observations, ideas and inspiration... from my pennsylvania home, garden, kitchen, and studio

Friday, January 30, 2009

Just Me and the Animals

And this is what we look like ~ Ha! Today is the first day I've been alone at home. We've had so much ice and snow schools have been closed. No closings today though and our kitty doesn't know what to do without her playmate home. She's been walking around the house crying...poor Hannah. I feel almost the same way....almost.

The snow is falling outside and I am getting inspired. As you can see I've changed my blog again. I get bored with the same thing and I love "The Cutest Blog on the Block" website (link is above)...its easy and fun. I went for polka dots this time. I've got to do something about that header though, it just doesn't look right.

I've also started selling on ebay again changing my old name that I used for many years "Primitive and Needful Things" to "Rabbit Hill Primitives". I debated about this for about a year but since I haven't sold anything for at least six months I think it's a good time.

I've been looking into buying one of those Photo Light Tent things for pictures....does anyone have one of these and how do you like it? I get so frustrated taking pictures ~ I need to take a class or find a magical camera somewhere.

My website was finally updated and boy does that feel good! I was so tired of looking at all that Christmas.

I'm also offering note cards there which was another debate in my head because I didn't create them but they are soooo pretty and they go well with everything I love. Made in the USA. They really capture the feel and simplicity of primitive. And they are soooo pretty.
The day is starting to get away from me now....that's what happens when your child is at school. You think you have all day then BAHM its 4:00 p.m. Going to do a little sewing now. Smile and have a good day today.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday's Pulled Pork Southern Style

We are in Steeler Country here. Everyone is decked out in their Black and Gold getting ready for Super Bowl Parties. Our family is invited to my friend's home who has the best parties. "Shelly Parties" Dino calls them.

Shelly is my oldest best friend. We've been going to her parties since high school. Remember the 80's.....Jordache jeans so tight you had to lay on the bed and zipper them with that big comb you'd carry around in your back pocket...for the perfect feathered hair ~~ we were sooooo cool.

"Shelly Parties" were always the best. She was the only one who had REAL food, not just a bag of Doritos thrown in a bowl. Now that 1985 is over we are still enjoying her parties with lots of good food and company...although we don't have to hid the keg in the garage anymore.

All this just to say that "Shelly I am bringing pulled pork to your house on Sunday" GO STEELERS!

Pulled Pork Southern Style

3 pounds Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1 Small Sweet Onion Quartered
2 tsp Cumin
Dash of Red Pepper
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse pork and pat it dry. Place pork in an iron pot or roasting pan and set aside.

In a food processor add the rest of the above ingredients. Process this mixture well until completely combined.

Pour it over the pork making sure entirely covered. Add about 1 cup water to the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly and roast for 3 hours turning once every hour. When it is fork tender I turn on my broiler and remove the lid and let it get a little crispy on top...about 3 minutes.

Let pork sit for 10 minutes then shred. I add this back to the juices and place in my slow cooker to keep warm for serving without drying out.

So many ways to serve this....BBQ sauce on the side, or mix in if you like ~ our kids are picky. My favorite is rolled up in warm tortillas with sour cream, guacamole and salsa on the side. For Shelly's house we will place tortilla chips on a large sheet pan (or two). Spread BBQ pork and grate sharp cheddar on top. Heat until melted. A perfect appetizer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good News Bad News~Winner Announced

GOOD NEWS We have a winner BAD NEWS I can choose only one

We are very fancy and high tech here....

My lovely assistant and her highly qualified stuffed puppy choose
(do you hear the drum roll??)

And the winner of the book giveaway is Thistlebrooms! Thanks Marilyn...you need it you won it!

Thanks everyone for playing. I LOVED and truly enjoyed reading all your comments. This was so much fun. I'm planning more giveaways soon.
Have a happy day where ever you are!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

First Giveaway....Singin' in the Rain ~ its a Celebration!

And anyone that has been sick lately will understand the celebrating! I woke up today around 5:00 a.m. feeling great. Since the family was still sleeping I turned on the TV instead of cleaning my house or doing much needed laundry. Low and behold "Singin' in the Rain" ohhhhhh I just love Gene Kelly....did anyone catch it this morning? How appropriate because that was how I was feeling except perhaps I would be singing in the snow and maybe making a few angels....I'm not very coordinated and can't dance unless there is wine and the electric slide involved.

It's been a very productive morning and I will finally have updates on my website Monday, January 27th. In honor of all this happiness I am giving away a brand new SEASONS at Seven Gates Farm book. This is one of my all time favorite primitive books......mine is so worn...you will love it. To enter, simply leave a comment by Monday 1/27/09 8:00 p.m. est. A winner will be selected at random, and will be announced Tuesday morning. Happy Friday! Love ~ Me

Photos of the Giveaway....

since I'm not that clever and can't figure out how to post a video AND photos at the same time I had to post them on another blog entry. Here are a few teasers......

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Good Morning.....taking a break today. Lydia was sick last week and this weekend it finally caught up with me. And I was trying so hard. Spraying everything with Lysol, washing my hands constantly, not eating her chocolate Frosty....that was a tough one. Like my little parakeets, I think I will be napping all day in between watching the Inauguration Day ceremonies. Have a good day!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lydia's Favorite Dish....Italian Lasagne

Is any food as heartwarming as Italian food? I went to Italy once with my husband shortly after we were married. The one thing that clearly stays in my mind was the food. While visiting Dino's second cousin twice removed (Italians really keep in touch with there roots) we had dinner with them. As we were talking, his cousin's daughters Tatiana and Vivianna (aren't they the prettiest names?) served us our meal. As they put this lovely slice of lasagna in front of me I thought "How on earth am I going to finish this?" One slice just fit on my plate....I think it was at least 7" by 7". It was heaven on earth and I did finish it. I was so proud and stuffed I couldn't move. I soon found out that this was just the FIRST course! I learned that a true Italian meal is very different from the single large plate of pasta most of us think of when we think "Italian". An authentic Italian meal usually goes like this: "Primi" a pasta, risotto or soup; "Secondi" meat, fish or chicken; "Insalata" a salad or vegetable; and "Dolci" a dessert with coffee..........After that meal I also learned "piccolo per favore" which means "small please".

I know we all have our own lasagna recipes. This one I made up to resemble the taste of that piece I had in Italy. I did change it a bit for Dino, who likes meat in his lasagna. Also I don't make my own lasagna noodles....someday....no who am I kidding! If I can prepare and assemble it in 30 minutes I'm happy. Buon Appetito!

Italian Lasagne

Tomato Meat Sauce:
1 1/2 pounds Ground Turkey (or Ground Chuck if you prefer)
2 ~ 28 oz cans of your favorite Tomato Sauce....I love Dei Fratelli Tomato Sauce
~ not the Italian Tomato Sauce, just their regular Tomato Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic chopped
Splash of favorite Red Wine if you like....I like to add a splash and have a glass!
Salt& Pepper
Handful of Fresh Basil, torn

Add about 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil to pan and start browning turkey. Halfway through add garlic and a little salt and pepper. Cook until brown…about 2 more minutes then add sauce and wine. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer about ½ hour. While this is simmering I make the Bechamel sauce. I add the basil to tomato sauce right before assembling.

Bechamel Sauce:
¼ Cup Butter
¼ Cup Flour
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Fresh ground nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg; cook and stir until bubbly. Whisk in the milk stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and bubbles for about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese until smooth. Set aside.

Remaining Ingredients:
1 16 oz package regular or no-bake lasagna noodles....whichever you prefer they both work without boiling, I prefer the regular because they are thicker.
½ Cup additional Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
¼ Cup additional Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add fresh basil to tomato sauce now. I use a big handful but use to your family's taste.

To assemble: Pour 1 ½ - 2 cups tomato sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 baking dish. Add a layer of noodles...make sure there is some space between noodles since they will expand while baking. Spread 1 cup of bechamel sauce. Repeat the layers…tomato sauce, noodles, bechamel sauce ending the final layer with tomato sauce on top of noodles. Sprinkle top with mozzarella cheese & parmesan cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 more minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting if your family will let you.

This can also be assembled up to 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and refrigerate. Bake the lasagna the same adding 15 minutes to the covered baking time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Friends

This is Phoebe. She visits me everyday around 11:00 a.m. while I work. She's waiting for me to put a few peanuts on the window ledge.
Hannah has come to wait for Phoebe. Her instincts kick in and she wakes up from her nap at 11:00 everyday to see if she's there. It's so funny how they have no clock but know the time.

" Please may I have a few peanuts??" says Phoebe
"Please may I eat you??" says Hannah

"Hee Hee Hee!" says Phoebe

You can almost hear her laughing! She's a smart little squirrel.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good Morning!!

My mom sent this to me this morning. It's so funny and so true. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What's for Dinner Wednesday ~ Chicken Pot Pie and Cornbread

This is one of my mom's recipes she acquired from an older relative at a family reunion in the late 1970's I think I was about 10 years old...I mean 2......I will always be 29 if anyone asks.

I remember driving FOREVER to get to this place and the only other thing I remember is the Chicken Pot Pie. Now the recipe my mom received is very vague...you know like when someone makes something really good and they don't want to share their secret but feel obliged to give it to you because your "family". This is the way I've adapted the recipe over the years. It's easy and yummy....and remember I'm 29!!!

Chicken Pot Pie

1 Whole Chicken Cut-up
Salt & Pepper to taste
Handful Fresh Chopped Parsley
8 Cups Chicken Stock or 64 ounces Low Sodium Store Bought Broth
1 Onion Chopped
1 TBSP Butter

Add butter to a large stock pot and cook onion until slightly translucent. Add chicken, stock, salt, pepper and parsley. Bring to a boil then simmer covered 1 - 1 and 1/2 hours until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken. While chicken is cooling, in a jar add flour, salt and water and shake. You want it have the thickness of glue...maybe 1 1/2 cups. Slowly stir this into your broth. Take chicken off bones and add to broth. Keep simmering covered.

Now you want to make the dumplings/noodles:
2 Cups Flour
2 Eggs beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
5 tbsp Milk

Stir ingredients together with a fork. Then knead a few times...add more milk if needed. Roll dough out on a slightly floured surface into a rectangle about 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Cut into 3" squares and add to broth. Simmer at least 1 more hour until done.


This next recipe is the best cornbread ever and is good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, side dish, in the dark before bed...its very quiet....just make it and your friends will love you ~ trust me.

Iron Skillet Cornbread

1 Stick Butter ~ Softened
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs Separated
1 Cup Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Spray your skillet with a non-stick spray. You will need 3 bowls, 1 large and 2 smaller. In the large bowl, cream sugar and butter together, then beat in egg yolks until blended. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, set aside. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in last bowl. Alternately add this and the milk to the creamed butter mixture. Stir in the cornmeal. Fold in the egg whites. Pour batter into your pan and bake 20 - 25 minutes until done. Serve alone or with a little butter. Lydia likes to add honey on hers.

So delightful! I saw my nephews eat almost the whole pan on New Years Day!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Time for change....

It's cold and dreary here with freezing rain and sleet in the forecast. These are the inside months that make me really crave being outside when I can't.....I still have 200+ daffodil bulbs to plant....do you think they will be okay?? Keeping busy though I've been working on some new and exciting ideas and some old boring things. One is cleaning up my sewing room from the craziness of the Christmas season. I actually put a chair behind the door so the cat wouldn't open it while we had company here! But I got through all the mess and everything is back in its right place pretty much.

On to the new and exciting....The first is "What's for Dinner Wednesday". Tried and true recipes with simple ingredients that I've made over and over again. Cooking is my way of thinking through things....I have always come up with my best ideas cooking and baking. It's also a destressor for me, especially the baking....when we have a lot of cookies in the house Dino knows something is wrong. I'll be starting this tomorrow with an old family recipe that my mom acquired at a family reunion many years ago.

The second idea I'll be telling you about in the next few days...I'm still working on the details and want you to come back to visit again. Am I keeping you in suspense? I didn't think so but please come back anyway.

I'm giving my website a new look and I've started changing the graphics and boy let me tell you anyone who does web design has a real time consuming job there. I'll be having an update for January later next week. But if you want to take a peak at the new colors and sign up for the updates here's a link. http://www.rabbithillprimitives.com/

Winter can be beautiful. We just need to slow down and appreciate it. Or at least have your husband slow the car to 40mph to take a few pictures! These were from our anniversary weekend last month....it was a magical winter wonderland! Have a happy day.

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