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January 2010
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February 2010

My Mother Is Brilliant

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Well my mother is brilliant for so many reason but lately every time I go to her house she gives me bits of this and that to eat. She has been on a cooking and sewing storm. Which is funny because it is usually me who is on a cooking and crafting storm (not right now, my house is in shambles and I am barely cooking). Anyways, it has been such a treat to go to my mothers, because who knows what she will feed me. The last time was a almond ricotta cake and almond bread (she is experimenting with almond flour), the time before meatballs in puttanesca sauce and fresh fruit with cardamom, the time before that almond butter candies in dark chocolate. She has been telling me about these apples she caramelized and baked in cream, kill me !!!! I am kicking myself we do not still live together anymore. So if you need kitchen inspiration, check out my mothers food blog.

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Also look at these pillows she made, beautiful mom. I can not wait to see more xoxoxoxoxo


Frugal Beauty


I do not know if I have mentioned this but when I was young I was into make-up and skin care. I was a make-up artist at departments stores and gave facials for a while. I love the subject. I think because I love bringing out someone's beauty, letting their strengths shine. A good make-up artist will make you look like a better you, not someone else, no matter how beautiful that someone else is. But it is sooo expensive and I honestly do not want to spend a lot of money on beauty products. I would rather save it for clothes, an even bigger passion ;-)

I have wanted to write this post for a while but hesitated because each of us is soo individual and all have different needs. I have been complemented a lot on my skin but that is mostly thanks to my mother. She has amazing, delicate, English rose skin. So good genes does play a part.

Mostly I use natural products because I like that there is no chemicals, dyes, etc. It is simple, easy, cheap and good for my body. Here is a few frugal items that work for me.


This is my favorite skincare item. I LOVE it. I have mentioned this before, I wash my face with honey everyday. I spread it on, let it sit about two minutes, then wash it off with barely warm water. I try not to use really hot water on my face. I have found it is wonderful for both dry and oil skin. It leaves skin feeling soft and moisturized.

Also it is good for zits. If one of the girls have a bad one, we will put  a dab of honey on it.  

Sugar body scrub:

I mix one cup of sugar to 1/3 cup olive oil and keep in a jar.

I use this on my body twice a week.

olive oil or mayo:

I have really long hair and I try to keep the ends from being dry and split. Every other time I wash my hair I coat just the ends of my hair and let sit a half an hour, then wash with shampoo. 

Castor oil:

Besides honey this is my other favorite skin item. I got a container of roll-on castor oil for something else and started looking up all the amazing things it is good for. Now I use it as an under eye cream. I could see a difference in my wrinkles around my eyes in a week. Also the darkness under my eyes. If I have any really dry spot on my face I will dab some castor oil on. But I do not put this on my whole face, like moisturizer. It is too heavy and thick.

The only warning I will give about Castor oil, is it is very thick and sticky, it takes an half hour to really soak in, so I do not use it just before I am going to put on makeup.

Pin Curls:

I do not wash my hair every day. Actually I only wash it about every five or six days. I find this works best for my hair and helps keep it from drying out. Also I do not use a blow dryer and only a straightener for touch ups. I usually pin curl my hair wet and it hold most of the week. If I did my hair everyday pin-curls would be a hassle. It took me a few times to figure how to do it. It is not easy pin-curling long hair. Now I can do it, blind folded !! Also I have found it is the only curl that my hair will hold more then a day. My hair is very fine.There are great you-tubes on the subject.

Lastly, I only wash my face once a day, usually in the evening. I have found washing it more dries it out. Basically I find less is more. I would love to hear what frugal, natural beauty ideas you have xoxox

PS. I am sorry if I am not around much, commenting on your blogs and posting. I am lost 24/7 on a secret project. Hopefully in a week or two I will see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will share soon. Thank you for being patent with me.

A Give-away


I wanted to let you know Auberne` is having a Valentine's giveaway. Oh my gosh Auberne`s "What Would Jane Austen Do ?" stickers she created are totally worth winning.

Also I rewrote my buttermilk biscuit recipe, hopefully it is a bit more understandable.

Lastly I wanted to let you know I finally figured out how to do a search my blog button. It is on the left side and should help you search my 745 posts  ;-o Good luck xoxoxo

Sleeping Cap

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I spent this winter knitting a lot. I found it really soothed my nerves, helped me keep calmer. I love the rhythm, how it slows down my brain and helps me decompress, easy to take to doctor appointments, it has even helped my dyslexia (my math skills are so much better). One of the projects I knitted was a wool cap. I was looking for something to sleep in that would help keep my warmer. I did not want something so cumbersome as a hat, but more then a headband. I found A Cap For Nessa's Mother, it is perfect. Very easy to knit. I used a wool and bamboo blend. I knitted one for Auberne` and she wears it with the strap in the back under her hair. On very cold nights, it has keep me much warmer and my ears to. Plus doesn't Chloe just look beautiful, sorry I had to be a braggy mom for a second.

Sleep cap

By the way this sweet doll is handmade by Paula. I named her Wren Bay, isn't she beautiful. I knitted her a shawl and made her a pinny. I have a whole story in my head about her life. She is a newlywed, whose beloved is off fighting in the war. She grows herbs to make extra money to get by. One day I may get the story out of my head and share it with all of you. Thank you soo much Paula, I love Wren and hope you start a shop soon xoxoxo

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Pantry Menu Of The Week


I confess, when I am the weakest and wanting to go out to dinner, instead of making it, is when I have been running all day. After a busy day away from home, cooking is the last thing I want to do. But I find having a full pantry helps me suck it up and cook dinner. I rely on my pantry when money is short. When I see some goody at Target (I really do not need) and use my last $10.00 of grocery money (shock), tell me I am not the only one who does that  ;-) Plus I find they are budget friendly recipes.

This menu of the week is based on pantry items. I love pasta con la sardine, but I find most recipes much more time consuming then I want to put into it. Also it has fennel bulbs, saffron, pine nuts, which are all a bit pricey. I decided to use ground fennel seeds to give me the flavor, leave out the saffron and splurged on the pine nuts. But I used less (I look for deals on them and then keep them in the freezer). I also simplified the recipe. I know currants, sardines and fennel may sound weird but it really is an amazing combo.

Since the winter is citrus season, I am making a lot of salads with them. I love this green onion vinaigrette, by pureeing it, it makes a creamy vinaigrette. The only drawback to this vinaigrette, is it does not do well sitting around for a long time. I think the honey cake would be delish served with some fresh citrus to, like grapefruit.

I hope this inspires you to look at your pantry and see what you can add to it, how you can use it better, to use it to make your life easier xoxoxo

PS. Photo of my mother's house

Pantry Pasta Con La Sardine

1 pound pasta

1/3 cup dried currants

1 can of sardine in oil, drained

1 lemon, zest grated, then juiced

2 garlic cloves finley chopped

1/2 a bunch of Italian parsley leaves, ruffly chopped

1/2 cup plain bread crumbs, I use panko

1/4 cup pine-nuts

1 TBL fennel seeds, grind up to a powder (a coffee grind works best)

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Start pasta to cook.

2. While pasta is cooking in a dry hot pan, toast pine nuts and put them in a large serving bowl. Now toast bread crumbs, BUT set them in a separate bowl and set aside. You will add them to the pasta when you are ready to serve.

3. To pine nuts add 1/8 of a cup (a big bloop) of olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, currants, ground fennel seeds, crumble or chop sardines, parsley, some salt and pepper.

4. Add cooked pasta, toss all together, taste and see what is needed. If pasta seem dry drizzle a bit more olive oil. When ready to serve toss in bread crumbs and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Romain salad w/ orange and green onion vinaigrette

Spears of romain set on a plate with slices of peeled orange on top, then dress with dressing. You could add a few chopped green onions, toasted nut, sliced avocado or parmesan shavings over the top.

Green Onion Vinaigrette *Note

1/2 cup olive oil

juice from 1/2 lemon or to taste

3 green onions, trimmed of ends

1/2 small garlic, peeled

1 tsp. of Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a processor or blender and blend till smooth.

*note, feel free to adjust all these amounts to suit your palette. You can also use orange juice instead of lemon.

Honey Cake