Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I am off to Monticello today working on the Christmas show!  Stay tuned for sneak peeks...

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving weekend!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Randomness


proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern: the random selection of numbers.
Statistics . of or characterizing a process of selection in which each item of a set has an equal probability of being chosen.
A few random things from the coop...
I picked up this stunning scale at a flea market a few weeks ago with every intention of selling it.  Somehow I just can't part with this beautiful thing.  The perfect shade of green, the beautiful detail and the vintage coolness all added up to a fine addition to my kitchen counter.
My sister is hosting Thanksgiving this year and asked me to make the yams.  I have never made yams before and I have an aversion to the sweet yams with marshmallows all over them.  I am intrigued by the idea of combining the sweetness of yams with something savory or spicy.  Here is the recipe I've decided to make.

Chipotle Garnet Yams
I found the recipe on all recipes.com
click on the link below if you want to see more.
 Below are some really cute vintage Thanksgiving greetings.  Don't be mad, but I cannot remember where I found these!  Just enjoy...

There is this wonderful girl I know who decided to take up the cookbook challenge posted about here. She just happens to be my daughter and just happens to have a cooking blog called A Duck's Oven.  Go.  Read it now...
 I am thankful for you!  For your comments and e-mails. For sharing life, ideas and common interests together.
Take a moment today and reflect on something you are truly thankful for.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving week,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Red and White Inspiration

Neutral back drops with a pop of red...  



Inspiration from the classics is the best!

 Count down to Christmas.

Red and white can really make a girl happy

Enjoy the day,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Silver Palate

In the quest for trying new recipes from my cookbook stash I came across this cookbook from the Silver Palate.

I first became aware of this cookbook while working as a nanny in New York a very long time ago!  The authors also had a store-front in Manhattan and it was quite a thrill to visit their shop.

Many fabulous meals and desserts have been cooked up from this little gem. 

This was my recipe choice...


Why would I choose such an obscure recipe?  The answer is easy for two reasons.  My husband is a hunter and we have venison in the freezer.  My husband is bow hunting this weekend and this would be a perfect meal to send along...

Here's the recipe with notes to follow...


2 cups dry red wine
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 2 limes
2 large bay leaves
2 whole cloves
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
top leaves of 2 celery ribs
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
pinch of dried thyme
6 whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 juniper berry, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt

To complete the stew:
3 pounds of lean venison cut in 1-inch cubes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter (more if needed)
2 tablespoons gin
3 tablespoons lean salt pork, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, as small as possible
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12 to 18 tiny pearl onions
6 chicken livers

1.  Combine marinade ingredients in a large glass bowl and stir well.  Add venison, cover, and refrigerate for 1 day.  Turn meat 1 or 2 times in the marinade.

2.  Remove meat from marinade and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Reserve marinade.

3.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy skillet.  Brown the cubed venison a few pieces at a time, and with a slotted spoon transfer them to a bowl.  Add additional butter to pan as needed.

4.  Transfer all the venison to a flameproof casserole.  In a small saucepan, warm the gin, then pour it over the venison and ignite.  Shake the casserole slightly until flames die out.

5.  Saute the diced salt pork in a small skillet until golden.  With a slotted spoon transfer pork to the casserole.

6.  Remove mushroom stems and save for another use or discard.  Wipe mushroom caps with a damp paper towel.  Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small skillet.  Add mushroom caps and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Transfer mushrooms and cooking liquid to the casserole.

7.  Bring 1 quart salted water to a boil.  Drop in the pearl onions and boil for 1 minute.  Transfer onions to a bowl of ice water; when cool, peel them and add to the casserole.

8.  Strain the marinade and add it to the casserole; stir well.  Set casserole over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.

9.  Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet and cook the chicken livers until they are firm but still pink inside, about 5 minutes.  Cut into large dice.

10.  When venison is tender, add livers to the casserole.  Taste, correct seasoning, and serve immediately.
        4 to 6 portions

Notes from the cook:
I was really looking forward to lighting that gin on fire!  It was very disappointing because the gin did not ignite. My husband and I both gave it a good try with pitiful results. 

The recipe calls for pearl onions that need to be cooked, iced and peeled.  Don't put yourself through that.  You can buy them in the freezer section all cooked and peeled.  Much easier.

The end result was very good.  The marinade flavors fantastic.  Chicken livers... not my favorite thing but my husband was giddy over them! 
Happy cooking,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From the Sewing Room

A recent post was all about this gorgeous color palette.  You can read more here.  After setting this lovely stack of fabrics on my sewing room table, my creative brain took over.

Sometimes it's hard to sleep because the ideas keep coming.  As a writer puts pen to paper a seamstress puts scissors to fabric

nubby-wool stocking with over-sized wool buttons
ruffled dupioni silk stocking with flowers

funky wool stocking with vintage long-john buttons

Being creative evokes a feeling of pure...
striped joy pillow

vintage french  laundry label
vintage wool pure joy pillow

Toile is such a beautiful old world classic...

scalloped euro toile pillows
scalloped 16x24 toile pillow

All of this creative craziness can be attributed to the upcoming Holiday season at Monticello and a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT coming very soon.

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!

P.S.   I will be posting a new recipe on Friday.  You should join me by cooking up something and posting about it in the comment section of this blog.  Read more about it here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

There's Always Room for a Bike in the Bathroom

This vanity commands a smile...

image source
How fun is that?

Have a great weekend,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the barefoot contessa wins again

After flipping through several cookbooks for this weeks recipe, I decided on the barefoot contessa Ina Garten again.  Her how easy is that cookbook had a side dish that caught my eye.

It was kind of an odd choice for me, but interesting in a weird sort of way. 

Here's the recipe:

Warm French Lentils       
serves 4 to 6

Ina says:  There's a little bistro in Paris that Jeffrey and I love and they always have lentils on the menu.  In summer, they're served like this- slightly warm with a drizzle of olive oil- and in winter they're served hot with garlicky French sausages.  This is classic French peasant food and it's so satisfying.

2 tablespoons     plus 1/4 cup good olive oil
                    1     leek, white and light green parts, sliced 1/4 inch thick
                    2     carrots, scrubbed and 1/2 inch-diced
     1 teaspoon     minced garlic
             1 cup     French green Le Puy lentils
                    1     whole onion, peeled and stuck with 6 whole cloves
                    1     white turnip, cut in half
     1 teaspoon     unsalted butter
    4 teaspoons    Dijon mustard
 2 tablespoons    red wine vinegar
  1 tablespoon     kosher salt
     1 teaspoon     freshly ground pepper

Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the leek and carrots, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the lentils, 4 cups water, the onion with the cloves, and the turnip in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, add the leek and carrots, and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are almost tender.  Remove and discard the onion and turnip and drain the lentils.  Place them in a medium bowl and add the butter.

Meanwhile, whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, the mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper.  Add to the lentils, stir well, and allow the lentils to cool until just warm, about 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.  The longer the lentils sit, the more salt and pepper you'll want to add.

Notes from the cook:
I have never cooked with leeks before, that was fun! Also, I loved the idea of sticking whole cloves into the onion.  They added just a hint of flavor to the lentils.  I did not find the Le Puy lentils and just used regular lentils.  

To make the lentils more like a main course, I added cooked sausage.  It tasted really good and was the perfect addition.

This dish introduced me to new ingredients and flavors and tasted great.  Good choice!

If you decided to join me in this adventure, please go to the comment section and tell us what you made and how it turned out.

Happy cooking,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dreamy Whites Giveaway

Dreamy Whites is having a giveaway!  Maria's style and photography are... dreamy.  
This giveaway is just too good for you to miss.

Giveaway Information~
One reader will receive
Your wreath will be sent out approximately around November 28th.
Giveaway Ends November 16th at midnight.
Winner will be chosen by random.org
Go to the dreamy whites blog to enter here

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simply the Best

Cookbooks seem to be a weakness of mine.  I can be enticed with stunning photographs and the promise of a decadent dish.  Reading cookbooks...  a favorite past-time.  Can you relate to this obsession?

Dust Jacket Attic blog posted a fantastic review on a just released cookbook titled Simply the Best.   Here are a few of the enticing photos.  If you would like to read the full post click here.

The cookbook can be ordered here.

along with these...

I will be posting a new recipe on Thursday.  If you are joining me in the cooking challenge I posted here you still have a few days to give it a try!

Happy cooking,