Homemade hot cereal mix (via abeautifulmess.com)A couple weeks ago I came down with a cold. And for me this wasn't a sniffle-for-a-few-days but ultimately you're fine kind of cold. No. This was the kind of cold that rendered me useless for about three days, and I'm a to-do list kind of gal for crying out loud! I ended up having to stay home from a family wedding that Trey and I already had plane tickets and a hotel booked for. I was afraid to let my SIL and her newborn stay over when she was in town for fear her son might catch whatever was knocking me off my feet. Which meant I missed my chance to hold a baby—and guys, I have baby fever, so this put me at an all time low.

I was humbled. I like to think of myself as a fairly healthy and productive gal. The kind that goes to family weddings and holds every baby in sight!

OK, I think I might be oversharing a little. One morning, while I was still feeling pretty sick but was on the mend, I made myself a big bowl of hot cereal. I added all sorts of nuts, fruit and a little maple syrup. I ate it while sipping some lemon tea with honey and it was a comforting moment, to say the least! There's just something about a warm, healthy breakfast. And here's my confession: I ate the same thing for lunch that day too. Of course I'm not saying this hot cereal healed me. It did not. But man did it make me feel better, I guess in the way a warm, nourishing hug might. And good news—hot cereal is great all the time, not just when you're sick.

Hot cereal mix ingredients Homemade hot cereal mix (via abeautifulmess.com)  I'm stoked to share my current favorite homemade hot cereal mix with you all. We are partnering with Vitamix on this recipe and I could not be more excited! I found out Vitamix was interested in working with ABM right around the time I was shopping for a new blender, as luck would have it. This was going to be my third blender in under two years. So needless to say, I was excited to try something that promised to be more durable since I love to cook and want something that is going to last. I'll keep you all updated as time goes on, but so far I've been SUPER impressed with my 780 blender. I've already made lots of (green) smoothies, a few soups, and this hot cereal mix a few times and it's pretty amazing how well it works compared to past blenders I've used.

Anyway, hot cereal. Let's do this.

How to make your own hot cereal Make your hot cereal mix in a blender!Homemade Hot Cereal Mix, makes 15-18 servings. Feel free to cut in half if you want to make less.

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup brown rice
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup flaxseeds
1/2 cup wheat germ*
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts you prefer)

*If you want to keep your hot cereal mix gluten free, then omit the wheat germ.

Place all the ingredients in a quality blender and pulse until well blended. The mixture should be a very coarse powder, not quite as fine as flour but very small pieces throughout. If you want even more control over the texture of your mix, you can pulse each ingredient separately and then combine. That's it! Easy, right? Just store in an air tight container and use whenever you like.

To make hot cereal, cook with a 3:1 ratio of water. I usually cook 1/3 cup hot cereal mix with 1 cup of water for a serving because I like to add lots of nuts, fresh fruit, sometimes nut butter, sweetener and sometimes almond milk. If you don't plan to add much to your mix, then I'd recommend cooking 1/2 cup mix with 1 1/2 cups water for a serving, but this is really up to you.

Bring water with a sprinkle of salt to a boil. Whisk in your hot cereal mix. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook for 8-9 minutes. Remove the lid, stir, and continue to cook for another minute. 

Homemade hot cereal mix (via abeautifulmess.com) I do recommend refrigerating your unused mix and here's why: my jar of wheat germ recommends you refrigerate it after opening. So although most of these ingredients are pretty shelf stable without refrigeration, just to be safe I'd still go ahead and refrigerate. But, I'm not a food scientist. This is just my thinking based on the labels I read. 

Guys, you can totally change up this mix however you like! Honestly the possibilities are endless—there so many other ingredients you could add or change up depending on what you have on hand and what you prefer. I totally recommend you make some hot cereal for yourself this week. xo. Emma

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

Hey Breakfast Nook!Hi, friends! I decided I better up my game and finish sharing my "before" plans (FAST) because last week I shared what was a little bit of a spoiler of things to come in this room. Don't worry, though, it's not really a spoiler because the room isn't done yet. Just in progress mode! 

We loved this space immediately when we viewed the home for the first time! I wish I could show you pics of it fully furnished (how it was when we saw it the first time), but it was very old school. But in a good way! It reminded me of my grandmother and how she has kept her home basically the same my whole life (even though it's been completely remodeled, she chose similar things all over again!). It's kind of like a time capsule. And this home was still very 1970s! 

Hey Breakfast Nook! On our list to update immediately—the butter yellow had to go (I LOVE yellow, but not butter yellow), update the flooring and swap out that fixture. Since it's a small room, there wasn't a ton to do, which is nice!! Paint alone went a long way to update this room. 

Hey Breakfast Nook!  As you can see here, the linoleum floors were worn and faded. I wanted to update them with tile, but wasn't sure what kind of tile. 

Hey Breakfast Nook!   You can see here that this room goes into the dining room. Since it's a breakfast nook, I kind of see it as a casual dining room and want to keep the vibe light and fun. Not too formal or fussy. 

My initial idea for this blank wall was a giant Dolly Parton poster. You can see here I kind of did that (but not really). 

Now all I need is to invite the REAL Dolly over to our home for coffee and brunch. #dreams #goals #nashville 

Hey Breakfast Nook!    If you can see past all the yellow here, this is an AMAZING feature of the room. There is SO much space here for storage. And for a blogger like me (who is cowriting a cookbook this year!), this was a huge bonus. I knew right away that I could store away a lot of my kitchen props in this space. 

Hey Breakfast Nook!     Shelf 1—It was weird how immediately (like the first time we walked though the home) I knew I wanted to do a colored glassware collection in this open cabinet. It was definitely meant to be! 

Hey Breakfast Nook!      Beside it, there is a closed shelf that I thought would be perfect for all my food photo props. I have a LOT of mismatched, colorful dinnerware and glassware. So it's nice to have a little home for it (with doors!) 

It's not quite visible in these photos, but there was weird wire mesh over the glass on these doors and I removed that. 

Oh! And for anyone who thought we should keep our kitchen cabinets and just add new handles, we DID do that in this room. So you'll get to see what it would have looked like...kind of. 

It wasn't hard at all to remove those giant wooden handles and fill the holes! 

Hey Breakfast Nook!       Below the cabinets there are a bunch of large drawers. I LOVE these. I use them to store weird stuff like the two waffle makers we own (another weird blogger thing), some other small appliances and randoms like tupperware! 

I'd like to put something fancier in there eventually. But for now—waffle makers! 

Hey Breakfast Nook!        One last view! This is looking in from the sunroom to the kitchen. That tall/skinny closet to the left is a pantry, which is small but useful! 

Remember that lattice? That space is MUCH more useful now. Can't wait to share the progress next!! xx- Elsie 

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson 

Lavender thyme and white chocoalte scones (via abeautifulmess.com)Scones are pretty much just biscuits that got dressed up so they'd get invited to tea. Am I right? They are dense but still flaky (how do they do it?!). And I love that they can get dressed up in all sorts of different flavors, both savory and sweet. 

These are a little of both. The lavender and especially the white chocolate push these over the edge into a sweeter breakfast or afternoon coffee snack for me. But the subtle addition of thyme brings in just a little bit of unexpected savory. This time of year I tend to end up with extra thyme and rosemary in the refrigerator here and there. So that was part of the inspiration for adding it to this particular scone recipe.

Lavender thyme and white chocoalte scones (via abeautifulmess.com) Confession: even though these are drizzled in white chocolate, I still added a little butter to my still-warm-from-the-oven slice. Might as well, this is total weekend comfort food that is probably best enjoyed at a ladies' brunch where everybody is required to wear pearls and white gloves. 

I've never been to a brunch like that, probably because I don't own white gloves. I'm just dreaming here. 

Thyme sugarLavender Thyme & White Chocolate Scones, makes eight.
Very much based on this recipe from King Arthur Flour, with a few adaptations by me.

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
purple food coloring (optional)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

First, add the lavender buds to the milk in a small pan over medium heat. Think of this like steeping tea. Allow the mixture to cook for 5-8 minutes. It will become fragrant, but I also like to taste the milk just to ensure it has enough lavender flavor before removing it from the heat. I prefer this method to using lavender extract, as I think it tastes a bit more "real". But if you can't find culinary (food safe) lavender buds, then extract is OK too. Just use 1/2 teaspoon on your first batch and see what you think. Floral flavors can become overpowering in recipes fast, so don't over do it. 

Purple milkI also tinted my milk a pretty lavender shade with food coloring, but this is optional. :)

In a large bowl press together the sugar and thyme. Then add the flour, salt and baking powder and give it a good stir. Cube the cold butter and cut into the flour with a pastry blender or your clean hands. Incorporate until the mixture resembles very small pebbles (butter and flour pebbles—yum!). Then add the milk and press into a dough ball. 

How to make sconesShape into a large disk on a baking sheet covered with a baking mat (Silpat) or parchment paper and cut into eight pieces. Place in the refrigerator while the oven preheats to 425°F. Then bake for 22-25 minutes. 

Pouring white chocolateWhile they are still warm, top with melted chocolate and garnish with a thyme sprig if you plan to snap a photo for social media. 

It's OK, we all want to see what you're eating. Don't let anyone tell you differently. They are lying.

Lavender thyme and white chocoalte scones (via abeautifulmess.com)  If you don't consume these all in one day, then cover or wrap to store so they don't dry out. Enjoy and happy baking! xo. Emma

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

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via abeautifulmess.com)  I'm excited to start an official new tag with you guys today! You've probably noticed many of the different tags we use here on ABM. They are located at the top of each post, just after the title. Our tags can alert you to all sorts of things like if a recipe is a main course (meal idea) or side dish (small bites), or even if something is sponsored. If you click on a tag, you'll get transported to an archive page showing you all our past posts that have that tag. It's a pretty handy tool if you're looking for more ideas in a certain category of if you can't find an old post, but you know a few tags it might belong to. 

And today we're starting a new tag called "freezer meals". Lately I've found myself often cooking twice the amount of food I plan to eat and freezing the second meal so that I have something I can quickly throw in the oven on days I just don't feel like cooking or if I've cooked all day for ABM and I don't want to do any more dishes. :) So far this is has been a weeknight dinner game changer for us. This isn't something I do a lot because I don't have a huge freezer, so I really only need a few easy meals saved at a time. But I thought that I could start sharing some of my favorites here on ABM in case you could benefit from a similar practice. 

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via abeautifulmess.com)This one is SO flavorful and is super filling while also remaining pretty darn healthy. We're gonna make our own enchilada sauce with just a few simple but surprising ingredients. And then we're gonna smother some corn tortillas filled with loads of good things in that sauce. The story ends with us stuffing our faces AND storing away the same meal to be enjoyed in a few weeks or a few months. 

I'm pretty excited. I hope you are too. OK, let's enchilada!

Bell peppersChipotle & Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas, makes TWO two serving dinners (that's four servings total).

1 bell pepper
1/3 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to season
one 15 oz. can prepared black beans, drained
10-12 corn tortillas

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour, but any flour is fine.)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

First dice the peppers and onions and mince the garlic. Sauté those three ingredients in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium / high heat for 4-6 minutes until the peppers soften and just begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. 

Peppers and onionsDrain the can of black beans and toss into a large bowl. I like to use a pastry blender to mash some of the beans just to give my filling a different texture, but this is optional. Add the cooked peppers and onions to the bowl and reserve until you are ready to stuff the tortillas.

Enchilada sauceNow it's sauce time! In a good blender, combine the tomato paste, pumpkin puree, chipotle pepper, and 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock. Puree until smooth. In a medium sized pot, heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and whisk in the flour. This will make a very thin roux of sorts. Add the pureed pumpkin mix and the remaining 1 cup vegetable stock and whisk well.

Freezer dinners Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via abeautifulmess.com) To assemble your enchiladas, simply add about 1/3 cup of the sauce to a small baking pan or cast iron pan. For my freezer version, I used a small aluminum baking pan that came with a paper lid—convenient for my purposes. :) Roll the filling up in the tortillas and place them side by side in the pans. Then top with the remaining sauce. Whether you do decide to add cheese to these or not, don't add any to the freezer version because I find that cheese doesn't tend to freeze well. So you can always add it later before baking if you want it. 

Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Then top with a little fresh cilantro before serving.

Chipotle and Pumpkin Veggie Enchiladas (via abeautifulmess.com)   I love to top this with half a sliced avocado if possible and I suggest you do it. :) Enjoy! xo. Emma

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

Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)    Please welcome Rebecca! She'll be sharing some amazing hairstyles with us every month. Isn't her hair color divine?!

Do you remember doing a pull-through ponytail in junior high and feeling extra fancy for the day? I certainly do and this hairstyle is a more sophisticated take on that preteen classic--although it's just as easy as the original! Soft and romantic, it's perfect for an evening out or even works nicely on a windy autumn day to keep your hair out of your face. All you need is a few hair elastics and medium to long hair.

Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)   Step One: Tie a small, loose ponytail on the top of your head using a clear elastic.

Step Two: Above the elastic, divide your hair into two sections, then flip your ponytail upside down and push it fully through this opening. 

Step Three: Repeat the previous steps by gathering half of your hair in another loose ponytail. Divide the hair above your new elastic into two parts and flip your ponytail upside down and push it through the opening.

Step Four: Repeat the steps one last time using all of your hair.

Step Five: Finish the look by loosening each twist and allowing some stray hairs to escape for a softer, more romantic look.

Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)     Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)Love this triple twisted pony! (click through for tutorial)  Easy, but so pretty, right? I like how it looks "fancy" but is fairly effortless and it just continues to look better as it gets messier throughout the day. This is a good style for summer months, but I actually really like up-dos in the fall when it starts to get windy and scarves turn my hair into a rat's nest. We've had awful weather here lately and wearing your hair down is just begging for a mess of tangles when you get home! Cheers, Rebecca.


Credits // Author & Photography: Rebecca Stice.

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