Thursday, August 25, 2011

How to Pick up a Lady

Why on earth would someone just throw away a table with such sexy legs?

I'm a bit cheap practical when it comes to purchasing furniture, so when I went for a jog in my neighborhood and saw this beauty sitting on the side of the road, waiting for the garbage man to pick her up, I was dumbfounded.  I would take this little lady (with legs like those, it has to be a lady) to Goodwill before leaving her for the garbage man to pick her up, who would not treat her in a respectful manner that she deserves.

I immediately sprinted for the house, grabbed my keys and went back to pick this pretty little thing up.

She needs some TLC (Tender Love from Candice) to give her back her glamour, but she deserves it.  The weather is supposed to be perfect this weekend, so her transformation may begin this weekend.  I'll keep you posted....

If you live in the Nashville area and you are considering throwing out some furniture...consult with me first.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trip Home to Paris and "Simply Hoppy" Inspiration

At the end of July I made a trip home to visit my family for a VERY special reason.  My beautiful niece turned 9 years old.  I missed her birthday party, but thanks to her Aunt Heather I was able to get a glimpse into her Justin Bieber themed party.

Check out her IPOD cake, that had Justin Bieber songs in the playlist.  Too cute and so is SHE!

Creek on brothers property.
While I was there, we decided to take the Mule out for a ride.  

Now, when I was telling this story to my boss, he literally thought we took a Mule(the animal) for a ride around the property....Not the case!  It is an ATV called a mule...just so we are clear!

Isn't the country pretty.

And how can you not take a picture of this nephew is such a handsome little dude.  He looks so rough and tough in this picture, but don't let it fool you...he is such a sweet boy!

And those cowlicks...some guys work forever to get the hair that this boy has naturally.

Look closely at this picture....something here may pop up in my bedroom one day.

Do you see it?

Remember in my very first post that I mentioned a hat that inspired my blog name?

Much to my delight my brother still has this hat.  So, while I was home I figured I would capture a few pictures to share with all of you.

My dad was part of the Blue Blazers during the Vietnam War.  He didn't talk about the War at me at least, so I don't have any stories to share from "Hoppy's" perspective.

But, I'm glad my brother still has this hat and I was able to share it on here.

On another not today is a special day.  It's my brothers birthday.  So happy birthday to the best brother a girl can ask for.....

Happy Birthday Scott!

I hope today treats you well and I love you very much!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes

Alright, as promised I decided I would post the recipe for my Delicious Carrot Cupcakes that I made a couple weeks ago during my baking adventures with Candace.  We wanted to take advantage of the pulp that was going to waste during my juice fast, so I decided to make these little beauties.

These babies are pretty savory and yummy!  Better yet, they are virtually GUILT FREE!  During my quest to find the perfect recipe for Gluten Free Carrot Cakes, I found that many recipes required 4-6 different types of Flour in a single recipe. No thank you!

While shopping in Whole Foods one day I came across this....

Exactly what I needed....Thank you Namaste Foods!!

Not only was it much easier to use, but it saved me lots of $$$$

One of the advantages of just coming off a juice fast, was that I was well stocked on carrots and a few carrots goes a long way when it comes to juicing.  They produce the highest yield of juice of any fruit or veggie that I have come across.

Well, enough Chit it is and ENJOY!

Gluten Free Carrot Cupcakes by Candice

1/2 Cup light Agave Nectar
1/3 Vegetable Oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons of Namaste Perfect Four Flour Blend
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (I used fresh ginger to add a little spice)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups carrots (Pulp from Juicer)
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans (I used walnuts)

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Oil or line a standard muffin pan with cupcake papers.

Juice Carrots in Juicer or you can grate then on the large holes on a box grater or food processor.  Set aside.

Whisk agave, vegetable oil, orange juice, vanilla and eggs together in a large bowl until mixed well.  In a separate bowl, mix baking soda, baking powder, salt, and gluten-free baking mix. (NOTE: If you use ground allspice mix with dry ingredients.  If you use fresh ginger mix with wet ingredients.)

Dump entire contents of dry ingredients into wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Fold in carrots and pecans.

Spoon even amounts into cupcake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpicks inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from baking tins immediately or the bottoms will become soggy.

Instead of icing I drizzled fresh local honey on top of my cupcakes...SO Delicious!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to Reality

I know it has been a week since my last post, but I have had little time to think about what I'm going to post about next, much less get any rest.  After a whirl wind weekend in the beautiful Hilton Head, I'm EXHAUSTED!  I got to hang out with some of my best friends from Nashville and made some new friends as well.  Please be patient while I get back into my daily groove and things slow down at my day job.

Wouldn't life be grand if we were able to vacation after our vacation to recoup...even for just one day!?!?!

I leave you with some pictures from my weekend.....

The view from the Bridal Suite!

Our Beautiful Flowers!

The flower and feather details on Jenn's Dress were so sweet!

Groom's Cake!

Lemon Wedding Cake! Yummy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gluten-Free and Full Baking with Candace

Baking is a hobby that has never really peaked my interest.  The last time I baked something that didn’t come out of a box, was when I was in college.  I attempted to make my Aunt Kay’s Homemade Biscuits, which I will never do again because I was sadly mistaken to think that I could actually recreate their delightfulness.  I had a few somewhat successful OK batches, but good batches started to elude me and I soon became defeated by the idea of ever being as good of a baker as my Aunt Kay...unless of course it comes out of a box.

In my quest to spend time with my friend Candace (who has a natural knack for cooking/baking), we decided we were going to spend the day Sunday baking sweet cupcakes and savory breads.  The whole idea came to fruition while I was on my juice fast.  You see, when you juice fruits and vegetables, you get loads and loads of YUMMY pulp that for the most part sadly gets thrown out. Ideally, I would compost all my pulp for my imaginary garden.

Anyway, we decided that we were going to put some of this pulp to good use and bake delicious treats for ourselves.

Measuring out Carrot Pulp and enjoying my juice! :)
Candace in her cute apron!
Oh, and how can I forget this little tidbit of information?  Not only did I take on the feat of baking from scratch with pulp, but for some crazy reason I decided I was going to make Gluten Free cupcakes and bread.  Upon my research of looking up recipes I found out that this would not be an easy task, since most recipes call for 3 or 4 different types of flour.  I didn’t even know there were as many types of flours as there are out there on the market these days.  I nearly gave up, but on one of my many weekly trips to Whole Foods I decided to scope out their baking section.  Not only are there tons of options, but some of the stuff was incredibly expensive.  I couldn’t justify spending $15 on a bag of Xanthan Gum when I only needed ½ teaspoon.  Crazy!  Lucky for me, this was only an experiment and I’m not Gluten intolerant.  While at WF’s I came across a Gluten Free premixed flour that is good for all types of baking…Thank You Namaste Foods for making my day of baking so much easier and far cheaper, had I bought everything separately.

Candace didn’t experiment with Gluten-Free like I did, because she is a Gluten Loving Soul (per her brother).  Take a glimpse at the yumminess that she made using Coconut Pulp (Why Candace?) for her Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes and Zucchini pulp for her Zucchini Bread that had Roasted Tomatoes & Feta in it.  Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of Candace's Bread, but DANG was it delectable.

Strawberry Coconut Cupcakes
I didn’t get her recipes before she left.  If you would like to have them, let me know and I’ll forward them along to you.

I chose to make Healthy Carrot Cupcakes using Carrot Pulp.  I didn’t use any pulp in my bread…slacker, I know.  My bread was a Rosemary and Olive Loaf.

Healthy Carrot Cupcakes drizzled with Local Honey
Olive Rosemary Bread
If you want any of the recipes, please contact me.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tempting Tuesday - Farmer's Market and Ace's Intro to Juicing

Trips to the Farmers Market are unfortunately, few and far between for me.  They are also extremely under-rated by the general public...this HAS to change!  If you have never been to the Nashville Farmer's Market then you, my friend, are missing out.  Not only are you supporting local farmers and their communities, but the produce is so much more vibrant and succulent than what you buy at the grocery store.  I'll admit I exude a bit of pride when I bite into a locally grown Apple or Peach, or make a dish with Eggplant that was grown 50 miles away from Nashville in my home state.  Find a Farmer's Market in your area and won't regret it.

I wish my pictures would have turned out better, but this is the best I could do with my camera phone.

Unfortunately, I am going out of town this weekend, so I didn't want to pick up too much produce and allow the beautiful stuff to go to waste.

FORTUNATELY though, I'll be headed to Hilton Head, SC to support one my best girlfriends, as she marries her best friend.

Congratulations Jennifer and Jesse!!!

This past weekend I spent some much needed time with one of my best friends friends from college, ACE!  I call her Ace, because her name is Candace (like me), just spelled different.  It gets a little confusing around our mutual friends at times, so when we are together people will typically say Candice/ace and then follow with just ACE or ICE, so we know which one they are talking too....true story!

Anyway, we went to the farmers market on Saturday morning to gather items that we needed for our bake-off we were having on Sunday (more on that tomorrow), then we had lunch at Cafe Coco, which happens to be one of my favorite places to go for breakfast.  Candace had to head into work later that afternoon, so before she headed in, we decided to swing by Province to grab some Coffee (for Ace), Tea(for me, Ice), and a cookie.  Needless to say it was an eventful, but thoroughly enjoyable morning!

Candace has a passion for cooking that I lack, but while we were spending time together I wanted to introduce her to a new passion of mine...juicing!

I know, I know!  That seems to be a topic of many of my posts, but I can't deny the yumminess that is fresh vegetable and fruit juice.  Lucky for Candace she picked a good day to come over, because my fridge was well stocked with beautiful produce.

My fridge never looked so good.....

To start our day of baking off right, I wanted to make a juice that was bright and happy.  Well, I think I was successful.

This is what I came up with:

3 Gala Apples
1 Granny Smith Apple
1/2 Beet
3 Small Oranges
2 Large Carrots
Good Size Chunk o' Ginger
(Serves 2 or ME)

Delicious doesn't even describe how good this juice was.  We were going to come up with a name for it, but got busy baking all of our goodies that we kind of forgot.

Any Suggestions???


Monday, August 8, 2011

Makeover Monday: Jewelry Box Makeover

Last fall...lets just say I had a tiny fascination addiction.

You couldn't separate me and a can of spray paint for more than a couple days without me having some sort of withdrawal.  I was convinced that many of the things I had around the house needed a facelift.  Rightfully so they did, but soon I found myself scavenging thrift stores and Habitat for Humanity stores looking for anything that needed to be gussied up.

While at the Habitat Restore in Brentwood one day, I snagged this little beauty for $8.

I did not have a jewelry armoire to store my jewelry in at the time and while I knew this wouldn't hold much, I figured it would be a start....and also provide me a spray paint Fix.

You might remember me mentioning the other day, that I am on a kick with all things white. 

Well things weren't much different a year ago.

Isn't she so much prettier with a fresh coat of white spray paint??



Friday, August 5, 2011

New Obsession - IKAT

Every six months or so, I want to redecorate my bedroom, but who doesn't, right?  

This is my one place, that I can truly call my own.  To many people, it is their sanctuary and this holds true for me as well.  Right now, I have an obsession with all things IKAT and it is something that I would like to incorporate into my bedroom.  

Last night I went to TJ Maxx Home Goods on my way home from the office to pick up a bread pan (got some fun stuff going on this weekend with one of my besties, Ace) and when I was waiting in line I saw 2 of these chairs covered in a Green and White Ikat Print...I think my heart skipped a beat!

Home Decorators

I'm not really one to fall head over heals with tufted fact, I don't really like them at all.  However the green and white Ikat print was to die for.  I couldn't get a good picture of them, because they were stacked in the middle of tons of other furniture that had already been sold..bummer!  

Don't know what IKAT is?  This is strictly my opinion, but to me it is almost like a Modern Native American Print.  It has a blurry, yet exotic feel.  No research has been done on my part to find out where this technique actually originated (Lazy Tired Me), so take my opinion with a grain of salt.  I just know that I love the way it looks!

Madeline Weinrib

Be still my little heart...these chairs are swoon worthy!  What I wouldn't give to find a pair of vintage chairs and re-upholster them in an Ikat print.

Purple isn't really in my bag o' tricks as far as decor, so maybe I'd cover them in this....

Luce Dove by Madeline Weinrib
Or this....

Turquoise Luce by Madeline Weinrib
Isn't it beautiful!  Hopefully, you will see some pictures of Ikat prints in my bedroom SOON!!

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kitchen: Painted Cabinets

I can NOT get the idea of painting my cabinets out of my head.  I really want my kitchen to be bright and airy and the wood cabinets just aren't making the cut based on the look that I'm going for.  The only thing that is holding me back is that I have black appliances.  I'm afraid if I paint my cabinets white, then it will make the appliances stick out like a...well you get the picture.  

What do you think?

My most prized possession in my entire house, is my kitchen island.  My uncle and I built it the summer of 2007 when I moved into my house.  The legs are scrap wood we found in a garbage bin at Lowe's...SCORE!  Since they were going to throw it out, they gave it to us for free.  I splurged a little for the top, but since I knew the bottom was going to be painted white I wanted it to have a beautiful contrast.  The top of the island is Oak.  We didn't stain the wood...all we did is seal it.  I don't have a picture of my inspiration for this piece since it was 4 years ago, but it was a kitchen island from a Pottery Barn Magazine.

Below is a nook that is just to the right of my kitchen table.  Ideally I would like to put more cabinets in this space.  One bad thing about my house is that I don't have a lot of cabinet space.  Most days I have appliances all over my counter tops, but I cleaned up a little for these pictures.

Ignore the blue storage bin in the corner...that is my recycling center. :)

You may notice the white lampshade sitting on top of the blue Tupperware.  That is for a future project that I hope to get done within the next couple weeks.  Fingers crossed!!

I went to Atlanta a couple weeks ago and of course had to make a stop at IKEA.  

I picked up a magnetic knife holder, so that I could free up some non-existent counter top space that the butcher block was taking up.

I have a new obsession with all things white, so I picked up some white bud vases and a white pitcher to display in my kitchen as well.

Here are some more pictures for your viewing pleasure....I am by no means a great photographer, but I like to play.

I really would like to plant the coordinating herb in these boxes one day.