, canoeing, fishing, swimming, etc., you’ll want to choose easier meals.

2. Consider the weather.

If it’s going to be hot, choose cold meals like sandwiches, salads, etc. If it gets chilly in the evening, hot meals are very welcome.

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

3. Plan meals that don’t spoil quickly.

Unless you have a camper with a working refrigerator, you need to plan meals that won’t spoil in the cooler. Things like pasta with canned sauce, soups, and guacamole (covered in lime juice so it doesn’t brown), will keep pretty well. Choose veggies like carrots and celery that hold up well. Make salads that don’t wilt (such as cucumber salad vs. a greens salad).

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

4. Plan to eat the more perishable meals first.

Along those same lines, when you plan when to eat which meals on what days, make sure you eat the more perishable items first. For example, if you’re going to have marinated chicken, make sure to eat that the first day. Things like pre-cooked pasta with canned tomato sauce will keep for quite a bit longer, so plan to eat that on the last day.

Bonus tip: Pack your cooler with the more perishable foods directly on the ice. This will (obviously) keep those things colder so they won’t spoil as quickly.

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

5. Plan some meals to cook over the fire, some to grab-and-go.

I love cooking over the fire. There’s something very satisfying about building the fire from scratch and then cooking your food over it. It makes you feel very accomplished. But cooking over the fire takes a lot of time and work. If you plan every single meal to be cooked this way, you might wear yourself out. Plus, if any children are relying on you for sustenance, they will become very impatient if the meal takes longer to cook than planned.

6. Choose a protein that cooks quickly.

If you do decide to go ahead and cook every single meal over the fire, make sure to choose meats that will cook quickly. Things like thin-sliced steaks, shrimp, and pre-cooked meats will cut down on cooking time. It can take quite a while to cook a thick, juicy pork chop all the way through.

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

7. Plan meals that are simple and where you can do the bulk of cooking ahead of time.

Remember: everything takes longer and is more difficult when cooking outdoors. Something that would be easy at home can be difficult while camping. A simple task like buttering bread can become an ordeal when you’re cooking in the wind/rain/heat/mosquitoes. If a meal is involved and requires all of the work to be done last-minute, consider choosing an easier option.

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

8. Prep as many ingredients as possible.

Along those same lines, do as much work at home as you can. Look at your recipes and assess what can be done ahead of time. Wash and cut your veggies, pre-make dishes that won’t spoil, cook any pasta or rice, etc. It may seem like a lot to do, but you’ll be so happy when the bulk of your cooking work is done after unpacking, pitching a tent, gathering firewood, and building a fire.

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

9. Don’t forget all of the cooking equipment!

It’s easy to forget all of the little tools you need to cook each meal. Look over your recipes and write down every single little thing you’ll need to make it. Mixing bowls, tongs, knives, and whisks are easy to forget. It has happened to me where we get to the campsite and I realize that I have no way to prepare a certain dish.

Garbage bags, extra storage containers/ziplock bags for leftovers, hot pads, dish rags, dish towels, dish soap, and a tub for washing dishes are all handy. Don’t forget your silverware, napkins, plates, bowls, and cups!

10 Meal Planning Tips for a Camping Weekend

10. Plan for in-between-meal snacks.

Something about being in the great outdoors makes you get hungry more quickly. Especially if it’s a chilly weekend. Make sure to bring along easy snacks for when the munchies strike. I’ve planned a camping menu without snacks before, and it just didn’t cut it.


So those are my top 10 tips for planning out your meals for a camping weekend. If you have any tips of your own, make sure to leave them in the comments!


21 Jul 15:05

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream by Erica

by Erica

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Have you ever had lemon curd? If you’ve experienced that pleasure, you know that it is addicting. It’s so smooth and rich and zingy all at the same time. Swirl it into ice cream and you’ve got yourself one crazy amazing dessert.

I originally went for an ultra-lemon version of this ice cream, making a lemon-flavored ice cream base to complement the lemon curd ripple. It was lovely, but I wanted to try a straight-up vanilla version to see if the contrasting flavors worked better. We (my husband, sister, and I) all agreed that the vanilla version was better: the lemon curd flavor was more distinct.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

In my initial test run of this ice cream, I made the same custard base that I used for my Mint Chip Ice Cream last year (omitting the mint and adding lemon, of course). After watching me stand over the stove to make the cooked custard base after already standing over the stove to make the lemon curd, my husband told me it was too much work. I reluctantly agreed, even though I love a good custard ice cream. So I decided to devise a no-cook version instead. It’s much easier and faster than making a custard base, and my husband actually prefers it! It makes a soft and fluffy ice cream.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

To make this ice cream, you first beat the cream with the sugar and vanilla. You don’t want to beat it all the way to the whipped cream stage. That’s a little too fluffy for ice cream in my opinion. You want it to be thickened, but still kind of liquid. Basically, stop whipping just before it’s thick enough to dollop on your favorite dessert.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Then, slooooowly add the milk. It can be difficult to get the milk to mix in with the cream. Adding it gradually helps.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. But make sure to not over-churn your ice cream. Because you’ve already beaten the cream, it’s easier to churn your ice cream too long and give it a buttery texture. Stop and check the ice cream at least 5–10 minutes before you normally would.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Scoop the ice cream into a freezer container. Dollop about half of the lemon curd over the ice cream.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Fold it in with a spatula.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Repeat with the remaining lemon curd. Freeze until firm, at least several hours.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

Don’t you just want to dive into it?

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream

This is basically my husband’s dream dessert: creamy, soft vanilla ice cream with delightfully zippy and rich lemon curd rippled throughout. He’s slightly obsessed with it. Like, he gets possessive if I try to feed it to anyone else.

Yep. It’s that good.

Lemon Curd Ripple Ice Cream


  • You can also make this a no-churn ice cream! It will be a bit more icy than the churned version, but it will still be very good. I included instructions in the recipe below.
  • I like my ice cream not very sweet, as you’ll see reflected in this recipe. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, go ahead and increase the sugar to half a cup or so.
  • If you don’t want to bother with homemade lemon curd (trust me: it’s worth it!), you can go for store-bought. Use 1 1/4 cups.
  • I listed 5 hours for the prep time. This includes the 2 hours the lemon curd needs to chill and the time the ice cream needs to firm up in the freezer. If you decide to use store-bought lemon curd, the whole process should only take about 2–3 hours (depending on how cold your freezer is).


21 Jul 13:54

Young Explorers

by swissmiss

Makes me think about how we structure everything june does. It would be nice to give her some free reign.

Young Explorers” is a series of short films about what happens when you allow kids who are very young—who have just learned to walk by themselves—to explore the world completely on their own. Congratulations to the filmmaker Jacob Krupnick.

20 Jul 19:04

hummus heaped with tomatoes and cucumbers

by deb


Like clockwork every summer, I decide that the only thing I want to eat, maybe forever because when it’s warm out I completely forget winter is coming (I’m sorry, I had to), are variations on tomato-cucumber salad. We did a world tour of these last year and it might take me another decade of Smitten Kitchen-ing but I will get to them all. Left to our own devices, my husband and I probably would probably eat do exactly this for dinner at least a couple nights a week but when feeding kids, I always feel the need — I mean, what are they, growing rapidly and we’re supposed to fuel them with balanced meals or something? — to provide a little more than a bowl of cucumbers and tomatoes for dinner. You know, protein and stuff.

Read more »

17 Jul 20:41

Double the Fun: The Shower That's the Secret to a Happy Marriage

by Nancy Mitchell
(Image credit: Country Living)

Confession: I have never had the pleasure of showering in a bathroom with more than one showerhead, but I have it on good authority (that is, on the authority of various members of the Apartment Therapy team) that, if you enjoy showering with another person, two showerheads (and two sets of controls) is the way to go. This way, no one person is hogging the stream, and you can set the water at just the intensity and temperature that you like. Also, you'll never have to worry about being late to work because your partner was hogging the shower.


17 Jul 18:18

♥ / Packlane

by swissmiss

Big thanks to Packlane for sponsoring my blog and RSS feed this week.

Packlane is an online printing company that makes the process of ordering custom packaging easy and affordable for brands of any size by offering low minimums, fast turnaround, plenty of customization options, and free online proofs in 3D.

Get 10% off your first order of custom packaging at Packlane today.

(Interested in sponsoring a week of my blog and RSS feed, learn more here.)

14 Jul 19:11

How to Make Baked Oatmeal by Dara

by Dara


How to Make Baked Oatmeal

Here’s the thing: I really don’t like oatmeal. As many times as my husband tried to doctor up a bowl of oatmeal for me, complete with maple syrup, nuts and fruit, I just couldn’t get on board with the texture. I thought all was lost to me on the oatmeal front. That is, until I tasted baked oatmeal.

Perhaps it’s because the texture reminded me of an oatmeal cookie, or maybe it was the glorious caramelized top that forms when maple syrup or honey-spiked oatmeal is baked for nearly an hour. Either way, baked oatmeal was the vehicle that drove me straight to the land of oatmeal lovers.

Baked oatmeal lends itself to as many variations as your pantry and imagination will allow, and I’ll share some of my favorites later. Nuts, spices, dried and fresh fruit, and chocolate (yes!) can be added in a multitude of combinations to satisfy your breakfast cravings.

On top of its versatility, baked oatmeal is fantastic for quick, easy breakfasts. Bake a batch on Sunday, then refrigerate the oatmeal. In the morning, portion out a square of the oatmeal and heat it in the microwave. Top with extra maple syrup, nuts and fruit to your heart’s desire.

Let’s dive into the basic formula for making baked oatmeal.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal

The oats:

When it comes to the main building block of baked oatmeal, there are a couple of options. Regular old-fashioned oats work well and take slightly less time to cook. The other option is steel cut oats, which happens to be my preference because of the nutty taste and chewier texture. Steel cut oats take slightly longer to cook, so take that into account when preparing baked oatmeal.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal

The spices:

When I think of oatmeal, cinnamon is the first spice that comes to mind. While cinnamon is a wonderful warming spice for breakfast time, don’t stop there! Play around with other spices, such as ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and allspice. A chai blend of spices is one of my favorite ways to start the day.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal

The liquid:

Regular milk, from nonfat to whole, does the trick. However, if you follow a dairy-free diet or are looking for a slightly different flavor, swap the milk out with any of the dairy-free options out there, such as almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk or even an almond coconut blend.

The sweetener:

Brown sugar is often a favorite of oatmeal lovers, but there are several other options. I usually opt for maple syrup or honey, but there are many other sweeteners available that would work in baked oatmeal, depending on your taste preferences and dietary needs.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal

The binder and the fat:

For an 8- by 8-inch dish of baked oatmeal, one egg will do the trick to hold everything together. If you follow a vegan diet, flax eggs (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal, plus 3 tablespoons water) can be substituted.

As with any good baking recipe, a little fat is always a good thing. While I used melted and cooled coconut oil in the recipe below, unsalted butter is a more traditional option.

How to Make Baked Oatmeal

The mix-ins:

This is where you can let your imagination run wild! Fresh berries, dried fruit, chopped apple, nuts (toasted or raw), dark chocolate, cocoa powder, coconut … the list goes on and on. Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite! Here are a few suggestions:

Variation #1:

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits to bake with because their flavor and color infuses every part of the oatmeal. Add 1 cup of fresh blueberries, a handful of raw pepitas or nuts and a teaspoon of ground ginger. See the full recipe below.

Variation #2:

Chocolate and cherries is always a magical combination! Mix cocoa powder into the oat mixture or add chopped dark chocolate later, along with fresh or dried cherries.

Variation #3:

You can never go wrong with apples and cinnamon. Dice the apples and mix them into the batter or cut the apples into rings and place them on top of the oatmeal before baking. Add walnuts or pecans for some extra crunch.

Variation #4:

Because I can’t get enough of cherries, it only seemed right to add another variation. Combine fresh or frozen cherries with unsweetened coconut flakes for baked oatmeal that tastes like dessert.

Variation #5:

I can’t talk about a classic breakfast dish without mentioning bananas! Mix strawberries into the oatmeal and top with banana slices. Add dark chocolate chunks for another layer of flavor, if you wish.


Baked oatmeal is a fantastic make-ahead breakfast, and you can easily customize it with your favorite fruits, nuts and spices. It’s a healthy, tasty way to start the day!