Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Q&A over at Meredith & Gwyneth, the New Yorkie today!

Go check it out here to find out about this little collection...

...favorite projects and what little O is going to be for Halloween.


PS- If anyone else wants to do some guest blog swapping, let me know!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Enchanted by and longing for...

1. Restoration Hardware 2. Society Social 3. Fine Home Lamps 4. Enchanted Home 5. Betty Lou Phillips 6. David Hicks 7. Elle Decor

I actually wrote this at the beach and realized I never posted (I was trying not to totally overwhelm you people!). Since I wrote this last week I've checked #7 off my list by wallpapering our den TV stand -- not as drastic as I'd like, but it's a start!

Off to bed!!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Productive Sunday

For a few of you following along -- it's no secret that I've been trying to think of ways to lighten up my den.   I'm saving up for my ivory silk drapes and a mirrored chest, but in the meantime I decided to get some light colored grasscloth and wallpaper the back of our TV stand / bookcase.  I wanted to paint and glaze it to be similar in color to our kitchen cabinets, but Josh vehemently opposed (not sure if that was due to inconveniencing his Sunday TV watching or a true design vision, but as patient and agreeable he is with most of my projects, I didn't fight it!).

It may help a little?  The grasscloth has a soft green background -- it doesn't show up very well in the photos.

I also added a light to the top shelf.

The bottom section still needs a little work.  The picture on the top shelf in above photo is too tiny...and the books on the bottom right part of the shelf are still not looking very good.  Nonetheless, I think it looks a LITTLE bit better than before.

Our sweet cleaning lady (yes, we have a cleaning lady, don't judge), Vivian, had to cancel unexpectedly last week so I spent the entire Sunday doing some major cleaning.  It was actually nice...but don't think we'll be cancelling her services any time soon.

Then I busied myself cooking up a storm to prep for a week back at work -- greek salads for lunch and chicken & rice casserole for dinner.

Unlike my very productive Sunday this week, a typical fall Sunday at the Otto house looks like this (this was actually Saturday p.m. after O & I returned home)--
Hope you have a great week!!!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Den Lamp Project

I started this last Saturday and finished it up today.  I've been needing (well, wanting) new lamps for the den and this has helped to brighten the room up a bit without breaking the bank.  The lamp was from Jean's attic -- FREE for me.  I bought the current shade about a year ago, which helped update it a lot ($40 or so from Target).  Now with the new paint it looks like a brand new lamp!

Off to eat brunch with Josh!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back from the beach!

Final day and night looked like this...

The family time was excellent and the R&R was just what I needed.

I've already started a new project -- I brought this lamp that was in the guest room downstairs to the den and have begun painting it...
Hopefully the after pictures will be up tomorrow!

Happy Saturday!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Beach Happenings

We had a blast with Rachel coming down for the day yesterday!!

We made Ethel and Olivia practice some swimming for her.

Which resulted in...

Wet Rat #1

Wet Rat #2

All the girls -- let the record show Lee later said, "that to me is like a platter of unappetizing cheeses" -- about this photo!

Mom & Dad's Christmas card (they are over us!)?

Then we had our "Topsail Tailgate" for the State game.  It was quite the spread, but sadly (for the State alums) it didn't result in a W.

It was the first time I'd tried this stuffed mushroom recipe and they were really delicious -- very rich.  Recipe here.

Bailey's wings were self-described as, "the healthiest wings you'll ever have!"  They were hot and had a great roasted flavor.

Bailey's Signature Roasted Wings
24 chicken wings (seperated in to wing and drumette)
2 T Olive Oil
1 t garlic salt
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/2 t black pepper

1/3 cup Frank's Red Hot
2 T Ponzu Lime Sauce
1 1/2 T Sriracha/Chili Garlic Sauce
1/2 t garlic salt
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t worcestershire sauce
2 t sugar

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Lay wings out on a large cookie sheet or baking dish so that they are in one layer.
3. Pour over olive oil, garlic salt, red pepper, and black pepper and coat wings evenly.
4. Roast at 500 for ten minutes, turn pan 180 degrees, roast for another 7-8 minutes.
5. Wisk together sauce ingredients in a large glass bowl. 
6. Remove wings from oven and pour off rendered fat (we just poured in a pot and disposed of it)
6. Pour 3/4 sauce over wings and put back in the oven, switching to broil for a few minutes or until you see sauce starting to carmelize. Leave the remaining 1/4 sauce in the glass bowl.
7. Once you see some good color on the wings, removed with a slotted spoon and toss in glass bowl with remaining sauce.
8. Serve hot with ranch, blue cheese, or your favorite sauce (we acutally used the creamy cilantro sauce that we also ate with the fried oysters Lee made.)

Even the cockers got to enjoy a few bites!
Off to enjoy our final day at the beach...then back to reality!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tomato Pie

I was a little hesitant when my mom told me her menu for last night's dinner -- roasted shrimp, stone ground grits (with bacon), fried okra and tomato pie.  It seemed a little...well, random.  We were wrong -- we ended up all loving the southern feast and the tomato pie was truly outstanding.  It's something Josh will love so I plan to make at home soon.

This recipe is from my grandfather's sweet wife, Betty.

Tomato Pie
1 9" deep dish pie crust, cooked and cooled
2 c. grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated hot pepper jack cheese (my mom used the cubes and sliced up a bit)
4-5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and sliced (a good hint from my mom -- drop in boiling water for 30 sec then ice water and the skin comes right off)
1/4 c. chopped onion (we used a large shallot and it gave it great flavor)
3/4 - 1 c. Chopped Basil
Oregano (only a little)
Salt & Pepper (lots!)
1/4 c. mayo

1. Cook and cool pie crust
2. Peel and slice tomatoes and lay out on paper towels to drain
3. Grate and mix cheeses.
4. Sprinkle half of cheese into bottom of cooked, cool pie crust
5. Salt and pepper tomatoes as you layer them in pie crust over cheese
6. Sprinkle herbs and onions on tomatoes as you layer them.
7. Pile tomatoes high in crust! Do not skimp-- they will shrink down when baking.
8. Mix remaining cheese with mayo and spread over top to create a "top crust"
Notice how full the pie looks!

9. Bake 350 for 35-40 minutes.  Let it rest for 30 minutes before cutting.

This recipe can be made ahead and reheated.  Make enough to eat leftovers for breakfast.  You can top with bacon strips and serve with scrambled eggs!


My sweet parents enjoying the sunset on the sound-side of the house.

Rachel is on her way down to spend the day with us! 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

RIP Sweet Theo

The Ottos' family dog, Theo, was put to sleep today.  He'd been suffering from congestive heart failure.  He was 10-years-old.  Hope you enjoy dog heaven, little buddy.  We will miss you!!! 

Happy birthday, Allie!

20 years ago...

Have a very happy birthday!!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Best Beach Meal Yet

It all started with the Slade family punch (thank you, Lee!).

Rum Punch
4 parts strong (one 1/5 of a good rum, we used Mount Gay)
3 parts weak (pineapple, orange, and grapefruit juice equal parts)
2 parts sour (lime juice)
1 part sugar (simple syrup: equal parts sugar to boiling water)
1 teaspoon of bitters
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix all the parts together in a pitcher and chill for at least an hour. Serve poured over ice with lemor or lime to garnish.

And then came the very gourmet and delicious dinner -- Bailey and Lee were tonight's chefs!!  We were joking and having a friendly competition and they kicked our butts.  Josh and I made scallops and risotto last night, which I love...but nothing compared to this delicious plate.  AND Bailey made up the dressing and crab cake sauce recipes -- very, very impressive.


2 lbs. jumbo lump crabmeat
2 eggs
2 cups crushed saltine crackers
3 - 4 medium to large shallots, diced
2 T dijon mustard
2 T mayo
2 T fresh diced chives
1 dash worcestershire
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T butter for cooking

1. Gently mix all ingredients (best to use your hands) being careful not to break up the crabmeat (you paid for the jumbo lump so keep it intact!)
2. Form into patties, about 3 inches across
3. Heat a heavy skillet to medium-high, add butter
4. Cook each crabcake about 4 - 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown (don't crowd the pan, do batches if you have to).
5. Serve with a wedge of lemon and enjoy

Creamy Citrus Sauce (sadly I have no pic, but it was SO good)
We enjoyed about a spoonful of this on each of our crabcakes but it is not necessary if you have great crab!
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 clove of roasted garlic (wrap in tin foil, coat in olive oil, cook at 350 for 20 minutes)*
2 T dijon mustard
2 T mayo
2 T reduced fat sour cream
2 T diced cilantro
1 T diced chives
1 t sugar
dash of worcestershire
dash of balsamic vinegar
dash of hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Fried Oyster Spinach Salad

1 bag baby spinach
6 boiled eggs (or one per salad)
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup walnuts (divided over 6 salads)
1 lb. raw, shucked oysters
2 - 3 shallots, carmelized (cook over medium-low heat with 1/2 T butter, 1 T balsamic vinegar for about 30 minutes)
1-2 cups all purpose flour
1 bottle canola or vegetable oil (enough for about an inch in whatever pot you are using)
Salt and pepper

1. Set up the spinach, egg, tomatoes, walnuts, and shallots on your dinner plate so they are ready to go when the oysters are
2. Grain the liquid from the oysters, salt and pepper each one, toss in flour.
3. Heat oil to medium-high heat, fry each oyster (salt and peppered and dusted with flour) until golden brown, about 2 minutes

I'll have you know I am now a big fan of fried oysters -- as is Josh.  I loved enjoying a few of these as an app.  Lee cooked them to absolute perfection.

Mustard Vinegarette
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 clove roasted garlic, smahsed (see above)*
3 T olive oil
1 t diced chives
1 t sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Whisk all ingredients and set aside (best to prepare a little ahead of time to let sit).
2. Once oysters are fried and on the salad, drizzle between 1 - 2 T over everything.

My mom and I made dessert -- we tried (and slightly modified) a recipe from June's Southern Living -- Profiteroles with Coffee Whipped Cream.  They were absolutely delicious, the perfect bite-sized delight.
3/4 c. all-purpose flout
1 1/2 t. sugar
1/3 c. butter
3 large eggs, beaten
Coffee whipped cream (recipe to follow)
Hot fudge topping (recipe to follow)

1.  Preheat over to 400.  Stir together flour and sugar.

2.  Bring butter and 3/4 c. water to a boil over medium-high heat - stirring occasionally.  After it comes to a boil remove immediately from heat and add in flour mixture all at once.  Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and leaves sides of the pan -- forming a big ball of dough.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until mixture is smooth and slightly glossy.

3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon fulls onto lined baking sheet.

Then my mom used a little warm water on her finger to smooth out the balls of dough.

4. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.  Remove from oven and place cookie sheet on wire rack.  Pierce one side of each cream puff with a knife to allow steam to escape.  Cool compleletly on baking sheet (about 20 minutes).

5. Cut each cream puff in half horizontally.  Dollop coffee whipped cream onto bottom halves; then top with remaining halves.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.  Drizzle with hot fudge toppin gjust before serving.

Coffee whipped cream
1 tub whipped cream
Ground coffee
Brewed coffee
Dash of Vodka

We folded some ground coffee & brewed coffee into ready-made whipped cream (the actual recipe called for homemade whipped cream).

Hot Fudge Sauce
1 c. evaporated milk
1 c. sugar
2 T. cocoa
2 T. butter

Mix sugar, cocoa and butter in pot on stove.  Stir over low heat for about 2 minutes.  Set off heat for about 1 minute and slowly add milk.  If not thick enough, boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly so you don't burn the bottom.

(if not chocolatey enough...add a bit more cocoa-- we added a little more to taste.)

Then since it was Josh's last night here (so sad!) I harassed him and Olivia into a few "family" photos.  Not the best weather for a photo shoot, but oh well!

 One mischievious cocker spaniel invited herself up into a bar stool during happy hour.  Naughty!

As happy as I am to be with my family (minus A) on vacation for the week -- I hate that Josh and I are apart for another 4 nights this week after he was in Austin for work all last week and goes again next week....   I have to admit, I'm having withdrawal already.  Corny, but true.

Hope you are having a great week and aren't sick of all the dog and food pics!