Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Grey and Pink Days

Good morning! It is going to be another rainy week here, but I guess that is better than snow. 

In the last day we have received so much water there are ducks floating in the neighbors yard. Sadly when I tried to get a photo they flew off. 

The azalea's are in full bloom and absolutely beautiful. 

Everything else is getting very green, and growing wildly, including the clover and ivy.

The ivy is running amok and climbing on the house and anything else it can find to climb up. 

Moss is growing sprouting between all of the rocks.

And the clover is taking over the frond yard, which is apparently it is a good thing? At least that is what I read when trying to find a natural way to rid the yard of it. Oddly whatever the landscapers have been using is not working. 

According to my searches, clover takes nitrogen from the air and transfers it to your soil which helps your grass grow lush. In fact clover wasn't considered a weed until herbicides were invented. I guess you learn something new everyday.

Whatever the case the grey rainy days are bringing out the greens, and pinks all over the garden and I love it. I will enjoy it while I can because soon the steamy, hot, heat of long summer days will be here. 

I hope you have a beautiful day where ever you are, and whatever the weather.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Barefoot Contessa Old Fashioned Banana Cake

Good morning! Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was very busy, between planting containers for my porches, doing a little work, Spring cleaning my closets and a few things I am forgetting.

I was hoping it was going to rain and I could read my book and relax, but it was not to be. Oh well, I did get a lot done which is always a great way to start the week.

I had a bunch of bananas sitting around getting very ripe so I  whipped up this old fashioned  banana cake from Ina Garten. I think it would be excellent as a light breakfast cake with powdered sugar or with the cream cheese frosting for a dessert.

Old Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa on FoodTV.com


4 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of the zest of one orange
2 cups all purpose flour, after sifting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup of chopped nuts(optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe


Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 inch round cake pan, grease and flour or  place a piece of parchment in the bottom and spray the paper and the pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add bananas and sugar and brown sugar, and mix until combined. Add oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla, and orange zest, then mix until smooth. Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined. Add nuts if using. and stir.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then turn out onto wire rack. Prepare cream cheese frosting and spread on cooled cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
21/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream

Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl, in a bowl with an electric mixer, slowly add powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Add heavy whipping cream to get the consistency of the frosting that you prefer.

This cake is delicious, moist, tasty and not too sweet.  But then again I have rarely met a banana cake I do not like and if the cake has cream cheese frosting then I like it even more.

I hope that you have a wonderful day! 

Linking to:
Katherine Martinelli

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Silent Sunday 4-28-2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Plans

Good morning! Today I have the best day planned...nothing but sipping hot chocolate, and reading. 

I wish I could say that I was going to be out and about playing or perhaps lawn bowling but I am pretty sure that it is going to rain. So that means the leisurely walks are out too. 

Besides that, I have a very busy week next week and I will not have much free time between work, and visitors. 

 I will be sitting with this pile of magazines (actually there are two piles) and a few books, enjoying my leisure time. Sadly I will not be sitting with a box of Bon Bons, I ate too many of these brownies this week. 

If you would like the recipe, please visit Once Upon A Chocolate Life.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Favorites from The Polo House, Design Chic, Around the Table and More!

Good morning and hello Friday! I hope that you had a great week. I did and I found some great "Friday Favorites" to share with you.  

First, let me introduce you to a new blog that I discovered in the last week,  its called  Well Preserved. As many are working in their gardens and getting ready to plant vegetables and fruits I thought you might  want to bookmark this blog. It is filled with recipes for preserving your harvest, everything from jams and jellies, to canning and more.

Image from Tanglewood Conservatories

If you do not have a garden or just  prefer to sit inside and watch your garden unfold before your eyes perhaps you will enjoy this beautiful post about English Conservatories featured at Design Chic. I dream about having one someday and in fact wrote my own post about them which you can read HERE.

You may even be lucky enough to look out into your own garden and see a plethora of beautiful cherry blossoms. If not visit  The New Diplomat's Wife and her stunning photos of the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. 

Image from The Polo House

To see flowers in a different medium, visit Allison at The Polo House. This week she featured her beautiful painted treasures, many of which were done by her very talented mom.

Image from Jeanne Oliver Musings of a Creative Life

If, like myself you are not very artistic but would like to learn new skills visit Jeanne Oliver from Musings of a Creative Life. She has online classes to tap into your creative soul. 

Image from Leslie at Around the Table

Although I would love to be a talented painter my skills are in the kitchen. I love learning new recipes and about new products. This week Leslie featured a beautiful and scrumptious looking post about one of my favorite foods...cheese!

Last but not least my favorite post from my own blog, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.. This book is excellent and from the comments and emails apparently a favorite of many.

I hope that you have a beautiful weekend, filled with family and friends, and time spent doing what you love.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Views of a Family Room and Musings of Change

Good morning! Are you having a good week? Seeing some signs of Spring? I spoke to my mother in law yesterday and they had a half an inch of snow! We are having lots of rain but I guess that is to be expected, after all, April showers bring May flowers.

Consequently the rain and grey days are keeping me inside working, reading magazines and puttering around. 

I am a huge fan of shelter magazines and subscribe to many; and then because I am convinced that I do not have enough to read I go to Barnes and Nobel and buy all my favorites from Britain and France. I love to see beautiful design, interesting homes, collection, art and more. 

I obviously read blogs for the same reason. They are little treasure troves of information, about art, collections, decor, travel and more. 

As I mentioned last week, my husband and I are "nesters" and  although we love to travel our favorite place to be is at home. 

After reading so many magazines this week I suddenly had this crazy thought that I would love to get rid of everything in the house and start again with something new. 

I admire Swedish design, the clean lines and the painted furniture that Loi at Tone on Tone collects and features so beautifully on his blog. Then I fall in love each time I see images from Vicki Archer at French Essence of her beautiful flea market finds. 

My style is collected, layered and eclectic. I love traditional and classic and modern and more. 

What about you? Are you traditional? Modern? Collected? Mid-Century? Swedish? French? 

Do you change things in your house often or do you let the layers, and treasures from your life and travels surround you? Have you ever just started over with a clean slate?

I really do not think I will be doing that any time soon as I do like my "stuff" and the memories each piece holds. But a girl can always dream can't she?

Enjoy your day!