Posts tagged ‘home’

May 19, 2011

Meet Betty

Let me introduce you to Betty…

She’s my new scrubber, a birthday gift from my 4 year old niece, Cadence.  Just thinking about Cadence with her cute little red glasses and enormous personality makes me smile.  I understand Cadence.  Well, apparently, she picked this particular scrub brush because she thought it resembled her, “Auntie Jane” – so funny!!  Cadence understands me.

I named my scrub brush, “Betty,” in honor of…

“Betty!”

Graeme needed a “girl” when he played cowboys (“I need a gurl” – not sure where this came from, but okay) so I created “Betty” from a chair, boxes, pompoms, nightgown, scarf and paper.  He even picked her name.  I laugh still because it’s so fitting a name for a cowgirl.

Back to Betty & me…  Betty reminds me of Vivian, and I’ve always thought Vivian Leigh is a vision of perfect beauty. Truth be told, I wanted to be Vivian.  In this stunning red dress (the most amazing dress ever fashioned!), she’s simply gorgeous…

Well, Vivian & Betty remind me of this ravishing red kitchen…  Wouldn’t Betty the scrub brush (who can’t be used EVER because it would completely muss up her hairdo) just love being a showpiece here?

A girl can dream, right?  I’m crazy in love with the red Aga oven – my dream appliance (**deep sigh**).  Sometimes, I catch Betty just staring out the window.  I think she’s dreaming, too.

“Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. Genesis 37:19

Advertisements
February 17, 2011

Cake Stand

After so many close calls, my cake stand finally bit the dust today. Even yesterday, my tulip loving cats had attempted  to pull flowers out of the vase I’d placed on the stand.  Water and flowers and vase scattered, but the stand solidly and stoically stood firm.  Not today….  In my rush to get dishes put away and start lunch and finish school and get hockey jerseys dried (you get the picture), I dropped a jar of mayo from the cupboard and without even looking I knew my stand had met it’s demise.

The stand was a simple, clear glass, domed piece given to me by a dear friend as a wedding present. Since it also converted into a trifle bowl, it was incredibly useful and functional. I appreciate pieces like that! It proudly displayed and served many birthday cakes, freshly baked cookies, trifles, punch, scones and more.

“Thank you, dear cake stand. You served our family for well for many years (and thank you, Lisa, for the very considerate and lasting gift!)…”

Currently looking for some cake stand inspiration…

So pretty from Home Decorators, and the deep dome would probably even hide my beautiful Valentine tulips from my evil kitties…

Adore the simple and unique lines on this Michelangelo Masterpiece from Macy’s even though it lacks multifunction…

A grouping of smaller stands from Pottery Barn…. hmmmmm….

A little more ornate from Ebay….

Tried and true Anchor Hocking Cake Stand…  This is the one! It’s all versatility and function of my former stand, but with an even sleeker design – love!

And, the grand finale and a punch of color – how about this red number!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:111a

January 20, 2011

Inspiration: Red Gingham

Be very wary – I’ve some red gingham and I’m determined to use every scrap of it.  Currently, I’ve an infatuation with all gingham in it’s glorious array of sizes and colors, but I absolutely drool over red gingham.  Perhaps it the season of transitioning from the Christmas to Valentines, but whatever it is, I’m inspired!  I’m dreaming of a white and black kitchen with some pretty punches of red gingham.  For now, I’ll settle for sewing gingham curtains and kitchen do-dads.

Maybe some of these gingham lovelies will inspire you as well…

Ingenious and cute doorstop from Bouf.com

Isn’t this darling from Etsy reminiscent of a 50’s diner?

Oh, my! These snappy Betsy Johnson numbers will make doing dishes simply dreamy…

Ruffled, red gingham from Country Curtains to frame my world.

Order and a healthy dose of inspiration for my kitchen shelves from this cozy Etsy shop.

Inspiration overload! – this teapot cosy from Not on the High Street has me running for my sewing stash.

From the French Pantry on Etsy, to my pantry. My homemade raspberry jam will be tasting even sweeter.

And the super special, secret ingredient to all home-cooking – made with LOVE – also found on Pouf.com

Dreaming of a white and black kitchen with pretty punches of red gingham (image from BHG)…

Those who live at the ends of the earthstand in awe of your wonders.From where the sun rises to where it sets,you inspire shouts of joy. Psalm 65:8

May 10, 2010

My Mom and Hostess Cupcakes

Hostess cupcakes aren’t simply a tempting treat. For me, they are a nostalgic reminder of childhood and of my mother. As a child, I was awakened each year on my birthdays at precisely 7:58 am with a Hostess cupcake and a festively burning birthday candle (she may have only done this a handful of times, but it’s etched in my memory now as if it were every year. It’s funny how children’s memories work). Because of this I gleaned three significant facts.  One – From an early age, I knew exactly what time I was born. Two – I knew that my birth was an important event to my mother. Three – A hostess cupcake for breakfast, I knew it was a very special day.

Growing up in the ’70’s and ’80’s, we didn’t eat a lot of store bought sweets. In our family, there were huge gardens from which we produced much of our food. Hostess cupcakes were a major treat in our family. My mother did have a knack for procuring some of the best sweets when she was inclined. One such treat was the rare Orange Hostess Cupcake which was available (and still are) in limited quantities at significant times.

Hostess cupcakes are nostalgia food for me. They remind me of my early morning birthday surprises, and my mom teaching us to savor and celebrate special moments with special treats.

So…  For Mother’s Day this year, my goal was to duplicate those precious gems to reflect how precious and rare it is to have a Mother like I have.

First, I found an orange cupcake recipe….

Then, I made a filling ala Organic & Chic Filled the cupcakes…

Improvised an orange-flavored white chocolate ganache with white chocolate chips and orange juice concentrate…

Spread the ganache….

Used left over white chocolate chips to create the signature seven Hostess swirls…


Handmade cupcake cards from me and my creative boys, a new cake-carrier with a spiffy ribbon and…

It was a Happy Mother’s Day with lots of Hostess Cupcake LOVE!

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12

 

 

 

May 8, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Color Burst

Breakfast in Bed this year should be a BURST of COLOR! Color makes me delirious with happiness. I love the British spelling of colour (a little random, I know). I delight in reading paint-chip colors. I dream in color – brilliant blueberries, vibrant violets to rosy red roses. I stare in child-like wonder at brand new boxes of crayola crayons imagining all the possibilities….

(This fantastically fun photo is from flicker.) Breakfast in Bed Color Burst should include the basic elements: a pretty teacup, cloth napkins, a serving tray, and, of course, breakfast.A full spectrum of pretty teacups from The Teapot Shoppe….a colorful array of red tea options from The Republic of Tea

a rainbow of cloth napkins from Jupiter’s Child….

How about a plateful of technicolor pancakes inspired by Every Food Fits?

Or duplicate this edible masterpiece from Whisk Kid….

Breakfast in Bed wouldn’t be complete without a brightly colored serving tray from Crate and Barrel.

But the piece de resistance would be brilliantly painted artwork made with LOVE for Mommy!

Happy Mother’s Day to my gorgeous and colorful Mom. As I age, I hope to be as generous and confident and creative as you (and pretty, too). You live with your arms open wider than anyone I know. To my spectacular sisters, each a dramatic and independent color, you remind me of our mother with your humongous hearts and bold beauty – you inspire me like no one else. To my mother-in-law, a veritable rainbow, you have loved me as your own – I’m truly blessed. And, to my jazzy friends, who are incredible mums and exceptional women, you encourage me and teach me and challenge me. Wishing you all a full-spectrum of blessings and joy on Mother’s Day and beyond!!

May 6, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: Green Style

Perhaps Breakfast in Bed this year should be a bit more…. green….

I just love Zen tea by Tazo – a tasty green tea with a touch of spearment which soothes the tummy and calms the nerves (hence the name)….

And these pretty, potted tea cups from Holy Mountain… I also have a beautiful hand-potted, green tea set. Asian inspired, it includes a bamboo handled pot and a whimsical twist – all the pieces are little green turtles. It’s stunning and a cherished wedding present from a dear friend/mentor. This image also reminds me of my niece who also makes stunning and award-winning handcrafted pottery (she’s incredible!).

These pretty napkins from Etsy completely tie everything together…

And a bamboo tray from Target….

Breakfast in Bed Green-style would not be complete without a yummy asparagus dish. Reminiscent of bamboo, this irresistible green veggie completes the Asian motif. Buy organic asparagus and heighten the greenness (is that even a word?) of this gift.  The perfect recipe is the Asparagus and Leek with Gruyere Quiche from Martha Stewart – delicious! Make it the day before in little tart pans, plate and reheat – it’s that simple (plus you can freeze some for later…).

Add some flowers with simple lines (a single lily or a bunch of tulips), some Green & Black chocolate (organic and fair-trade certified), some exotic fruit, a little yogurt and you’ve a divine celebration of MOM!

For a special hand-made Mother’s Day card, how about an acronym:

G – Gorgeous, You’re make everything gorgeous because…

R – Regal, Our home is a regal palace because…

E – Every, Every day you make me happy because…

E – Each, Each day I thank God for you because…

N – Near, I love when you’re near because…

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you. Isaiah 66:13

May 2, 2010

Nana’s Cake

Poppies make my Nana’s heart sing so I made this sweet delight for her 84th birthday party! Organic & Chic continues to inspire…


April 29, 2010

Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Chicken Noodle Soup

Martha does it again…. Found a fabulous chicken recipe on her site from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s cookbook, “Mad Hungry.” I deviated a bit from the recipe, and found the result to be delicious and extremely fast to cook – about an hour for a whole chicken! The trick is to cut the chicken down the backbone, fry in a pan and then throw the pan and all in the oven. I really got into punching the chicken to flatten it so much so that the recipe was dubbed by my family as “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Chicken!” Looks like I may have to add this cookbook to my collection…

Sorry, no pictures of our dynamite dinner, but I do have a few of the home-made chicken noodle soup made from the left-overs.

April 27, 2010

Dandelions

The darling of seasons, SPRING, has arrived. Flowers are popping up to treat winter weary eyes with their unmatched beauty. One of the first lovelies is the humble dandelion. Just as the majestic lion is the crowned king of the beasts, dandelions are the reigning monarch of SPRING!

Recently, I read an article about the woman who brought dandelions, not indigenous to North America, to Minnesota for her famous dandelion bread and other concoctions. Dandelion bread – who knew? I’ve had dandelion greens in my spring salad green mixes, but the thought of bread opened a whole new world. I began to research and found other recipes such as dandelion wine (my grandmother used to make) and jam, but what really caught my fancy was dandelion syrup.

I read several references about Swiss grannies in the Alps with jars and jars of dandelion syrup. Now not only was my curiousity peaked, but now my imagination was in full bloom. I had to have some – I became a bit obsessed. If little Swiss grannies can, I can too!

Gathering my faithful foragers, we picked a bucketful of the fragrant spring blossoms (fortunately, I’m closely related to some certified organic farmers so I knew where to find the good stuff!). Alas, my busy bee-like boys soon got bored, and grabbed their baseball equipment. Apparently, the romance of gathering spring flowers for sweet and sticky syrup was lost on them. I knew once they tasted dandelion syrup, they would be transformed. Undaunted by their lack of enthusiasm, I acquiesced and joined the ball players. Even though I was stuck in the outfield, I managed to continue to pluck a few more dandelions and chase the occasional ball that came my way. In the end, we had a ton of fun and my bucket of flower heads was full.Then came the work of separating the petals – this was fairly easily managed with a knife. I covered the blossoms with filtered water, boiled for the designated amount of time, turned the heat off and let steep overnight.

In the morning, the mixture was strained and I was left with a yellowish, dandelion blossom tea. I added sugar and some lemon juice, and the mixture was simmered for about 3 hours. The end result was a unique and special syrup rather honey-like in taste.

Dandelion syrup is a delightful addition to warm cornbread or wheat germ pancakes. I’m excited about the possibilities; a whole new world has opened up to me. I’m now eyeing the fields of yellow dots of sunshine with a fresh point of view (my taste buds). Dandelions, the reigning monarch of Spring, have found a new and sweet place in my heart!

Follow some of my rabbit trails for dandelion recipes & inspiration:

5orangepotatoes.blogspot.com

fxcuisine.com

yummysupper.blogspot.com

fat-of-the-land.blogspot.com

*************

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:12

April 23, 2010

Family Movie Nite Treat: Honey Carmel Popcorn

Family meals and family movie nights are an integral part of our family’s culture. Our “Comfy, Cozy, Casual Nights” have seen many slight modifications over the years as our family has grown and aged. We probably won’t be watching Pooh’s Great Adventure anymore (unless we do a themed night or a family retro night), but the basic premise has remained the same: our family together enjoying a “family movie,” some cuddle-time, some laughs and some yummies. The yummies may vary in popularity, but Honey Carmel Pop-corn is certainly a family favorite.

Looking for a sweet pop-corn treat sans corn syrup? Look no further. I copied this recipe from a honey cookbook borrowed from my parents, but have modified it a bit. Most often, I make a half batch which is sufficient for our family of 6.

1/2 Cup raw honey (from unmedicated bees)

2 Cups organic brown sugar

2 sticks (1 cup) organic butter

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

6 quarts popped corn

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees (I have a very hot oven so I heat at 200 degrees). In a heavy bottomed pan, cook first four ingredients over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and continue the boil while stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda. Mix and pour over popcorn. Spread on cookie sheets and bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Please note: Honey burns easily so remember to be conservative when heating.Happy Movie Nite!

She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. Proverbs 31:15