Creamed Spinach Happiness

Sometimes the very best discoveries happen totally by accident.  This recipe was one of those.  A few months ago we had the most amazing creamed spinach at a local steak house.  Of course I had to try to recreate!  I hopped online to find creamed spinach recipes.  Most had cream cheese in them which majorly bummed me out because I had no cream cheese.  I was determined that we were going to have creamed spinach (because other veggies available were going to take too long for the rest of the meal I was making).  I dug through the refrigerator and had a moment of pure culinary genius: Laughing cow creamy swiss.  YES!

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I took about 4 other recipes and mashed them together to make something similar to what we had at the steak house.  Here is what I came up with:

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Creamed Spinach Happiness 

Yield: 2 servings  Prep Time: 10 min  Cook Time: 20 min


  • 2 Tbsp butter + 2 tsp
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Leek, finely minced (this could also be onion but the leek was fabulous!)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 oz (2 wedges) of Laughing Cow creamy swiss
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 6 oz baby spinach (frozen works as well)
  • 3 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp havarti cheese (optional but always a good idea)


Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a pot.  Sprinkle in flour and salt and whisk together until smooth.  Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until it is a light golden brown (keep whisking so you don’t end up with a brown lump).  Slowly stir in milk, whisking constantly.  Stir in the Laughing Cow creamy swiss and cook for another 5 minutes while you cook the spinach.

In a separate pan melt 2 tsp butter and add garlic and leeks, sauté until transparent.  Add spinach and cook until wilted (4-5 min).

Season the cream sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the spinach/leek/garlic mixture to the cream sauce.  Stir to combine.  Add in havarti cheese and parmesan and stir until melted and combined.

**If you want to get really fancy, mix up some of the grated parmesan with some panko bread crumbs.  Top the spinach mixture with panko and parmesan and broil until golden brown (2 min).

I have to say, this creamed spinach was amazing!  It may even be better than the creamed spinach I was working to recreate.

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We had chicken, salad, crusty bread and a grapefruit with our spinach.  The chicken looks pretty amazing, but I wasn’t thrilled with the recipe, it just needed something…I’ll have to play with the flavors a little bit before sharing.  You should know that the fire alarm went off 3 times while creating this meal, it isn’t dinner until I’ve set off our super sensitive alarm!

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Our salad is a simple one: mixed greens topped with blue cheese, dried cranberries, almonds, citrus olive oil and O&Co Balsamic.  This is my go to salad because it is SO simple and is SO good!

Happy cooking!


Sofa Table Happiness

I love when Jonathan takes time off of work.  Besides being super available for Starbucks whims, he tends to end up in the garage creating something wonderful.  Christmas staycation ends up being a huge win for me.  Jonathan recently discovered a steel yard in Denver with crazy cool finds.  On our last day off, we took a trip down to the steel yard and found some gems to bring home.

Happiness is a project

The plan was to build a sofa table for the living room. The base was to be steel and we wanted a solid wood top.  Our next trip was to Austin Hardwood.  We are HUGE fans of a beautiful wood, Austin is like a wonderland.  We looked through the woods in the showroom but ended up heading to the warehouse where we could choose a wider cut.

Happiness is a project

We found a GORGEOUS piece of walnut with a great big knot and beautiful graining.  I mean, seriously?! How can you beat that?

Happiness is a project

That boy I love got right to work cutting steel and welding up the base.

Happiness is a project Jonathan Tenkely

He prepped the wood, media blasted the soft tissue out of the knot, sanded and finished with polyurethane.

Happiness is a project

Can you even stand how perfect that walnut is?  Love. It.

Happiness is a project

Top affixed to bottom and it was ready for the house.

The problem?  It is entirely too perfect to hide behind a sofa.  So, it doesn’t. We have it in the living room but we are using it more as a console table.

Happiness is a project

Pretty thrilled with this staycation project.  That boy is talented!


Holiday Decoration Happiness

This post is a little bit cheating.  Jonathan created this gem YEARS ago…like when we were newly married and still lived in a weensy apartment.  It used to live above our dining room table at Christmas time.  These days, it hangs above our sidebar console.  It still looks equally OUTSTANDING.  This one was pretty easy, just a branch (he brought it home one day…I have NO idea where he cut it from), some garland, some berries/leaves/pinecones to make it shmancy and a glass bird we got from Pottery Barn last year.  Bringing nature inside is always a win.

Happiness is a Project: Christmas branch

Happiness is a Project: Christmas Branch

Now, for the NOT cheating part: an art project I completed last week.  We sometimes purchase things on sale without knowing exactly what we will do with them.  This was the case for some pretty fun picture frames.  They sat on our wall empty for a week before I couldn’t stand it any more.  For the Christmas season they have something in them…after that, it is anyones guess!

This art project includes just a little bit of therapy.  Confession: I have a phobia of taxidermy. I know, so weird.  It is a real thing: taxidermiphobia, look it up.  I can’t even describe the heebie jeebies taxidermy gives me.  It is problematic when you live in Colorado and people believe that this is home/restaurant/store decor.  For the record, dead animals are not decoration.  Period.  Like I said, this project is a bit of therapy for me.  I’m working hard on passing taxidermy without a full on panic attack.  So, I decided an art project might be a good first step.  I found a picture that I could tolerate of a deer head.  This was printed out on heavy card stock, the image covered in glue and glitter.  I have to say, even with my intense reaction to all things taxidermy, I like this.  Very festive and fun.  Hopefully this is a first step to being able to see an animal head without a full on panic attack.

Happiness is a Project: Glitter Deer art

The second picture was WAY easier to tackle…no bad associations here.  We live with Shiba Inus, if you have never seen these dogs, they are beautiful and foxy.  Literally, they are foxy. They look like foxes.  Aya has the stronger resemblance with the same coloring.

Happiness is a Project: Tenkely Shiba Inus

You can’t be a Shiba Inu fan without falling in love without everything fox.  Which is why this happened.  Appropriate for our house at Christmas where woodland creatures of all sort tend to take up residence.  #Squirrelplease

Happiness is a Project: Fox glitter art

Happy Christmas!