MCM Credenza Refresh

I’ve recently discovered that I really like the MCM style of furniture and home decor. I think it’s the clean lines and somewhat retro vibe that I love so much. Luckily, our house was built in 1968 and fits squarely in the MCM era.

Slowly, Dan and I have been collecting MCM pieces – some originals, like this coffee table (which we finally re-did – more to come on it in a later post), and some that just look like it would be from the era, like the blue velvet side chair in our living room. We inherited my grandparents’ sidebar a few weeks ago, and eagerly put it in place in our dining room.

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A gorgeous vintage piece, but on further inspection, I noticed it had some dings that showed its age. I it had a few too many encounters with a vacuum. To spiff it up a bit, Dan and I decided to try our hand at updating the piece. I’ve seen furniture from the 70’s partially painted on many blogs and on pinterest, and I thought some bright white paint would really bring new life to it.

We decided to paint only the legs and the cutout in the doors. These were the parts of the sidebar that showed the most wear. White paint should fix that right up! I sanded the surfaces we wanted to paint (so the paint would stick better) and Dan taped the sidebar so he could use spray paint. The doors had to be removed and painted by hand.

After three coats a piece, Dan sprayed sealer on the sidebar legs, just because we knew they would get bumped and didn’t want them to chip. We let the sealer cure for the recommended time period (it said it on the can), and then we put this beauty in its spot.

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I haven’t had time to style it, but I think our small update was a great improvement. I love that this piece was from my grandparents’ house, where I spent a lot of time as a kid. The update makes it feel more like our style, and brought it into this decade. We made it our own, while preserving the piece itself.

We thought about painting the drawers, painting/changing the hardware, or maybe painting a stripe or two, but I think we’ll take a wait and see approach on that. We started with the “less is more” concept, but we can easily paint the drawers later if it strikes our fancy. What do you think? Stripes? No stripes? Something completely different? And while we’re at it, how would you decorate the piece? All comments/advice welcome.

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles

My oh my. My birthday came and went last weekend, which meant eating my favorite (fatty) foods. In excess. It was great.

Last night, I knew I needed to make a healthy meal to get myself back on the track to eating well. I had some zucchini I needed to use and I had made some pasta sauce last week, so I decided to make baked chicken parmesan and serve it over zucchini “noodles.”

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I know, zucchini “noodles” are not real pasta noodles. They don’t taste the same, like at all. You have to go into this knowing that and having the mindset that you’re having a side of veggies, not a side of pasta, with your meal.

I used Skinnytaste’s recipe for baked chicken parmesan. It was really good. The chicken was juicy, and the flavors were great.

For the zoodles, I looked at a few different recipes, and most served the zucchini raw. I didn’t think that would taste right, plus, the zucchini would have been cold since they had just come from the fridge. I decided to cook them just a little bit, so they would be warm, but not too long that they would become mushy. I heated up a wok, added a teeny bit of olive oil, then added the spiralized zucchini, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. I cooked them for only a few minutes, being sure to stir them and get some of their moisture out. At the same time, I heated some pasta sauce in another pan. When the zoodles were ready, I poured the heated pasta sauce into the wok and mixed the sauce and zucchini together.

To serve, I put the zoodles in a pasta bowl and put the chicken on top. The chicken pieces we had we so big, I ended up cutting one in half and it was more than enough for me. We had enough for dinner with some zoodles, the half chicken piece, and a whole other chicken piece leftover. I’ll be enjoying my leftovers for lunch today.

 

 

$22 New Address Plaque

As you may have guessed from the long kitchen remodel series I posted, when we first moved into our house, our attention was mainly focused on the inside. Tearing down wallpaper, painting, ripping up carpet, refinishing the floors, remodeling the kitchen, and updating a half bath all took priority over anything outside.

But, we did do one small project for the outside within just a couple months of moving into our home. I realized I never shared it. We updated our address plaque for only $22!

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The old plaques (yes, plural – there were two) we old and rather ugly looking. I tend to love cool MCM stuff, but these were MCM in a bad way. Still, we wanted to maintain some of the MCM vibe, so I started looking for numbers that fit the era of our home. I found these light up numbers that I loved, but I didn’t love the $57 per number price tag. These numbers from Design within Reach were better priced, but still a bit more than I wanted to pay at $27 a piece. I found some numbers on etsy at a more reasonable $10 per number, but they only came in white or black (I wanted silver), and they were plastic. It seemed like I’d never find what I needed at a reasonable price.

Enter Home Depot. Yes, Home Depot. I was really surprised to see a Home Depot link come up in my google search of “modern house numbers,” but I clicked anyways. The link brought me to exactly what I was looking for! And at only $5.47 a piece, the numbers were certainly budget friendly. I was in luck, they had all four numbers I needed in stock at my local Home Depot.

My wonderful husband, Dan, took time away from all the remodeling to make the new address plaque for me. He took a piece of pallet wood (I keep an old pallet behind our shed so the wood can weather and be used for projects), and cut it down to fit the space. He stained it (Jacobean by Minwax), sealed it, and then screwed in the numbers. He surprised me by finishing the plaque while I was out, and had it hanging on the house when I returned.

It’s a small outside update, but I’m glad we took the time to do it. The curb appeal definitely went up a notch or two with this project.

Curry Eggplant Dinner

I’m always looking for new, tasty recipes that can be made fairly quickly for week nights. I’m typically the first one home, and take on the cook role so we can eat at a reasonable time. In the past few years, I’ve culled together some solid recipes to choose from each night. I’ve used those tried and true recipes so much that dinner has gotten quite boring.

In a move to revive dinners, Dan and I tried menu planning for the week. It’s kind of like an episode of Chopped every night, in that I won’t stop at the store for an ingredient or two. I’m of the “use what you have” mentality, which helps us keep our food budget in line and avoid throwing away food that’s spoiled. We had two large eggplants in our fridge. So, we searched eggplant recipes, trying to keep our mind toward healthy recipes.

Dan found a recipe for Curry Eggplant.

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It came out to be quite tasty, but the cooking time took much longer than the recipe suggested.

The recipe called for the eggplant/tomato/onion mixture to simmer for 12-15 minutes. After 15 minutes, there was still a lot of water in the pan. I ended up letting the pan simmer for almost 30 minutes. That was unexpected. Full disclosure: we didn’t have the full amount of tomatoes that the recipe called for, but I can’t imagine that caused the simmering issue. We also didn’t have any basamati rice in the house, so I used brown instead.I thought it worked well as a substitute.

I would try this recipe again. It was easy to prepare, and I’ll be ready for a little bit longer of cooking time.

Homemade Frosty Paws

Last year, a co-worker gave me some Frosty Paws. Apparently, she had bought a box, given her dog one, and she didn’t care for them. Phoebe, on the other hand, loved them.

I planned to buy some at the store next time I was there, and I noticed the box of four treats was almost $5! I knew I could make them for less than that. And I did.

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I found myself with some bananas that were becoming overly ripe. I decided to use one to try out these homemade dog treats.

Ingredients:

1 banana, chopped

16 oz plain yogurt (no flavors)

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp peanut butter

The directions are simple. Just add all the ingredients to a blender and blend. Once everything is all mixed together, pour even amounts into silicone cupcake liners. You could also use those bathroom Dixie cups if you have them. Personally, I like the silicone molds because they’re reusable and the treat pops right out.

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Phoebe approves.