Author Archives: grcreativebox

A Few Ideas for Mother’s Day

A montage of gifts for Mother's Day 2019.

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. Here are 15 gift ideas for any mother in your life.

From gin and oven mitts to dates and cookbooks to reusable produce bags and beautiful nonstick pans, there is something, I hope, for everyone. Most of these are new-ish discoveries. A collection of my perennial favorites can be found here.

Do you have anything fun to add? Let me know in the comments.

**This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for the support**
Food52's green pans

1. Food52 x Greenpan Nonstick Skillet. I bought the 8″ & 11″ set a few months ago, and I have been loving them. I love that they are both nonstick and oven safe, which makes endeavors such as frittatas effortless. I love the small one for scrambling eggs or making 2-egg omelets. You can see it in action here and here. I use the larger one for eggs, too, but also for quick sautés or when I know I’m going to need to transfer something out of the pan, like crispy chickpeas — in my larger, heavier pans, getting things out is such a task. Bonus: They’re very pretty.

A bottle of Barr Hill Gin.

2. My neighbor gave me a bottle of this Bar Hill Gin a few weeks ago, and it disappeared more quickly than I’d like to admit. It’s so floral and aromatic — it barely needs anything but ice and a squeeze of lemon.

Maida Heatter's Happiness is Baking

3. The legendary Maida Heatter (who is 101-years young!!)  has a new book: Happiness is Baking. Dorie Greenspan, who credits Maida with teaching her how to bake, wrote the foreword, which is a great read as is Maida’s introduction, in which she writes: “Baking is a great escape. It’s happiness. It’s creative. It’s good for your health. It reduces stress.”

Preach, Maida. Preach.

I haven’t had a chance to bake anything from this yet, but it includes classics like her Budapest coffeecake and East 62nd Street lemon cake both of which I am eager to try.

Do you have a favorite Maida Heatter recipe? Let me know.

A pair of Minna oven mitts.

4. How pretty are these MINNA oven mitts? They’re 100% cotton and made by hand at a family run co-op in Chiapas, Mexico. MINNA partners with master weavers and artisans in Mexico, Guatemala, and Uruguay, and the company is know for its ethically made, socially-responsible textiles.

Bucket of Maldon Sea Salt

5. My friend Louise McManus, owner of the Vischer Ferry General Store, gave me a bucket of Maldon Sea Salt for Christmas, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the boxes.

The Cover of Margaret Roach's A Way to Garden

6. Margaret Roach’s A Way to Garden because every gardener needs a trusty, comprehensive resource by her side. PS: There’s still time to win a copy of Margaret’s book (and sneak a peek at her magical garden).

A bottle of Le Creuset enameled cast iron pan cleaner.

7. A bottle of Le Creuset’s cast iron cookware cleaner, because everyone’s pans should sparkle like new.

Packets of Emilie Raffa's dried sourdough starter.
Photo Credit: Emilie Raffa

8. A sourdough starter. I’ve purchased and activated this one from Breadtopia and this one from King Arthur Flour, but my friend Emilie Raffa, sourdough extraordinaire, sells her dried sourdough starter!

A bottle of Evergreen olive oil company's fused chile oil.

9. Chile Oil. I love this cayenne chile pepper fused oil from Evergreen Olive Oil Company. It is delicious in so many things (eggs!), but I especially love it with this recipe for sautéed chicories with chile oil.

A box of Rancho Meladuco Dates + a jar of almond butter

10. Anything from Rancho Meladuco Date Farm:

A date spread with almond butter and sea salt.

Four new plant-based cookbooks.

11. A Plant-Based Cookbook. As I mentioned in the coffee smoothie post, a trend I’ve observed in the spring cookbooks is plant-based cooking. None of the above-pictured books is exclusively vegetarian, but each devotes many pages to plant-based recipes. You can read more about Well + Good here, and I hope very soon to share recipes from The Nimble Cook, Ruffage, and Mostly Plants.

A few other cookbooks I’ve posted about this spring: Aloha Kitchen | Family | Where Cooking Begins | Healthier Together | The Food in Jars Kitchen | Indian-ish 

The Husbands that Cook cookbook.

12. Husbands that Cook by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin, the husbands behind the eponymous blog, is a 100% vegetarian cookbook. Many of the recipes are easily made vegan, too. I made the strawberry-ginger syrup which can be used to in both Prosecco-spiked cocktails and lemony mocktails, both of which I loved.

A screenshot of MilkStreet's website.

13. A $19.95/year Digital Subscription to MilkStreet. I’ve been a MilkStreet subscriber for a few months now and can’t say enough good things about it. It’s the best $20 I’ve spent all year. See: Lightning Fast Sichuan Noodles with Cabbage.

A microplane grater.

14. A new microplane grater. I recently replaced my old microplane with this new guy. Wow. What an experience — zesting a lemon, grating garlic or ginger, shaving parmesan. It was long over due.

A reusable produce bag filled with collard greens.

15. Reusable produce bags. I read about these in Bon Appetit and ordered a set immediately. I’ve been loving them. I take them with me to the grocery store, and I store the veg in them when I get them home.

The post A Few Ideas for Mother’s Day appeared first on Alexandra's Kitchen.

A Home With A Huge Play Area For Kids

Two flats were united to create this 260 square metre family apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine, designed by Bogdanova Bureau. The owners of the property called for a family space with “No fake and more space for happiness”. When the two flats were united, a huge hall was created as a result. After some careful thought, the young couple decided that they would like to preserve the vast space rather than divide it into a number of smaller rooms. “Here my children will be playing football and riding scooters” expressed the father of three. The architect took onboard all of the wishes of the homeowners, and created a real house for a real family.

Orange accents are incorporated into the interior colour palette in order to add a sense of warmth and fun to the large living space. Walls are painted plain white and grey but the area rug is filled with busy pattern to liven the scene.

Inside the kids’ rooms there is minimal furniture and very functional design, which preserves the maximum amount of free play space.

The dining room is also a no nonsense kind of space. A few family photos and some art are clipped onto a simple orange notice board. Glass cabinet doors have been fitted across a niche to make a crockery cupboard that is both functional and decorative.

A simple linear suspension lamp illuminates the dining table and bright orange modern dining chairs, which are The modern dining chairs you see are the Gubi Beetle chairs.

A long galley kitchen runs off the dining room.

Storage cabinet doors look more like decorative wall panelling here, criss crossing at different heights along the wall.

The storage wall design runs the length of the huge play area, which was created when the two flats were combined into one whole family apartment. A kitchen peninsula extends from a bank of units on the other side of the play space.

Kitchen bar stools run around the edge of the peninsula to offer a place for some casual family dining, or as a place for the kids to sit and chat to mum and dad when they’re busy in the kitchen, or do homework. On the other side of the grey kitchen, a glossy black backsplash reflects the room. Wood effect cabinets frame the glossy prep area, and create warm contrast against the cool grey paintwork.

The three kids’ bedrooms are all located on one side of the house. This kids zone has a bedroom for each of the two boys and one shared boys’ bathroom. The only daughter has a bedroom and an ensuite bathroom all of her very own. Bright doors with transom windows identify the kids zone, coloured in individual hues. This passageway leads straight out into the huge indoor play area.

Banks of shelves were built to house all of the family’s shoes in this storage area, all paired and out in clear view so that they can be quickly accessed.

The master bedroom design follows the ancient Feng Shui philosophy. The muted shades and botanical room accessories make this a perfect place to unwind, relax and rest. An unusual book holder stripes the wall at the head of the bed, which grasps paperbacks between padded vertical columns.

A playful graphic rug brightens the wood floor beneath a bold green bed. A pink accent chair looks inviting by a sunny window.

A modern wall sconce lights the bedside.

Bookshelves climb the wall beside the bedroom chair and an unusual small side table.

Concrete planters hold indoor plants in the dressing area of the master suite.

A pikachu rug adds a bright and humorous touch to the dressing room floor, set out by an L-shaped installation of grey closets.

The master bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a frosted glass partition, which allows borrowed light to come in. The grey bathroom is capped with a heavy black ceiling.

Black bathroom fixtures tie in with the dark statement ceiling, like this black freestanding bath tap that fills a modern white bathtub.

In the girl’s small shower room, a grey and white decor scheme fills the space. White wall tiles wrap around to cover a vanity shelf.

Under the black bathroom ceiling, a small bathroom vanity light glows by a black framed vanity mirror.

Wooden units provide smart bathroom storage.

A unique green bed design has a transparent support that makes the bed look as though it floats.

The headboard wraps around the length of the bed too, so that the bed may be used comfortably as a sofa during the daytime.

Green paintwork colours the shelving area to tie it in with the bed.

A unique plant stand holds a Money Plant close by the sofa.

A generous amount of counter space is provided on the double sink bathroom vanity in the shared boys’ bathroom.

A terrazzo floor brings pattern to the space.

Three modern wall sconces dot the tile backsplash.

Colourful grout crisscrosses its way between the tiles.

An illuminated recess glows inside the shower, and above the toilet.

This pink bedroom design belongs to the young lady of the house.

A leaping rabbit ornament decorates one of the pink bookshelves.

Raw concrete and a grey wall panel offsets the sweetness of the powder pink paintwork.

Grey curtains conceal a bright closet system.

A pink clothes ladder climbs the wall.

In the second of the boys’ bedrooms, a white pendant light hangs against a green accent wall. See more bedroom pendant lights.

A huge window seat wraps the room.

Floor plan.

Recommended Reading: 
Kids Room Wall Decor Ideas
Luxury Kids’ Room Interior Design

Related Posts:

Cheap art project with leftover wallpaper

Hey there and happy weekend! I’m back today with a very quick art project. Sometimes I hesitate to share these simpler ones, but then I hear from so many of you who appreciate them. So I’ll continue to share! 
When I shared our morning/dining room makeover last fall, I mentioned I really wanted to add a little something to the walls next to the mirror: 
Built in shelves and window seat in dining area
I felt like it needed something, but I wasn’t sure what. 
A few months ago I was walking through Walmart and found these pretty brass frames — I grabbed four of them and hung them on each side of the mirror. I loved the look!: 
Dining room with window seat and built ins
But I wasn’t sure what I wanted in them. 🙂 So they hung with the generic filler for months. 
I started looking into art a few weeks ago, but nothing has struck me just yet. Instead of forcing it, I’m going to wait for something I love. 
But I was kind of tired of looking at them without something in them, so I came up with a quick way to fill them. I kept all kinds of scraps from the wallpapered hallway right off of this room and decided to cut them for the frames:

Blue and white floral wallpaper as art
Because of the repeat of this paper and the size of these frames (the mat is 11×14), I had to use the same design for all of the frames, but I did flip them on the top and bottom: 
Using wallpaper as art
You can find these gold frames online here (affiliate). I’ll share the rest of the sources for this room at the end of the post! 
Navy, wood and gold accents in dining room
It took all of ten minutes to get them filled and on the wall! 
It was a happy accident that the blue in the wallpaper is pretty much an exact match with our wall color. I really love the art and frames: 
Dark navy wall, cyberspace
I’m not sure it will be permanent, but it’s better than before! And now I don’t feel rushed at all to buy something to fill them. 
Best part was that it was FREE! Well…that paper wasn’t free, it was actually a splurge. So you know I was going to use as much of it as I possibly could! 😉
What have you used to create art in your home? 
You can find links to many of the items in this room here: 
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I love finding cheap ways to make art — here’s a few other ideas that I’ve done over the years: 
How to print huge photos for a great price
Rustic DIY men and women bathroom sign

DIY art made from kitchen towel

Free botanical art printables for gallery wall

How to make hand lettered signs




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Three Interiors With An Ethnic Rustic Mix

Rustic beauty meets ethnic edge in these three nomadic style interiors, where crisp white backdrops hold a myriad of natural wood and rattan furniture. The home accessories that fill the shelves, tables and floor space of these homes look like they have been personally handpicked from around the globe, painting a picture of a well travelled and cultured home owner – even if they were just picked up at the local market! The successful creation of this interior aesthetic requires the curation of interesting things that seem to tell a story: Imperfect pots and bowls, handmade mirrors, textiles and baskets. Everything should appear individual yet part of the soothing meld.


Visualizer: Lilia Mukhamedshina  

Our first ethnic style meets rustic living room is a beautifully soothing spot, where wood and cane furniture is complemented by rattan home accessories. The raw natural materials bring warmth and texture to clean white walls and floors. The eclectic pieces contrast with plain white modern soft furnishings. A tall rustic living room stands like a throne, holding court in front of a contemporary sofa.

Behind the wicker chair, a rustic wooden console table is dressed with a couple of formal lamps and a decorative vase on top; wicker storage baskets relax the vibe down on the lower shelf.

A pair of elongated rattan pendant light shades dangle over the sofa at different heights to create a layered look.

Two arched wall recesses have been fitted out with rustic wooden wall shelves. Decorative vases and handmade bowls dot the display space, like a treasure trove of found items.

Inside the master bedroom, an attractive vista has been made by clustering together an art canvas, a wicker basket with dried foliage, and an elegant cane lounge chair.

A four poster bed gives the white space a sense of grandeur, whilst simplistic accessories bring the scheme back down to earth. A basic wooden stool makes a bedside table, and Macramé textiles hang decoratively against the walls.

White wooden shutters filter the daylight into the bathroom. Green plants peep through the slats.

Neutral toned scatter cushions, a matching bed throw and a natural rug break up the white sleeping area.

A handmade mirror adorns the area above a white concrete vanity unit.

A rustic towel ladder climbs the wall behind a freestanding bathtub.

Dried pampas grass feathers the corner of the room.

Daylight shines through the shower enclosure by the windows.


Designer: Jasmin Kodzha  
Visualizer: Jasmin Kodzha  

Our second home tour with an ethnic rustic mix gains extra visual warmth from a red accent rug in the living room. A store of cut logs beneath a console table adds to the cosy effect.

Textured vessels dot the room, like this spherical planter on the rectangular coffee table, which matches the vessels on the console.

A stone feature wall is highlighted by LED strip lights, which underline the shelves of a display unit that stands in front. Trailing plants and decorative items fill the shelf space.

An outdoor modern fireplace blazes on the patio outside.

Eight outdoor chairs surround a long wooden table poised for alfresco dining.

Inside the house, a ten place dining set stands in a formal dining room.

Wrought kitchen bar stools line up along the edge of a smooth white kitchen island, which creates clean contrast with the industrial decor.

Another stone feature wall forms the kitchen backsplash.

A decorative wall mirror hangs in the hallway, reflecting a modern staircase design.

Copper table lamps gleam inside a cosy master bedroom suite.

Throw cushions and a thick rug make a swing chair into a soft perch.

A hammered copper bathtub brings a deep and earthy tone to the white bathroom.

Natural coloured accessories complement the dark finish of the bath.

Wrought iron wall sconces light a wooden double sink bathroom vanity with stone vessel basins.

A monochrome paint effect patterns a kids’ room. Botanical prints bring in a little colour. A Miffy lamp brightens a darkened corner.

Book ledges fill the wall space next to the kids’ beds.

A round chalkboard matches the round kids’ table, and a circular play mat.

A shiny copper pendant provides the bathroom vanity lighting.

Inside a second bathroom, a modern wall sconce lights up a stone accent wall.


Visualizer: Alina Litva  

Our last home tour takes place in a Scandinavian apartment, with a 30.5 square metre floor plan. A tribal patterned rug brings a hint of blue to an otherwise neutral space.

The studio apartment has a portiere to separate off the sleep space.

A custom built platform bed fills the entire floor area of the bedroom nook.

Drawers have been built into the base of the platform bed to maximise storage space.

A wooden kitchen island takes up the centre spot in the compact room.

The cooking hob is set into the kitchen island worktop. A white chimney style cooker hood blends quietly into the background.

The one wall kitchen with island is an amalgamation of white, grey and wooden units, which act as an optical illusion to minimise its impact on the small living space. A white integrated oven blends in with the tall white cupboards.

White countertops run up against a Belfast sink. A white LED strip light underlines the wall cabinets to provide task lighting to the work area below.

A bank of cabinets line the entryway of the home, serving as a closet and general household storage.

Recommended Reading: 
Rustic Living Rooms
30 Rustic Dining Rooms
Rustic Bedrooms

Related Posts:

Three Modern Apartment Interiors Under 40 Square Meters (With Layouts)

Welcome to the compact world of modern apartment interiors that measure under 40 square metres. In this trio of small home designs we explore three different decor colour palettes. Home tour number one is a bright and multifunctional space, with clean white, pale wood and subtle copper decor. Home interior number two sees unexpected pops of coral and primary yellow within predominantly neutral spaces. In home design number three we take a stroll into a botanic inspired green dominant decor scheme, which is freshened with white, and made homey with a hint of casual country style. All have smart layouts that are sure to inspire just about any owner of a challenging smaller space.


Designer: M3 Architects  

On our first tour, we look around the interior of a 36 square metre apartment in a residential complex, located in Odessa, Ukraine. This bright and multifunctional space is made up by four distinct zones, which is a glass wall bedroom, a lounge, kitchen diner, and of course a bathroom. The transparency of the bedroom wall helps the small living quarters to feel more spacious, open and light, fulfilling the maximum potential of the floor area.

The transparent glass wall bedroom also maintains the complete panoramic view, a plus point of the apartment. The minimalist living room holds a modern sofa that skims the bottom of the windows so as not to obstruct the sweeping window view. Its pale colour blends the seating quietly with white walls.

The coffee table is a master of camouflage too; the mirrored table reflects the pale wood floor planks around it, allowing it to subtly blend in.

A kitchen island stands alone beside the lounge area, with no obvious sign of other kitchen cabinets.

The kitchen equipment, including a refrigerator, washing machine, and a boiler are hidden behind a wooden facade that pushes back into the bathroom unit on the left here. There is also a pantry in there, as well as a wardrobe and other storage.

The secret storage allows the kitchen island to appear abstract in a perfect minimalist aesthetic. Chunky wooden kitchen bar stools bring some weight to the isolated volume.

A copper faucet matches the warm tone of the timber stools.

Another copper kitchen accent comes in the form of an integrated touchless soap dispenser.

The shape of the floor lamp in the lounge echoes the angular profile of the kitchen tap.

White countertop wraps the side of the kitchen island to create one seamless piece.

White, wood and copper decor sits elegantly in the minimalist home layout.

All unnecessary furniture, accessories and accents were eliminated from the home design to achieve the most simplistic and airy living space possible. All except one art print in the bedroom. You can find these minimalist stye love themed art prints here.

A copper frame holds the glass in the bedroom walls and doors.

The decor inside the bedroom is entirely white except for a custom wooden headboard with storage.

Streaked marble makes a grey and white bathroom design.

Interior perspective drawing.

Floor plan showing hidden storage volumes behind the wooden facades.


Designer: Studio Open  
Visualizer: Studio Open  

Next in this trio of small home tours is this 28 square metre apartment in St.Petersburg, Russia. A neutral white, grey and pale wood tone background receives unexpected pops of coral and primary yellow, like this cheerful shelf tower behind the small side table.

Next to the tv wall, a swing arm wall lamp illuminates a work desk.

The desk can be swung around so that it faces into the room when in use, rather than facing onto a solid wall.

The high table could also be used as a eating spot, where diners could either watch tv or gaze out the window view.

White closets have been built in next to the home entryway. In the middle of the storage volumes there is a bench included, with shoe storage space below it.

White bifold doors draw back to reveal a one wall kitchen with an coral backsplash.

The wood flooring treatment stops beneath the kitchen, leaving a raw concrete base.

Indoor plants grow by the windows, beneath under cabinet LED strips. A bright yellow stool brings a ray of sunshine.

Another yellow stool equips a minimalist workspace at the opposite side of the window.

A bench seat bridges the gap between two white closets in the plain white hallway.

Coral tiles colour the bathroom.

Floor plan of the studio apartment with study area.


Designer: Diễm Kiều  
Visualizer: Diễm Kiều  

Finally, home interior number three gives us a revitalising green and white decor scheme. Botanical art prints decorate the wall above a green sofa. A round coffee table and plant stand bring in a touch of natural wood tone.

More wood grain warms the decor as we move further into the narrow living space…

… Timber treads stripe the staircase, and a wood dining set sits beneath a wooden mezzanine.

A sputnik chandelier hangs from the timber beams. Green geo tiles pattern the area around a banquette bench, which is a great space saving seating solution for narrow dining spaces.

The same green geometric tile design covers the kitchen backsplash on the opposite wall.

A small seating nook is built into the end of the kitchen run. The framed green kitchen cabinets and gingham scatter cushions give the design just a hint of cosy, casual country style.

Floor plan showing the narrow nature of the space.

Recommended Reading: 
50 Splendid Small Kitchens

Related Posts:

Seitan & Waffles With Pomegranate Syrup

Makes 6 servings
Time (not including making homemade seitan): 1 hour

Seitan And Waffles

Up until yesterday, I didn’t really get chicken waffles. But for Valentine’s Day, I decided to cave to societal pressure, and enjoy a juicy, savory, fried hunk of something over a carby, crispy something, covered in sticky sweetness. Even if it makes no sense! I mean, where is the kale? Where are the lentils? Sigh. OK.

Those thoughts plagued me as I stirred the batter and simmered the seitan, although each component was nice on its own. The waffles were perfectly crisp, and I knew they’d be able to handle the syrup without sogging up. The chicken-style seitan came out really flavorful, with a firm but tender texture. The breading on the seitan was totally delish and I couldn’t help but eat a piece straight out of the cast iron skillet. OK, maybe two pieces.

For the syrup, I wanted a bit of V-tine love, and so pomegranate saves the day! Pomegranate molasses is an easy way to infuse flavor into the maple syrup. Plus, the seeds from whole pomegranates are just as romantic as you can get and they look like they’re from another planet (a very romantic planet, to be sure.) So yeah, everything looked great, but all together? I don’t know. My inner chicken and waffle skeptic still had her arms folded.

I took a triangle of waffle (surely, that’s all I would need to know for sure), tucked a little slice of breaded seitan in there, and dredged it in some of the syrup. Well, needless to say, the angels sang. A marching band appeared out of nowhere. Glitter confetti flew from the ceiling. I think I caught a glimpse of Ryan Seacrest. OMG this was good.

So now I totally get it. A sweet and savory combo that maybe isn’t for everyday, but for a special brunch or a Valentine’s dinner, this is where it’s at.


Recipe Notes
~If you don’t feel like dealing with all the pomegranate stuff, just use straight-up maple syrup. Maybe add a few raspberries for garnishing prettiness.

~To make the recipe less cumbersome, simmer the seitan a day ahead, and remember you have loads of downtime as it simmers.

~You can also totally make the waffles up to a week ahead. Freeze them in a plastic storage bag and simply toast when ready to eat.

~If you’re especially lazy, you can use storebought seitan. But I really really love this seitan recipe so I hope you’ll try it. Especially because then you really have control of the shape of the seitan, plus, it will just taste better!

~The homemade seitan makes double what you’ll need for this recipe, but I figure if you’re making it, why not make some extra for the week? It’s really great grilled for salads or sandwiches.


Ingredients
For the pomegranate syrup:
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses

For garnish:
Fresh pomegranate seeds

For the waffles:
2 cups almond milk (vanilla or plain), or your fave non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the chicken:
1/2 batch (1 pound) Chicken Stylee Seitan, or equivalent storebought

Batter:
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup water

Breading:
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Make the syrup:
Just mix the syrup and pomegranate molasses together in a measuring cup, yay!

Make the waffles:
In a 2 cup measuring cup, use a fork to vigorously mix about half the milk with the cornstarch, until fully dissolved. Add the remaining milk and the vinegar and set aside.

In the meantime, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Add the milk mixture to the flour along with water, oil, and vanilla. Mix until the batter is relatively smooth. A few lumps are a-OK.

Preheat waffle iron and let the batter rest. Cook according to waffle iron directions, spraying the waffle iron liberally with oil or cooking spray between each waffle is made.

Make the chicken:
Have ready a few layers of paper towels (or brown paper shopping bags) for absorbing the oil after frying.

We will bread the seitan before starting the oil. This way you don’t have to worry about overheating the oil while you bread. You’ll need to fry in two batches.

Slice each piece of seitan into 4 slices, on a bias, so that you have long wing looking pieces.

You’ll need a big plate for breading and a wide bowl for batter. In the bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and water. Mix vigorously until thick and smooth. Set aside.

On the plate, mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, salt and pepper.

Now let’s assemble!
Dip each seitan slice into the the wet batter, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the breadcrumbs bowl and use the other hand to sprinkle a handful of breadcrumbs over the seitan, to coat completely. Make sure you use one hand for the wet batter and the other for the dry batter, or you’ll end up with club hand. Set each piece aside on a big plate, then start your frying oil.

Now let’s fry!
Preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, pour in about 1/2 an inch of oil. Wait about a minute. Now test the oil by throwing in a pinch of breadcrumbs. It should sizzle and bubble without smoking, then you know it’s ready. If it burns or smokes quickly, lower the heat. If it just sits there doing not much of anything, raise the heat.

Without overcrowding the pan, fry each piece of seitan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the oil, and then do the next batch.

To serve:
Place a few pieces of seitan over the waffle. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with plenty of syrup. ::SWOON::

Coffee Smoothie with Dates, Banana, and Cacao

A glass filled with a coffee smoothie made with dates, banana, cauliflower, almond milk, almond butter, and cacao nibs.

A trend I’ve observed among the spring 2019 cookbooks is wellness and plant-based eating. Of the many, Well + Good is perhaps the most overtly focused in these areas, with recipes to improve skin, sleep, mood, digestion, energy, focus, and sex (…watch out! Alexandra’s Kitchen is getting ris-que!!).

The book, written by journalists Alexia Brue and Melisse Gelula, who launched the website Well + Good a decade ago, includes recipes from experts and authorities in the health and wellness sphere, including Mark Hyman, Venus Williams, Misty Copeland, and Bobbi Brown.

Also: Marcus Antebi, founder of the juice chain Juice Press, who, while training as a competitive boxer, altered his diet to consist primarily of cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and salads. His “competitive coffee smoothie” recipe caught my attention for a number of reasons:

  1. It called for 3/4 cup of brewed coffee, which would solve my dumping-the-rest-of-the-coffee-pot-down-the-drain problem.
  2. It called for cauliflower, which I immediately dismissed as weird, but which apparently is good for mental clarity, and which I could get down with as long as the smoothie didn’t taste too cauliflower-y.
  3. With banana, almond milk, almond butter, and dates, it sounded delicious.

I gave it a whirl, cauliflower and all, and couldn’t have been happier with the result: It tastes like a coffee milkshake. You would never know a blast of vegetables is in the mix — cauliflower disappears the way spinach does in smoothies — and how nice to get a little cruciferous boost in your mid-morning (or afternoon) pick-me-up?

I have made one of these coffee smoothies every day since discovering it, and I find myself looking forward to it until I do — it’s such a treat! What’s more, I have reduced my coffee waste to zero. Score!

Let me know if you give it a go.

An overhead shot of a blender with the ingredients to make a coffee smoothie inside.

The Well + Good cookbook:
The Well + Good Cookbook

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A glass filled with a coffee smoothie made with dates, banana, cauliflower, almond milk, almond butter, and cacao nibs.

Competitive Coffee Smoothie with Dates & Banana



  • Author:
    alexandra

  • Prep Time:
    5 minutes

  • Cook Time:
    0 minutes

  • Total Time:
    5 minutes

  • Yield:
    1 serving

Description

Adapted from the Well + Good cookbook.

Tailor this recipe to your liking. For instance: the original recipe calls for half a banana, but I use a whole; the original recipe calls for 2 tablespoons almond butter, but I use 1; the original recipe calls for melted almond butter on top, but I omit.

And before you poo-poo the cauliflower, know that you don’t taste it. It disappears the way spinach does in smoothies. For ease of preparation, I purée half a head of cauliflower in the food processor, and I store it in a quart container in the fridge.

Also: I’ve been pouring leftover coffee into a Mason jar and stashing that in the fridge, so I always have cold coffee on hand to make this.

Also: I slice up a banana and stick it in the freezer first thing every morning so it’s nice and cold when I’m ready to make my smoothie.


Ingredients

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 3/4 cup leftover coffee
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or other nondairy milk
  • a handful of ice cubes
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower, see notes above
  • pinch sea salt, such as Maldon
  • cacao nibs for sprinkling, optional

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a blender, and purée until smooth. Pour into a glass, and top with cacao nibs if you wish.

  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Blender
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: smoothie, coffee, vegan, dairy free, gluten free,

The post Coffee Smoothie with Dates, Banana, and Cacao appeared first on Alexandra's Kitchen.

10 Cozy Things to Make in May 2019

It’s May and while I’m usually complaining about the time passing so quickly, I’m also super excited for May because that means I’m going to Paris! Josh and I are celebrating our first year of marriage by taking a trip to Paris at the end of the month and we couldn’t be more excited. It’ll be our first time there EVER! I’m super excited to eat croissants every single morning, drink loads of coffee and eat all the butter. But until then, we still have brunches and Mother’s Day celebrations to have and meals to make! Roasted Rhubarb Scones with Vanilla Bean – These scones are what I call…interesting. The rhubarb is roasted to remove some of its liquid. And then the dough is flattened and the rhubarb is placed in the center. The dough is folded over and baked! SO GOOD! Shoyu Chicken with Hawaiian Mac Salad – I made this chicken last month and since I posted it, I’ve made it like four times. It’s the easiest, breeziest dinner EVER. Also it’s super delicious. Ramp Cacio e Pepe – Ramps have about a 1 month window every Spring, if we’re lucky and most times people are like “what […]

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braised ginger meatballs in coconut broth

I’ve become the kind of person (a grandmother, perhaps; you can say it) who always implores you to stay for dinner. But it’s less benevolent than it sounds. I mean, yes, absolutely I’d love your company and not just because it will provide a welcome break from our usual dinner conversations of “Please take a bite. Of anything.” “No, I promise, that’s not a parsley fleck.” Or “But you liked roasted carrots last week!” And not just because I’ve found it takes 47 group texts to make dinner plans but if I say “just swing by at 6,” the answer is far more often a simple “Yes!” Not just because it’s part of my ongoing ulterior agenda to make entertaining less fussy — nobody is imagining you’d bring out a tray of hor d’oeuvres on a Tuesday night, thus nobody has to be disappointed that that will literally never happen — and therefore a more frequent thing in our lives. And not just because once you’re already making dinner, accounting for a serving or two extra is barely a hurdle.

Or, it’s not exclusively for these reasons. Mostly, I find it makes weeknight cooking more fun. I usually use it as an excuse to try something new that is maybe a step more effort than I’d usually put in, not entirely sure my family will receive it with the standing ovation and outpouring of gratitude that I believe each and every one of my cooking efforts are owed. (I’m kidding. Probably.)

ginger-garlic meatballsginger-garlic meatballscouldn't find my microplanebroth assembly

It’s one of these evenings a couple years ago that led me to this soup. It seemed to have an element for everyone. Meatballs go over well with both kids and adults, keep well (when dinner isn’t going to start on time), and warm up well when there are leftovers. The broth is rich and quick; no bag of food scraps or chicken bones required. We served it with rice on the side, so that people who wanted to could add as much as they wanted (ahem, kids) and people who were not eating rice could skip it and still have a great soup. I couldn’t find lemongrass that day and added some spinach instead, but ended up keeping the spinach in in later rounds. We served it with lightly pickled red chiles, fresh mint and cilantro, and a lot of lime on the side and it was so good, I’ve made it many times since.

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DIY cabinet lighting (and how to hide it!)

Hey there errrrybody! I’m sharing the culprit of my pinched nerve in my neck today — and I think you’ll see how it happened. ? Thankfully I’m healing slow but sure — almost 100 percent!

This isn’t a huge before and after but it’s one of those little things that has bothered me since we moved in. I did this in our old house and never showed you the tutorial for it!

You wouldn’t really notice it if you looked at our old kitchen cabinets:

DIY upper and under cabinet lighting
I’ll share more about that in a minute, but first, let’s talk about the cabinet lighting!
I’ve shared how to add this detail to your kitchen a couple times over the years and I highly recommend it as a way to add a custom touch to your cabinets. It’s like landscape lighting for me — it brings the whole space to a whole other level!
A loooong time ago I shared how to add the under cabinet lighting when you don’t have them hardwired. I used the outlets for our fridge and our mounted microwave to make that work. 
But if you have a dedicated outlet for the lights, this cabinet lighting tutorial is the one for you. When I remodeled our last kitchen, I had an outlet added up above the cabinets with a switch. That way is even easier because you buy everything you need online (see link for a full list). It worked GREAT!
Back to the DIY project I just finished up — I didn’t want to see the lighting under the cabinets so I added my own light rail. Light rails are molding that are installed under the cabinets to help hide the lighting under the cabinets. 
I was surprised ours didn’t come with them for this house. You can see what I mean in this photo from my post about the DIY feet for the lower cabinets
DIY furniture feet on cabinets
See how you can see the lighting under our cabinets? Like I said, it’s not a big deal. But it’s just one of those little things that bothers me. When we sat at the table we could easily see the lighting underneath. 

So I got to it and added my own light rails yet again! I should mention I had these priced out from the cabinet company our builder used and about choked — they were not cheap! 
First I found some simple flat trim from the hardware store — I painted one side of it and then attached it to the underside of the cabinets all the way around. You’ll want to make sure it comes down past the cabinet a bit like the photo on the right: 
How to add a DIY light rail on cabinets
I had to get under the cabinet to nail from underneath through the side. (I didn’t want the nail holes to show from the outside.) Now the pinched nerve in my neck starts to make sense, right? 
And then you can take your pretty trim and attach it to that piece on the front. The trim I used has a flat top (I got mine at Home Depot) so it fit flush with the lip under the cabinet: 
How to hide lighting under cabinets
I nailed most of these from under the cabinet as well (watch the length of your nails!), but ended up nailing a few from the front too just to make sure they were secure. Here’s how it looks under the cabinet: 
DIY light rail on cabinets
I was planning to touch up the paint the next day, but the neck issue happened and I’ve decided they’re just fine as is. 😉 
Here’s a close up look from the front: 
Decorative molding under cabinets
It fit seamlessly with the cabinets and looks like it was always there! (After I painted it to match.) 
My husband didn’t understand why I wanted to do this so badly, and later he said he was so glad I did it — it really does make a difference. He noticed it the first time we sat down at the table — you can’t see under the cabinets nearly as easily: 
DIY molding under cabinets to hide lighting
Here’s the view without the light rails again: 
How to hide the underside of cabinets
I tried to get a similar angle — no more ugly light fixture underneath!:
How to add light rails under cabinets

Again, nothing earth-shattering, but it’s a detail you’ll find in higher end kitchens that I find to be worthwhile. Even if we didn’t have lights, I’d still add it! I’ve never understood why the underside of cabinets have a wood tone — I feel like it should match the cabinets. (Maybe someday I’ll paint under there…)

Have you ever noticed light rails or heard of them before? This small detail just hides everything a little better. I had to buy the two trim decorative pieces for this project and the flat ones I used as the base, so I think the total cost was around $30.


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