Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Colored Past

Today I spent a few hours at an antique mall hunting for vintage textiles. Along the way I found a some colorful treasures that caught my eye ... 

.. small, medium or large, this Jiffy scale will let you know what size your egg is ..

.. tick - tock .. 
 this retro clock will wake you with a smile!

tap, tap, tap,  zinnnng!!

.. bake me a cake ..

.. fridge is empty  -  again ..

They sure don't make toys like they used to.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Perfect Way To Celebrate Summer!

Strawberry Layer Cake

So I am planning a summer party and love to make dessert. What to make? Idea and inspiration came from this fab picture - Martha Stewart (August 2010). It just looked so fresh and was another way to use up the berries in the garden. The recipe was not difficult and was enjoyed by all. Here is the recipe as follows .. 

For The Cake:

                2 sticks          unsalted butter, room temperature
                3 cups            all-purpose flour
                2-1/4 tsp        baking powder
                1/4 tsp            baking soda
                pinch              coarse salt
                4                      large eggs,  room temperature
                1 1/2 cups      low-fat buttermilk, room temperature
                1 tbsp              pure vanilla extract

Baking The Cake:
-preheat oven to 350 degrees-

1.   Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt.

2.   Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium- high speed until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and add eggs, 1 at a time    beating well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat in vanilla.

3.   Divide batter between pans. Bake, rotating halfway through, until tops spring back when gently touched and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool in pans for 20 minutes.

4.   Invert cakes onto racks and let cool completely.

5.   Make the filling: Combine strawberries with granulated sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving syrup. 

For The Filling:

                    2  pounds                 strawberries, sliced 1/3 inch thick
                    1/4  cup                    granulated sugar
                    1  tablespoon           fresh lemon juice
                                                    coarse salt
                    2  cups                     cold heavy cream
                    3  tablespoons          confectioners' sugar, 
                                                    plus more for dusting
                    1 1/2  cups               strawberry jam

6.   Whisk cream with confectioners' sugar until medium peaks form.

7.   Trim cake tops. Slice cakes in half horizontally.  TIP: I like to freeze the cakes first before cutting.

8.   Generously brush 1 cake layer with some reserved syrup, and spread then one-third of the jam. Top with one-third of the filling, then one-third of the whipped cream. Repeat with 2 more cake layers. 

Top with remaining cake layer, bottom side up. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

A nice way to end a perfect summer get together with friends!
- cake is displayed on a limited edition 2010 Martha Stewart Cake Stand-

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Campfire with the Family Continued ...


STEP 1:  chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, Yum!

STEP 2:  my mother said  "... never play with fire."  
but we'll bend the rules just one time   

STEP 3:  melt until golden.  Hot, hot, hot !

STEP 4:  assemble with caution & repeat

Campfire with the Family

Last night was our very first backyard campfire with the family - 3 years in the making.  The menu included Hot Dogs, Lemonade & of course S'mores. Here is the recap ...


STEP 1:  build a fire pit area with lots of seating


STEP 2:  gather supplies

STEP 3:  cook over hot campfire

STEP 4:  add required condiments

STEP 5:  enjoy your first campfire dog!

.. stay tuned .. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pretty Pins

..  pick daily ..

 A straw hat makes a pretty display and practical storage for all of your floral pins.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rainy Sunday Morning

.. i woke up this morning, looked out the window & it was raining (sad). What a perfect opportunity to make use of all those summer berries I couldn't resist at the market the other day. I pulled out one of my favorite cookbooks - barefoot contessa at home by ina garten. Here is the recipe ...

.. makes 16 to 18 muffins ..

Tri Berry Muffins

              3 cups          all-pupose flour
     1 tablespoon       baking powder
     1/2 teaspoon       baking soda
     1/2 teaspoon       kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons      ground cinnamon
        1-1/4 cups        milk
                2                ex-large eggs, lightly beaten
             2 sticks        unsalted butter, melted
                1 cup         fresh blueberries
             1/2 cup        fresh raspberries
             1/2 cup        sliced fresh strawberries
        1-1/2 cups       sugar

..preheat oven to 375 degrees ..
 Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon together in a large bowl. Mix well to be sure the ingredients are combined. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs, & melted butter - cooled to room temp. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, pour the wet mixture into the well, & stir until just combined. There will be some lumps but don't overmix the batter! Add the berries & sugar. Stir gently to combine.                                                           

Using a  2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, spoon the batter into the muffin cups to fill the liners. Bake for 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.

.. bake 25 min or until cake tester comes out clean ..

..  grab your favorite magazine & enjoy ..  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Anthropologie Opens in the Desert!

.. it's finally Open !

.. i would always make my bed, if it looked like this ..

Last week I attended the Opening of the newest ANTHROPOLOGIE in Southern California! As expected the store is full of inspiration for your home and closet. If you have ever visited one of these stores you will know what I am talking about. The store is filled with one of a kind pieces of furniture used to display ANTHROPOLOGIE'S unique housewares and clothing. Each store has its own look and atmosphere but there is definitely a common design element. Lots of natural materials such as raw timbers, concrete, metal and even some water provide the store with an excellent backdrop to showcase their wares. If you are lucky enough to visit a store that offers shoes make sure to have a look. This is definitely one of my favorite places to shop for something special to wear or pick up a gift! The fun doesn't stop there. Check out their online store and catalog for even more!

One of the many original & one of a kind items used for display. This rag rug was proudly put together by the girls in the store. After gathering secondhand duvet covers & other bits of fabric the girls sat down in the back to start this ambitious project. Job well done..
( thanks Jennifer for the insider tip! )

.. stacks of beautifully, hand painted plates piled high on a rustic wood table ..

.. tea cups, colored glassware & kitchen linen ..

.. i love, love the scent of this handmade soap from
Sweet Petula - milk & honey ..

.. so many choices.. 
any of these knobs are sure to sparkle on a new or vintage dresser