Yearly Archives: 2013

Top Three DIY Projects of 2013

Here are my top three favorite DIY projects of 2013.  In review I see that it wasn’t the most productive year, but the projects I churned out were certainly useful ones!DIY Farmhouse Style Desk

The Pottery-Barn-Inspired desk I built for my office was, by far, my most favorite project of the year.  I still love it just as much as I did the day I finished building it.   You can find a printable PDF How-To Guide here.

Danish Modern Chair Trash to Treasure

I repaired, refinished, and reupholstered a pair of valuable Danish Modern dining chairs that I found discarded on the side of the road, and this only furthered my trash-rescuing obsession!   Guest Room with Temporary Wallpaper

Even though I never got to officially “finish” my guest room (because I had to turn it into my sewing studio for Janery) – I did a reveal before dismantling it, because I loved the direction in which it was going!

Favorite Work In Progress:

Janery Studo White Besta Doors-1

Still a work in progress, the 10-foot wall of Faux Built-In Shelves in my sewing studio was an incredibly useful project, not to mention a challenging one.  I’m still proud of it, as it took my carpentry skills in a slightly more advanced direction.   The only projects left are to make handles for the cabinet doors and to finish off the mid-level shelf.

Easy Asian Pork Roast Recipe

For a while I’ve been wanting to share some easy recipes here on the blog, and maybe get your recommendations on other quick and easy homemade dinner ideas.

Easy Asian BBQ Pork Roast

Easy is the key word, because I’ve been trying to streamline a lot of my cooking.  I’ve always loved to cook from scratch, and Ryan boasts that  I can open the fridge when there’s almost nothing in it, and still come out creating an amazing dinner.

The only problem?  I’ll tell Ryan “Dinner will be ready in 20 minutes.”

An hour later we sit down to eat. That’s fine once in a while, but it’s not an efficient model for every night of the week.

To keep costs down while adhering to my free-range meat requirements, we’ve been eating a lot of roasts.  They’re one of the more inexpensive cuts of meat, and it turns out they’re also pretty low maintenance, because you basically set them in the oven and forget about them.


Easy Asian Pork Roast (5)

Why this recipe is awesome:

  • Easy!
  • Makes leftovers!
  • Gluten Free if you use GF soy sauce
  • Low Carb
  • Can totally be modified for vegetarians


  • Pork Roast  or Pork Loin
  • San-J Gluten Free BBQ Sauce
  • Chopped Garlic
  • Soy Sauce
  • Any mushrooms
  • Random stir fry veggies ( I like Bok Choy, Mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, red peppers)
  • Rice noodles

Cook It Up:

  1. I slather the roast in the Asian BBQ Sauce and some chopped garlic.  If I can do it ahead of time, great – if not, it still works out well.
  2. I pop the roast in a pan with some mushroom caps and cover it with foil.
  3. Bake at 300 for 25 minutes per pound.  Use a meat thermometer to know when it’s cooked.  It should be 145 degrees in the middle.
  4. You can roast it longer, the meat will just start to fall apart like it did when I made this recipe for the blog.
  5. To “finish” off the roast and get a flavorful and crispy BBQ style crust, uncover the roast once it’s cooked.  Brush or drizzle on more Asian BBQ sauce at the end, and then put it under the broiler for just a few minutes.  Watch it to grab it before it really burns.

    Asian BBQ Pork Roast Recipe

    This looks like a hot mess but it’s a tasty & perfectly crispy roast :)

  6. Once the roast is out of the oven, cover it with a few dish towels and let it rest.
  7. In one pan, stir fry some veggies with just a little soy sauce.
  8. In a separate pan, saute some mushrooms in some sauce from the roast.
  9. To make the rice noodles, boil some water, remove from heat, and submerge the noodles for a minute or until tender.  Drain them and then throw them in the pan with the mushrooms and mix until coated. Easy Asian Pork Roast (1)

Serve the roast with some mushrooms and sauce poured over, and a side of veggies and noodles.  Skip the noodles if you’re eating low carb.

Easy Asian Pork Roast (6)

The day I made this to photograph it, I over roasted and the pork was so tender it fell apart when I tried to slice it.

Time Saving Tip:

A good sized roast is good for several meals, so chop up a ton of veggies on the day you make it.  Then, only stir fry the amount you need for that day’s meal.  Save the rest for the days when you heat the leftovers.  Chopped leftover roast is great if you want to throw it in a pan with the veggies and just stir fry with a little sauce until everything is heated.

Awesomeness Personalized Cutting Board from Red Envelope

Do you notice the Awesomeness cutting board in these photos?  The first few times I made a roast or a brisket, I realized I had no meat carving board (you know, the kind with a moat for the juices) to slice it on.  It was perfect timing when Red Envelope offered to send me a complimentary personalized cutting board from their Wedding Gifts Line.

Most people choose to engrave the cutting board with their last name, but I figured that Ryan and I both know our last name.  Instead I chose one word that describes what I create in the kitchen.

When the cutting board arrived, Ryan loved it because it said Awesomeness. A few nights later he voluntarily made dinner, putting together a spread of cheeses, breads, and condiments on the massive cutting board, and serving it with a side of chowder.

So a huge thank you to Red Envelope for inspiring my husband to voluntarily make dinner!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post I was not paid to write it.  Red Envelope sent me a free cutting board with no requirement to blog about it, but since I loved the product I decided to share the info with you.

Lazy Sunday: Awesome reads.

Good morning, friends! We still have some awesome snow here at the borrowed abode, and it makes it really feel like Christmas is around the corner!  I hope you’re enjoying a good lazy Sunday with a nice warm drink wherever you are.

an icy lake in Maine

an icy lake in Maine

Here are a few great reads while you’re sipping that mug of coffee or tea:

The 13 Things Mentally Strong People Avoid.  I want to print this list out to see every day as inspiration.

My friend Kalani makes a strong point yet again, this time with an oldie but goodie:  What They REALLY Want for Christmas. This applies to Thanksgiving as well, at least for me.

One of my oldest blogging buddies, Jeannine at Small Chic Home, worked on styling a wedding shoot that was featured on Style Me Pretty!  I am so impressed with her beautiful work.  She is a woman of so many talents, and somehow she manages to juggle them all so well.

dog bed by Janery. :)

dog bed by Janery. :)

Finally, if you need a good LAUGH – you must read Rachel’s post:  Iced by Scrooge.  I can really relate. 

Why We’re Not Decorating for Christmas This Year

Since about a week before Thanksgiving my blog reader has been blowing up with posts on Christmas decor, Christmas crafts, holiday recipes, and more.  To be honest, I’ve skipped over most of them, not out of a “bah humbug” mentality but out of a “they don’t interest me right now” state of mind.

You see, every Christmas Ryan and I end up getting a tree and decorating at the last minute (often with disastrous results), because between work travel, multiple Thanksgivings out of town, and holiday Janery work we’re always too busy to get it done early.

This year I’m feeling more overwhelmed than ever, mainly because a certain awesome doggie takes up a lot of our time, and the house (projects and cleaning) has kind of fallen behind.  I suggested to Ryan “What if we skipped the Christmas decorating step and went straight to the New Years Cleaning step?

You see, early every January we do a big cleanout – clearing clutter, making donations, and reorganizing spaces that get really messy with use.  Mainly the basement work room.  I also have had a ton of projects get stalled, once again, and just like last January I want to start the new year by tackling them.

So now that my business travel is over, Christmas gifts are purchased, and I’m slowing down the shop for the holidays, we’ve started tackling projects and house cleanup.

Today’s tasks: taking donations to Goodwill, and taking some tricky chairs to the upholsterer for a quote.  Sometimes you have to know when it’s best to farm out a task.

I don’t have any regrets about not decorating. We can still look out the window and see tons of lights on our neighbors’ houses, so we’re surrounded by holiday cheer.  And this weekend I’m taking Ryan on a special Christmas-y date.

Holy cow, though.  I think I’m done reading blogs for this month.  It must be tough to be a Jewish home decor blog reader in December.