Thursday, March 31, 2011

how to make a pillow slipcover

currently, i am spending lots of time on, going through the many different designer fabrics. my favorites without a doubt are amy butler, heather bailey, and anna maria horner designs. we have a beautiful brown sofa and double chair, and our pillows are looking a bit on the shabby side. so i have been planning on re-covering them but really just can't decide on my fabrics. i want color, and different prints... just gonna take some time to finally make my choice.
in the meantime, i picked up a half yard of some super cute fabric i ran across at hobby lobby, and decided to make a cover just to see how it would look over one of my pillows. turned out nicely and here is how i made it- (super super easy)
*always pre-wash and iron your fabric!
for the fabric - take the dimensions of your pillow and cut your fabric to those exact numbers so you will have a snug fit. my pillow was 12x16. so for my front fabric, i cut my piece 12x16. for the back i needed two pieces because i was making a duvet style cover, so i had to cut about 4 inches of each... making my back fabric 12x12.
front fabric - 12x16
back fabric (1) - 12x12
back fabric (2) - 12x12
next step is to hem one of the edges on each back piece of fabric. i always double fold so i will never have a frayed edge.
next, put your fabrics together, right sides facing. lay your two back pieces overlapping so that you can shove your pillow in through that opening.
cut the edges off your fabric so that when your pillow form is in, the corners will easily pop out. then turn inside out, and you have your pillow cover! simple, huh.
and of course i will update ya'll when i make my couch pillows... can't wait for the new look!
another thing i can't wait for... tomorrow! we are leaving for atlanta to spend the weekend, and for the best part... seeing the jayhawks and BAND OF HORSES on saturday.... i am completely pumped! it is our two year anniversary on the 4th... so this will be an absolute FANTASTIC weekend!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

chocolate hazelnut gelato... (heaven in a dish)

this ice cream maker is one thing that has been making my life very sweet! i have been collecting recipes and flagging every web page that i've came across talking about making your very own batch of frozen yogurt or ice cream. (and there are a ton)
so... for our first batch.
it took a while to finally decide with all our options, but we finally came to an agreement -
nutella gelato.
if you haven't had nutella, you really don't know what you are missing. it is a chocolate-hazelnut spread that can be eaten on bagels, toast, bananas, strawberries, or just by the spoonful. seriously! so what could be better than a frozen treat made from this delish goodness?!?!

we used Giada's recipe, and you can find it HERE.
(i promise you won't be disappointed with this one)

after making the custard and adding the nutella, we let it chill in an ice bath before putting it into the machine -
once it was completely chilled, we transferred it to the machine.
here is our gelato when we first transferred it -
this is me patiently waiting for the mix to finish... and in 25 minutes, it looked like this -
we transferred the mix to an airtight container and put in the freezer for about 4 hours to harden.
then we indulged! and it was absolutely fantastic!!!!
bon appetit!
Sunday, March 27, 2011

a sweet smell

there are wisteria vines blooming ALL over our neighborhood and the smell is simply amazing. i needed that smell inside my home, so i picked some blooms and brought them inside to freshen up my space. and yes, the smell is just as amazing inside as it is out!
i also added a small jar filled with wisteria blooms, and also a broken rose branch that oliver 'accidentally' found and carried to me :) i truly believe that a house with fresh flowers makes a happier home! and speaking of roses, our knockout rose bushes are almost as tall as me this summer.... seriously!
hope everyone is having a great spring!
Saturday, March 26, 2011

the greatest roasted chicken and vegetables

this is a bi-weekly staple dinner here at the hutch household. it's super simple to make, very inexpensive and tastes like a million bucks. and for the best part - it's super healthy! there is no recipe to follow here, just a few simple steps - and obviously, any of this can be changed or things can be added... this is just how i make it.

roasting chicken (2 lbs is perfect for serving 2 - you only get about half meat per pound of the bird)
extra virgin olive oil
4 new potatoes

clean the outside of the chicken, and inside the cavity. pat dry with a paper towel.
rub olive oil on the outside of the chicken.
salt and pepper the outside and inside of the chicken and stuff the cavity with quartered lemon, onion, garlic and rosemary sprigs. place chicken into dutch oven or roasting pan.
add quartered potatoes and onions, garlic and mushrooms in the pan around the chicken. sprinkle rosemary and add a bit more olive oil on the veggies. bake at 400 degrees for about an hour and a half. juices will run clear when chicken is complete!
the last step is to let your husband take over and carve the bird!
serve and enjoy!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Cake

remember that last post where i mentioned myself baking a lemon blueberry yogurt cake??? and how the smell of fresh lemons was filling my home??? well, it tasted as good as my house smelled!
THIS is the recipe for the cake (which is really more of a bread) by the fabulous ina garten. I just folded in a cup of blueberries to the mix to add some more delish flavor. i also skipped the glaze at the end to save some calories.

We have already had two slices (each) this evening, so i put it up for the morning to have with coffee... can't wait for that!
after the wet and dry ingredients are completely mixed, i added my blueberries. and i also sprinkled about a 1/2 a teaspoon of flour on the blueberries so they wouldn't sink in the mix. 
i also substituted non-fat greek yogurt for the whole milk yogurt... trying to lighten things up a bit, ya know... and it turned out fantastic! 
after the cake cooled for about 10 minutes, i topped it off with the lemon/sugar syrup. this is a step i would NOT recommend skipping!
in case you can't pull the link to this recipe above... here it is -

Lemon Yogurt Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

a beautiful day...

today i took two walks - one with my pups, and another by myself. we reached 83 degrees here in the south! the sky was clear and a cool wind blew making it perfection.
every single day i drive the same road home and always admire the cherry blossom trees that line the streets. and everyday i say that tomorrow i will take that walk... so today i did just that -with my camera in tote, and adele blaring in my ears. i walked under tree after tree, stepping on the fallen petals that blanketed the grass, and also looking up and being grateful for something so beautiful. 
with all this warm weather we are having, i am already counting the weeks to our family beach trips. we are also planning a day trip to charleston just to be at the ocean for a day... gonna take the pups along so they can have a day of fun. 
here and some photos from my beautiful day...
the magnificent cherry blossom... this is absolutely my favorite flowering tree... (well, second to a flowering willow tree)
and ending my walk, seeing left behind leaves still present with all the new spring time color.
when i returned home, i felt it was time to make a blueberry yogurt cake recipe that i have been craving for about 2 weeks now. it's a version of ina gartens lemon yogurt cake, but with blueberries added. using greek yogurt makes it SUPER moist, and a bit healthier. and lemon + blueberries... does it get any better that that??? (do i sound like ina???) so with adele still blaring through my home speakers, i got to whipping up this heavenly dish that would fill my home with the sweetest lemon smell you could ever imagine! i will blog the outcome soon! 
while my cake was baking, i stepped in my back yard to see if anything was new... here is what we have so far -
our pink azaleas are almost in full bloom - we also have white but they are just getting started.

roses blooming!
 the beginning of a hydrangea bloom
chives and parsley are already booming and this makes me very happy!

a perfect sunny day, beautiful trees and plants, blueberry lemon cake and great music to accompany such a day... perfection! (sigh)
speaking so much of music and listening to new tunes - there has been some AMAZING albums released this year (and near the end of last... been a little busy...) so if you haven't checked these out - you totally should! in case you didn't know, you can click on the artist and it will take you to their website.
radiohead - the king of limbs
cold war kids - mine is yours {or what my husband refers to as his theme song}
the decemberists - the king is dead (OBSESSED WITH THIS ONE)
iron and wine - kiss each other clean
the civil wars - barton hollow - i'll never get sick of it.
amos lee - mission bell - he sets my body at ease just listening to his music.
ivan & alyosha - fathers be kind - new record i recently purchased, and TOTALLY not sorry! it's amazing. they're amazing! 
james vincent mcmorrow - early in the morning - a great relaxing record, very bon iver'ish... which is always a fabulous thing! 

and for some reason i have been in a serious reading mood... here are a few of the books i have read so far this year.
the help - highly recommend! would love to pass it to another reading soul, but it was purchased through ibooks.
knit the season - this is a part of the friday night knitting club series... and it was a very fun and easy read!
little bee - everyone should read this book. it will open your eyes, and make you feel very grateful to live in the US.
summer at tiffany - a memoir of two young ladies in the 40's who spent a summer in NYC and scored page jobs at Tiffany's. absolutely ADORED this book - read it in one day. and paid fifty whole cents for it at a used book sell! SCORE.
needles and pearls - another knitting book, and also a delight!

on my list of book to read -
night road by Kristin Hannah - her books are simply amazing!

to make this day even better... my new cuisinart ice cream machine is on it's way... i can't even tell you how excited i am to make fresh frozen yogurt and ice cream! i have already found tons of recipes like toasted coconut and almond, vanilla blueberry, and lavender infused honey - seriously?!?! 

wishing a very happy spring to you all!
Sunday, March 20, 2011

it's coming...

"If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall."  ~Nadine Stair
spring is definitely not present in chicago quite yet, but it sure is here in South Carolina! our doors are open letting the sun stream inside, and i even opened a window in my bedroom - letting the spring air flow throughout my home. today we reached 80 degrees... in march. gotta love that!
upon returning home from chicago, we found signs of spring everywhere we looked... here a few glimpses...
 we were lucky enough to find a home with a peach tree in the back yard... currently, our tree is bursting with blooms that will soon turn to one of the most delicious fruits of all! i can hardly wait to collect the fruit and make peach EVERYTHING!
more of these lovely daffodils are popping up all around our yard... to me, a daffodil is the true sign of spring.
absolutely love these little beauties.
and my favorite... a white on white daffodil. 
simple. elegant. beautiful.
hoping spring is making its way to your home! 
Saturday, March 19, 2011

the windy city...

 chicago is simply amazing. i envy any person that has the opportunity to call this city their own. in three very short days, we covered every stretch she had to offer. the food is perfection, the people are warm and friendly, and the general vibe of the city is amazing. surprisingly, chicago feels so different from nyc, but very alike in some ways. there isn't the major hustle and chaos of nyc, yet it's happening every where you turn. we stayed at a great hotel (with an amazing upgrade!) and were standing on the magnificent mile within steps of our front door.
the shopping... oh, the shopping. we covered every store from tiffany's to the vintage consignments in wicker park. we ate pizza twice - unbelievable pizza, had italian beef sandwiches and chicago style hot dogs, a brunch that was to die for at a fantastic restaurant called yolk, and our anniversary cupcakes at an adorable spot called molly's cupcakes. we also treated ourselves to garrett's popcorn... The chicago mix they called it, a blend of cheese an caramel. sweet and salty, who wouldn't love that?!?! and as always, i photographed the grub... so here ya go :) 
pizza pot pie... are you kidding me??? 
6 inch slices of pizza... seriously???
a dipped italian beef sandwich that was very hard to handle, but also very delish.
and this hotdog - a bit odd in appearance... was ahh-mazing.
molly's cupcakes in lincoln park is just the cutest little shop ever, and they have any flavored cupcake that your heart could possibly desire. this is the one tradition that we have kept since the wedding. we served cupcakes instead of wedding cake... red velvet cupcakes to be exact, so we have one (two) every year to celebrate the occasion. 

we spent about 10 minutes at the navy pier but it was so unbearably cold that we had to get away from the water. 37 degrees may not sound too cold, but when you left sunshine and 75 the previous day... you definitely feel the sting.
and this was us freezing our tails off... 
there was two bars i had to experience (per david). one was the green mill, which I constantly called the green mile. it was a great spot with jazz music and a super friendly bartender. we even made friends with a girl until we realized she was just the spokesperson for the place. (seriously, she did everything to promote the place including begging us multiple times to come back).
the second bar was the matchbox. it was about the size of a matchbox, but very amazing. again, super awesome staff, and a margarita to die for. i was told they were strong... little did I know that my non-alcohol friendly body couldn't tolerate just two drinks. (really two and a half). 
 after getting my composure back, david hurried me to a fabulous thai restaurant and I over-indulged a massive plate of pad thai smothered with fresh cilantro! it was a seriously fun night!

and back to the shopping - 
filenes basement is one of my favorite stores in the world, and of course, chicago has one.  i've been in the nyc and dc stores, and this one is just as grand. i also recently discovered that they opened one in ATLANTA!!!! so pumped for that... already planning a day shopping trip ;-)
  i already miss the big city life and dream of one day living in the beautiful lincoln park... wearing flats but carrying high heels in my bag, walking where i need to go instead of driving, and grocery shopping for the day instead of the week.
what. a. life.

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