how to make an eclectic gallery wall

i have a wall in my house that's been naked for months,
and a stack of frames and prints and ideas to put on our wall...
i looked at LOTS of ideas before we finished our wall...
and i have at least 2 more galleries to do...

before i show you mine,
i wanted to show you some really stellar gallery walls i found along the way
and why i think i'm so drawn to them...

{none of these images are mine.
click on an image to pin from it's original source.
or pin the image above to save them all,
or come check out my "gallery wall" board on pinterest 
and that i will keep adding to...}

i love this one with coordinating frames, and a running camera theme...
it looks clean, yet it's unique and NOT uniform...

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262545853251358355/




or  how about this colorful wall with lots of different sizes of frames,
and different shapes and depths. the two big prints are the focus,



http://blog.landofnod.com/honest-to-nod/2013/01/four-steps-to-a-gallery-wall-.html

or this one that is more vintage and rustic. the wood colors and black and white
bring out a completely different feel... after looking at this one,
i realized i wanted mine nice and tight like this.
the space between the frames makes a huge difference on how you see it...

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262545853251575678/

or how about a colored wall, and mostly neutral frames...
pops of color in just a few frames....
and those super close images... i just love looking at it...
{which is exactly what you want a gallery wall to do.... make you look at it!}

http://decoratualma.blogspot.com/

or this one from my girl over at love grows wild
i love the wooden arrow, the bold print,
and the completely different elements.
the wood brings our the pillows and ties the room together... genius.

http://lovegrowswild.com/2014/04/living-room-gallery-wall/ 

or how about gold? you know i love me some gold,
and while i would maybe only use a few fancy gold frames mixed in with the neutrals,
i love the choice to go all fancy and gold all over. 
makes it so elegant.
a perfect living room gallery...

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262545853251358349/ 

or how bout a corner gallery wall?
i love the bold black and white prints here that are nice and tight...
this one even makes a definite shape all together...
which works very well for this color and shape combo...
and looks super modern.

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/262545853251575669/ 

do you have a gallery wall? 
is it tidy or random?
or neutral/matchy, or super bright and colorful?





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chipotle lime chicken skewers & avocado ranch


shh...do you feel that....?
it's summer coming...

and we spend almost every night in the summer on the grill.
chicken and veggies cause they are yummy,
aaaand cause we have suits to fit into...

i saw this recipe last week and about died.
 {you may have noticed that if it has avocado in it,
i will probably be making it.}

and anytime we are out to eat,
if "chipotle" is in the name, it's a safe 95% bet that i'll order it...

these have a "warm heat" so they aren't super spicy,
but just enough.
and the avocado ranch is just perfect.

you could whip up an easier version of this with just avocado and pre-made ranch too.
and, as you can see...

it pairs well with a dirty diet coke.
{that's become a catchphrase at this house... cause we think we're hilarious.}

dirty diet coke you say?
{1/2 glass of ice,
1/4 squeezed lime,
1 pump sugar free coconut flavor,
and a can of diet coke or diet dr. pepper}


and, i was a bit skeptical about the need for smoked paprika here,
but turns out smoked paprika and chipotle were MFEO {made for each other}
it's worth the buy if you don't already have some in the spice cabinet... promise.

chipotle lime chicken skewers & avocado ranch

chicken skewers:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
2 limes, zested and juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced

avocado ranch:
1 ripe medium avocado
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning*
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
water {if needed}

what to do:
1. combine marinade for chicken skewers and coat chicken. let sit for at least 15 minutes.
2. thread chicken on skewers and grill for a few minutes on each side until cooked through.
3. combine ranch ingredients in the blender until smooth adding a little water if needed to thin to the consistency you like.
4. eat like no one's watching.

makes 10-12 skewers
adapted from how sweet eats
*note: if you don't have ranch seasoning, add 1 tbs dill







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no bake peanut butter protein bars


i think it's safe to say that we are now.... gym rats.

this is my 3rd week going 5 days a week, and it feels great.
it's usually the hour of freedom that is the motivation to get there...
but i really am enjoying the workouts too.

i've mentioned before that my man likes to inform me on all the "right" foods to eat before and after a workout... and how much you need protein when you lift weights to build muscle. we have been buying bananas, greek yogurt... sweet potatoes... there are lots of good complex carbs that make great pre-workout snacks.

and we have a protein powder that we really like and tastes like ice cream.
we get ours on amazon here*

and as i've also said before, the hubs has been lifting for a few months now and it really shows! packing in the protein and lifting daily looks good on him!

so, not to be outdone by my own husband who is looking better than me these days,
i'm trying to get my game on...
i'll admit it's a lot harder in the "eating healthy" department, but we're getting there...

as long as i have enough protein with each meal, i'm less inclined to eat crap.
and the pre-workout snack makes all the difference between a good workout and a great workout...

so, we've been buying protein bars and veggies for snacks,
and i was sure i could make my own pre-workout snack that would give me energy AND protein...
but be easy to make and cheaper than all the bars we keep buying...

and we use the natural lower sugar/sodium peanut butter {we like skippy} and splenda brown sugar to lighten them up {splenda brown sugar is 1/2 splenda 1/2 real brown sugar... so it tastes great, but 1/2 the calories}.

the flavored protein powder is what makes these so great though. i'm sure you can use whatever protein powder you've got, but man, ice cream flavor can't hurt, right?

and i should say that my toddler LOVES these. so i can squeeze a bit more protein in that kid.
he would eat fruit all day if i let him, which isn't bad, but getting his protein is much harder for some reason...


peanut butter protein granola bars

2 cups oats
1 cup rice krispies
1-2 scoops protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup raw honey
1/4 cup splenda brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips {optional}

what to do:
combine oats, rice krispies, protein  powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl. put remaining ingredients {minus chocolate chips} in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 20-30 seconds at a time until melted. stir until smooth and combine with dry ingredients until mixed well. add in chocolate chips. press into a foil-lined 9x13 pan and chill for 1 hour. remove and cut into bars. keep refrigerated for solid bars, or on the counter for chewier, cookie-like bars.

makes 16 bars

adapted from saving with shellie



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Fried Avocado Tacos


so. i have to say that having a #manmonday has really been good for our marriage over here. and really it's been good for my man to try making some things that he has been whining for for months...

he told me of this fried avocado taco that he had at some hole-in-the-wall taco shop here in san diego for a work lunch one day and would. not. stop. talking. about. it.
and since tacos and avocados are so san diego, i think you should give it a go. they were amazing! 



so the following was written for #manmonday by my man Chris,
the other foodie/techie/nerd in the house.

· · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Out of chicken, pork, beef, or fish and really craving a taco? The avocado has got you covered.
Try out this recipe for fried avocado tacos with jalapeno ranch dressing and crush that craving.

You're welcome!


Fried Avocado Tacos



Fried Avocado:
2 Avocados
1 Cup Panko Breading (or finely crushed crackers or pretzels works too)
1 Cup Flour
2 Eggs - beaten
4 Cups Vegetable oil
Salt

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing:
1 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 1/2 Tablespoons Ranch seasoning
1/2 jalapeno
1/4 yellow onion - chopped
1 clove garlic

Black Bean Garnish:
1/2 Can black beans - drained
1/4 Yellow onion - chopped
3 Green onions - sliced
1 Clove garlic - chopped
1/4 Cup Cilantro - chopped


Black Bean Garnish
1. Heat black beans in pan until warm (we're not cooking the beans, just warming them)
2. Add yellow onion, green onion, garlic, and cilantro and stir until all ingredients are warm. Turn off heat and cover.

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
1. Mix sour cream, milk, and ranch mix to make a ranch dressing (or use store bought ranch dressing)
2. Combine jalapeno, yellow onion, and garlic with ranch dressing and blend together until smooth

Fried Avocados
1. Fill medium sized sauce pan with vegetable oil, high enough to completely cover a slice of avocado (approximately 1" deep) and heat to 350 degrees.
2. While oil is heating, slice avocados lengthwise into 8 slices per avocado
3. Season sliced avocado with salt
4. Layout flour, eggs, and panko into 3 separate dishes in that order
5. Prepare avocados for frying as follows
     a. coat avocado in flour, tap off excess flour
     b. coat avocado in egg
     c. coat avocado in panko mix
6. Gently place prepared avocados in vegetable oil. Fry until golden brown (about 15 seconds, check frequently)
7. Place fried avocados on paper towel to drain

Some Assembly Required:
Place the black bean garnish, jalapeno ranch dressing, and fried avocados on a warm white corn tortilla. Add green salsa, cheese, chopped yellow, chopped green onion, and a squeeze of lime and enjoy!

Makes 6 tacos




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our favorite things craft night and giveaway!


our girls' night this week was sooo much fun!
and really, we needed to get together so badly.

we've all been traveling a bit and we haven't seen each other as much as we'd like.
when we were all crafting together for our friend carli's shower,
we decided to do another crafty girls' night.


stampin up provided us with some super cute paper pumpkin kits
and i was so excited to do them.
i brought out some of my own paper and extra supplies, 
showed them a few ideas from #paperpumpkin on instagram...
and they were sooo creative! 

i honestly don't think i finished even one cause i was talking/eating/laughing so much...
so it may need a part 2 girls' night... which is more than ok by all.

 here's what was in this kit:
{it works like a monthly subscription, a new surprise kit every month!}


the first box in the subscription that you order comes with a stamp block,
and all of them will have more ink colors, different stamps, papers or cards...

here's some of the cards we made with this kit...


and here are some of the past kits:


 so cute! and perfect for a girls' night,
or would be perfect for a monthly craft/card group...

it's all done for you!

this time we added our favorite things.
so my girls and i each brought a few things we loved for everyone.
{since this was small, we just brought them for everyone, 
but with a big group, you bring 3 and draw names to see who gets them!}

sandee brought a cute little music box cause she loves them, and little things... ;)

 

miki brought dirty diet coke makings... which was perfect...

 

 and our resident hair and make-up girls aubrey and laree brought some favorite finds.
aubrey is a hairstylist and her husband owns a few fantastic sams... so she brought a few awesome things i can't wait to try! and that chapstick from laree is amazing!

so then we all promptly made dirty diet coke...

 

and collectively devoured over 30 of these smoky bacon deviled eggs...


 what a fun night with my dear friends!

speaking of friends,
my friends over at paper pumpkin want to give you a girls' craft night too!

so enter below to win 6 paper pumpkin kits for you and your friends.
or hop over and try one out to see if you like it!

and, if you liked THIS kit we did here {from march}... 
check out instagram today for a quick giveaway to win 1 kit for you.

*details: only available to US residents. winner will be chosen and contacted by email after giveaway ends next thursday 17th at 11:59pm. if winner does not reply within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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smoked bacon deviled eggs {& perfectly faill-proof bacon}


i will not be making really cute easter baskets or decor this year,
i won't be making gifts to take to teachers {we don't have any}
or neighbors {cause who gives easter gifts outside of family...?}

i'll leave that to the super crafties of the world.

what i look forward to more than anything though during spring...
{besides the easter candy...}

are deviled eggs. 
i freakin can't leave them alone.
so i made a pretty big batch last night, 
but we kicked em up and they were a HUGE hit
at my girl's night last night. 

{ps, i really needed that ladies. thanks so much. will post the deets on our
favorite things/craft girls night tomorrow!}

we ate them all gone, i was pretty impressed.
the real, crunchy bacon adds a hint of texture and crunch and of course...
bacon flavor... so that doesn't hurt.
i also use smoked paprika, which with the bacon, sings it's little seasoned heart out.
so i guess you could use the regular kind. i guess... but really. really guys...


annnd,
last time i was in arizona, my brother and sister made us breakfast and my brother taught me 
his absolutely fail-proof way to cook bacon perfectly....


you ready for this?

in the microwave.

you heard me.
don't be afraid.


perfect, never-burn bacon

1/2 package thick cut original bacon

place on a microwavable plate, overlapping the pieces about 1/4 inch. place in microwave for 5-6 minutes. carefully flip the bacon over, placing this time on paper towel. {you could flip onto another plate to make it easy} return to the microwave for 1-2 minutes. {or more, depending on how crispy you want it}.

done. the strips will separate nice, or crumble nice.
the plate just wipes up, you didn't have to babysit it for 20 minutes,
and the smell is just in the microwave. and very hard to burn.
genius.
thanks for that mac, i will be making bacon WAY too often now...

and look how yummy it looks on my deviled eggs.
which is also a recipe i will be using for a long long time...


smoked bacon deviled eggs

20 eggs, hard boiled, peeled, and cut in half
1 1/2 cups mayo
1 1/2 cups mustard
2 Tbs sour cream
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp white vinegar
2-3 strips bacon, in bits
salt
pepper
white pepper

combine cooked egg yolks, mayo, mustard, sour cream, paprika, and vinegar. beat with a fork until smooth and creamy. add salt and white pepper to taste. spoon mixture into eggs and top with cracked black pepper, smoked paprika, and bacon bits.

copyright © big red clifford




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