30 Minute Meals: Shrimp Scampi

June 17, 2014

I’ve recently learned that Rachel Ray is a quazi-liar. When she says “30 minute meals”, she actually means “30 minutes for a professional chef, 2 hours for a home cook.” And those are usually the dinners I burn and my loving husband still eats anyways.

So I’ve set out to develop some actually 30 minute meals. The biggest thing I hear from my friends is that they don’t have time to cook. I think if we really evaluate our evenings, we actually do have 30 minutes to whip up a tasty meal. 

Last night was my first venture not only with my 30 minute meal challenge, but also with making shrimp scampi. As I was meal planning this week, I realized we had a pound of shrimp in the freezer I wanted to use up.  If you’re a shrimp snob, you may have just wrinkled your nose at my frozen shrimp statement. And that’s fine. 
I love Food Network humor…

Anyways, the first step is thawing the shrimp. I fill a mixing bowl with warm/hot water and let them soak. During this time, I let my pan warm to medium heat with olive oil and mince my garlic. Once my pan is nice and hot, I throw on the shrimp. DO NOT overcook the shrimp. You want them to be just slightly pink but not coral. 
Remove your shrimp from your pan and set them aside. I left the remaining olive oil in the pan. Next, add your minced garlic. Cook it until it is nice and fragrant but not browned. Browned garlic = bitter garlic. While the garlic is cooking, I bring my pot of water to a boil. 
This picture smells amazing.
Add your wine, lemon juice, and butter to the pan. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then reduce the heat slightly. You want your sauce to reduce by about half. By now, the water in your pasta pot should be boiling (if you’re using an electric range, if you’re using gas, you should do this at step 1) so it’s time to put in the pasta and cook according to package directions. I used Barilla Gluten Free Spaghetti. Barilla has become my favorite GF pasta makers. I find this cooks up with a very very similar texture and taste to normal pasta.
Once it is reduced, add your Italian spices and shrimp back to the pan and turn off the heat. Give it a nice stir so your shrimp is coated in the delicious sauce. Strain your pasta and serve with plenty of shrimp and sauce. You can top with parsley and parmesan cheese if you’d like, we did that for ours. 

This meal, from start to finish, took me 27 minutes. No lie. I've got proof. I even had to thaw my shrimp.


Blogger Tricks

Outdoor Livin'

May 29, 2014

The weather is finally warming up in the beautiful frozen state of Colorado. My peonies aren’t in bloom yet so, summer is not upon us. (I’m slightly jealous of all you East Coasters enjoying your tank tops and shorts, all day every day. I see you flaunting your summer fashions on Instagram…Don’t worry. Colorado will catch up soon enough.) 

I might be going a little stir crazy. I am planning out my next project for our home and can’t decide, indoors or outdoors. We’ve got an awesome patio space, which like the rest of the house, is a huge blank slate. But, we are also in need of an office space. The couch isn’t cuttin’ it. And since my husband and I do not use credit cards for any of our projects, we have to focus on one thing at a time. 

Since summer is slowly brewing, I’m leaning towards tackling the patio and yard.  I have already spent a good amount of time working on the front yard and it’s almost where I want it. But the backyard…that’s another story. Poor thing is the neglected area of our house. (Besides the laundry room, that is scary.) We, no joke, have raccoons that fight in our backyard. I’m not sure some TLC to the back yard will make the raccoon boxing matches stop, but it will make me feel like my back yard is less jungle-like and more suburban-like. 

I want our outdoor space to feel like an extension of our indoor space.  Our patio consists of two great levels. The first level is smaller but directly off the dining room. There is a step down to the second level which backs up behind the garage. Ideally, I’d like to keep the outdoor kitchen area directly off dining room and make the seating area on the larger second level. Check out our home tour for photos of the patio and backyard.

So here are my needs:

Most of the furniture must be composite or plastic. Colorado’s dry climate is not ideal for wood furniture
Seating for 6-10
Some sort of table
Done by August 1st
And a $300 budget, for the whole thing

Here are the wants:  

Inexpensive rug.
Garden stool for side tables
Adirondack chairs or rocking chairs
Ottoman/floor pouf for additional seating
Easily moveable and easy to rearrange
Coffee table
Storage bench
Bar area

The budget is a non-negotiable. I am determined to outfit out entire patio for under $300. My birthday is mid-August so I’d really like to have a fabulous 24th birthday party on our patio. I'll let you in on a little secret...I've got no idea what to do with our patio. Here's some of my favorite Pinterest finds that have helped to inspire me:

My friend Craig

May 19, 2014

One week ago, it was snowing in Colorado. Today, the high is supposed to reach 81. This further affirms my theory that Colorado is bipolar. 

If you were following my One Room Challenge, you’ll know that at the end of it, my dining room was missing four things: head chairs, bar cart, art, and area rug. I’ve been searching for a bar cart for quite some time now. They are just so expensive for the vintage ones and I don’t care for the new ones. I decided to hold out until I found the perfect one. Well, after an impromptu Craigslist search on Thursday, I finally found a vintage bar cart under $50. In fact, it was priced at $35! I know. Seriously amazing. I never would have dreamed that I'd actually find a vintage bar cart for $35.

The seller had this item way underpriced, I almost felt bad for not offering her more than what she was asking. I never find anything on Craigslist. I have the worst luck when it comes to searching through it, so I was in shock when I actually found something I liked. 
Since I’m not much of a baby blue fan, I grabbed a can of glossy white spray paint and decided to update the trays. (I primed first. I always prime everything first.) When I got the frame outside to clean it off, I noticed some of the brass was worn so, I gave it a facelift and spray painted it with my second favorite gold spray paint, Design Master’s Gold Medal. (My first favorite is Design Master’s Brilliant Gold) 
Most of the accessories on our bar cart are from the thrift store. The serving tray, decanters, and gold rimmed glasses are all thrift store finds. The monogrammed highballs and silver tea cups are family heirlooms.

Jonathan ended up liking the finished bar cart. And he's not a fan of gold. So that's really saying something.

All in all, this weekend was a pretty awesome one. I got a lot done. Even Denver was worn out by Sunday night.


May 13, 2014

The great thing about a housewarming party is inviting people into your home to see the work you’ve done. The scary thing about a housewarming party is inviting people into your home to see the work you’ve done.

Luckily, our lives are surrounded with supportive family and friends who all told us our home looked fabulous. We had zero negative comments (something I was worried about). And I loved the curiosity from our guests when they’d ask me “what’s next?”

Here’s my first home tour and to do list to keep all of you filled in.

Front yard
Paint front door 
Get a wider door mat
Add sidewalk lights and porch lanterns
Widen/resurface driveway
Add hardware to garage door
Finish landscaping
Sidewalk lights
Aerate and seed  
Possibly replace porch light
Build porch
Get rid of beige and paint white around windows and on gutters (why is there so much beige in this house?!)
Fix the landscaping area by the street, possibly paint the bricks white?

Entry way
Board and batten wainscoting (on red wall) with coat hooks and picture ledge
Add art
Replace entry rug
Ceiling light? Chandelier?
New baseboards
Entry table
Hang mirror

Living Room
Add to photo collage
Finish wainscoting
Different ottoman or coffee table?
New baseboards
Paint legs on couch

Dining Room
Replace fan?
Art in frames
Bar cart
Head chairs

Chalkboard wall
Finish painting
Organize pantry
Do something with window
Rug in front of sink
Subway tile backsplash

Finish painting
New Baseboards
Door frames
Change sconce?
Make coat closet open space

Change lighting
New baseboards
Area Rug

Future baby bedroom (waiting to really fix until we have baby on the way, don’t get your hopes up…mom or father-in-law Shayne)
Get rid of beige walls, paint grey?
Possibly get rid of elephant?
New baseboards

 Master bedroom
Paint walls
Finish dresser
Update nightstands
Change ceiling light, possibly fan from dining room will go here
New baseboards

Master bathroom
Frame mirror
Hang storage above toilet
Figure out a shelf for shower (where am I supposed to put my leg when I shave?!)
Extra-long shower curtain
Towel rack

Hall bathroom
Towel rack
Shower curtain and rug

Basement family room
Shelving in closets

Guest bedroom
Night Stand
Replace ceiling light
Throw pillows

Guest bathroom
Towel rack or hooks
Storage above toilet
Frame mirror
Replace shower curtain

Storage/Laundry Room
Finish walls
Cabinets above washer/dryer
Wine racks  

Back yard
Prune foliage along the fence (going to wait until everything is in bloom)
Get the extra-large tree checked out by arborist
String globe lights from tree to house to create more lighting
Replace light by door?
Sod/grass seed
Paint bricks around tree white?
Paint concrete charcoal grey
Patio table and chairs
Extend patio
Treehouse (not even kidding)

Build garden beds - 1 down, 1 to go
Compost bin

I get so excited when I see the plans I have for our first home. Thank you to my husband who lets me be creative. He’s an amazing guy; always letting me create a mess so I can make some corner of our home beautiful. Without him supporting me, none of this would happen. Love ya babe. 

What idea's do you have for our home?