...because home doesn't happen overnight.

blue apron 11-6

I don’t know about you but after a sugar-filled weekend I’m ready for some homemade food. I recently made a butternut squash & caramelized fennel pizza that was a delicious, seasonal meal.

blue apron 11-8

Steve is away on an extended business trip so I signed up for another Blue Apron delivery. I tried Blue Apron for the first time earlier this year after Steve’s appendectomy and it was a lifesaver during that busy, stressful time. I knew it would come in equally handy during a week of single-parenting. Skipping a grocery trip with kids in favor of farm-fresh ingredients delivered right to my doorstep? I’ll take it! It’s a little ridiculous how excited I am to open the refrigerated box and read over the three yummy, chef-designed recipes for the week.

blue apron 11-1

The ingredients are pre-measured to avoid waste. Even the smallest amounts of herbs and spices are included. (You only need olive oil, salt and pepper on hand.) It’s pretty foolproof.

blue apron 11-2

I’ve said it before… cooking isn’t in my wheelhouse. I’m not like my mom. I can’t scan ingredients in my pantry and fridge then whip up a meal in minutes with little mental effort and lots of cheery humming. Cooking doesn’t come naturally to me that way. (I wish it did.) I need a plan of action. Thankfully, Blue Apron includes a detailed recipe card for each meal.

blue apron 11-4

My kids are little foodies and they enjoy helping me prepare meals. It’s fun to see them discover new foods. Confession: I had never cooked a fennel bulb before trying this recipe. Eek!

blue apron 11-3

I also learned a little more about goat cheese. Did you know goat cheese has only become a popular food in American cuisine within the last 30 years? Did you know that when a recipe calls for crumbled goat cheese, it’s best to buy it in log form and crumble it yourself? The log is creamier and less dry than the pre-crumbled bits. (A reader recently brought this to my attention.) Choosing a high quality goat cheese is a good idea, too.

Vermont Creamery supplied the goat cheese for this recipe. The dairy is located in Websterville, Vermont. Allison Hooper and Bob Reese invested $1,200 each to start the company in 1984. They hired Adeline Druart, a native French woman and cheese expert (naturally), as an intern originally then later promoted her to general manager. Allison’s son oversees Ayers Brook, a nearby farm that supplies the dairy with goat milk. I love hearing the stories behind businesses like this. And I like knowing where my food comes from. I’m so happy to know Blue Apron supports local businesses and farmers. You can learn more about Vermont Creamery and see how they make great goat cheese by watching the video above.

blue apron 11-7

Anyhow, the pizza was so good… and beautiful. Not being anything close to a chef, I would have never thought of combining these ingredients to make a rustic, autumnal dish. Two out of my three kids loved it. (One has aversions to onions and parmesan cheese so it was a no-go for him.) And, of course, I devoured it. The fennel-parsley salad and spiced honey drizzle were the perfect final toppings. The recipe claims the pizza serves three but we have half of it left over. I know what I’m eating for lunch this week! I am a total leftover dinner for lunch eater.

Are you interested in giving Blue Apron a try? The first 50 readers to sign up here will receive two free meals on their first order! Shipping is available to most of the country and it’s free. There’s no commitment and you can always skip or cancel your service at any time.

Happy eating!

*This post sponsored in part by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support this blog!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Linzy! She’s tackling a bathroom reno soon and is in need of lighting and hardware so this gift card should come in handy.

schoolhouse electric hardware 1

I’ve always loved the idea of adding special hardware to the Ikea vanity in the master bathroom, but it’s never been a necessity as the standard plastic pulls (mounted to the top of the drawers) functioned well. I was more than content waiting for the perfect handles to find me. And find me they did – just a few weeks ago in the form of the 11″ edgecliff pull from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. They were a bit of a splurge but they instantly brought the vanity’s level of sophistication up a notch. Totally worth the wait.

schoolhouse electric hardware 3

Installation was easy enough. Two screws per pull (which were included with the purchase) screwed into two pilot holes and that was it. (The new pulls are mounted 2½” from the top of each drawer.) The handles are quite substantial and feel hefty underhand. They’re one of the those subtle details that bring a sense of luxury to the space and they’re used so frequently that they really do make a regular, mundane task (opening a drawer) feel special.

I don’t think I’ll tire of the gray-brass combo anytime soon. And, yes!, you CAN mix finishes in a small bathroom! The brass pulls pick up on the gold vase and wall urchins but they don’t “match” the chrome finishes in the rest of the bathroom. THAT’S OKAY.

schoolhouse electric fall 2014-2

I love our new pulls so much that I asked Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. if they would be interested in a giveaway. They were kind enough to offer up a store credit! The timing couldn’t be better. The company just released their fall ’14 collection today. Like the rest of the inventory, the new items blend seamlessly with traditional or modern décor and the quality is superb.

schoolhouse electric fall 2014

sources: metal hoop stand // round brass tray // brass rail // Jack loveseat in nubby tweed

I’ve got my eye on the metal hoop stand. Even though we converted the original wood-burning fireplace to gas in the living room, I like the idea of displaying stacked split logs for an organic vibe.

See anything you like? Check out the full collection here and keep reading to enter to win a $100 gift certificate!

PRIZE: one $100 gift certificate to Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “SCHOOL ME!” and let me know which item(s) you would put the $100 toward.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the continental U.S. One entry per email address.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 21st. One random winner will be announced Monday, September 22nd.

Good luck!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3 & 4) Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

09.08.14 / Arhaus Giveaway!

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.*

Congrats to Leslie! She’s got her eye on the Wordsmith for her modest midcentury den.

arhaus interior 1

Today’s giveaway comes from the kind folks at Arhaus. By combining their passion for design with a focus on quality and a commitment to sustainability, it’s easy to see why the company has been furnishing interiors for more than 25 years. I was invited to visit a local brick and mortar store (near the Dayton Mall in Dayton, Ohio) to scout potential prizes for the giveaway. Not only did I find a slew of amazing pieces, the store itself was an inspiring display of texture and warmth. Here are a few of the standouts.

arhaus den 1

I fell hard for this particular setup. It reminded me of a cozy den with its dark walls, warm wood tones and layered textures.

arhaus den 2

The outside corner of the sectional was softened by a glittery, floor-to-ceiling chain chandelier. If executed well, an inspired DIY version could be great in an open living space to delineate a casual seating area without blocking the view.

arhaus den 3

“Chandelier” and “Fancy” wouldn’t stop playing on the little radio in my head.

arhaus pouf

The store had a good mix of high and low. I was surprised! I guess I’ve always thought of Arhaus as a high-end retailer and assumed they only offered big, incredibly expensive items. This navy and white round pouf proved me wrong. It was less than $200.

arhaus knot pillow

arhaus felt pillow

There were loads of pillows with textures that made me want to rub my hands all over them. (I suppressed the urge.)

arhaus deer heads

These wood deer heads caught my eye, too. You know I’m a sucker for anything with antlers.

arhaus fabric wall

I even had a moment with the fabric sample wall. It was like a muted rainbow and the golds and rusts made me ache for fall. But then I stumbled upon a trifecta of comfy leather chairs and that’s all she wrote.

arhaus alex leather sandalwood recliner

I found this cushy recliner first. I love that it looks like an unassuming club chair in the upright position. The slender arms are so much better than the oversized puffy or rounded ones you typically see on recliners. Hello, Midwest. I hear you. You want to have your cake and eat it (in a good-looking AND comfortable chair with your feet elevated) too.

arhaus wordsmith leather recliner

Next I found this handsomeness with its perfectly patinaed leather and sleek wood frame. The funny thing is I had no idea it was a recliner until I took a picture of the tag for reference and realized it said RECLINER. Mind. Blown. Yes, indeedy, this is a real recliner. Your display screen isn’t playing tricks on you.

arhaus kerouac leather chair

And, lastly, there’s this understated beauty. Okay, so it isn’t a recliner but it is a hand-crafted statement piece with a midcentury modern vibe. For kicks, I sat in each of the chairs. They’re all comfortable!

I found many other great pieces at Arhaus but a post can only be so long before people start falling asleep and brains explode so I’ll stop here. So what’s up for grabs today? Lucky for you, Arhaus is graciously offering up one of the three leather chairs just mentioned! The choice is yours. See entry details below.

PRIZE: a choice of one of the following: the Alex leather sandalwood recliner (retail value $2,999) OR the Wordsmith leather recliner (retail value $2,099) OR the Kerouac leather chair (retail value $2,399). Prize is non-refundable, non-exchangeable. Prize cannot be exchanged for cash.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “ARHAUS IN MY HAUS!” and let me know which chair you would choose if you won.

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 14th. One random winner will be announced Monday, September 15th.

Good luck!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

*THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.”

Congrats to Brenda who likes to shred then freeze her zucchini surplus in 2-cup increments. So clever!

zucchini pie 1

My dad gave me four 5+ lb. zucchini from his garden last week. They were HUGE. (I’ve shown a 12″ ruler for scale.) We like zucchini and all but, seriously, what does one do with >20 lbs. of it?! I did the only logical thing I could think of. I called my grandma. She has a killer recipe for zucchini pie and it tastes just like apple pie, if not better. In fact, the first time she serves it to you, she tells you it’s apple pie. Only after you scarf it down and go on and on about how good it is does she reveal the secret ingredient – zucchini! Keep reading for the recipe.

zucchini pie 2

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT APPLE PIE! (a.k.a. ZUCCHINI PIE …but don’t tell anyone that part)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

4 c. peeled, deseeded, sliced zucchini (sliced smaller than shown above…that’s just a pretty picture ;) ) *For a softer filling, precook the zucchini. We like ours firm so I didn’t cook the zucchini first.*

2 T. lemon juice

dash of salt

In a large bowl, mix zucchini, lemon juice and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the following ingredients:

1½ c. sugar

1½ t. cinnamon

1½ t. cream of tartar

3 T. flour

dash of nutmeg

Mix well then pour the sugar mixture over the zucchini. Toss to coat. Pour zucchini filling into a 9″ pie crust. (My grandma says she “cheats” and uses the refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts. So I cheated, too, because if it’s good enough for my grandma, it’s good enough for me. Also, I had TWENTY POUNDS of zucchini to peel and slice. No time for pie crust made from scratch. You will need two crusts – one for the bottom and one for the top.) Dot with butter. Cover with top crust then pinch bottom and top crust edges together. Use a fork to vent the top crust. Or knock yourself out and make an intricate lattice top crust or something equally fancy that totally intimidates me.

Bake at 400°F for 40 minutes or until golden brown. (After 15-20 minutes of bake time, cover the edges of the pie crust with foil and continue baking.) The good news is even if it tastes bad, your house is going to smell amazing. But, don’t worry, it’s going to taste so good.

zucchini pie 3

That, my friends, is the very first pie I have ever made. And it probably doesn’t even qualify because I used pre-made crusts. Whatever. My family and friends loved it.

zucchini pie 4

I served it with creamy vanilla ice cream. Obviously, this isn’t a healthy recipe. The only “good” thing in the pie is the zucchini but I’m not sure how good it is once you smother it in sugar.

Anyway.

Maybe you have 20 lbs. of zucchini lying around and don’t know what to do with it? Maybe you wanna trick your loved ones with a little apple zucchini pie? You’re welcome.

I ended up getting 3-4 pie fillings out of each zucchini. That’s 12-16 pies! Luckily, my grandma said I could freeze the filling. (Just be sure to blanch the zucchini before freezing.) I baked two then put the rest in the freezer. If you invite me to your house in the near future, chances are good that I will arrive at your doorstep with a zucchini pie in hand.

gowanus boards

In celebration of this monumental event (my first pie!), Gowanus Furniture Co. is graciously offering up a set of cheese boards. Gowanus Furniture Co. was founded in 2011 by an Eagle Scout who believes that “we can have well-designed, locally-made products that are a good value and will last through successive moves to new homes.” Based in Brooklyn, the company is especially focused on small space living and produces sink-top and stovetop cutting boards to take advantage of unused space. The boards can also be hung on the wall with included hardware. But the boards aren’t just useful. There’s a sense of humor behind certain pieces and morse code monograms are always an option. Personally, I have a fondness for things with a hidden sense of humor…my grandma’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Apple Pie recipe being one of them.

Feeling lucky? See entry details below.

PRIZE: one president long cheese board + one grilled cheese cutting board ($92 retail value)

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) in the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “HUMOR ME!”

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, August 17th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, August 18th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Use the discount code “housetweaking14″ to score 10% off Gowanus Furniture Co. purchases throughout the month of August.

This post is NOT sponsored. I support quality small businesses and encourage you to do the same. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking