Posts tagged ‘tea’

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

Advertisements
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 4, 2010

Breakfast in Bed: A Mother’s Day tradition

Breakfast in Bed is a Mother’s Day tradition. My children started blessing me when they were still wee guys with Breakfast in Bed usually consisting of buttered toast with jam, Earl Grey tea, and lovely handwritten notes. Whatever the fare and presentation, I felt lavished with love on those special mornings.

With Mother’s Day approaching, here are some images and thoughts on what Breakfast in Bed might just look like this year…

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Theme:

Tiffany Blue Teacup (not mine, but a girl can dream…)A Silver Tray (mine is similar)White RosesTiffany Blue Cloth Napkins from Etsy

Sweet decadence in Tiffany blue

With a presentation this stunning, a simple muffin and banana would appear haute cuisine. Add a little more elegance and authenticity, and place a pain au chocolat on a plain white plate. And the icing on the cake…. A well-written love note to Mother expressing love and devotion – You make me smile because… My favorite memory with you… You inspire me because…

Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon. James 1:!7

 

 

April 13, 2010

le fort café et boulangerie

Here’s what’s cooking at Le Fort Cafe et Boulangerie a.k.a The Strong Cafe and Bakery (it’s always better en Francais – oui?):

Breakfast was a warm Oatmeal Porridge reverently referred to (by me) as “Heaven in a Bowl.” The organic steel-cut oats are cooked to perfection and served with a dollop of butter (real, of course) and raw, locally harvested honey (Ravencroft Farm). A comfort food and taste sensation, Irish oats are pure bliss in the AM! But, alas, the food critics they demand more. They find this simple fare, well, simple. Consequently, the pressure for a pleasing lunch selection was keenly felt, I had to rally…

Lunch….hmmm… Did I mention I had a deadline yesterday and so my 14 year old graciously offered to help with lunch?  I was Chef (chopping vegetables, barking out orders, emailing attachments, and re-emailing attachments) and he was Sous Chef. Well, when I told him to add 2 cups of flour to the mixing bowl (homemade egg noodles for the chicken and vegetable soup boiling away on the stove), he assumed I’d meant for him to add them to the bowl of cherries (hand-picked last year) with a handful of sugar and a pinch of pectin thawing on the counter. Barely making my deadline, I rushed back to the kitchen for some quick kneading of the noodle dough. And then, I saw the bowl – a pink, pasty mixture of cherry delight.

When life gives you lemons – right?  Okay, we’re trained experts here, we can handle this. Added was a few more packages of frozen cherries and more sugar to thaw & marinate on the counter. Today, it was cooked down a bit and it’s now slated for cherry cobbler (writing my own recipe) and cherry turnovers (left over puff-pastry from the Asparagus & Gruyere Tarts made for Easter – AMAZING!!).

It’s hard to think about lunch when you’d rather be a Pâtisserie Chef than just a plan old, boring Chef. As the critics began inundating with questions as to the identity of the Lunch Special, I started to grab. I pulled out my trusty 9×9 ceramic pan in a lovely, spring-green hue and buttered it (again real butter). After slicing the last few pieces of bread, I grabbed and quickly grated all the cheese ends I could find (we’re down to just cheddar – Gruyere doesn’t last here). I threw in some diced ham left-over from Easter; some free-range, organic eggs with their glorious bright orange yokes (indicating a high level of nutritional content); and yummy mushrooms who spoke (“eat me, eat me”) to me when I was rummaging through the fridge. Viola! The Lunch Special was in the oven.

Ham, oh my! A ham hock still remained in the fridge. While lunch was baking, the ham was tossed in the crockpot on a low heat with some water.  Last year, my attempt at Ham & Bean Soup became a copious amount of  salty, mushy bean disaster. But, not one to give up too easily, I’m starting again – perhaps, I learned something and this year it will be tres magnifique… FYI – Mere de Chef doesn’t love Ham & Beans so her attitude may have created a biased that affected the whole process.

Turns out lunch was not so special for all the foodies. One critic, in particular, spent most of lunch comparing the homey Egg Strata to Quiche (which is what he would have preferred to have).  When the general unrest trickled down to the rookie foodies who started to request items from the Ala Carte Menu, Mere de Chef pulled out her standard line perfected with years of use:  “I am not, nor will I ever be, a short-order cook!”

Remember the cherries and puff pastry?  The Cherry Turnovers turned out divinely, and proved to be a triumphant ending to The Lunch Special.  Mere de Chef can kick her feet up still donning her “power apron,” sip her green mint tea from mismatch chinz, contemplate her bowl full of cherries (literally and figuratively), lament another day without homemade yogurt, and plan for The Dinner Special…  Welcome to Le Cafe!!

“These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.” Psalm 104:27

July 30, 2009

The Cherry Orchard

P1010018All Russia is our orchard. The earth is so wide, so beautiful, so full of wonderful places. [Pause]. Just think, Anya. Your grandfather, your great-grandfather and all your ancestors owned serfs, they owned human souls. Don’t you see that from every cherry-tree in the orchard, from every leaf and every trunk, men and women are gazing at you? if we’re to start living in the present isn’t it abundantly clear that we’ve first got to redeem our past and make a clean break with it? And we can only redeem it by suffering and getting down to real work for a change. ~ by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

P1010014

It’s a beautiful thing when literature and life collide! When you leave your every day routine, step into the unfamiliar and purpose to experience the moment, life enlarges and expands.

P1010003

Last week, I found an ad for one weekend only of pick your own cherries (and currants) at a local orchard, and was determined to wedge it into our scheduled weekend. One of my favorite books is French Woman Don’t Get Fat.  In her book Mireille Guiliano reveals the beauty of the French culture.  She writes about her childhood home and various types of fruit her family grew, harvested and preserved. Food is respected and fruit is treasured in French homes and hearts. Her book has inspired me to get in touch with my French-side (yes, I’m part French). Now, I make my own bread, yogurt and have preserved fruits and veggies for years.

P1010012

My lovely mother joined us for this adventure in the cherry orchard. I love to pick fruit on so many levels. With so many references to fruit, the Bible literally comes alive. The fruit itself has a unique beauty that inspires the artist in me. The joy of watching generations of people experience the same child-like wonder fills my heart.  And the thoughts of cherry pies sans metal cans and high fructose corn syrup, spurs me on despite the occasion cloud burst.

P1010011

For me the most amazing part was what I alluded to earlier, the literary experience.  The majority of the people who had travelled for miles and miles to pluck buckets of cherries were Russian immigrants.  They brought everyone from Grandpas to little tots and in between – beautiful teen girls and polite young men in their twenties and thirties.  Every generation joined in the effort to provide their family with the cherries that culture so delights in. For me, it was like I stepped into the backdrop of the Russian play, The Cherry Orchard. I’m a huge fan of Russian literature and just inhaled the moment so precious and lovely.  The beautiful morning, the melodious sound of Russian spoke by natives, the joy in their eyes, the little old man who climbed the cherry tree to get the ones just out of reach – I captured it all in my mind’s eye and treasured it all my heart.

P1010006

Not only do my jars of currant jam for tea and scones and cherries frozen for Valentine’s Day pies represent “getting down to real work,” they will be a tasty reminder of my morning in The Cherry Orchard.

P1010007

And then we’d send the dried cherries off in carts to Moscow and Kharkov. And money! And the dried cherries were soft, juicy, sweet, and nicely scented. . . They knew the way. . . . ~ by Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

P1010020 

Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Matthew 7:17

P1010003

June 5, 2009

From My Bookshelf

Turn on the tea-kettle, grab your prettiest chintz teacup and settle into your favorite chair. Reading Lisa Bevere’s new book, Nurture, is like an intimate afternoon tea with your very best friend. Listen as she shares from the depth of her heart:

This gathering of women, this hunger for nurture, is what drives me. I want to find the daughters and help them recover life and safety. I want them to grow so they can fly. I want to turn the heads of busy mothers so they will notice the daughters who are searching. And I want to empower the grandmothers to lend the comfort only they know how to give so well. I want these women nurtured well, so they can in turn enlarge the lives of others – who will hear the cry of Earth’s citizens.

Lisa Bevere BookNurture will take you on a journey of the heart with the destination being a rediscovering of God’s purpose for you as a woman. When God made woman, she was beautifully equipped and gifted for nurturing from the heart to the heart. Somewhere along the way, we seemed have lost our God-given endowment to nurture and reproduce, but not hopelessly. God is raising up wise companions who will walk with us and encourage us to take our place in God’s plan (Proverbs 13:20). Lisa Bevere is a voice of wisdom calling out the daughters, mothers and grandmothers of our age.

Like Wisdom personified in Proverbs 9, Nurture provides a table of nourishing delights. It could also be likened to a cup of steaming tea to be sipped, savored and enjoyed. 

 Wisdom has built her her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars.

 She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; 
       she has also set her table.

 She has sent out her maids, and she calls 
       from the highest point of the city.

 “Let all who are simple come in here!” 
       she says to those who lack judgment.

 “Come, eat my food 
       and drink the wine I have mixed.

 Leave your simple ways and you will live; 
       walk in the way of understanding.

Proverbs 9:1-6

April 30, 2009

Strangers Among Us

180px-chocolate_chip_cookies1Piles of laundry. Gallons of milk vanishing.  An endless list of missing items.  Coincidence?  I used to think so…

How does a family of 6 the amass so much laundry in one day?!  To where did the 2 gallons of milk disappear that were delivered just yesterday? – not to mention, the 5 dozen chocolate chip cookies freshly baked this morning? Why don’t I have any tea-towels when I just did laundry yesterday?!

10664A_CelestialSeasB

Then one evening as I sat sipping my Sleepytime tea in the comfort of my living room, I listened for the very first time.  I really listened.

And, these are the sounds that I overheard that fateful evening:

372px-dominator39First, I heard the Stanley Cup Championship Game being hard fought by the Detroit Red Wings and the San Jose Sharks. (I didn’t even know we had a rink in our house). It was a close contest, but alas the Detroit Red Wings lost in a dramatic shoot-out. Now, it seemed they needed bandages, ice baths and food – lots of food!

Just then, a blond flash in a tea-towel cape streaked through the room yelling, “Wonder Boy needs vegetables for super-hero power.”  Just as quick as he appeared, he disappeared.

At this point, I had a flash back from the day before. I had walked into one of the boy’s bedroom and there onwhiz2 the top bunk was a blazer and tie-clad preacher complete with The Rhyme Bible and a guitar. He was “preaching good” to a capacity crowd.

Hockey teams, super-heroes, mega-church pastors – I was just discovering what my children have known all along: There are strangers among us!

Can you image the piles of home and away jerseys I need to launder not to mention the mounds of hockey socks?  Do you know how many tea-towel capes an adventurous super-hero can go through in a single afternoon? Have you ever fed a congregation of hungry church-goers?

I’m not sure how to break it to my husband, or what his reaction might be. Personally, I am much relieved it to 526px-washer600pixknow the truth – finally! I was beginning to think I was loosing things. I was beginning to think my children were drinking milk like it is water. And, I was beginning to think I was a failing laundress.

So now, in my new found freedom (the truth always sets you free), I can put up my feet, sip my tea and laugh with the strangers among us!

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

March 26, 2009

Scones with Honey Butter

p1010003

Good ole Scottish scones made with butter, oats, flour, salt, baking powder, cream and blueberries...

p1010006

Shape and slice....

     

Oven at 450 for about 14 minutes

Oven at 450 for about 14 minutes

p1010018

Break off a piece, spread with honey butter & enjoy with a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea!

p1010025

Drake appreciates great scones...

Colin demonstrating proper scone eating etiquette...

Colin demonstrating proper scone eating etiquette...

Forrest...

Forrest...

Raw, unpasteurized honey from RavenCroft Farm...  check out there blog!

Raw, unpasteurized honey from RavenCroft Farm... check out their blog!

Graeme is still learning to love scones...but he loves the new lambs at Grandpa & Grandma's.

Graeme is still learning to love scones...but he adores the new lambs at Grandpa & Grandma's.

 

Tags: , ,