Previous month:
September 2007
Next month:
November 2007

October 2007

Pumpkin-Pie Bars

 Punpkin pie bars

We made a yummy treat the other day, Pumpkin-Pie bars. If you love pumpkin pie, you will love these. It is a crispy crust with a deep pumpkin filling, just like the pie. Enjoy !!!!!


Pumpkin-Pie Bars

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup spelt or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup of rapadura or brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (one teaspoon for crust, one for batter)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin 
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. In mixing bowl, combine flours, nuts, sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add butter, mix until crumbly. Reserve 1/3 of the mixture. Pat remaining mixture on bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan (you can use a bit smaller pan, it will just be a deeper bar and cook a bit longer)

Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, heavy cream, eggs, cinnamon, spices, maple, vanilla and salt. Mix well. Pour evenly over crust ad sprinkle reserved crust over pumpkin mixture.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until set

Black and White Christmas


I am already getting in a Christmas mood. I just got the new Blueprint magazine , I am doing a pink Christmas this year and was attracted to the pink tree on the cover. They have a wonderful article about gift wrapping and black and white papers to download. They also have a places setting card, but I think they would make wonderful tags. Here is some black and white prints that may inspire you too.





Thank You and A Great Idea


You know how blessings seem to come in groups, well I have had a couple of weeks of blessings. I am always amazed how giving the blogging world is. Whenever I think people do not care I always remember how generous everyone has been and realize that is not true. Linda sent me the most adorable mini autumn quilt. Isn't it wonderful. She tea dyed the fabric, embroidered the pumpkin, added ribbon and included a stick to hang it from. Linda for years owned a holiday shop and you cans see what a great eye she has.

I thought this was such a clever idea, even if you do not sew. The quilt is about the size of a pot holder. If you had some special hot pad or vintage pot holder you could do the same idea. Thank you Linda soo much. It is just beautiful and I see every time I cook. Also thank you for the inspiration, I am sure the ladies can come up with some very clever ideas from your hanging mini quilt. PS. your sewing is sooo perfect !!!!


Dear Jill at Bittersweettreated me and girls to her amazing soap, some fresh bittersweet and paper I had been drooling over. Jill has one of the most giving hearts of anyone I know. Thank you Jill for blessing my girl too, it meant soo much to them. And as I told you they treasure their gift. xoxoxoxo


Janet(Janet is new to the blogging world, go say hello) was kind enough to offer some acorns to me. I do not have any that grow around here and was thrilled that she offered. But I was not expecting them to come in such a beautiful old tin and also oak leaves. Thank you Janet for taking the time and being so kind.


The Metcalf Family Album


I have been rereading a favorite book of mine. The Metcalfe Family Album by Sallyann J. Murphey. Even though it is all fictional, it reads just like the diary of a real family. Here is a review.

   "This magical collection of family memories, crafts and recipes, letters and mementos, tells the remarkable tale of six generations of women-and the ties that bind them. It is 1835 and Marianne Metcalfe, a daughter of the French nobility, has just wed Joshua, an American pioneer. Together they set off on their new life, headed for the wilds of Indiana. When they arrive, Marianne establishes not only a homestead, but a legacy even more priceless. Each year at Christmastime, she sits down to record in a beautiful journal her memories of the year, the cherished moments of a life. The tradition is embraced across the generations: first by Constance, who has lived through the Civil War; then Anna, born in Germany and whose life spans enormous social changes; Kathleen, with her Irish humor and verve; and Jessie, a war bride-until the album is passed down to the present day, when Jan, a modern mother of two, picks up her pen. In writing about her life, each woman also paints a fascinating portrait of her times. Yet however much things change, however different these women are, they are bound together by one thing: the love of home and family. With virtually every page adorned with nostalgic photographs, charming artwork, and other memorabilia, The Metcalfe Family Album is as engrossing to look at as it is to read. Drawing on a rich immigrant heritage, it is also an inspiration to keep our own family traditions alive. Here in this extraordinary book is history as it is lived by ordinary people-moving, warm and wise, and full of the unexpected."


You can look inside the book here. There is also a wonderful children's book Emma's Christmas Album, which is the same family in the The Metcalfe Family Album. I can not read this book without crying and having read the Metcalfe Family History it made Emma's Christmas Album all that more special. Lastly you can make you own family album with a wonderful kitbased off The Metcalfe Family Album. Which would be really wonderful because one of the reasons I love this book is all the rich detail and images. If I ever do a cookbook, I would love it to be similar to this.It is very inspiring

The Bunny Books: The Further Adventures of Beatrix Potter


Do you remember I mentioned a surprise,

well I am quite excited on November 7th. best selling author Susan Wittig Albertwill be a guest post in celebration of the release of "The Tale Of The Hawthorn House". It is the fourth book in the series of Cottage Tales Of Beatrix Potter. Susan will be posting about the way the Peter Rabbit books evolved, from children's picture letters to a self-published book to a publishing phenomenon. Susan is quite an expert on Miss. Potter and I am very interested in reading her post and learning more. Susan will be doing a blog tour and a little bird has told me there will be a give away, a cool giveaway :-) You can find more info on the blog touron October 29.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the book. I have already posted about how much I love this series, so it is no surprise I would love "The Tale Of Hawthorn House". I have to say I think it is my favorite. Although is a toss up between this one and the first, "The Tale Of Hill Top Farm". I think I love "The Tale Of Hill Top Farm" because it was the first book. You know kind of like a first love. But I have to say "The Tale Of Hawthorn House" held me in complete fascination throughout the whole book. I could not wait to see what happened to baby Flora. I really try to savor Susan's books and not gobble them up as I do with other mysteries. But is was quite hard for me to do that with this book.

Susan I so enjoyed "The Tale Of The Hawthorn House". I really think you outdid yourself this time. We are all looking forward to your blog tour. It will be quite a celebration. I only wish we could have it at my house and I could make you a cup of tea (oh and something yummy to eat) xoxoxoxo

PS. dear reader feel free to spread the world around, and as usual if you want to use the banner above (or smaller on the side) it is for all.

If You Are Hungry In Port Townsend



Port Townsend is one of those towns with some really wonderful restaurant. They have just started a slow-food chapter there. Here is two favorites of ours. For breakfast I love Sweet Laurett. I have to tell you the brioche fill with raspberries and lemon curd I had was to die for. Also next door is  the charming Petals shop. I always want everything when I go there.

Sadly there are not very many tea rooms in the area but there is a new one. Dame Agatha Twigs (she does not have a site and is new, so I am going to post her phone number # 360-379-0301.  Tell her storybook woods sent you). It is a very British tea room. Lots of antiques and imports from Britain. She has a yummy high tea and her cheese selection was quite wonderful. But my favorite was her Cornish pastie. It was a lovely flaky crust filled with tender beef, potatoes, carrots. Perfect with a  pot of tea on a blustery day.


Menu Of The Week


I adore garlic, I can never get enough. My hubby says forget the perfume and rub a little olive oil and garlic behind my ears. I am allergic to perfume, so that is okay with me ;-) This dish is sooo easy and will feed a crowd (you can halve the recipe) and will impress everyone without doing a lot of work. I like the touch of tarragon, parsley and nutmeg. But only use fresh nutmeg, the dried stuff is just too sweet. Also do not leave out the white wine, it makes a big difference in the dish. I serve it with lots of bread for dipping, a big simple green salad and roasted beets and/or carrots with a grapefruit glaze. You see this a lot in my menus. I like a big rich dish but then something bright and light to contrast all the richness.

The desert is really special and different. Plus this is a chocolate version.       I make clafoutis a lot. A clafoutis is a cross between a baked pancake and custard. They are wonderful for breakfast to. Clafoutis are cheap (because I keep frozen fruit in my freezer) and easy. If you have not make clafoutis please try it, it will become a regular in your family.

Chicken with 60 cloves

olive oil

8 chicken drumstick and thighs (or 16 of either)

1 large onions, chopped

6 sprigs parsley

3 TBL. chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried

3/4 cup dry white wine

Salt and pepper

1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

60 cloves garlic, unpeeled or 3- 4 large garlic heads

In a large baking dish cover the bottom of a heavy 6-quart casserole with onions, add the parsley and tarragon, and lay the chicken pieces on top. Pour the wine over them, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and nutmeg, and tuck the garlic cloves around and between the chicken pieces. Cover the top of the casserole tight with aluminum foil and then the lid (this creates an air-tight seal so the steam won't escape). Bake in a 375°oven for 1 1/2 hours, without removing the cover.

Serve the chicken, pan juices, and whole garlic cloves with lots of bread.

Roasted carrots and/or beets with tart grapefruit glaze

Chocolate Cherry Clafoutis

2 cups pitted fresh, canned or frozen cherries (or other fruit, such as raspberries)

1/4 cup butter, 1/2 stick

1/2 cup chocolate chips

3 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

optional a dash of cherry liquor

1/2 cup sugar or evaporated cane

pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven 350.

In a microwave bowl add chocolate and butter and microwave one minute. Stir till melted and let cool to room temp.

In an deep greased baking dish spread fruit.

In a blender add flour, milk, eggs, sugar, liquor if adding it and salt. Blend a few seconds, scrape down side and blend again. Then with blender running, slowly add chocolate/butter. Pour batter over cherries and bake 45-55 minutes or until center is cooked. Let cool and enjoy. 

Picture of the old entrance of my house

Apple Night Clarification


Well I have gotten a several e-mails asking me when apple night is. I am so sorry for the confusion. I am not good at this writing thing (how I have a blog defies logic !!) There is not an official date for apple night. It is just what is good for you. We do not have a specific day we do apple night. This time of year is very crazy for David and we just do it when he is around. We were not going to do ours for another week or so but had an impromptu apple night last night.

I thought I would share how casual, fun but very thrown together it was. I ran to the store and got sausages (maple for the girls, potato for us), different yummy Cheddar's (we loved the smoked Cheddar wrapped in smoked paprika), a loaf of rosemary bread (no I did not make it ;-p, seven different apples (see the slips of paper under the apples saying what they are), different mustards, cider to make hot cider and hard cider for mama !!! I was not up to dealing with yest, so no donuts. Instead I made apple fritters. Which I loved because you make the batter 2 hours ahead of time and put it in the fridge. Thank you Miss. Kelly for the recipe. Wish you had been here to enjoy them with me xoxoxox

We pulled out every fall picture book we own, lit candles, ate and read next to the wood stove. It was a veryyyyyyyy stormy evening, so it was perfect. I was thinking why do we do this evening besides having a dinner to honor the apple. I think it is to be thankful for all the bounty that we have. We have family, a warm fire, a full fridge, a summer harvest, a freezer full of berries. Lots to be thankful for. I really think that is the spirit of apple night. If you do have an apple night please let me know. It thrills me to no end to encourage others to spend time with their family and make memories.


Victoria Magazine


Bliss, my Victoria came today. Without trying to sounds too mushy, it was like seeing an old friend you had not seen in years but time had not really passed. I will admit that I was doubtful they could really recreate the luscious magazine from the past, but I feel they did it. They kept with what Victoria was and did a beautiful job. There was so much I loved but I picked these pictures from the article about Tasha Tudor's dress collection. Not just because I love Tasha but because to me it is what Victoria magazine does so well. It is creative, interesting touches but not so over the top. Still Victorian but a detail richness that I will come back to again and again and see something new. A new inspiration.

Now I do not like to be someone who focuses on the negative but for honestly sake (and in case someone from the magazine sees this post) there were two areas were I was disappointed. First the fashion page. After all the richness I saw on the article about Tasha, it was so disappointing and quick frankly (in my opinion) boring. Victoria's fashion has always be a favorite part of the magazine for me. I always took away a little something, a touch to add to my wardrobe. But these outfits were fairly uninteresting.

Second being the foodie I am I was not impressed with the majority of the recipes. There were some really smashing ones. I am dying to try the Grand Marnier Buttermilk Panna Cotta. But herb rolls and eggnog cheesecake, well (sorry) kind of boring. So dear Victoria, you have my heart and subscription. But please step it up just a notch in the fashion and recipe department. And readers if you do not have a copy on October 30th run to the store and get one. Also a good piece of chocolate to have as you savor the magazine. xoxoxox   


Apple Night


I was just talking with a fellow blogger about apple night and though I should write a note to remind everyone to celebrate apple night. You know it is my mission to make it the next big fall holiday : -)

If (shock) you do not know what apple night is, you can read about it here and here. It does not have to be a big deal (or can be if you are into that). I think we will make donuts this apple night and seek out a new cheddar to try. So light a candle, grab an apple, gather the family and let the celebrating begin !!

If you decided to do apple night and post about it, feel free to use the image above.

This would be fun to do for apple night By Sun and Candlelight 

PS. I have a surprise for you ladies (which you will love) I will share about it soon !!!

Isn't She Beautiful


I do not know if you remember this beautiful pillow case I got and how her face and arms were not finished. Well La-Te-Dah (who I had never meet at the time, but we are good friends now) offered to finish her for me. Isn't she just beautiful. I could never have done such a lovely job. Actually I never would have even attempted it. So thank you soo much for taking the time for someone you did not even know and doing all that work to finish her. Isn't blog-land full of the kindest people xoxoxoxo


I wanted to thank Ohio Farm Girl for my blogging star award. Thank you so much, you have always be such a good friend and a shinning star to me.


Also The Wine Makers Wife gave me the Break Out Blogger award which is very sweet but I think it is the perfect award for you Winemaker. I love that you get my foodie obsession and if I am not in CA eating all that amazing food and drinking all that perfect wine, you can do it for me !!

Hold'em Up Apron

Hold me up apron 101

Hold em up 202

    I have been sewing a lot lately. I made this apron for Chloe. It was so much fun because I just let it happen bit by bit. I took an old canvas money sack, opened it up and added tucks to the top. (yes there is a hole in the canvas at this point I have just left them there). I had to add fabric to the side and made the apron so it ties in the back. Sort of like a smock. I think she could just wear it out and about with her jeans if it were a bit shorter. I actually did a pieced square for pocket. This will probably be the closest I will ever get to quilting :-) I do not know how you quilt ladies do it. Chloe is thrilled with her apron. Now it is Aubern'es turn, well after I make four huge burlap drapes for my kitchen.

PS. thank you for all the kinds notes. My finger is getting better and my family took very good care of me. Thank you Aubern'e for all the cleaning and cooking you did. Also thank you Chloe for helping me and the peanut-butter chocolate piexoxoxoxoxo

We Interrupt Your Regular Broadcasting


Well I am sitting here typing this with one finger, because I whacked my  middle finger in the door. It is my right hand (of course), I do everything with my right hand. So I will be back when I can type again or will have some short posts for a couple of days. If you have written me and you do not hear back from me right away, it is because of my hand. I am off to find some chocolate !!!!!



Chloe found this beautiful butterfly out in our yard. It was so stunning and we never find anything like this, it need to be showcased. I love the shadow boxes in Martha's new craft line at Michaels and it was very easy to use. I tried to get a better picture (it is so hard to take a picture of something with reflective glass) I found two papers with reverse colors and did half and half. Also have you seen the velvet rick-rack !!!!!!

Storybook Travel


One of my favorite books is "How The Heather Looked by Joan Bodger. It is a lovely true story of a family in 1958 who traveled around England using their favorite childhood stories as their guide. I thought it was fascinating book not only because I would love to do what they did but also to read their experience as they get to meet Arthur Ransome and were shown Christopher Robin's garden by Mrs. Milne!  I found it a very interesting read.


In 1958 our family came into a modest windfall---enough to put into effect a long-cherished dream of spending a summer holiday in England. My husband and I are each half English, we had each spent time in England as children, and each of us---by circumstance, education, and inclination---was steeped in English history and literature.
    We cannot claim erudition for our children, but books, conversation, games, genes, and osmosis had made Anglophiles of them. Lucy, aged two and a half, knew her nursery rhymes, having learned them from Randolph Caldecott's "Picture Books" and Leslie Brooke's "Ring o' Roses", both illustrated with scenes from English country life. ... When she was very young indeed she had been introduced to A.A. Milne's Pooh and Piglet and Christopher Robin and she was quite well acquainted with the world of Beatrix Potter.
    ...Ian, almost nine,...preferred Stevenson's "Treasure Island", Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows", T.H. White's "The Sword in the Stone", and Tolkien's "The Hobbit". He also liked ballads and folklore, archaeology and history, and the verse and poetry of A.A. Milne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Walter de la Mare. ...
    Almost since he was born we had told Ian that he would be able to see "all that" when he went to England. ...

But a new book along the same vein I have just discovered is Heidi's Alp by Christina Hardyment. Mrs. Hardyman takes her young children on a long trip through Europe in a yellow camper van to visit places associated with their most beloved children's books. Denmark for Hans Christian Anderson, Hamelin for the Pied Piper, the Harz Mountains for Witches and the Brothers Grimm, Italy for Pinocchio and Switzerland for Heidi.

I am enjoying this book to. I think travel brings things like history, art and literature to life in a very real way. Plus I will never get the chance to have Mrs. Milne show me Christopher Robin's garden, but it was a thrill to read. Can you imagine !!!!!!

The Thank-you Susan Apron



I do not know if you have seen it, but Susan Branch has new free patterns. I saw this scalloped apron and knew I had to make it. I have been unable to find an apron I love. I am large, curvy girl ;-) and I knew I needed an apron with curves. This turned out so prefect for me. If you read this Susan thank you for being so generous with all of us.

But as I said I am big girl so I was a bit afraid her pattern would not fit me. I will try to explain as best as I can what I did to make the apron bigger. I added one inch to each of the three middle pieces, so that gives six inches extra. What I did was move the smallest side piece down as far as I could (click on pictures below). To determine how far I could move that piece down, I started at the other bottom and laid the four straps, reversing wide end to narrow end, so it took up less room. I place the small piece above that and then the other three pieces. I had room to add the inches then. I just took one of those fabrics pens that vanish when fabric is wetted and drew a line in inch out from the pattern. The pattern calls for 7 yards of seam binding but if you buy those packages, they are four yards. So two packages will give you the extra seam binding. The only thing is I really need a pocket. So another day I have to figure out how to add one. But I LOVE this apron and the fabric.

Lastly I have never really worked with seam binding before and it was not easy. But about half way through I started getting the hang of it. But if you look close you will see places were the fabric popped out and I had to sew it down (shock)

Thank you for all the kind comments. It cheered me up and made all the last weeks negativity go away. Having spent a lovely day at home sewing and baking and reading all you kind words have made me feel right as rain xoxoxoxo

Picture1190   Picture1192 



"Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort, of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keeping what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

George Elliot

I just wanted to say thank you. This past week has been a very hard week and all your kind words and encouragement held me up. Whenever I am having a bad day or feeling I am not good enough, I come to my blog and read all your notes. They mean so much to me and help me to solder on. Dear Gill left this wonderful poem (thank you Gill) and I wanted to share it with all of you xoxoxox