Monday, April 12, 2010

Before and After - And a Giveaway

Instead of my regularly scheduled "Inspired Monday" post I have something a little different to share. I picked up these plastic wall hangings at the Goodwill this weekend for $1.99 and decided to give them a shiny new coat of paint. Granted the "before" wasn't bad (the top picture) but we've got so much brown, gold in the house now that I wanted to inject a little color for the spring season. I was able to get away with one of the teeny cans of spray paint for $2.50, so all in all the project cost me less than $5 which in my book is a success. The color I picked ended up matching the vintage paint by number I picked up during the same trip as well as the blue in the curtains pretty perfectly. I think my decision to paint them was a good one and now this little corner feels very happy. This little spot is the landing at the top of the stairs leading to our bedroom and my office. So, it's a spot I pass by dozens of times a day. I've been searching for ages for the perfect thing to hang there and I really think that this arrangement fits the bill perfectly.

In other news, this week marks my 2nd blog birthday! I can't quite believe it's been that long and although I did take a rather extended leave of absence last year I still think it's cause for celebration. I would like to give away a free print from my Etsy shop to 2 readers but there's a teeny bit of work involved. I would like for you to share a favorite spring / summer recipe. I've got my favorites that come out every year but I'd like to try some new things and I'm so excited to start seeing all of that fresh seasonal produce at the farmer's markets. So, share a recipe and be entered to win a free 5x7 print of your choice from the shop! I will randomly pick the winners next Monday the 19th. I can't wait to see what you all have to share!!

(Edit: If you don't cook much still share something that you like to eat in the Spring and Summer to be entered!)


  1. I like to make salsa for chips or just as a side salad (great on top of grilled chicken).

    2 med vine-ripened tomatoes diced
    1 med vidalia onion diced
    1 small jalapeno minced
    fresh cilantro (leaves only) chopped
    1 glove garlic minced or crushed
    juice of one lime
    salt and pepper to taste

  2. Love your before and after! While I'd love to enter your competition, I'm really rubbish in the kitchen, so have no recipes to share. Hope you get lots of yummy ideas from other, more epicurean readers.

  3. Hi! I can't believe they were only 1.99! This is an italian recipe (bruschetta). 2 slices of 2-3 days bread. Rub the bread with garlic. Then put diced tomato on it and basil leaves. Season with extravirgin oil and salt. It's very very simple, but it has the taste of Summer and Sicily :)
    Ciao from Italy!

  4. Hi Kayanna, Love the before and after!
    When spring and early summer are here my family loves stuffed squash blossoms. We find them at the farmers market then take them home stuff the blossom with a mixture of goat cheese with fresh snipped herbs of your choice salt and pepper. I then dip them in beaten egg, dredge them in corn meal saute them in some olive oil til golden. It's a special treat because it is so seasonal. Enjoy!

  5. Congrats on your 2nd blog birthday! And the before and after is great.

    I'm going to go with the majority here, and say summer means tomatoes - good tomatoes. Buy (or pick if you're lucky enough) 2 big handfuls of small tomatoes; tiny plum-style ones are the best, but you can chop up larger ones too. Halve them if they're small. Put them in an ovenproof dish just big enough to have to squeeze them in. Pour some olive oil over, a bit of salt and about a teaspoon of sugar or honey. Put them in to roast till the skins start blackening, squish them around a bit with a fork to get a bit of juice, put them back in to roast while you cook some pasta (you can turn the oven off at this point). Just before serving, tear up some basil or rocket leaves, stir them in to wilt them slightly, squish the sauce a bit more, and serve over pasta. Barely any cooking!

  6. As you know, Kayanna, I love what you have done here and can't wait to go thrift shop scavenging to do something similar ;-)

    I would love to win one of your fab prints and here is one of our fave happy hour summertime accompaniments...

    Griddle sliced halloumi cheese and serve on a bed of rocket leaves (arugula in US I think) all finished off with a drizzle of sweet chilli dipping sauce.

    Easy and delicious!

  7. Nice before and after and congrats on your blogiversary!!

    Squash and zukes are always around in the summer!
    2 yellow squash, cut into 1/2" slices
    2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2" slices
    1 sweet onion, cut into 1/4" slices

    Parboil the squash and onion for about 2 mins. Remove, drain on paper towel. In glass baking dish, alternate squash, tomato, onion at an angle. Continue to make rows until all is gone. Drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle generously with fresh parmesan. Bake about 8 mins til squash seems cooked through, then broil til cheese is crisped up. YUM!!!!!!!

  8. Congrats on your second blogiversary : )

    Strawberry Pie
    1 cup mashed strawberries
    2 T. cornstarch
    1 cup sugar
    1 T. butter
    1 3oz package strawberry jello
    1 T. lemon juice
    1 graham cracker crust
    whole berries
    Cool Whip
    Add enough water to make 2 cups of mashed berries. Combine berries, cornstarch and sugar;
    cook on medium stovetop until thickened.
    Add butter, jello, and lemon juice. Place as many whole berries in pie shell as desired. Pour mixture over berries. Chill until set. Serve with Cool Whip and enjoy!

  9. In summertime, I make cobblers and lots of them!
    Here's my grandmother's recipe:

    Melt 1/4 stick butter in 8x8 pan (though a little more is always yummy)
    Combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 cup milk, pinch of salt
    Dribble in pan, pour any sweetened fruit over it (less than a cup of fruit. to sweeten fruit, add just a little bit of sugar to fruit and let it sit you are making the cake-y part.)
    Bake at 350 for 15-20 though it could take longer so watch for a golden crust.

    Sorry, but I did say it was a grandmother recipe (one that she could do by memory but hard to put into words) so you have to play around to get the best results. But mistakes are fun to eat!

  10. I love the before and after! That blue is one of my favorite colors. I'm trying to train my eye to see the potential in objects like the before.

    My grandparents had a peach orchard, so I have a zillion peach recipes. One of my favorite memories is of making peach jam -- my cousins and I would be armed with paring knives and be responsible for peeling bushels and bushels of peaches into an enormous pot, and mom and aunts and grandmother would be in the kitchen boiling and canning the jam.

    Peach Jam
    Combine 5 c mashed peaches with 5 c sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick, about 45 minutes. Pour into clean, hot jars and seal. Process.

    More peach recipes here:

    After a day of jam making, we'd have what's still my absolute favorite summertime dinner -- grilled chicken quarters, fried okra, squash, black-eyed or purple-hull peas, tomatoes and onion, all fresh from my grandmother's giant garden (from which she'd let me eat baby asparagus right from the ground in the springtime. Nothing better).

  11. I need to get in on this giveaway!
    We are trying a grilled vegetable salad tonight. I seems to make this one a lot in the spring & summer:
    But since deciding to not eat meat, I've been making it with extra firm tofu & it's really good as well.
    I would love for these wall hangings to come live with me. They are my fav color. :)

  12. Congrats on your 2nd blog birthday! I like to bake more than I like to cook, so here's a little recipe that's easy easy easy and delicious.

    Cream Scones:

    2 cups All Purpose Flour
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    4 Tbsp sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1 egg slightly beaten
    1 tsp. of vanilla
    2 Tbl. of sugar for sprinkling on top

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

    Place the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter in a food processor or blender. Pulsate everything until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer everything to a large bowl. Stir in heavy cream, egg, and vanilla, mixing the dough by hand until it forms into a uniformed and slightly moistened dough.

    On a floured surface, grab enough dough to fit into your hand about the size of a baseball and gently roll it in a ball.

    Flatten the ball and until your disk is approx. 3/4″ in height. Press down the outside of the dough circle so the center is slightly taller. Evenly sprinkle sugar on top of each circle. Cut each circle in quarters. You should have enough dough to make 4 circles and 16 scones.

    Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove scones from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

  13. Hi there Kayanna :)
    before I leave for the weekend I had to stop by to wish you a lovely one ... and for leaving the link to a recipe you might like, a potatoe pie :
    and if you prefer tomatoes (when it'll be the season), a tomatoe tart :
    both of them are REALLY yummy.
    take good care, sweet K, and enjoy your weekend !
    many hugs xoxoxo

  14. cute project! i don't cook much, but i absolutely love to eat plain fresh mangoes in the summer! they taste like they are simply bursting with sunshine- about the best thing you can eat that involves little more than some skilled peeling and cutting!

  15. Lovely blog! I just found it from looking at your shop on etsy, really nice prints:)
    here's a v simple but delicious idea for summer - barbecued bananas - slice them down the middle with the skins on and put pieces of broken dark chocolate and chopped pecan nuts inside, wrap them in tin foil and throw them on the barbecue for 15 mins - they are fantastic served with ice cream:)

  16. I am also super average in the kitchen.
    I do like to make vanilla coconut yoghurt (with poached strawberries) sometimes:

    40g palm sugar
    250g strawberries (hulled, halved)
    2 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons orange juice

    150g plain yoghurt
    1 tablespoon caster (fine) sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 cup dessicated coconut

    Heat palm sugar in a saucepan on low heat until just melted. Add strawberries and cook until warm. Add water and juice and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and spooon mixture into 2 bowls. Mix the other ingredients together in a seperate bowl and spoon over strawberries.
    Serves 2 (if you are feeling generous).

  17. awww boo, i missed the giveaway!! but i just wanted to let you know that i LOVE this before/after! the print in the wall hanging is lovely and i LOVE the color you used!!


Your thoughts are always, always welcome. Just know that I appreciate each and every one of you even if I don't always have the chance to respond.