Friday, July 23, 2010

Here it is, I have been promising pics of the authentic Mexican salsa made from banana peppers.  It's very simple, just use banana peppers, jalapeño peppers if you like it a little spicy, scallions, cilantro and tomatoes. I didn't use that whole big can of tomatoes, I only used half of it. Those banana peppers are all from my garden!

Put all of the ingredients in the blender and chop.

There you have it, delish salsa!

Here is the recipe if you would like to write it down or you can just copy and paste it into Wordpad and print it.

Authentic Mexican Salsa (passed down by MaryAnn)

  • 10 Yellow peppers
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers (only if you like it hot, otherwise substitute banana peppers)
  • 2 or 3 scallions
  • 6 to 8 sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 can of 16 oz. whole tomatoes
  • sea salt (optional)
Slice peppers in half and hollow out the seeds (wear gloves!) and throw everything in the blender.  If you would like it to be more chunky and chopped, don't put the juice from the tomatoes in it. You can also use a food processor instead of a blender.  If you would like a more runny texture, use more of the tomato juice.  You can just play around with it until you get it to the texture and taste that you like.

One time I made it and it almost turned into soup because I blended it too long and used way too much of the juice.  My friend in FL just recently made it and she said it turned out too soupy, too.  So don't use the juice from the tomatoes next time Bec Bec.  :)

I also must say, I can not take the credit for this recipe.  It's from a friend who lives here in NC. She got it from a relative named Maryann and she said it has been passed down from many generations.  It doesn't really have a name, so I just call it authentic salsa.

I made fish tostados for dinner.  This is my own little recipe that I made up.  I guess I should have looked up a recipe, but I like to get creative when I cook and try to come up with my own meals.  When I was in Myrtle Beach this past weekend, we went to a Mexican restaurant and I ordered fish tostados and they brought me shrimp tostados!  I ate them anyway, but I really wanted those fish tostados so I've been craving them ever since.  I finally got my craving satisfied.

I am not sure what kind of fish I'm suppose to use,  I just used some flounder I had here.  (I love fish, I don't eat much other meat, but do try to have fish 2 or 3 times a week.)  I made some pico de gallo yesterday morning for my scrambled eggs and just used the leftovers.  Then I added some of the Authentic Salsa, avocados, and a squirt of lime.

Jolie's Fish Tostados

  • Flounder (or whatever fish you want)
  • Pico de gallo (You can make your own or buy it already made)
  • Salsa
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • Crunchy Corn Tostado shells (You can buy already made or cook your own soft corn tortillas until they harden)
I cooked the flounder in some olive oil and seasoned.  After the flounder was cooked, I chopped it in the skillet and added some Pico de gallo in the skillet with the fish just long enough to warm it up.  Then I put it on the tostado shells, added salsa and cut up some avocado pieces on top.  It turned out great!

Just in case you're wondering about the Pico de gallo, here is a quick recipe for that, too.

Pico De Gallo
  • 2 fresh ripe tomatoes
  • 2 or 3 scallions
  • 4 sprigs of cilantro 
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 clove garlic (or just sprinkle some garlic powder in it)
  • 1 jalopeno pepper (optional)
  • sea salt (optional)
Chop up all of the ingredients and add together in a bowl.  I try to get as little of the juice from the tomatoes as I can in it.  You can use this on so many things.  Enjoy!


I love cooking and may start adding a lot more recipes to my blog.  After watching the movie Julie and Julia, I wanted to turn my blog into a food blog! I love watching any kind of movie about food. I just recently watched No Reservations and it was really good.  I even love the cartoon Ratatouille :)   If you know of a good food movie, please let me know. 

A Little About How I Eat:
I try to eat healthy. I don't follow any certain diet or rules. I guess the closest thing you could describe the way I eat to is Clean Eating, but I think even with that, clean eaters don't eat anything from a can or box, which I think is ok to do if there aren't a long list of ingredients or unnecessary sugars, MSG, trans fat, etc. in it.   I do try to stay as close to nature as possible and  not eat a lot of processed foods.   I love veggies, lots of green leafy ones! Kale, spinach, collards, mustards, turnip greens, swiss chard, arugula, I could go on forever.  I was raised on collards.  I also eat a lot of fruit and make a lot of smoothies, one of my favorites is my green smoothie.  Like I said, I don't eat much meat besides fish/seafood.  Other meats sparingly. 

I don't eat white processed sugar, which means I'm not a big sweets eater.  Every now and then I will and I also love dark chocolate.  :)  I don't have a sweet tooth, but if I do want something sweetened, I will substitute a natural sweetener instead.  I don't drink cows milk and eat very little dairy.  I love coconut milk, rice milk, and almond milk! 

Do you have a special way of eating or a certain type of diet you follow?  I never did before I traveled to Thailand, but I got sick a lot through my life and when I was in Thailand I got sick even more.  I promised myself when I got back to the States I was going to try everything I could to get my health taken care of.  I went and bought a bunch of health and nutrition books and taught myself about how food nourishes you and the correct ways to eat and it changed my life. I hardly ever get sick anymore and I feel great and have a ton of energy.  This is one of the reasons I have such a passion for food. Not just any food, but healing foods that add health and strength to my life.

Hope you enjoy these healthy recipes.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stumbled upon these wonderful Astronomy cards from 1830 on ebay ~ aren't these gorgeous? Not only are they beautifully engraved and hand-colored, but they are cleverly designed to instruct as well. The 32 cards came packaged in the box shown above ~ I wonder how much they sold for when they were first produced?

According to the description, these 'hold-to-light' cards were "designed by a “young lady” to make the study of Astronomy “familiar and amusing”. Each card is pricked through with holes of different sizes relative to the apparent magnitude of each star within a given constellation. This rare find can be yours for a mere $2500 obo ~ available for 23 more days here.

I am also curious as to why each illustration has a loose thin outline. Were the illustrations supposed to be cut out and used separately? Or perhaps hung mobile style? Anyone have any ideas or conjectures?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

While leafing through my newly arrived Pottery Barn catalog, I came upon the image above and noticed the wire laundry basket in the corner! I have had my eye out for these for a year or two and they aren't that easy to come by ~ now that I see this new one for sale for $129, I am thinking that the $55 - $75 price I usually see is quite the bargain! Here (scroll down a little) is one of the vintage baskets I got a year ago ~ you can see what it looks like collapsed ~ it really is a nicely designed item!

{all images from Pottery Barn}

I received an email yesterday that brought to my attention that I have not posted a single personal thing about who I am or what I do besides fix up my house.  So this is a post to show you a little about who I am apart from decorating.

I'm a 40 year old single woman.  I've never been married.  I do, however, have the sweetest little dog in the world. His name is Little Foot, he's a Border Collie mix.  I adopted him from a shelter almost 2 yrs ago in Atlanta, GA.  He was an abandoned dog and had a lot of fear issues. He was actually afraid of his own shadow. I think whoever had him kept him locked up in a crate most of the time.  After many months of working with him and putting  him in training classes, he has come a long way.  He is a very happy and healthy dog today.

I own my own telecommunications business and work out of my home.  I started it in 2004 and it's done fairly well.  I work 40 hrs a week, but find time to do things here and there.  Since I don't have a house full of people to tend to, it gives me time to work on projects around my home.  I love to cook, so I make a lot of home made meals for myself. After dinner, I am free to work on more projects, plus I have my weekends free.  That's how I've been able to accomplish so much on my home in such a short period of time.

An Island off Thailand with friends.

On a beach in Pattaya, Thailand.

One of the highlights of my life was living in Thailand for 2 years.  It was life changing.  I was there teaching English, learning Thai and doing outreach work.  I automatically connected with the Thai people, culture and lifestyle there.  I have never met so many warm friendly people.  Thailand is called the Land of Smiles.  All you have to do is smile at someone and they will befriend you!  I couldn't believe how much I had in common with them, it was very hard for me to leave this place.  Thailand has a HUGE place in my heart and I will go back again one day to visit.  I think sometimes my friends that know me probably get tired of hearing me talk about Thailand all the time  :)   I can't help it, it's part of me.

Meet the family.

As for the creativity aspect of my decorating, my moms side of the family is very artistic. My mother can draw, paint, sew... she is amazing! My grandfather was very artistic, too. He could also paint beautifully and use to be a sign painter. He painted everything by hand, no fancy technology like they use today.
My dad is quite creative as well, he built on a whole room to the house I grew up in by himself.  I grew up watching him make cabinets and furniture, refinish antiques, building things from nothing.  As a teenager, I would refinish little dressers and fancy them up, just from watching my dad. We never took any classes or read the first book about it.
So I guess I credit it to genes :)

I've moved once a year since I was about 19 years old, I love to travel and experience new places and people.  I have never stayed in one place long enough to put down any roots, so now since I have purchased my first home, I'm hoping it will ground me a little and help me put some roots down.  I moved to Mt. Airy, NC to be closer to my parents which are about 30 minutes away from me in a smaller town (They retired to the NC mountains from FL about 15 or 20 years ago).  I usually get the moving itch after 6 mths of being somewhere and I've already felt it since I've been here. I thrive in warm weather and this winter almost did me in.  I'm not going to do it though, unless my parents were to move of course. I think it's important for me to be close to them now and I'm the only child.  So you will get to see a lot more of my projects and decorating in this house for a good time to come.  :)

Well I'm sure I left a million things out, if you have anything else you would like to know, don't hesitate to comment or shoot me an email.  I will try to post more about me in the future and answer any of your questions you have here in some future posts or I might just edit and tag it onto this post and make it an ongoing post like the Before and After post of my home.

With Love,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I got this cart from that estate sale my friends had and was just able to go get it yesterday.  It is battered and very stained, but you know I can fix that right up :)   A little sanding and sealing and it's good as new.  That is my butcher block cutting board I sat on top of it.  Before I bought this house, I envisioned a little mini island here in front of the sink.  I'm going to keep this here for a little while and see if I like having something there and if it's going to be easy to maneuver around or not.  I won't keep this particular cart there though, I would get something that was more of an actual island.

What do you think?  Would a small island look really out of place in this kitchen?  Too small of an area?

I'm going to put this cart over in the corner of the kitchen on the opposite side once I refinish it.  It doesn't look like it will be too hard to clean up. I don't have any plans to paint it or anything, just sand and seal.  I will like having the extra space to put things on while I'm cooking.  It's sort of the color of my counter tops, I wonder if this wood is oak, too?  I'm happy with my new little purchase.

P.S. I went ahead and bought the Pottery Barn patio umbrella yesterday!

Monday, July 19, 2010

How is everyone out there dealing with this heat? As I am in the midwest, I realize it isn't as hot and muggy as it is on the east coast, but even so, it is hot enough to suck most of my energy away ~ I feel like I am moving at a snail's pace! If only there was an ocean nearby! Hot and humid makes me lethargic ~ wouldn't it be nice to just be able to languish in a spiderweb hammock until a cool breeze came along?!

Lovely watercolors shown were painted by Victorian artist, Amelia Jane Murray Lady Oswald (1800-1896) ~ you can read more about her here and see some more of her work here and here.
Just wanted to post a thank you to the
 Better After blog
 for featuring my dresser on their site today.

Click on the button below and take a look at all of the amazing makeovers over there!

Thank you!

I just spent the last 3 days in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Didn't do much but hang out on the beach.  The pic above is the only picture I even took of the beach while I was there and that isn't  like me. It's from the hotel room.  I did however bring with me a Cottages and Cabins magazine.  I love this magazine because there aren't really any advertisements in it, the whole magazine is nothing but beautiful photos of adorable cottages that you can hardly stop looking at.  I couldn't find the magazine online or anything to show a link for it, but I bought it at my local grocery store.

Here are just a few pictures from it.

This last kitchen is so cozy looking, something about it feels so familiar to me. Love the wallpaper on the ceiling.  There are more than just kitchens in this magazine, but these were the ones I was drawn to the most.  One of the  houses I looked at when I was trying to find my house had red laminate counters just like in this 2nd photo.  Every one cringed at the red counters and I remember thinking  how cute they were and that I thought I could work with them.  I would have probably tried to do something similar.

Ok, back from vacation and time to get back to real life again!  I need to start working on some projects.  I want to paint the cabinets in my kitchen because they are very dirty and dingy.  I'm also going to try to focus on getting my patio area fixed up and revamping my guest room a little since I'm sleeping in the guest room now.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I just thought I would share with you my first pickins' from the garden!  I finally have peppers big enough to pick.  I thought I would have more banana peppers because I planted so many, but there are still a lot of smaller ones still growing, so I may end up with more than I can handle soon enough.

I just picked banana peppers, jalapeño peppers and habanero peppers.  I love salsa and hot and spicy foods.  My dad raised me eating cayenne peppers from a young age, I think that's why I love hot and spicy things so much.  I will probably pickle some of them, freeze some and use up the rest making lots of salsa and in the dishes I cook .

I know, I didn't wait for the habaneros to turn red, but I couldn't resist! I love the flavor of habanero so much.    Once I get more banana peppers, I will make some salsa with them and post the recipe and pics of it.  I got the recipe from a friend and it's some of the best salsa I've ever had.

If you have any good recipes with peppers or for salsa, please let me know!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I got my washer & dryer yesterday.  I'm not sure what to think of them yet, I've done a couple of loads of laundry and the first thing I noticed was, my clothes were hot when I washed them on cold.  Apparently the guy hooked the hoses up backwards, so I had to get my wrench out and swap them back the right way.  I need to do a few more loads of laundry before I know for sure how much I like them.  I do like that both the washer & dryer beep to let me know the clothes are done.

I have been wanting a clothes rack to go above my washer & dryer for a while now.  I can't decide if I want to break down and purchase the one from Ballard Designs or try to make my own.  I saw on a blog where someone actually made their own knock off of the BD one, you can see it here at My Repurposed Life.

Ballard Designs Drying Rack

Photoshopped picture of the drying rack on my wall.

The reason that Keep Calm and Carry On picture is over to the side like that is because there was a nail already on the wall and I wanted to get the picture out of the way, so I just hung it there for the time being.  Not even sure that picture fits in any place in my home.  I can't think of anywhere I could hang it.  Maybe out in the shed? hmmm

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Country Home Magazine is back! Well, at least quarterly I think ~ I happened upon my issue at Costco this past weekend. I have been on magazine withdrawal since so many of my favorite magazines folded in the last several years so I am happy to see they are bringing Country Home back even if it is only 4 times a year. The issue seems a bit larger than previous issues and the cover is printed on heavier stock ~ the price is higher too ~ $12.99 ~ that seems to be the trend these days! If that is what it costs to make a quality magazine and employ professional designers, photographers & writers, I don't mind spending the extra money!

Below are a few highlights from this issue ~ the design and layout is a bit cleaner than before ~ a fresher and more contemporary approach to country. The fonts used throughout the issue are elegant and feminine, yet inviting and easy to read ~ I think the whole issue has a kind of relaxing and serene quality to it. I love that all of the rooms look comfortable and lived in ~ they seem attainable to me (a person with alot of stuff!). There are many different features throughout the magazine ~ I've just shown a few of my favorites ~ I especially like the hunting & gathering section and the ideas for reusing vintage finds. Then, my absolute favorite ~ antiquers & junkers and their favorite finds!

As I was leafing through the issue I came upon the page below and noticed something familiar......are you thinking what I'm thinking? You know how sometimes you are out and about and you see something you haven't seen before ~ then, the rest of the day you end up seeing 2 or 3 more? Maybe it's because you've just never noticed it before ~ or maybe it is just a freaky coincidence ~ but this sort of thing happens to me ALL the time!

In this instance, the metal cabinet with the 30 drawers that I posted about here is buried on page 21 of this issue (see it hiding there in the background?)! I wonder if theirs was sponge painted when they got it?! I find it so weird that I haven't seen such a thing for years ~ then, in the space of a week I see two! I am happy to see a different solution for the redo ~ now, in case the brushed metal idea doesn't work out I have a Plan B ~ paint it white!

{all images from Country Home Magazine ~ late summer 2010 issue}
I seem to be running into more problems trying to work on the outside of my house than I did on the inside.  In the mornings and evenings when it's cooler, the mosquitoes are brutal! Very hard to work on any of my projects. I have to put on jeans and boots and load up with mosquito repellent.  During the days, it  is starting to get up to 100 degrees and more, then when it's not hot, it's raining.  What's a girl to do?

I was able to put a coat of primer on the top of the picnic table, I may end up having to drag this thing in my house to work on it!

Remember the oil spill on the top? Well the oil is seeping through the primer.  I'm wondering if one more coat might help seal it better?  I did try to use the kitty litter to soak it up, but that oil isn't budging.  It does  look very pretty white though.  Now I need to do the legs and put a coat of paint on it.  I had originally thought I was going to drill a hole in the top of it and put an umbrella through it, but I've changed my mind.  I'm going to just get a big umbrella and buy some chairs and bench seating to put around under the umbrella.  I think it will function better that way and look much nicer.

I am debating on getting this umbrella from Pottery Barn.

The only thing is, the stand the umbrella goes in costs about $100.00. I'm wondering if this pole is a regular size pole and would fit in any stand that I can buy somewhere else?  I know the way PB makes their lamps, they have it fixed so you can't buy the lamp shades somewhere else, you have to buy theirs to fit the base and vice versa.  Does anyone have any idea about these PB umbrellas if they will fit in just any stand?

I found this table while I was blog hopping and love how they painted the blue stripe down the middle. I was thinking of doing something similar with my picnic table.  My original plan was to paint it white.

Photo from Elle Decor found on Fresh Nest Design.

I'm not sure about all the bright colors though, I am always so drawn to the calming peacefulness of whites and organic materials like in the photo below.

Photo from Decor Pad.

If you haven't checked out Decor Pad, it's a great site to browse for inspiration.  You can go to the search bar there and from the pull down menu, choose photos, then type in any word or room you're looking for and it gives you so many beautiful decorated spaces to browse.  

This is how I get ideas for my home, I just browse decor sites and blogs and get a feel for what i want. The pic above from Decor Pad gives me a feel of calm when I look at it, so I know I want to create that calm on my deck. I won't copy it, but will create something of my own to elicit that same *feel*.  

Taking design quizzes can also help you nail down your own special style.  This one from Sproost is good.  My answers to the quiz was 40% French Eclectic, 40% Nantucket Style and 20% Rustic Revival. I think that about hits the nail on the head.

Oh and one more thing, here's my next little project.
Fixing up this old table.
What color do you think I'm going to paint it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

I love my slipcover chair. The longer I have it, the softer it gets.  I didn't have any sort of lamp or table for it and I've been looking everywhere for the right pieces to go with it.  Some friends were having an estate sale and I got this lamp and blanket from them.  The lamp was one of those shiny brass ones.  I, of course, decided to paint over it so it would blend with the room.  I painted it an antique bronze metal finish.  I got the lamp shade at Lowe's.   They think the blanket might be hand made, but they're not sure.

I've been looking high and low for the right little table to put next to the chair, but still haven't found anything.  Right now I'm just using a tv tray, it gets the job done.

I wish there was enough room for me to get the matching ottoman for this chair.  Then I could really kick back and read or just relax.

What kind of side table do you think would look good to put next to this chair? I was thinking a round antique one.  Sometimes I just get too picky  :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Jeep Liberty Limited

I spent most of the day yesterday getting things squared away so I could purchase my new Jeep!  I am always having to borrow someones truck or SUV to lug things around in and I have been wanting something that I could tote stuff in.  Now I can pick up antiques and dressers and whatever else I may find, not to mention throw my bike in the back or some kayaks on top and go have fun.  The back seats lean down so it's pretty roomy.  It's a 4x4 so I don't have to worry about sliding all over the place in the crazy snow we get here in the winters.  It's used, a 2005, but new to me  :)  

I just love it!