Black Beans & Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa

This is one of the most "professional" dishes I've made.  Seriously.  This is something that I would go to a restaurant to order...but I made it!  Thanks to my friend Kristin for the recommendation (who I did go shopping with and we did buy the same matching earrings...AND we both wear size 11ish shoe!).
Here's the link to the recipe on bon appetit.

If you want my own notes:
1. Rotisserie chickens are awesome.
2. Turn your rice cooker on when you begin.  I added chopped cilantro and lime to my rice before serving.
3. The beans call for 3 cups of chicken broth.  I added the 3 but had to boil it for longer so it would reduce.  2 cups would have been plenty.
4. Fight your husband for leftovers!  I was kind and let him take them today.  Often, I'll make a good lunch for him, but then his boss decides to do an impromptu lunch and the packed lunch goes to waste.  Not today!  I told him I'd only make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of his life if he let this one go...

The BEST Honey Butter

I've posted how my neighbor Carrie bring me the best goodies: like the Strawberry Cupcakes with Real Strawberry Frosting and the Pie in a Jar.  Everything she makes is good!  Here's her Basic Vinaigrette that pairs really well with a Candied Walnut Spinach Salad.  This Friday I'm making her recommendation of Green Chicken Curry!

This is her homemade honey bread (that came still warm!) with homemade honey butter.  So so good!  I got the recipes for you, well, for me, but I'll share with you.  I've made the honey butter myself and I might have even been using it this morning...sshh...don't tell my calorie counter...

Honey Butter

1 lb butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cut the butter into chunks using a dough scraper.

Place the butter into a stand mixer's work bowl and beat at low speed, using the whisk attachment to loosen the butter.  Increase the speed to medium and add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap.  Roll into a log and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Simple Whole Wheat Bread

3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 (.25 ou) pkg of active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1/3 cup honey
5 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup honey (yes, again)
1 Tbsp salt
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (Carrie uses pastry whole wheat flour for the consistency she likes)
2 Tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour and stir to combine.  Let set for 30 minutes or until big and bubbly.

Mix in 3 Tbsp melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt.  Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour.  Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch.  This may take an additional 2-4 cups of whole wheat flour.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough.  Cover with a dishtowel.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Punch down and divide into 3 loaves.  (If you don't shape, they will be flat on top...still tastes the same).  Place in greased 9x5 inch loaf pans and allow to rise until dough has toped the pans by one inch.   

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes; do not over-bake.  Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 Tbsp melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard.  Cool completely.  

Yield: 3 loaves of bread.

Carrie's notes: I always add 3-4 Tbsp of powdered gluten for a chewier bread (you can get this at the bulk section at Winco).  Sometimes I'll add a 1/2 cup of 10-Grain mix and couple Tbsp of whole flax seed.  Also, as soon as the bread is done, remove from the pan immediately and let it cool on a wire rack.  If you don't do this it will make the bread soggy.

Circle Scarf

If you don't consider yourself a's one for you.  There's no hemming, no tucking, no measuring, no fancy frills, just a straight sewn line.  That's it.

Thanks to pinterest, I found "come on, ilene" and her blog with the circle scarf tutorial.
Here's what you need: 2 yards of knit.  I would recommend light-weight or your scarf will be quite heavy.

The cool thing about knit, in case you didn't know, is that it doesn't fray.  That's why you don't have to hem it.

So once you have your 2 yards, line up the selvage ends together (that means the sides that were cut on in the fabric store), and sew one line down to hook them together.


Flip inside out and wear!

So I realized when I was posting these that I really do wear my hair up a lot!  I just realized this week that my hair is getting quite long.  I need to relearn some things.  My short pixie cut spoiled me and I need to get a little more creative.  I don't feel like it was that long ago that my hair was this short, but I guess it was 3 years ago.  Hmmmm...

Easter Decorating

So I actually feel semi-successful in decorating for Easter!  (That means that I decorated more than just the mantel.)  I have my homemade peep bunny banner up in the entry...that looks significantly better than the pictures of it in our little California apartment, peep light strand over the kitchen window, little chickies from World Market on the mantel (oh, I love them!), and egg ornaments from Home Goods on some branches I collected last night.

This weekend will be a big one, between Easter Egg hunt(s!) on Saturday, birthday party for my 6-year-old, arrival of new couches, actual Easter, and actual birthday party.  It's going to be great!

My DIY Tufted Headboard

We went from a queen bed that was a little crowded for 2 adults and 3 kids to cuddle in the morning, to a king size mattress on the floor, to finally a regular height bed with a real headboard that I love!

**If you want to see the most recent Master Bedroom Transformation, go HERE.  I also made a Tufted Storage Bench to match the headboard.

(When I made the headboard the room was still blue, but has since been painted and decorated with gray walls)
So here's the run-down.  I followed Little Green Notebook's tutorial for the most part.  I had already bought MDF board, so I didn't use the pegboard...but I would encourage the lighter weight, holes already drilled board!  (I found this tutorial just a day too late).

If you want to see my headboard inspiration, go here.

Here I cut my board to the right size.  My husband helped me get the board home, but the cutting, measuring, drilling, etc I did.  It took me about a week to complete.  If you don't have a 6, 4, and 11-month-old to care might get it done quicker.  

By this picture, this is my testament that wheat storage comes in handy for extra weight.  :)
So to explain all the extra plates on my boards...totally not necessary, but our car was just 4 inches shy of being wide enough to get the board in, so we had them cut it.  That explains the middle cuts.

I was planning on a 2 ft. high headboard, so I cut off the extra, but then decided to do a 3 ft. headboard, so I had to add the wood back on.  Nothing like creating a bigger monster for myself.  What's the saying, measure three times and cut once.  That would have helped.

Please buy the 3 inch foam (with a 50% coupon to Joann's).  It definitely gives it a good look and I'm glad I returned my 2 inch foam.
It takes some measuring skills to get your holes in the right places.  Not to close, not to far apart.  I suggest looking at your inspiration photos for an idea of what you want.

I started my edges at 5 inches in all around.  I have 5 rows of buttons.  I have 3 rows of 11 buttons and 2 of 10 buttons = a grand total of 53 hand covered buttons.  (Thanks to a slew of coupons to, yet again, Joann's for the button covering was $10 a box originally!!  Yikes!)  The headboard is 76" long and 3 ft. high.  You can do the math for the spacing if you want my same look.

You can see by my lines that I toyed with several layouts before I decided on "the one."
Here my holes are drilled, the foam is stuck to the board with spray adhesive, and I'm ready to cover with the fabric.

P.S. The foam is one long piece 24x76 inches + one 24x38 piece cut in half hotdog style to make (2) 12x38 pieces to make a grand total of 36x76 inches of foam.
I got a huge needle (a doll making needle that's longer than my finger) to help with the threading part.  When I did this first button I stepped back and said "looks good...this is going to take me 10 years."  And I went and did something else.
A day and a half later, it looked like this.  I obviously got the hang of it and figured out the non-forever-taking method.

Basically, it's easy to thread your needle, go through the back hole and the button, but then awful to try to go back through the material, 3 inches of foam, 1 inch thick mdf board, and through 1/4" hole.  Not fun and takes f o r e v e r .

In case you want to know...this is what I did.  I quadrupled my thread on the needle, started at the back, and went through to the front.  Once I threaded my button on, I took off my needle from the thread (you should still see thread sticking out of the back), and tied the button securely to the front.  I think I tied about 4 knots to it and then trimmed the excess thread.  Then I went to the back and pulled the button into the material.  (Look at the next picture and Little Green Notebook for back pictures).  I used my staple gun and made the thread in a z pattern with staples.  At first I didn't understand why this would help, but it's good to help make it tight, gives something to pull against.  I did 2 staples per hole, tying off the thread to the 2nd one.

I hope that wasn't too confusing.
Once all the buttons are in place, go around the top and bottom folding the excess fabric into neat pleats and secure the extra fabric with your staple gun.  I only did 1 pleat per short side at the middle button.
I mounted a french cleat on my bedroom wall (not the one pictured...but actually one that holds 200 lbs).  I made sure that my headboard would go slightly below the top of my mattress.  I didn't want to see any gaping and I think it looks more finished this way.
And wa-lah!  That seems like a lot of instructions, now that I just typed it out.  Just take it one step at a time.  There's definitely some easier headboards to make and there's some steps to take in this kind to make it easier than I made it (like cutting your boards only once!).

I do love it and it makes the statement in the room that I wanted it to.  If your wondering about the fabric.  It is actually an Ikea Ritva curtain panel.  For 2 extra long curtain panels of durable fabric, only $25.  Pretty awesome deal and I have a whole other panel to do something else with.

The mercury glass lampsquilt, and curtains are from Target.  The side tables and sideboard are craigslist finds.  Our chandelier is from Home Depot.  The color in our room is Benjamin Moore Glacier Blue.

And in case you were wondering how it worked with our newly painted wainscotted bathroom...I tried to match the bathroom paint to the headboard.  I think it worked out.  Now go make yourself a headboard!!

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