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February 2009

January 2009

Lovely Books

Lovely books 

I have been meaning to share few books I have been enjoying lately. I will be honest, I tend to read older, happier book. I have had enough hardship in real life, I do not want to read about it. So these are happy, fluffy stories ;-)

I love Miss Read books. I am blessed my mother has all of them but my favorite is Miss. Clare Remembers. It is sort of a prequel to the Miss. Read books. I think because this book is set at an earlier time and sets the stage for the rest of the books, is why it is my favorite. I just love Miss. Clare too.

 "In the English village of Fairacre, the retired schoolteachers Dolly Clare and Emily Davis enjoyed a remarkable friendship, as this moving volume reveals. Childhood playmates in Beech Green, they would remain close throughout their long lives, eventually sharing a cottage in their retirement. They felt grief when a village family was lost on the Titanic. They each experienced young love and then heartbreak when the First World War interrupted both of their romances. The triumphs and tragedies of their days are depicted with all the humor, heartbreak, and human warmth for which Miss Read is known, providing a sensitive portrait of life in the country."


 


Clare remembers 

I am not sure were I got this book (I have a lot of them). It might be from my mother or a library book sale, but I really enjoyed it. The Gown Of Glory By Agnes Sligh Turnbull . It had a similar feel to it as Cranford does. Not that it is the same story, it is not. It is about the joys and struggles of a small Pennsylvania village. It just felt the same to me.

 "The setting is the village of Ladykirk, Pennsylvania in the early 1900s. The kind village pastor, David Lyall, his wife, Mary, and their three children, all three of whom are grown, unmarried and still living at home. A cozy, but showing it’s years church parsonage. This is a devoted family, who try to be there for each other and their village."

Crowning glory 

Winter Cottage by Carol Ryrie Brink is a children's book. But one of those children's book that really is for everyone. I realize all these books are about families. I guess I am attracted to books about families but it speaks to were I am now, were my happiness and struggles are.

  "A family that is down on its luck during the Depression appropriates a summer cottage in the Wisconsin woods, where they spend the winter and welcome all visitors, including a runaway youth and two strangers. How Pops and his two daughters cope with their misfortunes without losing heart is a very entertaining story."

Blogaward 

Thank you  so much DeRavelled for my blog award and thinking I have a scrummy blog. I know I am suppose to award others but it is just to hard. So I do not do awards anymore. I think you are all scrummy xoxoxox


Candy-Cane Soaked Cake

Heart cakee

    We have been enjoying the candy cane syrup on chocolate mouse, in hot chocolate, over vanilla ice cream but I wanted to come up with some more recipes. I was thinking about those cakes that you soak with a lemon sauce and thought, why could I not do the same with this. I made the mayo chocolate cake.  Hot right out of the over, I carefully poked holes all around the cake, then I just keep spooning the candy cane syrup over the cake until it looked like I had coated the whole cake. I will say, you will be surprised how much syrup that cake can absorbed. I think I could have spooned more syrup over the cake, so be generous.  It was yummy and the syrup made the cake really moist.

Heart cake

How to do a heart stencil :

It is really easy, just fold a paper in half and cut out half a heart, open paper and set on cake. Sift powdered sugar over the opening and carefully lift the paper away.

Another tip, I have a heart silicon pan. I LOVE baking with silicon. It is a little different and does take a bit to get use to. The big thing is you let the baked item cool, so you can roll the pan away from the cake. Target has heart cake pans in their $2.50 section, so run to Target xox


Greenwood Sisters

Heart 2 

Blue scarf 1 

Red flower


My girls, Auberne` and Chloe, have opened an Etsy shop, Greenwood Sisters. There will only be a few items listed at a time. I will post here every time they list new items. This time there are wool heart softies, organic cotton finger-knitted scarfs by Auberne. Chloe needle-felted flower pins. We are all new to this etsy thing, if you see anything at the shop that does not look right or a better way to do it, please let me know. Thank you xoxox


Valentine Tree

Valentin tree 

I have been wanting a white tree, but I am trying to be good about money (like all of you xoxox). So I was at Target (of course) and on the clearance rack was a $4.00 tree. Well I could not say no to that ? 

Valintine tree3 

I decided to set up a Valentine Tree. My topper is this amazing Valentine made by Mrs. Staggs. I can not tell you how much I love this valentine. Thank you Mrs. Staggs xoxoxo

I found this hand-painted valentine in the pages of a very old book. I love to think who it was for and who painted it.

Valintine tree2 

I added some vintage Valentine's and some made by you readers from a valentine swap a few years back. The beautiful fabric heart at the bottom of the tree is made by Paula. Isn't it perfectly, beautiful ??? She is a very talented seamstress and hopefully one day will open a shop. So as you can see this is a tree full of love !!!!

Valentinetree 


Candy Cane Syrup

Candy Cane syrrrrup 

I am always looking for ways to cheer up the cold days of January. In keeping with using what I already have around my house, I have been brain storming a way to use up all those candy canes I have leftover for my Christmas decorating. I came up with a candy cane syrup and am quite thrilled with it. It is simple and taste just like a candy canes. The syrup is wonderful in things like hot chocolate, over ice cream and I will share a recipe using the syrup soon. My mom asked me why I just did not use peppermint extract. But to me candy canes even though they are peperminty, have a very different taste. Maybe it is that spun sugar. The candy canes also color your syrup a pretty pinky/red color. I just love this kind of simple, fun, new ways to use what you have ideas. 

I just simply painted some swirly red strips on the cork and think it would make a lovely gift to someone who need a bit of cheering up this time of year xoxoxox

Candy Cane Syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water 

3 candy canes, broken in large pieces

In a sauce pan add all three ingredients. Simmer on medium heat, till sugar and candy canes have melted. Let cool and store in fridge in a glass jar. Will keep about one month.

*Note. Do not decrease the amount of sugar or you will not have the viscosity you want. Just always remember with simple syrups, equal amount of water to sugar !!!


Mini Pantry

Mini pantry 

I have been in a crafty mood but are trying not to spend money. So I decided to look around my house and see if I could find inspiration. I have this miniature shelf my mother gave me years ago. After a while, I just put it away, you know how stuff gets old. Well after about 5 year in the basement it was a dirty mess. I decided to spruce it up. Gave it a new coat of white paint, replace the ribbons, add some more. Tore off what I did not like and added more doo-dads. I am happy with my mini pantry.

So what do you have sitting around your house that you can refresh, gussy-up, give new life ??? If you do I would love to hear about it xoxox

Mini pantry2 

Mini pantry3


A Well Working Pantry

Flour2

Well it seems one of the things on my blog everyone loves is my pantry, me to. It has been 8 months since I set it up and I have to say, even thought I baked a lot before, I really bake a lot now. Having a space set aside, organized, has made baking easier and more inspiring.

Flour

Baking has become even more of a frugal and healthy way to feed my family. Not just for dessert, but breakfast, snacks, side dishes. I can make healthy, organic, delicious items quicker now. By having the space I have more of an assortment of grains, sweeteners, spices, etc. to keep thing new and different. I tend to use the same recipes but change things up with different ingredients.

There are few things I have done that make things easier. And to be honest, I have discovered the easier, more accessible, the more I will bake. For example I have my flour and sugar in glass cigar humidors. What I love about these is they has a wide opening, so I can scoop the flour right out of the jar. Before I had it in jars with a smaller opening and if I had to scoop out a large quantity, I could not easily get my full measuring cup in. Now I have plenty of room. I encourage you to look for wide opening containers.

Flour 6

I also now have two sets of measuring cups. One for wet, one for dry. I keep the dry set next to my flour and sugar. I keep the wet set in my kitchen queen. This also saves time and confusion. 

I have also found shakers work well for spices I use a lot like, cinnamon and ginger. A lot of things I make, spices do not need to be measure. By being able to grab the spices and just shake some in, makes it very handy. 

Flour 4

I encourage you to think out of the box to carve a baking center. If you have a dining room that is not really used, maybe you can use that. Or start eating you dinners there and use you kitchen eating space as a baking center. My baking pantry was a breakfast room. Do you use cabinets to hold kitchen items you do not use a lot? Can you move those items to another spot, to open space ?  Manuela, took an unused shower and made a pantry out of it. Brilliant idea Manuela xoxoxo

When planning my pantry I looked at what I used the most and focused on making that accessible. Believe it or not, I have a second baking area in my kitchen for items I do not use as much. You do not have to have kitchen cabinets. I used shelving, a table and a low dresser. The dresser I did not think was going to work well. But since I needed to use what I already had, it was suppose to be temporary. But I have to say it works well. Cookie sheets really fit in the long, low drawers. I keep foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap and baggies in the other drawer.

Flour 5

Look at the ingredients you use most in baking. Do you have them grouped together? Are they easily accessible? Can you put them in containers that would make them easier to us? Can you take some of those baking items you do not use as much and put them in something like a old suitcase, to make room for what you do use? Think about the open space under your table. Maybe an old chest or box can go there, to hold items. Also if you have room for a bigger table, maybe one end can hold you mixer, measuring cups, flour, sugar. The other can be your work space.

Having area for just my baking, having everything I use all the time in easy access, thinking out of the box for storage and containers, has made baking much easier. Which means I am baking more and more xoxox


Chocolate Mayo Cake

18 Auberne

One of our birthday rules is you get whatever you want for breakfast in bed and dinner. This is what my sweet girl wanted. She is my foodie girl xox

From Auberne` on her 18th birthday. "Thank you for all the happy birthday's and for letting me know I am normal, for having a hard time adjusting to changes." 

 

Breakfast:

brie, chocolate, basil panini

bacon

orange juice

 

Dinner:

wild mushroom, panchetta (Italian bacon, yes, more bacon), bechamel lasagna

Cesar salad

olive oil bread

chocolate mayo cake with vanilla buttercream, lots of buttercream !!!

  

Chocolate Mayo Cake

Makes one thick layer or two thin ones. If you end up adding more water or mayo, use two pans.

I like a very moist, dense cake. I would not say this cake is dense but very moist. What I like about this recipe is it is very easy to make. It is one of the first cakes Chloe learned to make. No creaming butter, scraping bowl, fussy ingredients. A good beginner's cake.

2 cups flour

1/2 cup coco powder

2 tsp. baking soda

1 TBL. instant espresso powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup water *see note

1 tsp. vanilla

Pre-heat oven 350F.

Grease and flour a cake pan. Sift together flour, coco powder, espresso powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredient's. Mix on medium speed till batter comes together. Pour into pre-pared pans. Bake 20-30 minutes, until when toothpick inserted in cake comes clean. Gently unmold from pan and set on rack to cool. After the cake has cooled ice with buttercream.

I really like Magnolias buttercream recipe.  

*Note

Since writing this recipe, I have changed the mayo I use and have found the recipe does not work as well. I did not think change the mayo would make a blog difference but I guess it does. You batter should be pourable, if it is not you can up the water a ⅟ᴣ cup. If your batter is still very thick trying adding up to a ⅟ᴣ of mayo! Because of this your baking time may be longer than the recipe call for!

 

 

 

 


Happy 18

Aubernerose18

Well, my baby, my first born, is 18 today. I have tried all year to gear up for this and not freak out, did not happen. It is like the end of an ere or something. It is silly really because it is not like Auberne` is any different today then yesterday, nor is our relationship. She is still the most kind, generous, creative, loving sweetie she was before. I suppose my freaking out is more about me then my sweet girl (for she will always be my sweet girl)

I try to be positive and only talk about happy things on my blog. You do not want to read my grips, but I really want to take a minute and recognize what a miracle it is we are celebrating Auberne`s birthday. Auberne` was born with a heart defect. She had open-heart surgery at five months. I will spare you the details of  her seizures, how I had to breast-feed her every 45 minutes around the clock, how it is hand your baby over to a surgery nurse, to have a doctor look you in the eye and tell you your daughter's heart can just up and give out.

I have been thinking of this and all the challenges that Auberne` will be facing the rest of her life (she will need more surgeries and so forth). There is one memory that for some reason really stands out. It was a month before Auberne`s surgery. I do not know why, but in my weird little brain, I could not handle the idea of my baby dying and never tasting chocolate. Being the true foodie I am, it seemed like the biggest tragedy and I could not handle her going to heaven and missing out. I felt like I was some bad mother if I let this happen. Now, I did not think about how a four month old could have a reaction to chocolate and that could kill her ;-o

No, I was on a mission, to be a good and loving mother. Of course my daughter would have to have the best chocolate I could get. In Los Gatos, was Cocolat. You can not get much better then Alice Medrich.

So stroller in hand, I took Auberne' for her chocolate experience. I decide on a three chocolate mouse cake (one dark layer, one milk layer, one white layer). It was soft and she could taste all three chocolates. I will ALWAY remember picking out the right dessert, her sitting in her stroller, me spooning her little amounts of mousse. Which by the way, she loved. I was smart enough to just give her a small amount. Enough for her to have had a taste and then safely go to heaven.

I did noticed how the two women who worked there we giving me very disproving looks. So I decided to just be honest and I told them the whole thing. Of course they were kind, gave me hugs and would pray for Auberne`. 

There have been numerous times in my daughters life, when I did not know if she would see 18. If I would be able to cook her a yummy meal, give her hug and tell her how much I love her. I am happy to say, I am able to do that today. Today is monumental day, full of thankfulness, hope, dreams and love.


So happy 18th Auberne`. This is just the beginning of amazing, wonderful things for you. Love mom


Lavender Pear Oatmeal

Lavender pear oatmeal 

I love oatmeal, it is a cheap meal. But lets face it, it is a little boring. I have been trying to kick-up my oatmeal lately. This weeks oatmeal is topped with dried pears (I dried myself, you could use fresh pears too), toasted pecans, drizzled with lavender honey and heavy cream. The lavender with the sweet pears and toasty pecan, perfect. I wondered what I will come up with next week ;-)

La-Tea-Dah has a wonderful post on how to make lavender honey. It is a little different then I do, but until I write a post, check out La-Tea-Dah's version. Remember life is too short to eat boring food xoxoxox


Things I Love

Sweet cottage dreams

A  blog new to me Sweet Cottage Dreams. I am ready to move in xoxoxo

Paris 

Memories Of The Past, Books: Paris, London, New York, etc. I was in Costco and saw these wonderful books. I had to get one. While writing this post, I discovered there is an interesting site about these book.

Daniel 

Daniel Deronda, I really enjoyed this movie. It is sad but I liked how the main character worked through the challenges placed in front of him. Plus the costumes are amazing. For Netflix users, it is on instant watch !!!!

(I wanted to say, this is not a family film. They do not show anything objectionable but the film does deal with adult situations)

Sweater 

I am going to have to start cutting up some sweaters.

Seaweed 

Seasoned seaweed. Okay some of you may go, seaweed, ewe. If you do not love sushi, misso soup, etc, you will not like this. But if you do, you will LOVE seasoned seaweed. It is sheets of seaweed toasted with sesame oil and salt. It is sort of the potato chips of seaweed. Very addictive. For anyone local, Central sells packs of 5.


Organized Chaos

Tea cabnit6 

I was reorganizing my tea cabinet yesterday, so I could fit in the two new cups I got. In the end it still looks just like the jumbled mess it was before. But this cabinet is soo me, I am organized chaos ;-)

Tea cabnit3 

This built-in cabinet with the leaded glass door, is one of the first things that made my jaw drop, when we looked at our house. The inside was painted pink, of course, Mrs. Mathews loved pink. I add a zillion coats of copper and pearl paint. I wanted it to look like the inside on a mother of pearl shell. It did not turn out perfectly, like I imagined. But I try to embrace, what I do and be satisfied.

Tea cabnit5 

There is a jumble of doll champagne glasses, hand pained china, baby pictures, pink jeweled fruit, sea shells, fairy chair.

Tea cabnit2 

Crowns, old flowers, broken china, dolls. So many bits and bobs. I bet if you play I-spy, some of you will see tokens of friendships from you. To me this jumbled mess, organized chaos shows who I am, what I hold dear in my heart, what I treasure, better then anything xoxoxoxo

Tea cabnit4 


A Year Of My Blog

My favorite post for each month

Happy New Year everyone. I look forward to what this year brings xoxox

January: Akkk, A Wall Quilt

Quilt

February: Coral Love

Coral

March: This Book Will Save Your Life

Bread

April: A Hobbit Birthday Party

Hobbit

May: A Baking Pantry

Pantry

June:  Candy Colors

Candy colors

July:  Roseyest

Rosest

August: Tasha Tudor Day

Tasha

September: My Baking Issue

Baking

October: The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree

Doll house

 

November: Leaf day

Leaf day

December:  Where Else Can I Put A Pom-pom ?

Pom pom