Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Color Selections: Front Door and Hallway

Hello, friends. Sorry I've been away for a while. I guess I needed a little break. We're into fall now, but our weather isn't showing it just yet. Our front door, however, has taken on an autumnal look. We had it painted two weeks ago. Thanks for those of you who offered feedback and opinions on colors in this post. We ended up choosing Aztec Brick, a Benjamin Moore color, but we had Sherwin-Williams match it because we buy nearly all our paint from them (they were also having a 30% off sale, which was a plus).

Here's our newly painted front door! See how much darker it looks through the screen in the second photo? To be honest, I wasn't sure how I felt about the color when it was first painted. But it has grown on me the past two weeks, and now I like it very much. It's very similar to our dining room wall color. As one reader noted, it's good to think about colors inside the home when choosing a front door color for cohesiveness. Of course the true color is a bit different from the colors in these photos. The first photo is too red, the last photo is too orange. It's somewhere in between.

We had our hallway painted the same day as the door. It was a pale minty green that I'd been unhappy with for years. We chose Sherwin-Williams Canvas Tan. I won't even try to post a photo because our hallway is impossible to photograph. It's long and narrow and not well lit. The digital swatches online of Canvas Tan seem much darker than what I see on our walls. I'm super pleased with the results. Canvas Tan has lightened up the hallway and contrasts nicely with our Bleeker Beige (Ben Moore) trim color. We left the ceiling the darker shade of green that contrasted so well with the previously lighter green walls. The painters (both women, by the way, and fantastic!) kept commenting on how cool the light walls look with the darker ceiling. The walls are also an eggshell finish which has a beautiful sheen and reflects the light so nicely both during the day and at night. What a difference a couple of coats of paint can make!

UPDATE, 10/20: Here is a photo I snapped the other day of the hallway. It turned out better than I had expected. It gives some idea of what the Canvas Tan paint color looks like. The trim is Bleeker Beige. The ceiling is actually green, but I don't recall the name of the color, as it was painted many years ago.

 What's new in your home?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

End-of-Summer Cocktails

The first day of fall isn't until September 22, folks, which means summer isn't officially over until the 21st! So let's enjoy the last of our summer days with two cool, refreshing cocktails. Check out the two below and visit my Drinks page on Pinterest for more ideas.

First, a traditional Tom Collins. When I was a little girl I remember my parents ordering this cocktail in restaurants. I tried a sip of my mother's once and actually liked it. I also thought the name was great, so when my best friend and I played "house," I gave my "pretend husband" the name Tom Collins. My parents thought that was pretty funny!

Tom Collins

  • 2 ounces gin (my preference is Tanqueray
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice  
  • 1 ounce homemade simple syrup
Serve over ice and top with 1/4 cup cold club soda. Stir. Garnish with fresh fruit and lemon peel.

And here is a unique margarita recipe from the Vitamix cookbook I received when I purchased our Vitamix blender. I found it a little on the weak side, so I increased the amount of tequila in the recipe below to 6 ounces. If you want it less strong, use 4 ounces.

Blueberry Margarita

Place the following ingredients into a blender container:
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup 
  • 1/2 cup orange juice 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
  • 6 ounces tequila 
  • 1/2 cup pure blueberry juice (I use R.W. Knudsen brand)  
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries 
  • 4 cups ice cubes
Blend for 25 to 30 seconds or until desired consistency is reached. 

When I thought about making this cocktail, I realized we didn't have any true margarita glasses, so I bought a couple of Clara margarita glasses at Williams-Sonoma. They have a nice, green tint to them and a pretty shape. I didn't realize until I started shopping for margarita glasses that they vary a bit in size and shape. I like this style the best. Now that I have the glasses, I'll have to experiment with different margarita recipes.

Enjoy the last days of summer, and cheers!

Monday, September 5, 2016

No-bake Peanut Butter-Chocolate Snack Squares

Treats that don't require time in the oven are perfect for warm weather cooking. These no-bake peanut butter-chocolate snack squares are easy to whip up and, as the name suggests, don't require any cooking. With healthy ingredients like natural peanut butter, ground flax seed and oats, this treat is one you can feel good about indulging in.

No-bake Peanut Butter-Chocolate Snack Squares

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter (if your peanut butter contains no salt, add a small amount of salt to the mixture)

1) Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine oats, flax seed, chopped chocolate and cinnamon. 

2) In a separate bowl or large mixing cup, stir together the maple syrup and peanut butter. If stiff, microwave for 15 seconds and stir well; allow to cool a minute.

3) Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture until fully combined and no dry spots remain. Drizzle in a tiny bit of maple syrup, if needed, to moisten the dry spots; stir to combine. 

4) Spread mixture into lined pan and use wet hands to press down firmly into an even layer. Be sure to press firmly and evenly to avoid having crumbly bars.

5) Place pan in refrigerator 4 to 6 hours before slicing into squares. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Check out this Pinterest board for more gluten-free treats!
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