^the room slowly evolved to this, above
Before you see what the room looks likes now, I'd like to credit two bloggers in helping this room change. The first is Joni at Cote De Texas She showed my kitchen when she did one of her "Readers Homes" post. I asked her for advice on the living/dining room and she most graciously agreed. She is the sweetest, most thorough person. She analyzed the room and gave me great, detailed advice. I was unable to make the purchases she suggested but I got the point she was making with continuity, balance and scale. I used what I had on hand and I couldn't be happier with the results. I feel the rooms now relate to the heart of the home which is the kitchen.
Secondly I'd like to credit Daryl at Vermont Cottage for challenging me to remove 100 items from my home. I didn't think it would be possible, but it was and it was easy. I think the space looks less crowded and I'm left with what I truly love instead of just items taking up space. Thanks Daryl.
Can you see how the rooms now relate. I feel so much better about them now. Below are a few details that now stand out.
^above, 120 year old floorboards
I hope you like the changes because I do!
Next week I will post pictures of the living room as there are a few details left to finish. So that's it. Not a big change, but for me I feel so much more relaxed in the space. Do any of you feel uneasy when you are sitting in one of your rooms and it's just not right? I was really dreading this project because in essence, the rooms were fine and I knew the change would be subtle, but I'm SO glad I did it and it's over (for now!)
While my living room is a disaster and I'm trying to figure out what to do with it, I'm going to have a little fun in the kitchen this week. We went out for dinner saturday night to a local Mexican/Yucatan restaurant called Casa Maya. They make delicious potato and avocado empanadas. I'm going to try and re-create the recipe using Pepperidge Farm puff pastry which happens to be vegan. Also, I'm making a sundried tomato and faux sausage calzone. I'm also going to work on a wild rice casserole w/seitan. So here's to a little fun.
(That beautiful quote being said, my living room is in the process of being painted. Everything is a mess and I'm almost sorry I started this project. Arghhh!)
I don't know about you, but my idea of the perfect dinner is a bowl of soup, crusty french bread and a glass of wine. So for sure I will be making soup this week. Our local farmers market is winding down but they still had a great assortment of potatoes and onions, leeks, carrots and beautiful garden lettuces. So this week the menu is going to look something like this...
Ok, well here it is. my pantry. Don't be shocked by how little food there appears to be in here. It's just that I don't buy many prepared foods, few canned goods at all. I make my beans and rice from scratch and pair those with fresh produce. So I really just keep beans, lentils, rice, pasta and lots of vinegars and oils and nuts. I've had people ask me where I keep my food while they are standing in the pantry. So anyways this little room was a nightmare when we got the house. It is much better now. Lots of beadboard and white paint. The only thing that remains of the original is the pull chain for the light.
So the real point of this post is to tell you about the simple substitutions that I use in my everyday cooking. These ingredients are amazing and make vegan cooking so, so easy.
I use nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese. By mixing it with nuts in the food processor it makes a delicious topping for pastas, pizza, chili and soups. You can sprinkle it directly onto popcorn and it has a yummy parmesan taste to it. Egg Replacer is great in baked goods. Earth Balance margarine, probably the best margarine ever made. It is so creamy and delicious w/o the heavy fatty taste of real butter. Veganaise, I love this mayonnaise. I use it everyday for sandwiches and salad dressings. I also included agave syrup which I use daily instead of regular sugar. It has a really low glycemic index rating. One other thing I do daily is instead of discarding the peelings and ends of my veggies, I collect them in a bag throughout the week. Then I'll just pop them into a soup pot with cold water and seasonings and cook them for about an hour. I let it cool then strain the broth into containers so that I don't have to buy prepared vegetable stock. It keeps the waste down and saves money.
I post my weekly menus more for inspiration than anything. I spent quite a few years as a professional chef so lots of my recipes are in my head or are a combination of 2 or more recipes. There are so many good cookbooks and websites out there. I will try to start writing things down as I make them, cooking times, temperatures, etc. But again, if you see something that sounds good, just pop over to vegetarian times and they will most likely have the recipe or something like it. I hope this was useful to you. Happy cooking!
this is what the closet looked like after a major clean out
our neighbors were getting rid of these and they fit perfectly.
imagine if this was your front door...
chez loulou, used to live in the US but moved to the south of France six years ago. She works in France as a chef and her blog is a beautiful collection of her photography, recipes, and musings on her life there. The pictures she posts on wine and cheese alone makes her site worth reading. But it is so much more than that. Her photos capture a way of life that I can only dream about. Please do yourself a favor and click over and immerse yourself in all its beauty. I do daily.