Summer Decorating Inspiration

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm in the middle of my next DIY house project (pics to come next week, or whenever I finish it), so I have a bit of summery home decor inspiration for you today. One of the best things about moving into a new place are the new decorating opportunities. Of course, we haven't actually gotten to that stage yet and are still trying to figure out where the charger to the electric drill is, but that's another story. I've been pinning and saving pictures of inspiration, but I'm having trouble narrowing down exactly what I'd like to do. I definitely want to add some fresh flowers to brighten things up and add some pictures to the walls. Now that we're finally settled I want to get some of our wedding photos blown up and printed so I can have a bit more personalization than we've been able to have in rented apartments. (Finally, no one cares how many holes you put into the walls, and I can actually paint them whatever colors I want! Victory!!!) But aside from that, I've never put much thought or money into decorating my apartments since I knew I'd be moving in a year. Now I'm finally able to take my time and think everything out. It might be a slow process, but I'm so excited to turn this house into a place that completely reflects us! Now where on earth is that charger? I have pictures to hang!

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Spring rolls have always intimidated me. Well, making them - eating them has never been a problem. Something about actually having to roll various ingredients together just scared me away. And rice paper, that stuff is just a disaster waiting to happen. Or so I wrongly thought. After trying these, I'm not sure why I was so afraid. They're ridiculously easy to make once you get past all the vegetable chopping. (So. Much. Chopping.) And they're completely customizable, leaving you free to put in whatever veggies you like. I made these vegetarian, but shrimp or chicken is fantastic in here as well. 

Vegetarian Spring Rolls:

rice papaer 
1 large carrot
1 large cucumber
 green onions
1 cup bean sprouts
sprigs of: cilantro, basil, and mint
optional - rice vinegar or sesame oil 

First things first - cut up all the veggies. I used a vegetable peeler to create long strips of the carrot and cucumber (easier to fit in the wrapping), and just cut the radishes and green onions. Wash the raw bean sprouts and leave as is. 

Now the slightly tricky part. Take a frying pan and fill it with lukewarm water. Working with one sheet at a time, dip the rice paper into the pan until it is completely submerged. You only want to leave it in for a few seconds. The paper will still feel pliable and thick, but it will become soft and more gelatinous as it sits while you put in the filling. Once it's been dipped in the water, lay it on a flat working surface. I used a clean kitchen towel since apparently the rice paper will stick to wooden cutting boards. 

 Then add the vegetables and herbs to one half of the paper. Gently fold over the paper, tuck the sides in, and continue rolling. The rice paper will be sticky and should stay rolled if you press it together gently. This is actually way easier than I thought it would be. 

For a bit of extra flavor, you can put a few drops of rice vinegar or sesame oil on the vegetables before you roll them up, but these are fantastic on their own. I'd recommend a dipping sauce though - either peanut sauce or plum sauce is amazing. 

So there you go, a bit labor intensive, but ultimately waaaay easier than they look! 

I like to call this the official "before" photos post

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I already showed a sneak peak of the kitchen last week, but I couldn't resist posting a few more photos of our home (and my purse, which I apparently forgot to move before I took all these pictures). I luuuuv it.  The house was completely move in ready, so anything we're going to do is purely cosmetic. For example, I love me some tan, but that specific paint color is on every wall in the entire house. All the bathrooms, kitchen, living room, bedrooms, halls, everything. And while I do like the color, it's just a little much. So I have plans to paint, make a little office, do some things here and there and turn the garage into a man station with tools and brewing equipment and such for the Camp Cook. I especially can't wait to work on the awesome backyard that may have been one of the main reasons we bought this particular home...

But until then, it's all about unpacking the mounds of boxes which are now taking over all the rooms pictured.

Catching Up

Friday, July 5, 2013

Well it's been a while, hasn't it? Moving across the country has been quite the adventure. But not the cool kind that makes for good blog posts. More like 'where did I put my last credit card statement so I can prove residency?' adventures. Not quite as fun.

But! This happened:

We bought our first house!!!!! And we signed the papers in a Dunkin Donuts...which meant I got a house and a donut! Best day ever!!!

A sneak peak of our kitchen. It's huge!!!! I am SO EXCITED to have our own home. I can't wait to show pictures of the before and after once I get my hands on all sorts of crafty and DIY things. This is going to become an ongoing topic around here.

At the same time that we closed on the house, we also took a weekend trip to Las Vegas for my sister in law's bachelorette party. Much fun was had, and many drinks were drunk. That's all.

Can I just say how much I'm loving all the Mexican food down here? I never grew up on Mexican food in the midwest, so I'm learning to expand my horizons and sloooowly go from totally bland to a bit of spice. 

AZ living. I'm loving it.

And last weekend was my sister in law's wedding. It was incredible and so much fun. I can't wait to share more pics from it! 

Posting is still going to be a bit sporadic for the next few weeks. I have a garage full of boxes to unpack and a spare bedroom full of empty boxes that I don't know what to do with. Still, I've missed blogging and it's good to be back! 
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