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Storybook Woods

P O Box 288

Keyport, WA

98345-0288

Wren Bay reviews

Bernideens Tea Time

Tarnished and Tattered              Rosie's Ramblings

Sis Boom                                        Nanas House

Fox Tales                                        Frugal Luxuries

Homespun Living                        The Pleasures of Homemaking

Lazy Bee Farm                             Coffee, Tea, Books & Me

Lavender and Pearls                  Gracious Hospitality

The Blessed Hearth                    Life of the Unemployed

Life in Every Breath                    Cherished Hearts at Home

 Gumbo Lily                                  Sweet Felicity

Changed By Love                      Creekside Cottage


Bloom. 3 Years Later

 

  Bittersweet S Storybook Woods

    Celebrating my three year anniversary of not being pre-diabetic anymore and major lifestyle change. 3 years, wow!! I know some of you are having the same issues as me, so I thought I would share. In the past three years I have lost at least 54 pounds. The even better news is I am keeping it off! My number one goal has always been to maintain what I have lost. And to be able to maintain that weight loss, well ... that feels like the biggest success to me.

    My second goal was to drop under 200 and stay there. I can say I have been able to maintain that goal for 7 months now. I am not sure what my next goal is, but honestly I am just happy with what I have obtained so far. I still eat a very low-carb version of Paleo. I still struggle with eating enough veggies. My goal is to make 70% of my daily diet low-carb veggies. I do it, but still have lazy days. I exercise once a week for 1 ½ hours (hard) and "try" to work out another day for 40 minutes, but I do not beat myself up if it does not happen.

Bloom three year Storybook Woods

Really I have only made 2 changes this past year.

1. I use to walk 3 miles. Now I work on strength training and build muscle, plus walking. When you lose so much weight you end up with lotsss of sagging skin. It's kind of scary :-O Plus I am not sure I had any muscles in my body to begin with ;-) I could barely workout with 2 ½ # weights for 3 minutes, 2 years ago. So building muscles and working on my core strength has been my focus and boy can I see a difference. I have slimmed my arms and stomach, been focusing on my gluts lately and am in a size 12 jeans (I was an 20 before). I still have a longggg ways to go. But it is amazing to be able to focus on a part of your body and know with hard work you can make changes.

 

2. I drink vinegar water and kombucha every day. I drink water all day and always add a TBL of raw apple cider vinegar to my water. I started off with less but got use to the taste and now can add more. Also now I drink glass of kombucha everyday too. Both really help regulate my blood sugar, help with my digestion and gut health. Gut health is everything. If you have not read Brain Maker I highly recommend it. Everyone should read it. Last Christmas I gained weight, this Christmas I did not gain any weight. I think the kombucha is helping my body to heal and therefore I am staying in my zone better, even though I did not work out and ate treats.

  Journey3

    So adding weight training and drinking kombucha is really the only changes I have made this year. If you are interested in reading about what I have been doing, read my Bloom series. Really I am just doing what I have been doing the past three years and it works for me. I have had people argue with me that eat fat is unhealthy and low-carb is a fad. All I can say after three years, my body would disagree with you. I listen to my body, it very clearly tells me what it needs and what is does not. So I would encourage you to do the same. Listen to your body, do what works for you and be positive. This is a lifestyle change, that means you will be spending the rest of your life taking care of yourself. That is a journey and journeys never end!

 

PS. The top photo I took at Bittersweet Apothecary in Liberty Missouri. A charming shop full off goodies!!

 

 


Copper Christmas Joy Bottle

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     Happy New Year! I hope it was a great ending. I know it was for me. Last year was a hard one, personally. I was stretched and challenged a LOT! In the end, it is all is good. A lot of change but change is good, right? ;-)  This is the first time I am really feeling that empty nest stuff. I did not think it would get to me so much, but I am finding my ways, slowly. A new chapter of my life.

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    I did want to share one last project from my Copper Christmas. As you know every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make a small gift for each of my guests. Since I drink large amounts of Clear Mind Brew Dr Kombucha I decided to save the bottles. So all year I have been collecting bottles and corks from the sherry I cook with. Just add some copper paint and a simple word. Joy! We all need joy. I am happy with how these turned out and hopefully everyone can use an extra bottle for storage. 

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  The other thing I did was use copper pennies. After I choose copper for my theme, I looked around at what I had that was copper. Pennies! And I have lots of them. I simply cleaned them in a vinegar/salt mixture. I could have done a ton of stuff with them, but I simply lined a tray. I usually use rock salt (such a cheap and pretty item), but the pennies worked great!

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     A few more glimpes of my home. I am interested in seeing what 2017 will hold. I am not sure what will be coming, but I feel good about it all. I hope this is a year filled with joy for you xox

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Merry Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016 Storybook Woods

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours

I love this photos because I hardly see my girls anymore (they work so much). I love that we can still be silly and giggle. I will be back after the New Year and share a bit more of my Copper theme. I hope this is a blessed week for you xox


Copper Christmas Wreath

Copperwreath4 Storybook Woods

    Well the one coppery thing I did do was a wreath. This was fun and pretty easy to do. Hubby welded the elbows on each corner. I cleaned up the copper with a mixture of 1 cup plain white vinegar and 1 TBL salt. Worked well.

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    My bow  is ribbon I have had for a good 30 years. The beautiful buckle in the center is from one of my favorites stores in Poulsbo, Red Plantation. It is perfect addition. This wreath is simple and open, but I like that. Air in decorating in needed, if that makes sense? 

Copperwreath5 Storybook Woods


Copper Christmas Menu

Copper Christmas Menu Storybook Woods

   

    Good day, here is our Christmas menu. Christmas Eve potato bar was such a big hit last year, I am doing it again! I am sorry I do not have links to recipes to link. Either they are mine (and I need to write one) or I am not cooking it. Like the ice cream will be brought by my sister from Molly Moon in Seattle. I am hoping my Bacon, Chocolate Pecan pie is a hit. I will let you know. What are you making that your excited by?


Copper Christmas Champagne Bar

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  Two years ago we did a whiskey bar and last year we did a cocoa bar, so this year we thought a champagne bar would be perfect with our theme.

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    Plus these copper champagne glass, I got last year, were the whole reason I did a Copper Christmas!

  Copper ChampBar3 Storybook Woods

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    We made champagne cocktails. You take a sugar cube and add a few drops of bitters onto your cube. Place sugar in your glass and fill with champagne. I used Scrappy's Bitters in both chocolate and lavender flavor. They were a big hit at my Christmas party.

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    I also had some raw sugar, that looked so pretty with the copper. Copper tinsel and copper wire lights filled in the small details. This bar turned so elegant. 

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Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar and dairy free

Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge sugar and dairy free, Storybook Woods

 I gave a shout out on FB/Instagram I was cutting up a batch of sugar-free Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge and several people requested a recipe so here you go ;-) 

 

Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar free, gain/paleo friendly

3 cups chopped dark chocolate, I use 70% chocolate

¾ cup coconut cream/milk or raw milk or regular whole milk

pinch of sea salt

4 TBL grass-fed butter or coconut oil

¼ cup Frangelico

½ cup  toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped. I like big pieces in my fudge

 

Put chocolate, milk, salt and butter in a small sauce pan and heat over low temp until all is melted. You do NOT want to boil, just melt. When chocolate is melted, pull pan off heat. Stir in Frangelico and hazelnuts. Pour fudge in a loaf pan. I like to use a silicone pan for this, because later I can easily pull the pan away from the fudge. Refrigerate your pan overnight. Then unmold the fudge and cut into small squares. Store fudge in fridge between parchment paper in a airtight container until ready to serve. This is a soft fudge, but firm enough to hold and enjoy.


Copper Christmas-Mirrors

Coppermirror2 Storybook Woods

    Next I am sharing from my Copper Christmas, my wall of mirrors. I had teased on FB/Instagram I was running around my house collecting all my mirrors. 

Mirrcolc Storybook Woods

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    I was really flummoxed how to fill this wall space. I change it out each season. Spring/floras, fall/homey works of art. I needed something I have a lot of and mirrors I do. I was luck this house came with 3 antique mirrors and the large center one belonged to my Grandmother Claire (who I was named after but never met). 


Coppermirror4 Storybook Woods

    The mirrors have a reflexive feel and go with my theme. It also reflexes the lights from the tree and when the tree is gone, reflections of the water. 

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I added a few glitter do-da's and wha-la! Wall of mirrors! 

Coppermirror1 Storybook Woods


Copper Christmas

  Christcooper1 Storybook Woods

    Okay, my theme this year is a Copper Christmas!! BUT, I confess that I do not own a lot of copper things and cannot afford to just go buy a bunch a stuff (plus that is no fun). So I had to DIY and stretch my thinking a bit. I own a lot of silver, gold, mercury glass and hoped this would make the copper shine. So in a way you could call this more of a metallic Christmas, but in the end I think it came out very pretty. I am quite happy.

  Christcooper2 Storybook Woods

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   Today I am sharing my china cabinet. We took the back off and use this cabinet as a divider between the living and dinning space. This is a large, longggg room with 3 distinct spaces. The divide really helps with creating cozy space, like one would want in the winter, without closing off the room.

  Christcooper4 Storybook Woods

    I needed to put something in the cabinet and can be admired from all sides. My white village and lots of pale, glittered trees worked well.

  Christcooper3 Storybook Woods

    I purchased 2 white buildings and copper glittered the roof of one and painted the trim with copper metallic paint on the other. I also made little copper wire wreaths for each house.

  Christcooper6 Storybook Woods

    I also made some more glue gun icicles but added copper glitter to them. They are so easy to make. I have to say at night, this cabinet just glows. I am thrilled with the results!

Christcooper5 Storybook Woods


Christmas Pantry 2016

    Pantrytre2016 Storybook Woods

    Here is some glimpses of my kitchen and pantry. I used gray, red and white in my kitchen. As it picked up the colors of the tote holding greens on my kitchen door. 

Pantrytre2016e Storybook Woods

    I always do these kinds of garlands. Just layers of ribbons I have on-hand, in the colors I am using. So simple. Our vintage Santa collection from Davids family. 

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    For my pantry I decided to go with a French feel. I used my glittered Eiffel towers, pops of color and black/white to ground it all!

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Kitchen Christmas 2016

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    Happy December friends! I have been busy working on my Christmas theme this year, but I am not quite ready to share yet. So I welcome you into my house and kitchen. 

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    My little shoe room is a simple collection of shells, drift woods and other goodies I find when I hang out on the beach (or dropped in my yard by a bird. These brown bottles I have been saving for a Christmas project (share soon). Instead of a wreath I took this tote (that looks like wool but is recycled plastic bottles) and filled it with greens and holly from my property. Add some large pompoms from a past Christmas theme, and wha-la, simple!

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   I will be back with my pantry!! 

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Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce

Iverythnk3 Storybook Woods

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours xox

This is a post from FB I thought I would share with all of you! 

I was asked by my good friend (who I can never say no to) what my Thanksgiving menu is, so here we go.
 
Barbecued turkey, in a white wine, orange & lemon slices, fresh bay leaves brine
Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce
Sausage, dried sour cherry, chestnut bread stuffing
Cream cheese mash potatoes Store bought gravy (yes I buy my gravy ;-O )
Green beans with Dijon-made by my mom
Green salad with fresh persimmon, pomegranate, toasted pecan salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette
Dairy free pumpkin pie Pumpkin Cheesecake-made by Chloe
Grain-free Chocolate chip cookies-made by my mom
 
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Also I was requested the recipe for the Spiced Port Cranberry sauce. I will be honest and say I just wing it So feel free to not follow the amount for spices too much. I cook, taste, adjust and simmer 5 minutes longer, It always seems to turn out and is a yearly favorite!
 
Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce
makes a generous 2 cups
 
3 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup port (I used sweet ruby port, but you can use dry too. You will just want to add more sugar. Also you can use red wine too, it is good)
⅓ cup sugar/sweetener (I used coconut sugar) If you like your sauce sweet, you will want more sugar. I like mine just barely sweet.
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece of candied ginger (or a slice of fresh ginger)
1 vanilla bean
Wrap the spices below in a piece of cheese cloth tied with some string. I makes it easier later to pull out the spices
1 whole anise
6 peppercorns
some whole cloves and allspice
 
Put all ingredients in pan and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. I mash the cranberries down a bit, but you do not have too. Taste if it is not sweet enough add more sugar, also if the sauce seems too dry add some more port and simmer 5 more minutes. Pull off heat, cover and let cool. Pull out spices. Put sauce in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
 
Iverythnk1 Storybook Woods

Things I Love

  Fal16 Storybook Woods

Things I love. What I really love about this time of year? Is just that, this time of year, Autumn. Between now and Christmas is what I love the most. The nip in the air, the deep gold light, smoky smells from the wood stove, the pots of hot tea and snuggling. It does not get much better than that!

Paper tablecloth

Paper Table Cloth, love the look and simplicity of this for the holidays!

Cheeseb

David Lebovitz French take of the Cheese Ball!!

  Lip

DIY Lip Plumper, so easy and just a swipe in the center of my bottom lip works well!

 

Sharpe
 

Sharpie2

Sharpie Mug, I am thinking of making this mug for Christmas gifts! Image 2 from

Cpopcorn

Cauliflower Popcorn, I am addicted to this stuff. It feel satisfy and fill that salty, snack need. The trick is to keep the pieces really small, do not over crowed the baking pan and roast the heck out of them! Be generous with your spices!

  Byered

Bye Bye Red, let me start by saying I am not paid to say how much I LOVE this product. I am not paid to say that about anything I talk about on my blog. So having said that, I have to tell you how much I love Bye, Bye Red. Hitting 50 my skin is really starting to change and my old makeup routine was not working for me. I had heard so much about IT Cosmetics, especially for those who are over the age of 40. I decided to get a free make-over (I know Ulta and Sephora will let you try make-up for free) and was just shock how much I love their foundation, but what I mostly loved was this product. I do not have much rosacea, just some red on my nose, cheeks, some broken capillaries. Basically what you would expect with someone my age. I do not want to look like I am wearing make up. I want to look like I have healthy, dewy skin. And boy did this product do that. A small dot, blended with a small brush and my skin instantly evened out. Plus it last all day, it lasts through my 1 1/2 hour work-out (I get really red cheeks when I work out), and you use such a tiny amount. I am loving it, and it is rare for me to say make-up with worth the high price but in this case I think it is. If your interested, go in and try some. See for yourself.

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No Potato-Potato Salad

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    I am always trying low-carb version of dishes and I will be honest, my family doesn't always like them. Which is fine, as long as they are tasty to me, I am happy. But this replacement I made for potato salad was a big hit for my family. I have been making it all summer long. Really it is the same version of potato salad I always make, with capers and lots of lemon zest. I just replaced the potatoes with raw, riced cauliflower but the dish did not have the same creaminess like regular potato salad. I could have used cooked cauliflower, but we like it raw better. So instead I upped the hard boiled eggs. Between tiny pieces of cauliflower and lots of hard boiled eggs, this dish still has that creaminess that one loves in potato salad!

PS. this is very typical of a low-carb dinner for me. My family all had Moroccan Burgers. I had my burgers without buns with fresh avocado and a small piece for French cheese. And of course no potato-potato salad ;-) works for me.

 

No Potato-Potato Salad

makes one large bowl

 

4 cups of raw cauliflower, riced (finely chopped)

3 green onions, white and green part, thinly sliced (chives work well too)

1/4 cup (or more) capers

6 hard boiled eggs, cubed

zest of two lemons, organic and cleaned

Dressing*

Mix all ingredients and dressing together. Toss, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

*Dressing

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

Dijon mustard

1 TBL juice from capers

salt and pepper to taste'

 

Whisk all in a bowl, taste and adjust to your liking.

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Lavender Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, grain-free, low-carb

     Lavender Strawberry Icecream cake Storybook Woods 1

    My sister and I always have a tea for my mother on Mother's day. I wanted to make her something extra special and this ice cream cake was a big hit. Because my mother's is diabetic, and does not do dairy (except for butter), I made the cake grain free. The base of the cake is my lavender infused brownies, where you infuse the butter with herbs and then use that butter to make a chocolatey brownies (no cocoa powder here, all bittersweet chocolate :-) . Topped with strawberry ice cream and then lavender ganache. This cake was a BIG hit!! A little time consuming, but so worth the work!

Lavender Strawberry Icecream cake Storybook Woods

Lavender Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, grain-free, low-carb

Base, 1 Lavender Infused Butter Brownie Cake baked in a spring-form pan * see notes

1 pint (or so) strawberry ice cream, I made vegan ice cream but feel free to use what ice cream you love.

Dark Chocolate Lavender ganache

 

Assemble cake; let brownie base cool for 30 minutes after baking. Cover brownie with ice cream (if ice cream is frozen hard let it sit on your counter, or pop in microwave a minute, to soften a bit). Set cake in freezer and make ganache. Pour ganache over the ice cream. Cover pan with heavy foil and set cake in freezer. Freeze until ice cream is solid. Serve and enjoy!

 

Vegan Strawberries Ice Cream

1 1/2 cup cold coconut cream

1 cup cold coconut milk

1/2 cup sugar, I used coconut sugar

1 1/2 cups ripe strawberries

pinch of sea salt

 

Blend all ingredients with a blender stick or in a blender until smooth. Run in ice cream maker for 30 minutes and store in freezer until ready to assemble cake. I make the ice cream when I pull out the cake, so the ice cream is ready when the brownie is cool and the ice cream is still soft enough to spread over the brownie.

 

Lavender Ganache

1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup cream
1 TBL lavender buds ** see note

Heat the cream, chocolate and lavender over low heat until chocolate is melted. Do NOT let the mixture boil. Set chocolate aside for 15 minutes, then strain out lavender buds through a sieve. Discard lavender.

 

Notes

* Bake your brownie in a spring form pan. It makes it easier to serve the cake. Normally I under cook my brownies but for this recipe make sure the brownies are fully cooked

** You can also use food grade lavender oil, I use Young Living, instead of lavender buds. 3-5 drops depending on your taste.

Lavender Strawberry Icecream cake Storybook Woods 5

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