Omg... Goat Cheese LogsYou can file this one under "simple ideas that make me ridiculously happy". I love goat cheese, but it's not the prettiest cheese for a cheese board. So this past weekend I tried covering three logs of goat cheese with random toppings and they came out REALLY cute! 

Omg... Goat Cheese Logs The toppings are toasted coconut, wasabi peas and unsweetened chocolate chips (to which I also drizzled honey). Sweet and savory! 

Omg... Goat Cheese Logs   Some other toppings I want to try are pan-fried rosemary, salted caramel and diced peaches. mmmmm

Omg... Goat Cheese Logs    Omg... Goat Cheese Logs     Omg... Goat Cheese Logs      Next time you're making a cheese board, try adding some goat cheese logs with fun toppings! What flavors would you choose? 

xx- Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson, Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Progress Report- Elsie's ClosetHey, guys!!! I'm really excited to share my newest progress report with you... my closet! It's finally starting to feel really good. It's both functional and inspiring.

But first, a walk down ole memory lane– 

6a00d8358081ff69e201bb08962da0970d-piThis is the "dressing room" inside of our master bathroom space. When we first viewed the house, it was carpeted and the walls were a little bit different. We expanded the wall you see to the right just a bit to provide room for a larger bath tub. The thing I loved most about this space, originally, was the pretty door molding. 

Here's how it looks today– 

 Progress Report- Elsie's Closet We replaced the chandeliers with this fun star flush mount (painted gold, of course!). I really debated about keeping the chandeliers. I liked them, but ultimately I decided to stay committed to my mood board to maintain a unified vibe throughout the rooms. 

The acrylic frame is a DIY you can see here

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet   We updated the hardware on the closet doors with these hex knobs

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet  And we pulled the carpet up and had the floors refinished in a light white wash color. 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet    For the mirror at the end of the L-shaped closet, we replaced the folding doors with a standard door so that I could have a standing mirror. I hated to lose that pretty molding, but it was definitely the most practical place to have this mirror. So I'm glad we did it! 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet     This wall was made more useful with a little DIY magic. I'm really glad we did that. It's been helpful! 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet      This little dresser area is AMAZING. I love having a place for everything, and I am mildly obsessed with re-styling it every couple weeks. I find that the more visible things are, the more I wear them. So pretty storage like this really works for me! 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet       I found this dish on Etsy a few weeks ago. I've been on a kick collecting blush pink ceramics for all over the house. 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet         And this brass cactus is an eBay find. The perfect place to store all my gold bracelets. 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet           I found this ring dish from Suite One Studio. It's a nice place to keep earrings together. 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet            Progress Report- Elsie's Closet             This tray was a housewarming gift from a good friend. I'm swapping out sunnies on it each week. The rest are in this top drawer– 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet Makeover   Argh! I love organizing things. 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet              Pretty details that make me smile every day. 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet MakeoverAnd I finally found the perfect spot to store my flair collection, this pretty millet basket

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet Makeover Progress Report- Elsie's Closet Makeover I'm using these Lewis Dolin pulls again in this room (same as our DIY dresser). 

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet Makeover      Here's a quick peek into my closet.

Progress Report- Elsie's Closet Makeover        Thanks for taking a peek at my progress!! It's definitely still a "one day at a time" thing, but this past month, I've been feeling really encouraged by the progress we've made in just eight months (or a year, depending on when you start counting). Either way!

If you're currently renovating, don't let yourself get discouraged when looking at other people's already-finished rooms. This stuff takes TIME. You're doing great!!! xx- Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

7Nothing makes me want to print out my summer vacation photos like some palm leaf scrapbook paper and acrylic pineapple cutouts! This month's Messy Box has a tropical, retro vibe with vintage colors and so many great patterns to mix and match. Since we just got back from our Florida vacation, this was the perfect set of papers and embellishments to make a few pages. 

6I could use this palm leaf print on any room in my house and be a happy girl. Kind of wishing it came in rolls! I used a single photo to show off the pattern but may add journaling to the back of the photo so I don't forget the details of when we took this one. 

53The specialty stamp set included only in this month's kit is so fun and versatile. I used the 'sweet summer' stamp in Elsie's handwriting on a photo above and did a repeat pattern using the pineapple stamp and yellow ink included in my kit to make my own patterned paper below. 

21

Scrapbook Sunday-June Messy BoxThere are so many good color pairings in this kit, which makes it a great month to use up your favorites and then still have plenty to pair together with the rest of your summer photos. I also can't wait to see how everyone uses their acrylic pineapples. They are so adorable! 

Have you started printing any of your summer vacation photos yet, or are you anxiously waiting for it to get here already? -Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Vegan tempura sushi (via abeautifulmess.com)I really struggled with what to call this. It's SO good that I didn't want to scare anyone off with the name, but I also wanted to describe it as accurately as I could because you can't taste things through a computer screen. 

Here were the other contenders:
vegan crunchy rolls
plant-based tempura rolls
fried plantain sushi
yes-this-is-weird-but-please-give-it-a-try sushi

I know. I should have gone with that last one. What was I thinking?! 

So, the truth is I'm not a big sushi lover. Trey (my husband, in case you're new around here) is though, so we end up eating it fairly often, as I certainly don't MIND eating sushi or just getting to eat out now and again. But then I had this AMAZING shrimp tempura roll while we were in Big Sur. Now I know what you're thinking, "Man, she must really not like sushi if she thinks a shrimp tempura roll can be anything but bland and mildly crunchy." I know, it's a boring thing to order. BUT, this one was amazing. Chef Yancy Knapp truly inspired me. You could tell he was so passionate about what he does (making the best sushi ever). And although I have no idea what he put in that shrimp tempura roll I had, there was one ingredient I tasted and immediately loved: granny smith apple. 

Whoa! Why had I never thought to use granny smith apples in place of cucumbers in a sushi roll before? I don't really make sushi often at home. In fact, this is the first time I've been inspired to do so for quite a few years. But man, my mind was blown. Don't get me wrong, I love cucumbers in lots of things. They are crunchy and refreshing. But a slightly tart and crunchy apple slice in a sushi roll just worked so well, or at least that's my (apparently strong) opinion. 

Vegan tempura sushi (via abeautifulmess.com) Vegan shrimp tempuraI eat shrimp now and again, but most of the time I stick to a vegetarian diet. I just feel better when I'm eating mostly plants. So, I was curious to replace the shrimp with something else that might add a little flavor as well as some crunch from the tempura treatment. I've been playing around with plantains in some other recipes I've been working on, and sometime last week it dawned on me: why not use plantains as the base for the "shrimp" tempura? Hmm. 

Now you might be thinking, "Plantains?! You mean those big bruised looking bananas?" Yes, yes I do. Plantains are actually a really cool ingredient I've fallen for recently. They are less sweet and quite a bit more starchy than their cousins, bananas. They hold up well in cooking and deliver just a subtle amount of flavor. 

So, I gave it a try. The result: my new favorite at-home sushi rolls. I mean, whoa, if you like sushi, you've got to make these. They are simple but absolutely packed with flavor. Plus we're gonna make a savory, creamy black sesame sauce to go with them. Let's do this. 

Rice rice babyVegan "Shrimp" Tempura Rolls, makes 5-6 rolls (enough for 2 to 3 as a meal)

1 cup (uncooked) sushi rice
1 1/4 cups water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar)
1 large plantain, mine was 9.5 oz before peeling
1/3 cup panko flakes
enough oil to fry in (so it's 1/2 inch or a little more deep in your pot)
1 granny smith apple (the green sour ones)
1 avocado
5-6 soy sushi wraps or nori sheets

For the sauce:
1/4 cup Vegenaise (or mayo if you don't care about keeping this 100% vegan)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon brown sugar or maple syrup

I basically think of this as a meal you make in four steps:
1. Make the rice.
2. Make the tempura.
3. Make the sauce.
4. Put together the sushi rolls.

You can technically do the first two steps at roughly the same time once you get the rice going. But let's talk about each of these a little more. 

Plantain tempuraTo make the rice, just follow the package directions. Generally this involves rinsing the rice, adding it to a pot with the water, bringing to a boil, then reducing the heat to simmer for 18-20 minutes. Once the rice is cooked through, remove to a large bowl and stir in the apple cider vinegar. 

While the rice is cooking, peel and cut the plantain into small strips. I cut my plantain into 16 strips by first cutting it in half widthwise, and then cutting eight pieces lengthwise. Check the photo above, as I think it helps to illustrate the process. Then sprinkle these with a little salt and pepper, coat in panko, and fry for 30-45 seconds until a deep golden color. Then remove to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. 

Fried plantainsTo make the sauce, simply add all the sauce ingredients to a small food processor and blend for 30-45 seconds. 

To assemble the rolls, lay out a soy sheet, add rice and press into place. Then add plantain tempura, thinly sliced apple, and thinly sliced avocado to the center, lengthwise. Roll up and gently press so it holds together. A sushi mat works well here. Then slice into bite size pieces. I'm not a sushi rolling expert at all, but I felt that after my first one, I sort of had the hang of it, at least enough for me to enjoy it. I don't think I'll be hired as a sushi chef anytime soon though. :) One thing that helped is I would lightly oil my (clean) hands and work with the rice mostly by hand. I thought this worked better than using a spoon or wooden spatula to spread the rice. But, that's just me. 

Serve alongside the sauce... and maybe some sake too. ;)

Vegan tempura sushi (via abeautifulmess.com)  You guys gotta make this some weekend. It's certainly more labor intensive than my usual dinner routine, but such a fun and delicious meal to prepare if you have a little more time. Also, if you'd like to add a little more nutrition to this, try swapping out the sushi rice for brown rice. Dana did this in a post here, and I thought it was pure genius. :) xx. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

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