Pinterest Test Kitchen

by Lara on February 3, 2013

in crafty

My old faithful dinner ideas were getting a little stale and it was time to try something new.  I showed David my Pinterest board of fun food ideas and asked him what he’d like to try.

So yesterday, with lots of weekend time on my hands, I tried my hand at a mustard roast and strawberry cream cheese cobbler.

First the roast:

Here’s the pic from the original recipe and it’s pretty accurate-

Mustard Roast Beef

Here’s the recipe:

2 teaspoons mustard seeds (I think you could omit these if you added a few teaspoons of course mustard you may already have to the mix)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1/4 C olive oil, plus one tablespoon extra
4 lb boneless beef rib eye or just a really beautiful roast (I used an eye of the round)
1/4-1/2 C Dijon mustard depending on taste (I mixed every mustard I had in the fridge)
1 stick room temperature butter
kitchen string (forgot to get string, didn’t tie, came out fine)

Remember to take the beef out of the fridge at least 10 minutes before you sear it or put it in the oven, this will ensure even cooking.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place the mustard seeds, salt, pepper and thyme in a mortar and pestle and pound until lightly crushed. (Ziplock bag and a hammer works too! And if you’re just adding some coarse mustard, you could skip this smashing entirely) Add the oil and pound until combined. In a separate bowl combine butter and Dijon mustard until completely integrated. Combine spice mixture and mustard mixture, set aside.
Brush the beef with the extra oil. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high and cook the beef for 1-2 minutes each side or until brown. remove from the pan. Secure with kitchen string and rub the mustard mixture over the beef. Place on a rack in a baking dish and roast for 1 1/2 hours for medium rare (I use a meat thermometer, and remember that the meat continues to cook after you remove it from the oven.) Serves 4-6 After roasting, cover the meat with foil and rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes to allow the meat to relax.
Make a sauce from the pan drippings. Simply put the roasting pan on your stove top and on medium high heat, add either beef broth or red wine and reduce down a bit and you will have a beautiful sauce to accompany your beef.

I don’t have a meat rack so I made a makeshift one out of crumpled strips of foil. Also, it was hard to get ALL of that mustard butter mix onto the roast at once so half-way through, I added the rest. This didn’t give as dark of a crust on the roast but, whatever.

30 minutes in

30 minutes in. My roast was a 5 lbs instead of 4 so I used a meat thermometer to reach medium temp of 140.

I also made the sauce by adding the drippings to a small sauce pan and adding a bit of red wine, heating it up for a while. The sauce was delicious.

The original plan was to make these polenta cakes to go with but I forgot to get polenta! Thankfully I had 2 sweet potatoes in the fridge so I boiled and mashed them and sauteed asparagus:


Sloppy plating but I was starving. End pieces were med-well and would’ve cooked more evenly if I had tied it up but some people like different temps so, there you go.

I have a TON of leftovers so we’ll be making roast beef sandwiches all week!

Now the cobbler… god bless, I love me some cobbler. It reminds me of my mom and it’s so comforting. I used this recipe for Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler.


Cobbler couldn’t be easier -

preheat oven to 350

melt a stick of butter and pour into a 9×13 glass pan
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 quarts whole strawberries, capped and washed
4 ounces cream cheese, cut in small pieces
Plain Greek yogurt or vanilla ice cream for serving, optional (necessary)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour directly over the butter in the baking dish, but do not stir.

Add the strawberries, arranging in a single layer. Sprinkle cream cheese pieces over strawberries. Place in preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling. (Crust rises up and around the fruit, but fruit will still peek out of top.)

The strawberries I got weren’t very ripe (local summertime strawberries would be best). So it was a little tart but still good. My favorite will always be peach and you can do this same recipe with canned peach slices, which is definitely happening soon!

So there you have it. 2 Pinterest recipes down, that I will definitely do again! I’m not going to think about the fact that I used 2 sticks of butter last night. ;)


Foodie Penpal!

by Lara on July 21, 2012

in crafty

The Lean Green Bean

I mentioned the Foodie Penpal project a while ago and I just received my adorable package from sweet sweet April in Minnesota. Her blog Sutch a Delight is a lot of fun too so check it out!

So here’s what April sent me!

I haven’t ever tried any of these treats before so yay! Chocolate silk mini Jif cup and I are going to make friends later with some apple slices. I’m saving the fig bar for a snack at work on Monday (love figs). Snacky nuts and trail mix will be nommed on this weekend and David loves those “got milk?” flavor straws so I may never get a chance with those!

April made her own vanilla extract and it smells divine! I’m planning on making a bunch of pound cakes tomorrow and I’m totally using this.

my pound cake recipe

She also made a spicy mustard and it’s delicious! It’s made with a local beer and here’s her recipe. Looks super easy!

April also sent a handwritten note on this adorable card. Sending something handwritten is a requirement with the Foodie Penpal packages and I love how dear and personalized this makes it.


For my pen pal, I forgot to take a picture but I sent her some grits from Charlottesville, VA (hello! I’m from the South and grits are delicious!). Great thing is, she’d never had them before so that was a win! I also sent her some Virginia peanuts, since that’s what we’re known for here, some strawberry rhubarb preserves from the Shenandoah Valley in VA, plus – some sea salt, cute little whale print napkins and a slice of handmade coconut soap I grabbed at a local natural food store. I wish I had sent something homemade but life’s been crazy around here. It was a lot of fun to put together!

So do you think you’ll join?




new painting

by Lara on April 21, 2012

in art,crafty,decor

On Saturday the 14th, I went to Ben Franklin and bought a 30″ x 40″ canvas on sale for $28.

On Saturday the 21st, I finished my 3rd and last geometric painting! This one is going over the sofa.

Here’s the original inspiration. The proportions are different than the canvas I purchased so there was a lot of stretching and improvising. I also used some different colors and mine will be going horizontally. Whatevs.

Stephen Ormandy

Here are some super craptastic progress pics:

Day 1 – got out a ruler and pencil, mapped it all out and started painting.

Day 5

Day 6 – the 3 white sections are done too but you can’t tell – leaving 4 more to go!!!


I don’t tape off sections. It’s all freehand with a 1/4″ angled shader brush. I also used the same assortment of paints I’ve used for the other geometric paintings so they’ll coordinate with certain colors. Other paintings here, here and here. That makes 5 pieces in my place that I did for less that $100 total! Yay!

I hate mixing my own colors. They usually dry up by the time I need to do a touch-up, but I did mix a few for this one.

Paints are all acrylics – my 12 year old expensive Liquitex from design classes, cheapo craft paints (require multiple coats and drive me mad- Delta Ceramcoat is the best), and those small enamel paint pots that come in strips (great coverage but only for small areas unless you have multiples).

So that’s that! $28 and the paint I had lying around!

Here’s a post I did a while about with tips on doing your own!


craft show

by Lara on April 17, 2012

in crafty

It’s been a super long time since I’ve been to a craft show. My mom and her friend used to make fancy wreaths and sell them at various shows at schools, dragging me along when I was younger. My mom also made a lot of little things like quilted chicken shaped baskets to keep your dinner rolls in (???) and cat pillows (!!!) and sold them at local shops back in the day. Crafting and sewing have always surrounded me but I haven’t gone to a big show since my mom got so sick that she couldn’t come along too.

The Richmond Craft Mafia throws the Spring Bada-Bing show (and a Christmas one) every year and this past Sunday Carly and I went. It was my first time going and I’m so ashamed I haven’t supported this event in the past. It was awesome! It was like an etsy explosion… not your grandma’s craft show for sure.

The venue (Plant Zero) is full of artists’ studios, a cafe and a gigantic space that was perfect.

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera but I grabbed a ton of vendors’ cards so I’ll highlight some of my faves here.

First off, when I saw this table, I gasped.

Thanks for the pic Carly!

I have been wanting one of Robin’s figurines for years. She disappeared on etsy for a while so there was no hesitation in grabbing a piece. (Mine is the blue bird baby planter, already in my hallway.)

The Runny Bunny

Fisticuffs Leather

No two bracelets are alike – all made from repurposed leather. This is the one I got, made from a Fossil bag-

metamorphosis metals

Monkey Dog Studio

The New Woodsman

etsy shop

Hand cast resin & pigment antlers

Modern Atelier

SO many scents! Singular notes like Demeter too, last longer!

Cephalopod Ink Ceramics

Mood Swing Studio

Milk and Honey

she does custom work as well


She will do a custom print of a fave family recipe!

Zouzou’s Basement


inedible jewelry

There were sooo many great vendors. I didn’t get cards for everyone and I know I’m forgetting some more great things. Carly got this pic of the awesome terrariums.

Everyone was incredibly nice and friendly! I also met a reader of my blog, which totally made my day! Hi R! :D

Did you go to the show? What did you get?


crustless coconut pie

by Lara on April 4, 2012

in crafty

This is THE easiest coconut pie recipe in the world. Plus, it makes 2 so you can gobble them both down or give one away!

photo via

You need:

2 9″ pie pans – greased and floured (spray or rub with butter & lightly dust with flour, tapping out excess)

4 eggs

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup self-rising flour

2 cups milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 stick butter/margarine melted

7 ounces flaked coconut


Beat this all together (or mix with a spoon!) and pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Let cool (or eat warm, omg!) and put in the fridge.

There’s no crust. No fuss. It’s custardy and delicious!