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Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Masha R

sweet potato and chickpea soup wide.jpg

Fall is officially here and I am kicking off soup season with this super hearty, filling sweet potato and chickpea soup. I love creamy, thick soups that really fill me up - and that's exactly this soup with those protein packed chickpeas. Can you tell I'm Russian? Look at that huge loaf of bread (It was even bigger but it threw the whole picture off so I ate it down). 

I also topped this soup with toasted pumpkin seeds but there are so many varieties of toppings; and lastly, I like my soups to have texture so when you are pureeing the soup feel free to leave it chunky or get it really smooth - all up to you!

Ingredients:
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 leaks - chopped with green parts (when do you ever get to use those, huh?)
- 1 onion - roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves - chopped
- 1 t tumeric
- 3 large sweet potatoes - if you have small sweet potatoes, double the size
- 1 liter vegetable stock
- 1 can (400g) of chickpeas - rinsed
- 1 can (400g) of light coconut milk
 - salt and pepper
Optional:
- cilantro
- pumpkin seeds

Steps:
1. Grab your Le Creuset Pot and heat the olive oil along with the leaks, onion, and garlic over medium heat until the veggies are sweated down, about 7-10m. Add the tumeric in and stir.
2. Add the chunks of sweet potato and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are soft, but no so soft they are falling apart.
3. Using a hand mixer or blender, blend the mixture to the desired consistency. Add the drained chickpeas and blend again. The portion is pretty big so if you are blending it in a Vitamix or something, you may have to do two portions. I like my soup pretty thick, so I did it all in one.
4. Add the coconut milk and stir, heating through again. If it is too thick for your liking, add some water to thin it out.
5. Toast some pumpkin seeds in a saute pan for a few minutes, making sure to watch them so they don't burn. If you want to make spicy pumpkin seeds, add a teaspoon of oil and mix the desired pumpkin seeds into the oil adding your favorite spices - cumin, chili, paprika - whatever you want! Then, add the oil and pumpkin seeds on top for a nice spice.

sweet potato and chickpea soup.jpg

This soup is so wonderfully filling and I love finding those surprise whole chickpeas I left in there. I hope you try this soup - make sure to tag me on Instagram to share your soup creations!

sweet potato and chickpea soup.jpg

DIY Chalk Paint Terra Cotta Pot

Masha R

chalk paint.jpg

What do you guys think about the recent chalk paint craze? When I was at Home Depot, the staff person helping me asked me, "What IS it about chalk paint?" as he walked me over to the last THREE cans left. I was pretty sold on it after watching this video with Joanna Gaines explaining how to use it

chalk paint 1.jpg

Chalk paint has a thicker consistency than average paint, but because of that you don't need to slave away putting on coat after coat. I used one coat for my terra cotta pot! It is incredibly satisfying and forgiving. You are going to love using it.

Supplies:
- Terra cotta pot, any size
- paint brush
- chalk paint - I used Rust Oleum Linen white a small container; I had plenty left over

Find a surface where you can spread out some cardboard or a sheet to paint on top. I don't know about you, but I'm definitely not the neatest painter. Shake your paint can before beginning so you have a nice consistency. You can also stir it, but I prefer shaking the can.  Dip your paint brush in and start making smooth strokes side to side.

painting with chalk paint.jpg

The picture above is after one coat! I love how you can still see the strokes, but it gives it a vintage vibe. Keep working your way around the pot. One very important thing though is to *not* paint the inside of the pot as the chemicals may poison the plant. It's totally up to you if you want to do more than one coat; for me one was enough.

chalk paint fiddle leaf fig.jpg

I decided to plant my fiddle leaf fig in the pot (don't mind the renovation in the background!) and I love how it looks.

chalk paint fiddle leaf.jpg

Have you used chalk paint before? Let me know if you try this project out in the comments below!

Easy 3 Ingredient Raspberry Jam

Masha R

healthy raspberry jam.jpg

The neighbors on both sides of our house have lived here for over 50 years. They tell us they remember when our little house was being built! My neighbor came over the other day with a huge carton full of farm raspberries - what a sweetheart! I was so thrilled because it's the first time this summer I've gotten to make this super easy raspberry jam recipe.

I LOVE this recipe because it is SO easy! Three ingredients, one pan - done! You can make it through out your day, or even forget about it and come back and finish everything in 10 minutes. The batch size is small so you aren't loaded with tons of jam you don't know what to do with, but it makes enough to share with your closest friends.

You'll notice that this jam is a lot thinner than store bought jams - that is because there is no artificial pectin or gelatin to hold it together - rather we just count on the natural pectin in the raspberries to do the job for us. I personally love thinner jams because I love putting it in my yogurt in the morning and swirling it around in there.

Also, store bought brands have a shelf life of about a million years. This jam is best eaten in 3-4 months. You can freeze it for a longer shelf life too!

Ingredients:
- 6 cups raspberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 small lemons, juiced
10 inch saute pan

1. Put the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in the saute pan and stir all ingredients together making sure the sugar is evenly covering the raspberries. Cover the pan and let the raspberries break down at room temperature for a least 2 hours. I like to leave it overnight because you'll see a big difference in how the raspberries breakdown.

This is about the earliest you'll want to cook the fruit - you can let it keep breaking down. When you simmer the raspberries, they will simmer down to about half this pan.

This is about the earliest you'll want to cook the fruit - you can let it keep breaking down. When you simmer the raspberries, they will simmer down to about half this pan.

Uncover the pan, and set on medium heat stirring occasionally. When the raspberries are starting to boil slowly reduce to a low heat and simmer for 7 minutes. At this point is usually when I say, "Alexa, set timer for 7 minutes." You really want the raspberries to cook down to about half of what you started with. 

Once it's done cooking, I leave it on the stove cooling while I gather my jars. I usually start with brand new jars or pre-washed jars. Since we aren't "preserving" technically we don't need to worry about baths for the jars and all of the disinfecting that takes a ton of time, but do make sure your jars are clean. This is low key jam.

Transfer the jam into your jars, leaving a little bit of room at the top so when the jam expands it won't overflow when you open it. Cool it completely on your counter before popping it into the fridge or freezer. 

3 ingredient raspberry jam.jpg

It is so rewarding that this jam is so easy but so good! Also, how cute is our blue ceramic jar holding the raspberry jam? What is your favorite jam recipe? Let us know if you try this recipe by tagging #AMH on Instagram!

How to Start an Easy Fall Potted Herb Garden

Masha R

herb garden

Have you wanted to start an herb garden but always felt like it was too hard to keep them alive? I have a few easy tricks for you to planting and keeping your herbs alive and growing! I used to have my herbs out in the front garden mixed with the rest of my veggies, but it was such a pain having to go out every day just to clip a sprig of rosemary. So I made this potted herb garden in the back garden near the house and absolutely love it. 

Let's get started. First, find the herbs you'd like to plant and how much of them you want to plant. I actually don't use basil or mint that often which is why I planted them in the smallest pots alone. I also mixed large and small pots to add some dimension to the potted garden.

basil and mint

Next, get a large bag of potted soil, some gardening gloves and your pots! I highly recommend getting potted soil as that will increase the likelihood your plants will stay alive. Most people's soil is just not that great and doesn't have enough nutrients to jump start your herbs growth.

herb garden supplies.jpg

Now here's the big secret! Take your plants out of their plastic containers and place the roots into a water bath. You don't need a ton of water but enough that the base of the roots is covering it. This will loosen up the roots and they will soak up all of that water. Some people water the soil before planting the herbs, and that can work if you have really great soil. But you really want to loosen up the roots so that they are wet and start to acclimate to the new soil.

soaking herb roots
soaking herb roots

You don't need to soak the roots for too long - if you forget them in your water bath, that's okay. They won't die. I soaked these roots for about 15 minutes. The other thing with soaking roots is that it makes it SO easy to plant. I just plop them into the pot and push soil around it. I personally like to water my garden in the evenings just because it is way too hot during the day. If you water your garden during the day and notice your leaves are turning yellow - that's because the sun is burning the water off the leaves you watered.

herb garden

I'd love to know if you've planted an outdoor herb garden recently! Leave a comment below and share your tips and tricks or any questions you may have. Happy gardening!

herb garden

Korean Carrot Salad

Masha R

korean carrot salad

I remember watching my dad eat this salad and it wasn't until I was fifteen that I actually tried it. Then I was hooked. Every time my mom would bring it from the Russian store I would try to hoard as much of it as I could. Nobody thinks addicted when you hear Korean Carrot Salad, but if you like umami flavours of spicy, salty, tangy this is for you! Since moving to Seattle, I don't have a Russian store nearby so making this homemade version is comforting and reminds me of casual dinners with my family.

korean carrot salad

This salad was originally created by the Koreans who came over to Russia in the late 1800s. They brought their spices and made salads with vegetables that were familiar to them from their homeland. So if you go to Korea and ask about this salad - nobody will know what it is! If you ever visit a Russian market, head to one of the Korean spice stalls and get their secret mix for this salad. The secret ingredient is coriander!

Prep time: 5m
Cooke time: 1h 15m

Ingredients:
- 1 lb carrots, peeled into thin strips - I buy two shredded bags from Trader Joes because I'm not great at shredding and always end up grating my fingers, ugh
- 1 1/2 t sea salt
- 1 t coriander
- 1/2 t cumin
- 3 T rice wine vinegar
- 2 t honey
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 1 T red chili flakes - if you don't like things as spicy, reduce the amount
2 T sunflower or grapeseed oil - if you only have olive oil that's fine; with the lighter oils it won't overpower the flavour
- 1/2 t pepper

korean carrot salad

Shred the carrots using a grater or mandolin; or buy pre shredded carrots from the store - those work too! Toss with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for about an hour for the carrots to soften.
Mix all of the spices, vinegar, honey, garlic, and red chili flakes together. Finally, mix the oil in and adjust the taste as you see fit - more salty or tangy.
The dish tastes best if left for a few hours for the spices to marinate with the carrots. Eat with some seeded crackers or toasted rye bread! Tag us on Instagram with #amhfood to show us your Korean carrot salad!