Dining Room Inspiration and a Wine Cart

A while back I decided that it was time for my dining room to receive a little face lift.

Until now though, nothing has really happened.
I had the best of intentions, really,
But---like everyone else, life gets in the way.

We did repaint last year, with my favorite color, BM's "Ambiance",
and then, we did absolutely nothing else.

We don't really use our dining room much,
but it is the first room that you see when you walk into our house.
I really want it to "set the tone" for the rest of our spaces.

Here it is now, it is ok---nothing special.

The things that I do love--- my table and the two leather end chairs.
The other chairs are not really what I'm wanting anymore.
I also want to replace the art work and need new curtains.

We are planning on replacing most of the carpet in our house with hardwoods later this year.
(I can't wait-NO more carpet!!!)

My plan is that I want my dining room to be a little traditional and a little modern.

Kind of like.....

I just love the open feeling of all the spaces. 
That is definitely in my plan.

I also plan on using artwork for the majority of the color that I plan on bringing to the room.
(My artwork is in the works as we speak--I can't wait to share, hopefully soon.)

I also wanted to add a few metallic touches to all of the wood that will be in the room.
When designing my sister's room, we found her a gorgeous bar cart/butler's tray from West Elm,
I decided that I had to have it for my dining room makeover.
I decided that it needed to be a wine cart for my dining room, because we already have a bar cabinet
(more to come on that later).

I am really hoping that my new wine cart will motivate me to move this project along.
We'll definitely see, especially if my pocket-book holds out.

New to LouLou Sucre {the shop}

We've just added lots of new jewelry to the shop.

Here are some of my favorites---

Make sure to stop by soon.  
New items are arriving every day.


Ultimate Chunky Guacamole

There are two kinds of people in the world---

Those who like guacamole and those who don't.

I live among the first group.

I relish in this group.

I am a connisseur of guacamole.

(It is hard for me to understand the second group--I'm sure they probably don't like Tex-Mex either, but that is another topic for another day).

So, back to guacamole.

I like it chunky and full of ingredients.
The more the better, in fact.

I also like it pretty hot and spicy.

The Ultimate Chunky Guacamole

4 large avocados
1 small purple onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
20-30 cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 -1 teaspoon salt
Juice of  a lime
cilantro (optional)

To prepare the avocados--remove the pits and dice in the skin.  Use a spoon to scoop the avocado from the skin.  Place in a large bowl.  Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, poblano, and cherry tomatoes.  Stir to combine.  Add the cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, (and the cilantro-if using--the husband does not like at all so I usually leave it out) and lime juice.  Stir to combine.  Taste and add remaining salt if needed.

***Go beyond chips for guacamole.  Use as a garnish for steak, fish, shrimp, or even hamburgers.  It's great on so many things.


How To Make Compound Butter--Roasted Poblano Lime Butter

It is amazing that my cholesterol is in the normal range.
I tend to cook with a lot of butter.

I know that it is not good for me, but there is just something about food cooked in butter.
It is extra-good.
I cannot stand the taste of the processed, butter-like spreads that try to pass for butter.
I can taste them a mile away.

Now, don't get me wrong--butter is not for everyday.
I use the "I can't believe" on my english muffins before work 
and really try to avoid it when it is not necessary, but sometimes a girl's just gotta have her butter.

In a lot of my recipes, especially with meats and grilling I use a lot of compound butter.

Compound butter is when you take soft butter and add herbs, spices, etc... to it.

It is amazing. 
I mean, butter is really good by itself, but when combined with things like roasted garlic or basil it becomes good on a whole new level.

This time I decided to make a compound butter to accompany 
some grilled corn and cedar planked shrimp.

Roasted Poblano Lime Butter

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
Olive oil
4 poblano peppers
1 lime
salt to taste

Allow the butter to soften at room temperature.

Brush the poblano peppers with a small about of olive oil.

Roast them over an open flame or in the oven for a few minutes until softened and browned.

Place the peppers in a brown paper bag and allow to sit for a few minutes.  Remove the skins and cut into small pieces.

Place al the of the pieces in a food processor with the butter.  Zest the lime into the food processor.
Process all of the ingredients until well blended.  Add salt to taste.

This butter is great served on corn---


cedar planked grilled shrimp---


Grilled Pineapple with Brown Sugar Rum Sauce

Even though I have a strong love of chocolate,
my favorite desserts usually always involve fruit.

I am particularly fond of pineapple.
It is sweet, tart and always reminds me of a vacation of some sort.

Grilling pineapple is definitely one of the ways that I enjoy it the most.
When you cook any type of fruit on the grill it really intensifies it's sweetness.
Pineapple becomes extra-delicious, almost buttery.

Grilled Pineapple with Brown Sugar Rum Sauce

1 pineapple, cored and sliced
olive oil spray
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
vanilla ice cream

Preheat the grill to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray the pineapple with the olive oil.  Do not overspray (you are using an open flame).  Grill the pineapple until browned on both sides.

Remove from the gill and place tightly in foil.

Meanwhile to make the sauce--melt the butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add the rum, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens.

Serve the pineapple with a scoop of ice-cream and top with the sauce.


Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins

A few years ago I had these muffins at a  local coffee shop.

I became obsessed, to say the least.

I had to stop by that coffee shop at least 3 times a week just to get one.
They were like my form of grown-up, delicious, lemony drugs.

Then, the worst thing happened that could possibly happen--
the coffee shop went out of business.

I was HORRIBLE--no more lemon cream cheese muffins.

So, I thought to myself how hard could it be to make these little beauties--not hard at all after making them approximately 25 times to get them just right!!---fingers crossed)

Lemon Cream Cheese Muffins
(makes 24 muffins)

8 small lemons (or 4 large)
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, cold
4 tablespoons flour
3/4-1 cup powdered sugar + more for dusting

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line two muffin pans with paper cup liners.

Grate the zest from the lemons.  Juice the lemons.  For the muffins, use 3/4 of the lemon juice.  Reserve the remaining juice for the glaze.

In a large bowl, beat the egg, oil, milk, and sugar until well blended.  Add 3/4 of the lemon zest and the lemon juice to the mixture.  Mix well.  Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix well.

Remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator and cut into small pieces.  Coat the pieces with the 4 tablespoons flour and the remaining lemon zest.  Add these to the mixture.  Stir to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin pans approximately 2/3 full.  Bake for 22-24 minutes.  Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pans.  Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

For the glaze--Place 1/4 of the lemon juice (this should be approximately 4 tablespoons) in a bowl.  Add 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar to the lemon juice and whisk until thick and smooth.

Spoon the glaze over the warm muffins.  Le cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar when ready to serve.

I've linked up with

Mangia Monday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday

Happy Father's Day

I just wanted to say Happy Father's Day to the two special men in my life--

My Dad


my very sweet Husband

You are both so important to me 
 I love you both very much!!!

I hope that your Father's Day is the best ever!!!

Thirsty Thursday---Blackberry Pomegranate Margaritas

So, the other day I was in my garden and I picked these

I am really loving the blackberries this year--they are so good.

It was really hot outside, so I thought that I would treat myself to a little cocktail.
At first I thought that I would make a margarita with the blackberries, then I eyed a bottle of pomegranate tequila that I had in our liquor cabinet.  
I haven't had it in a while and it sounded great.

Blackberry Pomegranate Margarita

I think of all cocktails, a margarita is definitely my hands-down favorite.

This one does not disappoint.
It is dangerously good--as in you cannot taste the alcohol at all.
It is also refreshing and just a little sweet and tart.

Blackberry Pomegranate Margaritas

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh blackberries
1/2 cup tequilla
1/2 cup pomegranate tequilla
3/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
lime wedges
coarse salt

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the water and sugar and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved and forms a syrup.  Allow to cool.

In a blender, combine the blackberries, syrup, tequila, Grand Marnier, and lime juice.  Liquify this mixture.

Rim your glasses with lime and salt and serve with a lime wedge over ice.


Shrimp and Steak Kabobs- Three Ways

Last year our youngest daughter, P, moved out of the house to attend college.  
Ever since, the husband and I have had the hardest time learning to cook for just two people. 
We usually over buy at the store and over make most of our meals. 
 This leads to left-overs a lot (the husband likes, me not so much). 

This meal was no exception, we cooked for a crowd and then had a huge amount of left-overs.

We decided that we wanted kabobs--steak for him and shrimp for me.
 Kabob are a pretty straight-forward kind of meal.
Load the meat and veggies on a stick, add a little seasoning, and grill.
But, oh no---
I decided that I needed to make it extra difficult by not only making one way to cook them, but three.
I know, I know---glutton for punishment.
I will never learn.

 I decided that the kabobs would be great with a teriyaki marinade, a tequila lime marinade, and basil butter.

 Teriyaki Pineapple Marinade 
1 cup pineapple juice 
1/4 cup brown sugar 
2 tablespoons honey 
2 tablespoons garlic powder 
1/2 cup soy sauce

Tequila Lime Marinade

1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For each marinade combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Place the steak in a ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the meat.  Place in the refrigerator and allow the meat to marinate for 6-24 hours.  Place meat on skewers and grill until desired wellness.

Basil Butter

1/2 cup butter, softened
12-16 basil leaves, minced

Mix together and brush onto steak/shrimp while cooking.

 All of the marinades are great--fresh and easy.
My favorite is the teriyaki pineapple.


and the Stella & Dot Lindsay Bracelet goes to...

The winner of the 

turquoise Lindsay bracelet 

Comment #4
(winner chosen by

Congratulations Julie!!!!!

Thanks so much Kendal for sponsoring this giveaway!!!


A Rockin' Border

On my last yard post I hinted towards a big project.

Is this big enough for you?

3,600 pounds of Oklahoma Moss Rock

The husband and I decided that we (he) should surround all of the beds in our backyard with stone.

Last year, we added our rock patio around our vegetable garden and it is definitely our favorite place to sit and relax in our yard.  

I think that the finished project turned out great.

Thanks to my super-hard-working husband for carrying around 3,600 pounds of stone to make me happy.
It definitely worked.
You are the best!!


 here is what is left.
Just a little--
I'm thinking the perfect amount for a FIRE PIT!!!
(hint, hint)
What do you think??

Don't forget to enter the Stella & Dot giveaway here.
Today is the last day (ends 7pm cst).