Jazz up that Hummus

Roasted red pepper hummus covered in parsley, pine nuts,
more red pepper, sumac and olive oil. 
Chances are you will be either hosting or attending at least one backyard bash this summer. So, you need ideas on what to make, right? Well take my advice and whip up a big batch of hummus--almost everyone loves it and there are endless flavor variations to get your taste buds a dancin'.

Basic Hummus Recipe: Combine 1-- 15oz. can drained CHICKPEAS in a food processor along with at least 1 clove of GARLIC, juice of 1 LEMON, big pinch of SALT, OLIVE OIL and 2 tablespoons TAHINI. Blend until really smooth and the thickness of peanut butter. Taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed.

For the love of god do not stop here. Unless you want your guests to fall asleep, you had better add at least a few flavorful garnishes such as:

herb or lemon-infused olive oil
preserved lemon
lemon zest
roasted garlic
Fresh or dried oregano 
sundried tomatoes
roasted red peppers
Kalamata olives
chopped fresh parsley, chive and/or mint
pine nuts
Chipolte in adobo (very spicy) 
ground Sumac berries
smoked paprika 
toasted and freshly ground cumin seed
feta cheese 
plain Greek yogurt 
Maldon, black Hawaiian, Himalayan pink or flaky sea salt

Ok, so now that we're clear on adding awesomeness, we also need to consider the dipping apparatuses involved with hummus. Pita chips are great, but they aren't the only ones that get to have fun.  Try tossing your pita or other flatbread with some flavorful oil, any dried herbs and spicessalt and pepper before toasting in the oven or slapping on the grill. Any Crudites would also be a welcome change--think sugar snap peas, fresh baby carrots with the greens still on, jicama sticks, mini bell peppers, or endive scoops.  


Studio Tour

Decorating tip: don't overlook your doors for art-hanging opportunities. 
It was a long, hard road to get to this point, but I can now say that my studio is complete, and lovely, and just the way I want it. Why did it take so long, you ask? Well, when we moved into the house, this room served as the catch-all for all the junk we didn't know what to do with and continued as such for quite some time until I put my foot down and said, "This is MY room...I will only allow things in this room that I love and/or are useful to me." Now, that came with a lot of purging (why I had held onto a mountain of paper scraps and ugly fabric I would never use, I do not know) and thinking and re-thinking furniture layout in a small room.

For a long time I HATED this room--there was something seriously feng-shui wrong with it, combined with the junky clutter that I just couldn't handle. But now it is calming, beautiful and very conducive to creativity. Without further adieu, please enter my studio tour (a-la Apartment Therapy)....

I have my afternoon planned....

These wall-mounted shelves are inexpensive, fairly easy to
install and help utilize space all the way to the ceiling. 
My reading nook.

The Klobo loveseat from IKEA is invaluable in a small space.
 They have been well used and well loved in our apartments over the
last few years. 

This shelf is just a cool vintage wire basket I found for a couple bucks
and some wood cut to fit. It holds some of my work and other
 inspirational objects. 
My work table is simply four table legs painted a fantastic orange,
with MDF to top it off. It is the perfect size. 

what art studio is complete without an inspiration board? 

I found these shelves at Target for $20 each--they are the perfect
size for this spot. 

part of my collection of plant books
a few of my favorite pottery pieces