Thursday, March 3, 2016

Master Bath Update on a Budget!

I'm beginning a master bath update. To give you a little history, this bathroom is about 15 years old. There had been carpeting in the bathroom (I am NOT a fan of carpeting at all, but especially in the bathroom) and we tore it out a while ago. Hence the bare concrete floor. My plan is to:

  • paint the cabinet doors and drawers
  • install cabinet hardware and drawer pulls
  • change out the faucets
  • install flooring
  • change out the light fixture

Budget bathroom before

The cabinets are builder basic in oak. They have definitely turned that orange-y color over time.

Budget bathroom before

Check out what has happened to the doors closest to the shower! They've bleached themselves from the errant shower sprays!

Budget bathroom before

Wish me luck, everyone! Please, I'm gonna need it.

Budget bathroom before

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Wholesome Food Plan and Apple Banana Einkorn Pancakes

I was clearly born in the wrong decade. I have more of a 1900's body type, not a 2015 body type. I haven't been "skinny" since I was in second grade. And, then, I was called "too skinny". As if there is such a thing anymore in popular media. I am saying this because I am tired of trying to conform to someone else's idea about the correct body type. As Clinton Kelly once said on What Not to Wear, "there is no wrong way to have a body".

1906 swimsuit model from

I'm this girl: with boobs, a belly, legs and I have a butt too. While I have never suffered from a bona fide dangerous eating disorder, I did have some habits that destroyed my insides. I have been allergic to pasteurized milk since I was a child, but didn't realize that I had the allergy until I was 39 years old. My dairy habit wreaked havoc on my system for my entire life. I was a vegetarian for eight years, thinking that I could make my body submit if I didn't feed it meat. After some painful injuries, I took enough ibuprofen to fell a horse. And, I grew up eating processed foods. 

This is me with the hubs. Morro Beach, California. August 2015.

This is me, at Morro Beach, California, in August 2015.

I believe that a combination of all of these things led to my gluten intolerance. And, it's not only gluten. It is corn, processed sugar, and sometimes potatoes. Oh, and any processed gluten free foods, such as rice bread and cookies! While I have been working on improving my diet lately, I thought that I could share it with you all if anyone is one the same journey that I am on. From now on, I will strive to be healthy. If I lose weight, great! If I don't lose weight, great! Whatever. I am going to be the healthiest, strongest me that I can. Here is my plan:

#1. Exercise - I joined the gym in December 2014. While I am not as committed as I was earlier this year, I do still go to use their treadmill, pool and yoga classes. When this oppressive California heat lets up, I expect that I will go more. There is just something about the heat that makes me say "naw" to doing ANYTHING! Here is the thing with exercise. I think it helps to have a goal (besides weight loss) to shoot for. I need help with relaxation and tight muscles, so the yoga is so helpful here. I also want to go hiking when the weather cools so the treadmill is a great trainer to prepare me for more challenging hikes. And, the pool. Swimming is just plain awesome :)

#2. Foods - NO MORE pre-packaged or boxed gluten free foods. I feel terrible after I eat them and I know that I am not the only one. I have been gluten free for over 7 years. It's not easy giving up bread of any kind. I know, for myself, I can restrict, restrict, restrict, and then I go nuts over a craving. I refuse to do that roller coaster anymore. It's back to the basics now. Real, wholesome foods. Real bread made from ancient einkorn flour. Since I am not an autoimmune celiac disease sufferer, I am able to tolerate this flour. Raw milk diary. Whole fruits and veggies. Bone broth. 

Here are some ideas for eating real foods.

Bone broth: Bone broth is easy to make. You can use the leftover bones from a roast chicken (this is what I usually do) or pick up some beef bones and feet from the butcher. Cook them with lots of water (like, 6-10 cups) in your crockpot for 24-48 hours. I have to hit the go button a couple of times. Sometimes after the broth has cooked overnight, I will add some carrots and celery. When the broth is done, I love poaching an egg or two in some hot broth and drinking it like an egg drop soup. It makes a great breakfast!

Juice and smoothies: Weekday mornings have me juicing carrots, apples, and romaine lettuce. I will then use this juice as the liquid for a smoothie including fresh spinach leaves, frozen bananas, and frozen berries. This is amazing! I also add some food grade diatomaceous earth to the smoothie. 
*The smoothie alone is too much natural sugar for me. I need the protein so I will drink the smoothie plus have some of the bone broth or a hard boiled egg.

REAL food: grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes and bacon, egg salad sandwiches, meat and veggie dishes with bread, hamburgers, you name it! As long as the food is the best quality that you can afford, it's real (not processed) and wholesome, its good stuff. 

I will leave you with a fun recipe - Sugar Free Apple Banana Pancakes! They are sugar free because the banana provides it with the sweetness.

Makes 7-8 large pancakes
2 apples (your favorite), chopped
coconut oil, olive oil, or butter
1 1/2 cups einkorn flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe banana
1 1/4 cups milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Saute chopped apples on meduim-high heat using the oil or butter. When cooked and softened, set these aside. Mash the banana in a large bowl. Add milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk well. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Drop batter onto hot, oiled or buttered pan. Add a spoonful of the cooked apples and top the pancake with a bit more batter. Cook until bubbles have formed on the entire pancake. Flip and cook until browned. Repeat until batter and apples are gone.

Apple banana pancakes

Here are the cooked apples that go into the pancakes.

Apple banana pancakes
Apple banana pancakes

These pancakes are every bit as delicious as they look. We top them with 100% natural, real maple syrup.

Apple banana pancakes

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Kitchen Shelf Curtain

Do you remember my mexican sunflower pillow covers that I wrote about recently? I had fabric left and a messy kitchen cart that needed covering.

Kitchen cart

My poor little kitchen doesn't have enough storage for the oft used appliances such as my crockpot and stand mixer so these things live in my cart. As nice as this cart is for extra storage, it is not nice to have to look at that mess.
Since the extra fabric I had left from my pillow covers was the right size, I took a few minutes to make my curtains.

Kitchen cart curtain

Since I don't tend to take myself, or my decor too seriously, and since I have never seen an interior of a Mexican restaurant that I didn't like, I have fun with a bit of south-of-the-border flair to go with my vintage. This fabric fits in perfectly, with the vintage-ness of it, the orange color that appears throughout my home, and the Mexican sunflowers!

To make the curtain, I did the easiest possible thing (outside of leaving a raw hem) and used fusible bonding for the hem. Here is what I used:

Kitchen cart curtain

I have a spring rod, cafe curtain clips, fusible bonding, and scissors to cut the fabric and bonding tape. Be sure to follow the instructions on what ever web you use if you make these curtains....all I did was fold my fabric, iron down my intended hem, cut the bond to size, slip it under the hem and iron it down. LET IT COOL BEFORE TOUCHING IT. I remembered this the hard way. The end of the spring rod popped off so I could slip the curtain rings on. Then just clip the fabric however you want to to make your curtains. This is really the easiest decor change ever.

Kitchen cart curtain

On top of the cart, keeping the soda stream company, are my vintage Mexican clay bean pot and a silverplated coffee pot holding a small mexican sunflower and lavender bouquet. 

Pssst! I use the clay pot to hold paper napkins. Cute, right? It gets moved to the table at mealtimes and back to this display spot when we are finished. I cannot use a "normal" napkin holder because the cats will steal the napkins when I'm not looking.......

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Einkorn Bread

I cannot wait to try this bread!!!!

Einkorn bread

It is made from 100% einkorn flour, an ancient wheat. Modern, as well as most heritage, wheats are hybridized, meaning they are a blend of different wheats and grasses. Hybridization happens in order to make a change to the wheat. Modern wheat has higher yields at harvest and more gluten protein, which makes for a fluffier bread. Hybridization may be a cause of gluten intolerance that many people suffer today. The Healthy Home Economist goes into some detail here. For myself, I believe that old fashioned methods may be the answer to my own food issues. I am allergic to pasteurized dairy and am gluten sensitive. I also have issues with processed gluten free products and processed corn. I have been trying to get back to basics.

I ordered einkorn flour to test my tolerance to it. I've also begun fermenting a new sourdough starter and will use this einkorn flour to make sourdough bread! But, for now, I made this yeast bread using a recipe on the bag of my Jovial brand flour.

Einkorn bread

Seriously, how delicious does this bread look??

Einkorn bread

Einkorn bread

Einkorn bread

Einkorn bread

Einkorn bread

At about $4 per pound, this flour seems a bit spendy but it is actually reasonable when you think about how much a regular whole wheat loaf costs at the grocery store. It makes it A LOT easier for me to justify anyway. I used half of my bag on this one loaf, so dollar for dollar compared to grocery store bread, this seems close to equal. 

Here is the recipe:

Two-Hour Sandwich Bread (Jovial Brand Flour)

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
3 3/4 cups einkorn flour
1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, oil or butter, and sugar or honey. Stir until creamy. Add the flour on top of the yeast mixture. Sprinkle the salt on top. Mix with a spatula until flour is absorbed and you have a wet, sticky dough. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Butter an 8 1/2 x  4 1/2 inch loaf pan. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. The dough will feel sticky and wet but DO NOT add additional flour. Shape into a loaf. Place loaf in the pan, cover with poled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing. 

*this flour does not require kneading.
*additional flour will make your loaf too dry

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Three Ingredient Flourless Cupcakes - From SCRATCH!

Would you believe me if I said that you can make rich, flavorful cupcakes without flour, sugar, or milk?

Three ingredient cupcakes

These amazing cupcakes are made with only chocolate chips, eggs, and full fat coconut milk. I got the original recipe here:

I first tried the recipe just as instructed, except I used 5 1/2 ounces of chocolate chips rather than chocolate bars. It was good, but I like more. I do love my frosting and glazes! When I made this recipe again, I thought, since I need parchment paper anyway, why not just pour the batter into cupcake liners?

Three ingredient cupcakes
Three ingredient cupcakes

Three ingredient cupcakes

I also made them "grown up" style. With a bit of Kahlua Mocha. The Kahlua just takes the whole thing over the top!!

Three ingredient cupcakes

Three ingredient cupcakes

Three ingredient cupcakes

Seriously, these little beauties are simple enough to make to satisfy a quick dessert craving, while being delicious and elegant enough to impress your dinner guests. Plus, I think they're super adorable on a vintage floral saucer, don't you think?

Three ingredient cupcakes

Look at the inside. Scrumptious!

Three ingredient cupcakes

So, here it is -

Three Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes 
  • 5.5 oz chocolate chips (I use dairy free, dark chocolate)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, or coconut cream
Cakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerate your **coconut milk while you make the cupcakes (or do like I do and store your coconut milk in the fridge!). Melt the chocolate in a double boiler and, once the chocolate is smooth, let it cool at room temperature. Separate your eggs and add the yolks to the melted chocolate. Whisk the chocolate and egg yolks together until smooth. Using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate and egg mixture. Place 8 cupcake liners into a cupcake pan. Fill liners about a third full. This recipe should be evenly divided among the eight liners. Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops of the cupcakes begin to show cracks. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool completely.
Empty coconut milk into a mixing bowl, discarding (or save for re-use) the coconut water. Beat the coconut milk with a hand mixer until it resembles whipped cream. If you would like to sweeten the coconut milk, or keep the whip from falling apart, you can beat in a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar. I like to do this if I am saving the whip for a later time. When ready to serve, add a generous dollop of coconut whip topping to the cupcake.
If you are making it adult style, remove the cupcake from the liner, put it on its plate or bowl and pour a bit of Kahlua over the top and let it run to the bottom of the dish. Now, add your cream.

**When shopping for coconut milk, pick up the can and shake it. If it is too solid to slosh inside the can, it will be perfect for whipped coconut cream. My favorite brand is Chaosuan. It is most consistent in the fat content and the ability to whip.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mexican Sunflowers and a Morning Visitor

     Good morning from Central California! As I was enjoying the first few sips of my morning coffee, I couldn't help but notice the gorgeous morning light in my yard. Although my little slice of the earth will remain hot through October, I can still feel the slightest hint of fall coming. Just a little chill in the air before the day's heat comes to serve as a beautiful reminder of the coming change of the seasons.
     The morning was so pretty, I just had to grab my camera and take some shots! I had planted lots of wildflowers near my fence earlier this year, trying to obtain a cute cottage-y sidewalk view that I have been crushing on through Pinterest. Forgetting that I have lots of foraging birds here, I failed to plant deep enough and lost most of the seeds. Except for this beauty, which surprised me and continues to wow me with its beautiful blooms.

Mexican sunflower

Mexican sunflower

Mexican sunflower

     I think I love these flowers so much because of the colors. I just love the color orange, it is so bright and happy and quirky.

     While I was outside, I was visited by a friend. I don't know her name but that doesn't seem to matter to her.

Lynx point siamese cat

Lynx point siamese cat

Lynx point siamese cat

Lynx point siamese cat

     So, back to the sunflowers. This is purely coincidental - I had a vintage sheet in my fabric stash that I pulled out over the weekend to make some pillow covers with. I think that these covers are a cute, unexpected bit of fun for the family room sofa. I found the pillow inserts at the thrift store recently and they are so comfortable and inviting! I am seriously loving them.

Mexican sunflower throw pillow 
Mexican sunflower throw pillow  
Mexican sunflower throw pillow 

     Sandy is helping me by modeling with the pillows!

Mexican sunflower throw pillow 

Mexican sunflower throw pillow 
     What is happening where you are? Are you ready for fall? Please comment with a link to show your fave photos!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey Book Bead Bracelet

Who is ready to see Christian and Anastasia in the theater?? Only nine days from today! Here is a little something to get you in the mood!

I have these bracelets for sale in my Etsy shop. You can see them here: and here:

In fact, because you came here and checked it out, I have a coupon code just for YOU! Use the code BLOGFRIENDZ at checkout for a 20% discount.

Fifty Shades of Grey Bracelet 

These bracelets were made using the actual book pages - I cut, rolled, glued and poly coated all of these babies. They are water resistant and stronger than they look!

Fifty Shades of Grey Bracelet 

 These Fifty Shades bracelets have a set of handcuffs charm.

Fifty Shades of Grey Bracelet 

I used alternating gunmetal and sheer blue colored beads. I have plans for a grey and red bracelet as well. 
Do you have other color ideas??

Fifty Shades of Grey Bracelet 

Fifty Shades of Grey Bracelet  
Fifty Shades of Grey Bracel