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April 2008

A Cheap Trick


The Christmas House is having their spring sale this weekend and as usual there was plenty of eye candy and inspiring ideas. Carolee had a black, white and red section. I loved it. I thought it was so simple and stunning all at the same time. One of the things she did, that I wanted to share was her shelf-liner, scalloped newspaper. The red dots are only finger prints made with red paint. The gold dots are thumb tacks. Notice how this is just an old cabinet (bet Carolee painted it red) and took off the doors. There is even a black and white calico apron. I have more pictures to share, when I can. I have the primer (3 coats) painted on the pantry and now maybe we can get to painting some color. By the way, shocking enough, I did not buy myself one thing. But got a killer deal for Aubern'e. Will share xoxoxoxo




Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon: The-Sweet-And-Savory-Of-Yummy


This week on Gracious Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon the theme is The-Sweet-And-Savory-Of-Yummy. Share you favorites tea time recipe for sweet or savory. This is actually new recipe I created for the blog-a-thon. Spiced chocolate scones with a strusel topping. It is a soft chocolate flavor with pronounced spice flavors. If you perfer it more chocolaty, cut back on the spices and added chopped chocolate to the dough. Enjoy !!!

Well I dropped my lap-top and have to send into the fix-my-lap-top-and-give-me-back-my-life hospital. It will be a good week and half till I get my lap-top back. We do have a computer but I have to mud wrestle the girls to use it. So my "access" to the computer is limited. As seems to be the way things are going, my posts will be scattered. If I do not come by your blog and say hello or I am late in getting back to an e-mail, that is why. 



Spiced Chocolate Scones

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup coco powder
1/3 cup evaporated cane or sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground dried ginger

1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, cubed butter
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk

Streusel Topping

1/4 cup toasted pecans (does not need to be chopped processor will do it)
1/4 cup
 rapadura or brown sugar
3 TBL. white flour
2 TBL cubed, cold butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground dried ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg 

Pre-heat oven 375.

Mix dry ingredient in a food processor and add butter. Pulse till butter is the size of small peas. Put dried ingredients in bowl, add wet and mix. Dough should be a shaggy, wet and you should see bits of butter throughout the dough (see picture above).

For streusel put sugar, butter, flour and spices to in food processor you just used and process till crumbly. Then added nuts and process for 30 seconds.

Grease a cookie sheet or large baking pan. Spoon dough on cookie sheet and pat into a circle about an inch or so thick (you can use with wet hands). Sprinkle strudel topping on top (see picture abouve). Bake 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Cool five minutes and then cut into 8 wedges.

Firecracker Favors


Aubern'e made these wonderful firecracker favors for the Hobbit birthday party. Gandalf brought firework to Bilbo Baggins birthday party. I guess Gandalf is known for his fireworks !!! Aubern'e took a toilet-paper roll and covered it in paper. Added string for the fuse and glued a bamboo stick to the side. They filled them with leaf pin, dragon egg (rock), poppers, mushroom bead, fluffy patch for their feet and of course a gold ring. Then she taped a top, like a little hat. I was soo impressed with these and how well executed they were done. You must also check out the hobbit house Aubern'e made as a birthday gift for Chloe's dragons to live in. Aubern'e you are amazing me xoxoxo


Hobbit Birthday Party


Chloe's says this was the best birthday party she ever had. Here she is with her new sword hand-made by Angie's husband.  I was not thinking, most of the pictures I took had all the children in it. I do not want to share pictures of my friends children. So I do not have as many to share, but really it was a simple party. They played a game of pin the limb on the Ent. I think they should had done hot rocks, but I was outvoted by the birthday girl ;-) In true hobbit fashion there was a great feast, with plenty of root"beer". They even had hobbit music playing in the background as the danced under the trees. Next post I will share the wonderful gifts Aubern'e made for each kid. Aubern'e also did all the baking. She made this amazing ring cake, even with the elvish writing.

I have to say, I really did not do much for this party. The girls came up with all the ideas and made everything themselves. My favorite thing they made was the furry patches that go on their feet. Now they are true hobbits. You girls are so clever, I do not know were you get it xoxoxoxo



Lembas (cinnamon biscuits) with honey butter 

Baked soy/ginger chicken drumsticks

Dragon eyes (stuffed eggs with olives for eye slits)

Raw baby carrots with homemade maple ranch dressing

Chocolate mushrooms

Chocolate cake with buttercream


Things I Love


Things I Love

Well first, my hubby. Not only did he put in this amazing lamppost (we got at Costco) in the front of our home, but he dug a huge ditch and putting in all the wiring. We had no outlets outside. On a gray day (which we have a lot) it looks like the lamppost in The Chronicles Of Narnia.


Second my new print of Monsieur Hedgehog by Miss. Marjorie at Cozy Little Whimsy Nook. I had such a  hard time choosing a print, I love all of them in her shop. I think I may have to get her dapper fox for my library next !!!  If you have not been to Cozy Little Whimsy Nook, you should check it out. Marjorie is an amazing seamstress and you should the dresses she sews. Thank you Marjorie, I think he will be so charming in my kitchen xoxoxo

Third this fantastic vintage flash card tutorial by Everyday Cookies at Sweet Woodruff Acres !!!!!

Lastly a ribbon toilet paper holder from Harrington House. Very clever Katie.

I Am Sorry


Hello, I have had several e-mail from people saying they wanted to comment on my 2 year blogversary but since they were not a lurker they did not. I am so sorry if I did not explain myself well. Please feel free anyone to say hi, including lurkers ;-) Actually I love hearing from everyone. Your comments have made me all teary-eyed and red-nosed. I am sorry about the miscommunication.

Okay enough of that, tomorrow I will have something much more interesting for you readers. Clarice-who is in a coma after the hobbit birthday party today !!!!

PS. you comments are really helping me with the Artful Blogging article xoxoxoxox

2 Year Anniversary


It is my two year blogversary. Wow, when did that happen. It still is amazing to me, since I am not a writer, that I have a blog. It is also amazing to me that anyone would want to come to my blog. But I am soo thankful that you do. I can not tell you what this blog has done for me. I am more creative then I have ever been. I have more kindred spirits around the world then I have had. I have gotten to meet some people who I so admire and would have never would have meet before. As I have said before, even Susan Branch came to my blog and now I can die an go to heaven !!!! Storybook Woods have been nothing but a gift to me and I hope it is for you. My goal with the blog from the beginning was to create a place that would inspire you to make the most of the everyday moments of your life. To feel supported as a home-maker and to fill you up, so that you would have something to give to others.

Well my exciting news is I will be featured in Artful Blogging Magazine. I was to be in the Fall issue, but now it looks like it will be the Winter issue. I am still somewhat in disbelief and pinching myself. But what a way to be entering my third year of blogging. I am working on my article (which is freaking me out, remember I am not a writer and do not tell me I am  :-) my editor (Hi Staci, isn't it fun I get to say "my" editor) would like me to write about how you, dear readers have responded to my ideas and posts. So I thought I would ask you. How has Storybook Woods inspired you ? Did you try something you never would have otherwise ? Does my blog encourge you as a homemaker? What would you like to see me talk about in my article? I would love to hear your feedback.

Lastly I have a little request, since it is my 2 year anniversary. I would love to hear from all you lurkers. Just a hi will do. I see all these numbers in my stats and wonder who you are. If you do not want to leave a comment on my blog, you can e-mail me. My e-mail link is off the the left. Just write Storybook Woods in the subject line. It is nice to know who comes by. I strive to make Storybook Woods a place that will meet your needs and knowing who comes to the blog and what you like and do not like really helps me xoxoxox

PS. (Gosh I am gone for 4 days and now I have so much to say) My other project is I am turning the little room off my kitchen into a pantry. I am busy scrubbing, painting, ripping up floors. So if my posting over the next two weeks is a bit scattered that is why. Did I mention I HATE painting.

Blog Break


Well I have very exciting new to share, very soon. (and no I am not pregnant and it is not my petite-magazine). I am taking a blog break to work on it and I will be back on the 14th to share. Till then remember to be good to yourself, so you can be good to all of those who love you xoxoxoxx

Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon: Stitches-for-Tea


This week on Gracious Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon the theme is Stitches-for-Tea, sharing ideas and pictures for the for the tea table. 


My post is not exactly what La-Tea-Dah asked for, I hope she does not mind my interpretation of Stitches-for-Tea. I needed a new curtain for my bathroom and found inspiration in tea towels. I had bought a bunch of beautiful linens in OR and got these wonderful towels. I used dotted swiss for the ruffle and added the embroidered linens as a topper. It really picks up the soft grays and pinks in my Victorian bathroom. Every time I see they old towels so beautifully embroidered, I always wonder about who embroidered it. Why they choose this pattern, why these colors, what did they use it for. It is a bridge between now and the past. I think we all need to look forward but also remember the past xoxoxoox

Healthy Tips


I had mentioned I was having some health issues and I wanted to say I am fine. I am just a 45 yrd. overweight, peri-menopause woman. I am sure some of you can understand. So I am try to exercise, eat healthier and support my system. I do so much cooking for the family that I tend to let my meals slip, especially breakfast and lunch. In an effort to help myself eat better I am doing some a-head cooking. If I just take one morning a week to pre-pare it seems to really help.

Some Tips:

At the beginning of the week I saute a bunch of onions and garlic to use in my cooking. I keep this in the fridge.

I cook a large batch to beans and then freeze in small amounts for future use.

I also do the same thing with hummus. It freezes beautifully.

For the freezer I have been making more crisp topping.

Marinate tofu in soy sauce, ginger and garlic. I cut them in sticks and pan fry them for breakfast.

Make a salad dressing for the week.

I am still making breakfast brushette.

I make strawberries puree to have over yogurt for breakfast.

Strawberry Puree

In a sauce pan cook 3 cups of berries (frozen or fresh), 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sweeter. Cook till juices release and berries can be mushed, about 5 minutes. Add more sweetener if needed. Puree and keep in fridge for a week.   

Happy 12th Birthday


Happy 12th birthday my sweet-pea. Here is Chloe, with her dragons, waiting for her breakfast-in-bed. She had a yummy omelet with smoked salmon and cream cheese made by her sister. She loved all her gifts which had a theme of rock and roll guitar and Victorian doll-house. Her Hobbit birthday party is next week. Chloe, we all love and adore you. You are the sweetest, giving, kindest girl we know. I am so proud you xoxoxxo

Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon: Decor-a-Tea


This week on Gracious Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Ton is the theme Decor-a-Tea. Share ideas and pictures that incorporates tea in our home. 


I am very algeric to most sented candles, so I really use tea-lights in my home a lot. I make mine is a bit different because I did not just want to set a tea candle down in my tea cups, creamers and sugarbowls. I was just too afraid they may get ruined. So I came up with this pretty solution, rock salt. I love using rock salt in decorating. It is dirt cheap (I keep an baggy full on-hand at all times) and it just looks so pretty. After a few years and it starts to look dirty it is easy to replace. All I did for the votive, is to fill a sugarbowl with rock salt to the rim and burry the tea candle. Then the flame is well above my bowl. I hope everyone is having a lovely week. Today is my Saturday and I have double chocolate bread-pudding made from my leftover bread in the oven xoxoxoxx

I Confess


I confess,

I hate broccoli and cauliflower. I have had them roasted, served with an amazing sauce, even  Les Bouquinistes can not get me to like them. So I am looking for ways to eat these foods. I read Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and it gave me some great ideas of how to sneak in pureed veggies. I started with broccoli. I bought a large bag from Costco, I steamed them, I pureed them and put cup fulls in little baggies (which I then put all those little baggies into a big freezer baggie). Now I have frozen puree on-hand to throw into dishes whenever I want. I have put the purees into chili (a fav.), spaghetti sauce, sauteed veggies, pesto. I have put pureed cauliflower into mashed potatoes and my family (and I) have loved it all. You really can not tell that it is there.  I am still playing with ways to sneak it in.  If you are picky like me, I challenge you to try sneaking in some broccoli xoxoxoxo

Pasta With Broccoli Meatballs, Roasted Red Peppers and Mushrooms

Tips for the meatballs:

You can take any recipe you love and add the broccoli puree. Just remember you are adding moisture and so decrease your other wet ingredients.

I make my meatballs on the wet side for a tender meatball. I bake my meatballs or cook them strait in the sauce I am serving them. If you want to fry them in a pan, these will not work well. They are to wet and fragile.

Do not over mix.

Keep them on the small side.

You can make meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. Bake off frozen, they will only take a few minutes longer.

For the meatballs

1 pd. ground beef or turkey or chicken

1/2 cup of broccoli puree

1 egg

1 cup plain bread crumbs (I use panko, I get from the bulk section)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or smashed

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

1 TBL. smoked paprika

Gently mix all ingredient and roll into balls. They can be any size, but when serving them with pasta I like to make very small ones. Like the size of a walnut. Set on cookie sheet to bake. They can be close together but not touching. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Till cooked on the inside but browned on the outside.

For the pasta

1 1/2 pounds uncooked pasta (cook while meatballs are baking)

Sauteed mushroom 

Roasted red peppers, chopped

<<<< amounts is to your liking

Salt and pepper

Gently toss cooked pasta with meatballs, mushroom, roasted peppers, salt and pepper. If pasta seems to dry, drizzle a bit of olive oil over it. Serve with cheese of your liking. Parmesan, crumbled goat or blue cheese, also feta would all be wonderful.