A Twist of Kate
  • February25th

    One thing that we knew from our last house was that we really spent most of our time in the living room, dining room and kitchen (as do 99.99% of the rest of the world).  So, although I really wanted the spaces to flow, I also REALLY wanted the spaces to be separate.  If that makes any sense at all…

    And so we went from this

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    to

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    and then this

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    to this

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    then

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    The kitchen took a dramatic turn, as well!  From….

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    to

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    We wanted this to make one large kitchen, add an island and relocate the laundry (behind the double white doors).  The kitchen was in terrible shape when we bought the house.  The only appliance that worked was 1 burner on the stove.

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    to

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    and

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    add a little paint…

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    and voila!

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    I really wanted high contrast in the kitchen.  In our last kitchen I choose black and white.  For this one, we painted the island, bottom cabinets and pantry (not shown) BM Witching Hour.  It’s a slate-y blue/black color and I love it!  For the upper cabinets, walls and trim we painted everything BM Dove White.

    For the floors, they are stained a classic dark walnut.

    Here’s a picture of the Living/Dining/Kitchen space prior to the invasion of all our stuff!

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  • February3rd

    So, after doing some light renovating on our house in Atlanta we were up for a bigger challenge ( I guess).  We looked at a few different neighborhoods in Dallas but quickly realized that (1) we wanted to stay in-town and (2) the area of Oak Cliff was where we wanted to focus.

    When we walked into our now house, we knew it was a great house.  The only problem was that it needed A LOT of renovating.  And, I wasn’t so sure if I was up to it again.  We now have two small children, two dogs and I knew that a lot of the renovation responsibilities would fall on my shoulders.  I guess it was just too tempting to pass up the opportunity to really make a house, ours.  So, we bought it and two weeks later the dumpster was delivered.

    So, I’ll share a few before pictures to give you a sense as to where we started from.  Here she is….

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    Isn’t crazy how the pictures make the house seem like it’s MILES from the road?  Not so…

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    The house has a main level and then a lower level.  The main level is where we do most of our “living”.  The lower level has an extra bedroom and living area.  Both of which we were in desperate need of in our last house.  One item that will be done eventually is cleaning the stone and painting the trim and siding.  I really want to get rid of the blue trim and go more greige -y.

    frontLRDR

    We really were looking to open this space up from the way the dining and living looks in this picture.  We wanted to created large openings between these rooms and the kitchen.  You can’t see from this picture but there is a single door opening in between the dining room and kitchen.

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    Here is the kitchen as it was.  It was separated into three areas: kitchen, eating area and laundry which is behind the white doors on the right.

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    Off the kitchen is a set of stairs that leads to our lower level.  The banister would be nixed as our little ones could easily squeeze through the rails.

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    This is the Master, y’all.  Next!

    Eroom

    Bedroom #2.  You can catch a glimpse from this one as to the state the wood flooring was in.  Lots of damage but we were able to salvage most of them (thank GOD!).  This would be the room that requires the least amount of work of the whole house!

    Croom

    Bedroom#3.  As you can see from this picture, there was a second front door here.  This was actually the first thing that our contractor took care of.  Also, this room had a doorway to the dining room and no closet.

    den2

    This is the 3rd living area off of the kitchen.  We really don’t need 3 living areas…what really needed was a master closet, a master bath (that was the existing one off the den in the right corner of the picture) and new laundry room.  So, we closed this space up to encompass all three!

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    Downstairs is the den, extra bedroom/bath and bar area.  Mostly cosmetic, but changes are to happen down here!  No more pink and turquoise via 1986 is priority numero uno.

     

    I’d like to say that there was a room that we didn’t have to do much to.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t so.  So, I hope I took enough pictures along the way to show the transformation!  We are loving it!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • November16th

    The Arboretum here is absolutely fabulous! The grounds are vast and extensive. Although I’ve already been twice, I’ve barely scratched the surface in visiting all the grounds.

    The first time I went, I was feeling adventurous. I made it out of the house with both kids relatively early. We parked easily and didn’t have to wait in line. We went straight for the Pecan Grove in which was set up like a village made of pumpkins, gourds, hay, etc. It was magical!

    The kids were so cute and I snapped a ton of great pics in which they were both looking at the camera – AWESOME! Mission accomplished! So, when we got home and I discovered every single one of my pictures was white and NOTHING turned out, I had to say, “are you kidding me?”

    Yep, I had the camera on the wrong setting so nothing (I mean NOTHING) turned out.

    A couple weeks later I got over my complete flub and we headed out again. This time I made sure the camera was charged, setting was set and that the picture actually came out after a test shot. Ready. It was crazy crowded but we persevered and came out with some really cute pictures!

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    We were also able to trick or treat in our new hood.  When people told us to expect 2,000 kids, they weren’t lying.  I’ve never seen a whole neighborhood rally around Halloween like East Kessler.  Each house out-did the other.  There were tons of kids and it was a perfect night for trick or treating.

    Also, what I’m learning is that it’s next to impossible to get a 10 month old and a 3 year old to look at the camera at the same time.

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    Happy Halloween from our parrot and pirate.  Arrrghh!

  • October14th

    It’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post, it’s embarrassing!

    When I first started blogging, I really wanted to write about my food-life experience.  I was fresh out of culinary school and trying to figure out where I wanted to apply my new culinary skillzzz.  So, I just started…blogging, kater-ing, working at farmer’s markets, creating at home, and just putting myself out there.  Then our son came a long and my life turned upside down.

    All the things that I could do freely before were no longer so easy to do.  Meals couldn’t be made on a whim but planned a week in advance so to be able to limit my grocery store runs.  Drinking a cup of coffee while warm in the morning changed to a dance of re-heating the same cup of coffee multiple times a day only to eventually pour it out.

    So, long story short, my priorities changed.  Or had to change, rather.

    We bought a house, re-did the kitchen, bathrooms and endless DIY projects.  Then, we welcomed little Clementine Glory.  So, now we are four and the food-focused life is oh-so far behind me.  I still enjoy eating (who doesn’t) and when I can create dinner effortlessly, it’s a dream.

    A few months ago my husband accepted a new job in Dallas, Tx. So we said good bye to our beloved home that we built together in Atlanta to begin a new adventure!

    We did so much work on our previous home and I regretfully never blogged about it.  So, this time around, I will.

    I also want to talk about Dallas, my family and keep you all up to date on what I’m doing.   This means being vulnerable again and sticking myself out there which I do have anxiety about.  Will you like it? (Hope so!) Will I make mistakes (Yes!)  Please bear with me as I begin again.

    XO

  • November3rd

    It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged but it’s for a good reason!  We finally met our new addition to the family on August 16th.  He’s kept us awake into the wee hours, challenged us and brought us more joy than we could have imagined. 

    Meet our little Everett Charley…

    He’s much bigger these days and full of laughter…

    Slowly, my new life is falling into place.  I don’t have hours to myself like I used to so, getting back into blogging will take some time.  I can’t wait to write about my dairy-free days or my now vegan diet (yes, vegan!).  So, much to catch up on but all in good time!

    Happy Eating!

  • August11th

    A few weeks back the hubs and I got back from church only to be famished!  I knew I had plenty of fresh veggies and eggs in the fridge from our CSA so, I decided to make a quick strata.  It was in fact quick as it only took 20 minutes to bake and to top it all off – delicious!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Farm Fresh Breakfast Strata

    4 farm fresh eggs
    1 bag of fresh spinach
    1 summer squash, diced
    1/2 onion, diced
    1 tomato, diced
    3 slices of bread
    1/4 cup milk
    s&p to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 375.
    2. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a saute pan and turn the heat on to med-high.  Once the pan has reached it’s desired temp, add the diced onion and saute until it starts to turn translucent.
    3. Add tomato and squash and saute to just until softened.
    4. In the meantime, butter, oil or spray the bottom of the baking pan you plan on using.  Take your bread and arrange it on the bottom of the pan so that the bottom is covered.  Note: If you need to break or cut up the bread to ensure the bottom is covered, do so!  The bread will so be covered by eggs and veggies so looks aren’t key at this point.

    5. Add a bag of fresh spinach to onion mixture and stir until it starts to wilt.  Once the spinach has wilted to your desire, turn off the heat.

    6. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, and s&p.  Whisk until small bubbles form at the top. 

    7. Slowly add the veggie mixture to the egg and combine. 

    8. Now, pour the veggie/egg mixture on top of the bread evenly.

    9. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes and serve!  Sadly, I don’t have a picture of the final product; however, I do have a sweet picture of my sous chefs…they are hard at work!  Illy is our hound dog and Clyde is our terrier mix.

    Happy Eating!

  • July30th

    This summer we joined a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) of Ivabell Acres.  We heard about them through the Decatur farmer’s market and were smitten from our first batch of goodies.   We joined with the 1/2 share so, we get a bag of fresh, local veggies for a mere $15/week.

    We really enjoy participating in a CSA 1: it supports our loconomy and 2: we get veggies that we wouldn’t normally buy at the grocery.  So, we make fresh things at home that we wouldn’t have made otherwise.

    So far this season we’ve gotten tomatoes, eggs, cucumbers, carrots, onions, garlic, green tomatoes, ghost peppers, rat terd (yep) peppers, squash, zucchini, a few varieties of basil, grits, and melon – to name a few.

    Here’s a pic of what we got last week:

    So, I decided to make some fresh veggies to go over some of the grits that we got.  Very southern of me, I think:-).

    Fresh Stewed Veggies over Creamy Grits

    Grits:
    1 cup stone ground grits
    1 cup of milk ( I used 2%)
    3 cups water
    1 tblspn butter
    s/p to taste

    Stewed Veggies:
    1 clove of garlic, diced
    1/2 lb fresh garden tomatoes, sliced and diced to desired size
    1 med to large squash
    7 or 8 okra
    1/4 cup fresh basil loosely packed and then sliced
    olive oil
    s/p to taste

    The grits take at least 30 minutes so, be sure to start them well ahead of time.
    1. Combine all ingredients for grits and bring to a boil in a sauce pot.  Once boiling turn heat down to a simmer and cover.  Stir on occasion to keep grits from sticking to the bottom and sides of your pot.  Cook for at least 30 minutes or until grits are done.
    2. Once you’ve gotten the grits going, prep all your veggies and preheat oven to 350.
    3. We wanted to avoid the slimey-ness that comes out with stewed okra so, I decided to roast them in the oven separately and then toss in with the stewed veggies just before serving.
    4. Toss okra with a little olive oil and s/p.  Place in a roasting pan and let roast for at least 20 minutes.
    5. Heat about 1 tblspn of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add garlic and tomato once the pan is hot. 
    6.  Add squash and basil about 5 minutes before veggies are to be done.  (I typically like my squash underdone rather than over.  If you like your squash a little more done, add it in with your tomatoes).
    7. Toss in okra with stewed veggies.
    8. Plate and serve!

  • July20th

    We’ve been overloaded with vegetables and fresh eggs lately between the awesome CSA we joined and what we’ve been getting from our little doorside garden.  So, I’ve been trying to think of ways to eat all these veggies quickly but inventive ways so we don’t get burned out.

    This is a very simple recipe I threw together one night for the hubs.  He loves crab and I love veggies and eggs so, it’s perfect for both of us!

    Summer Squash and Crab Quiche
    6 farm fresh eggs
    12 oz jumbo lump crab, fresh
    1/4 cup 1/2 & 1/2
    1 tblspn sour cream
    a couple of shakes of lawry’s seasoned salt
    1 summer squash, sliced
    1 frozen whole wheat pie crust
    s&p to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 400.  Take pie crust out of freezer and let sit on the counter for 10 min.  Once  pie crust has defrosted a bit, use a fork to pierce holes on the bottom to let steam escape during par-baking process.
    2. Place crust in oven for 10-15 min to parbake.  Remove once crust is slightly browned.  Leave oven on.
    3. While crust is parbaking, break eggs and whisk to combine with 1/2 & 1/2 and sour cream in a medium-sized bowl.  Once small bubbles have formed at the surface, you’ve whisked enough.
    4. Add crab and squash to whisked eggs and stir to combine.  Shake in desired amount of Lawry’s.
    5. Place pie crust in the center of a cookie sheet and pour egg mixture into pie crust.  Be sure to spread the mixture evenly within the crust.

    6. Place in oven in bake approximately 40 minutes.
    7.  Remove and let cool for about 10-15 min and serve!

    Happy Eating!

  • June25th

     We’ve really have been feeling the love lately and have been showered in it!  We are getting ready for the arrival of our first little one have been blessed by family and friends who have shown their support. 

    I wanted to share some of the picks of some of the yummy foods that have been served at our showers.  All have been scrumptious and devoured by us and the guests!

    Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches

    Deviled Eggs with a Mushroom Tapenade

    Fresh Fruit Salad with Mint

    Fresh Fruit in a Watermelon Carriage

    Yummy Veggie Tray

     More Delish Chicken Salad!

    Petit Fours

     They were the best I’ve ever had!  Super moist cake on the inside and sweet, creamy frosting on the inside!

     Sublime Doughnuts?

    OMG!  Everyone went nuts!  I was lucky to get the Reese’s peanut butter cup (top center) – un.be.lieve.able.

    Sweet Peter Rabbit Cookies as a thank you. 

    My sister and I helped our good friend Diane decorate them.  The best part about these cookies?  They taste so good!

    We’ve had a great time celebrating and getting ready for the arrival of our little one.  We can’t thank our friends and family enough for the support they have shown.  And, for us it was a perfect way to celebrate – with good food and good friends!

    Happy Eating!

  • June23rd

    I met a couple of ladies last week for a delicious mid-day meal at One Eared Stag.  Located in Inman Park, OES took the old Shaun’s space over.  I had never been to Shaun’s but from what I can gather, the interior did not change much, if at all.

    Surprisingly we were the only people in the restaurant, at least for the beginning.  I can honestly say that everything on the menu looked fabulous.  It was hard just choosing something… but we managed!

    We started out with the creamy gazpacho topped with blue crab, asparagus salad with breadcrumbs, mint and a bantam egg and 1/2 dozen blue point oysters.  I’m not typically a gazpacho fan but this was great.  It was creamy without any cream and it wasn’t too cold.  The topping of the blue crab was a perfect feature.  I didn’t get to try the oysters but I knew they were good because they were gobbled up quite quickly.  However the asparagus salad was prepared just perfectly for a summer salad.

    I guess I was in a crabby mood because I ordered a crab roll for my next course as well.  The bread was fabulous! It was a thick piece of brioche lightly slathered in butter.  The crab on the inside was perfect – light, not too much where it was falling out of the bread and perfectly seasoned.  I managed to engulf the whole thing just leaving crumbs on my plate.

    The other main entrees ordered were the BLT served with chick pea fries (creamy and perfect on the inside and crispy on the outside) and little neck clams served in a bacon cream broth (completely decadent).  Both were delicious and little (if anything) was left over.  Everything was just so good we couldn’t leave anything behind!

    Finally, we had to order dessert when we heard the waiter speak of this: fresh toasted country bread, lathered in nutella and topped with roasted strawberries.  Are you kidding?  Roasted strawberries and nutella?  Yes, please!  It was how it sounded – an absolutely perfect dessert for a summer lunch. 

    (Note to self: I must try roasting strawberries at home ASAP!)

    I really can’t wait to go back and check out the dinner menu at One Eared Stag and hope that you give it a try too.  I promise, you will enjoy every minute of it!

    On another note: Due some camera issues all pictures of this wonderful meal were lost!  Please take my word for as to how wonderful OES is!

    Happy Eating!