The Mural at The Merc by Ree

salvationselfieI snapped this pic of Marlboro Man, the kids, and me after church on Easter Sunday, and here’s the caption I have come up with after much contemplation and prayer:

“Salvation Selfie.”

I’m weird.

IMG_2548I posted this chair on Instagram the other day, for other reason than I was staring at it while trying to remember something I’d forgotten, but instead of remembering what I’d forgotten, I wound up thinking about this chair instead. It’s one of two, and they are my mother-in-law’s. She got them years and years ago, then they got put in storage because she transitioned to some different chairs and no one wanted these. I’ve always loved them, and when our office was finished, she and I both thought they would look perfect in a spot by my desk.

I can’t believe no one has wanted to use them through the years. I guess ranchers don’t like colorful stripes or something?



IMG_2538Meanwhile, back at The Merc: We have added a third area to the project now, and since it’s upstairs, we are having to do some structural work to support the new craziness. Steel beams oughta do it!



IMG_2545And here’s where I’d love some advice today: You may remember this old advertising mural, which we uncovered when we chipped away the old plaster on this wall. It was an external wall of the original building before the second part was built on, and it continues upstairs into our office.

(The metal squares you see on the carts in front are the original ceiling tiles! Can’t wait to get those on.)

(Also, the space is not curved as it appears in this shot. That’s just the panoramic effect.)



muralYou can see how different the mural looks upstairs, color-wise, and that is because we sealed it with a clear sealant to preserve the art. We’ll do the same thing downstairs.



IMG_2545So what I’m thinking about now is what to do with the plaster wall underneath the mural. This will be the restaurant space, and there will be some long banquette-style seating on the wall. I had a dream that I took paint representing all the colors of the mural and literally threw handfuls of it against the wall in order to create a Jackson Pollock-type abstract effect containing all the colors of the mural. But in the dream, my name wasn’t Ree, it was Sally, and I was five feet six inches tall. And the reason I know that is that in my dream, I, Sally, was wearing a heathered grey t-shirt with “5’6″” in bold letters.

Dreams are so wonderfully bizarre.

Anyway, short of throwing handfuls of paint at the wall below the mural, let me know if you have any ideas! White isn’t floating my boat (even though this white kinda coordinates!) but I don’t know if paint/color is the solution, or if some kind of material like wood would be better.

Thank you for your words of wisdom! (And on that note, thank you so much for your amazing suggestions for products for The Merc! I read every single one…and I’m still reading. Great stuff!)


spring chicken salad toasts

spring chicken salad toasts

If taking cubes of chicken and other things chosen for their ability to hold up in a deli case and suspending them in a thick dressing of mayo and seasonings is the winter coat of chicken salad, this is the cardigan, which is to say, I hope everyone is as happy to see it as I am. I live for cardigan weather.

what I used

a few vegetable ideas

While I don’t have any tremendous gripe with traditional chicken salad (yes, even with mayo; I save my contempt for curry powder and raisins), I have forever had little love or tolerance for white meat. The archives here are thick with my referring to breast cutlets as pressed sawdust and worse; it could never be argued that I don’t know how to form an opinion. Thus, it surprises nobody more than me that I want to eat these everyday for the rest of my life, or at least the next month, and all it took was shifting the way we usually emphasize ingredients.


… Read the rest of spring chicken salad toasts on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. |

permalink to spring chicken salad toasts | 19 comments to date | see more: Celery, Cucumber, Meat, Photo, Radishes, Salad

Todd, Alex, and Charles by Ree

IMG_2175First, while I shared this on Facebook/Instagram, I don’t think I posted it here. Last week, I let Todd run into the store to get a treat he’d been wanting since he’d been patient with me during a busy afternoon. When he came out of the store, he told me he’d gotten his treat…but then he pulled this out of the bag and said, “I got this, too.”

He slays me. Slays me every day.

12322692_10153679768452858_4575010732852660348_oAlex was home this weekend! It was way too short, but we packed a lot in and locked in a weekend in April when we’re going to go down and visit.

Life is extra beautiful when all the kids are home!



IMG_2178I took these photos last week, too. I apologize if they make you tired.



IMG_2179Sometimes a yawn just takes it all out of you, doesn’t it, Charles?



IMG_2180I felt exactly like Charlie at 5:15 this morning!



IMG_2181Thank goodness I didn’t smell exactly like Charlie at 5:15 this morning.

That might have caused a few issues in my marriage.






IMG_2184And…he’s out.

Excuse me, please. I need a second cup of coffee now.

Hope you all had a beautiful weekend!


P-Widdle Diddle

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 22)

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! I’m away in Pennsylvania visiting my in-laws, so I had to make my meal plan this week without using my Skinnytaste Meal Planner (I will add that tonight when I get home).

This is week 22 of sharing my weekly dinner plans.  
Meal planning is a great way to get organized before heading to the supermarket to get ready for the week! My breakfast is usually something quick like eggs with fruit, a smoothie or avocado toast. We’re a family of four, so if a recipe serves more, it’s either packed up for everyone’s lunch or eaten the next day as leftovers. If you would like to see some of the previous week’s dinner plans, click here. 

Skinnytaste Dinner Plan (Week 22) 

Monday: Baby Pasta Shells with Asparagus and Marinara (Meatless Monday!) 

Tuesday:  Grilled Garlic Dijon Herb Salmon with House Salad
                  from The Skinnytaste Cookbook

Wednesday: Thai Basil Chicken with Basmati Rice

                   with House Salad 

Friday:  French Bread Pizza Supreme from The Skinnytaste Cookbook
Saturday: Date Night


Click Here To See The Full Recipe…

Honey Sriracha Roasted Carrots

Honey Sriracha Roasted Carrots

Honey and sriracha are such an amazing combination of sweet and spicy and it works really well on these honey sriracha roasted carrots that are a great side dish for any meal! This recipe could not be easier, you simply toss the carrots in the honey and sriracha and roast them until they are nice and tender. The sweet and spicy honey and sriracha works so well with the sweet roasted carrots that it will send your tastebuds into flavour heaven! This Easter Bunny approved honey sriracha roasted carrot side dish is sure to be the talk of the dinner table!

Read the recipe »

Flying Around a Thunderstorm by Ree

I flew home from my short trip last night and as we were entering Oklahoma, the captain announced that rather than head straight to Tulsa, he had to overshoot and go to Arkansas, then turn around. The reason was a thunderstorm that needed to be avoided. I thoroughly appreciated this for two reasons. One, I really don’t ever want to fly through a thunderstorm. Ever. Call me unadventurous and close-minded, but it just isn’t on my bucket list.


IMG_2390Two, when we turned around and headed back to Tulsa, I got to see this.


Wow wow wow.


IMG_2392My fellow passengers had the same reaction, I think, judging from the number of phones/cameras that were pointing toward the windows. My little iPhone photos don’t do it justice. It truly was an awe-inspiring sight.

To paraphrase the Good Book, the heavens were totally declaring the glory of God!

Like, totally.

Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Tartlets

Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Tartlets – an easy, delicious Spring appetizer!

If you need a tasty appetizer for Easter and you’re not sure what to make, look no further! These bite-sized asparagus tartlets are SO so good. The combination of caramelized onion with cheese and asparagus is simply heavenly and they are ridiculously easy to make thanks to the mini phyllo pastry shells. You can prep everything ahead and assemble, then bake it in the oven just before ready to serve.  

Asparagus and Caramelized Onion Tartlets – an easy, delicious Spring appetizer!

Click Here To See The Full Recipe…

Roasted Mushrooms in a Browned Butter, Garlic and Thyme Sauce

Roasted Mushrooms in a Browned Butter, Garlic and Thyme Sauce

Mushrooms have to be one of my favourite foods and they make for some of the best side dishes like these roasted mushrooms in a browned butter, garlic and thyme sauce! This recipe is super easy, you just roast the mushrooms, brown some butter, throw in the garlic and thyme and then toss the roasted mushrooms in the sauce! You really can’t go wrong with mushrooms, garlic and butter and browning the butter only makes things better with the slightly nutty flavour and aroma that comes from browning it. These roasted mushrooms in a browned butter, garlic and thyme sauce are a great side for any meal!

Read the recipe »

Updated Waldorf Salad Cups

Updated Waldorf Salad Cups – a lighter take on the classic Waldorf Salad served in lettuce leaves so you can eat them with your hands instead of a fork!

A lighter take on the classic Waldorf Salad served in lettuce leaves so you can eat them with your hands instead of a fork!

I’m really excited to share this recipe for more reasons than one.

First, these lettuce wraps are delicious and easy to make, the chicken can easily be made ahead to pack for lunch throughout the week. 

Second, I {heart} Andie Mitchell who’s not only my friend, she’s also one of the nicest and most inspiring people I’ve met (you may remember her memoir, It Was Me All Along about her incredible weight loss story, her struggle with overcoming food addiction and learning how to find self-acceptance). Well, now she came out with her first cookbook, Eating In The Middle where she shares her realistic approach to eating “mostly” healthy meals plus “sometimes” foods because life just needs dessert.

Updated Waldorf Salad Cups – a lighter take on the classic Waldorf Salad served in lettuce leaves so you can eat them with your hands instead of a fork!

The serving size is extremely generous, and I had friends over for lunch when I made this and everyone enjoyed them. I ever so slightly adapted her original recipe by cutting back on the dressing just a touch. Hope you enjoy!

Click Here To See The Full Recipe…

eggs in purgatory, puttanesca-style

eggs in purgatory, puttanesca-style

If the theme of late here is simple, cozy meals we can assemble even when we’re not, perhaps, having the most well-rested, worry-free weeks ever, we are unquestionably overdue for a conversation about eggs in purgatory, aka Italian-style huevos rancheros/shakshuka. Plus, what could be more appropriately uplifting during Holy Week than a dish that celebrates hell, or the imminent threat of it? What, you say, one that also celebrates the oldest profession? Oh honey, we’re in.

what you'll need

a colorful mince

I first mentioned having cooked eggs in tomato sauce nearly eight years ago on this site; it was a surprisingly excellent fast dinner. About half the commenters said “You just made eggs in purgatory” and the other half said, “You need to make shakshuka.” I went with the latter and have felt little need to err from that glorious recipe for six years now. But poking around on Nigella Lawson’s website the other day, always a wonderful place to find any cooking inspiration that eludes you, the photo with her eggs in purgatory recipe was stop-me-in-my-tracks stunning, and I suddenly needed it in my life very badly.

glurp glurp glurp

… Read the rest of eggs in purgatory, puttanesca-style on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. |

permalink to eggs in purgatory, puttanesca-style | 33 comments to date | see more: Budget, Eggs, Italian, Photo, Quick, Weeknight Favorite