Thursday, December 19, 2013

Classy Brown Rice Salad - a summer sensation!

Happy Christmas everyone! I have had a few requests to revive some posts from the old My Big Nutshell blog. One request has been for this Classy Brown Rice Salad recipe which was a hit last year.

Every time I make this, I curse the cooking time of brown rice. I swear I could paint a whole room and crochet a bunny rug in the time it 'feels' it takes to cook damn brown rice.

But once I eat it the negative emotions of stirring it in the pot dissipate and are replace with lip smacking joyful yet irritating excitable moans. West Coast Cooler Aunty does not approve of the noise but does approve of the salad.

This is what I am making for my contribution for our family Christmas lunch at my Uncle's house. I made it last year (last years photo below) and there was a special request to make it again. FTW!

Classy Brown Rice Salad

Classy Brown Rice Salad


  • 3-5 cups uncooked brown rice (change this depending on how big you need to make it. 1 uncooked cup makes 3 cooked cups of rice.
  • 1-2 red capsicums, deseeded and finely diced.
  • 1 large bunch of shallots sliced
  • 1-2 cups pine nuts ( * = depends on how big you want to make it)
  • 1-2 cups Sunbeam Sultanas *
  • 1-2 cups unsalted cashews *
  • 1/2-3/4 cup sunflower oil *
  • 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce *
  • 2-4 teaspoons of garlic crushed *


  1. Boil the brown rice in salted water until cooked, approximately 30 minutes uncovered (ensure you leave enough time, because it takes a while and should have a nutty crunch to it, but not so nutty your teeth crack... obviously).
  2. When cooked, drain like you do pasta in a colander, then return it to the pot, cover with a lid and let it steam by itself for 10 minutes. Remove lid and like you do with cous cous or quinoa, fluff it with a fork (hmmm fluffy).
  3. In the meantime get chopping on the capsicum and shallots and place both in the same bowl together.
  4. In a separate bowl combine the pine nuts, sultanas and unsalted cashews.
  5. In a jar with lid combine the sunflower oil, soy sauce and garlic. Put the lid on and give it a good shake.
  6. When you're ready to serve (this can be served hot or cold or even at room temp), combine the rice with the nuts/sultanas and capsicum and shallots. It's easier to use your hands to toss it gently. Give the dressing another good shake then pour over the top and fold through with a large spoon. Watch the consistency as you may not need all the dressing. Let it rest for a bit, so the dressing gets a chance to flavour the rest of the ingredients. 
  7. Reserve some for yourself before everyone attacks it!
  8. Present it on a fabulous platter or bowl.
Enjoy...... and you can thank us later!

What are you cooking for Christmas?

Gemma and Jamie xxx

Monday, April 22, 2013

5 ways to change your interior groundhog day in a day

For many mums most days feel like groundhog day. Just because each day is reasonably predictable it doesn't mean when you stick your head up to suck in some air, you have the same groundhog day interior to look at. 

Keeping your home looking the same way it was three or more years ago can drag you down and you might just feel you'll never get out.

As we've said before things don't have to cost a fortune to look lovely in your home. The biggest thing it requires is YOU. 

Becoming unstuck is the biggest challenge for many women whose lives are run more by the variables in their day than anything else. It's about taking some control back and saying no more to groundhog day and groundhog interiors.

The suggestions we are about to give you will cost nothing (so from hereon in, there can be no complaints from the other half).

This is the same room changed around four times with
existing furniture.
This is Jamie's very special skill!
She keeps those rooms moving!

Here are 5 ways you can set the scene and get a new fresh perspective in just one day.

One: Invite a trusted friend over and give her a laundry basket or two or three. Ask her go through your house/specific rooms and put in the basket anything that is daggy, collecting dust or is distracting, unnecessary, taking up good real estate or what she has disliked for a long time. It's her chance to do it now!

With thanks to Erin from
Eat Play Bond for allowing me to go back in time.
These were 'special' gifts she has received.
They had to GO!
You can read more about those precious things here.

Two: Go on the same path as your friend when she is done (get her to put the kettle on or pour a stiff drink, there is more work to be done). Look high and low and put into another basket anything that has been annoying you, that you're 'over' or doesn't fit into the way you live now or the way you want to live in the near future.

Three: Later when there is peace and quiet go through the baskets and turf out at least seven items from ten. Pass them on, give to charity or throw them straight in the bin. Do it the same day, action the whole lot and get it OUT of the house! At the very least put the passing on or charity bags straight in the car.

Four: Have your cleaning kit ready and clean all the surfaces, skirting boards, carpet, everything that has built up and that has left you feeling suppressed or overwhelmed. Open all the blinds and windows where you are working. Let the sun shine on your room and on your back.  Put on some music, kick off your slippers and start moving furniture. Change your perspective, change what you look at every single day, change what reminds you that it's likely to be groundhog day again.

Five: Don't replace anything, just appreciate the space for the whole day and the next, and the next and the next. Soon you will be able to breathe and feel the energy of the space you've created, then you can tweak it. Here is your chance to apply what you've learned about the space in your home and how you wish it could have functioned. You can now do it. Yes there may be some limitations, but you've changed your perspective, you got yourself out of your groundhog day interior!

Tell us about your
groundhog day interior. 
What are you itching to
get rid of?

Jamie & Gemma

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Urban Style Hunters launch

So Urban Style Hunters are go.....

There's nothing like some launch fanfare with your iPhone, taken approximately 43 seconds before the gates opened. Not even a damn sparkling wine pop to be heard!.... Ok it was 10am, but it was closer to 12 if you count it was the first day post daylight savings ceasing.

If you squint and use your imagination you may find these quick pics exciting!

That's us (Gemma and Jamie) in front of
our chock a block pop up store!
The vintage cases flew out the door.
We were so happy a lovely couple purchased
the beveled shabby mirror.
Super Sarah White was chuffed with the dolls crib which we explained could be used for shoe storage,
toy storage or even in the kitchen or for growing herbs.
Totally ideas ladies, ha!

There were lots of new faces to put to the Facebook and Instagram profiles of our Urban Style Hunters friends which was a complete thrill. 

Don't you just feel like you know people when you get to see their view of the world through their Instagram pics?

The agave plants were popular and so were the #wrappingninja and #urbansupplies, not to mention one little boys smile with his homemade fragrant soaps.
Mix and match vintage cutlery and homewares made the
display table the place to be.
A local lady claimed the antique rocking horse with class and sophistication, marginally falling short of
launching herself on the table! Classic!

It was great to see this lovely early 1900's stand
and the desk go to a great home!
wink wink Miss Rowena!
Jamie put together some inspiring mood boards showcasing how our salvaged items can be styled in the home.
We enjoyed explaining how retro crates can be used as wine storage.... because, just because.

If you are keen to see more about what we are up to you can follow us on Instagram (profiles are to the right) or search #urbanstylehunters. 

There is always something happening to help you get inspired to inject soul and fun into your home.

Jamie & Gemma

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sneak peek at our April 7 pop-up sale!

It is on this Sunday, April 7 from 10-2 at 20 Northmead Ave, Northmead, NSW!

We've been having a ball pulling together some really lovely and interesting salvaged and upcycled homewares. So much so we couldn't resist taking these shots to give you a sneaky peek to get this party going (omg, totally Rizzo from Grease right there)!

We will be making a cake or two to share around, playing some music, displaying our mood boards to get your creative juices flowing and releasing a few surprises including #wrappingninja !

Rain, hail or shine, it's on baby!

We hope to see you there so you can eat cake, browse and enjoy yourselves.

Jamie & Gemma

Monday, March 25, 2013

5 tips to add soul back into your home

1. Create a lady space, that's just for you. Display the things you love, objects which express who you are and trinkets that tell your story.

2. Reclaim the family living room. Make technology easy for you to use, limit the number and types of kids toys in the shared space. 

3. Swap background TV noise for music. Create instant calm, energy or a vibe to get everyone on the same page. Share your all time favourite tunes with your kids.

4. Change rooms around by adding or subtracting furniture when you feel things are a bit stale. Add colour with fresh cushions, flowers or Nana's lovely crochet blankets.

5. Look to the side of the road. Council kerbside clean up time is an untapped treasure trove of delights. Recycle, upcycle, hunt and gather. Just don't let your neighbours spot you!

What room in your home needs 
the soul back in it?

Our launch event is 
10-2 on Sunday 7 April 
in Northmead, Sydney!!!

Jamie and Gemma

Monday, March 4, 2013

The pre-launch of Urban Style Hunters

Seriously this was the only proper photo of the day!
We were too busy to take any others.

We had such a great time at our Urban Style Hunters pre-launch event. In fact we possibly could have had a bit too much fun, the prosecco was popped by noon!

The highlight of the day (outside of the sun shining) was hearing from new customers about how thrilled they were with their unique purchases. Some even sent through photos of how they have styled their bits and bobs in their homes.

We are really committed to bringing style to the suburbs with our electic mix of vintage and unusual finds. More so we see it as our priority to help you style up your own home by showing you how it can be done.

Our launch event will see an abundance of mood boards shown together with lovely vignettes of our products. This is perfect to inspire those of you who are still not sure what your style is and what you truly gravitate towards.

For those in the know, it's a good opportunity to share and discuss all things styling..... plus of course helping you find that piece you've been looking for.

A house is a home, so surround it with beautiful things that say who you and your family are.

So please stay tuned for a special announcement and also some top tips we learned at Megan Morton's: The School in Roseberry. The science of styling class was truly brilliant!

Did you come to our pre-launch event?
What did you think?
What is your colour palette at home?

Jamie and Gemma

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Urban Style Hunters are 'nearly' go.

It's nearly time for our first pop-up garage sale! 

We are putting the finishing touches to our stock with great enthusiasm and thought.

The first pop-up garage sale will be a mix of general wares and Urban Style Hunter goodies.

The second will focus on our electic selection of upcycled vintage homewares and furniture, art and gorgeous handmade objects to decorate your home. 

You will get a sneak peak of what's to come shortly.

Stay tuned for dates!

Jamie and Gemma