Saturday, April 30, 2011

Power Failure

After all of the powerful storms that hit this week we were left without power for a few days.  Luckily it is back on, but I am headed out of town this afternoon, so no posts from me for the next week.  I promise to be back next Friday with the weekly menu.  Please check back!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Credit Score

I am working on spring cleaning the house, but I also thought that I needed to do some other cleaning too.  I haven't checked my credit score in a number of years - bad I know!  So yesterday I signed up for my free credit score at myFICO's website.  It took only minutes to setup my profile and get my score.  You can have a free ten day trial of their product and then if you still want it you can purchase it.  It is very easy to cancel and didn't take long at all to do. 

There are a number of other credit check websites that you can use as well...all that matters is that you make sure you check your score periodically. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


When spring arrives and I go to clean out my closet and pack away the winter clothes it makes me want to dust off one of my favorite books by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux, A Guide to Elegance.  It was written in 1964 and I love reading the rules of style and elegance from then.  I think that a lot of her advice is still relevant today.  If nothing else, it is a beautiful book...

Do you have a favorite book that you like to read every year?

Monday, April 25, 2011


It is raining again and it makes me think of this Shel Silverstein poem...


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a headstand -
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said -
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day!!!!!!!!

Happy Earth Day!  In celebration of the day/week/month/year, here are some easy steps you can take to make your life a little greener....

1.  Calculate your carbon footprint.  You can use the calculator at the EPA's website here.

2.  Reduce the amount of baths you take.  Showering uses a lot less water.  If you are already shower, try seeing if you can reduce the amount of time you spend in it, even if it is just one minute less.  You can also change your shower heads to low flow.

3.  Try to eat more local, seasonal foods, they don't have to travel so far to get to you, and with almost $4/gallon gas right now it makes a big difference.

4.  Cut down on your chemical cleaners.  I do most of my weekly cleaning with white vinegar.  You can also your vodka to clean, however with little ones around I don't suggest it.

5.  Trash toxic items correctly.  Batteries don't belong in the landfill, you can take them to a number of electronic shops for proper disposal.  Paint should also be handled carefully, contact your trash collector to see if they can pick up toxic items.

6.  Start composting - for more information on this check my post from Monday.

7.  Change out those light bulbs.  And if you leave the room, turn those lights off.

8.  Take your own shopping bag.  I love my LL Bean bags, they hold so much and are very sturdy.

9.  Try gardening.  You can start small with a few pots of herbs that you enjoy or plant a whole garden!

10.  Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

If you want some inspiration on how to live greener check out this article from Sunset Magazine on a family who doesn't have any trash!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What is for dinner?

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Happy Easter and enjoy your family meal

Monday - Roasted Tomato-Harissa Soup

Tuesday - Croque Monsieur and a side salad (we have to eat up the leftover ham!)

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Friday - Lemon Chicken with Avocado Corn Salsa

Saturday - Dinner Out

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Part 3

Here are some great last minute Easter ideas...

M&Ms are some of the best decorating tools around!

Hostess with the Mostess again has some wonderful ideas for your tabletop decorations:

I love the carrots as a center piece...

This vintage inspired Easter setting has printables as well...

I love growing small flowers in the eggs...

Better Homes and Gardens has some great ideas for coloring eggs...
Image Via

If all else fails, grab some mason jars, fill them with Easter candies and display around the house.  I also suggest saving the candy for next'll be much less tempted to eat it if you know it is old candy (it helps me...)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Passover Nibbles

Passover began last night and here are a few treats to make during this time....HAPPY PASSOVER!

Matzo Toffee (from Everyday Food)

  • 2 cups coarsely crumbled matzos
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In a bowl, toss matzo pieces with almonds.
  2. In a saucepan, bring butter, sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons water to a boil over medium, stirring constantly. Working quickly, drizzle matzo mixture with syrup, and toss.
  3. Using a heatproof spatula, spread mixture onto prepared sheet. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let chocolate melt 5 minutes; spread chocolate over matzo toffee. Refrigerate until chocolate has set. Break into pieces, and serve. (To store, refrigerate in an airtight container, up to 5 days.)

Pistachio Brittle  (from Martha Stewart)
Makes 4 cups

  • 2 cups whole-wheat matzo farfel
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
  1. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking mat; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix together farfel, pistachios, and cayenne pepper; set aside.
  2. Place sugar and salt in a medium saucepan; add 1/3 cup water and mix to thoroughly dampen. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until medium amber in color, swirling and brushing down sides of saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization. Carefully add butter (mixture will bubble up). Stir until melted and well combined.
  3. Working quickly, add farfel mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet; using an offset spatula, spread into a very thin layer. Let cool completely. Break brittle into pieces before serving.

Nutty Chocolate Matzo Crunch (from Martha Stewart)

  • 2 6-by-6-inch matzos
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup Marcona almonds or salted cashews, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse sea salt

1.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and top with a wire rack. Place matzos on top of rack. Drizzle chocolate over matzos until almost covered. Immediately sprinkle evenly with chopped nuts and salt. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until set, about 15 minutes. Break into pieces. If chocolate softens, return to refrigerator until set. Matzo crunch is best eaten the day it is made.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Earth Day is this week and many people have now started calling the week Earth Week.  I love the idea of celebrating our earth for a longer period of time, and hope that soon enough it will be Earth Month, and then Earth Year and that everyday will be Earth Day! 

In honor of the week I wanted to highlight composting.  This is something that everyone can do, you don't need a lot of space so it could even work for apartment dwellers. 

Here are some tips for composting:

1.  Pick a site that is convenient and close - that way you'll do it more often.

2.  Work with what you got - you can start with composting pesticide free yard waste and then add in kitchen scraps.

3.  Don't compost meat products or any fats.

4.  Instead of recycling your newspaper just shred it and add it to your compost pile.  Less for the recycling center to have to process.

5.  Coffee grounds are terrific for your compost - and worms love them!

6.  To speed up your compost keep it in the sun.

7.  Finished compost can be soaked to make Compost Tea which can be used to water plants and provide even more nutrients to them.

8.  To speed up your compost mix turn it every couple of weeks so it gets more air.

9.  Adding worms to your compost will also help it get started quicker.

10.  To get great compost aim for a large heap of small matter.

For more information on composting see these sites:,,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Food Revolution

Jamie Oliver is back again with his Food Revolution.  I believe that feeding your family good, quality food is very important.  His campaign is so important and needs all of the support that we can give him, in the end it will benefit all of us.  Obesity is such an issue for both adults and children and it will only cost us more in the future due to health care costs. 

Please join me in signing the petition and doing everything you can to help feed our children better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What is for dinner?

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Citrus roasted salmon with sping pea puree - See below for the recipe
Monday - Rosemary Meatballs

Tuesday - Potato, green cabbage, and leek soup with lemon creme fraiche

Wednesday - Pea puree with shrimp and scallops

Thursday - Mango Chicken Salad

Friday - Dinner out

Saturday - Paprika shrimp with walnuts

Citrus-Roasted Salmon with Spring Pea Sauce - Power Foods
Serves 8

Citrus Roasted Salmon

3 oranges
3 lemons
Freshly grated zest of 1 lime
2 tsp sugar
Coarse salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1 side wild Alaskan salmon (about 3 lbs.) trimmed of fat and excess skin, small pin bones removed with tweezers
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Pea shoots or watercress for garnish

1.  Finely grate the zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons.  Cut the remaining orange and lemon into 1/4-inch think rounds.  Stir together citrus zests (including lime), sugar, 2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp pepper and the coriander in a small bowl.

2.  Place salmon, skin side down, in a nonreactive (glass or ceramic) baking dish large enough for it to lay flat.  Rub spice blend all over salmon.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3.  Remove salmon from refrigerator.  Wipe off spice blend with paper towels.  Let fish stand at room temp for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4.  Arrange half the orange and lemon rounds in a single layer in a large roasting pan; place salmon, skin side down on top.  Rub the oil all over salmon.  Roast until opaque throughout, about 17 minutes.  Remove from oven; cut salmon crosswise into 8 pieces.

5.  To serve divide sauce among eight serving plates, and top each with a piece of salmon.  Garnish with pea shoots and remaining orange and lemon rounds. 

Spring Pea Sauce

Makes 3/4 cup

You can make this sauce with thawed frozen peas instead of fresh, in which case they don't need to be blanched.

1 1/3 cup shelled fresh peas
1 1/2 cup loosely packed trimmed watercress (1/2 bunch)
1 1/2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Coarse salt

1.  Prepare and ice-water bath.  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Blanch peas and watercress until bright green, about 45 seconds.  Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to the ice bath to stop the cooking. 

2.  Drain peas and watercress, then puree in a blender until smooth, adding 4 - 5 Tbsp water to thin (mixture should be just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). 

3.  Pass puree through a find sieve into a small saucepan.  Place over low heat, and whisk in butter, 1 piece at a time; whisk until emulsified, then remove from heat.  Season sauce with 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste).  Serve warm.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bunny Time

Here are some more great ideas for Easter decorating, crafts, and goodies:

The cutest cupcakes (and so easy)

Hostess with the Mostess again has some terrific party ideas, and wonderful colors:

The garland looks terrific, and it is pretty easy to blow out eggs to do this.  For full details please see Better Homes and Gardens.

Celebrations at Home had a great idea for a peeps party!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Limbs

The other week I picked up some forsythia branches at Trader Joe's and they have bloomed beautifully on the dining room table.  These are affordable and long lasting.  After sitting in some water for a while the branches will sprout and they can even been planted outside.  These are always the first signs of spring that are so great to see after the long winter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Farm Life - Part 2

Did you see the post last week about my fantasy farmhouse.  Well, the interior of the farmhouse would look something like these below.  I can just smell the homemade bread baking...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Affordable Luxury????

I was amazed after reading an article in Town and Country that Macy's Hotel Collection of bath towels are one of the best out there!  Apparently even Anna Wintour might use them herself as her personal interior designers have started using them and other clients of theirs do as well!

I guess the next time I need towels I will just head over to Macy's and check them out. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Saturday Saying...

"It doesn't matter how much money you have, how much power you have, what is real is who you are and nobody can take that away from you."  ~ Oprah Winfrey

Friday, April 8, 2011

What is for dinner?

Here is what we are having for dinner next week:

Sunday - Poached Salmon with Asparagus and Herbs

Monday - Spinach Pear Salad

Tuesday - Date Night - Dinner Out

Wednesday - Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chili

Thursday - Chilled Leek Soup with Lemon-Dill Yogurt

Friday - Pizza

Saturday - Lemon Mint Risotto

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hippity Hop

Easter is on it's way and I thought I would highlight some of the great decorating and craft ideas I have found on the web.

I love these egg candles, I knew I needed to pick up some egg cups.

Hostess with the Mostess always has a ton of great ideas like these below:

The bunny is so cute, and you can print out the directions and pattern from Twig & Thistle online.

Celebrations at Home also has some great ideas for a children's Easter party:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Barn Life - Part 1

After watching the Fabulous Beekman Boys (our new favorite show) we were inspired to talk about living on a farm.  Both my husband and I are city people, but there is a little part of us that could see ourselves living on a farm, although my husband would need a couple of Farmer Johns to do all of the work.

If I had a farm I would either want a house with a big front porch, or to turn a barn into the home like the pictures below...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What is for dinner?

So sorry this posted so late.  I had it schedule and for some reason I am having problems with Blogger's scheduling. 

Here is what we are having for dinner next week...

Sunday - Arugula with Roasted Salmon and New Potatoes

Monday - Chicken Breasts with Fennel, Carrots, and Couscous

Tuesday - Fresh Pea Soup with Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Wednesday - Sesame Beef Salad - See Below for the Recipe
Thursday - Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Apples and Bacon  (this link has a couple of recipes on it, so just scroll down until you find this one)

Friday - Chard Quiche

Saturday - Dinner Out

Sesame Beef Salad - Donna Hay Magazine, Issue #53
Serves 4

4 x 200g Sirloin steaks
Olive oil, for brushing
1/4 cup each soy sauce and sherry vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 long red chili, sliced
300g tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 cucumbers, sliced
1 cup mint leaves
2 green onions, sliced
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted

1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat.  Brush the steak with oil and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. 

2.  Place the soy, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and chili in a large bowl and mix to combine. 

3.  Slice the steak and add to the dressing with the tomato, cucumber, onion, mint, green onion and sesame seeds and toss until well combined.

Boyton Books

If you have little ones you have probably heard of Sandra Boynton.  She writes these wonderful board books that babies and toddlers love.  We have collected just about all of her books and my little one loves to have them read to her everyday.  What is really nice is that I don't mind reading them, they are whitty and the pictures are very humorous.  I can't say the same for some other children's books.  Some books also come with songs that you can download from her website.

I was so excited when I saw that another book is going to be published soon.  Happy Hippo, Angry Duck - a book of moods is available for pre-order on, however no publish date is given.  I will certainly be pre-ordering one.

If you happen to be a T.J.Maxx or Marshalls shopper you can often find these books discounted. 

I truly love, love, love her books!  And no, I was not paid to say this!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Thoughts

"It's not houses I love, it's the life I live in them."  ~ Coco Chanel

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...