Thursday, November 28, 2013

Veggie Turkey!

While I will not be dining on any turkey this year, I will be helping myself to this twist on a veggie platter. To make it, line a platter with lettuce leaves at the top. Layer on broccoli, bell peppers in different colors, cauliflower (sliced flat) and carrots (thinly sliced). Include a bowl of your favorite dip (I like hummus!) and add mushrooms around the bottom. Add a mushroom cap head with peppercorn eyes and bell pepper facial features. You could add feet also but I ran out of time.


Happy Thanksgiving All!



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Link Love

 
I find it hard to stay away from bread. Usually I eat Ezekiel bread but this looks promising.....Cauliflower Breadsticks!




 
 
LOVE LOVE LOVE this collection from Valentino!






Ever wanted to turn your child's drawings into stuffed animals/monsters/people??
Check this company out: http://www.budsies.com/




Must learn to make THESE from A Beautiful Mess


How many times have you just wanted a little taste of the dessert you made for whatever occasion? Now you can with this Nibble pan from Quirky Products!


pasta-permutations

I was at dinner the other night with my friend and asked her what capellini was. She had to Google it but if I had had this nifty poster at home, I probably would have already known!


http://www.thekitchn.com/this-cake-that-looks-like-ramen-is-seriously-disturbing-196214

This is cake, people. Click on the picture for instructions on how to make it.

What to do with all those leftover pumpkins now that Christmas is almost upon us?? Roast them!!




Black Bean Tortilla Soup - Vegan Style!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Light and Fluffy Vegan Lemon Pancakes




I have been meaning to post this recipe for some time now. I am a pancake junkie. I threw a two hour tantrum once because we could not find an IHOP on our way home from vacation. Once of the first things I looked into when I became vegan was pancake recipes. I was delighted to find that there were countless variations and my Saturday morning pancake ritual continued without a hitch. However, I quickly learned that vegan pancakes are dense and sometimes funky tasting. I tried different binders since I couldn't use eggs.... I tried adding more liquid than called for.....I tried drowning them in pure maple syrup...nothing really helped. Then, I found this recipe and all is right with the world again. These pancakes float and have a light lovely lemon taste. I was worried that the lemon might interfere with some toppings but so far I have found it to complement about anything. Try it with homemade blueberry sauce or strawberries. I love it with sliced bananas and agave nectar. Hope you like these as much as I do.

You will need:

Wet ingredients
1 cup of soy or almond milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice AND 1 tsp fresh zest

Dry Ingredients
1 cup PLUS 1 Tbsp Flour (I use half white/half whole wheat pastry flour)
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
dash of cinnamon

Egg replacers: 1 mashed banana OR 1/4 cup applesauce OR 1 tsp flax seeds (I used flax seeds)
For pan: Additional oil



 Directions:

Add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon to a medium to large size bowl. Stir together.
























Add soy or almond milk, vanilla extract, and oil to dry ingredients. Fold well.






















 Add lemon juice and zest, as well as egg replacer.


 



 Heat up your pan on the stove. While it is heating, whip the batter as it becomes fluffy from the acid combining with the baking powder.
 



 Add a small slash of oil to the pan and then add a 1/2 cup or so of batter and allow it to spread. Allow the pancake to slowly cook. When the edges are obviously formed, flip the pancake.
























Let it cook on this side for about another minute or two. Most of the cooking is done before you flip the first time. 

Lather, er, I mean apply butter (I use Earth Balance) and whatever topping you can dream up.



Let me know if any of you try this recipe! Tell me what you think!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DIY Cacti Garden

I love a home with plants; lush, green, draping, drooping plants that add warmth and depth to a room. None of the descriptives I used in the last sentence apply to cacti. Well, okay...green applies, but the rest, forget it. Until recently I did not like cacti. Pokey, dry looking things that can draw blood are not usually in my go to arsenal for room enhancers. However, I noticed a few different cacti gardens on various social media so I decided to give it a try. Lo and behold, I am a cacti converter!!
So simple and so beautiful!

You will need:

A shallow vase (I think a wider dish than the one I am using would look divine, but this is what I had to work with)
Rocks
Soil
Cactus plants (succulents or aloe work well too!)



Step 1.
Add some rocks to the bottom of your dish. This will help with drainage when you water them.



Step 2.
Add soil.



Step 3.
Plant a group of small plants in the soil.



Step 4.
Cover the top of the soil with another thin layer of rock or decorative moss.



You. Are. Done.



I wish I had three more like this and I could make an awesome table centerpiece!!
Remember that cacti and succulent plants rarely need watered. (My kind of plant.) Only do so when once or twice a month or when the soil is completely dry.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Collections, Pt 2

Most of the things I am listing as collections are more like wannabe collections. I may have two or if I am really lucky three of an item. Some, like the whitework I mentioned in Friday's blog post are nonexistent in my household but coveted nonetheless. The exception to these sparse collections would be my vintage valentines, of which I have quite a few. The majority of them came from my Grandmother Theresa when she passed away but I have acquired some of them through Ebay and a killer estate sale. I will save a post on these until February. 




Cocktail Napkins

If you watch Mad Men then you are probably familiar with the popular cocktail hour of the 50s and 60s. Long before there were .99 cent packages of paper napkins, there were dainty and festive cloth cocktail napkins. I have a few of these napkins, mostly florals but they can be found sporting figurals, themes (like Texas or bugs), embroidered and by specific designers.


















Vintage Pyrex


These dishes remind me of my grandmother. Actually, my mother even used them which highlights the durability factor of a Pyrex dish.  They came out in the 1940s and new patterns and colors were introduced through the 1970s. Most Pyrex today is clear. I run across vintage Pyrex fairly frequently but I have found they are usually priced pretty high.

Here is a great Pyrex identification guide.

 



Aprons

Have I ever wore an apron while cooking? Nope. That doesn't stop me from collecting them though. Aprons can fall into three categories: work, everyday, and entertaining. You can usually by the frills and finery an entertaining apron from the other two categories. Work aprons will almost always show their wear. During the 60s and 70s, aprons became a symbol of oppression to some feminists and their popularity waned. I find them irresistible.









Turkey ChinaQuite fitting for this month! Produced in England starting in the 1870s, turkey transferware was the answer to a middle class need for Thanksgiving china. The process of transferring the pattern or image is quite delicate and helps explain the high price of these collectibles, even back when they were new. I do not own any Turkey transferware but I am on the lookout!!












Homespun

Homespun is textiles spun in the home during the 19th century and turned into bedding, table lines, clothing and grain bags. Beautiful simplicity. You will often find it with red, blue, or mustard striping. It is highly reproduced today so if you are shelling out big bucks, you will definitely want to make sure of its authenticity.




 


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Collections, Pt. I

Why do we collect things? What is it that quietly (or not so quietly) urges us to amass things of the same ilk? Whatever the reason, it is definitely a common venture among many of us. I started out in junior high by collecting anything Garfield - posters, notebooks, pictures, stuffed animals, even an insanely large alarm clock. Later my mother started buying me Precious Moments figurines to mark all the major milestones of my life. I still have all the figurines and probably some of the Garfield but I no longer display them. That is one of the loveliest things about a collection. They can be rotated and set aside for a time when they will feel fresh again. Of course, this also has a flip side. One has to store all these "collections" and space can start to be a problem.

Over the years I have been drawn to a number of things when I am out and about at yard sales and flea markets. Some of these items I may have only one or two, some collections have grown substantially, and still others I have yet to find any of their kind and only dream about finding my first piece.


Glass Giveaways

I LOVE these! I currently have six Smurf glasses but I did have ten before I got the bright idea to actually use the glasses. I have kids. You can guess the rest.


 

 
Kraft was among the first companies to begin decorating their jars/glasses with patterns and pictures. They dubbed them "Swanky Swigs" and the jars became very popular during the Depression era. At about the same time Disney coupled with dairies across the nation and started putting pictures of their characters on milk bottles and such. By the 50s when supermarkets started springing up in the new suburban communities, the shelves were full of glass jars and glasses featuring everything under the sun. Companies would release series, hoping that consumers would keep buying in order to complete their series. Finally, fast food restaurants jumped on the band wagon and started offering series of glasses for sale. I personally remember Hardees selling Alvin and the Chipmunks and the aforementioned Smurfs (which were also sold at McDonalds). You can still find these types of items at yard sales and thrift stores but the serious collector will want to try some online resources, like Ebay.


Whitework Quilts

Some of the most exquisite needlework ever produced can be found in a whitework quilt. This is also why they are so expensive and why I do not own one. Yet.




American Ironstone

 

 
Built to last. I think that is why I like this simple and heavy pottery. Popular in the 1840s through the 1880s, ironstone or "whiteware" was used liberally throughout America by the rich and middle class. Influenced by the superior Staffordshire, England pottery, American Ironstone took some time to develop properly but once it found a foothold, it quickly became popular. By the 1890s, ironstone acquired the stigma of "farmer's" ware and was replaced by dainty porcelain and bone china. Ironstone found a new home in hospitals, schools, diners, and the military.




Hotel Silver

 
I am drawn to the dings and dents evident in most of my pieces. Hotel Silver was meant to be used and it is only proper that a piece should show its wear. I also like that the pieces are very practical and can be used in the everyday as well as for special occasions. Most Hotel Silver is marked on the bottom with the name of the hotel, manufacturer, and sometimes the date. A word of warning - like so many other things, reproductions of Hotel Silver run rampant so if the piece is super shiny and nick-free, be wary.



So what do you collect? What would you like to collect but cannot afford or haven't yet found?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Re-claimed, Re-loved, Re-used

It is hard to believe that it is November. Some days I barely remember what day it is so when I am reminded that it is not the beginning of September but rather NOVEMBER, it always takes me a moment to adjust. 

These three finds below all show the beautiful patina of age and use. They are full of character and stories and time has left it's not always kind mark on them. It makes me love them even more. We all get a little rougher with age, right? 




1. I bought the pair of chairs at a sale in Jacksonville. I paid $5.00 each for them. The best part, even beyond the low cost, is that they are very sturdy.

2. I paid a quarter for this old cake carrier at a Virginia yard sale. I have two now and they are a constant reminder that I should really just bake a cake already.

3. This is a large sign that I bought at Argyle for $5.00. I bought it with the intention of altering it in some fashion but I kind of like it as is. For now.

Any of you been shopping lately and found super bargains?

Link Love

Corn Juice? Not so sure about that!

This is too cool! Makes you want to stand under it with your mouth open. Or not.

This is a wikipearl, which is ice cream in a protective "skin".  Click on the picture for more info.

So if you have a thing with public potties, here are FIFTEEN that are pretty darn cool.

THIS goes way way beyond my kindergarten cutting skills. Blows my mind.