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The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest ~ Sir Thomas Moore ~

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Good Reads...

On a recent trip to the Library, I found 2 fabulous new cookbooks.
Both as beautiful to look at visually as the recipes sounded.
I now have quite a few recipes jotted down on cards to try :-)
From Ina Garten's cookbook "Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?"
french toast bread pudding * scalloped tomatoes * garlic roasted cauliflower * tomatoes roasted with pesto * roasted figs * eton mess
And from "The Comfort Table" by Katie Lee
crisp green beans with sun-dried tomatoes, pumpkin roll, tomato, vidalia onion and cucumber salad* mini potato leek latkes with spicy apple chutney, spinach and three cheese phyllo pie, Mexican wedding cookies (making these this afternoon)! * long life noodles, stir fried broccoli with garlic and chili * nutella french toast sandwiches
As an added bonus, this book featured a "Spa Menu" with a recipe to make your own all natural honey-oatmeal facial :-)
***
Cooking is like love
It should be entered into
with abandon
or not at all
~Harriet Van Horne~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thankful (things I love} Thursday...

~ LOVER OF THE WRITTEN WORD~

I recently had the honour of having an apron I designed published in Volume 3 of Apronology.

The quote "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me" by C.S. Lewis was my inspiration and I designed the apron around it.
When I sent in my submission, I wrote about how much I love quotes and the written word (which anyone who has stopped by my little blog knows) :-). I was however, shocked, and so impressed, when a few months ago, the final layout was sent to me!! The book & tea theme was incorporated with a bookcase holding vintage books in the background, and tea set in co-ordinating colours to the apron :-)
Special Thanks to Christen Olivarez and staff for this wonderful opportunity. The care and detail to packaging when submissions are returned also shows their amount of respect for the artist's work. I am always so impressed & Thankful with the thoughtfulness shown.
***
You are never too old to set another goal
or to dream new
~C.S. Lewis~

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winterlude/Snow Moon...

We recently took a little getaway to Ottawa.
We have always wanted to go to Winterlude ~ an annual festival full of outdoor activities.
The ice/snow sculpture competitions was a favourite, but with the temps dipping to -25C with the wind, I left my camera most days back at the hotel! All the dogs we saw wore coats & booties :-)
My favourite ice sculpture was of a mother bird feeding her baby in the nest ♥ it was spectacular!!
Since we are HUGE hockey fans - the first thing on our agenda was taking in an NHL Hockey game which was amazing :-) So was the Full Snow Moon which lit up the sky as we drove to the Scotia Bank Place Arena.
Parliament Hill
overlooking the Ottawa River.
We were in awe of the beauty surrounding us ...
We had a wonderful little getaway Celebrating the Joys of Winter...
We stopped for coffee for the long drive home & took one last photo :-)
***
Those who contemplate
the beauty of the Earth
find reserves of strength
that will endure
as long as life lasts
~Rachel Carson~

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day ♥ ...

Sending Wishes for a day filled with
LOVEliness ♥♥♥
{texture used by Kim Klassen}
***
A man is not where he lives
but where
he loves
~Latin Proverb~

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just in time for Valentine's ...

Finishing a few crafts
in time for Valentine's Day...

Heart "love note" sachets...

Buttons and patches
and the cold wind blowing,
the days pass quickly
when I am sewing
~Unknown~

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thankful {things I love} Thursday...

My kitchen is a mystical place,
a kind of temple for me.
It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance,
where the sounds and odors
carry meaning
that transfers from the past
and bridges to the future
~Pearl Bailey~
***
Since it is -40C with the wind today, I thought it the perfect time to do a little baking & bread making. A nice warm kitchen to sit and look at the birds at the feeders, enjoy a coffee and browse through my favourite cookbooks.
2 large bookcases flank the large window in my kitchen and are filled with cookbooks and baking related items as well as nicknack's and family photos. It really is the ♥heart of the home♥ and a favourite spot.
Homemade soup for lunch is on the menu & baked ravioli for supper, so a few loaves of crusty bread are in order.
This is my favourite Country White Bread recipe and the one I use all the time. It's simple & makes 2 perfect loaves with a nice crunchy crust. I've copied the recipe as it is in my recipe book. Although I love the "hands on" approach, and always found it very therapeutic, these days, I let my standing mixer with dough hook attachment do the kneading (and work) for me.
Country White Bread
***
Yields 2 loaves
350 degree F oven 25-30 min
2 cups milk
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
4-5 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
Egg Wash - 1 large egg mixed with 1 tbsp water
*We like a crunchy, dark crust and an egg wash of 1egg beaten and 1 tbsp water or a brush over the top of the loaves with melted butter will do the trick *
Directions
1. Heat milk in a small saucepan until bubbles form. Remove 1/2 cup of milk to a small bowl and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F. Stir into yeast and 1 tbsp sugar. Let mixture stand until foamy approx 5 min.
2. Add butter to remaining milk in saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring to melt the butter.
Pour milk and butter mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F.
3. Add remaining 2 tbsp sugar, salt and yeast mixture, along with 3 cups of flour to milk mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir to blend completely. Add enough additional flour to make the dough manageable.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead, adding more flour as required until smooth and elastic ~ approx 8-10 min.
5. Lightly oil a mixing bowl and place dough in oiled bowl, turning to bring the oil side up over the dough. Cover with a clean cloth and allow dough to rise in a warm spot - free from drafts- until doubled in size - approx 1 hr.
6. Grease two loaf pans.
7. Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface and cut in half.
Fit dough into greased pan and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise until double in size - approx 35min.
8. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat egg with water to make an egg wash.
Brush loaves with wash and bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
9. Remove loaves from oven & place on a wire rack - they should sound hollow when tapped on top.
Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.
10. Enjoy ♥
***
Bread deals with living things
with giving life
with growth
with the seed
the grain that nurtures.
It is not coincidence
that we say
bread is the staff
of life
~Lionel Poilane~

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thankful {things I love} Thursday...

I LOVE snowy days that give me a good excuse to sit and tackle some unfinished projects.

It's -14C outside with the wind, but sunny and absolutely gorgeous looking outside from the kitchen window, with all the thick, white, freshly fallen snow from the past few days.

Anything with the written word on it makes my heart skip a beat :-) which is why I LOVE anything Emma Bridgewater !

My little Pencils & Pens case holds my favourite writing instruments and keeps them nice and tidy when I travel.

I feel the same way about Thomas Paul and this mouse pad/stationary is a favourite .

I LOVE the three little bird nests along the top, and how the Months of the year, and days of the week are elegantly printed.

Before ANYTHING gets started, first things first, and the kettle goes on :-)
Norah Jones is playing in the background which is making my little budgie Jax very happy!

I LOVE this cookbook (a lucky garage sale find) & today on my "to do" list, is to make a Red Velvet cake.

I was going to wait until Valentine's day to make it, but I think I will bake some chocolate brownies, cut them out with heart shaped cookie cutters and write little messages on them with white icing for the 14th ♥.
Organizing my "bird themed" photos is also on my list.

I LOVE this photo album (a gift from my daughter)...

I hadn't realized how many photos of birds I'd taken until I gathered them up...

And speaking of birds, I've been wanting to sew a new cage cover for my little budgie Jax.
After all my purging, this is what's left in my fabric basket. I think, with careful measuring and cutting, that I will have just enough muslin to do the job.

I've sketched out the look I want and
hopefully, I will have enough strips to gather to create a little ruffle too.
***
First comes thought;

then organization of that thought,

into ideas and plans;

then

transformation of those plans into reality.

The beginning, as you will observe,

is in

your

imagination

~Napoleaon Hill~

***
Hope your Thursday is filled with things you LOVE too ♥