May Day Eve

I know I've been quiet lately, but things haven't been that way around the Vanilla Bean house! Every night, I try to reflect on the day and look ahead to what the next day will hold. And, I try to keep in mind a line from John Lennon, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."

For the last several months, we have been working feverishly to make this house our home. From what we found in the fern on our front porch this morning, we aren't the only ones that call our place on Hollandbush Court "Home Sweet Home."



Quick Fish Tacos

Spring always feels like such a hectic time. I am always busy at work with events. Jeff and I are eager to get outside and start working on the yard. I try to be better about taking the dogs for daily walks. And, now that the weather is nice, we can finally enjoy our awesome screened-in porch. So, after packing this into our everyday life, there isn't much time for dinner. Thankfully, the good people at Everyday Food know this and come up with tasty, fast recipes like these fish tacos.

This was a great departure from the regular beef, chicken or pork tacos I usually make. It is a fresh and simple meal. So much so I have made it twice in the last week, once with cod and a second time with shrimp! Enjoy!

Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Lime
From Everyday Food

1 pound boneless, skinless tilapia  fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces. (we used Alaskan cod)
2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1 lime, half finely zested and juiced, half cut into wedges
hot sauce, we used Sriracha sauce
corn or flour tortillas
1/2 small head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro

1. Heat broiler, with rack in highest position. Pat fish dry with paper towels and gently coat with oil on a rimmed sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until fish is browned on top and flesh is opaque, about 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sour cream, lime zest and juice, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Toast tortillas over a kitchen burner using tongs or wrap in parchment-lined foil and heat in oven, 5 minutes. Divide fish evenly among tortillas and top with cabbage and cilantro. Serve with lime sour cream and lime wedges.


Week in Review

It has been a pretty busy week here as I have been gearing up for a fund raising event on Monday. As stressful as work has been, there have been some highlights. So, to show my readers that I haven't been trapped in the office all week, I thought I would give you a week in review:

On Saturday, we picked up a bunch of new flowers and plants for the front yard.


And turned this

Into this! I can't wait until the plants get bigger
. We needed some color in the front.

I've been craving Greek food lately, so we tried a new recipe for pork souvlaki and tzatziki.
It was awesome and so easy...I promise to post it soon!
And it pairs nicely with champagne ;-)

On Sunday, I  moved this basket from the porch to the fireplace.
And hung a little starfish on the front. Just a touch of beachy never hurt anybody ;-)

On Tuesday, I rearranged the mantel about 30 times and finally settled on this.

Today, my favorite girls were waiting for me when I came home...

And then I walked out in the backyard to see a beautiful rainbow!

Not too shabby for such a crazy week!


::100th Blog Post::

After a year and a half of blogging, I’ve finally reached my 100th post! *Insert fanfare here*

While I haven’t been the most devoted blogger, I am on track to make 2010 the best year yet at Vanilla Bean. Put the two together and that’s reason to celebrate in my book!

I thought I would use this post to tell you all a little more about me. About a week ago, Andrea at Andrea's Attic tagged me in a 5555 Questions game, so this works out swimmingly.

Question 1: Where were you five years ago?
• Mr. VB and I had been dating for 7 mos. and had just moved in together. I also had just learned of his fascination with ducks (wooden, ceramic, glass…you name it, he has it).
• We were planning our first vacation together to Puerto Vallarta that summer.
• I was gearing up for a girl’s weekend in Miami in May.
• Mr. VB and I just had our first long weekend away together at the Lake of the Ozarks. We made our chicken spedini for the first time.
• I was working in marketing at a law firm in downtown St. Louis.

Question 2: What is/was on your to-do list today?
Write my 100th blog post!
• Write a to-do list of things I need to do before my next event on April 19.
• Stop by the farmer’s market for some fruit and veggies for the weekend.
• Pick out new flowers and plants to spruce up the front of the house.
• Enjoy a bottle of wine and beautiful weather with my sweetie on the back porch.

Question 3: What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
• homemade salsa & chips
karmel korn
• soft pretzels w/ cheese
• Runts (not the bananas)
• nachos

Question 4: Name 5 places you have lived
• Grey Eagle, MN
Duluth, MN
• O’Fallon, MO
• South St. Louis City, MO
• Weldon Spring, MO

Question 5: What 5 things would you do if you were a billionaire?
• Adopt a little boy and girl. I could use some extra hands around the Vanilla Bean house!
• Give generous gifts to our family (that includes you, Mom!)
• Travel, travel, travel!
• Once we got tired of traveling, open a bed and breakfast. Hire dependable staff so we could leave on a moment’s notice.
• Donate some to the nonprofit agency I work for.

I'm going to tag some of my most recent followers...take some time to check them out!

Pooh Bear and Mommy
Running from the Law
La Buena Vida
Ticking and Toile
Sea Cottage


Stairs Update Version 2.0

It dawned on me this morning that I haven’t given an update of our stairs recently. Editor’s Note: Please refer to the post, “I’ve Made a Huge Mistake” for background info. To be honest, it dawns on me about 10 times a day. Every time I walk up or down the stairs. As of now, they still look like this:

If my bedroom wasn’t upstairs, I would probably avoid this area altogether. Don’t get me wrong...Mr. VB did a great job filling in the gaps between the steps and the wall, and honestly, they turned out better than I thought. And, the paint is holding up well, even with Allie and Marley constantly on my heels.

We just haven’t gotten up the energy to start painting the walls. My excuse is this:

I have visions of myself dangling precariously over the banister. Haphazardly applying the perfect shade of blue (Seaside Villa) to the walls. And the ceiling. And the stairs. I know there are tools out there to make this job easier. But, from past experience, I also know I am too lazy they don't work properly. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Salute | Sante | Cheers | Prost

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."
Mark Twain, American humorist and novelist (1835 - 1910).

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."
Lord Keynes dying words

It's no secret that I love Champagne. I don't need a special occasion. I'll put a bottle on ice any day of the week. Maybe it's the bubbles. Or, the feeling -- even if just for a moment -- that you could put an eye out while popping off the cork. You just don't get that with beer.

You even have special glasses you use only for champagne. I've always liked these from Red Envelope. But at $50 for the set, they are more than I want to spend. It is also no secret that as much as I love Champagne, I also love to break stemware.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I found these same glasses at Goodwill recently. For $1 each. It was hard not to smile as I checked out. The clerk had no clue I was practically stealing them from her.

For now, I am keeping them next to my "look but don't touch" Tiffany decanter. Admittedly, this rule is imposed only on me. And small children.


Happy Easter!

When I was little, every Easter my Grandma Bernie made a bunny cake. It has probably been 15 years since I've had one and this year I was determined to make my own. A quick web search brought me to Betty Crocker and I made this little guy.


It is a beautiful day here. Mr. VB and I will be starting on our herb garden before we head over to my in-laws to spend some time with our family. I hope everyone has a great day!