Thursday, March 29, 2012

It Takes Time

I finally have everything but the kitchen dishes unpacked.  All the kitchen items will stay boxed up until the kitchen is complete.  Mom and I are going to IKEA on Saturday to look at the cabinets.  This will be her first time seeing them in person.  I hope she likes them...even if she doesn't like them she will say, " well "if you like them.".  It is really hard for me to get things without her approval...(since I am almost 25 I should probably be over that, but I hold her opinions in high esteem.)

But back to the point of my post, when we left our Frawley Road house I had everything with the exception of the dining room just the way I wanted it.  Looking back I lived there for 5 years so it was a gradual evolution. Getting the house to look the way I wanted certainly did not happen over night.  My style went from shabby chic where everything was pink, green, and covered in flowers to a more neutral color palette and a mix of old and new furniture.

When we moved I figured that I would arrange things similar to the way I had them at Frawley.  I did that and it is just not the same.  This house is quite a bit larger so it makes what seemed like a lot of furniture in one house look like not so much.   All this to say that if you don't want your house to look like you just went to the furniture store and bought the whole room from table lamps to the area rug, it will take some time to collect things that have character, meaning, and make your house feel like a home.  You just have to be patient, something I am working on ;)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Delightful Dinner

 Cook these for a delightful dinner!

Pommes De Terre a la Boulangere: Potatoes a la Bakery

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 onions, sliced
2 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
1 1/2 cups beef stock (buy "Unsalted" if you can
find it)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Melt half the butter with the olive oil in a saute pan, and gently fry the onions until soft and lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Spread half the onions in the bottom of a 13x9 casserole. Lay a layer of sliced potatoes on top, season with salt and pepper, and scatter with thyme leaves. Build another layer of onions, then a final one of potatoes, and finally pour over the stock. Cover the pan with foil, and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed, 2 to 3 hours, removing the foil for the last hour if you like a crisp top.

 Baked Provencal Tomatoes

3 medium tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon bread crumbs
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil, for drizzling

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the tomatoes in half at the waist. Lay them cut-side up in a baking dish, and season with salt, and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs, parsley, and garlic in a small bowl, and sprinkle evenly over the tops of the tomatoes, and then drizzle over a little olive oil. Bake the tomatoes until hot and slumping, about 20 minutes.

Make a simple spring salad with a lettuce mix, granny smith apples, goat cheese and cranberries topped with your favorite dressing!  I am bead lover so don't forget the baguette with homemade herb butter.

Herb Butter

1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons minced green onions
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh dill (1/4 tsp dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mash together with a spoon until well-combined. Put back in fridge if not serving immediately, but re-soften in the microwave for 5-8 seconds before serving.

 Finish the evening off with a bite of this goodness!

Chocolate Pots De Creme with Cherry Whip

4 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cherry jam or preserves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil over medium heat. Break the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl.

Heat 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk just until and sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Put the yolks in a small bowl; while whisking, add a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the yolks. Whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.

Put 4 (6-ounce) ramekins into a high-sided baking dish. Evenly fill the ramekins with the chocolate mixture. Carefully fill the pan with the hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins and transfer the pan to the oven.

Bake until custards are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully transfer the custards to a rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the custards at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, whisk the cherry jam in a small bowl until loosened and thin. In another bowl with a clean whisk, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream and 1 teaspoon sugar until firm peaks form; gently fold the whipped cream into the cherry jam until just combined and streaky. Serve the pots de creme chilled, topped with a dollop of cherry whipped cream.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Belle Soirée

I may have mentioned this before but last year my friends and I thought it would be fun to start a book club.  Now I will admit that I was fully on board more for the social aspect of it more than the books....  Reading has never been my thing but I do try to read the books (emphasis on the try.) This months book club meeting was hosted by my lovely and gracious sister-n law.  It was truly a beautiful evening spent with good friends, good food, and perfect weather!  We read Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins.  We all loved the book!  It was a easy and lighthearted read.  

The evening was filled with all things French!

We munched on cheese and crackers as we waited for all of the ladies to arrive.

Rebecca had a lovely table set up outside.  She used three different table cloths and rattan chargers; I love all of the textures and patterns together!  She also had French music playing in the background which made us all feel like we were in the French countryside rather then the Tennessee Valley!

Rebecca prepared a French themed menu which was all vegetarian, right up my alley! We dined on Baked Provencal Tomatoes, Pommes De Terre a la Boulangere: Potatoes a la Bakery, Spring Mix Salad, and of course bread with homemade herb butter!  Recipes to come ;)

Our talented host standing right beside me in maroon.

After our leisurely dinner we took a short tour of the "grounds." 

The evening closed with "girl talk" and Chocolate Pots De Creme with Cherry Whip to die for!  Thanks Rebecca for hosting such a memorable evening!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Gathering

 This weekend in between birthday celebrations, Rich's Birthday was Thursday and my dad's was on Friday, I started getting things ready for the Spring Gathering!  I am so excited about having a booth in this show.  The show will be held on Friday, April 27, 9-6 and Saturday April 28, 9-4, 3674 N. Marble Top Road, Chickamauga, GA.  My booth will consist of cottage/shabby chic items as well as some primitives and plants from Mom's garden.  Hope you all make plans to come spend the day with us! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ace Hardware

Every Saturday in March you can get a free quart of paint from Ace Hardware!.  Last Saturday I picked up Bird Egg Blue. All you have to do is print off this coupon or if you have a Ace Rewards card they will swipe it.  If you don't have a card no worries you can get one in the store! 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Weekend Happenings

 Rich worked on getting some seeds started for our garden.  We are planting all kinds of veggies including egg plant and some zinnas of course.  I hope my zinnias do as well as they did last year.  I would love to take them to this little farms market they have in Brainerd this summer!

Our future garden spot which needs some TLC.   

Such a pitiful little shed.  We actually had to fix the floor in that old thing for our home inspection...crazy I know!

This is a old picture of the back of the house before we installed new doors but the mud hole still looks the same.  One of the first things we did when we got the house was tear down the rickety deck.  I can't wait to put something down for a patio.  I have no idea if I want pavers, stone, bricks,or a concrete slab...

I love/hate this fence in our back yard.  It consists of two chain link fences stacked on top of each other thank goodness they are covered in vines!  But the problem with the vines is that they are a breeding ground for mosquitoes which I hate, but they provide so much privacy which I love.

Maybe one day our shed and yard will look like this.

Friday, March 9, 2012