Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday favorites Damn Delicious, The Enchanted Home, The Pastry Affair, Coveteur, Kendi Everyday and More

Greeting from my snowy place to yours. Yesterday we were hit by another snowstorm and consequently are snowbound for a few days. Although I love to be home I am getting a little tired of this and I am counting the days until summer.

I can almost feel the sand between my toes and the water lapping at my feet. 

Image from Damn Delicious

Delicious, warm comfort food has been on the menu this week with all of the crazy weather. There is just something about a bowl of chili or macaroni and cheese that whams the belly and makes life seem better as you are stuck in the house for yet another snow day. In addition to the soups and pasts I made these FABULOUS Sewdish Meatballs from Damn Delicious. They are so delicious I could have eaten all 24 meatballs and then licked gravy from my plate. I refrained from both, but I did have seconds. 

Image from The Pastry Affair

Speaking of comfort, a loaf of warm crusty bread, just from the oven slathered in butter always makes me happy what about you? This Rosemary Soda Bread from The Pastry Affair looks like it would be an excellent addition to anything you would be serving this weekend or even for the upcoming St. Patrick's Day.

Image Burt's Bee's

Everyone loves a good deal and of course a great beauty product. This week Coveteur post the drug store secrets of 16 beauty editors! If that is not enough beauty information for you, visit Tina at The Enchanted Home where she shared a few of her favorites as well, and then her many followers left their recommendations in the comments.

Kendi Everyday

I love fashion, couture and of course shopping. I enjoying seeing the coverage on the blogs for New York Fashion Week, Paris Fasion Week, etc but I have to say that although I have some beautiful clothes from my travels in Europe those clothes are no my everyday wear. This week I was so excited to discover Kendi Everyday the blog written by stylist and shop owner Kendi. What makes her blog appealing to me is that she styles outfits from shops that the average person buys from, J. Crew, Gap, and more.

What did you find this week that peeked your interest? Any recipes, book, movies or more? Please share anything that you liked! I am looking for a good book and a good movie.

Have a great weekend and be safe.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vietnamese Chicken Pho Noodle Soup

Good morning! Are you sick of the cold and snow yet? It goes without saying that although I love snow this bitter cold is getting to me. Sadly the endless winter will continue this week. 

I mentioned last week that here in the South we do not have the infrastructure to handle this weather; the kids have been off school a week, we did not receive mail or any UPS, Fed-ex or anything else for that matter. I felt as if I was on a deserted island. 

Thankfully I was snuggly warm at home working and making lots of soup. This Vietnamese Chicken Pho Noodle Soup is one of my new favorites, in addition to chili, Tuscan bean and several others. Do you have a favorite soup or soups that you make to warm your body and nourish the soul? I am always interested in learning new recipes so please do share one if you have it!

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Pho Soup


2 onions, halved
3 inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
4 cloves
6 cardoon pods, crushed
2 star anise
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
One 2-3 pound chicken, skinned, and quartered
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar

6 ounces rice noodles
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 Serrano chili peppers
4 lime wedges

Preheat the broiler. Place onion halves  and the ginger on a small baking sheet. Broil until nicely charred, five to seven minutes, turning once half way through the cooking process.

In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cloves, star anise, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and black peppercorns until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add the toasted spices to the stock pot along with the chicken, water, fish sauce and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Simmer, skimming the foam from the surface frequently. Cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot, leave the broth the simmer.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle pull the meat from the breasts and legs, transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Return the bones to the pot.

Continue to simmer the broth gently for 1 hour 30 minutes until broth is reduced  and flavorful.

Strain the stock in a fine  mesh sieve into a large bowl, discard the solids.

In the meantime, cook noodles according to package instructions, set aside. Divide the noodles among the bowls, add chicken, and bean sprouts. The add the hot broth, serve with herbs, chili and a squeeze of lime.

I hope that you stay warm,  stay safe and have a fabulous week.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Silent Sunday 1-22-2015

Have a fabulous day!

Friday favorites from Half Baked Harvest, Tongue in Cheek, Heather Cristo and This is Glamerous

Good morning! I hope that you have had a great week. As is the case with much of the country it is unseasonably cold here, in fact the last few days it has been a low of 10 and a high of 25; temperatures  that low have not been seen here in years nor has the snow and ice. We do not have the infrastructure to deal with snow and ice and as a result the only roads that are cleared are the main ones; secondary roads are not plowed, nor are sub-divisions or gated communities.

In my cul de sac no one has driven down the road for 3 days. We have not received mail, Fed-ex, UPS or anything else since last week. Thankfully I work at home, but I feel sorry for the people that do not. Tomorrow will be the 4 snow-day off off school this week because of the snow and cold and Sunday it is going to be 55! Crazy weather that is for sure.

Since I have been snowbound I have been cooking and baking, in fact I have done so much that I am beginning to feel a little like a squirrel storing up acorns for winter. 

Smashed Avocado and Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I would love to escape to warm sandy beaches where I can enjoy a icy drink and a comforting sandwich, like this Smashed Avocado and Roasted Grilled Cheese sandwich from Half Baked Harvest

Image Corey Amaro of Tongue in Cheek

Of course instead of a warm sandy beach I would "settle" for a week in Venice to celebrate carnival. I have been to Venice several times but never for Carnival but seeing the photos Corey from Tongue in
Cheek took when she was there a few years ago has me putting this at the top of my travel wish list.

Speaking of travel, before Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak and all of the other travel sites sprung up travel was more often than not planned by a travel agent. Since then people are under the mistaken impression that it is easier and less expensive to make your own arrangements. This week Sandy of You May Be Wandering posted all of the reasons that we should go back to using a travel advisor to plan our Spring Break and Summer travels. 

White Russian from Heather Cristo

If you are are going to see more record snow and cold this weekend than you may want to head over to Heather Cristo's blog and check out her 10 Best Winter Cocktails.

Image from This Is Glamorous

This past week was New York fashion week and the blogs have been alight with the latest looks, street style and more. One of my favorite blogs This is Glamorous has compiled several posts with some of the highlights. 

What are your plans for the weekend? Travel, adventure or perhaps a rest at home from all of the stress of the storms? I am undecided what I will be doing but I do know that the minute it warms up I will be out taking a walk in the sun.

Whatever you do have a safe and wonderful weekend. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Shadows

Good morning! We are digging out from our twice a winter snow/ice storm and although the city is shut down and we have not left the house I did manage to go out and take a few photos.

Is there anything more beautiful than the "art" that nature creates? These photos the shadows of the crepe myrtle trees in my back yard. 

I call them "Winter Shadows."

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Buttermilk Pancakes

Good morning! Did you enjoy your Valentine's day weekend? Were you wined and dined or did you spend some quiet time with your loved ones, or perhaps you spent your day celebrating with your girlfriends? Whatever you did I hope that your weekend was everything that you wanted it to be. 

Mine was nice and relaxing and spent in the kitchen with my husband; we cooked and baked and tried several new recipes. If you do share the kitchen with your husband you should try it, it is a nice way to spend time together. 

In our house I am primarily the baker and my husband the cook. I often cook too but I have to be honest my husband has never baked with me. Once I managed to persuade him to decorate sugar cookies but he lost interest, his job is to taste the goods and be sure that they are ok to give away.

I am a huge fan of "sweet" breakfasts, like pancakes and waffles, chocolate oatmeal and things like that. Typically I make my family recipe for pancakes but this weekend I decided to try something new and make Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes. They were buttery, fluffy, and delicious; not to mention cute because I shaped them as hearts using cookie cutters. 

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes 

  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted 
  • 2 Tbs. sugar 
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature 
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted 
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • dash of cinnamon(optional)
  • dash of nutmeg(optional)
  • Garnish with powdered sugar, berries and pure maple syrup 


In a bowl lightly beat the eggs with a whisk.  Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir just until the batter is mixed, some lumps are ok; do not overbeat. If the batter is too thick add additional buttermilk. Sometimes I add an additional 1/2 cup. 

Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat then spray with cooking spray or lightly grease with vegetable oil.  If using molds or cookie cutters spray liberally with cooking spray.

Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on top and the bottom is browned about 2 minutes. Using a spatula flip the pancakes. Cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Keep pancakes warm in preheated 200 degree oven until all the pancakes are cooked.

Serve with butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup, berry compote or whatever else you like. 

I hope that you have a great day! By the way these pancakes would be perfect for "pancake Tuesday" the start of Lent. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday Favorites from Once Upon a Chocolate Life, Pinch of Yum, Sweet Paul, Martha Stewart and More

Good morning and a wonderful day to you! Are you ready for the weekend?  I am. I really have no special plans but I feel like I need the kind of rest and relaxation that you only get on a weekend or vacation.

This weekend is Valentine's day, for many it is no big deal, and for others it is a "really big deal?" What side do you fall on? I have said in prior posts that for me it is no big deal, we have been together 20 years, but I will admit that I try to make the day special for my husband.

This week the web was all about gifts, dinners, treats and drinks to celebrate or remind your special someone what you would like to celebrate Valentine's Day.

image Pinch of Yum

It may be a little late for gifts but I can help you with the food and drinks. Lindsay of Pinch of Yum always makes delicious looking meals, and this Skillet Chicken Bacon with White Wine Sauce could be an excellent choice for dinner this weekend.

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Or perhaps this decadent Lobster Mac and Cheese from Sweet Paul Magazine would be up your loved ones alley?

Spiked Jones Cocktail from Martha Stewart

Perhaps you prefer a drink or two? Martha Stewart  has not only this Spiked Jones Chocolate-coffee drink but several others including Raspberry Chocolate martinis and more. 

Cookies and Cups

If dessert is your meal of choice, as it is mine, you could prepare any one of these 50 recipes compiled by Cookies and Cups.

Or you could visit Once Upon a Chocolate Life for brownies, cookies, cakes, pudding, pancakes and more.

I hope that you have a great weekend and a very Happy Valentine's Day! If you found any delicious recipes, gifts, books, movies or more this week please share the with us!

On a side note: Did you see the movie, Saving Mr. Banks? The story of Walt Disney  and the author of Marry Poppins, Pl. Travers? I watched it last night and I loved it!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Cards

Good morning! Are you having a good week? Is anyone else getting tired of Winter yet? I read yesterday that Boston as has 61 inches of snow! 61 inches and there are two more storm systems coming this weekend. Admittedly, in my neck of the woods it has been either unseasonable warm or cold and rainy for weeks on end but I am still ready for Spring. 

All the more reason to brighten someones day with a Valentine's Day card or letter this Saturday. If you have a significant other or a husband, wife, kids, grand-kids, parents or friends this would be an excellent time to remind them how special they are to you and your life. 

I LOVE small mail, I love to write it and to send it. There is nothing better to lift your spirits on a bad day than to hear from a parent, friend or whomever. OK, maybe your spirits could be lifted by an accompanied box of chocolates but for now lets just focus on the cards and letters. 

I moved often for school, work, to follow my husband and as a child and the one constant has always been the letters from "home."  My grandparents sent wonderful cards and care packages to my siblings and I for every holiday and most weeks in between, and those cards and letters are some of my most treasured possessions now that my grandparents are gone. 

Do you remember picking out your Valentine's cards for school? Did you like the traditional cards or were you one to pick yours based on your favorite cartoon, like Snoopy or the Smurfs? Or did you like to make them yourself out of paper and stamps to accompany the treats that you were bringing to share?

Although those memories seem like a lifetime ago they still make me smile. 

Are you making cards and gifts with your kids or grandkids? I would love to hear about them!

Speaking of which, I asked yesterday if anyone had any ideas for Valentines gifts and Suzanne of Privet and Holly left a great idea in the comment section!

Elizabeth, about four years ago I wrote a list for my husband (and each of my kids) listing ten things that I loved about them. I used heart "bullet points" and hand-wrote each item next to it. My husband and my 16 year old son still have their lists posted above their respective desks, so it obviously meant something to them : ) It's also a great exercise for the writer as a reminder of why you love the recipient so very much. Honestly, my husband and I enjoy exchanging our cards most of all on V-day. This year I also bought him a box of sea-salt caramels made locally. That and a "wee dram" of scotch is an excellent accompaniment for Downton Abby! Enjoy your lovely getaway! xo Suzanne

I think this is such a fabulous and lovely idea I cannot wait to do it for my husband and the rest of my family. What will you be doing for your loved ones? Have you ever made a list like this? 

Share your card and gift ideas, we would love to hear them!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentines Day Thoughts

Good morning! Happy Monday to you, did you enjoy a nice, relaxing weekend? I did and actually still am. I tagged along on a business trip with my husband and while he is working I am walking on the beach and soaking up the sun. Today it is 75 and already my cheeks are a little burned because I forgot my sunscreen.

Image Pine Cones and Acorns Blog

I was thinking this morning about Saturday being Valentine's Day and I was curious, do you "make a big thing" out if it or is just another day?

Heat Cookies from Cute Sweet Things Blog

After ten years together my husband asked me to marry him on Valentine's day so in that way it is special to me. But frankly, after 20 years together I subscribe to the "show them and tell them you love them everyday" line of thinking. 

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

That said, I am curious what do you give to your special someone, your husband or your wife for Valentines day? Do you make a special meal?

Bake Fudge, Image Once Upon a Chocolate Life

A delectable chocolate dessert or perhaps something bathed in pink and white? Do you try to find the perfect gift or do you write a beautiful letter or poem?

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

I am in a quandary because time is running short and I still cannot find "the perfect" gift. It is actually something I struggle with every holiday because I do not like to give gifts that are not heartfelt, I would rather give nothing than just settle for something. I will go and ponder that and in the meantime, perhaps you could offer me a few suggestions on what to give the man who has everything!

Have a great day!