Mangia Mondays:: Basil Pesto

Hi there!

Thanks for joining me for the weekly blog hop I co-host with the deeeeelightful Kristin of Delightfully Dowling!
{Check out what she posted today - my stomach is growling just looking at her pictures!}

Are you growing any herbs this summer?  You may have seen in my last post about my wine cork herb markers that my basil is starting to take off and I'm fired up to make pesto with it.

Basil pesto is so easy to make and can be used for lots of delicious recipes.  We love to mix it with our Spaghetti with Onions, omitting the spinach and using the pesto instead, for a quick and fresh meal.  My kids like it mixed with cheese tortellini.  I also drizzle it over slices of buffalo mozzarella and summer tomatoes...so delish!

Do you use pesto and if so, for what?

Here is a basic recipe from the Food Network that I use and hope you will enjoy.

Basil Pesto



Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

How about you - have you made anything yummy lately?  If so, link to your blog post or share in the comments!


A Craft For The Uncrafty!!

hellllllllo lovelies!

How about this for just about the easiest craft ever?

If you consider yourself a bit on the un-crafty side,
well, girl, is this one for you.
(Sister-in-law Jen, I am speaking to you here!)
(Bonus!  -it's educational!  -teach the future chefs of the world (your kids) which herb is which!)

Just drink a bottle or five of vino, save the corks and write the names of your herbs on them with a Sharpie, then push wooden skewers into them and...
you have fun herb makers!

I was inspired by Rene of Cottage & Vine to make an herb tower.  Check out Rene's fabulous tower here!
With that in mind I bought these two shiny green pots,  but once they were filled with gravel (to help with draining) and potting soil and I stacked them, I realized there was not enough room in the perimeter of the bottom pot for several herbs.  The smaller pot should have been even smaller.
(By the way New England friends:  Ocean State Job Lot has a gorgeous selection of glazed pots in beautiful colors!)

My basil is trying to take over this little section of the deck, bossy boots that she is.  I can't wait to make some pesto when this gets a bit bigger.

This is just one more delightful idea I garnered from Pinterest {the original source of this great idea is the the blog My Chic Life - thank you for the inspiration!}.  If you're interested in upcycling your wine corks, check out my board of cork creativity.  I have saved corks for years and am looking forward to making wine cork trays with my neighbor sometime this summer.  Or maybe not.  I might be all crafted out after this major (5 minute) undertaking! :)  See - it's a craft for even the uncrafty!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Thanks to all these wonderful blogs who host inspiring weekly parties.  Check them out if you are looking for a fun new project!

The Girl Creative


Tickled Pink at 504 Main


Mangia Mondays:: Quick Mexican Corn Risotto

Welcome to Mangia Mondays, a weekly blog-hop I co-host with the wonderful Kristin of Delightfully Dowling!

I posted this recipe last year before Mangia Mondays began, but last night when we made an exceptionally good batch of it we thought it should have a repeat performance for all you foodies out there.  There's nothing like a creamy risotto with a little kick to it - and this is oh so good with leftover summer corn on the cob!
(PS we marinated our pork tenderloin in Soy Vay and it was de-licious!  Perfect summer meal.)

Quick Mexican Corn Risotto

1 T olive oil (I just swirl in the pan)
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 ground cumin
1 C medium-grain Arborio rice
1/2 C chopped red pepper 
3 C chicken broth
1 10 oz. package frozen sweet corn, or about 1 1/2 C grilled corn cut from cobs
1/4 C whipping cream or half and half (optional, for when you're feeling a bit naughty)
1 C (packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos (Pepper Jack)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and cumin; saute 1 minute.  Mix in rice and red pepper (I didn't have any for this batch pictured above).  Add 1 C broth and corn and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add broth, 1 C at a time, as it is absorbed by the rice, and until the rice is tender and mixture is thick and creamy, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.  Add cream and cheese and stir until heated through.  Garnish with cilantro if desired.

This is a mildly spicy dish.  To make it not spicy, you can substitute Monterey Jack without jalapenos if so desired, and also make the dish more spicy with the addition of a dash of red pepper flakes when sauteeing the garlic and cumin. 

So what's cookin' with you?  
You are invited to link up any kind of food-related post - a recipe, a restaurant review, or any tips or tricks you want to impart!  You're also welcome to share in the comments section below.

*Link back by putting the Mangia Mondays button in your post or anywhere on your blog to let others know you've joined the party.
*Help spread the word about Mangia Mondays with others by sharing this post!
*Visit some other links - that's part of the fun!
**You can add the Mangia Mondays blog hop to your own blog if you would like, simply clicking the link at the bottom that says "What is a blog hop? Get the code here..." and pasting the html into the bottom of your own post.


Shell Mirror Inspiration

Hello weekend warriors!  Hope you're up to no good this fine Saturday!
Mark & I are sitting on our deck drinking coffee and reading the news whilst our pre-teens are still slumbering.  It's the perfect sunshiny July morning and on top of that it's actually QUIET 'round here.

Do you hear that??

The sound of silence.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, lets enjoy it while it lasts because once they're up the craziness is ON!

Speaking of craziness, for all my dear friends who think I may have fallen off my rocker with the making of a shell mirror, let me just share with you that the shell mirror is so in it's out right now.  Here are some of my favorite inspirations that I've collected on Pinterest:

Aren't they beauties?
I love the all-white mirrors, the designs, and the natural texture they add to a room.  So pretty.

Have you discovered Pinterest yet?  You don't have to be a blogger to use it.  It's a great way to find and store inspiration photos for anything - from home decor to landscaping to recipes.  I've created inspiration boards for things we want to do in the future....like add a portico to our front entrance and install a banquette in our dream kitchen someday.  To view my ever-growing boards, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!


Shell Mirror

Hello my lovelies!

Guess what??

I actually completed a project.

I know, I know, it's slightly miraculous that I am blogging about a home project - they have been few and far between on here lately.  I'm still working on the old homestead, but between having summer fun with my kids, taking care of the sweetest elderly lady on Wednesdays, and spinning 4 home projects at once {as usual} I just run out of time to write about them!

{To all you amazing people who work full time, tend to your kids once you're home, work on DIY projects, and find the time to blog - you are my idols!!  I don't know how you do it all!}

So anyhoo - a ways back I painted the walls of our master bath, and while I was at it I took down this unsightly plastic number.  There wasn't anything wrong with it, besides the fact that it's the kind of vanity that's supposed to be built into the wall.  It had a ton of storage, but it was just so....blah.

Our bathroom went unadorned with a mirror for months on end {making for interesting makeup application!} because I just could NOT find a new mirror to really light my fire.  I "dated" several (brought them home and tried them out), but ultimately they all went back from whence they came.

*cue the angels singing and the trumpets sounding*
it was love at first sight.

The color and texture of shells to add interest to the monochromatic, serene palette I was going for?  Perfection.
The sight of them evoking fond memories of the beach?  Dreamy.
Never mind that we have oodles and oodles of shells collected from our own New England beaches and family vacations in Florida.  That and the fact that I'm on a quest to fill our newest home with unique, meaningful things that we really love.

So once again I trekked back to Homegoods and found a cheapy mirror with a substantial frame.  I also picked up a bag of larger shells, starfish and sand dollars at the Christmas Tree Shop to go along with the smaller shells we've collected.

I blue-taped newspaper to the mirror to protect it, then spraypainted the frame white.  Then I hot glued the shells on, starting with the large shells and then layering the smaller ones over them (Lindsay used a frameless mirror and glued the shells right to the mirror).  
A little surprise inside a shell hocked from my son's room!

I was going for a pile-of-shells-washed-ashore-by-the-sea look.
What do you think of the end result?

A couple of the shells had a natural pearly patina on the inside (don't you love that?) and they look so pretty when the light shines on them, so I got out my pearly craft paint and added a little to a few more plain shells here and there.

I also bought a bag of pebbles at Michaels to fill in little gaps.  Our Cape Cod beaches often have rocks and pebbles along the shore so these were perfect.

The mirror reminds us of some of our favorite places......Sanibel Island (one of the shelliest places on the planet, where we love to visit with our kids and good friends), Captiva Island (where we honeymooned!),  Newport and Narragansett RI, and of course Cape Cod (where we spend our summer vacation and lots of weekends in between)!

Apart from using our shell collection to make something functional and pretty,
there's nothing like being able to see yourself when you're applying mascara!

Next up I'm working on Ballard Designs-inspired shelves for towels and what-have-you, and then I'll show you the before and afters of this bathroom.
Check out Lindsay's tutorial at Lee La La if you're interested in making a shell mirror of your own.  
Thanks for the inspiration, Lindsay!
Hope you all have a fabulous July weekend!   Thanks for stopping by!

Tickled Pink at 504 Main