Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Dreams of a Cabin on a Lake

I cannot believe that Summer is almost over. Don't get me wrong, with the almost unbearable heat and humidity this year I will not be sad to see the end of it.

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 I am however a little down that my schedule this year did not allow me to go "home" to the Midwest. I love it there in the summer. For a long time our family had a beautiful cabin which my parents designed and built. The cabin was on a cliff, overlooking a lake who's walls were carved by glaciers.

Imagine sitting here at dusk, great novel in hand, watching the sunset, and not a care in the world.
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We loved going there in the summer to swim, go boating, fishing and to visit the little nearby towns.

the cabin porch..
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 Or to sit on the wrap around porch and have barbeque's and watch the fireflies and the stars.

 Then in the winter we would go and ski or just drive up for the weekend and never leave the house.

 We parked ourselves, in our jammies, in front of the two story field stone fireplace with books, cocoa and snacks and spent a perfect weekend. 

great cabin up in Wisconsin..
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After all is there anything better than a good book and good company?

At the end of a wonderful day, we would climb the stairs to the loft where we would snuggle under our warm blankets and watch the glow of the last ember below. 

cabin bedroom
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I have been thinking of those times a lot this summer, perhaps it is the weather, or just nostalgia, who knows.  Whatever it is I do know that I would love to be there for a week taking in the great outdoors and spending time with family and friends. Oh well, maybe next year. 

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I hope you have a wonderful day! Enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Banana Bars with Browned Butter Glaze

Happy Monday! Did you enjoy your weekend? Did you watch the opening ceremony? I did and loved every minute. Then, in between my projects around the house, and getting ready for some summer guests I watched the swimming, the volleyball, the rowing, and many other games. 

I also baked. I know that is a surprise.

 I have been out on Pinterest, and have seen this banana bar recipe pinned many times; as I always have a few bananas laying around waiting for a recipe I thought I would try them. Boy am I happy I did! They were FABULOUS! 

Banana Bars or Monkey Bars with Browned Butter Glaze
adapted from The Welcome Mat


1-1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1-3/4 (3 or 4) ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Brown Butter Frosting:
1/2 c. butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk


 Heat oven to 375F.  Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.  For the bars, in a large bowl, beat together sugar, sour creambutter, and eggs until creamy.  Blend in bananas and vanilla extract.  Add flour, baking soda, salt, and blend for 1 minute.  Stir in walnuts(optional). Spread batter evenly into pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until boiling.  Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Mix until smooth. Immediately spread over the cake while warm, it spreads much easier. 

As I said, these bars are delicious, they are moist and a little dense like banana bread. But the browned butter glaze puts these bars over the top. The glaze is sweet and a little salty from the browned butter and the little bits of browned butter are flecked in the glaze so it looks pretty too.

Notes: I did not add the walnuts because I do not like them. Also, the next time I am going to make more glaze, I would have liked more but that is just me (the recipes is more than enough). When making the glaze be careful with the butter, if you do not watch it, it will burn. And for my cake and oven setting 20 minutes was the correct amount of time.

I hope that you all have a great week! I am going to try but I will not lie, I have been beaten by the heat! I cannot stand it this hot for this long, sorry to be a whiner but I needed to vent. 

Come back and tell me if you try these bars please, I love when people make the same things I do and then put a twist on the recipes. By the way, this banana cake recipe which I made awhile ago and pined to my Pinterest page is apparently quite popular because it has received 26,589 hits on my blog! Yes, I did write 26,589! Isn't that crazy? I guess it is like they say, "the power of a pin."

Linking to!

Stone Gable On the Menu Monday
Between Naps on the Porch
Home Stories A to Z
Boogieboard Cottage
Savvy Southern Style Wow Us Wednesdays
Ivy and Elephants
The Brambleberry Cottage
Rattlebridge Farm
2805 Popurri Friday

French Country Living

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Silent Sunday

Enjoy your day!

And if you feel like whipping up a fast treat come over to Once Upon A Chocolate Life for some Hello Dolly or Magic Bars as I call them. Scrumptious and EASY.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Olympics! The Weekend!

Hello! Happy Friday! I am so excited for the weekend! I won't go into the whole weather thing, I know we are all sick of that but I hope you survived the storms from the Midwest to the East Coast, with power intact. I have seen the scary images and heard about the tornado's and thunderstorms.

I have big plans for the weekend, parking myself in front of the TV to take in every second of the London Summer Olympics, after all they only happy every four years. I have heard great things about the opening ceremony, directed by Academy award winner Danny Boyle, and will be cheering and watching along with an estimated 1 BILLION people!

What will you be doing? Vacationing? Having friend's in to visit? Taking a staycation? Or doing exactly as I will be and taking in the Olympics. Whatever the case, I hope you enjoy every minute.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tone on Tone A New Favorite Blog

While reading one of my favorite blogs a few months ago, Lauren from Pure Style Home mentioned a visit from one of my other favorite blogger, Brooke Giannetti of Velvet and Linen and a cocktail party they attended in honor of Brooke and Steve and their book Patina Style. The party was thrown by Loi Thai and Tom Troeschel, owners of Tone on Tone, a beautiful antiques store in Bethesda. 

Naturally I was curious about Tone on Tone because the photos that Lauren featured of their house were so stunning. So off I went in search of this beautiful blog and home.

Image Velvet and Linen

Loi , his thoughtful and prosaic writing and stunning images of his home, garden, design projects and of course his store have made Tone on Tone one of my favorite blogs.

It is obvious from the moment you enter the blog that you are entering a "labor of love", each post highlights a client project.

His stunning blue garden.

Or his topiary which he has been raising and grooming for over 14 years and his silver and ironstone collections. 

In addition to his blog, Loi and Tom are the owners of the antique store Tone on Tone. This Bethesda, Md store sells 18th and 19th century Swedish and French antiques. Each piece is carefully selected, staged and then photographed and placed on the web page, which is updated weekly.  I found so many stunning pieces; the simple lines and patina drew me in like a bee to honey. These are just a few of my favorite pieces:

Starburst Mirror

Look at this chest above. I love the color, the diamond details and the white birds too!

Isn't this vignette beautiful?

I LOVE THESE candle stands!

And this mirror, pale blue and grey chest, ironstone and the orchid...perfection. 

If you are a fan of beautiful photographs, stunning Swedish and French antiques, interior and garden design, wonderful writing and so much more I think you will really enjoy Tone on Tone. If you are already familiar with the Loi than you know what I am talking about! 

As I have said, I love discovering new blogs, so if you know of a new and wonderful blog, or an old, favorite that you think we might not know do leave the name in the comment section. I cannot wait to discover new reads!

Enjoy your day! 

All Images from Tone on Tone Blog and Store Webpage.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gerbera Daisy Summer Sunshine

Yesterday I was dreaming of Fall and today I am enjoying the beautiful color of summer. I love flowers, and try to have a few fresh ones in the house each week, that way even on a grey day there is a little sunshine in the kitchen. 

This week I thought the Gerbera Daisy was the perfect pick me up, not only because it was bright and fresh but also because it closely resembles sunflowers ( the flowers if fall).

I know many people do not like pink, but I think these are sort of preppy looking don't you think? Pink and green, isn't that the preppy uniform colors?

I personally love the fuschia color with the black center. 

And I love the way they look from the back. Have you ever taken the time to look at a flower from behind? 

I haven't and now that I have I am fascinated. The photo above is my favorite!

I wonder the purpose of the fuzzy petals on the bud? 

Doesn't the green part look like a flower?

I guess it is true what they say, "the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." You have to love Marcel Proust.

I hope you have a great day! Perhaps you will discover something new today too.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dreaming of Fall

If you have followed me for any length of time than you know that Fall is my favorite time of the year with Winter running a close second. As the temperatures are soaring to record highs again this week, I find myself almost a shut in.

I work from home so there are normally at least one or two days a week where I do not leave the house, but with the rising temps I find myself only going out now to let the dog out and get the mail. Call me a wimp but I HATE the heat and humidity, and I am certain that I am not alone. 

I long for Fall, cooler temperatures, a hearty bowl of soup,  a stack of books,  a few good movies and a roaring fire. Today, just for fun I will show you some of the things I have been dreaming of! I hope they will take your mind off of your heatwave too.

I can already picture myself sitting by the fire, snuggled with my down blanket and my pup at my feet. 

Image From Better Homes and Gardens

Reading a few good books that I have set aside for the long days of Fall, that is if I can tear myself away from Pinterest for a few hours. 

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

Of course I will be sipping a mug of drinking chocolate. 

While a pot of Tuscan bean soup with rosemary soup simmers on the stove and a loaf of this Easy Little Bread from 101 Cookbooks bakes in the oven. 

Slab Apple Pie Image me

Perhaps I will have a piece of slab apple pie made from my grandmother's recipe? Who knows...

Tell me are you growing weary from the heat? Or the incessant rain? Are you dreaming of Fall like me? Or are you living in an area that Fall/Winter comes too soon and last for TOO LONG so you are savoring your Summer in any form?

Whatever the case, I have to get my head out of the clouds and get some work done. But my day dream was a nice little respite and I guess I can make it a few more weeks until the chill sets in and Fall colors appear. 

I hope that your day is beautiful! Enjoy!