Join Me Behind the Red Door

It just dawned on me that I haven't invited all of my Vanilla Bean followers to join the VB household for our newest adventure. After toying around with the idea for nearly a year, in April Jeff and I launched an Etsy shop featuring one-of-a-kind tables we make from salvaged doors. Our little online shop also includes unique found, handcrafted and reclaimed items for your home.

It's been a busy six months, but we are blogging about everything at Behind the Red Door. We would love to have you hop on over and follow us! We're still writing about DIY projects and tutorials, travels and trends -- we're just keeping it more focused. Next month, we'll be rolling out a monthly recipe series that I'm really excited about.

We hope to hear from you soon!

Jessi & Jeff (Mr. VB)


Foiled Again: Portuguese Clambake

The lazy days of summer are approaching. You barely have enough time to cool down every night, let alone cook dinner. What's a gal to do?

Grill it in foil! Food Network Magazine recently had a great insert: 50 Things to Grill in Foil. Our summer meals usually always include potatoes and/or veg in foil...we decided to expand last weekend with a Portuguese Clambake. This couldn't have been more simple. Seriously. It's taking me longer to write this blog post than it did to put this meal together. And, it was way more delicious. Well, maybe not way more.

Portuguese Clambake (we made just half for the two of us)
Toss 2 pounds small clams, 1/2 pound each sliced small potatoes and linguiƧa or andouille sausage, 8 small rounds corn on the cob, 2 sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 cup beer and a drizzle of olive oil. Divide among 4 foil packets, leaving extra room for the clams to open. Grill over medium-high heat, 25 minutes.

We'll definitely be trying more of the 50 recipes...what are your fave things to put in foil?*

*This is a family-friendly blog...keep it clean.


Behind the Red Door

Mr. VB and I have officially launched our etsy store! We're excited to offer handmade tables made from antique doors and windows and other unique home furnishings. Check it out here: www.etsy.com/shop/reddoorfurnitureco.

We also plan on blogging about our hunts and techniques at Behind the Red Door. Follow us today!


Exciting Things on the Horizon

Working on some exciting things here...will be sharing more details soon!


Sun Porch Revamp Part 1

Spring came early this year in St. Louis. As I type this, it's in the upper 80's. Crazy! Last weekend, to get us excited to spend some time outside, we gave our sun porch a much-needed facelift. It's my favorite place to sit on weekend mornings with a cup of coffee and my Nook. And, it's the perfect spot to unwind from the day, with a glass of wine and Mr. VB.

I'm trying to find some before pics...but, here it is so far:

I just recovered cushions and pillows we already had. The blue and orange fabrics below cost $25. (The couch is from Target circa 2009).

The Missoni stripe fabric on the pillows below cost just $4! We spray painted some old white wicker furniture from my father-in-law. It turned out great and matches the couch perfectly.

We've had the bronze-colored stool for ages. I was going to sew a new cover...but, once we set it out there, we thought it looked pretty good.

{BTW...Mr. VB hates the Coca-Cola crate here. He is just humoring me for the photo.}

 The floors are also newly painted (previously stained and worn from the dogs). We are contemplating doing a stencil around the border. What do you think?

And, the curtains are painter's drop cloths! About $10 each at Home Depot for a 9x6 cloth. We used pipes and hooks for the rods and I sewed a tab in the top of each cloth to thread the pipe through. Bright orange sashes add a pop of color.

Just a few more additions (we want to make the white table top larger so we can eat out here), but we're already loving the new space.


St. Patty's Day Menu

There's only a few days left before the big day...do you have your St. Patty's Day menu planned?


Not to worry...Mr. VB and I kicked off a Dinner Club with a few friends this weekend. Since it was so close to everyone's favorite green holiday, we had to have a theme.

As usual, Pinterest was very helpful in coming up with the menu. Unfortunately, not everything made it on the list.

First up, dessert. We made Irish Car bomb Cupcakes (stout cupcakes with whiskey ganache filling & homemade Irish cream frosting). The cake recipe is from Smitten Kitchen. They turned out great...even though I left out a full stick of butter*.

*Editor's Note: I taste-tested too much of the homemade Irish cream liqueur got up really early to make these and didn't have my coffee yet.

For the homemade Bailey's, check out Semisweetie. This stuff rocks and was so much cheaper than the real stuff. And, it made a perfect gift for my guests!

Next up, Mini Reubens. From Skinny Kitchen, these were originally low cal. I got lazy and opted not to make my own thousand island dressing. Still...they were quite tasty.

For the main course, we served Irish Beef and Stout Stew from Everyday Foods.

At this point, I'm going to have to ask you to click here and immediately get this recipe. Seriously.

It was incredible. The beef melts in your mouth and the stout added such a great flavor. Mr. VB marinated the beef in stout for a few hours before we put it in the oven. What's even better is that it is so easy to make. Just toss the ingredients in a heavy pot, pop it in the oven, head to your favorite St. Patty's Day parade, and when you get home, you'll have a delicious pot of stouty stew.

We also had Bangers in a Blanket and Green St. Patty's Day martinis. Unfortunately, those photos are not suitable for Vanilla Bean I didn't get pics.

It looks like the weather will be beautiful here in St. Louis this weekend....hope it is the same in your part of the world!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Mr. VB Turns 40 & a Craft Brewery Tour

Last month, Mr. VB turned the big 4-0. Now, I know what you're thinking. "How did that old fart get such a young catch like me?" 

He's just lucky, I guess. :-)

To celebrate, I planned a craft brewery tour for the two of us. Microbreweries have been popping up all around St. Louis. Our favorite, Exit 6, is just down the road from our house. Jeff also just started brewing his own beer last year...

So, a tour of the local places we needed to visit was the perfect gift! Since I am a planner to the core, I mapped out our day, with notes on which places served food and snacks. We started out in South City and would end up at good ol' E6.

First up, Perennial Artisan Ales.They focus on using local, seasonal and organic ingredients...and had a fantastic tasting area.

It was also one of the few places that served food. Very. Tasty. Food. Entre (an underground restaurant in STL) serves a small, but mighty, menu onsite. So, along with our Southside Blonde and Saison De Lis, we had mac and cheese with gruyere and duck fat bread crumbs.

And, smoked pulled port tacos with pickled red onion pork tacos.

We didn't try the Strawberry Rhubarb...but, it sounds awesome!

Next up, Civil Life Brewing Company. I loved the sign they made out of old windows. They kept their pricing simple..$2.50 for 8 oz.  and $5 for 16 oz.  

Cute, cozy nook to enjoy a beer. Or read a book. If you like to do that type of thing at a bar.

Civil Life was one of the few on our list that distributes to other bars.

 They also had a great way of keeping track of your drinks...on a piece of slate in front of your space at the bar. Also, the bartender kindly drew out directions for us to our next stop.

They also had fun games, like Pin the Ring on the Bull Horn.

We tried to get a roadie at the drive-thru...

Next on the list, 4Hands Brewery.

This turned out to be one of my favorites on the list. They served beer in cute little mason jars.

Had DIY shelves from old corbels held their growlers and beer books.

Check out this beautiful table made from the original door on their building. Almost every place we visited had long tables for groups (and strangers) to sit at.

The largest brewery on the trip was Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, a one-year-old brewery located in a 1920's garage. You can find their beers in bars throughout the area.

While most of the places we visited made just 5 or 6 beers, UCBC had a long list...

I have to admit, while I did get to taste a lot of great beers during the day, the bonus for me was all of the decorating ideas. I took something away from each place we visited. Like these industrial shelves.

At the end of a long day, we were "home" at Exit 6, with a Frappuccino (a mix of E6's Vanilla Cream Ale and Founders Breakfast Stout) in hand and notes on our favorite samples from the tour. Cheers!