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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blog Anniversary, Etsy And A Giveaway!

I'm just a few days away from my blog anniversary.  I can't believe it's been a year already!

And--today I crossed another one of my New Year's resolutions off my list.  I've opened a shop on Etsy!  Someday, I will figure out how to add a link to the sidebar on this blog, but for now, you can click here if you want to check it out.

For now, I'm just listing some of pillows that I've made using scraps of vintage linens and tablecloths, fabrics from the '30's, '40's and '50's.

They've been piling up.

I still have more to list, so stay tuned!

I thought I would celebrate my anniversary and the opening of the Etsy store with a giveaway.  The winner will receive..........a pillow!  
Pillow #1:
The center of this pillow is a trail of embroidered roses from a vintage linen table runner.  Framed with pink stripes and a vintage-inspired floral print.  Surrounded with fluffy pink vintage pom poms.

Pillow #2:
A patchwork of vintage chenille squares, framed with new, fluffy white chenille and vintage pink pom poms.

Pillow #3:
A bouquet from a vintage tablecloth, framed with polka dots, rick rack, ticking stripes and vintage pom poms.

All of these pillows have a slip opening in the back, and each pillow measures approximately 19" x 19".

If you would like to win one of these pillows, here is how you can enter:

Leave a comment, telling me which pillow you would like to win.  You can elaborate as much as you like, or simply write "#1," "#2," or #3."  And if you also become a follower of this blog, you will be entered twice.  (And anyone who currently follows this blog will also be entered twice if they leave a comment!)

Winners will be drawn on Saturday, March 3.  Good Luck!

Today, I'm also linking up with Sue at It's A Very Cherry World for her Rednesday blog party!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

I finally got around to making one of the many recipes on my "baking" board on Pinterest.  I have been spending way too much time surfing the site, pinning recipes I'd like to try, crafts I'd like to make, projects I'd like to do, flowers I'd like to grow, decor I'd like to have and plenty of other pictures that make me go "ooh" and "ahh."  (I'm not kidding; I named two of my boards "ooh" and "ahh.")

But anyway, back to the recipes.  One of my New Year's resolutions was to go through the recipes I've collected on Pinterest and make one dessert and one main dish or salad per week.

Here we are, eight weeks in, do you think I've made sixteen recipes?  Nope.  This weekend I made my first Pinterest recipe.........and I'm happy to say it is a keeper!  Can you imagine the pressure that I put on that recipe?   If it failed, then the chances were pretty good that I would nix that New Year's resolution.
strawberry lemonade bar recipe
Here is a picture of the Strawberry Lemonade Bars.  Now for those of you that are thinking, "My, how  Fran's photography skills have improved!"--you need to know that this is the picture that was taken and posted by kandktestkitchen .  If you click on that link it will take you to the original post and recipe.

And for those of you who prefer your photos a bit more dim and drab, accompanied by awkward attempts at witty repartee...........well, I thank you for that.  :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Avocado Caprese Salad With Olives

A few months ago, I discovered that I do not hate avocados.

I thought that I didn't like them.  Once upon a time, I can't even remember when, or where, or who I was with, or what I was eating, but I know there were avocados and I definitely remember I didn't like the taste.

And I've hated them ever since.  

Last year, I was talking with a dear, sweet friend of mine and she mentioned a recipe that she was making and there were avocados in it and I can't remember what I said but it was something to the effect of, "BLAH.  NOPE.  ICKY-EWW.  GROSS-ME-OVER."  And she replied (I remember this, verbatim):  "WHAT?  DON'T TELL ME YOU DON'T LIKE GUACAMOLE!"  And I said, "Not if there are avocados in it."

Well, this conversation sort of stuck with me, because she is a dear, sweet, trusted friend and I value her opinion, even if it's the opposite of what I think I believe.

So, to shorten this very long-winded story, I will just cut to the chase:  A few months ago I tried an avocado again and discovered that I LOVE AVOCADOS.

What was wrong the first time?  Was it a rancid avocado or bad seasoning or something else?
Who knows? 

The point of my rambling is this:  You may think that you don't like avocados, but maybe you need to try them again.

And then, like me, you will find yourself adding them to every possible recipe you can think of.  Like Caprese Salad.

I've blogged about Caprese Salad before.  But this is the version I make that I've started adding avocados to every salad I make.......... ever since I discovered that I don't hate avocados.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gnocchi With Sage & Garlic Butter Sauce

Oh, what a day.

Today is Caitie's birthday!  How on earth did the last TWENTY-ONE YEARS fly by so fast?!!
My baby....... all grown up, in little more than the blink of an eye.

Erin and I spent the better part of today making a birthday cake.
My first attempt at making fondant.  Nothing I've ever made has even come close to frustrating me as much as making this fondant.  At this moment, I can politely say I am not fond of fondant.

Yesterday, when I made the fondant (or Saturday, when I made my first batch of fondant that was so cement-like all I could do was chuck it into the trash), I had nothing polite to say about fondant.

It even gave me second thoughts about the dinner I was planning on making tonight.  Another attempt at something I had never made before.  Gnocchi!

Last summer, my son went on a trip to Italy and came home raving about gnocchi.  It was sort of surprising to me, because other than potato chips and french fries, he just doesn't like potatoes.

So here we are, 8 months later, I finally decide that today is the day I'm going to make gnocchi.  After the frustration of making the fondant, I can't believe that I still wanted to take on a recipe that by all accounts, takes lots of practice to perfect.  And a recipe that is hard to use exact measurements for ingredients because it all depends upon the starchiness of the potatoes and the level of humidity and--for all I know--which side of your head your hair is parted and whether or not you listen to music while you cook.

I'm just kidding about that last part.  Sort of.

Oh, what the heck.  I told Sean that today was gnocchi day and I wasn't going to wimp out on him.

I had researched gnocchi recipes on the Internet, and sort of morphed all the recipes together and came up with this one.   The only thing the recipes agreed on was potatoes, eggs and flour.  All of the measurements were different.  All of the methods were different.  In a nutshell, this is how I came up with the recipe:

1.  Out of the six recipes I looked at, five boiled the potatoes and one baked them.  Yet they all agreed that moisture is not your friend--so I went with the lone rebel and decided that baking was best.  (I mean, the water that you would use for boiling is moisture, right?  And moisture is not good?  So why would I boil?  Am I not a logical thinker?  Should I continue to ponder this?  Why ponder, when baking makes sense?)
2.  Though all of the recipes were made with at least one egg, four of the recipes said that authentic gnocchi should not have eggs.  However, since it is very hard to get the dough to bind without eggs, it's best to use eggs, just use as little as possible.  The recipe that used one egg used two potatoes.  Since I'm so competitive, I decided that I was going to try to see if I could manage four potatoes with one egg.
3.  Three of the recipes only suggested an amount of flour, and said to add it a little at a time, until the dough "felt right."  Too much flour makes the dough heavy.  The recipe that used the least amount of flour suggested 3/4 cup for 2 lbs. of potatoes.  My four potatoes weighed almost three pounds, so I decided I would try to use about a cup of flour.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chex Mix, And Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats: Gluten Free!

A couple of my friends, followers of this blog, have gluten/wheat sensitivities.

Though today's post is written with them in mind--and yes, these recipes are gluten-free--I don't want you to think that these recipes are only for people on a gluten-free diet.  They are simply recipes for yummy snacks that happen to be wheat- and gluten-free!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

Let's just say that the Super Bowl didn't end the way I hoped that it would.  I've been pouting all week.

Bummer for us Patriots fans.

There's a lot to be said for comfort food in times like this.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Strawberry-Custard Shortbread Bars

You may remember one of my first posts last year, when I mentioned that Gus was sprayed by a skunk.

After 20+ years as a dog owner, my skunk-free streak of luck had run out.

We dodged a bullet last night.  Take a look:

All of a sudden, Gus was acting insane.  He was so insistent that he be let outside.  He could hardly contain his excitement.  Then I smelled the skunky smell.

Something tells me it is only a matter of time until he gets sprayed again.

Trying to get a head start on my baking for the Super Bowl.  Go Pats!!