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May 2008

Pantry Love

Pantry 3

From Zamborski Emporium

Okay I am pantry obsessed and have been searching around for some pantry ideas. I thought you might like seeing them.

You have to read Warm Pie, Happy Home  post  "A Little Gumption Goes A Long Way" . It is not exactly a about pantry's but it is sooo charming and inspiring. I tell you Ruthann needs to write  a book. It was so much fun, I did not want to end. More please Ruthann !!!! 

Pantry 2

From Jo-Anne Coletti

I really enjoyed this pantry post from French Kitchen In America

Pantry 4  From Treehugger

Pantry 1


From Cantonrep

Another pantry article I enjoyed !!!!

Pantry 5

Gallery of pantry pictures 

I really love The Pantry Book (I got it for Christmas), well Catherine has a lovely blog with lots of encourging posts.

Pantry 6

Sorry I did not save were I got this image from. I hate it whene I do that xoxoxo

Healthier Caramel Corn


Healthier food. Hmmm, is that a loaded word or what. We certainly see it bandy around everywhere. I am not even sure what that means. I mean, I am still learning so much on what is healthy and what is not. I do not even think there is one simple answer for everyone. It only makes sense, we are all so unique and different. It seems to me, we would all need different things. I have hesitated to use the term healthy on my blog because it is such a loaded word. Also how I use the term healthy, may not  be the same way you do. But since I am using it here on Storybook Woods, I figured I better say something about it ;-)

To me healthy is not low- fat, low carbs, low anything (although those can be good things. But then again cannot) To me healthy means not messed with, in as purest form as possible. I feel nature did a pretty good job and does not need us replacing it. So when I cook, I look for items that have not been messed with, striped to much. This is one of the reasons I use evaporated cane, rapadura, ect. as a sweetener instead of white sugar. Yes, it has been processed but not as much. It still retains some of the vitamins, minerals, and so forth. To me that would make it healthier. I try to use whole grains instead of grains stripped of their nutrients, like white flour. I avoid process food because of bad fats, artificial flavorings, dyes and Lord knows what else.

So when you see a recipe on my blog with something like brown rice syrup it is not just me using some weird new product (well it might be a little of that !!) but it is probably because it is a "healthier", purer version of something else. For example in the recipe below instead of using corn syrup, I use brown rice syrup and instead of brown sugar I use rapadura. I received several e-mails from readers saying they had not heard of these items. I encourage you to read up and study. Really it is a win- win thing. You will have heather food but also tastier food. Now it is not necessarily cheaper and that is hard. I have found ways to save money. Costco, Trader Joe's, bulk section, sales, even sometimes Grocery Outlet. I also order from Azure, a bulk co-op. All these help but it is still not as cheap. But some things are just priceless and worth the money spent.

Lastly I really think this recipe taste better the "healthier" way. I love the molasses intensity of the rapadura and I really love the malty taste from the brown rice syrup. I encourage you to try a "healthier" sweetener if you have not before xox

Mircowave Caramel Popcorn

4 quarts popped popcorn

1 cup rapadura

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1. Put popped popcorn in a large paper sack and set aside.

2. In a microwave safe bowl add the rest of the ingredients except the baking soda. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir and microwave 1 1/2  minutes. Stir in baking soda. Be careful it is very HOT. Pour syrup over popcorn. Hold bag shut and shake several times. Pour popcorn on cookie sheet and let cool.


Food Cover


I love this, I mean, love. I bought the new Mary Jane Farmmagazine and was drooling over all the inspirations (I hate it and love it when there are so many ideas, I do not know which to pick first). Mary Jane has a wonderful article using old linens, which I have lots of. I saw this food cover and had to try it. It is just a wooden hoop and a round linen. The problem was (shockingly enough) I did not have a round piece. But I did have these two matching oval crochet dollies. I believe they were done by my great grandmother. So I just overlapped the two and added the wooden ring. To keep the two ends in the center, from falling in the food, I just tacked them down. I actually really did not sew them. I more just wound the thread around the lace and knot it off. So when I do not want to use them anymore, it will be easy to take them apart. I really want to make some more. I need a much bigger one for my pasta bowl.


I case you did not know Mary Janes Farm magazine has changed. She started off originally just making a catalog with a few articles. Well it grew and grew, till it was half catalog and half magazine. Well now it is a full fledge magazine and really very good. I was impressed and inspired. It comes out every three months. Check it out xoxoxo

Some Helpful Hints


We are really feeling the gas prices, as I am sure all of you do. David has a very long commute, so it is really hitting us hard. I am trying to make what we have really last and not leave the house. Here is a few hints that have helped me. I would love to hear yours xoxoxo


1. With all my bread baking, I am having lots of ends and leftover small pieces of bread. I keep them in a zip-lock baggie in the freezer. Then when I have enough I make bread puddings. Last week I made a savory one with roasted garlic and grated Gruyere cheese, Yumm.

2. Aubern'e and I have been washing our face with honey. We both love it. The wonderful thing about honey is it is very good for breakouts but also is very moisturizing. So it helps Aubern'es teen skin and my (old ;-) dry skin both. I am needing a lot less moisturize and my skin is so soft.

3. For breakfast I am make a simple muesli. In the mourning I put rolled oats (not instant, I like the thick rolled oats) in a bowl and cover with milk and let sit half an hour. It softens then add nuts, dried and fresh fruit, a splash of maple syrup. I also add ground flax seeds and flax oil.

4. For lunch I have been having raw veggies with a simple tapenade dressing. Just take a small spoonful of tapenade and thin it out with some olive oil and drizzle over veggies. I am lucky my grocery store has an olive bar, so I can get  a small scoop of tapenade and make it last.

5. You know when you have those really greasy messes and it is nice to have something to clean it and throw away. I took some old sweat-shirts  and flannel sheets and cut it into squares for a throw away rag.

6. Simple dinner we had last night. Pasta tossed with saute' zucchini, lots of garlic, toasted sliced almonds, feta cheese, (I would have liked to added fresh mint, but I do not have any right now. But added chopped chives). Thats it and chocolate bread pudding * for dessert.

* This is for Christine. It is the closest I can find to my recipe. I tell you, they have to make recipes so much harder then they need be. I will post my recipe soon. But I wanted to say, with bread pudding you are basically baking custard with bread in it. Most of the recipes I saw were 350 temp. with no bain marie and that is too hot for a custard. So either turn your temp. down to 325 or add the water bath. Or better yet, do both. It will take a bit longer to cook but you will have a nice soft, luxurious pudding. Instead of burnt edges and raw center.


Craft Room part 3

Craft room 16

Here is the rest of the room I did not show you. I wanted to say there is a mixture of Provencal fabrics, British transfereware and modern papers. But it all seems to work. Never assume something will not go, till you try it. I say just work with what you love and I bet it will go together better then you think. You can always pick out a color or two like we did to bring it all together.

Craft room 10Craft room11

In keeping with trying to spend as little money as possible, my mother took old pillows and covered them with fabric and fun trim. The middle pillow is just a tea towel. It is all pined, tied or glued. No sewing. We do not worry about the back of a pillow, because most times no one will see it  ;-)  

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This is the wall across from the table and it is storage. Which is pretty boring white but that is good because your eyes are drawn to the accessories then. We used china, bucket, tin (thank youJanet, I am letting my mother borrow the pretty tin you gave me. It goes so well with her room and is holding her crayons), jars, ect.

 Craft room 14

This is my personal favorite thing we did. It is a glass cake plate that I found a blue and white plate that just fit in it. We set jars on the plate to hold pencils and such.

Craft room 15

The one wall I did not show you has a closet, which my mother uses for more storage. I have to say, with all the gray days we have this sunny room is much more enjoyable to work in. Thank you mom for letting me share with everyone. I hope you found an idea or two. But mostly will look at what you already own and find a new way to use it xoxoxo

Craft Room part 2


Thank you for the comments on the scrapbook paper wall. It really does look stunning and is a cheap way to cover a large space. Aubern'e has done this in her room with some medieval paper.

My mother's lamp had shades that were covered with cow fabric. It did not go with the room but she might still use the shades down the road. So I took fabric and sewed a sleeve. Then gathered it at the top. I pinned it on with straight pins around the gather and glued the on pom-pom trim. This way she can pull off the pom-poms, unpin the fabric and still use the shades.


One of my favorite things my mother did was her thread holder. It is just a wooden thread holder, but with all the different colors, it ended up looking like a work of art on the wall. It is across the room from the paper wall and really picked up all the colors. She made a cover for her sewing machine from a vintage dish towel and sewed ties on the side.


This is her work table. A wooden table with sides that fold down. She already had denim drapes and just added some yellow rick-rack to the edges to pick up her colors.


She felt the table looked a little bare and wanted to use more of the fabric she loved. So she made runner for the table.


I thought this bulletin board was also clever. It is just squares of foam core covered in fabric. I still have more of the room to share xoxoxo


Craft Room part 1


I have been meaning to share this with all of you for a while. For my mother's birthday I helped her overhauled her craft-room. I had helped her decorated it several years ago with all of her quilts and Americana accessories. But she wanted a new look and did not have much money to spend. My mother is very different then me, I know what I want. I have a vision, she does not. So we started by looking at what she already had. She has a large collection of blue and white china and decided to start there. Next I encouraged her to go to the craft store and look for anything (like fabric or paper) she loved. I told her not to worry about it matching (she worries to much about things matching, have I taught her nothing ;-)  She found some scrapbook paper she loved and fabric. They both had a strong marigold yellow and we used that and blue as our base.


I have broken this up in several posts because there is a lot of simple and inexpensive ideas that might inspire you. We used her white furniture so her china would stand out and found any linens that would go.


For a side table we just covered a small table with fabric. By the way this is the back side of the fabric. So remember to look at both sides.


The coolest thing we did was her wall. She had all this large blank wall space. We used the book of scrapbook papers she loved. We just taped the papers together in strips and then tacked each strip, top and bottom, to the wall. It gives the room lots of color and the wow factor !!!

I still have a lot more to share xoxoxo

Molly Ward's Garden


Thank you for the Mother Day wishes. I had a lovely Mother's day. My girls made me orange, chocolate baked french toast, bacon, greek yogurt with strawberries and tea. Aubern'e gave me a Toby Mac CD  with my favorite song right now and Chloe a beautiful purple glass bottle. We went antiquing in Gig Harbor and had an amazing dinner at Molly Ward's. It is an old barn that use to be a yarn shop. Lynn and Sam have taken the land and made some amazing gardens. Which were just magical at sunset. To top off the evening, my dear friend is the pastry chef and I have a praline mouse with hazelnut cookies to die for xoxoxox





Garden photos by my daughter Aubern'e

Healthy Candy


My goodness over 40 comments. I think I get the idea that you like my pantry ;-) Thank you so much for all the kind comments and I am sorry for causing pantry envy.

I have been busy cooking since my new space is so inspiring. I have been looking at what we eat and trying to make it the most of it. To make it both tasty and healthy. I saw these peanut butter candies on-line at a blog and of course forgot to save it. (if you know what blog it is please let me know). I tweaked the recipe just a hair. I used agave syrup instead of honey. I have been playing with agave and are really liking it. Agave is very low on the glycemic level.

These candies also have flax meal. I just wanted to say that flax is so healthy and you should try to work in both flax oil and flax seeds into your diet. They are an excellent  and affordable source of omega 3 fatty acids. If you do not know this, you should buy your flax seeds whole, not ground meal. Also your flax seeds and oil should be refrigerated, they are very fragile. So look for it keep cold in storage and then ground your flax at time of use. I use a coffee grinder and it only takes a few seconds.

I also added a piece of bittersweet chocolate. In my opinion a small bit of bittersweet chocolate is very good for your health. And that is my story and I am sticking to it. I liked these too because they are pretty rich, so my family did not gobble them down and they lasted a few days. I am playing with another version that does not have peanut butter. If they turn out good, I will post them soon. Enjoy


Peanut Butter Candies

1/2 cup peanut butter, crunchy or smooth

1/2 cup agave or honey

1/2 cup of flax meal

pinch of salt

3/4 cup powdered milk

Put all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer. I put powdered milk and flax meal in first, then the rest to help the powdered milk adsorb the agave. Mix till it all comes together.

Roll into small balls and put a piece of chocolate on top. Yummm xoxoxox

Thank You's


I have had a very lucky week and won several giveaways. It was Karla's at Karla's Cottage birthday (happy birthday sweetie) and she had a giveaway. Look at all the yummy vintage wallpaper, trims, buttons, ect. She was even kind enough to send my girls come chocolate. Karla has a giveaway every month. I have to say she is one of the most giving bloggers I know xoxoxoxo


This is Queen Bianca who is waiting for a dark and brooding pirate to sweep her off her feet. Isn't she charming. Thank you Heather at Bumblebird, I love her.


I also won at the Pirate soiree this wonderful dexterity game from Melissa Valeriote at Holiday Queen. Thank you Melissa, it was very generous to have a giveaway and the game is a lovely reminder of the soiree.   

Happy Mother's Day


Happy Mother's day everyone. I made this card for you to save and print up as an encouragement. I am so blessed to have become a mother because my girls have helped me to become not such a selfish person. Before my girls, I was very self centered (actually I am still working on this but getting better). But there is nothing like motherhood to put you in your place and make you take your eyes off yourself. And as good, as all of this is for me, I still need to make sure I do not totally put myself on the back burner. In order to give in a full way, I need to make sure I have not run myself down. The fuller I am, the more love, patients and attention I can give my girls.

Mostly I made this card as a reminder, that what we do says much more to our children, then what we say. So be good to yourself, so you can be good to your children xoxoxo

A Baking Pantry


I have this little room off my kitchen, Mrs. Mathews the previous owner used it as a breakfast room. We were using it for an office, but there was always a huge mess. I decided to not fight the mess and just move it were I can not see it. Makes a happier marriage ;-) Even thought I have a big kitchen, I still needed more room. I need storage for all my bulk (almost 30 jars) and baking items. So I decided to turn the room into a baking pantry. I am just using what I already have on-hand but slowly over time will replace and make the room more like I want. I want it to feel more Victorian, without feeling cutesy. You know what I mean ? So I decide use use black as an ascent color. It feels a bit more formal. My big find (well I did buy this) is this French marble pastry table. I was looking on-line all day and could not find one I could afford. When low and behold on Craig's list was one, Wa-hooo !!! I love it and it works great to make my bread and doughs right on the table.

Pantry_8Pantry_6 Pantry_2 Pantry_1

The girls and I painted over the wallpaper a pale buttery yellow and all the trim white. It looks much more yellow in these pictures (it also looks much more crowded with stuff in the pictures). This room has some sweet woodwork and corner shelves, I really wanted them to stand out. But I also wanted the walls to be neural and warm for those gray days we have. I am really happy with it.


A lot of the accessories you see, I will change out. I just sort of set things in, to live with it for a while. I can not decided if I want a more European French feel (which I am leaning towards) or a old fashioned general store. Or a mish-mash of both. I know everything I do not want the room to be, but still working on what I do want. It is very tempting to go out a buy a bunch of new stuff, but I am trying to be good. 


By the way the below picture is standing in the party looking into my kitchen. The hall on the right goes to the library. So this is what I have been up to. Next is taking the room apart again and pulling up all the yucky linoleum. There is hard wood floor underneath. I will see what it is like and then decided what to do. I have my lap-top back and just today I can get on-line. Thank goodness. All is right with the word. I would love your feedback on the pantry. Remember be honest , not polite xoxoxoxox


Mother's Day Plea

Mothers day photo copy 

I am reposting my Mother's Day Plea post from last year. This is a subject I feel passionate about and will probably repost it every year. I will be having my Mother's day next Thursday becuase this week is turning out to be a bad week. It is better to wait and enjoy it.  I hope you have a plan xoxox




I try not to give sermons on this blog (even though I do it all the time in real life) but I want to write a Mother's day plea. I am hoping this does not apply to any of you ladies but I know too many who do not get the pampering they need on Mother's day. It is usually because they do not ask for it; they do not plan for it. You know if you have a dream, it does not happen without some work. Since most hubbies cannot read our minds (well I know mine can't) we have to ask for what we want. We have to know what we want; we have to make it a priority!

I will probably not be having my Mother’s day this weekend. It will be pushed off until next weekend (I take a whole weekend by the way, not just Sunday !!) We do not have the money. Not that I need a lot but we do not have any money till pay-day. I could just suck it up and say "oh ... it is no problem" but that really would not be true. I would rather wait and do it right. If I have to wait a month I will.

I do it not just to be pampered (although I really like that part) but I do for my girls. When they grow up and (hopefully) are mothers, I do NOT want them to suck it up. I want them to feel honored, I want them to feel loved, I want them to get a break. How I live says much more to my girls, then what I say.

So I have a dream, I have a plan. Before Mother's day I will make sure the fridge has something yummy in it for me, I will have a stack of mags for me to read in bed, I will have let hubby know what I would like (Which will probably be a picnic somewhere and go look at a few antique stores).

So why am I telling you all this? If you always put yourself on the back burner on Mother's day, please not do it this year. For your sake, for you hubbies sake, for your children's sake. Have a dream, make a plan, and ask for what you need. If you need to wait a couple of weeks, please do. Do not let things get in the way of your Mother's day, work around them!!

Pink Frillyness


I though I would share a few more pictures of my favorite tree. You have asked what kind of tree it is but sadly I do not have a clue. It does not bare any fruit, just these lovely pinks frills. It is almost the first thing to bloom in my yard.


This above is the view from my bedroom window.


After this trees bloom, I have another tree that blooms. It is just starting and the flowers are a deeper pink. But it is just as big and beautiful as my favorite tree.

I have been busy putting my baking pantry together. I was so blessed to walking into a wonderful deal. I will share soon xoxoxo


Black Pearl Grog


Miss Donna at Ribbon Crown is having a A Swashbuckler Soiree today. I just do not have the time to craft something. When one is soo busy they do not have time to craft, a drink is appropate ;-P  I know nothing about pirate's but I live with to pirate-freak girls (whom I adore), so I asked them what do pirates eat. They said Barbossa always wanted apples and they drank lots of rum. Well I can do something with apples and rum. I created Black Pearl grog. I can just picture myself on a cold lonely black sea, covered in jewels, wrapped in my black rose shawl, waiting for my swashbuckler. With my Black Pearl grog to keep me warm !!!!!


Black Pearl Grog

1 cup apple cider

1-3 TBL. caramel sauce, depending on how sweet you like it

1 shot of dark rum

Heat cider, then stir in caramel sauce till melted and add rum !!!!!


A Goode Ladye's Press


I received the yummiest mail the other day. I subscribed to A Goode Ladye's Press and love it. It is a wonderful newspaper written but Katie Estvold at Home Keeping Heart's. As Katie says Goode Press is written in an 18th. century broadside (I had to look that up and see what that means. So I thought you might have to, too. See what you learn reading Goode Press) . Volume one comes with a Miss. Ginny paper doll and each issue has a goode thing for Ginny (plus other goode's). I have to say it was a very interesting read. I will never look at my hair produces the same ;-) I like that it was just tidbit of information that I really did not know. Aubern'e really loved it to. We have had several discussions about how life use to be. I think it is an awfully pretty way to learn history. Thank you Katie and well done. I am looking forward to the next issue.

Well I will (hopefully) be done painting today. It has been a long week (plus David is gone fishing for 5 days) I had to strip all the painting I did on the wood trim and sand it all. Sighhh, it is done. Thank goodness. Okay I will not whine anymore. I will try to put my house back in order (it is a wreak here) and then come and put my blog back in order. So hang in there with me. I hope things are calmer at your house and happy May day xoxoxox