Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bento Box and Pink Toes

Lunch with my 3 favorite people in the universe and freshly painted pink toes (attached to big feet) to bring in the new year makes for a nice afternoon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vintage Finds And Crispy Roast Chicken

I scored this funky vintage shirt by Lady Arrow, in mint condition! Not really my style so up for sale it shall go. I also found an adorable carpet bag clutch purse (photos coming soon), two Bon Appetit cookbooks from the early 90's, an old hardcover issue of "From Here To Eternity", a small book of poems and an old thermometer/ owl thingy. It's broke and serves no purpose other that it's vintage and I think owls are cool.

On a different note, I made the crispy roast chicken that's featured in January's MSL- Delicious! I added a few onions chopped in quarters and several whole cloves of garlic in to roast with the potato's. If by chance you have any drippings left in the pan after the chicken is done, try adding a little cooking sherry to taste and a few dashes of "Wondra", maybe a little salt, too. Makes for some tasty gravy. This meal got rave reviews from my family and smelled incredible while cooking.

That's about it, life is slow and I like it that way. Happy Monday. :)

PS- Don't forget to check out the eclipse tonight!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vallerie Galloway

I was selfish again... But a 2 for 1 sale on Vallerie Galloways signed and dated prints at a very affordable price could not be passed up. They will be placed in simple black frames surrounded by simple white matting and placed like a square over my desk. Four wish list items down. Tra la la la laaa la la la laaa.
Besides, my Christmas shopping for everyones gifts is done. :P

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Warming Up On A Cold Day DIY (Green Style)

In the January issue of Martha Stewart Living I found an article on how to make fire starters out of newspaper and twine. So simple it was hard to resist! Tightly roll a sheet of the paper length wise, fold in half and then braid. use a piece of rope twine to tie it at the bottom. Easy and a very pretty addition to the bundle of wood I have resting in the big basket by my fireplace. This project prompted me to look for similar ideas and here is what I found- Herbal fire starters as seen above: Dry out a few of your favorite herbs and spices (mint, rosemary, cinnamon, etc), twist them up, add to fire. Makes the house smell incredible.

Next: I've always liked the Java Logs and have been curious to try and make my own seeing as we drink a ton of coffee in my house and always have grinds to throw away. The recipe for this sounds extremely easy and can be found here- I will let you know how mine turn out.

Last, I stumbled on to this idea by accident and cannot wait to try it out... Dried orange peels for kindling the fire. I can only imagine how amazing this must make ones home smell. You can save the peels and dry them in a paper bag or you can set them on a roasting pan in a warm oven set to a very low temp. From what I've read, they get very hot and in the old days were used as a substitue for coal to heat stoves. How cool is that?!
Incredible scents to fill your home on a cold day, good for the planet and good for your pocket. :)

Merry Christmas To Me

I was horribly selfish last night (yet smiling as I type). After buying my youngest some adorable handmade toys on Etsy, I went over to Valerie Galloways page to drool. I wasn't going to... I didn't mean to (ok, maybe I did). But I ended up buying myself this print that I've wanted for a while now. It wasn't very expensive and I still have money tucked away to get everyone their gifts. Guilt level - low. Excitement level in anticipation of hanging this on my wall - very high.

You can find more of Valerie's work here

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Dinner

*My mom and I at Saint Peter's Square. I felt this photo was much nicer homage to Italy than my stew that, while beyond delicious, doesn't look very pretty when captured via iPhone. I really need a good camera Chianti Marinated Italian Beef Stew
courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 to 3 pound beef brisket
1 (750 ml) bottle Chianti wine
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-ounce) piece pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 stalk celery, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) kalamata olives, halved
6 ounces green beans, halved
4 medium red potatoes, quartered
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sage leaves
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups beef broth
Place the beef in a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Pour the wine over the meat and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the meat over and marinate for another 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the meat from the wine and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the wine.

In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat on all sides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, place the meat in the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes each side. Remove the meat and add the remaining oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, olives, green beans, potatoes, rosemary, and sage. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour the reserved wine, tomatoes, and beef broth into the pan, scraping up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the meat to the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

Remove the meat and the rosemary sprigs from the stew. Place the meat on a cutting board and cut into quarters. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Add the shredded meat to the stew and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

*This stew is abundant with taste, the down side is the time. Start early, maybe even the day before (which is what I did). In my case, the brisket needed several hours to become fork tender (cooking time may vary). This recipe is going in my box, will definitely make again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Instant Like

I found this photo when I was browsing on line for something completely unrelated. There is no purchasing info in any of the associated links. Total bummer. I'd love these for my bookshelves. Anyone know where to find them?


Not sure why but I love fall leaves. If I could, I'd scoop up as many as possible. No clue what I'd do with them just know that the colors are inspiring. Like shells by the ocean, they are natures little gifts.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


My friend, Patrick, is a genius with the written word. Every now and then he will treat me. Today's entry "For Ann" is for -me-. (Ann is my middle name). You can find him here

Check out his "Red Bank Blues" in the other blogs section - start at the beginning, amazing writing. Everything with the name Ann attached to it is about me. Yes, this makes me beam.


Taken last week... When it was still warm. Woke up to the low thirties today (bliss).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh That Coat! Oh Those Shoes!

I love EVERYTHING about this outfit!!!
Courtesy of the Sartorialist


I have the flu, bah! Hot coffee, Eartha Kitt and a warm fire are helping, though. That and I called in sick. Why is it that as soon as you know you don't have to go to work (or school) you feel so much better? I might even be up to making bangers and mash later tonight. Shortbread sounds good, too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vintage Christmas

Johns Christmas elf, close to 40 years old. Gotta love vintage ornaments

My Loves

Sydney and Hunter, my grandson. :)
(Yes... I look way to young to be a granny.)
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