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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Morning Off

You just gotta do that every once in a while.

I read somewhere recently that if you want to succeed in blogging you must post in list format.  Why?? Don't know but I'm giving it a shot today....what do you think??

On my morning off I.....

  • Made mini-muffins.  Healthy ones with flax and everything :) And they even tasted good, all 12 of them....well they are healthy. I'll share that recipe with you tomorrow!!!!!
  • While they were baking I made a pot of tea.  My life begins with tea.  It's like another food group.  Usually I don't drink a whole pot and that is special.  Especially since I got to visit that one room in my house that is not being worked on a lot today!

  • Read the new "Gardens of Bliss" by Victoria Magazine.  My garden to-do list is going strong.  Here's a little sneak peek inside the mag!

  • Actually knitted a little.  This scarf was started way back in January.  Hope to have it finished by next winter :)

  • Enjoyed catching up with some of you....my favorite bloggers.  I noticed that nobody else had a list and I was still captivated.
That's it!  Had to hurry after that to get myself together and run to the bank and see my tax lady on time.

Thanks for taking time to stop by.  Wishing you all a happy Tuesday!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Inspiration Friday ~ Happy Yellow!

I don't know what it is about this color.  I am not normally attracted to yellow.  I have never decorated with it or worn it.

But lately somethings changed....

I have accumulated a whole folder filled with this color. 

Not only those pale yellows, but I am loving the cheerful look of the sunny yellow in this bathroom by Restyled Home.

 Maybe it's the Swede in me.

My decorating tends to be more towards the cottage look...

but I don't want to forget about my primitive friends and it seems even yellowware is making a comeback.

Even though yellow looks TERRIBLE on me, I really want to buy a few accessories.

For example..this lovely little wristlet clutch from the Pleated Poppy.

How about a pretty scarf or ruffled flower to go with it??

And every time I'm in Target, I try these shoes on.  And they have the nerve to keep lowering their price.

What the heck is going on?

The yellow marketing people are working hard this season.

Or maybe it's just all these pretties blooming right now.

Either way, I see something yellow is certainly in my future.

Happy spring!

 Photo credits:  Pleated Poppy, Restyled Home, Target, Country Living, Veranda & Rabbit Hill Primitives

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lemon-Blueberry Scones

Finally the scone recipe.  No, the house is not finished but we have made some progress and I'm able to get back to baking!!  

A favorite recipe of mine.  Everyone seems to like them except my Mom and she's not the picky one.  Even my Dad enjoyed a few...he is the picky one.   If he knew there was lemon rind in this he would probably pass out!  We won't tell him.  

Make these today and be happy!

Lemon-Blueberry Scones
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  

2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together with fork.  

3. Add lemon zest to butter slices.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives, quickly cut in the butter mixture until it resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps.

4. Fold in the blueberries.  Stir in the heavy cream with a fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.  You don't want to over mix.  It's a scone not a stone :)

5. Transfer dough and all dry flour bits to a countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, slightly sticky ball, 5 - 10 seconds.  

6. Pat out into a 3/4 inch thick circle.  Either cut into pie shaped wedges or use a biscuit cutter and punch dough out.  Push together remaining pieces and punch out several more rounds.  I prefer the wedge because 1. its easier and 2. you can only punch out the dough twice before it's overworked and the rest needs to be tossed...who wants to waste that delightful goodness?

7. Place on an ungreased cold baking sheet.  Bake until the tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.  Serve warm or room temperature.  Makes 8 Scones.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day/Irish Soda Bread Recipe

May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day. 


May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.

May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that's always blue.


And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.”

~old Irish Blessing


Today I'm making an easy Irish meal in honor of St. Patrick's Day.  I am a quarter Irish you know ;) I've got to throw in a little other ethnicity for my daughter since mostly its all about being Italian!  

A very simple meal tonight of Corn Beef Brisket, Cabbage & Noodles....the only cabbage the girl will eat, and Irish Soda Bread.
Below is the recipe for the bread.  It mixes up very fast and really is the best because it has a little sweetness to it.  I've tried adding raisins but we all preferred it without them.  They were too strong tasting and took away the yummy taste of the bread.   

Also I never buy buttermilk.  I just add 2 tablespoons vinegar, any kind except balsamic, and then top off with your regular milk to the 2 cup line.  Basically 1 TBSP Vinegar/cup of Milk.  Let it sit for a few minutes to let it get sour.

Irish Soda Bread 
3 cups flour1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. (The batter should be a bit lumpy and will come together and be more smooth after adding butter)

Stir in butter.(The mixture should be smooth after blending the butter.)  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.  We can never wait that long.  Mine only sits for about 2 hours or so.

Wishing you many Irish blessings today,

Jenn O'Tavoletti

*Photo's by: Martha Stewart Living; Vella's Garden; Blomsterverkstad and Rabbit Hill Primitives

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Primitive Gatherings for March

Goodness it's the 15th already!  I've got a few spring goodies listed on the Primitive Gatherings.  Stop by and take a little look.......here's a little peek

Please forgive my pictures this month.  I've got nowhere to take them right now with the house turned upside down in painting madness.  It was snowing lots on this day and couldn't go outside.  I had to settle for poor lighting in my studio/shed :)  Thanks!!

Have a wonderful day and hugs to you!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's coming....hang in there!

Even though the rain is going to change to snow this evening, I found a little hope that nothing can stop Mother Nature.  Spring is coming and only 10 more days to go....hang in there!

Happy hugs,

Snowdrops are popping up everywhere!

The first hellebore's flower....an under-appreciated beauty.

A little treat for my garden shed (studio)....Witch Hazel!  Blooms early and smells heavenly.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Addiction Lately....

"Where I Live" videos by Pottery Barn on youtube.  I can't get enough of them!  Real homes they use for photo shoots for their catalog.

Don't you just love looking inside other peoples homes and hearing their stories?  This is what I do while stuffing and sewing up little bunny ears and mouse tails...what a tough life I have ~ lol!

I've been blessed to be so busy lately but wanted to stop in and say hi.  I'll be posting some pictures later this week of my floors....still not finished yet (smiles)

Keep on dreaming and have a great week.

Happy hugs ~

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I still can't get to my scone recipe....

so I will share this spicy buffalo chicken recipe instead. Not the same as blueberry-lemon scones (fingers crossed ~ next week) but good and easy (imagine that?)

While all my furniture has been jammed into the kitchen I haven't felt like cooking and I really miss baking.  Home-baked cookies, muffins, breads, pie, and those darn scones!  Can't stop thinking about them.  After this past winter and Christmas I need to be on this forced diet.  Summer is coming and so is bathing suit season ~ ugghh!

Moving on.....

The crock pot has been a lifesaver.   I'm finding lots of new recipes to try and this one's a keeper for sure.  Courtesy of Everyday Food, it's good, it's lean and it's got a bit of a kick.  I changed it just slightly by adding in brown sugar.  There's that sweet tooth talking again!  Very versatile, it may be used in many ways....a wrap, tacos or in a salad if you don't want the bread (blue cheese dressing ~ yum!)

What are you cookin' this week?

Happy Wednesday!!

  If you really want it to be leaner, don't make macaroni salad as your side :)

 Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce, I used Frank's
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • hamburger buns or thick Italian bread
  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Repeat with chicken breasts.
  2. To skillet, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.

  3.   To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire, mustard, and molasses; stir to combine. Cover and cook on high until chicken is very tender, 4 hours. Shred chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on buns.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Early Work Mercantile for March

A few Spring Rabbits available on Early Work Mercantile.  Pop on over here for more info.  Wish I could have taken better pictures but my usual places to take them are off limits due to the floor issues. 

Update on those....we resanded and restained the entire floor and are now happy with it.  Polyurethane will be applied this week sometime. 

Of course we still have to paint!! 

Have a great week!

Happy hugs ~~

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