Leanna Pelham

My super power is Positivity

Pipe and Wood Shelves

With the living room painting project done, it was time to pick a new project! In our old apartment we had floating cabinets above our TV that filled up the wall. Now in the new house the tv stand seemed like the smallest thing against that big white wall.

I *loved* the shelves (and everything else) that Kristen F. Davis made for her similarly shaped living room. With true DIY newbie fashion, the project Kristen completed in one weekend I managed to stretch over 10 weeks! Let’s say the winter here made it harder to get out to Home Depot some days and very difficult to stain the wood in a safe way.

I took the design she and her dad roughly sketched out for the shelves and recreated it with measurements that would fit our living room.

Here’s the process of ours going up up up:

ONE: Once we had all the measurements just right on paper, we post-it noted the wall with where the iron beams would go and also each shelf, just to make sure it would line up just right.

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TWO: we started building up all the shelves, and carefully leveling them. I didn’t realize how forgiving this design was going to be for 100 year old floors! We were able to loosen and tighten the pipes to get everything flush to the floor.

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THREE: it’s getting tall, so out comes the bright yellow step stool from Ikea that I spray painted last fall.

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FOUR: Vacuum all the sawdust from drilling holes to secure the support flanges to the wall. And eagerly set a few things on the shelf!

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This was a really fun BIG project and I think we totally nailed it. The living room now feels complete, warm and inviting.

To balance out the opposite wall we installed two of the ribba ledge shelves instead of hanging all of our family photos. That part was very little effort for a big effect!

Record Player

My Parents  Santa got me a record player for Christmas! I had mentioned that we had an entire Queen album set and Lazaretto (from record day) but nothing to play them on.

Conveniently it also has cd and cassette players … where did I put that Phil Collins tape?

Here it is:

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It sounds and works great but we already have enough wood finish in our living room. The floors are dark brown, the furniture is dark brown the tv stand and bookshelf are both dark brown. Adding a yellow brown was the last thing we needed.

Spray paint to the rescue! I taped up all the knobs (almost perfectly), the speakers and the little screen and let the Rustoleum do its job. And here is the final result:

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I really like the way the turquoise spray paint turned out. Here is a picture of what I used  (turquoise is called “Seaside”).



Rock on!

Spray Painting Bathroom Mirrors

Our two bathrooms have some rickety old medicine cabinet mirrors which are next on the chopping block!

Here is a picture of what the current cabinet looks like:


This week I decided that flat mirrors without cabinets behind them was going to be the project. I really don’t care for medicine cabinets, they get gross and I’m sure I would never remember to clean them.

To Craigslist I went and found this beauty (I was half way through taping it up when I remembered that I didn’t take a picture yet! (Only $30 for this Italian made mirror)




I got lucky this week and we had a gorgeous sunny day — perfect for spray paint to cure on the back deck! I first applied a nice white base coat as you can see here. But I think it needs another color, of which I haven’t decided yet.


I’ll hang it like this for now until we get to the color decisions of it’s new home in the bathroom.

Storage Closet Revamp!

Our first renovation project! EEEeee — I am just out of my mind excited about this!

The new house is a bit lacking in useful storage space, as you can see there is a ton of wasted space going on in this closet! Ryan hates the doors, but we’ll need to take this one small step at a time.

First up was removing the long poles for hangers. Since this closet is located in the bathroom hanging coats or clothes in there is a bit awkward. So out those go!

You can see I got so excited to get rid of them that I yanked out 2 of the 3 before remembering to take a picture!

Here are our lovely before photos of the closet of my nightmares. I shouldn’t complain because it had a few clean cubbies to put towels in while we brainstormed on what we wanted to do.

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Container Store to our rescue! Now we don’t have one of these within a 4 hour drive of our house but I knew I wanted their help to design a closet that would work for us. So while we were in New York City for work I stopped by and had help from one of their awesome designers. And here is what she came up with:


Ryan ran a marathon in Indianapolis this past weekend so on our way home we picked up all the pieces to this beast and trucked it home proudly.

Then the real work began with cool tools like levels and drills! I’ve been waiting for this day for years! I had already repainted the inside of the closet so that it would be fresh and ready. I also had to spackle and clean up the holes that the former “organization system” (lack there of) left in the walls.

I have to say that doing the self install on the Container Store’s Elfa system was way easier than I ever could have hoped for. They had tons of helpful videos and written instructions that walk you step by step through the process.

And with Ryan and his expert hand helping out we now have a fully armed and operational storage closet!

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And as a fun last little extra (until we redo the doors) I added these little knobs I have been holding onto from Anthropologie.

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Homemade Samoas

I absolutely *love* girl scout cookies but I’m sure if I read their ingredient list I would be less than impressed. So to avoid me needing to feel that disappointment I tried out Katie’s recipe for “Healthy” Samoas.

And they turned out amazing – you can make them as bars or in the traditional shape. I found the bars to be really easy to make and create reasonably sized cookies.


Squash Ravioli

Squash Ravioli


I’ve been reading an awesome book by Jo Robinson called Eating on the Wild Side that goes through a ton of vegetables and explains their history (most often how we have bred many of the nutrients out of our fresh foods). But it also covers how to prepare and store vegetables so they maintain the phytonutrients they do have.

I’ve heard a piece of advice once that said the way to enjoy something more is to just learn more about it. And that has been so true for me and cooking. I’ve always enjoyed making delicious and healthy meals for my little family but the more I read about vegetables and preparation the more fun it is to whip up interesting new dishes!

As a part of my knee rehab journey I’ve been going to physical therapy and doing Pilates at home, with the amazingly energetic Cassey Ho, and today I was actually able to run 2 miles today pain free! Yay! She has some great recipes on her site and one for pasta-less ravioli caught my eye the other day, here is my rendition of it.

This recipe is a mashup between Cassey Ho’s Squash Hashtags and this mushroom ravioli recipe


Unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow squash
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup of firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup diced mushrooms (I recommend shiitake)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 cup Kale
1/8 cup manchego cheese
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
2. Press your garlic (and let it sit after you press it for 10 minutes)
3. warm a sauté pan on the stove and add about 2 tbs of your olive oil
4. Add your Kale and let it cook for about 2 minutes
5. Add your onions, mushrooms, tofu, lemon juice & ginger and sauté until soft.
6. While that is softening use a mandoline to slice your squash into thin strips and lay them out like hashtags on a baking sheet. (You’ll have extra small pieces of squash that you can dice and save for another recipe)
7. Now add the garlic to your vegetables and mix well.
8. Place a tablespoon or so of the veggie mix onto each squash ‘hashtag’, then top that with a small sprinkling of your cheese and fold in the sides and flip over so it stays together.
9.  Slide the pan into your oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes
10. Top your delicious vegetable ravioli with your pasta sauce and enjoy!

3 ingredient Banana Cookies

Banana Cookies

3 Ingredient Banana Cookies (+ toppings)
(adapted from Labna Love in the Kitchen)

Ryan gave up sweets for 2014 so I’ve been trying to come up with a way for him to still get to enjoy dessert! And then I came across this recipe from Labna Love in the Kitchen and now we have something! We tried it tonight and his dried tart cherries are the perfect pairing to the oatmeal/banana base.


– 1 banana

– approximately 1/2 cup ( 50 g) of rolled oats

– 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

– Your favorite toppings (dark chocolate chips, dried tart cherries, walnuts, raisins)


1. With a potato masher or a wooden spoon mash the banana into a puree, it will be lumpy.

2. Mix the mashed banana with the rolled oats.  Since the size of your banana will vary just make sure that you have enough oats that the mixture is not too wet.

3. Stir in the vanilla extract

4. Set up a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place the batter by spoonfuls, crushing it slightly to give the classic round shape that regular cookies have. (My batter made about 4 cookies)

5. Preheat your oven to 355 degrees.

6. Press your toppings  resting  on top of the cookies with light pressure. Then transfer the pan with the cookies to the freezer for 10/15 minutes.

7. Place the baking sheet with cookies in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

8. Enjoy immediately from the oven!

Tempeh Tacos

Today is my first try at preparing tempeh and I am really excited with how awesome it turned out!

I can only hope to one day make it as well as The Wild Cow in Nashville but I’m really happy with how my tacos turned out.

tempeh tacos

Ingredients (this is an adaptation of Bev Cooks’ Tempeh Tacos):
(makes 6 tacos)

1 (8 oz) package of tempeh, crumbled
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of red onion, diced
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup sweet corn kernels
1 1/2 tbs taco seasoning (I used this recipe and saved the left overs)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 lime

To make the tacos:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high.

2. Add the red onions and sauté until they start to soften (about 3 minutes) then add the garlic, bell peppers and corn. Next, add the tempeh crumbles, taco seasoning and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add couple of big spritzes of lime juice.

3. Warm your corn tortillas, line with lettuce and top with the tempeh mixture

4. Serve with a side of rice and your favorite beer

Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

It has been colder than normal here and Mr. Ryan ended up coming down with the flu. The healing power of soup to the rescue!

This is an adaptation of a recipe a friend made for us from Serious Eats. Since we are on the vegetarian track this was a great way to still enjoy this hearty winter soup!


Butternut Squash Soup Cartoon

– 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium dice (Check out Simply Eats for the best way to dice this thing – it took me 40 minutes!)
– 1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice
– 2 cans of white beans (I used Cannellini)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I like to use Better than Bouillon)
– 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) ground cumin
– 1/4 teaspoon (heaping) ground coriander
– 1 teaspoon (heaping) fresh grated ginger (or powdered) — this was an excellent suggestion from my friend
– 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice


1. Put your oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the squash and onion on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Then, drizzle with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and roast until the chicken is cooked through and squash is tender, about 30 – 35 minutes.

2. Combine the squash, onions, and vegetable broth in a medium pot. Add the cumin, coriander and ginger and bring to a simmer. With a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash up the soup (you want it to still be somewhat chunky). Now, add the lemon juice. Add the beans, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice.

3. Serve it up!

Pesto Napoli Pizza

pesto pizza

I love making pizza from scratch and I recently found a new crust recipe that is just fabulous!

We’ve given up meat for 2014, and this is a great vegetarian pizza! It’s the fresh mozzarella and the unlikely ingredients of corn and broccoli that make it so awesome!

Napoli Style Pizza Dough (adapted from Grandbaby Cakes)

Dough Ingredients 
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 cup water heated up to 110 to 115 degrees
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1- 1 1/2 tablespoons of quality olive oil to coat the bowl

Dough Directions
1. Heat 1/4 cup of water to a temperature between 110 – 115 degrees
2. Add  the yeast and sugar to the water and let sit for 5 minutes, until it looks good and foamy
3. While the yeast is getting foamy, add the all-purpose flour and salt to a medium sized bowl and combine the dry mixture with a whisk.
4.  Next, add the 3/4 cup warm water and yeasty sugar water and stir to make sure everything is mixed together.
5.  Do a little kneading and form a ball.
6.  Take a large bowl and coat with quality olive oil.  Add the dough to the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place. I typically set my oven to 170 degrees and let it rise in there for an hour to an hour and a half.

Ok now that you have your pizza dough ready let’s get your topping ingredients together:

Pizza Ingredients:
Basil Pesto
1/3 cup sweet corn kernels
1/2 red pepper chopped
sliced mushrooms
1 head of broccoli florets cut into small pieces
fresh mozzarella sliced
sweet onion minced
2 or 3 shredded leaves of kale

Pizza Directions:
1.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees with your pizza stone in the oven
2. Roll out your pizza dough, lay it on the heated pizza stone and poke lots of little holes on it with fork
3. Pre-bake your dough for about 8 minutes, once it comes out of the oven bring the temperature down to 375
4. Spread on the pesto evenly with a spoon
5. Add your sliced fresh mozzarella
6. layer on your toppings
7. Bake your pizza for about 15 minutes
8. Enjoy!


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