Saturday, March 29, 2014

basic whole wheat biscuits

Saturday, March 29, 2014
In college Billy was famous for his biscuits and gravy. After a night on the town, or, even just in bed, his biscuits and gravy were pleasant morning ritual. All my life I had been disgusted by biscuits and gravy. Soggy bread just wasn't appealing. Then I had his and I've been changed ever since. Now, this is not his recipe for biscuits and gravy, just a mere explanation of the power of comfort food done right. His college biscuits and gravy were loaded with bacon fat, and as vegetarians, that's a no-go. These biscuits do the trick paired with vegetarian gravy (flour and milk) or slathered with butter.

Adapted from Budget Bytes 


  • 1 cup soy milk 
  • 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda 
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Using your hands, mush the butter into the flour mixture until you get a dry sandy texture.
  4. Stir in the cold milk, the dough will be very wet and sticky at this point.
  5. Liberally flour the counter top and place dough and pat down until it is about ¾ inch thick. Using a cookie/biscuit cutter or, in my case a glass, cut the biscuits out of the dough. Place the cut biscuits onto a baking sheet lined with foil. 
  6. Bake for 15 minutes. 
  7. Drizzle with honey, slather with butter, or slop on some gravy and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

graphic wallpaper look for less

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I've been quite obsessed with graphic wallpaper. I love the bold statement it makes. And if there's a place to be bold, it's the entryway. The space should give visitors a sense of your style and say "Hello! Come on in!".

But after pricing wallpaper and figuring out quantity needed I received a big reality check. It would be over a $1000 to wallpaper this small space! So we went back to the drawing board and decided a stencil would do the trick. Well, a month later we've finally finished stenciling our entryway. It was hard, it was messy, but OH was it gratifying. It took us about three days solid, and a week or two to build up our motivation and break through our frustration. The first 1/3 went quickly, then we took a break, didn’t wash our stencils well and the stenciling got pretty rough. We had to paint over some sections because the lines weren’t coming out crisp. Then we had our “duh” moment. The stencils had too much paint on them! After we took a rough brush and some elbow grease we got them looking and acting like new. The stencils were coming out just as good as before and the only thing left was to find enough time to finish the project! 

I just LOVE the look. It gives the feel of graphic wallpaper without the price tag. As frustrating as stenciling was, I can only imagine us trying to hang expensive wallpaper ourselves (not that I wouldn't like to try it someday). If you mess up stenciling, the worst thing is that you have to paint over it and do it again. What helped me get through the project was one of this inspiration quotes found on Pinterest. “Done is better than perfect.” When stenciling, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I could have driven myself crazy trying to get everything to line up perfectly and look crisp! But then you step back, and it takes your breath away.

Our tips and tricks to DIY stenciling 

Our Supplies
  • Stencil (ours is here)
  • Foam roller
  • Water-based paint 
  • Small bowl for paint
  • Small artist brush
  • Paper Towels
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Painters Tape
  • Level
Do your prep work
Since a second coat of paint is cumbersome, and near impossible, the right quality paint is essential. Any water-based paint should work. After some research, I found many sites recommending Ben by Benjamin Moore, which is what we used. I agonized over the right shade of teal, because like other paint projects, redoing this isn't something I can talk my husband into. We selected Benjamin Moore White Dove and StlateTeal. Make sure to mix the paint well before using. Practice on a sample board first, if not, the application may vary and colors may not be consistent.

Get sticky
Every part of the stencil window (the shape in the stencil paint goes through) needs to be firmly stuck to the wall. Before you place, spray the back of the stencil with contact adhesive and wait about two minutes or so. If you don't wait for it to get tacky the stencil will be difficult to remove and leave glue residue on the wall (guilty as charged). One round of adhesive spray will last three or four impressions. Do not re-spray each time; we made this mistake, and it is near impossible to remove adhesive. (We found goo gone works the best to remove the adhesive, but it is labor intensive for larger stencils). In addition to the spray, tape corners down with painters tape.

Manhandle when needed
The most difficult places to stencil are the corners. Wall-to-wall was okay, but wall-to-wall near the ceiling was cringe worthy. And don't get me going on on stenciling around the crown moulding over the door. Yikes. Just remember you can always touch up with a brush or re-do entirely if needed. I recommend taping down one side and leaving the other free so you can bend as needed.

Maintain your stencils
If stenciling over several days, wash the paint off the stencil before the end of the night, if not the paint will build up and make the stencil thicker, resulting in blurrier lines. In the end we found washing it every four stencils worked best. Our stencil package came with two patterns that worked together so we were able to wash and dry while using the other.

Perfect, to a point
For imperfect applications, I took a small brush and smoothed uneven lines. I had a designated brush for teal and white. I could have spent hours doing this if I had allowed myself. These brushes also came in handy near the baseboards and corners to connect the patter with a free hand.

Stenciling is not easy, but with practice and  patience the results are stunning and much more inexpensive than wallpaper. If anyone else has any other tips, please comment!

Other posts on our entryway

Next, we add some pretty crown moulding, jacket hooks and style it up pretty... stay tuned!  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

delicious crepes and a confession

Thursday, March 20, 2014
This recipe is for when you wake up feeling a little frenchie. Which, I hope is often. I can't get enough of crepes; they're so versatile. I love doubling the recipe and don't mind eating these for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a few days.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • oil for coating the pan
Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor.  Heat a small non-stick pan and oil. Pour a small amount of batter into the center, swirl to spread evenly. Cook until you can easily get a spatula under the crepe. (Approximately 30 seconds) and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove. Wait a couple minutes to cool and dress as you'd like! 

My favorite crepe combos:

  • Trader Jo's cookie butter
  • Fresh fruit (or frozen, warmed up with some sugar)
  • Peanut butter and banana 
  • Jam
  • Nutella and banana
  • Any fruit + whipped cream
A side note and confession: You may notice the addition of eggs in this recipe. You might say, "Wait! Aren't you Vegan?!". And, well, not any longer. We were going strong for a year; we had started veganisim the day after Christmas in 2012.  With the festivities of our wedding and the holidays this year, we started to crumble. I like to say we're 80% vegan and 100% vegetarian. When we do buy dairy products we try to do so as conscious consumers. Checking labeling and buying local. (I'd like to say that labeling has a long ways to go in this country!). We still cook with our arsenal of vegan recipes and focus on being healthy. Someday we'll renew our personal pledge, but until then we are enjoying eggs and the occasional artisan cheese.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

mint condition kitchen and my color anxiety

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Apparently I was a good girl last year, because for Christmas I got a Kitchenaid mixer, in pistachio no less! I've been dreaming about this for a long time. In fact, I've boycotted all hand held mixers, opting to mix batters and dough with an archaic device: a wooden spoon. I was determined to call one of these my own. 

I'm a huge fan of white in the kitchen, and always assumed I would end up with a white Kitchenaid. Then I saw the pistachio one and I fell head over heels. For me, it was an identity crisis. My standard has always been go classic with the things that will last and accessorize with color. My parents have had their Kitchenaid since I was small, so for me, these mixers are family heirloom material. While I love the minty green now, will I love it in 20 years? What if I want to change my kitchen colors dramatically and I'm stuck with a mint green, dated-looking Kitchenaid? I never knew I would have such color anxiety! These kitchens below helped soothe my fears; you can have a bright, white airy kitchen with color. And white kitchens can be so pretty with dashes of a pale green, mint. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

the sun shines // maui

Friday, March 7, 2014

A month ago Billy, and I took a quick vacation to Maui to visit the sun and family.  My brother lives upcountry with a few acres and a bi-coastal view (that's two shorelines in one!). His horses, Ben and Sweetpea, were one of my favorite parts of the trip. It's so lovely to be around these magnificent animals again. 

Design + Development: Revel and Design