Ellie and I made these sweet pumpkin pie custards in mason jars for a few of the neighbors on Christmas eve. I got the idea from Black Eiffel who listed a few great links on how to's. I went with inchmark's how to who used the recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday Foods. I could not find the tiny mason jars like she did so I went with the 1/2 pint jars and doubled the recipe which made eight. It also increased the baking time to almost an hour where it only took inchmark 35 min. I would just keep an eye on it. I then topped it off with homemade labels. Oh, and it really is just a pie without crust, hence I call it a custard. We will most definitely be trying this again with other pie recipes, so fun!

Seeing Redd

Miles Redd is known for his rather elaborate designs quenched in color and pattern. As you know I am drawn to neutral simple palettes, but I must say all these designs from Mr. Redd have me singing a new tune. I adore these rooms and could easily see my family living in them. Well, if we were loaded that is.

It was also fun to see Ashley sitting on his stoop on her lovely blog. It would so be something I would do.

A Full Nest

This is a cookbook...

That was made for this family...

Why? You may be wondering, well it is to raise funds for an upcoming adoption that they have underway. They are adopting two little ones from Uganda, Africa and all proceeds will help to bring them home. This family is one of my favorites. Jeremy has been a great friend since college and when Lauren came into the picture, well we made fast best friends. Our children are growing up together and I can't wait to see them add two more. I know my Ellie and KJ are excited to have more friends to play with. I can imagine all the happy messes now.

So if you would like to know more and possibly purchase a cookbook that we all had a hand in, be sure to go here. I even shared my pizza recipe that tastes remarkably close to my favorite one that I shared about here. I have already started using it and I can attest that it is filled with good eats. Plus it will make great Christmas presents. It will be kind of like you are giving two gifts in one!

A Perfect Fall Salad

I am not one to make myself a salad. Not that I do not care for them, but I have never been happy with the basics. Well, that is until I made this one. I found it in the October issue of Cooking Light. It was very easy to make and now I find myself making it just for myself. I left out the shallots and used feta instead of goat cheese. I really can not get enough.

A Tart

This year has been my year to learn how to cook. For most of my marriage my Mr. has done the majority of the cooking. He is rather a picky eater and it was easier for him to make what he enjoyed and besides I was just plain awful in the kitchen. Well, I can now say I can make quite a few things that the whole family enjoys. This weekend I turn 30 and for some reason I got a wild hair to make something more involved, something that posed a challenge, something that felt very grown up. I choose an heirloom tomato, rice, and almond tart from Cannelle et Vanille. I substituted a few ingredients, but stuck with all the main ones. It took me all Friday morning and by lunch time I enjoyed the most delicious tart I have ever had. My husband can't stand tomatoes and Ellie is going through a I don't like rice faze and KJ is going through a what ever Ellie thinks I think too faze, so I was the only one to enjoy my new creation. In the end I am okay with that. I conquered a goal that makes me think I can now do just about anything in the kitchen. I no longer feel fear of creating a disaster and if I do that's okay too. I will just enjoy the process.

Simply Stunning

After seeing The Design Capital Kitchen in Melbourne on Apartment Therapy I became quite smitten. It reminds me of a bit of moomah in New York which is where I got the inspiration for KJ's big boy room. This eatery has everything I love, industrial touches, gorgeous woods, planted herbs, and such a gorgeous and simple color scheme. Oh, how I wish I could have all those baskets to line my upper cabinets, just gorgeous. Be sure to go here to see more of this stunning place. The rest of it is just as breathtaking.

{images via Kelly Green}

Kitchen Gadgets

Part of my New Year resolutions was to learn how to cook and it seems I have developed a passion for it. Granted I am still no pro, but at least I am enjoying myself and others seem to like it. What more can I ask for? Well, I have decided that if I continue on my quest and become a kitchen guru then I will treat myself to some of these goodies...

1. Goldtouch Bakeware / 2. Santoku Knife / 3. Silpat Liner / 4. Mixing Bowls / 5. Immersion Blender / 6. Recipe Box

Caramel Pudding

I always have the best time going over all my favorite food blogs. I admire their work and sometimes even drool, but knowing my lack of cooking skills the recipes are just not attainable, well that is until yesterday. Since one of my resolutions is to learn how to cook I decided to tackle a new recipe from a food blog. This one came from the Smitten Kitchen and I already had all the ingredients on hand. Even to a novice most of her recipes seem attainable and she writes out the recipes in an easy to understand way. I knew I should at least try especially after seeing her kitchen. If she can cook brilliantly in a small space like that then I at least had somewhat of a chance. I must say I was a bit nervous, but the it turned out exactly as she said it would. I am completely giddy with my accomplishment.

A House to Dream About

This home was featured in the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens and I am smitten with it. I could sit on that porch for hours and just enjoy that view. When I think of our one day house I would have to say this one fits the bill perfectly. It feels very warm and cozy. I am a huge fan of texture and not color so even the decor would work for me. The layout is what I like the most. Simple yet functional. The only thing I would want to add would be some sort of garage or car port. I really hate running out in the rain. Can you tell I have thought way too much about this house?

A Home to Buy

While being the real estate stalker I am, I came across this home. Not sure about the location, the school system is not the best, but the price is beyond right. Oh, and we would be close to this I believe and that would be lovely. It would need personalization, but I rather like all the major renovations that have been done. The front door would become yellow and the landscaping needs some extra care. I love the rounded door and what looks to be original hardwoods. I would probably change the light fixture to something more modern to play off the historical home. I am rather fond of the farmhouse sink, butcher block counters, and subway tile. I would change the appliances to all stainless steel though just because I could and possibly marble counters one day. To me it appears the loft space may have the second bath at the very end. I am thinking master suite. I would change the railing to something more substantial, maybe horizontal thick slats. What I like the most is the yard. I dream of having mature trees in the yard and this one fits the bill.

Overall I am thinking a drive by is in order. Also if any one would like to buy my current home for atleast what we paid in order for me to indulge in my new infatuation then I would greatly appreciate it. I would be sure to share the after photos if this helps in your decision making at all.

Keeping It Neutral

Cote De Texas had a wonderful write up on smallish homes that are affordable and stylish in her real estate area. She showed many and gave great detail to each, a must read really. There was one house that really peaked my interest...

Homes like this are very typical in my area, but are still yet to be upgraded and refined. The price points are low which makes it perfect someone like me. The miracle of paint, nice furnishings and good landscaping makes this home very doable. I am sure the kitchen cost a pretty penny, but when the price point of the home is very low and you may have money to spare this can be done to add a bit of luxury. I believe this home is a mere 1500 square feet, but with the neutral palette it makes it feel much larger, well that or great photography. This home would suit me to a tee and one day I hope to leap at a chance to redo one of my own. Now to just get my hubby on board for such an undertaking.

Learning to Cook

You may or may not know that my husband does most of the cooking here at home. Yes, I am that horrible and he just is that picky. For example, I made spaghetti one night, used the wrong brand/kind of sauce, and he grimaced with every bite until he just couldn't eat it anymore. Well, while he was away all week I decided to make my kiddos things daddy definitely would never eat. Most of this weeks meals were based on the use of tomatoes, one of my all time favorites, but one I rarely get to enjoy. Here is a smattering of a few goodies made by yours truly...

{pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, sauce, and dried basil although I am sure fresh is better I had none on hand}

{angel hair pasta with herbs and tomatoes}

{whole wheat bread with olive oil, pepper and salt, tomatoes, and mozzarella grilled}

{lemon something muffins}

Oh, and no none of the meals were made by scratch, but I did my very best and enjoyed every minute of it. What I learned is to always check to make sure you have all the ingredients before starting anything, kiddos are a huge fan of tomatoes in "fancy" pizza and sandwiches, but they find it quite "gross" on pasta, and Ellie much rather have a handmade breakfast than cereal any day hence I made breakfast every morning.

Today the hubby finally gets home, yeah!