Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday Favorites from French Essence, Chocolate & Zucchini, Teggy French, Rumbly Tumbly and More

Good morning! Happy Friday and a happy weekend! Have you had a great week? I have, the weather has been beautiful, I finished a lot of work, did a lot around the house and now I am ready to relax. 

If you are looking for a little relaxation and winter entertainment, Vicki from French Essence posted about the 10 Best Winter Wonderland Movies on Netflix this week. There is something for everyone.

Image from Elle Decor via Simply Smitten

If you prefer perusing blog sfor relaxation check out this house owned by Cynthia Frank from Elle Decor that Simply Smitten  featured this week. I love it!

I discovered a fun new fashion blog this week called Teggy French, if you like fun frocks, and glamorous destinations I think you will enjoy it too.

Image from Chocolate and Zucchini

Chocolate & Zucchini was one of the first blogs that I ever read and I have loved following along on the adventures of Clotilde. Recently, she married her long-time love and this bread bouquet made by the famous Polaine bakery is one of my favorite parts of her beautiful day. Seriously, a bread bouquet! I wish I had had one!

Are you fascinated by France and the beautiful Chateau Versailles? Then you will love this new blog that I discovered called This is Versailles it is filled with interesting articles about the kings, queens, etiquette, fashion and more.

If you need a little treat this weekend, whip up a batch of these fabulous, fudgy, Classic Brownies from Once Upon a Chocolate Life.

Image from Rumbly Tumbly

I will be making this over the top Moist chocolate Cake from Rumbly Tumbly because I haven't had a piece of cake in a long while and this looks delicious!

Image from Pip and Ebby

By the way, I made the Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese I features last week in my Friday favorites post, made by Pip & Ebby. It was so easy and so good!

What about you? Dis you discover a good movie, book, recipe, article or interesting tid bit this week? If so please share with me!

I hope that you have a happy and safe weekend.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just Curious...What Do You Collect?

Good morning! How is your week going so far? Hopefully it has been a short one and you were off for Martin Luther King day. Everything is going well here, I am looking forward to the weekend though.

With the start of the new year everyone seems to be cleaning, organizing and de-cluttering and has tips to help you accomplish these tasks. I have managed to get rid of a few things but then again I do that frequently. As I was filling up another sack to donate I though perhaps I should "thin" out some of my collections. That of course got me curious about what other people collect. 

I collect old wooden spoons and utensils, chocolat pots, books about the Louis XIV and the mistresses of the French Court, white ironstone pitchers, art, and Limoges snuff boxes.

Are you a collector? Or are you a minimalist? If you collect please share what exactly do you collect?  How did you get started collecting your favorite items?

I have always loved Versailles and as it is where the kings and mistresses of France lived I became fascinated by their lives. I began collecting books about them as a teenager.

The chocolat pots came from my love of chocolat chaud which I drink all of the time. I began first with the wooden molinillo(traditional Mexican tool for mixing hot chocolate) and then evolved into chocolat pots. I recently paired down my collection to my 10 favorites. 

In college I went to school for the summer in Limoges and fell in love with the intricate details of the little snuff boxes and so a collection began. 

As for the art, I collect what speaks to me. I love impressionist paintings of waves, trees, and pears. But I also like abstract paintings. My collections are eclectic and although there are some that hang all the time there is a stack that rotates with the seasons.

So tell me about your collections. I would love to hear your stories and perhaps even see your treasures.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One Pan Roasted Tomato, Garlic and Bail Pasta Sauce

Good morning! Did you have a good weekend? Mine was busy but relaxing, all in all, it was good. I found time to read a book, bake a cake and roast a bunch of vegetables for a few recipes I want to try this week and even putter around on the Internet.

Last weekend I made the easiest and best, roasted tomato, garlic and basil pasta sauce. I love this sauce so much that I make a few batches at a time and then let it cool and freeze it for a later date when I just don't feel like cooking. If is a great base for soup, pasta, and more.

For this recipe, I don't even know if you can call it a recipe, you just "eyeball" the ingredient amounts,  put them all on a pan, roast them, puree them, serve, and enjoy. 

Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil Sauce

2 lbs small or medium tomatoes, washed, stems removed. cut in half
4-6 cloves of garlic, skin removed
salt and pepper
olive oil
bunch of fresh basil


Preheat oven to 250. Cut tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet, add whole cloves of garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, handful of basil and then drizzle with olive oil, mix to coat. 

Bake for 1-1/12 hours depending on the size tomatoes that you are using, until the tomatoes are soft and wrinkly.  Once the tomatoes get soft remove pan from oven and let cool a bit. Spoon mixture into blender and put on the lid, do not put in the stopper(otherwise you will have a huge mess). Cover the top hole with a kitchen towel and then pulse the mixture until the sauce is the texture that you like.

Serve with your favorite pasta or let cool and freeze.

If you like simple, flavorful pasta sauce then you will love this recipe. If you would like an easy Cheesy Twisted Breadstick to accompany your pasta then check out the rolls that I made or the Rhodes blog.

Have a great week!

Side note: Has anyone seen Brights Lights: Staring Carrie Fischer and Debbie Reynolds? I watched it last night between watching the Packers (my home state team) win and the Chiefs (my husband's home state team). What an interesting and fascinating look at Carrie Fischer and her family, you have not seen it I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday Favorites from Rough Luxe, Collage of Life, Pip and Ebby, Laura's Sweet Spot, Once Upon a Chocolate Life, PBS and More

Good morning! Happy Friday and a very happy weekend to you. Did you have a good week? I had a great week, mainly because I was snowbound. After the big snowstorm last weekend I was pretty much "stuck" at home until late Tuesday afternoon. I am sure that if I really wanted to I could have ventured out on to icy, treacherous roads but I thought why? Take this timer to relax, regroup, read, relax and catch-up. So that is exactly what I did.

After bitter 10 degree days this past week it was 70, yes 70 degrees and I was out wearing shorts yesterday. I am sure that soon we will be back to winter but for now I am savoring it. 

Last weekend while I was a shut in, I was a baking and cooking fiend, partly worried my electricity would go out and partly relaxing and making things I don't typically make. Everything came out great, if I do say so myself and I will share the recipes soon. 

One of the things I made and loved were these Cheesy Twisted Garlic Breadsticks, to accompany the homemade pasta I made and devoured. All in the name of storing winter carbs, lest my power go out, and I couldn't cook for a day. It may also be one of the reasons that I looked like a chipmunk for a few days after.

Image from Laura's Sweet Spot Blog

For those of you who are following a mostly low carb diet this Crock Pot Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork from Laura's Sweet Spot is FABULOUS! I made it last night for dinner and loved it, as did my husband.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Skillet

I will be making this scrumptious looking Cauliflower Mac and Cheese from Pip and Ebby in the near future.

Another of my favorite things that I made this past snowbound weekend was this Irish Hot Chocolate. It is the perfect drink to keep you warm and toasty on a cold evening while snuggled by the fire. 

Image Rough Luxe Cindy

One of my favorite things to do it tour show houses and holiday houses and if I cannot do it in person what could be better than seeing it through the eyes of a favorite blogger? This week on Rough Luxe Lifestyle, Cindy toured the Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse.

Image from Dwellings

If you like home tours here is another great house for you that Cindy at Dwellings posted this week, it is for sale if you are feeling like a move to the South.

Image from Collage of Life

I know that many of you follow my friend Jeanne at Collage of Life but if you missed her recent updates and Winter book list, click here! By the way, her dear Tika, the family dog who has been a faithful friend, family member and travel companion for the last 15 years passed away this past week in case you did not know. I was so sad to hear of his passing, after reading Jeannes' blog for so long  he felt like a member of my own family.

Are you a fan of PBS Sherlock? If so you may want to enter their sweepstakes for a chance to win an autograph copy of a script from the show!

Did you find any interesting recipes, houses, books, movies are articles this week to share? If so please do!

I hope that you have a happy and safe weekend.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Just Curious...How do You Feel About Low Carb Food Substitutes?

Good morning! We are almost 2 weeks into the new year, how are you doing on your resolutions, if you made them. My yoga studio is jammed, I am happy for my yogi but I actually like it when there are less people. 

Caramelized Onion Ham Quiche RECIPE HERE

With the new year, for myself and many others is a declaration that we had too much of too many good things and we need to eat healthier. I am curious, what do you do to eat healthier? What do you think about "food substitutions"? 

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad RECIPE HERE

By that I mean cauliflower made into rice, pizza crust, Alfredo sauce, mashed "potatoes" and more? Or spiralized vegetables to take the place of noodles? Mushrooms instead of bread? I know all of these are low carb solutions and I am curious how many of these do you use? Do you eat them on a daily basis or just occasionally? And if you are a huge fan please share your favorite recipes of substitutions.

Cauliflower Mash from Little Broken

I would like to say that I frequently eat food-substitutions and a low carb diet but I I would not be telling the truth. I typically try to eat less carbs during the week and usually only in the morning. When the weekend hits I like pizza and pasta what can I say.
As for food substitutes, I do a lot with cauliflower. I love cauliflower rice with lime and cilantro, cauliflower potatoes, and I have made the cauliflower Alfredo many times and I loved it!
As for noodle substitutes, I only like to eat spaghetti squash, I am not really into the spiraled noodles. I have used zucchini slices for lasagna noodles and they tasted great but lets be honest squash is not pasta noodles.

Easy Crusty French Bread From Life as a Strawberry

As for bread, I typically eat sprouted grain bread and I do like English muffins but I have yet to try the "Cloud bread" and I do not like mushrooms. I just feel like if I am going to "splurge" I may as well eat the real thing. Especially if it is homemade crusty bread right from the oven and with butter please!

My kind of Cauliflower Mac and Cheese from Pip and Ebby

What about you? Are you a low carb eater, a moderation eater, or one of the lucky ones that can eat whatever they want?

As I said above, if you have a great recipe for a food substitution I would love to try it. Especially if you have made the cauliflower tater tots, the cauliflower cheese smothered breadsticks.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Swedish Rice Pudding

Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was great. All and all we had about 8 inches of snow, sleet and rain. I shoveled, watched snow fall, tried to entice my pups to go out to do their business (success after 10 hours)  baked and cooked, my two favorite things. The downside was, WAY too many carbs.

I personally believe that you cannot have a snowy weekend without a few comfort foods. I made roasted tomato and garlic soup with cheese toast,  pasta with homemade sauce, yeasty garlic and cheese twists, and rice pudding to name just a few of the items. I won't lie, I did eat a sampling of it all. Of course my favorite was the Swedish Rice Pudding, it was sweet, spicy, creamy and delicious. 

Thankfully by Tuesday I will be able to get out of my neighborhood and I will be able to give a bunch of these treats away otherwise I will look like the Michelin man. 

Swedish Rice Pudding~Risgrynsgröt
Recipe from Just a Smidgen

1 cup of rice
11/4 cup of water
1 tbsp. butter
pinch of salt
1 small cinnamon stick
3 cups of milk
2 eggs
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 heavy whipping cream
berries for garnish 

Measure rice into a colander and rinse under cold water to remove all starch, basically until the water runs clear. Add the rice, water, butter, pinch of salt and one small cinnamon stick to a medium-sized sauce-pan and cook on high heat. Once the rice mixture boils, turn to the heat down so that the mixture continues to simmer and finish cooking until all the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes.  In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the milk and eggs and whisk together. Add and in sugar, vanilla and salt to blend. 
Once rice is cooked, pour the milk mixture into the pot. Bring the mixture back to a simmer then cook for an additional 40 minute or so, until the rice pudding is thickened. Remove the cinnamon stick. Once the rice is cooked, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup cream, and mix well. You can eat this delicious pudding warm or cold. Garnish with berries or 1 almond. 

I hope that you have a fabulous week!

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