Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Renovations Underway!

is coming back with 
a whole new look and a whole new direction!

Please pardon the mess 
(and recurring changes to the look of the page) 
during my face-lift. 

I'm SO glad you're here 
and can't wait to show you 
everything in store. 

In the meantime, 
keep enjoying the old...
er..."vintageTL posts. 

See you soon! 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Look at Them Thighs!

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, or if we happen to be Facebook friends, you know that I post LOTS of pictures of food. Now I enjoy the pretty plating at a restaurant as much as the next girl, but the pictures that I post are mainly of my own cooking.

I'm no trained chef, but I will say that my cooking is pretty damned awesome.  This opinion is inflated by those of my family and friends, and aside from begging for the delivery of portions (I'm talking to you, Kyle!), the recipes are usually requested.
It is for this reason that I am going to make an honest attempt to photograph and blog the prep of some of my favorite dishes.

NOTE: I try to stick to organics 99% of the time. This is our personal choice and while I encourage everyone to adopt the same lifestyle for the betterment of your health, it's certainly not a requirement 

First up? A SUPER easy dish that is a regular contender on our weeknight menu.

Braised Chicken Thigh with Homemade Marinara and Spaghetti Squash

1 pack, organic boneless chicken thighs (about 5-6 pieces)
1/2 large purple onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
Approx 16oz marinara sauce - I use homemade, store-bought is fine
1 large spaghetti squash
Salt and pepper, other spices as desired
Fresh basil

Place a large, oven-safe pan on your largest burner and pre-heat it on high. Lay the thighs out and lightly salt/generously pepper both sides. Once the pan is hot, pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil and sear the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side. It WILL be raw in the middle. This is exactly how you want them!

Go ahead and heat your oven to 275 while these are cooking. 

Remove the thighs from the pan and place on a plate to the side. Once again, don't worry about the raw middle, it will all cook to tender deliciousness in the end. 

Using the "drippings" from the chicken, toss in the onion and garlic and sautee until the onion is just starting to  turn translucent. Go ahead and scrape the pan - you want all of those tasty cooked bits mixed in. 

Add the marinara and simmer for just a minute or two before replacing the thighs and pouring any juices that ended up on the plate back in to the pan. 
(By the way, your kitchen is going to smell incredible right about now!) 

Cover tightly with the lid and allow to cook in your 275 degree oven for 1 hour. 
While that's slowly turning in to melt-in-your-mouth amazingness, it's time to get started on the squash. 
I suppose you could use anything here (even noodles), but I don't know of any other veggie that shreds in to pasta-like strings which also take on the flavor of the dish, and noodles defeat the purpose of cutting the carbs. 
Not an issue for you? Go for it with the pasta! I'm sure it would be delicious as well.

Cut the gourd in half length-wise and scrape out the stringy/seedy mess just like you would with a pumpkin. 

Place the squash flesh side-down in a baking pan and add approximately one inch of water. 

When the timer beeps on your chicken, pull out the pan and use a fork to shred the pieces. The will fall apart easily right now, and this step is completely optional. 

Crank your oven up to 350 degree and pop in the pan containing your squash for 30 minutes, or until the inside of the squash is fork tender. 
At that point you can CAREFULLY* remove each half and simply scrape out the inside. It will simply form the pasta-esque strings. 

*I have burnt the hell out of my hands on this step. It is not fun.  
Use a dish towel and be mindful of the steam. 

You're almost there! 
Place a hearty serving of squash in a bowl, top with the chicken and a few spoonfuls of the sauce. 
I geeked out this spring and decided to test my green thumb, so picked a few leaves of fresh basil from my container garden to garnish this dish. 

Dinner is served and you spent a whopping 20 minutes in the kitchen. 
This meal makes plenty for your whole family and you can easily add more pieces of chicken, sauce, etc. for more servings. 
Hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

What's your favorite weeknight recipe?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Step Right Up...

...and get your hands on the best caramel apple you've ever had!

Okay, so it comes in a glass. That doesn't make it any less delicious and satisfying. 
The dude and I are BIG time vodka people, and definitely love our flavored varieties, so when we saw THIS amazing stuff at our local liquor store we just had to try it!

We've been drinking it with Coke Zero, but when I tagged Stoli in my tweet, they offered up some other tasty options, which led to this incredible little treat. 

I'll leave out the fluff and get straight to the delicious details...

The Stoli Salted Karamel Appletini

* 1 part Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka
* 1 1/2 parts apple juice


Shake over ice and serve in a chilled martini glass. 
I sugared the rims and garnished with fresh apple.


So tell me...
What's your favorite vodka cocktail? 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let There Be Light!!


It has been a ridiculously busy year! We closed on our home at the end of 2012, celebrated my son’s 7th birthday the first weekend of January (more on that to come), I accepted my 
job (aka: work from home and still make an amazing living) with an incredible company, my love accepted a position with an engineering firm downtown and in the middle of all of that, we've maintained some semblance of a social live while renovating and upgrading aspects of the new place.
I’ll dedicate sporadic posts to all of the neat things that my honey built with his new-found carpentry skills, but would like to kick off the home-improvement portion of my little inter-web home with a step-by-step of how I made our dining chandelier! 
A lot of my pictures were lost during an unfortunate Apple Store visit, where we found out that the phone would need to be replaced before I had a chance to back-up the last week or so of memory, so I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures to accompany each step. 

THIS Pottery Barn chandelier is really cute and vintage-y yet still kind of modern in its own way. It’s funky and different and….it's US. We had to have it. What we didn't have to have was the 16 pendant aspect OR the $400 price tag.
A few Google searches and stops at WorldMarket, Lowe’s, & IKEA and we were well on our way to a custom light fixture.

  • Mason jars (buy as many as you will need to get the look you’re going for)
  • Single drop-lights (same number as jars)
  • Edison Filament bulbs – you can go with regular bulbs, but I prefer the look of these.
  • Material for the frame
  • Drill with bits
  • Exacto knife
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Hammer and one large nail

1.   Trace the opening for the lightbulb socket onto the center of the mason jar lids and CAREFULLY cut out the traced circles. Your lightbulb sockets should now fit perfectly into place – you will need to press firmly to get the lid past the threaded plastic. If you purchased from IKEA your drop lights have a plastic piece that can e screwed on to give everything a more finished look. Go ahead and use the nail to put a few holes in the lid as well. This will allow the heat to escape.

(Like this)

2.    Decide where you will want each jar positioned and mark the board. Drill a hole on each marking using a bit large enough that the wiring will have room to easily feed through. If you plan on painting or staining your wood you’ll want to do that before you begin. Didn’t do that? Go ahead and do that now & let it dry completely. You will want to research various hanging options and find the one that best suits your needs and taste.
3.       The lights have a plug at one end. Cut that plug off.  It feels SO wrong, but just do it – trust me. Feed each wire through its hole on the board.
4.       Use the wire strippers to remove the plastic coating from the end of each wire, being careful not to rip off the wire itself. You’ll want to determine the length you want for each pendant at this point. I used a spot of one of the wires as a reference point and after holding the others to the length I wanted, firmly zip-tied all of them together.
5.       Secure the frame to the ceiling. In my case, I built a shallow box with 4 - 2” x ¼” planks fastened into a square and attached it to the ceiling with L brackets, then used an 18” x 18” x ¼” board with the wires running through it and attached it to this frame once it was all wired together.
6.       Here’s the exciting part (and an extra set of hands is helpful)!!!
Separate the white-coated wires from the black-coated. Twist ALL of the white wires together including the one from the electrical box on the ceiling, secure a wire cap or wrap well with electrical tape. I used plenty of tape to ensure full coverage. You do not want ANY exposed wire or you’re risking fire. Repeat with the black wires.

Who doesn't love a beautifully coiled filament bulb?

7.    Once everything is insulated nicely, put in your bulbs; turn on the breaker and light switch to make sure that all of your pendants are working. If they are, go ahead and secure everything into place. For me this meant screwing the 5th board on to the frame.
8.    Secure the jars to the lids and stand back in awe of your beautiful new chandelier!

This is my finished fixture which hangs over our dining table. 
It's love.  
Total cost for my version? $50

5 Mason Jars: $15 at WorldMarket
5 drop lights: $15 at IKEA
Edison Filament bulbs: $12 (for 2) at Lowe’s
Bright white filament bulbs: $6 (for 3) at Lowe’s
Wood for frame: $10 at Lowe’s
Tools & small supplies: FREE – my love had them already

I hope you step out of your comfort zone and try this neat project.  There really is an awesome sense of accomplishment in having done it myself rather than shelling 350 extra dollars for a pre-made fixture.

Have you ever tried an extra-adventurous DIY project? What was it and how pleased were you with the results?

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Cook Meals for the Dog Days of Summer

During these last...HOT...weeks of summer, it seems like I want to spend less and less time in the kitchen. I know- me of all people DOESN'T want to cook.
It's not like I don't still enjoy it, it's more that the thought of turning on the oven to invite 350 more degrees of scorching heat into my kitchen might cause someone to haul me off to the loony bin.

Since Texas summers tend to last about 6 months longer than those of the rest of the country, I've definitely come to rely on a few go-to  recipes that require ZERO cooking, some of which can be made the night before so all I have to do it open the fridge to recieve a lovely blast of cool air and have my dinner greet me like a chilly beacon of hope.

Okay, so this first one I stole from my grandmother, but in all fairness, she probably snagged it from someone else. It's a quick, easy, make-ahead dish using ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.

24 Hour Salad
  • Bac O's (meatless) OR 3/4 pound (raw weight) bacon, cooked then crumbled
  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced celery
  • 1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, or to taste (I prefer to go easy on this)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Place the lettuce out in a large serving dish or bowl. Trifle dishes work well since this is a really pretty salad!
Layer the onion, celery, water chestnuts and frozen peas (unthawed).
Spread the mayonnaise over the top like you would when frosting a cake. Sprinkle with grated cheese, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, sprinkle Bac O’s/crumbled bacon over the top, and garnish with tomato wedges, slices of hard-cooked egg, and parsley.
You can always mix this up by using left-over or pre-cooked/packaged shrimp, crab, salmon, chicken, etc. in place of or in addition to the bacon.

Another recipe that I've snagged over the years but it doesn't make it any less delicious. Enjoy with some chips and an ice cold cerveza!


  • 1 pound of your favorite seafood. (I prefer shrimp, scallops and halibut) 
  • juice of 8 large limes
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2-4 green onions chopped
  • half of a purple onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
  • 1-2 avocados, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Rinse and dry seafood. Place in a large non-metallic bowl and cover in lime juice. The seafood should be completely submerged. Chill all day or overnight - the seafood should be completely opaque.
Pour off half of the juice and all the remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well.

That's it! You now have a low-fat, high protein, no cook meal that everyone will enjoy.

My son and I came up with this one night while trying to figure out a quick and easy dinner that would use up some extra produce we had sitting in the fridge.

Sprout Sandwich
  • Hummus (or mayo/mustard-whatever you’ve got)
  • Tomato
  • Sprouts
  • Avocado
  • Buns (hamburger, hotdog, pita- it all works just fine!)

Spread a generous schmear of hummus on both sides of the bread, layer with hummus, pile on sprouts, tomato and avocado.
Dinner. Is. Done.
Serve with chips and enjoy the fact that dinner just took you all of 5 minutes to prepare.

Keep in mind that you can ALWAYS change up a recipe to suit your taste.
Be creative and whip up some go-to recipes of your own.
Have a no-cook recipe that you'd like to share? Leave it in the comments below or head on over to the Shine Supper Club and spread the word!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Feliz (Temprano) Día De Los Muertos! - An Impressive DIY Costume From Pinterest

It’s August, which means, in my world anyway, that it’s time to start working on Halloween ideas.
There are a couple of things swirling around my brain, but it’s going to be hard to outdo last year’s get-up.

I’m a BIG fan of the Dia de los Muertos celebrations, and find it to be a wonderful way to honor the loved ones who are no longer with us.

While browsing Pinterest sometime last summer, I came across this striking version of the sugar skull face paint and knew that my costume for Halloween ’11 would be based off the beautiful work. 

Red is more my pallet so I set out to find the supplies, made one practice run a few weeks prior to the festivities, and set aside two hours the day of to make sure everything was just right.

I used:
Regular ol’ Halloween make-up from Halloween Express in white and red
Make-up sponges
Clinique potted liquid eyeliner in black
Clear and red rhinestones
Eyelash adhesive
Red super fine glitter
Long false lashes
Silk flowers

First wash and exfoliate your face. The cleaner and fresher the skin, then better.
Next cover your face in white make-up. I preferred a lighter touch with the white, and made sure to avoid the eye area, as that would be red and I didn’t want it to end up being pink.
Fill in the entire eye socket area with red, making sure to keep the lines as clean as possible.
Now the fun part! Draw the design that you’d like using the potted liquid liner. You can use a small paint brush or a regular eyeliner brush, like I did.
Dab red and blend as needed to enhance your look. You’ll also want to blend a bit of black in with the color to create a more shadowed look.

This next part takes a lot of time and patience. You’re going to use the eyelash adhesive to glue the individual rhinestones into place. I chose to alternate red and clear, and use larger shaped stones on different parts of my face.  

Next, and you may want to brush on a little fresh red paint first, dab plenty of red glitter in the area of your eyes closest to your nose. You can’t tell by the picture, but it REALLY sparkled!

Finally, line your eyes with the liquid liner and adhere the lashes.

My hair was very short at this point in time (I was growing out “the Rihanna” look) so I picked up a really cheap wig. To create a more natural look, I pulled my longest pieces forward, attached the wig using plenty of bobby pins, then used my fingers to curl back my actual hair in big pieces, creating the old-fashioned look before pinning the flowers into place.

For the costume, I used a pirate dress that I already had and pinned it up in the middle and sides with a black petticoat underneath. This was topped off with a black corset, black fishnets and red pumps, again, things that I already had. Total cost for this costume?

Have you thought about how you might dress up this Halloween? Has anything on Pinterest caught your eye? What have you conquered on your boards?
Link-up and tell me about it!