Design. Create. Decorate.

Design. Create. Decorate.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Asian Peanut Noodle Salad

It's been ferociously hot and humid here in east central North Carolina for the past couple of weeks. Salad is an obvious dinner choice at times like these, but served night after night, a plate covered in leafy greens loses its appeal. At least for us.
So, we turned to Pinterest and found this Asian Noodle Salad. Easy to make, fun (and yummy) to eat, and flexible in terms of ingredients - it meets all the Quince Cottage requirements.

Asian Peanut Noodle Salad © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

We changed a few little things in the original recipe from thecozyapron(dot)com.

1 large or 2 small chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (we bought a grocery store rotisserie bird)
4 C cooked, cooled linguine
Cilantro, chopped
1/3 C shredded carrots
1/3 C shredded red cabbage
Peanuts, chopped
1 TBS sesame oil

3 TBS honey
3 TBS rice or apple cider vinegar
3 TBS low sodium soy sauce
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 TBS creamy peanut butter
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp ground ginger
4-6 drops Sriracha (more or less, to taste)

1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside
2. Combine linguine, shredded chicken, carrots, and cabbage. Refrigerate for an hour.
3. Right before serving, mix sauce with noodles etc.
4. Stir in sesame oil
5. Serve into individual bowls and garnish with peanuts and cilantro

Here's a close up view. Who's hungry now? Actually I am, maybe we can make it with grilled shrimp this time, and maybe edamame...yummmm...

Asian Peanut Noodle Salad close up © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Come see us again soon. Buster will be waiting for you!

Buster © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Here's what we've got planned for future posts: Things That Should Never Have Been Made, Yankee Pimento Cheese (seems like an oxymoron, we know), Shiplap DIY.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Barn Door Bug Hit Us Too - Part Two

Welcome back! In Part One, we told you about choosing a door and refinishing it. Part Two is all about selecting the necessary hardware and installation.

The increased popularity of sliding barn doors has made the required hardware more readily available. Ron spent a good deal of time reading up on the subject and researching artisans. The set we chose is from The White Shanty on Etsy. We liked seeing the actual wheels, as well as the look of raw steel on the model we chose. There are many styles and finishes available and you're sure to find one that suits your home décor.

Step One involved screwing the wheel hardware to the door.

Drilling holes for wheel hardware © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
Wheel mounted to door © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Step Two required using a stud-finder to locate the studs around the existing door opening. The hardware definitely had to be mounted to wood, not just screwed into sheetrock. There was lots of careful measuring to determine where the holes in the mounting bar would need to be drilled in order to line up with the wall studs. Ron found it helped to lay everything out on the living room floor. His two assistants did their best to make sure he didn't mess up. That's what they claimed to be doing anyway...

Step Three required a drill press. It's a much safer, more accurate way to drill through steel than trying to use a hand drill. Since we don't have a drill press, we turned to Google and found a machinist in Raleigh. His name is Jim Cobb.

Jim Cobb at work © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
He charged $25, and did a perfect job. We also got to meet Toby, who spent quite a good long time pressed up against Ron's leg, enjoying a nice pat.

Toby © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Step Four was where it all came together: the careful measuring, the precision-drilling, the putting together of all the elements. There would be more photos, but I was on a ladder holding an end of the bar and/or handing tools to Ron much of the time.

Bar installation © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

As you can see, if you look carefully, Ron had to notch out a small section of molding. If he hadn't done that, the door would hang well shy of the floor.
Mounting hardware close up © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Step Five was pretty easy. We just needed to decide where to put the guide. Because the mounting hardware sticks out from the wall, the door slanted in a bit toward the office, so we decided the guide was best used to keep the slanting at a minimum.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Sliding doors don't provide complete privacy, but they do offer some. This door also added a lot of visual interest without taking up much space.

Door, Hall view with Buster exiting the office © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
Door, Office view © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
If you have any technical questions, feel free to ask in Comments and we'll be happy to answer them as best we can. (And by "we", I mean Ron).

Quince Cottage Design Mantra: Create a beautiful, comfortable home that reflects your unique style and personality. 
In our own place, patina is valued, rustic rubs shoulders with opulent (we call this "agrarian chic"), and you're sure to get a terrier-style welcome!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cheese Strata - Looks Like A Souffle, But Way Easier To Make!

We had company this past weekend at Quince Cottage and one of the meals we served was brunch. If you're like us there are a few tried and true recipes that can be relied on for both a "Wow!" in terms of appearance and a "Yum!" in terms of flavor.
During our pre-parenting days we used to enjoy staying at B & Bs. One of our favorite destinations was Cape May, New Jersey. Along with gorgeous oceanfront, Cape May is blessed with stately Victorian homes, many of which now take guests.
While we were staying at the Mainstay Inn, we enjoyed our breakfast so much, we bought the cookbook they offered at the reception desk.

Mainstay Inn Cookbook 

© Mainstay Inn

If the true indicator of a beloved recipe is a stained page, then Cheese Strata is definitely a winner!

One of the best parts of this cheesey-eggy wonder is that you make it the night ahead (for this reason it became our traditional Christmas morning dish, because who has time for fussing in the kitchen when there are stockings and presents to be opened?).

The only thing not to like about Cheese Strata is that the butter in it likes to ooze up over the top of the casserole dish and puddle in the bottom of the oven, where it can smoke and create quite a stinky mess. To avoid this, take our advice and put a foil pie plate under the casserole while it cooks.

Isn't it gorgeous?
Cheese Strata © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
So, here's the lowdown on how to make this fabulous dish...

8 slices white bread, cubed
2 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 C milk
1/2 tsp dry mustard (optional)

1. Grease souffle dish.
2. Put in bread and cheese in layers, ending with cheese.
3. Put other ingredients in a blender and combine (or whisk together).
4. Pour the mixture over the bread and cheese slowly, allowing it to be absorbed.
5. Place cover over dish and refrigerate overnight.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes.

Daisy has also given Cheese Strata her stamp of approval (even though she's not supposed to have eggs or dairy, somehow a tiny smidgen made its way to her bowl, and Buster's too).

Daisy © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

At Quince Cottage we prefer our recipes easy, delicious, and customizable. 
You could easily add bacon, ham, sausage, mushrooms or whatever to this recipe.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Barn Door Bug Bit Us Too- Part 1

If you watch HGTV or the DIY channel, or read interior design magazines, you've seen sliding barn doors used inside the home. They're cool, right?
Okay, maybe they're trendy, maybe they've lost a teensy bit less of hipness due to overuse, however, there are scenarios where they really do make sense.
Case in point: the office door at Quince Cottage.
The office is IMMEDIATELY to the left as you enter the front door and the hallway is narrow. Did we mention the office isn't huge? And, coming from a bigger house with two offices, we had to cram a whole bunch of furniture into the new office so we could share it. Good thing we like each other's company! To gain privacy and more importantly, quiet, (hey, we have kids), a door was essential. "Swing" created its own issues. Opening into the hall would make the already skinny space even MORE cramped. Opening into the office would gobble up valuable real estate in there. A sliding door offered the perfect solution.
Rustic barn-look doors have been done a lot, (I was going to say, "to death", but that seemed mean). We wanted something unique in style, venerable in age, and of course, budget-friendly.
Here's where the ReStore stores came in super handy. In New England there used to be a store whose slogan was "Good stuff, cheap!" Habitat For Humanity might consider snagging that phrase. There are several ReStore stores in the Raleigh area and we went to them all, looking for the perfect old door.

Here's a brilliant idea - if you're shopping around for something in particular, take pictures AND notes, so you'll remember exactly where you saw that thing that you now know is the best choice. We ended up making at least one trip more than necessary because we couldn't remember where we'd seen which doors. Sigh.

ReStore Apex © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

ReStore Fuquay Varina © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Of course there are all kinds of goodies in a ReStore: lighting, flooring, tiles, furniture, windows, plumbing fixtures, kitchen cabinets... Here's a shot of the door aisle. Good stuff. We paid $22 for it. Cheap. See? Good stuff, cheap.

Doors at ReStore © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Door Original Finish © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
Now, there were a few things not quite perfect about the door. Its finish for one, which was orange-y. It had no knob. Naturally, it wasn't in perfect condition, but since we were looking for a piece that had "character", that was actually a plus.
Ron got to work refinishing the door. He sanded and also cut a piece of a paint stirrer to fit the hole where the lockplate had been. ..

Covered lockplate

He cleaned it...

He taped off the windows...

He painted each door with a coat of latex paint, Milk Paint on one side, Scandinavian Sky on the other. Then he sanded the paint off in areas which would likely have been banged, scuffed, or handled a lot...

White side © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

He further antiqued each side by applying a thin coat of dark stain and then wiping it off. Finally he used paste wax to provide protection...

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Blue side © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

We found a funky metal handle at the Raleigh Flea Market. It was rusty, which made it even better (but Ron did put a coat of poly on it, to keep rust from coming off on our hands when we used it).

©Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

At last the door was ready for hanging...yep, we're going to tease y'all and make you wait until our next post to see how that was done, with the help of a metalsmith from Utah, a welder from Raleigh, and a couple of dogs.

At Quince Cottage we love patina. If an object shows its age, some wear and tear, well, that's a story. Now, not EVERYTHING in our home is chippy and dented and rusty - we don't want you to get the wrong idea! But the look we're going for is about character and a room full of fresh out of the box furniture and decor, is just not as interesting (at least to us). A long time ago, Rhiann worked in a retail store with a merchandiser who was ahead of her time. She was always on the look-out for chippy old doors to use as backdrops for the housewares she was styling. Her catch phrase was "I need something dirty-rotten for this photo shoot." We like some things dirty-rotten too.

Quince Cottage Design Mantra: Create a beautiful, comfortable home that reflects your unique style and personality. 
In our own place, patina is valued, rustic rubs shoulders with opulent (we call this "agrarian chic"), and you're sure to get a terrier-style welcome!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars

Looking for a yummy treat that can be made ahead and frozen, then thawed to serve at a later date? Behold the Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bar! They're a favorite here at Quince Cottage.
We're not like those bloggers who tease, and tease, and then tease some more before finally showing you a mouth-watering photo. Nope, here you go...

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

So, now that you've enjoyed some eye-candy, you'll want the recipe. Of course. Credit for this recipe goes to Rasamalaysia(dot)com.


For the crust -
1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
5 TBS unsalted butter, melted
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough -
5 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
3 TBS white granulated shugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract (1 tsp and 1 tsp)
3/4 C all purpose flour
1 C chocolate chips
For the Cheesecake Filling -
10 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 C sugar
1 large egg, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8" baking pan with foil, allowing a little overhang, and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture int the bottom of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. (Leave oven on).

3. Prepare the cookie dough. Beat butter, brown sugar, white sugar, salt and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined. Mix in flour until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.
4. In separate bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and 1 tsp vanilla until just incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Use your hand to flatten the batter and cover the crust.

5. Distribute cookie dough onto the top of the batter. Use all the dough (you will cover most of the batter).
6. Bake about 30 minutes - until the top feels dry and firm and the entire pan looks set if given a shake. Move to cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

7. Lift the bars out using the overhang, slice to desired size and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Why yes, they ARE just as yummy as they look! Here's one last macro shot to entice you...

Thank you for stopping by Quince Cottage! Take a look at some of our other favorite Recipes, our decorating/DIY projects, and if you feel so inclined, tell us a little about yourself.

We're wrapping up a pretty big DIY job right now, which of course led to another one. Isn't that always the way? Our take on shiplap - coming soon!