Sunday, July 14, 2013

Upcycled Wainscot Sign

We had a wonderful summer vacation in Walker, MN. Walker is one of those adorable lakeside tourist towns in northern Minnesota. Lots of cute shops, locally owned restaurants, and antique stores!

I visited one of my very favorite antique stores in Dorset, MN not too far from Walker. They have a bit of a shabby chic style and offer beautifully crafted items and jewelry along with traditional antiques. As I walked in I saw this awesome little "beach" sign outside of the store and inspiration struck! I had leftover paneling from our bathroom remodel so I thought, what a great idea! Everywhere I went in Walker, shops carried signs that said "go jump in the lake" so I think it would make a perfect phrase for my sign.

Here's how: Upcycled Wainscot Sign

What you'll need:
  • a chunk of wainscot paneling (mine was about 24"x36")
  • chipboard letters that spell out what you like (mine are from Hobby Lobby--50% off!)
  • spray paint
  • hot glue & glue gun

You can find paneling at a home improvement store for $10-$15 for a 3'x4' piece or maybe try a thrift store that carries reuseable building supplies. We have one in Moorhead called ReStore that supports Habitat for Humanity. 

Rip down a piece of wainscot paneling to the size you like. I happened to have the perfect size piece but I used a circular saw to cut another piece for a different sign. 

Spray paint the letters and board in the colors you want. Place the letters and hot glue them to the sign. That's pretty much it!

*TIP! I used both spray paint from a craft store and some from a hardware store. Definitely go for the hardware store brands if you can! They were cheaper, higher quality and I was so surprised at the variety of colors I could find there! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gnocchi with Zucchini & Cherry Tomatoes

So we've been little vacationistas the last couple of weeks so while I've been up to lots of projects I just haven't quite made the time to blog about it. Back to a regular schedule!

We continue with our incredible CSA farm, picking up our lovely veggies every Tuesday. One of my favorite experimental veggies surprised me when it appeared in the box--zucchini!

this week's box: lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and my star ZUCCHINI!

Let me tell you about zucchini in my family. My grandfather was an awesome gardener. I remember him planting two HUGE gardens (or maybe they just seemed huge to me) when I was little. My dad got the bug and we planted a little garden ourselves. My mom always insisted on planting zucchini and I was amazed at how large they would grow. Looking back the more amazing thing was what my mom did with it--desserts! I didn't eat zucchini as a vegetable until well into my adulthood. Zucchini for us meant cake, bread, or brownies. Now it's one of my favorite summer vegetables. 

I had to go with an old favorite recipe for this week's CSA box. It's so very simple, full of vegetables and just enough butter to make it all come together. It's also a great SUMMER make-ahead meal. I think it always tastes better the second day after all the juices have soaked into the gnocchi.

Gnocchi with Zucchini & Cherry Tomatoes
click title for easy printing

1 pound fresh or frozen gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound zucchini, (about 3 small), very thinly sliced lengthwise
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they float, 3 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Ere on the side of underdone. DO NOT overcook or you’ll get a soupy mess by the time you add it to the vegetables later. Drain and set aside.

Use a vegetable peeler to slice the zucchini lengthwise in long ribbons. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. (Tip! Put the tomatoes between two storage lids and run a knife between to make quick work of this.)

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter is beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add shallots and brown them a bit to start caramelizing them.  Add zucchini and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, salt, nutmeg and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the tomatoes are just starting to break down, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan and parsley. Add the gnocchi and toss to coat. Serve immediately or cool and store for a make-ahead meal.

zucchini ribbons with a vegetable peeler 

my trick for cutting small tomatoes in half (thank you, Rachel Ray!) 

 pile between to storage lids, carefully slide a knife through

ta da! two swipes and I was done 

everything combined in the saucepan 

shredding up some parm cheese and chopping parsley 

 toss them in at the end and serve!

a delicious hot mess