Friday, September 28, 2012

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Our Sunday school class recently merged with another class and it has given us the opportunity to make new friends and visit with "old" ones. We had dinner last month with some "old" friends and she made the best quinoa salad to go with our burgers. I took one bite and proclaimed a recipe was in order!

Enjoy Amanda's yummy quinoa and black bean salad- 

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

2 cups quinoa
3 1/2 cups water

Cook quinoa in rice cooker or on the stove top. Prepare ahead and allow to cool.

Whisk together a dressing made from:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lime juice
1 t. cumin
1 1/2 t. sea salt

Pour dressing over quiona and stir.

Add the following:

1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1 bunch sliced green onions
1 small chopped jalapeno
1 medium chopped red bell pepper
1 can drained and rinsed black beans


Note, I made half this recipe and it still made about 5 servings. It lasts a few days in the fridge and you can add grilled chicken to it as well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Accent Kitchen Island

When I first bought Annie Sloan paint, it was for this project! All the others were warm ups for my new kitchen island! I did it on a Sunday afternoon during nap time and I love it! 

I didn't take step by step pictures for this project, but you can see them here when I did my first paint project. It really is easy- no smells, no sanding, just start painting and then age or just start waxing.

You can see the difference between my normal cabinets and the red island. Oh, and can you see a batch of strawberry jam cooling in the background? I was all kinds of domestic that day.

If I had my way, I just might paint and age my remaining cabinets cream and install a silver tin ceiling tile backsplash. It doesn't fit my style more than that! The first round of paint was really bright red- the dark wax gives interest, but also darkens the overall color to where I wanted it to be.

Now, the island matches my formal dining room color perfectly.

While I was changing things up, I decided to add a little pitcher display on top of my cabinets. It is fun and colorful which I like in a kitchen.

This is my 4th chalk paint project in under a month. I have gone crazy! Next project, my first commissioned piece of art and I used Annie Sloan for it, too!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Years of Mantels for Fall

I love decorating my mantel for Fall- it always best matches my everyday decor of red, black and khaki. Enjoy the mantel through the years... click on the year for more details about my fall decor that year.

2008- our old house and before I had a blog

2009- I love all the tall pieces since we have such tall ceilings!

2010- Many of the same elements are in place and our new Texas flag is hung, the battle at Gonzales

2011- I brought in more blue to balance all the orange last year

2012- this year I went much simpler, just a variety of pumpkins and my ragamuffin garland.

So, which year is your favorite?

To see more fall decor, just click here. Really, I love fall!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Emmett's Chicken Marinade

We recently had dinner with some friends and they grilled the best chicken for us! Emmett brought out the bowl of marinaded chicken and I knew it was going to be good. I had him send me the recipe and it was a cast of characters that I'd never used before.

I had to do a little grocery store searching to find the Goya products! They are on the "Ethnic Foods" aisle in my local (Texas) grocery store. I don't know if they are carried everywhere.

When everything is mixed together- it looks like this. Oh, and it smells like beer! This makes enough marinade for at least 6 chicken breasts. After I made this up, I ladled out and froze half for our next grilled chicken night.

The longer the chicken soaks the better! I let ours soak for about 6 hours.

We ate our chicken with mango salsa I had bought that morning at the Farmer's Market and it was delish! 

Emmett's Chicken Marinade

1 packet Sazon Goya (box includes 8 packets)
1/2 bottle Goya Mojo Criollo
1 can beer, any type will do
1 T agave
1T minced garlic
pepper, to taste

Mix all ingredients and add chicken. Soak at least 6 hours and grill. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Family Rules Printable

A few years back I posted a photo of my framed "Our Family Rules". It still hangs in the hallway by my powder room and I love all that it says. Recently, a Facebook reader (Hi Heather!) of Your Little Birdie asked me if I could make this piece for her family, too!

Using my digital scrapbooking software, a few minutes of nap time and my favorite fonts, I was able to make an 8x10 that she can print and frame. I thought it was only right to share it with you all, too!

Please save, print on 8.5x11 paper, trim, frame and enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall 2012 Decor

My house is now adorned with my favorite pumpkins, spice candles and all things fall! I will add in a few spooky things next week and then a few turkeys next month, but for now, we are celebrating autumn!

Here is my front porch. I bought the new welcome mat at Target this year, but all other items are just recycled from past years or other parts of the house. I made the wreath last year and blogged the directions here. I plan to add this wreath just as soon as I get it made.

I love my big pot of fake flowers and my little hi sign. This sign is wonderful on the porch!

I did a smattering of pumpkins throughout the house- a couple of pumpkins and acorns on each table.

I really changed my mantle up this year thanks to a simple Pinterest find and a gift card to Michael's that I hadn't used. You can see the difference compared to last year here and my ragamuffin garland how to is here. I bought all of the "interesting" pumpkins at Michael's this year. They have such a great collection of metallics and gourds.

I love having a formal dining room, just for decorating! I added some garland to my chandelier and some cranberries and pine cones to the candles in my dough bowl. Finally, my table is finished off with a fall inspired runner from Pottery Barn, circa 2007.

 The buffet in the dining room has twigs, pumpkins, acorns, my favorite Be Thankful Yankee candle (discontinued last year!), a cornucopia, and my daughter's hand print turkey from 2010.

It may still be warm outside, but it is fall on the inside at my house!

Wanna get more fall ideas, click here for more autumn inspired decor, crafts and recipes. I love fall and share lots of fall on the blog!

If you are visiting from the fall parties, welcome to Your Little Birdie! This blog is for chickadees who like to craft, cook, organize and entertain. You can follow along on Facebook here

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I love me some Home Goods

This will look like a shameless plug that ends with me telling you that Home Goods gave me a gift certificate, but I promise it isn't. I just walked the store in San Antonio while on vacation recently and took the opportunity (since I wasn't in my hometown) to snap a bunch of pictures. I wish we had a Home Goods near us, the closest one is 45 minutes away!

While my husband and daughter waited in the car, I took 20 minutes of quiet time and walked the store. Here are my favorites...

I have no room for this chair and it matches nothing in my house, but I love it! I want it in an entry way but a cool chic mirror on the wall and a black round side table with a fancy book and a family picture on it.

This would be cute next to the chair also! I have a friend with a cool gray, purple and white color palette in her house and this would be perfect for her. It would make a great nightstand if you could score a pair.

My favorite thing about Home Goods is the selection of holiday decor. They are currently decked out for Halloween. Aren't these spider web serving pieces fun! I want to fill them with Pinterest inspired orange, white and black treats!

These people are lots of fun!

Or, you can go a little more "fall" with your decor and use pumpkins. I was so tempted to buy pumpkins and gourds in all these metallic colors until I remembered I have a chest full of pumpkins in my garage that I should try to paint. My husband would appreciate that :)

I also love the unique home decor items in every corner.

Isn't this bright orange magazine rack cute? 

I love these coral vases. I have seen some cute girl rooms lately in gray, turquoise and coral lately! I have the itch to do Abby's room again. It is such fun to decorate for a little girl!

In the end, I bought a couple of Halloween items, a new big bright red pitcher, and an old red metal basket for magazines in the guest bedroom. Fun shopping for sure!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Antibes Green Desk

When I added the Macbeth shelf paper to my bookcases lately, I realized how big and black my desk looked! Since I want to paint everything I own in Annie Sloan chalk paint, I decided I needed to branch out of red and try another color. I debated green and turquoise, but decided to give the Antibes Green a try.

Here is my big black boring desk...

One coat of paint wasn't nearly enough to cover the black desk. It ended up taking three full coats. My girlfriend Andrea and I were talking about this paint recently- each project I have done has taken three coats, although the can says one. The paint is thickened by chalk instead of water or oil, so it doesn't "slide" like most paints do. Just keep painting and be thankful it dries so quickly!

After three coats, I sanded the corners and a few other places. Since my local store was out of clear wax, I thought I could use dark and it would be okay. I was wrong. If you want a strong olive green/ brown color, the dark wax is perfect. I wanted a popping lime green, so I painted right over the wax and was back in business!

After a quick coat of clear wax on my dry paint, I have a fun new bright green desk that I love!

What do you think? Am I crazy for covering my office in shelf paper and lime green paint?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Photo Gift Labels

I bought these photo gift labels earlier this year and forgot about them! I had seen other bloggers talk about how great they were and ordered a set using our family Christmas photo from last year. 

Here is the great thing- you use them instead of using a card! They just stick right to the package and you are done! Erin Condren (who isn't paying me in any way for this message) has a bunch of different designs, even some without a photo.

Knowing ours would be red, white and black, I bought a couple of generic rolls of gift wrapping in these colors. It makes it so easy to have a pretty gift ready to go.

I recently used one at a baby shower and the guests loved them. They passed the wrapping paper around, instead of the gift! 

If you like to play around with digital scrapbooking, these would be simple to make. Just upload a photo and text of your choice into the shipping label template in Microsoft Word. Print out on shipping labels from your local office supply store and you have a low cost version!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Peach Cardamom Jam

After conquering my biggest domestic fear by making my first batch of strawberry jelly (which was delish and is almost all gone!) I decided to make another round. Since peaches were on sale and smelled so sweet in the grocery store, I bought a bag full and located a peach jam recipe.

I ended up using the recipe inside this Instant Pectin bottle. It cooks fast which I appreciate and was only 4 steps. I ended up adding a little cardamom spice which was recommended in another jam cookbook. According to Wikipedia, cardamom is in the ginger family. I think it adds a warmth to the jelly much like cloves or cinnamon would.

One helpful tip, if you boil peaches for one minute and then place them in an ice cold bowl of water for about 5 minutes, the skin and the pits come off super easy. Like with your fingers pulling on the skin easy. I was shocked how easy.

 Here is my finished jam, served warm on a cracker. Yummy! I want to pour this over ice cream and eat a big bowl of it. So good!

A little canning education, I learned while writing this post:

Jam is made from crushed or chopped fruit cooked with pectin and often lemon juice.

Jelly is jelled fruit juice, typically without any chunks of fruit.

Marmalade or preserves have large chunks of fruit suspended in the syrup base.

Chutney is a condiment made from fruits of vegetables that is not served as a spread.

Learn more at The Nibble.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My Childhood Rocking Chair

I couldn't resist- I have lots of Annie Sloan chalk paint sitting around and lots of furniture!

I painted my childhood rocking chair as my second project. It was dark brown when I was growing up and I painted it black about 10 years ago when it was given to me. This time, it received Annie Sloan's Emperor's Silk red and a dark wax rub down. I love the color and texture this paint brings to old furniture!

Here is the chair in it's original black and with two coats of paint. I didn't worry about the paint being perfect, since I knew I was going to age the chair as soon as the paint dried!

The bottom left photo shows the chair with two coats of paint and some sanding. And, the right is the finished project with two coats of paint, sanding, and a dark wax rub down!

Details of the dark wax and sanding aging technique...

I love this sweet little chair even more now! 

I am still planning to paint my island... it is just so permanent. I wanted to try out this chair to see how sanding a piece would look with the dark wax technique. I also wanted to see if the color of the chair (painted over black) matched the color of the side table (painted over ivory) would match. They do! So, I feel confident I know the color will be the same over my island.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Southwestern Ranch Dip

I stumbled upon a really great dip making dinner last week. I was making a chopped chicken salad and the dressing made more than I needed. So, we saved it in a mason jar and have used it as a dip with fresh vegetables and my husband spread it on shrimp tacos. Easy and yummy!

Southwestern Ranch Dip, courtesy of Greens and Chocolate
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used light with olive oil)
2/3 cup Greek Yogurt ( I actually used one with honey since I had it)
1 T ranch seasoning
1 T taco seasoning

Mix all ingredients. Chill and enjoy!

Now, if you want to be a rockstar like I was, you can totally make your own ranch and taco seasoning. I had no idea how easy this was and you likely have everything you need in your own spice cabinet.

Taco Seasoning, courtesy of $5 Dinners
Mix equal parts of chili powder, ground cumin, garlic powder and onion powder. I did 1T of each. Add in 1/4-1/2 part crushed red pepper. Store in an airtight container and use for dips, tacos, chili, etc. 

Ranch Seasoning, courtesy of $5 Dinners
2T dried parsely
1 t dired dill
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t black pepper

Mix all ingredients and use in your dip or to make real ranch dressing click here.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

September Desktop

Does anyone remember a ledger like this? I played on one of these as a child and pretended to be a teacher. I have not thought about ledgers in a long time- ahh, childhood.

Enjoy your month- I hope it brings cooler weather, excited school kids, winning football games and family fun. For us, it brings more time on the back patio, birthdays galore, and my husband's 20th high school reunion. Oh the fun!