Walnut, Mint & Feta Brown Rice

I feel like, as a blogger, I’m supposed to be fairly tech savvy. This is 1000% NOT the case right now. I got a new laptop last week, and I’ve been battling with it non-stop. I guess I’m battling more with figuring out how to use Windows 6 than the computer itself. Either way, its irritating and I keep pulling out the old laptop while the new one just sits on my desk looking pretty. Right now, though, I’m forcing myself to use the new one. It’s working, although, it’s taking me about 3 times as long to edit photos and create a blog post.

I made this side dish a week or so ago when I forgot to buy a veggie for dinner and decided to throw some things together that I had leftover in the fridge and pantry. It turned out so incredibly tasty, it’s now one of my quick and easy side dishes!

Walnut, Mint & Feta Brown Rice
makes 6 servings
1 cup brown rice, cooked to package directions
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve. How easy is that?!?!

Inspired by…home of Calvin Klein

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and grandfathers I know! And a special shout out to my own dad! You have set the most amazing example for me of strength, support and unconditional love. You work tirelessly to take care of our family, day in and day out. You have raised 3 intelligent, driven and loyal daughters who have an incredible role model for what a husband and father should be. Thank you for all you do! I love you!

Today, I’m sharing the Miami Beach home of fashion & home designer Calvin Klein. It is so serene and spa-like, I just want to take a vacation there. Seeing as how this home is listed for sale at $16 million, I’m assuming that’s out of the question. A girl can dream.



Wooden Spool Clock


Medical websites are my nemesis. About a month ago, I went to the doctor for a spot that appeared on my leg. At my appointment, 3 different doctors looked at my leg, none of them had ever seen anything like it and had no idea what it was. They did some blood work, sent me to dermatology and told me to Google it. I’m sorry…you are telling me to Google what is ailing me? I’m sorry, I know that Google is now a verb but when did this start happening? Of course, anytime I have a medical issue, I Google the symptoms both before and after I see the doctor, but I’ve never had a doctor TELL me to Google it!

So, what did I do, I got online and started searching “clusters of broken blood vessels” and “rash that looks like broken blood vessels”. And what comes up, no matter what symptoms you type in…some form of cancer. Again, medical websites are my nemesis. I waited 2 1/2 weeks for my dermatology appointment, stressing out about what was wrong with me, trying all sorts of home and natural remedies, with nothing seeming to make a difference.

Finally, my second appointment arrives. I was literally in the dermatologist’s office for 15 minutes, he took one look, knew exactly what it was, a simple and boring skin rash from an allergic reaction, gave me something to heal it, and I was on my way. Did I mention that I hate medical websites?

Anyway, this clock! I’ve been wanting to make this for so long! No, it’s not a full clock yet. I have to special order timepieces that are big enough to fit the size of the clock but I’m kind of liking the way it looks as just a piece of décor. I saw a clock like this in a magazine photo and started contemplating how I could copy it. These industrial cable spools are not easy to get your hands on but they are out there if you search. You can usually find someone giving them away or selling them on craigslist.

Industrial cable spool, in any size (mine is 2 3/4′ diameter)
Sandpaper and electric sander
paint or stain of your choice to stain wood (I used Minwax Stain in Weathered Oak and Heirloom Traditions A La Mode Chalk Paint to get the weathered look)
paint of your choice to paint numbers (I Deco Art Americana Acrylic paint in Lamp Black)


This is what I started with. I told my mom I wanted some industrial cable spools and she called me a few days later saying my little sister found a bunch of them for me 🙂 Dad unscrewed the top from the base, family teamwork!!


I took the electric sander to the top side of the boards to get the wording off. Next, I used the Minwax Weathered Gray stain to get a bit of a weathered wood look. I dry brushed the stain on (dip the tip of your brush in the stain, blot it on a rag, and lightly streak it on, then wipe it down with another rag). After the weathered gray, I did the same thing with the white chalk paint.

Once the paint was dry, I penciled on the outline of the numbers with a stencil to make sure I had the spacing right, then painted the numbers on with the black craft paint.


I love how it looks as is, but I will probably still order the clock hands that I want and make it a functioning clock. I’ll update you all with the proper steps when that happens!!


Dark Chocolate Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_4308 I’m getting a little tired of pre-made scrambles every morning so I thought I’d try something new. I still wanted something healthy but I also needed something tasty that my husband will eat…enter baked oatmeal muffins…made with NO FLOUR! These are easy to prepare ahead of time, customize with whatever toppings you prefer and grab and go as you head out the door in the morning.

Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 24 muffins
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup honey
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp almond meal
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups 1% milk
Toppings: walnuts, blueberries, chocolate chips or whatever your heart desires

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce, banana, and honey together in a large bowl.
3. Add in oats, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and mix well with wet ingredients. Add milk and combine.
4. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Pour approximately 1/4 of mixture into each cup.
5. If using toppings, add them onto the tops of the muffins. I used blueberries, dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. You can also mix frozen fruit right into the batter. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before eating (muffins may not come out of liners cleanly if they are not cool)

1st Blogiversary


Time flies! I can not believe it has already been a year since I started Just Like Playing House! This has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences and fulfilling things I’ve ever done. I have learned so much over this past year, not just about owning a home and DIY, but about myself. I’ve learned, that sometimes, I can’t get everything done that I want to get done, and that’s ok. I’ve learned, my house doesn’t have to look perfect at all times. I’ve learned, not everything is going to turn out like you expect, it’s ok, just give it another try or move on.

When I first started this blog, I wasn’t working, so it was easy to do projects left and right, cook all the time and blog everyday. Then I went back to work and started juggling way more than I was used to. The thing I love most about this blog and the thing that keeps me going when life gets a little crazy is that this is my real life. I don’t post everyday and sometimes I don’t even post more than once a week. When life is busy and I don’t have time to do a project, then I don’t. But these are projects going on in our first home together, its decorating a home from scratch, its meals that I prepare when I do have a little extra time on a day off. Believe me, I DO NOT cook like this every single day and more often than not my house is not as clean as it appears in the photos.

I hope you have all enjoyed this last year as much as I have, and if not, I hope you’ve at least gotten a couple of food and décor ideas from it.

I’ve decided to revisit my favorite posts from year 1. These are the projects and recipes that really made me sit back and say “Wow!”.

Farmhouse Table

Plum Tarts

Painted Front Door

Mint & Cumin Spiced Lamb Chops

Pillar Candle Chandelier

Red White & Blueberry Popsicles

Room Makeover…Janae’s Master Bedroom