Cedar Cottage, garden, home, Uncategorized

Flip Flops and Snowy Days

February 27, 2015
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Earlier this week we saw highs top out at 81*. I was happily flipping around in my flops, then I woke to this scene…

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We often joke about the weather turning on a dime here in Texas. Listen to me now and believe me later. It’s true. And while I can’t say that I love winter, I do enjoy a billowy white snow day, and this one didn’t disappoint.

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It came down in big, fat, cotton-ball like flakes. I enjoyed more than one cup of coffee watching it fall.

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After a day off of school because if icy road conditions, mama may have found herself with some cooped up restless naitives. And I may have imagined that my bovine girlfriends were singing, “Let It Go.”

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Friends assured me that they were actually singing, “Let It Snow!” Apparently they were.

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We got a fresh blanket last night.

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But it’s still a treat to see the beginnings of spring peeking through the frost.

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We are soaking it up, to be sure. We will see temperatures over the century mark before we know it.

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Rufus, however, assures us that he is happy to hold down the fort from the comfort of his favorite spot, bless his heart.

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Stay warm, friends!

Cedar Cottage, deliciousness, home

Warmth in a Bowl: Cilantro Lime Chicken Soup

February 24, 2015
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Once again we Texans have weathered (see what I did there) yet another swing from a high of 81* to a low of 21* in a matter of hours. While I wish I had my flip flops on again, I am relishing time with my people as we are iced in for a second day (cue the popcorn and movies). Thankfully Dr. Kyle made sure our feathered friends were taken care of during our latest freeze.

IMG_2276 So, it was mama’s turn to take care of her chickadees. I decided some soup was just the thing to warm up my loves. And since a trip to the store was out of the question, I looked to my pantry and fridge  to see what we could pull together. Thankfully I found some chicken breasts, cilantro, limes, and hominy. Behold!

IMG_2278 My apologies, friends. I didn’t snap any pictures as I prepared it, not thinking that it would turn out to be the hit that it was. We didn’t all sit down together to eat, as our schedules have been a bit wonky, what with the tv and sleeping late and naps in front of the fire and all. To my surprise (and delight), I received high praise from each of my loves as they left the kitchen and came back to the living room. Makes a mama heart happy, people. And so, even without shots of the prep, I wanted to share this one with you.

I started by boiling three large chicken breasts in salted water. I added one onion, halved (some folks around here love the flavor, but not the texture of onions, so this packs a punch but is easy to remove), and four cloves of garlic, halved.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed and shredded it, then plunked it right back in the pot. I added dry ranch dressing mix (about two tablespoons) and some lemon pepper (about a teaspoon). Next I added two large cans of hominy, drained. I had yellow hominy on hand, but white would work well, too. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes so everyone could get to know each other (the hominy does a great job of soaking up lots of flavor). This is when you want to check for seasoning. Adjust as necessary. If you like it spicy, a few shots of pepper sauce would do the trick.

Serve over corn chips with a wedge of lime and a little fresh cilantro. Think cilantro tastes like laundry soap? No worries, just leave it out. Squeeze that lime and dig in!

The lemon pepper and fresh lime add a brightness that makes this soup a year-round crowd pleaser. Better still, this one features a light broth that is figure friendly, with lots of fiber and protein. Win-win-win!

For those out and about, have a little Starbucks for your friends in Texas. For those trapped inside, wear those woolies and stay warm!

 

Cedar Cottage, garden, home

Welcome to Cedar Cottage: Our Home, Your Respite

February 16, 2015
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Recently I’ve had several questions about our home, our bed & breakfast, and how the two are woven together. I realized that our B&B’s website it isn’t exactly clear as to where it stops and our home begins. How about a little tour to show you? Follow me!

2Z2A0021 As you approach the property, you’ll see our beautiful iron gate. Just beyond, Cedar Cottage.

2Z2A9998 What you see here are the upper three floors-the ground floor, second floor, and a nifty attic space with a couple of rooms and closets carved out. The side porch you see on the left just may be one of my favorite spots.

IMG_0083 As you head down the driveway just past the side porch, you’ll find the grade of the property starts to gently slope downward.

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As you round the back of the house, you see the walk-out basement peeking out.

2Z2A0133 Et voila! The entrance to the b&b! From here you can walk right out to the back of the property to take in the gazebo…

IMG_0727 …the back deck…

CamillePicnicTable4 …or a little stroll out to the skywalk overlooking the creek.

CedarCottage-11 Oh, and then there’s the actual b&b suite!

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And from the kitchen window, guests get a lovely view of the back yard. 
2Z2A0057 Speaking of the back yard and outdoor spaces pictured above, we love to invite our guests to enjoy every bit of it. From the side porch all the way to the creek. It truly does bring me great joy to see folks rocking, swinging, sipping, eating and chatting away the hours. As we’ve told many, we purchased this place to be enjoyed. And oh, do we! We hope you will, too!

deliciousness, stuff I like

Easy and Delicious Roasted Veggie Salsa

February 8, 2015
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When feeding our guests at Cedar Cottage Bed & Breakfast, I design the menu around what is seasonal so we can offer the freshest fare possible. Of course in the dead of winter, not much is seasonal. But something occurred to me as I was deciding what I wanted to serve: breakfast burritos are always in season in West Texas. And what could be better than fluffy eggs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, and chorizo on a soft flour tortilla? Freshly made salsa to top it all off.

I usually employ the chop, chuck, and whirl method when making salsa. Truly, it is just that easy. Chop your veggies, chuck them in the blender with some salt and vinegar, and whirl it up. Bam. Fresh salsa. This time, though, I decided to kick things up a notch by roasting my veggies first. The result? A rich, mellow tomato flavor punctuated with smoky goodness from the roasting process. Sound complicated? Not in the least. Truly. You can do this! Here’s what you’ll need:

4 roma tomatoes

4 cloves garlic (unpeeled)

1 large or 2 small onions (whatever variety tickles your fancy)

1 or 2 large jalapenos (depending on how zippy you like it)

salt

vinegar

fresh cilantro

Start by preheating your oven to 500 degrees. I know, that’s screaming hot. And that’s exactly what you want. Next, line a sheet pan with foil. Listen to me now and believe me later: you will want to line your pan. It will make your life much easier come clean up time. Chop your onion into quarters. Finally, throw the onion, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers on the sheet tray (no oil or nuthin’), slide it in the oven and let it do its thing for about 30 minutes. You are looking for blistered skins on the tomato and pepper, and singed edges on the onion and garlic. Seems nuts to let your junk burn a little, but that is where the smoky goodness comes from.

IMG_2182 Ahhh. Roasted goodness. Next you’ll want to lop the tops off the peppers, slit them down the middle, and scrape out the seeds thusly.

IMG_2168 After seeding the peppers, peel the garlic cloves and chuck everything in the blender. Add a half cup of vinegar (you can add more later if needed) a generous amount of salt:

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Top with a generous amount of fresh cilantro and enjoy the beautiful combo of colors. like the Mexican flag, no?

IMG_2176 Now whirl ‘er up.

IMG_2178 I mean, y’all. Pure deliciousness. Take a little taste to see if it needs more salt. Resist the urge to devour it all at once, though. Put your concoction straight in the fridge so that all the flavors can get to know each other. Your patience will be rewarded.

Not feeling like waiting for the veggies to roast? You can make this without roasting at all. The result is a brighter (in both flavor and color) salsa without the smoky flavor. Either way you can’t lose people.

Lucky for us, there was a bit left. Fortuitous.

IMG_2194 Try it, y’all. It’s easy. It’s delicious. It’s whole food that is good for you. And you won’t ever go back to the stuff made in New York City.

 

 

design ideas, DIY, home

Painted Tile: How Has It Held Up?

February 4, 2015
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This July I decided our little bathroom needed a bit of an update, but was not ready mentally, physically, or financially for a full gut job. Instead she got a bit of a facelift to spruce things up until I was ready to invest. After all, her bones were good and things were functioning, so I didn’t think it would be responsible to dive in just yet. Remember what she used to look like?

IMG_4475 After a little tile paint on the walls and floors…

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she was looking good!

IMG_0211 Ahhhh. Fresh and clean. And a bit more in line with the master bath we had just renovated in our old house.

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Thanks for indulging my little stroll *sigh* down memory lane.

Anyway, I’ve had lots of you ask about how it has held up, so let’s take a peek. First, the walls.

IMG_2148 They are still going strong. Not that walls get a lot of wear, but one never knows with paint, and they have done just fine. Now for the big question-the floors.

IMG_2160 So far, so good. The lighting makes it look as if they are discolored…

IMG_2152 But I assure you they are still white. After eight months of living on them, we do have a couple of chips. That just appeared last week. And of course it was just after I decided it was time to let you folks know how the floors were holding up.

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IMG_2156 PS we don’t usually throw loose change around, letting it land higgldy piggldy on the floor. The dime is just for size reference, folks. Let me also say that I can’t believe I am posting a close-up of my bathroom floor on the interwebz for all to see. I post because I love, people.

All in all, the floors have held up well. Would I do it again? In a second. In fact, once I find the can of left over paint, a quick touch up will bring things back to rights until I take a sledgehammer to the whole thing. Which will not be for a while. And I’m ok with that.

Have you taken the tile paint plunge? How is your tile holding up? Would you do it again? Inquiring minds want to know.