Friday, September 30, 2011

600 Posts and a giveaway!

Goodness, tomorrow is October 1st?! Where has September gone?!
I have sadly neglected my little corner of the world. Busy, busy with lots of changes, projects and just life in general.
And guess what? This is my 600th post!  Who would have thought when I began blogging wayyyy back on 2007, that it would go this far?  So, with Autumn in full swing, and 600 posts under my belt, I feel the need for a giveaway. A thank you for the comments, advice, gifts, and encouragement you have all added to my life over the last 4+ years. 

So here's what I am giving away
I saw this gorgeous book the other day and had to have it. I'm getting you a copy too because I know you all love decorating. It's brand new and full of beautiful romantic country style.
All you have to do to enter the drawing is leave a comment. That's all!
On the other hand, if you want an extra entry, post the giveaway on your blog and come back and let me know, I'll throw in an extra entry for you:>)
The giveaway will end October 15, and I will announce the winner Oct. 16th
Thanks for sticking by me and for all your kind words and friendship.
Happy Autumn!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, Monday

Tell me,
What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Detail from an original collage I made in Graphic design class last year.

Ever feel like you still don't have it all figured out?  As an adult I thought I would have it all mapped out long ago.  I keep plugging along, hoping my "someday" dream will turn into reality. A friend of mine thinks she is having a mid-life crisis.  She probably is.  Because what nobody tells you is that defining yourself, readjusting your reality, tweaking your goals, is an ongoing job.  You sometimes wonder if you'll ever get where you want to go.  On the other hand, what would you have to look forward to if you did?
Got a dream? Can you see it getting closer?  Feel like it's a lost cause?
Don't give up. Share. Realize we all feel a little hopeless. Am I right?
Wrong? Talk to me....

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thanks for all the well wishes, I am feeling much better this morning and off to work in a few minutes:>)  I had to share this photo.  Red currants, I have always been curious about them, they look so pretty and I had never tried one.  These were on the markdown rack at Meijer last week, they looked fine to me and the fresh date was some time this week.  For 75 cents I thought it was the perfect time to try them. Aren't they gorgeous? I just had to take a photo, and then I baked some lovely scones wioth these little jewels inside.  I'm afraid they just aren't for me. Each one has a not so tiny hard seed iside that I just don't care for. The fruit itself tastes great and if you don't mind hard seeds in your food you should immediately run out and get some of these.  If you prefer your fruit without hard seeds, but find them on the markdown rack, buy them anyways, they make a lovely photo:>) Hope you all had a great weekend, I'll be catching up with everyone tonight!
 Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tomato soup

I have spent the weekend on the sofa with a snuffly nose, cough and fever. Yay. It's cool here, fall weather has come, and that coupled with the chills from the fever means all I could think about was some home made tomato soup.  Soooo, good. With buttery homemade bread croutons It'll knock your socks off.  This recipe is one my daughter, Victoria, came up with. She says it came from Pioneer Woman, but I couldn't find one exactly like this so Victoria may have tweaked a PW recipe and made it her own. At any rate, it is perfect when you feel crummy. Or if you're not.
You'll notice that even though I am sick, I could still pull together a photo session for the soup....sick in more ways than one I guess. And just so you know, I pulled that basil garnish out before I ate it.  I am ridiculous. Anyway, I hope you aren't feeling under the weather, but file this away for when you are. You'll thank me some day, or I should say you'll thank Victoria.

Tomato Soup
9 x 13" pan of tomatoes roasted, peeled and blended (or 4 cans diced tomatoes drained)
1 clove garlic roasted
1 med. onion sauteed
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 tsp. sugar
Lots of ground pepper (to taste, we LOVE ground pepper)
1/2 tsp salt
A good handful of chopped basil (again, to taste)
 1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine

Roast the tomatoes, or drain the canned tomatoes.  If you don't roast the garlic you can saute it in with the onion, see the way we roll around here? All loosey goosey? It works.
Saute the onions, when they are all soft and starting to get a little golden, add the broth, wine, tomatoes and everything else on the list. Let it all simmer for 20 minutes. Run some of the chunks through the blender to make it thick and smoother. Taste and adjust seasoning, I like a teeny bit more sugar.
Add home made, buttered croutons and be prepared to be warmed from the inside out.  I'm living on this for the next couple days until I feel better, then I may eat some more. Thanks Victoria:>) I ♥ you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


The furnace came on this morning. The temperature outside was a chilly 42 and there is the possibility that we will get frost tonight. Now you know why Michigan girls have a fickle love for Autumn. It's beautiful while it lasts, but the cold comes all too soon. I'm not ready to give up my flowers, the hostas, or the sweet tomatoes that are ripening in the garden.  I was determined that I wouldn't lose my basil.  It's like green gold and the crop was especially lovely this year.  I have already cut it twice and made pesto.  Earl harvested the rest tonight and I got it whizzed up in the food processor and ready for the freezer. It freezes like a dream. You know the wonderful spicy smell of fresh cut basil? That is exactly what this pesto smells and tastes like in the dead of winter, thawed and tossed with hot pasta or piled on a burger or sandwich. 
I got the recipe from a little book called "In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprahs Favorite Recipes." It's the only recipe I use from that book but it was worth the price.  Easy as pie and very few ingredients, oh, and no oil. I like my pesto oil free, but if you want to add oil do it, it won't hurt it a bit. Here's the recipe:

Rosie Daley's Pesto
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts (or you can use walnuts, just as good)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1-5 cloves garlic (I like 2 cloves)

Whiz everything up in your blender or food processor until smooth.
That's it. I freeze it in 1/2 cup plastic containers, just the right amount for a batch of pasta.
We cut most of the zinnias too, I won't leave them out in the cold.
What are you harvesting right now?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Art & Apples

What a busy weekend! Saturday dawned gloomy and rainy but we had high hopes it would clear up later in the morning. This weekend was the Art & Apples festival in a nearby town and Earl had perfected his Carmel Apple cheescake recipe for the baking contest.  We got up early and headed for our Saturday morning coffee date at Panera, discussed the days plans over coffee and a bagel and came home to put the finishing touches on his entry.
 By the time we reached the park the sun was beginning to break through the clouds and within minutes it was shining brightly.  There were so many delicious looking pies and desserts we started to wonder just what one has to do to get the honor of judging in one of these contests!Just look at those cute apple cake pops! It all looks good, and we knew it would be a tough competition.
 And speaking of competition, it didn't take long to realize this was ours, the guy in the white cap, I stealthily snapped his pic to show you. His name was Kevin and he was a professional baker, and his entry was a cheesecake too! Hmmmm....
 I kept a close eye on the judges as they tasted their way through the entries. The older lady was careful to give nothing away by her expressions. The guy who was judging was the local Mayor and was focused on eating . He wasn't giving much away either. But the cute brunette, a local newscaster, took one bite of Earl's entry and exclaimed "Oh my gosh!" I thought he had a good chance after that.
 I was right. Congratulation on winning Best Apple Dessert sweetheart!
 The prize? A handmade pie plate and blue ribbon, but the fun we had with this was even better.  After he won we went out to lunch to celebrate, hung out in the bookstore for a while, he helped a friend set up for a party and then we went home and baked two pies for the potluck our church had Sunday to install the new Pastor. I think we finished the pies around midnight. Whew! Whirlwind weekend but it was all good. It's back to work this morning and the week ahead is full of possibility. Enjoy your week full of possibility too. I hope your weekend was as good as ours!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer."

- Helen Hunt Jackson
  And here we are, the last weekend of summer. I know it isn't officially Autumn until the 23rd, but the days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, the trees redder, and school is back in session. I admit a love/ hate relationship with the season. The trees are all too soon bare and brown and if you have ever experienced a Michigan winter, well, you know where my slight melancholy comes from. 
On the other hand, apples and pumpkins and cooler days that allow lots of baking and stews and other good cooking soften the blow of the grey days ahead.

This weekend Victoria heads back to school for her senior year. We are taking her back Sunday, a two hour drive in a van with no air conditioning and predicted temps around 90.  What was that I said about cooler weather?  Then home and back to our normal routine. The house will be emptier and things will settle into the autumn schedule.

 What's that you say? You want to know what the photo above is? Oh, that is Earl's latest project. You see, there is a big Art Festival called Art & Apples, held this time of year in a local park .  They are having a contest for apple recipes and Earl has decided to throw his hat in the ring.  Or should I say his cheesecake? His Carmel Apple cheesecake? Yeah. He's still perfecting the recipe, and I can't promise he will share, I know, that's mean isn't it? But there are lots of recipes online if you search. I never heard of apple cheesecake until he started looking for an apple dessert recipe.  Let me just tell you, apple cheesecake, it's one of the good parts of Autumn
Have a great weekend, enjoy the last days of summer!