Old Fashioned Home Style Cooking

I feel… nostalgic. I remember when I was little, my mom or dad cooking up some of my favorite stew or soup in the world:

Beef Stew.

It was so delicious. Once I got older, I realized how simple it was as well.

What’s even better:
CROCK POTS.

Yes, cooking in a crock pot saves time but also creates these delicious flavorful meals.  And seeing as I am a working mom, it makes life WONDERFUL. Throw it all together, and I get the delicious tasting home style cooking that I adored when I was little. In fact, here is my own personal recipe. (Although, there aren’t nice descriptions of how much, etc.)

Beef Stew (YoungMomDecor Type)


Ingrediants:

A Cut of Beef (size depending upon your size of crockpot)
Kernels of Corn
Potatoes (Peeled and cut into big chunks)
Salt
Pepper

Additional/Optional Ingrediants:

Celery
Carrots

Directions:

– Put in the beef but arrange it so there is room around it to put the vegetables (corn, potatoes, etc).

– Spread the veggies around with a nice mixture. Make sure it is not too stuffed so you can add water to make actual stew.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of everything.

– Add a little amount of water, maybe a few cups, that way to encourage the liquid/stew part. The less you do, the thicker it will be, but you do want a least a little.

– Put lid on top and start the crock pot. Let it sit all day.

– Serve and enjoy! The richness and simplicity does wonders and is enjoyable by all! (The kids even eat the veggies!)

I know, simple, but worth the wait. And all you have to do is throw it all together in the morning and have a perfect dinner at night.

Honestly, makes me drool just thinking about it.

Inspired Design

So, while looking at Sandra’s pictures, the wallpaper on this one stuck out. I think I have seen something similar to this one before:

A rug.

Now, I couldn’t find the rug I originally wanted to post about, but I was able to find some other ones that I kind of REALLY like. (And I mean REALLY like…. More of a I WANT kind of rugs…)

I may have shown this before, I don’t know, but I always admired it. It has some of the swirl, but mostly I think it is a complementary color scheme that would work well just about anywhere. Love it. It’s…. hard to explain but just know… I WANT IT. *laughs*

Now, this is one I hadn’t seen before! IT’S NEW!  What else is awesome? 100% wool! O.O New to me, machine made, but real wool. After my mind was blown about that I decided to chose it as well as one to show because you can definitely tell that this has a light Victorian feel to it. Just like that wall paper.  Or at least it did to me. (It also has a matching runner… again, mind blown!)

Anything else you would like to add as I go back and admire all her pictures? (Again, loved what she has done! Especially in apartments! Those are the hardest to do yet she pulls it off so well!)

Designer of the Week!~

This week, the designer is the lovely Sandra Korka!

Now, when I first started learning about her,  I immediately she would be interesting: she is contacting me from Greece! Now if that isn’t  fantastically awesome, keep reading. She was an absolute pleasure to write!

How did you start? 

Architecture is the beginning of arts (translation from Greek!), and that is her beginning! She studied Architecture and she absolutely loved it. She had fun while learning her studies, and since it is a broad field, there are a lot of aspects to it and it can be applied to many things.

With this, she chose to work on interior spaces: design and construct (new or old that need renovations). Now how is that for knowing the ins and outs of a business!

Anyway, she truly begins “right after the concrete structure of the building is finished. Then, all parts of the interior are formed and designed, working closely with the clients, as the end product should reflect their personalities, their needs, and requirements for their new spaces.” (Lovely to work with people that you just HAVE to use their wording! Love it! <3) She worded that perfectly and I could not have said it any better.

From there, she still works close with her clients but visiting stores, suppliers, etc. And after all the designing is done and the proper things ordered, the construction begins. She works with a very skilled and knowledgeable crew that she sees daily on the work site. Now, I just HAVE to quote her again (You can see the passion!). “It is up to the client to visit or not. I pay everyday visits on site to supervise the construction works process, as I have to make sure that the design, as well as every technical detail are absolutely followed. I pay very a lot of attention to construction details, as the details make the difference. I may have designed the most beautiful thing, but if it is not made according to the design or caring about finishes, joints, etc, then it does not mean anything and as a result, the client will not be happy. ”

She is there for every detail and every need. It is amazing to hear about and I absolutely love it.

And she doesn’t only deal from the very beginning, she helps with any and every space. Even designs small apartments! She can make any space a designed and beautiful space. Check out her blog, http://www.sandrakorka.blogspot.com/, it shows GREAT examples. Right now she is working on a project that if I talked about, this would be a LOT longer. *wink*

Favorite Design: 

“Contemporary modern. That is, nothing too extreme, simple forms and lines and earth tones that do not wear out by time.” This is her choice, and I see why she would chose it. “I do not always follow this style in my work, as I design a space focusing on the client,” she has told me. “The space [will] reflect the needs and wants of the client, who should be happy to use it and feel comfortable and relaxed.”

Tips and Advice: 

Since she is not a big fan of trends because they fade away after time, she always recommends to “keep simple colors on the basic pieces of furniture and play with the colors and the patterns of the parts that can be changed easily.” (Curtains, rugs, cushions, etc.) “That way, when changing these parts, the space looks brand new and this can do miracles to the psychology of the users of the space in question!” (Yes, that is her wording. Brilliant isn’t it?) She has also mentioned to keep wardrobes and room doors as light colored because they allow the room to breath. They are the bigger focuses and it may be easier to play with that way.

And the other great advice: Trust the person they have hired,” as they are trained and have the skills and experience, as well as know the market. They are on your side. They want to work with you, not against. And I would listen to that great advice. “I always, always, say at the very beginning that they should not listen to what others say, because others speak from their own perspective and with their own background and no matter their good will, things get messy and difficult!” Trust your instincts and that of the one your hired! Together, you will make something great! It is supposed to reflect you after all, not someone else.

My Say:

She DEFINITELY has passion and love for what she does!~ She apologized about how much she had said, and let me tell you, I LOVED every minute of it!  There are a lot I didn’t mention, but it is quite fantastic getting to know her!

Definitely look through her photos, they are amazing. The link to her blog is included somewhere above, and it is worth the visit! Contact her if you can. Definitely worth it.

PS!! She has not only done homes and offices, she has done STORE FRONTS. Like the set up of the store and everything! That is a first for me! And it is quite fantastic.

Blast from the Past

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you may recognize this entry. For those who haven’t, TADA! An idea so good I think it should be mentioned twice! *laughs*

But this time, I am recommending a different rug. … I think this matches so much more, especially in color and design. Just LOVE IT.

Anyways…

This original idea popped up while surfing Pinterest, a friend and I stumbled across a GREAT idea; using Scrapbook Paper and frame/use them to create a visually appealing and interesting decor to put on your wall!

LOVE IT!

(Idea links back to visualobsessions.blogspot.com/)

Interesting idea, right? Beautiful idea.

Well, trying to find some good ideas and such to use them (I mean, they’re beatiful, and have you looked in the scrapbooking aisle? There are a LOT of different choices that would look FANTASTIC) I found a rug on eSaleRugs that would look GREAT with this. Totally matches the theme and I think is just stunning:

Doesn’t it match beautifully? Here are some other photos so you can see some more designs.

Interesting rug for an interesting design idea.

I definitely want to try this!

I Feel…

Like a Pizza night!

Or to be even more picky, I want a Calzone. A scrumptious, delicious Calzone… (Drooling at the thought.)

I love the ones they have at Pizza Hut, but I don’t want to pay that much for just one when I should share with my husband and daughter as well. Then it hit me: MAKE THEM.

Now here is how I differ from most calzone recipes. I always believed in making with NO sauce in the middle, but rather dip the calzone in sauce.

Very hard to find a recipe with it.

But I found one that I like enough, and I say, you can do it either way. Cook it with sauce in it, or leave the sauce out and dip. Your choice.

(Found at www.5dollardinners.com)

Ingredients
1 cup water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp sugar
1 package yeast
1 cup spaghetti or pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
About 40 pepperonis
1 Tbsp olive oil
Couple shakes of garlic salt

Directions

Place the first 9 ingredients into bread machine on dough cycle. By hand instructions for pizza dough can be found here.

calzones 1 Pepperoni Calzones

1. Once the dough cycle is complete, place the dough on a clean, floured surface.

calzones 2 Pepperoni Calzones

2.Knead into a ball.

calzones 3 Pepperoni Calzones

3. Divide the dough into 2 balls.

calzones 4 Pepperoni Calzones

4. Further divide into 4 balls.

calzones 5 Pepperoni Calzones

5. And divide one more time into 8 little dough balls.  (From here, I took 2 of these dough balls and made them into 4, so that I could make “mini-calzones” for the boys.)

calzones 6 Pepperoni Calzones

6. Roll out the dough balls into rectangular-oval-ish shapes.  Place onto greased baking sheets.

calzones 7 Pepperoni Calzones

7.Place a few pepperonis onto one half of the dough.

calzones 8 Pepperoni Calzones

8. Top with some sauce, cheese and more pepperonis.

calzones 9 Pepperoni Calzones

9. Fold the other half over.

calzones 10 Pepperoni Calzones

10. Pinch the edges together.

calzones 11 Pepperoni Calzones

11. And mash the edges together with a fork.  (This step is not necessary, but I like to do it to prevent the sauce from leaking out!)

calzones 12 Pepperoni Calzones

12. Brush the top with olive oil.

calzones 13 Pepperoni Calzones

13. Sprinkle garlic salt on top.

calzones 14 Pepperoni Calzones

14. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Now, these are simple, but look delicious! Definitely worth a shot! I love how the www.5dollardinners.com site shows step by step. This makes it very useful.

Again, I cook without the sauce in, but feel free to put the sauce in like they did. It works either way.

Now, time to go munch!

Inspired Design

– More like things that were inspired by the Designer yesterday.

As you may know, I surf eSaleRugs a lot. I mean, A LOT. And something in this photo caught my eye:

Do you see it? (Besides all the books… I would love to have that many books….) Hint: Rugs.

Yes! The rug underneath the sofas and table! It looked strangely familiar to me. And I found out why. There are a lot of similar rugs to that on the eSaleRugs.com website! I believe the style is Heriz?

So I decided I would go looking on the site and see what I can find. Now, before I show you the rugs I found, I think this ties in as well, and it is just so much fun:

Anyways, I went a-hunting and here are some similar rugs I found:

I know they’re not exact, but you can see the similarities. What’s cool is that I would have never imagined them in that type of setting and that kind of decor. That actually opened up a new world for me design wise! Amazing what you can learn!

Now, this last one, I thought was just BEAUTIFUL. I mean, it’s literally a flower!

Designer of the Week!~

And, today, I have chosen for the Designer of the Week, the very first, will be:

Karolyn Stephenson of Town & Country Interiors!

Her Start: She graduated from Rutgers in New Jersey. She received a Bachelors of Science, and minors in the arts. But her passions ended up having her pursue the arts, and she had started her own decorative painting company Holland Brook Designs.

It was there her designer’s intuition started showing. She painted for many interior designers and found herself helping with design advice and assisting in the designing process.

She was then  hired as a design assistant by a graduate of NYSID (the New York School of Interior Design). She apprenticed with her until until the designer went on hiatus to raise a family.

She was then hired by Phyllis Patyk of Town and Country Interiors. Phyllis has experience of over 25 years! It was here that her sister Suzanne joined as well, and they both enjoyed working under Phyllis until she retired in 2008. And now, they are both  current owners of this firm!

Their Style: I believe this is best described by the designer herself: “Eclectic with traditional bones!” (Love it!)

“I love homes with personality, filled with well traveled acessories and a mix of modern and antique.

I feel each home should be a reflection of the client that has been rendered classic by our touch.”

And I couldn’t agree with her more!

Favorite Trends: Ethinic trend (because it really isn’t a trend at all!).

And here is a fun side note! Now, she talked about how well designed and traveled homes dating back to the early 1900’s (quoting her EXACT, she talks quite brilliantly!), there are ethnic influences.  She then mentioned Ikat and Chinoiserie.

Being me and my lack of good designer terms, I had to look these up. LOVE them!

First, Ikat. It is a very interesting design that I never knew had a name! I recognized it the INSTANT I looked it up. (Click on the word to have the definition.) And then I realized, she is ahead of the fashion curve, because it now is selling as well in clothes! anthropologie.com. This lady has good taste.

And she has similar taste to me. Here is the definition of Chinoiserie: a style in art (as in decoration) reflecting Chinese qualities or motifs; also : an object or decoration in this style.

Yes and YES! Love it! I have ALWAYS been that for Asian Inspired decor! Now ends my random side note.

With all that said, she says yes to Ikat and True Asian Antiques!

The advice she gave to me is that she hopes that people today enjoy trends in moderation. We need to really establish our own personal style by mixing periods and styles. Mix and match to find what says: YOU. (Or rather ME, depending on how you are wanting to phrase it.) No one wants to go into someone else’s home and see the same design, sofa, rugs, etc the same as their own. DARE TO BE DIFFERENT! 

And also, by using real antiques and not all new, it is a form of recycling. It’s good in the long run for the environment.

Now for more from me: I had such a good time talking to her! She is fun and such a nice person! And I LOVE the designs I saw on their site! (http://www.towncountryinteriors.net) So if you are int he right area for them, do contact her! I think you will not be disappointed!

And so, I will leave you with more photos, but definitely check our their site for more!