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daybed

Long before there was such a thing as Craigslist or Offer Up, I bought a cute little white iron daybed from a classified ad. It was used for guests and sleepovers. The bed sat up the in the playroom for many years. I disposed of the trundle-bed portion about 8 years ago.

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April 16, 2018   No Comments

pop pop popular salad

I have brought this salad as a pot-luck dish to many parties over the years and everyone always asks for the recipe. I brought it again last weekend and promised the recipe would be here this week. Promise kept!

I use already toasted and peeled hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s for this recipe.

If you have raw hazelnuts, go to this LINK to learn how to toast and skin them.

I almost never go to all that trouble anymore. Just another reason I am always so grateful for Trader Joe’s! I also used TJ’s quinoa, a mix of red and white.

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April 13, 2018   3 Comments

mini Le Creuset … and grits

This is the last of my Easter brunch recipes. The real reason I made these was so that I could use the adorable green mini Le Creuset Petite Cocotte (little Dutch ovens) that my kids gave me for Christmas several years ago. The green was the perfect pop of color for my Easter table.

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April 12, 2018   2 Comments

rhubarb season, not

Did you know that in the last week of March you can not find fresh rhubarb in any grocery store in the Valley of Sun?

Trust me, I tried. I went to Fry’s, Safeway, Sprouts and Whole Foods. I called Albertson’s, Bashas, A.J.’s and Natural Grocers. I’ve never even set foot inside a Natural Grocers, so I don’t have a clue as to what sort of inventory they have, but I was desperate!

Not a one of them had rhubarb. All the produce managers said they had tried to order it, but it wasn’t coming in. By the time I discovered this, I’d already bought the strawberries for this salad and I had my heart set on it. I love strawberry-rhubarb pie, so I was craving this salad for my Easter brunch.

Finally, I took a closer look at the recipe and saw that the rhubarb was cooked for a couple of minutes and then sat in the hot liquid. It seemed to me as if the frozen rhubarb would work just fine. And it did!

A bonus of this recipe is the cooking syrup from the rhubarb, you’ll have about 1 cup of it but you only use 2 tablespoons of it for the dressing. The rest of it you can save and use as a grapefruit-rhubarb simple syrup for cocktails. Mix it with vodka and soda for a refreshing drink. Oh, it is good!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Salad

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups 1-inch diagonally sliced fresh rhubarb or a 12-ounce bag of cut frozen rhubarb
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 20 ounces fresh strawberries, quartered lengthwise (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup toasted silvered almonds
  • 1/4 cup small mint leaves
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish

In a medium saucepan, stir together the grapefruit juice and sugar over medium-high; bring to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.

Add rhubarb to pan; cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Cover and let stand until rhubarb is tender-crisp, about 15 minutes if fresh or 10 minutes if frozen.

Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon, reserving rhubarb syrup.

In a large bowl, stir together the orange juice, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the rhubarb syrup.(reserve the remaining syrup for another use.) [Read more →]


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April 11, 2018   No Comments

got to have bacon!

Even when the centerpiece of your Easter brunch is a spiral-cut ham – that does not mean you can’t throw in a little bacon too!

The original Southern Living recipe called for a cast-iron skillet. Since my cast-iron skillet was in a storage cupboard in the garage that was blocked by a bunch of boxes and folding chairs, I used a large heavy skillet instead.

I’ve mentioned this tip before, but it’s worth repeating. If you have a pot or pan that needs to go in the oven that does not have an oven-safe handle, or even if you’re not quite sure if it is oven-safe or not. You can still use that pan. Just double wrap the handle in heavy-duty foil (or wrap 4 times with standard foil) and just like magic, you have an oven-safe pan.

Hash Brown-Asparagus-Bacon Quiché

  • 6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash browns (about 12 ounces)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • Fresh minced chives, for garnish

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or another oven-safe heavy skillet over medium until browned and almost crisp, but still tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Reserve drippings in skillet, and let cool slightly.

Add asparagus to skillet, and cook over medium-high, stirring often, until lightly browned and just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to a medium bowl.

Add hash browns, bacon, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper to hot drippings in skillet over medium-high; stir to combine.

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April 10, 2018   1 Comment

Easter brunch (or any brunch) cocktail

This was our Easter cocktail. For the non-drinkers, I made up a batch of the citrus mix, sans the brandy, and added flavored La Croix sparkling water instead of Prosecco.

The lemonade ice cubes make the drink so festive. Since I have this long ice-cube tray to work with, I served the cocktail in champagne glasses. If I was using a standard tray, I’d have used wine glasses instead.

Sparkling Citrus Brunch Cocktail

Ice Cubes

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 to 2 cups prepared lemonade

Cocktail

  • 1 ½ cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup fresh Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Prosecco, chilled
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) brandy
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Citrus slices for garnish

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April 9, 2018   2 Comments

favorite Easter recipe

Of all the dishes I made for our Easter brunch, this was just about everybody’s favorite. Well maybe, except for the biscuits, because, come on, they’re biscuits! So that’s a given.

I especially love the herb dressing. I’ll be making it again and again.

I used a mix of colored potatoes from Trader Joe’s but you can just use regular new potatoes. Other than that, I followed this recipe pretty much to a T.  The link to the original recipe from Southern Living is at the bottom of this post.

When you measure the 2 cups of radishes, it doesn’t matter if you measure them before cutting or after, it comes out just about the same either way.

And when asparagus goes out of season, long green beans will be just as pretty and just as tasty.

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April 6, 2018   3 Comments

two butters, a mayo and a spread

It sounds like the start of a joke. “Two butters, a mayo and a spread walk into a bar…”

But this is no joke, these are what I served with my biscuits and ham at our Easter brunch. My entire Easter menu was inspired by the Easter menu featured in this year’s Southern Living Magazine.  Although, I made several changes in recipes and menu choices to fit my taste. For instance, their menu featured a Creole Mayo, I am a fan of Sriracha Mayo, so that is what I made. More Easter brunch recipes will follow in the coming days, for today, let’s look at these four.

I took a poll at brunch and asked for everyone’s favorites. The radish-chive butter won hands down. The second favorite was the other butter, made with orange marmalade and apricot preserves. The final two were tied for third. All four make for a perfect ham and biscuit sandwich.

Radish and Chive Butter

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped radishes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish

Beat salted butter and salt with an electric mixer on high-speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Gently stir in finely chopped radishes and chopped fresh chives. Scrape compound butter into a serving bowl, sprinkle with more chives. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

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April 3, 2018   1 Comment

not quite ready

I’m still working on the photos for part three of the house tour.  It is so difficult to get the lighting right! In the meantime I want to share a minor victory with you. A first-world problem sort of victory.

When I moved in, I bought a new washer and dryer. Dave used our old set for a rental he is bought.

I am happy with the new machines, but I had a little annoyance each time I put in a load of wash. Logically, the laundry soap and fabric softener sheets were in the cupboard above the washer. The problem was that the lid of the washer interfered with the doors on the cupboard. I warned you, it’s a small problem!

Last night, I found the solution at Home Goods. People, I know I’m not the only one obsessed with Home Goods, am I right?!?

Anyhow, the area of the store I always hit first, is the clearance aisle. It was there that I found this porcelain cutie for $5. I knew instantly that this would fix all my worldly problems! OK, not all, but this one little pain in the rear, for certain.

I nailed into a stud in the wall, filled it with the dryer sheets, laundry pods… and a pair of tongs.

Why the tongs? Well, I’ve recently learned that I have short arms. I went all my life without knowing about this physical deficiency of mine. The washer basin is so deep that I can’t reach the bottom to pull out the clothes. I know, another first-world problem … thankfully with an easy solution, kitchen tongs!

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March 30, 2018   6 Comments

House Tour Pt. 2

House Tour Pt. 1 was all about the new courtyard out front and the new exterior paint job. For House Tour Pt. 2, we come inside.

As previously mentioned, I moved into my new home on November 10, 2017. The courtyard started on November 13 and was completed on November 21. To keep things interesting, the interior double-sided fireplace facelift started on November 15.

If you’ve followed this blog for long, you already know of my dear friend and co-worker, Kim Howard. Kim has four gorgeous grown children, the oldest is Cody.

Cody Howard is a talented craftsman and an amazing human being. Cody is a US Marine Veteran. He is an outdoorsman, he was a pro whitewater kayaker, oh, and he restores old homes too. Cody is a true renaissance man. His company is called Chisel Built.

Photo from Instagram

Cody and his financé, Chanté, work together and outfit some of the homes they restore and use for vacation rentals. You can find them on Instagram at Chisel Built and Chisel Built Stays.

Photo from Instagram

As if that isn’t enough wonderfulness, together, they are adventurous and love to travel the world. And, oh yeah, Chanté is a fashion model too. Yup, they’re quite the dynamic duo.

Anyhow, for the fireplace, Cody sent me to Summit Brick, I was drawn to the Morocco brick.

My next stop was the fabulous Porter Barn Wood to find some reclaimed barn wood for my two mantels. I knew I loved this place as soon as I pulled up a saw the building!

As I was typing this and looking for the link to take you to their website, I found a short YouTube video that PBW has up of Cody and Chanté’s home, using their reclaimed wood all over the house. Enjoy THIS fun bonus.

Photo from Instagram

Here is the fireplace Cody did in their home, all done up for Christmas.

I’ll be making the food for their wedding in NW Arizona in mid-May. So, obviously I could wax-poetic about these two all day, but maybe I should just get back to my interior remodel for now…

This was the fireplace on moving-in day. *Please take note of the stuccoed beam that is on either side at the top of the fireplace, we’ll be getting back to that later.

Nice, but not at all my style. And there are no mantels! I need my mantels! Where else do you hang your Christmas stockings? How can you decorate or warm up a modern fireplace like this? I suppose you could build a fire, but that’s not the “warming up” I’m in need of.

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March 28, 2018   4 Comments