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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Goodbye January


January has been a long month, a cold month, a sleepy month.  It's a January state of mind I've been in.

As I look back on January, I realize this surely has been a month to count my blessings.

Keep positive....

Keep smiling...

Remember the good moments... 

   ice skating; knitting, hiking in the snowy woods; 
       happy birthday's to Alice Jane, Lily, and Jeannie too.

   mom slowly recovering;
       and dad slowly recovering because mom is slowly recovering.

   learning to crochet flowers;
       saturday morning breakfast club;
           football parties (go Steelers!).

   time spent with family and friends; 
      time spent with God.  

"Bare branches of each tree
on this chilly January morn
look so cold so forlorn.
Gray skies dip ever so low
left from yesterday's dusting of snow.
Yet in the heart of each tree
waiting for each who wait to see
new life as warm sun and breeze will blow,
like magic, unlock springs sap to flow,
buds, new leaves, then blooms will grow."
  ~Nelda Hartmann, January Morn

RIP Nonna and Beth, you will be missed.  Now it will always be spring.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


"There's one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look just as nice as your neighbors"
~ Clyde Moore

Don't you love that quote?

A friend from fb posted it the other day.  It gave me a new outlook on winter.

You see my neighbors have the prettiest WEED FREE yards.  I'm more of the wild type (bet you didn't know that).  I buy what I like, plant in the wrong spots, and weed ~ never!  Well almost never.

Maybe my garden isn't as bad as I thought....at least not in the winter.
Just checking in with you all.  Have a great day!!
Happy hugs ~ Jenn 
p.s. I'm feeling those small inklings of spring fever coming on.  Going excitedly to the grocery store hoping to find a small touch of spring for my windowsill.  The smell of those forced hyacinth bulbs does it to me every year.  Can you feel it too??

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cooking this Wednesday....PW Meatballs with Peppers & Pineapples

Life is unpredictable.  Just when you think you've got it all figured out, it changes.

I'll be back in a few days to say hello and see what you all have been doing.

In the meantime,

make this...

It's a Pioneer Woman recipe.  We loved it.  You can find it here or I posted it below.

Have a good one.  Hugs ~ Jenn

PW Meatballs with Peppers and Pineapples

  • 1-¼ pound Ground Beef (or Ground Turkey is good)
  • ½ whole Onion, Diced Very Finely
  • 1 whole Egg
  • ½ cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • ½ teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper, More To Taste
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • 2 whole Green Bell Peppers, Seeded And Diced Roughly
  • 1-½ cup Fresh Pineapple Chunks
  • 2 cups Beef Stock Or Broth (I used Chicken Broth)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • ½ cups Sherry Or White Wine Vinegar
  • ⅓ cups Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • Salt To Taste
  • Crushed Red Pepper, To Taste
  • Extra Beef Stock If Needed

Combine ground beef, diced onion, egg, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and crushed red pepper. Mix with hands until combined. Roll meat mixture into small balls and place on a cookie sheet. Freeze on the pan for 15 minutes to firm. 

Mix together beef stock, soy sauce, sherry (or vinegar), sugar, and cornstarch.
Heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Roll meatballs in flour, then fry in two batches until nice and brown, about two minutes per batch. Remove meatballs and set aside on a separate plate. 

Pour off oil from pan and return pan to medium high heat. When pan is hot, throw in the chopped green peppers and cook for one minute. Add pineapple to pan and cook for one minute, stirring gently. Pour in stock/soy sauce mixture, then add meatballs. Stir gently to combine and allow to cook and bubble for a few minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Add salt and crushed red peppers to taste. (Hint: this dish is yummy if it’s a little spicy.)

Serve over cooked brown or white rice.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A dusting of snow and Ironstone Inspirations

What a beautiful morning. I love waking up to snow. It's been too warm here. It hasn't felt like winter and it's too early to be getting spring fever. ALTHOUGH...I am thinking about a new garden. Just a little something I'm tossing around in the back of my mind for now.

courtesy of  Country Living
The white stuff inspired me to go through my files and post a few of my favorite pieces ironstone.  If you know me, then you know how much I LOVE white ironstone.  So country looking and old.  I can't pass a piece without admiring it....and usually buying it (if it's with my budget).
a pudding mold with bird motif....my newest piece

 Wish I had all those ~ gorgeous!!  
courtesy of  Country Living

love the lily of the valley or maybe bluebells on this handle-less cup... a nice find. 
courtesy of  Country Living
a favorite platter

How happy I felt the day I found this teeny little pitcher with a bunny on it....that's two birds one stone there (smiles).

What favorite collections inspire you??

Happy weekend hugs ~

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday Cookin' ~ Chicken & Dumplings

No not squirrel and dumplings ~ Chicken!

I've been out walking and feeding the birds. It's cold today but sunny.  I love seeing all the little animals in the winter.  This is Steve.  He has been visiting us every day since last June.  He's been to all our family functions since then....thinks he's one of us. 

For the last month he's been following me from feeder to feeder until he gets a treat.  Everyday he gets a few pieces of dried fruit and nuts on a deal that he won't invite friends and stays out of the feeders!


Now the Chicken and Dumplings....this meal is so satisfying on a cold day.  A great version and definitely keeper!  I'll be making it again and again,  it was so easy and made a lot.  This recipe is courtesy of Lucinda Scala Quinn from her Mad Hungry cookbook.  You can find it here or down below. Delightful!!

  • 1 3- to 4-pound chicken
  • 1 onion, halved but root end left intact
  • 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 1 turnip, trimmed and chopped (I didn't have this)
  • 2 parsnips, coarsely chopped
  • 8 to 10 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill or parsley


  1. To make the chicken, place the chicken into a large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, turnip, and parsnips to the pot and barely cover with the water. 
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer for 50 minutes. Lift out the chicken and vegetables. Discard the onion halves and parsley sprigs. Continue to simmer the broth for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the salt. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred into large pieces. You'll have 4 cups of shredded chicken. Use 2 to 4 cups as desired.
  3. To make dumplings, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk and dill or parsley to combine.
  4. Drop the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time onto the simmering broth. Cover and cook until the dumplings have cooked through 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully return the shredded chicken and the vegetables to the pot. Reheat for 1 minute. Serve in wide bowls with big spoons.

Warm hugs to you on this chilly day :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting back on track

Took down most of the decorations which was kind of sad. It's quiet with the family gone :( , but the house is clean and Lydia is back on her routine (almost).  Glad I don't have to go back to school but always feel bad for the kids.  Poor Lydia looked so sleepy when I woke her this morning. I am happily but sleepily wrapping up pre-Christmas orders and then back to creating some fun new things.

With getting back to normal that means eating normal again. No more sugar, no more bad carbs....I so want a bagel! I want CARBS!

 We had a great holiday!!

....maybe a tiny Christmas cookie.

~Happy Monday hugs ~

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