Winter veggie breakfast - baked eggs in spaghetti squash

2.29.2016

I love getting veggies into my breakfasts, and I've been working on getting a balance of carbs, fat, and protein in all of my meals. So this weekend after I picked up these two cute small spaghetti squash, I came up with this perfect breakfast or brunch recipe featuring this winter veggie and baked eggs, which are so good but I don't often think to make! You could use whatever fave ingredients you have on hand to mix up the flavors, but this is a very basic herbed spaghetti squash with breakfast classics eggs and bacon. A great grain-free, gluten-free, Paleo, macronutrient-balanced breakfast!

Baked Eggs in Spaghetti Squash


Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbsp grassfed butter
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more for top)
  • Generous grind of black pepper (plus more for top)
  • 4-8 eggs

    Instructions:


    1. Cut ends of spaghetti squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Bake or microwave spaghetti squash until soft (depending on size, approximately 45 minutes in 350 degree oven or 8-12 minutes in microwave).
    2. Let squash cool 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Scrape squash out of shells and squeeze excess water out into a bowl. (SO much water comes out! Really helps to do this step for texture in the dish. You can save the juice to add to a soup for some extra vitamin C if you like!)
    3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    4. Add butter and spices to squeezed squash and mix. 
    5. Scoop 1 cup of squash mixture into each small squash half or, if using large squash or if you want smaller servings, scoop 2/3-3/4 cup of it into ramekins. Press squash into bowl shape to make room for eggs in the middle.
    6. Put 2 eggs in the center of small squash bowls, or 1 egg in each ramekin. Sprinkle with more sea salt and pepper.
    7. Bake for 20-30 minutes (smaller servings will be done faster). (Bonus--you can also put some bacon in another dish and bake for the same amount of time for perfect baked bacon! Very efficient breakfast!)

    Serve hot with breakfast meat of choice--this is some of the bacon from our last hog share! This dish would also be good with some arugula and leftover chicken or burger patty. =)

    Would also be great with a Mexican flavor--serve with chorizo and put salsa and avocado on top?? Or, green onion and Parmesan or goat cheese for a different flavor!

    Bedroom makeover! Bright & light, with vintage dresser, DIYs, and beautiful new bedding

    2.24.2016

    I've been working a lot this fall and winter on loving my home just the way it is and making small improvements that make me even more happy in it. I've always loved bedrooms, bedding, and comfortable decor more than decor for any other room, and our bedroom had become a little stale and no longer expressed my style, so I knew I would need to update it soon!

    I've been working on some upgrades to our bedroom since around Christmas when I bought this beautiful vintage dresser, swapped out our lamps, and traded out our matching painted nightstands for another DIY and a vintage one. But this past weekend, I completed the makeover with some more re-arranging and repurposing plus some beautiful new bedding from Garnet Hill! (They provided me some of their new spring bedding in exchange for my review.)

    Our bedroom has gone through several changes since we moved in to our new townhome a few years back, but for the most part it's looked a lot like this. Pastels, soft shapes, vintage shiny painted matching nightstands, matching white lamps... it was a little too girly and delicate for me now (although I do still absolutely love this DIY painting I did). I'd played with several different art pieces and DIYs above the bed, actually (the black/white windowpane ribbon canvases, the gold initials), but I keep going back to the gold 60's-ey sunburst mirror. As you'll see from other "before"s, the room was much darker with darker curtains and bedding, no matter what pretty pillows and art I put with the bed. So this time I realized I needed to do something more drastic, and I switched out our very dark grey curtains for lighter grey linen-ey weave ones, and switches the bedding to almost all white.

    I've decided I like the mismatch nightstand look for now--and this DIY Ikea Rast dresser paint job we did has served us very well and I love it in our room now instead of our guest room.

    I also moved this DIY chair refinishing/reupholstery project from the office into our room. I love the bit of bright colors it adds!

    Back on the opposite wall... I totally redid the top of my dresser. I love the vintage dresser I recently bought when I sold our big black Ikea Malm! Plus, adding the plants brightens up a previously unused corner.

    Back to the bedding... aaaaah, bedding. How I love it. And yet, I usually make do with some funky thing because we have a queen bed and I don't like how full/queen comforters are really just too small for queens! So for years we've used a king size comforter, turned sideways and tucked in at the bottom of  the bed. It means you can't use patterned comforter covers unless you don't mind the pattern going sideways. It's just not a perfect solution. So it was such a treat to get this white paisley matelassé coverlet and shams--generous queen size, heavy, nice quality cotton, fresh pattern and yet totally classic style. I know it will be so versatile for this and other bedroom decor looks. It would look great with neutrals or antique furniture, too (maybe someday I'll do that look)--and with the brights I chose for this makeover!

    Since this weekend when I did the redecorating, I've felt so in love with our room!

    Sources & DIYs:


    • White paisley matelassé coverlet and shams: c/o Garnet Hill
    • Pink Mexican serape: thrifted, but available here
    • Tufted headboard: DIY
    • Sunburst mirror: Target (similar)
    • Gold task lamps: Target
    • Brown/white painted Ikea Rast dresser: DIY
    • LOVE print: MadeByGirl
    • Vintage school chair with bright striped seat: DIY
    • Grey curtains: Ikea, dyed grey
    • White sheer curtains: Ikea
    • Vintage low dresser: Craigslist
    • Vintage turquoise lamp: thrifted
    • Beveled edge mirror: Target
    • Tall jewelry stands: DIY


    Shop the post for the items still available! Check out the Garnet Hill bedding here.



    Thanks to Garnet Hill for providing me the coverlet and shams!

    Perfect floral print wrap dress

    2.17.2016

    I've been wishing for a floral like this for a long time!!

    I've admired long floral maxi dresses in dark colors this year and last, and wanted to make myself something similar... but the knit fabric selection at fabric stores is so limited and I never saw something I liked. Girl Charlee Fabrics has quite possibly every knit print ever made (and some great wovens, too) and when I scrolled through their selection I found this beautiful black floral/leaf-ey print that I thought would be perfect for a dramatic maxi wrap dress! Girl Charlee sent me this lovely fabric, plus a PDF of the Magnolia Wrap Dress by Seamingly Smitten.

    The Magnolia Wrap Dress pattern was quite possibly the easiest dress pattern I have ever used. (I altered it, by the way--I made it full length, made it slightly lower cut than called for, and tapered the long sleeves so they were fitted.) I was a little intimidated before I cut the dress out, since I don't think I've ever made a wrap dress before and it was a lot of fabric (though I think I used only 3.5-4 yards since it was super wide). But the PDF pattern has only TWO pieces--the bodice back/front left/front right and the sleeve. You do simple cutting and measuring to make each side overlap.

    I was a little worried the skirt might not be full enough somehow (I just extended the line of the shorter lengths offered in the pattern) but it's actually PERFECT! It's so comfortable and provides a perfect amount of coverage for my legs while walking.

    Not including cutting time, I think it only took me about 3 hours to make the whole thing! The instructions were so simple and it's a knit so it was forgiving--it was really fast and fun to put together! Also, I think it works for practically any season, don't you? It feels springy but could also work for fall.

    Pattern: Magnolia Wrap Dress by Seamingly Smitten
    Modifications:

    • Made full length (I measured my skirt length from my waist and lined up measurement with the narrowest point in the dress (waist))
    • Tapered long sleeves to fitted
    • Cut down neckline slightly for a deeper V
    • Used binding on sleeve ends rather than hemming (they were a tad too short before hemming)

    Thanks to Girl Charlee for providing me the fabric and PDF pattern!

    Our vacation reset routine

    2.10.2016

    We had an amazing mini-vacation to the Oregon coast this past weekend. It was only two days, but I'm still on vacation high!

    It was only two days, but it was just what we needed and we got incredibly lucky with 75 degree weather with full sun and no wind. Husband and I have been taking little trips to the coast since we started dating almost 12 years ago... and we have a pretty good routine figured out. We've never had much money to spend (though of course our lodgings and meals have gotten a little nicer over the years), and we usually just take one or two nights, and we usually go to the same few towns (though we've now added Central Oregon to our list of options)... but I realized this time around we have the perfect formula for these great little reset trips that get us in great moods and energized for our daily lives!

    Let me tell you about it--while I show you a few things from our super awesome trip!

    (I even made a shirt for the occasion.)

    Our mini-vacation reset routine!


    Our formula for a relaxing, fun, energizing, affordable vacation almost always includes the following elements...

    1. Taking a day off. We get much better deals on hotels by going sometime random, like a Sunday through Monday! And, it helps to make it feel like a vacation and be less stressful to still have a normal weekend day before or after, before going back to work.

    So, on Monday morning I woke up to this view and the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs. A stark contrast to my usual rainy, dark winter morning commute.

    In fact, our hotel had a tiny window next to the huge sliding doors to the patio, so we slept with it open and soft ocean sounds all night. It was bliss.

    2. Go somewhere you love--but also somewhere new. Neither of us had been to Newport in our memory, so we added that destination and got to learn about some new places! For example, we walked around the funky Newport Bay area and the shops on on Bay Street, and saw tons of sea lions resting (and fighting and barking) on the docks below! We got to see the bay later in the day before eating (and watching the Super Bowl--because I accidentally planned our trip during it) at what is apparently the headquarters of Rogue Ales, and learned about its connection to Mohava Niemi, founder of Mo’s Restaurants (you know Mo's if you know the Oregon coast)!

    3. Morning reading time. We loooove doing this. We bring books and have sometimes read and hung out for a couple of hours! Sometimes the hotel has a space conducive to this (like the Adrift Hotel lobby as seen here), but really also love looking up and checking out cool local coffee shops. I so rarely have time to read as much as I'd like, so a quiet vacation morning is the perfect time.

    Husband does get a little embarrassed when I pull out the camera and take several pictures of him in public, though. ;)

    After that we drove down the coast and stopped at this viewpoint--I wish you could hear the waves, it was amazing!

    4. Find funky restaurants and bookstores. On Monday we walked around the historic Nye Beach area of Newport. Great vibe here!

    We love visiting friendly used bookstores and checking out local lunch spots.

    (Side note: that teal building upper left is the Sylvia Beach Hotel, where each of the rooms is decorated and named for an author. I stayed there with my parents when I was a kid a couple times, including in the Dr. Seuss room!)

    We found a great lunch place with lots of gluten-free options and locally sourced, hormone free grassfed meat and fresh seafood. I had these local wild-caught albacore tacos with apple red pepper cabbage slaw and fresh guac. (I didn't eat the beans and the corn tortillas were quite the treat but this was delicious!!!)

    Aah, the small town funky bookstore. Can you smell the books?

    Yes, there are more books for sale in what used to be a kitchen for whatever the building was many, many years ago. (How old is that stove??!)

    5. Walk! Hike! Get tired! Thanks to the beyond gorgeous weather, we were extra motivated to get out and enjoy it for longer, but regardless--we love finding new hikes or even just taking long walks. It feels so good to move your legs after sitting in the car for a couple hours the day before, and it's a great way to relax just talking and taking a look around. (Also a good way to move--do yoga and handstands on the beach).

    At the end of our trip this weekend we went to Devil's Punchbowl State Natural Area, a "punchbowl" of sea caves with no roof where waves splash at high tide and you can explore tidepools at low tide. 

    We walked barefoot for an hour and a half in the heat and sun on this gorgeous afternoon, just listening to the waves, observing the patterns in the sand, and talking about things. (Barefoot walking is so fun for me! And Katy Bowman would approve if my feet are strong enough.)

    After that we had to go home and get things ready for our (now short) week. But we felt so HAPPY and refreshed from our day off--it's not so bad!


    We have other coast and Oregon recommendations--see our trips to good ol' SeasideAstoria on a very cold winter weekend; Adrift Hotel here, here, and here; and recent trips to Bend and Smith Rock in Central Oregon!

    12 ways to love your home (almost) just the way it is!

    2.05.2016

    I've been thinking about this post for a long time!

    Back last fall when we decided not to sell our home, I started giving a lot of thought to what really makes me feel good in a home. We looked at so many of houses for sale, and eventually after changing our search parameters when we couldn't find what we really wanted, we realized--our home is (or can be) just as good as or better than all these!! With a few changes, we realized we could make our home perfect for us--and we could be really grateful for what we have.

    We've made some small changes around the house since then, most of them free or very affordable, and we've started taking care of a few things that we had stopped maintaining. It feels much better to be take care and pride in our home! (When we thought we were moving, we stopped doing things like organizing the garage since we figured it wouldn't matter soon!)

    12 ways to love your home (almost) just the way it is! (and why?)


    I realize this goal of taking good care of something that's important to me is very in-tune with my blog's new name and mission. To me, "Create/Enjoy" means enjoying my time at home and feeling relaxed in the space/with the things I've created! I've spent so much time decorating my home, now I ought to enjoy it!

    This goal reminds me of another passion of mine--self-love and body acceptance. My biggest inspiration in this front is Molly Galbraith, who shared an amazing 28-day Love Your Body Challenge (do the 7-day version here!) and runs Girls Gone Strong, which is full of articles and inspiration for training and health (and attitude). Some of my favorite body/self positivity messages from Molly are here--just put "home" instead of "self" or "body" and they totally make sense for this goal!

    • "You can love your body right now, while wanting it to look or perform differently."
    • "I am perfect just as I am. And I could use a little improvement."
    • "If you don't love your body, where the heck else are you gonna live?"

    They say the home reflects the self. So, since deciding to stay put, I've resolved to make my home and myself more positive! Here are 12 ways I've done it.

    12 things you can do to make your home better!


    1. Clean it. I'm not the greatest at cleaning but I'm learning, and it's amazing how much better I feel when the bathroom mirror and counter are clean. Or the stove--oh, the stove. Getting into a cleaning routine and getting used to having things clean have been really nice!
    2. Clean out/up medicine cabinet. How often do people clean those out?!? I had stuff in there from, literally high school. One Saturday morning husband and I went through everything and got rid of a bunch of unused stuff, making room for some things that had been on the counters.
    3. Move art around. As I shared earlier this week, we recently swapped the living room and dining room art and curtains and it transformed the spaces! Redecorating for free!
    4. Fresh paint in a small room. I actually used a combination of grey and white paints we already had to repaint our half bath from a very dark color (to get the same color family as the other greys in our home, just a lighter/medium shade). Changing that bathroom, since it had been a very strong statement, made such a difference! Every time I walked by it I felt happy for a few weeks.
    5. Fix broken things. We lived with our freezer leaking water occasionally for way too long. Somehow finding the time to call the appliance place, schedule a time, and commit to paying the repairman felt like a huge mountain to climb. But once I did it, I felt responsible and good about myself, and of course the freezer stopped leaking. (If you're a renter, it's even easier and cheaper to get things fixed, of course!) 
    6. Have a dinner party. We feel so good about our home when we fill it with friends and conversations. Over the holidays when we had several couples over we crammed into our dining room and hung out casually in the kitchen and living room too, and it made us so grateful to have a home that could (creatively) accommodate people we want to spend time with. Great way to feel good about what you have, using it for a purpose like that!
    7. Find something new in your neighborhood. We love taking walks, but we usually go to the same places. Exploring new parks that are just a little farther away or finding a new restaurant has been really fun for us and made us glad to live where we do!
    8. Buy organizers. You can't go overboard on this one because I swear stores like The Container Store are just selling an idea of an organized life (Liz Lemon's "I'm going to become wonderful!" when she buys all those containers...)... but sometimes you actually do need some tools to keep things sorted. 
    9. Trade out small, inexpensive items. I recently traded out our nightstands, which felt a little too formal and frilly, for a tiny dresser we had in another room and a nightstand a friend had had for a while. That and trading out the blanket at the end of the bed made our bedroom feel fresh and new!
    10. Finally order the hanging file frames. Okay, maybe it's just me. We had a file cabinet with no file frames so the green file holder things just flopped around. I never knew exactly what they were called so I procrastinated... then I finally tried to find them and ordered them (less than $9 on Amazon) and then filing things instead of leaving them on the desk was so much easier. Easy fix!!
    11. Take care of the houseplants. Houseplants are great! But having sad-looking ones around the house makes me feel sad that I can't even keep plants alive and thriving. We recently added soil to some of them and staked a couple others, and they're doing better. Simple maintenance tasks like that are important!
    12. (Okay, I haven't done this one yet, it's on my list) More major improvements. I keep moving the calendar appointment with the measurements in it to next Saturday, then next Saturday, and so on... I want to buy a cabinet for above our washer and dryer. I want to find one at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and they're only open 8-5 and Saturdays so I have to go some Saturday. But that's one of the last functional things about the house I want to change--cabinets there for storage instead of the wimpy wire shelf. It won't cost too much and is totally feasible to install ourselves, just gotta do it! 

    Some more photos from the art and curtain redecorating swap. A different space!

    What are some simple ways you make your home feel more personalized and special, or to feel grateful for it?

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