Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on it's way!

In only 2-1/2 weeks.  Can you believe it?!

So, naturally, I had put a few Eastery do-dads here and there.  A little late, I guess, by blogdom time, but the house needed some Eastery/springy freshness for sure.

A cute, easy sparkly egg garland made using those glittery eggs on a stick from the DT.  
Super quick.  Super easy.   Super cute!

Now, I know you've seen these guys at lots and lots of blogs, but they're so darn sweet!
From Pier 1 they are, and I bought the tubby one on the right last year.

  I was pleased to see Pier 1 had them again this year, so I couldn't resist adding to the family by snagging up "dad", on the left, and that cute little baby bunny there in the middle.

Of course, Eastering up the place wouldn't be complete without tossing around the fabric carrots I made last year.  

I debuted them last year in this blog entry.

And in case you'd like to knock out a bushel of your own fresh fabric carrots, Clare, from 
generously shared a  tutorial for you to make your very own.

Can I just say, when I purchased those vases below at Ikea a couple years ago, I used I would bought a case!  They were so cheap.  Maybe $1.99 a piece, if that.  They may have been only $0.99.  Anyway, I think they sold out of them a while back. 
I just love 'em!!!  

I even had someone email some months ago because she was searching for them for her wedding centerpieces, Googled them, and my blog came up and she offered to buy them from me double what I paid! I know . . . how mean.  I should have sold them to her.  But then I'd have none!

I just love that vintage Easter postcard.  What a work of art.  
The snowdrop flowers really convey an Eastery/springy feeling. 

That WalMart BH&G fall tray being put to good use again.  I always feel like I have to ground tablescapes with either a tray, a mini quilt, a platter . . . something.  Is that weird?  Maybe it's a bit of that OCD I think I have showing up! LOL  A feeling that I have to compartmentalize everything.

Another Pier 1 purchase that's been seen all over blogdom in many forms,
the moss bunny on a stick.

I obviously wasn't nearly as creative as so many others.  Rather boring, actually.  How uninspired is it just sticking that guy in a potted plant? 
I think he's cute in there anyway!

And I just love how this pot has become all craggily and pitted.  Not sure how that happened.  Probably from the weather, I guess, but I think it looks neat.

Inspirational faux stones.  I showed you how to make your own in this blog entry.

Quick way to dress up a boring pillar candle.  A faux stone and some jute twine.  How simple is that?

Before we know it, we'll all be showing off our fun 4th of July goodies!  :o)

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

Mmmmm . . . 

Looking for a rich, sweet, truly decadent desert?

You have to try this recipe.  
It's amazing.

The first time I had this fabulous treat was at the Swiss Woods Inn B&B in Lititz, Pennsylvania, where me and a group of girlfriends have had a winter retreat weekend once a year for the past six years.  I've talked about our great times there in several past posts.

It's really a very simple recipe, and it requires pretty basic ingredients.  The only ingredient I had to purchase that I don't normally stock in my pantry were seeded dates.  

The recipe also calls for heavy cream, which I don't usually keep in the frig.   I do always have either light cream or half and half, which may alter the end product a bit, I guess, but I didn't really see a difference in using half and half.

As you can see, my photos of the "pudding" {which is really more wet-cake, bread pudding then a traditional pudding}  aren't of the best quality, so I found some snaps of the pudding at different sites so you could see just how moist and delicious this desert can be.  It's not necessarily a pretty desert, but boy is it yummy!  It's one of those deserts where you can't help "mmmmm'ing" while you're eating it!

Browned Eyed Baker
Taste of Home
The Guardian UK
Three Many Cooks
As you can see by the sample pics I posted, I didn't make up whipped cream for my pudding.  As I mentioned, I only had half and half in the house, and that doesn't whip up nicely for whipped cream.  Besides, I figured as rich and decadent as this desert is, we could all do without the extra fat and calories.  I have had it with the whipped cream at the Inn, and needless to say, it's totally divine!

I can't imagine any disappointments with this desert.  
Give it a try!

The Pudding:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup pitted dates
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla

The Toffee Sauce:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

{When I made my toffee sauce, I had only half and half.  To up the fat content to make a rich toffee sauce, I added a few more tbsp of butter.}


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 10" round or square baking dish.  Sift the flour and baking powder.  Chop dates fine.  Place in a small bowl and add boiling water and baking soda; set aside.  With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla beating until blended. Gradually add flour mixture.  Add the date mixture to the batter and fold with a rubber spatula until blended.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes.  Remove from oven to wire rack.

Make the toffee sauce by combining all ingredients in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil gently over med-low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes.

Preheat broiler.  Spoon about 1/3 cup of the toffee sauce over the pudding.  Spread evenly on top.  Place pudding under the broiler until the topping bubbly, about 1 minute.  Serve immediately drizzled with extra toffee sauce and a dollop of whipped cream.

FYI  This pudding is just as yummy cold! ;o)

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Friday, March 23, 2012

A Garden of Weedin'

Spring is here!  
Well, it's been here for a bit now.  Even though the calendar told us so just a few days ago, spring has sprung hard 'round here.  The temps have been crazy high . . . near record highs.  
No complaints, though.  
I've been ready.

Well, I do have one complaint.  
I don't know if it's because of the super-mild winter we had,  my not getting to the beds last fall due to my back injury, or what, but the weeds have all but taken over most of my garden beds.

The herb garden's been hit hard.

Look at that mess.  It almost makes me want to cry.

I think I'm going to have to admit defeat.  
I'm giving in.  
Throwing in the towel, or spade maybe I should say.

I can't do it anymore.  Dealing with the weeds in that garden has been a huge pain.  I've been having trouble the past couple years keeping the weeds down.  I'm not fighting any more.   My herb garden will be no more very soon.  And ya know, I'm not that upset by it.  I think I'm really ready for a little less work out there.

I've already dug up the lavender plants and replanted them in a little border bed next to the shed.  I know they look kinda dead, but they're alive and well.  They just haven't regained their pretty green yet.

There's a few more plants I'm going to save from that garden, then it's getting doused with weed killer, tilled up, and sewn with grass seed.

The weeds have been bad, but I do have some favorite plants coming up nicely here and there.  After spending most of last weekend cleaning the beds, cutting down dead growth, weeding, dividing, etc., there's still quite a bit more to do.  I'll get to it . . . eventually ;o)

Lamb's Ear
Hosta - Stiletto variety
So much work.

Before going, I had to share the cutest little garden flag I just bought.

Isn't it adorable!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My New Toy

Ain't she purdee????

My new Kitchen Aide Pro mixer.  

And in my favorite color RED!

I'd been thinking about a new one for a little while now.  My old girl has been working just fine.  She put in a lot of good years.  Almost 25 without a single problem (except for a little cord issue - see that bit of black electrical tape on the cord?).  But this flashy, new lovely was a great deal.  I snagged her up as a QVC TSV (today's special value) last week.  
Couldn't beat the price. 

I think it's time for her retirement.  Actually, I'll pass her on to Son No. 2 if he wants her.  He's my boy that's an aspiring home chef.  
He loves to cook!  

Now I just have to find a home for her.  She's too tall to stay on the countertop under the wall cabinets.  I don't like appliances on my kitchen counters anyway, but, for her, I might have made an exception.  

Guess I'll have to do some rearranging in the lower cabinets so this tall beauty can have a safe place to hang out when she's not hard at work.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cottage Style

Have you seen this newest edition of this special interest mag at the store?  
If you're a fan of a casual, relaxed, cozy, at-ease decor style, this publication is pure eye candy.  

I love darn near every single home featured in this magazine.  

And the first gorgeous home featured is that of Rachel Ashwell
 . . . sigh . . . 

Cottage Style
Cottage Style

Below, I'm sharing a small sampling of some of the beautiful homes featured in the mag. 

Cottage Style
Cottage Style
Cottage Style
Cottage Style
Cottage Style

The next batch of photos are pics found at a couple good sites.  

Fresh Home is where I found the following group of photos.

Fresh Home
Fresh Home
Fresh Home
Fresh Home

The photo below was found at Design Shuffle.  

Design Shuffle

If you haven't picked up this great publication yet, hopefully you can still find it.  
It's shelf date is to end on March 6.  It was worth every penny I paid.  
This one's definitely a keeper!

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