Meatless Monday: One Pot Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pasta

IMG_3549_1I love pumpkin. And so does pretty much every other American for the months of October and November. But I do really love it, and fall is one of my favorite times to cook mostly because I get to use pumpkin in anything I want to.

A few weeks ago, I made a cheesy bacon pumpkin dip, and I still dream about it. It was fabulous, and it got me thinking about other savory pumpkin dishes. Which brings me to my Meatless Monday recipe today, One Pot Creamy Pumpkin Pasta.

I am all about the one pot meals. By the time I work all day and come home and cook dinner, the last thing I want is 100 dishes to clean up. Unfortunately, my husband seems to hate anything that resembles a “casserole”, so I struggle to find things he would eat all made in one pot. But pasta, who doesn’t love pasta?

And this pasta was amazing. It has garlic and onions and a little bit of hot pepper flakes which adds just the right amount of heat to the sweetness of the pumpkin and nutmeg and perfectly creamy with the cream cheese. I loved it, and will definitely be making this again.

Ingredients

  • I cup chopped onions
  • 4 cloves smashed garlic
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound pasta of your choice
  • 1/2 package (4 oz) cream cheese

All you need to do is put all the ingredients except the cream cheese into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, set a timer for 10 minutes and stir throughout. The longer it cooks, the thicker it will be, so you may need tongs or a pasta ladle to really mix it together.

After you remove the pasta from heat, take the 4 oz of cream cheese, cut into small cubes, and stir into the hot pasta until it melts and blends. Let it cool for a few minutes to thicken up, and enjoy!

I topped mine with parsley flakes, and added more salt to taste. It was yummmmmmy.

PicMonkey Collage


30 Before 30

Sorry I’ve been MIA the past few weeks. Honestly, I’ve been dealing with some personal things and just couldn’t bring myself to do much of anything over the past two weeks. But I’m back now, and ready to tackle whatever comes my way, so you’ll be hearing more from me, I promise.

My birthday is next week. And I’m turning 29. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it. I’m such a cliche, but ever since I turned 23, I have mini-breakdowns the month of October. It’s silly, I know. And it’s not the fact that I’m getting older that bothers me, it’s the fact that I feel like life is passing me by. That I want to do so much and have so many experiences, but I end up doing none of them, or so little that it feels like nothing.

I own a house. I have a job that I love. I’ve turned my hobby into something that pays for itself (and maybe some extra cash on a good month). I truly married my best friend (we were best friends for 4 years before we even started dating). Not bad for 29, but I still feel like I let life just happen to me, and I always realize on my birthday that another year has gone by. So this year, instead of sulking around and feeling sorry for myself, or getting so bombed on my birthday that I forget I’m not 22, I’m taking charge.

I have one year left before 30, and I am going to accomplish some things. 30 before 30. Again, what a cliche, and I know I probably won’t check off everything on the list, but here it is. 30before30

I started mentally making the list a few months ago, and I’ve already been able to check off a few. I’ll be able to check off a few more when I head to Europe next month (!!!). Some are silly, like riding a boat on a lake, and some of things I want to do to really better myself, like quit smoking and run a mile. Run a mile may seem pretty pathetic to most people, I feel like every time I look on Facebook another one of my friends just ran a marathon, but I have never been athletic and never in my life have I ever ran a mile. This is the year I’m going to do it.

What about everyone else? Does anyone else have a 30 before 30 list, or a 40 before 40 list, or just a bucket list in general? Tell me about them!

DIY Nightstand Makeover with Java Gel Stain

IMG_2877_1This week I tried a new product that I had been hearing so much about, Java Gel Stain from General Finishes. I was so excited to pick this up at Sweet Clover over the weekend and see what all the buzz was about, and I thought this ugly pair of nightstands that were sitting in my garage would be the perfect beginning project. IMG_2823_1Tommy picked these up. I wasn’t thrilled about them. I didn’t really see the potential, and I had to change out the hardware, which would require filling the existing and drilling new holes, so I kind of avoided tackling them. But I always like to try new products on small items, so I decided to try them out.

I started out by giving the top wood a light sanding. This gel stain can adhere to most surfaces without having to sand it down to the natural wood, which is always a plus to me. I hate sanding off the thick top coat on old pieces. The trade off with the light sanding is you don’t see the natural wood grain very well, if at all. Next time I use this stain I will most likely sand down to the natural wood to see how it works there. I put the first coat on, just brushing a light coating on with a sponge brush. I was pretty pleased with the results. IMG_2833_1I may have been able to pull off just one coat, but there were some pretty rough spots on the top that you could still see a difference in coverage. I decided to go with two.

While the top was drying, I started on filling the existing hardware holes. Or rather, Tommy started filling them in. I generally let him take those projects while I focus on the painting, because, well, I just don’t like doing it. We used a plastic wood, which dries quickly and paints over well. IMG_2836_1I also use a butter knife to spread it because I always loose the actually tool we should use. I have a stash of butter knives I use for everything from opening paint cans to screwdriver stand ins. They’re plentiful at thrift stores for pretty much nothing, so, I improvise with them often.

After Tommy filled the holes, he laid down on the couch and exclaimed, “Well, my work is done!”. Then he told me to take his picture for the blog. He can be a real ham sometimes. Also, don’t you love the bear pants? (We often spend the weekend in Deep Creek, MD with a group of friends in a cabin named “Bearadise”, so we kind of have a thing for bear related items. My best friend once gave me a bear toilet paper dispenser and I used it for nearly a year).IMG_2847_1After the plastic wood was dried, I sanded it down until it was flush and smooth with the rest of the drawer. Then I measured the center of the drawers and drilled new holes for my smaller, single bolt hardware. I don’t have any pictures of this because I did this alone and I couldn’t hold the drill and the camera at the same time. Sorry all, but yay! I used the drill all by myself and didn’t ruin the piece.

Then I finished the piece off with three coats of General Finishes Milk Paint Lamp Black. I didn’t distress it because not only did I want it to look more modern, I also had that ugly yellow finish underneath it, and didn’t want that to peep through. I sealed the piece with General Finishes Top Coat in Matte. Lamp Black is so touchy when I wax it, too much lint and streaking, I like to use a top coat on pieces done in Lamp Black now.

I think they turned out really cute! I was really happy with the ease of use and the final product with the General Finishes Java Gel Stain.IMG_2854_1IMG_2865_1And how cute is this hardware?! I think it adds just a little fun to the piece. IMG_2863_1I have a matching nightstand to complete the pair, which I will definitely get done soon as well and take them both to Sweet Clover for the special October 4th sale!

DIY Custom Mixed Color Drum Table Makeover

closeup of mint drum table with glass knobA few weeks ago I found a beautiful French Provincial chest of drawers on an online “yard sale” Facebook page, and jumped at the chance to snatch it up. It had been a while since I’ve gotten my hands on any real Frenchy pieces, so I was thrilled. We drove the 25 minute cross town drive on a Saturday morning, and got a little queazy when we saw it was on the third floor with a very tiny stairwell. We climbed to the top, and the woman yelled that it was in the back bedroom.

Except it wasn’t.

I yelled back that I didn’t see it. She, quite flustered, ran in the room, noted the missing dresser, and began apologizing for her no good brother, who apparently raided the house sometime recently. It was their mother’s house and things have been confusing.

A little irritated, but understanding of the situation, Tommy and I made our way out, and this drum table caught our eye in the corner. The woman offered it to us got free for our 50 minutes of driving for nothing, but we did pay her for it. I just hope she didn’t give any to her brother.

Here’s the before picture. As you can see it had potential, but was pretty boring. Drum table makeover beforeNow I really wanted a subtle color, but something with a little punch. I decided to go with a custom color I’ve used a handful of times. Equal parts Annie Sloan Louis Blue and Annie Sloan English Yellow makes a stunning pale mint color, and I love it. I rarely mix my own paint, but this color is worth it. I have an old, tall plastic food container that I put lines on with a sharpie, marking the one cup level and the two cup level. This makes mixing equal parts so easy.

paintThe custom color goes on the same way as any other Annie Sloan. I painted two coats, watering down my second coat with a few tablespoons of water to make the finish a little more smooth. Once the paint dried, I lightly sanded and distressed the piece with a medium grit sandpaper and sealed the paint with Johnson Paste Wax. I buffed the piece with a fine grit sanding block to blend the paint and wax together and give a strong finish.

And here is how she looks! I love this color, and it’s worth the extra work to custom mix it. Of course, she’s headed to Sweet Clover for the sale starting this Friday!FinishedFinished

The First Piece I’ve Done For Myself

When I got married and moved to Baltimore, my husband already had all his furniture, fit for a bachelor pad. It was pleather, dark, brown (the only color I hate), heavy and masculine. It was purchased at Big Lots when he was 21, and although it was hideous, it was surprising sturdy and I couldn’t find a valid excuse to get rid of it.

I accessorized it all up, cute pillows, bright paintings, delicate flower vases. I made it livable, but I never liked it. And my least favorite part of it all was the dining table. It was counter height, which I’m not a big fan of, and it was prone to turning white whenever there was anything damp set on it. I literally had to iron my table after nearly every big meal.

But then one day I found this beauty sitting along the road, one block from my house. I carried it back to my house and had it sitting in my kitchen for a month, waiting for it to be turned in to the beautiful table I wanted.

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The biggest problem was there were only three chairs, and we definitely needed at least four. But then we stumbled upon these gorgeous upholstered dining chairs at The Barn and we picked up 2 of them.

I was debating between Duck Egg Blue or Aubusson Blue, both Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and I settled on the richness of the Aubusson. While I’d love to match the cushions of the side chairs, I don’t have access to the fabric, so I just did a creamy tan to match the background of the arm chairs. (Tip: I actually bought a drop cloth from Home Depot for $7 to cover the seats and still have a ton left over. Much cheaper than going to a fabric store and it was a perfect match!)

 

 

 

 

Here’s the finished product:

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I’m in love! Now I just have to wait 21 days for the wax to cure so I can begin using the table. That’s very important for a dining room table, it’s going to get so much use that you need to make sure it was a good finish on it. And there it is, the first ASCP piece I’ve painted for myself that I have zero intention of selling.

One more tip I’ve found with Annie Sloan: I have been watering down my final coat. When I just need a little extra coverage to fill in the gaps I missed, I water down the paint and it goes on faster, smoother and saves paint. Just a little water really makes a big difference! The more I paint with it the more I love it!

I’ll leave you just a great before and after shot! Seriously, I’m obsessed.

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French dresser with ASCP

I’ve been busy getting back into the swing of things and finishing up my booth for the January sale at The Stylish Patina Barn. The time off I took around the holidays was great, but man I did miss painting.

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Here’s a small French provincial dresser we picked up at an auction a few weeks ago. It’s solid and sturdy and make of cherry. The finish was nice, but it has some wear and tear and needed a good pop of color.

I put on two coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Provence (a color I got for Christmas! Thanks, Nana Kay) and finished it with clear wax. I kept the original hardware, but I’m debating if they could use a coat of paint themselves. Maybe for next month.

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There’s the finished product. I’m in love! Provence is a great color. I also got dark wax for Christmas, I may have to try that out soon too with the Provence.

Check out the other pictures of my pieces for this month’s sale at our facebook page.. This is just a preview, there’s a few more pieces to come! Stop out this weekend, January 18th to the 20th, to see all my products!

After 27 Years of Waiting

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Growing up, my brothers and sister (and even my dad!) had beautiful hand knit Christmas stockings all complete with their names. And while being the youngest child by a decade (I was quite the accident surprise baby) had many advantages, getting the second round of hand made goodies from my mother never seemed to pan out.

My stocking was a cheap store bought one, with an ugly wreath on the front. I complained about it every year. And every year my mother would say she’d make me one eventually, but it never happened.

This year my sister-in-law Amy asked my mother to make her two girls, Samantha and Olivia, their own stockings. And I had to interject. I love my nieces, but there was no way they were getting stockings before I did. I waited for 27 years, and it was my time. So I put my foot down, and low and behold, my mother got all three stockings done for the holiday. Santa even put a cute little travel coffee mug in mine this year!

My husband’s is almost done, and will be ready for next year.

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My mother does beautiful work. I don’t know how she has the patience or focus to do such detail oriented work, but it amazes me. I am so excited to finally have my own stocking!
Next year I’ll be stocking my booth with a few of these adorable vintage pattern stockings, and I know it’s early, but we will be taking custom orders all year.