...because home doesn't happen overnight.


Congrats to Megan! She’s going to use Cook Smarts and her Whole Foods gift card to whip up a vegetarian dish for her family.

cooksmarts 1

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m not particularly fond of cooking. My biggest tiff with the whole process is coming up with ideas for meals and organizing grocery lists. But as much as I detest it, meal planning really does make a difference in how well our weeknights go – especially during the school year. Enter Cook Smarts.

weekly meal plan

Cook Smarts takes the guesswork out of meal planning. Their weekly meal plans include four balanced dinners to save time and money and bring you out of the dreaded dinner rut.

paleo option

Steve has been eating paleo most of the time for the last six months so, by default, the rest of us have been, too. Each Cook Smarts recipe can be customized to a gluten-free, paleo or vegetarian version. Needless to say, this is a huge and practical benefit to me and my family. Once customized, you can print / email the meal plans and create grocery lists with the click of a mouse. Done!

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The kids and I are out of town this week and next. Right before we left, I threw together an early Father’s Day meal since we won’t return until the day before the actual holiday. Seeing as how I’m barely functioning a day after making the 16-hour drive with three kids, I’m guessing I won’t be in any condition to entertain when I return home. (In case you’re wondering, the total sleep time for the entire drive for all three kids was…wait for it…50 minutes. And it was broken up at that. Gotta love road trips with kids!) I searched the recipe archives and decided to try the chipotle burger recipe.

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It isn’t a Father’s Day meal without some grilling action! If you need to brush up on your grilling skills, Cook Smarts offers short how-to and prep videos which teach basic cooking skills to boost your cooking confidence.

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I topped the chipotle burgers with homemade guacamole and served them with sweet potato fries, steamed broccoli and our favorite pasta salad from a local gourmet deli. Since we were entertaining extended family members who don’t follow a paleo diet, I didn’t customize this particular recipe.

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The burgers were so good! They had a bit of a smoky bite to them that was tempered by the guac. I will definitely be making these burgers again!

i made this recipe

To keep a running list of the recipes we try, I click the “I made this” button at the bottom of each recipe.

favorited recipe

To denote favorites, I click the button above the dish’s photo. And just like that, everything is organized for me. It really is a smart setup. For a more in-depth guided tour of the site, click here. Who knows? Maybe cooking in the kitchen could eventually become my happy place??

jess at cook smarts

As easy as Cook Smarts makes it to live smarter, happier and simpler in the kitchen (I find cooking isn’t as awful when I have a plan of attack) what really inspires me is the story behind the business. The website was founded by Jess Dang who, after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C at the age of 17, made a promise to herself. If she lived to see 30, she would do something that would help others lead a healthier life because she knew first-hand how much “it sucked to feel unhealthy and helpless.” Jess is now 32 and Cook Smarts is 2. Some people become complete victims and wallow in self-pity whenever problems arise in life. But those who choose to make the most of their situation by helping others are extraordinary and inspiring. That is exactly what Jess is to me and I support her mission whole-heartedly.

Are you ready to try Cook Smarts for yourself? Great! You can sign up for free and receive 3 free meal plans to sample. Subscription plans start as low as $6/month or roughly $0.40 per meal. To help you out, Cook Smarts is giving away $250 in groceries! See entry details below.

PRIZE: $250 gift card to Whole Foods plus a Cook Smarts tote bag

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

TO ENTER: Sign up for a free Cook Smarts account here. Then check out the recipe archives and comment on this post sharing the meal you’d most like to try.

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, June 8th at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, June 9th.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Use the discount code “HTCOOKS” to receive 30% off your first meal plan payment. Offer expires June 10th, 2014. A subscription to Cook Smarts would make a great graduation or wedding gift this summer.

Eat healthy, stay healthy!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking; image of Jess Dang via Cook Smarts


Congrats to Jen who loves the Back Alley Table and thinks it will be perfect for her kitchen!

I am so excited to host this giveaway and introduce you to Seed Furniture! The L.A.-based furniture company not only creates beautiful pieces but also focuses on sustainability, craftsmanship and innovation.

seed furniture

*design – the company successfully mixes a midcentury modern aesthetic with rustic and contemporary styles. The resulting designs are timeless, putting the word “forever” in forever furniture.

*sustainability – the company utilizes FSC certified wood and soy-based, formaldehyde-free glue. Much of the hardwood comes from a stockpile in New Jersey formed from the cleanup efforts following Hurricane Sandy.

*craftsmanship – each piece is custom made-to-order by local artisans and workers. That’s right. All items are made right here in the USA.

*innovation – all finishes are non-toxic and contain no VOC’s. Wood is finished with a combination of bees wax + walnut oil. Lacquer finishes are composed of Mythic Paint and Smart-Coat.

And you know how much I despise unsightly electrical cords, right? Well, Seed Furniture implements these crazy cool power portals which contain electronic outlets and USB hubs strategically built into their media pieces. No ugly dangling cords!

seed furniture power portals


(Note the clever cup holders, too.)


seed bed

Seed furniture is the epitome of form meets function. Practical storage is beautifully disguised. Coming from a modestly-sized home, I fully appreciate the usefulness and beauty of these pieces.

Seen enough? I hope not. Because you might just be the lucky winner of a credit to Seed Furniture! See entry details below.

PRIZE: $2,000 (yep, that’s three zeros!) credit to Seed Furniture. (A $150 shipping credit is also included with the prize.)

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.

TO ENTER: Check out Seed Furniture’s selection by clicking here. Enter your email address then browse their amazing selection. Share your favorite piece in the comments section of this post and tell me where you would put it.

DEADLINE: Enter before 12:00 p.m. EST on Monday, April 21st. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, April 22nd.

BUT, WAIT!, THERE’S MORE: Use the code “TWEAKING” at checkout to score 30% 40% off any piece until Monday, April 28th.

Best of luck!

images: Seed Furniture


Congrats to Mike who also takes home the Best Husband of the Year Award with this win!

laundry hamper 1

Funny story.

Do you recall the double hamper from last week’s linen closet post? Well, when I originally placed my order for the hamper, it was on backorder. No problem. I could wait. I wasn’t in a hurry. A few weeks later, I received an email stating it was available and had shipped. Then two hampers arrived at my doorstep. Weird, right? I called up West Elm’s customer service and they checked into things. I wasn’t charged for the second hamper but they apologized for the mix-up and said to keep the extra hamper on their dime. That was nice and all but the thing is, I don’t need the extra hamper.

But I thought you might.

laundry hamper 3

As far as hampers go, it’s pretty handsome. Mine stays in a closet until laundry day but it’s so good-looking that you could stash it out in the open in a large bathroom or a corner of a bedroom if you wanted. I love that it’s made from eco-friendly materials: bamboo + recycled plastic. It’s a double hamper measuring 22″ w x 20″ d x 26″ h and there’s a side for darks and a side for lights.

laundry hamper 2

The whole thing folds up easily for transporting it to the laundry room. The fabric hamper can be removed from the wood base. If you don’t have a washer / dryer on site (or maybe you’re remodeling your laundry area?!), you can throw the “bag” in your car to take it to the laundromat or your folks’ house or wherever you’re doing your laundry these days.

Wanna try it for yourself? Great! Maybe you will win my extra. See entry details below.

PRIZE: one double bamboo laundry hamper from West Elm (retail value $59, now on sale for $47) Shipping’s on me.

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

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

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, March 23rd at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, March 24th.

Good luck! (And you’re welcome for the visual of laundry day at my house, sweatshirt and all. UPDATE: I am that short. But in my defense, the countertop is mounted above the height of the washer / dryer so it’s quite a bit higher than your standard countertop.) This post is not sponsored just thought I’d share my love of organization.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


Congrats to Maria Rose! She’s all for the black version of the Barcelona chair.

Rove Concepts is your source for high quality, luxury furnishings and is a longtime supporter of House*Tweaking. The modern furniture company is graciously offering up one of their Barcelona chairs for today’s giveaway!

barcelona chair giveaway

Fancy, no? To enter, see details below.

PRIZE: one Barcelona chair in black or white courtesy of Rove Concepts (retail value $1,195)

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old. One entry per email address. This giveaway is open to international entrants! (No P.O. boxes please.)

TO ENTER: Leave a comment on this post proclaiming “Barcelona or bust!”

DEADLINE: Enter before Sunday, February 23rd at 9:00 p.m. EST. One random winner will be announced Monday, February 24th.

Thank you for supporting the companies that sponsor this blog. Best of luck!

images: collage by Dana Miller, Rove Concept images