Wining Wife®

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GUEST POST: 6 Ways to Add Style to Your Kitchen in One Weekend

This guest post comes from Emma Lawson, an Aussie lifestyle blogger, health enthusiast, mum to two boys and lover of all little things that make our lives enjoyable.

The kitchen is the heart of every home, but however tidy and lovely, your household’s heart will inevitably develop a tedious, worn look over time. Still, a floor-to-ceiling kitchen remodel can be a costly and time-consuming affair, which is why a quick stylistic fix will be a better option if you want to doll up the cooking area without extensive makeovers or extra costs in the mix. Short on renovating inspiration? Here, help yourself to these simple touch-up ideas and create a kitchen fit for a maître chef within a single weekend.

1. Dress Cabinets in a Fresh Paint Coat

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If your kitchen cabinets have seen better days, a fresh paint job may be just what your culinary haven needs to brighten up within hours. To take kitchen storage from to drab to suave over the weekend, sand off peeling paint and dress up cabinets in a new color coat, or use contact paper to dial up the visual game in your cooking nest. If you’re an artist at heart, you can experiment with colors and come up with custom stencils to transplant to the storage units: that way, you’ll get to express your creativity while at the same time upgrading kitchen aesthetics.

2. Mirror, Mirror all over the Wall

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Although you wouldn’t expect to see a huge mirror in the kitchen, such an aesthetic addition can help revamp your cooking area and make it look more spacious than it is. A wall-to-wall mirror is a smart trick you can use to make a powerful stylistic statement and improve lighting conditions sans extensive fixture updates or replacements. For an extra dose of style, you can update your backsplash with a reflective coat and display a set of modernist stainless steel or antique-looking silver mirrored wine glasses along the shelves.

3. A Wall to Impress – and Express

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In case your kitchen is short on storage, now is the perfect moment to upgrade it. A cabinetry update or an extra stack of open-back, bracketed, or floating shelves will boost the functionality of your culinary nest while at the same time infusing the space with fresh feel and interest. Or, if you’re a wine lover, you can display your treasured collection in your cooking area with the help of a lovely wine rack. You can find first-rate wine racks at Peter’s of Kensington, and if you want to play the storage game safer, you can move your beloved bottled beverage to a cooler, closet, or even a cellar.

4. Shed Light on Culinary Sessions

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If you want to dial up kitchen functionality and aesthetics, you may want to do something about the lighting. A cleverly chosen lighting upgrade can render a new dimension to your kitchen and enhance its style and workability. To shed a more powerful light on your culinary endeavors, you can swap standard fluorescents for CFL or LED lighting, and top the ambient with task lighting at strategic spots around the kitchen.

5. A Quick Backsplash Fix

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The backsplash may well be a necessity in the kitchen, but if adorned with the right materials, it can also double as the focal point in the room. If you want to add a stylish touch to your kitchen, you don’t have to overhaul the entire segment of the wall. Simply cover it with a temporary coat such as stamped tin, glass, pegboard, or plywood and voila: your kitchen is looking a lot lovelier, and the upgrade didn’t set you back a small fortune.

6. Flooring in a New Groove

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Most kitchen floors are shod in either tile or vinyl which allow for hassle-free maintenance, but it still doesn’t mean the flooring will look its best if left exposed. For a dose of kitchen elegance, coat the floors with area rugs or non-slip floor covers: inexpensive yet effective, the update will add a dose of warmth and style to your cooking area, and it’ll also serve as an additional layer of underfoot insulation during cold months.

As elegant and well-maintained as it may be, your kitchen won’t stay shipshape and stylish on its own. To keep your cooking area as suave as you want it to be, you’ll need to update it now and again – and if you’re carrying out the partial remodel on a budget or when pressed for time, the ideas listed above may just come in handy, and you can throw in a few plants as a charming finishing touch. Life’s too short to spend your cooking hours in anything short of a pitch-perfect backdrop, so don’t let the kitchen aesthetics go amiss because you can help it.

 

Thanksgiving 2012

Ah the list of things I am thankful for – it’s that time of year again. I like to make sure I give credit where credit is due, and let’s face it, making gratitude lists don’t happen enough – this practice should happen on a regular basis. It’s good, though, that we do have a holiday during which it is common practice to express gratitude.

I begin my expression in a spiritual way, for I am a spiritual woman. I thank you, God, for

  1. God – because God is good, and I’m glad he is always looking out.
  2. My wonderful husband and son. Both of you are always there right when I need a smile – and in totally different ways. You guys keep me going, even when the chips are down. Wining Husband, you’re the most positive, optimistic person I’ve ever met, and I love you for that…and your laugh…definitely thankful for that. It’s freaking contagious. Tiger boy, your smile lights up a room. Literally. I think it has the power to bring the power back on in a black out. You two are both incredibly special to me, and I don’t know what I’d do without either one of you. Therefore, I intend to enjoy every moment I can with you.
  3. Friends and family far and near – I have a LOT of friends, while the number of close friends living far away from me far outweighs the number of friends living close by, that doesn’t make anyone any less special or important in my life. You guys have been a great and powerful force in my life, and I am so, so thankful for each and every one of you for reasons as diverse as the people you are.
  4. My beautiful home. Sure it’s not the cleanest or most organized place at the moment (um…Tom the Turkey kind of took over this week). But that doesn’t matter. I love the cherry floors, the warm walls, and most importantly the memories housed between the “four walls.” It’s definitely a great place to be and work.
  5. My 3 kitties. They make trouble. They can be nuts, but they also are always ready to curl up on your lap the moment you’re starting to feel a bit lonely in the world. It sounds goofy, but Stripes, Lady, and LuLu are great companions.
  6. My career – it’s been a rough year. Last year I was given advice never to go into business with friends. I know why now. That being said, I feel stronger and better than ever when it comes to knowing what I want out of my career. I love writing, I find joy in it, and I’m thankful to have projects to work on that are exciting and fun.
  7. Food – it nourishes the body. Like anything, in excess, it can make one sick, but in moderation, it can be amazing. We had an absolutely decadent Thanksgiving this year. That being said, none of us “stuffed” ourselves, and I’m happy to have the next little while off from cooking duty. Food is tasty, nutritious, and fun to share with loved ones.
  8. Wine – Tonight we started with d’Arenburg’s Hermit Crab with appetizers and our parsnip-apple soup, then moved on to Chateau Ste. Michelle‘s 2008 Ethos Chardonnay with the pasta and then the salad. The main course featured Antigal Uno 2009 Malbec. We plan on opening a port with dessert. Wine can enhance dishes like nothing else. It’s best when enjoyed in moderation, of course.
  9. Movies and old TV shows – there’s no better way to wind down at the end of  a long day (or a cooking marathon) than sitting down with family and enjoying a movie or a fun TV show. Except…
  10. Books – I love books. I love reading books, I love writing, I love editing books. I guess you can say I’m a bibliophile.
  11. Life and relative health – It’s good to be alive. I mean, it means I get to enjoy my family, friends, food, home, wine, etc. Additionally, even though I’m still dealing with quite a few issues from a reaction I had to a medication in March, it’s nice that we’re finally getting to the bottom of what works in terms of healing. I’m thankful for that.
  12. Health insurance. See 10
  13. My camera – it makes it so I can take lots and lots and lots of pictures of our life as it happens.
  14. My computers/technology – as much of a headache as these are, it’s nice to know that they allow me to communicate with others and run my business.
  15. The Internet – it’s great to be able to research foods that are local, in season, and organic. Plus, see number 13.
  16. The vast amount of knowledge available. Sometimes it can be small or overwhelming, but it’s always out there.
  17. Autumn – it’s my favorite season of the year.
  18. All of my clients. You guys rock. Seriously.
  19. Electricity. Without it, there wouldn’t be the lifestyle that we have today. It might look like the TV show Revolution it might look like S.M. Sterling’s Sci-Fi vision. Who knows, I’m just happy it exists.
  20. Sleep – I love sleep. Who doesn’t?
  21. Running – I love to run. It’s been too long since I’ve done a 5K. I’m looking forward to the next one – AND – to training for a 10K.
  22. The couch I currently sit on – because oh my goodness it’s comfortable.
  23. My readers – you guys are pretty cool for reading what I have to say.
  24. Shoes – and for that matter clothes – because, well, I have a bit of a problem lol…and even though I try to not be materialistic, I’m still pretty fabulous when it comes to these things…
  25. President Obama – Because things are getting better, economy wise. I can feel the hill climbing.

I could list so much more. So, so much more. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

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Planning a Thanksgiving Menu

Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s Wining Husband’s favorite holiday. I rather like this holiday too. When it comes to planning our menu, we’re taking the following into account:

  • I believe it will just be the three of us – myself, Wining Husband, and the Tiger Boy, however, we would like to have the full turkey-day experience 😉

    Thanksgiving Turkey

    Thanksgiving Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • We want to use as many organic products and products from our CSA as possible
  • We want to have enough leftovers to make dinners and lunches so that we are able to relax for a little while as a family.
  • We want enough food if we wind up with last-minute stragglers

So far, we’ve come up with the following ideas for our menu (though, not all will be made):

Appetizers:

Salad, Soup, and bread:

Turkey and Stuffing:

Sides:

Desserts:

What’s on your menu for Thanksgiving? What do you plan to make? Post your thoughts below in the comments section.

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Cheeseburger and French Fries

English: Homemade cheeseburger with french fries.

English: Homemade cheeseburger with french fries. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Remember that lovely Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon I talked about a couple weeks ago that paired well with lasagna? Well, it also pairs well with burgers. I’m a fan of a good burger, and I’ve got a recipe that is (at least in my family and friends’ opinions) outstanding. I also make killer fries. Here are the recipes. Try them out. I guarantee you that they are better than anything you can get out at a fast food restaurant. Besides, in the time it takes to get everyone together, get in the car, head out, pick up food, and drive back you could have a hot and delicious meal on the table that pairs well with wine.

 

French Fries:

 

Frying french fries

Frying french fries (Photo credit: fritish)

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1-2 potatoes per person, depending on size
  • Canola oil, enough to have 2-3 inches in the pan you are using
  • Seasoning Salt

 

Slice potatoes into thin fry wedges while oil heats. When water dripped into oil sizzles, add a handful fries to oil, more depending on the size of the pot. Fry until they float about 5-10 minutes per batch. Remove with slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with two paper towels to absorb oil. Sprinkle with seasoning salt to taste.

 

Hamburgers

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 pound ground chuck, 98% fat free (or turkey)
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs – I used bread crumbs from roasted garlic bread in the food processor, you can use Italian bread crumbs, if you like
  • 1 small white chopped onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp tobasco sauce
  • Splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp organic Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 6 thin slices cheddar cheese
  • 6 thin slices pepper jack cheese
  • Your favorite burger toppings (We use tomato, romaine lettuce, brown spicy mustard, and mayonnaise

 

Toast buns. Mix together ground meat through pepper flakes in bowl using hands. create six balls and flatten into patties. Place in frying pan coated with thin layer of olive oil, turning halfway through, until burgers approach desired level of doneness. Place one slice of each cheese on burgers, turn heat down, and melt cheese. Place burger patties on buns and add desired fixings.

 

 

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Sewing Pattern Stock Up!

I’ve already talked on this blog about how I enjoy sewing. This past weekend, Joanne’s Fabric and Crafts had a sale on sewing patterns. Naturally, this was very exciting to me. I was able to grab several patterns. Since I’m in desperate need of new clothes, these patterns were a welcome addition to my collection. I’m hoping that I’m able to get started on creating a new wardrobe by hand soon. Among the many patterns I grabbed, I snatched up the following patterns at the sale. I grabbed up a bunch more as well. I also purchased some fabric so I could start making some of these outfits. I’m looking forward to posting my progress!

What are your favorite patterns from the Simplicity Fall Collection? Have you sewn any of these patterns?

Simplicity Pattern 1808

Simplicity Pattern 2154

Simplicity Pattern 2703

Simplicity Pattern 5914

Simplicity Pattern 4044

 

 

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