Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm a bad blogger.

I suppose I should have gotten coal in my stocking for being such a terrible blogger. But I didn't. Here are some of my Christmas gifts! And I promise to share what I have been up to for a couple of months. I have lots of photos!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If Only . . .

Sometimes when I'm sitting in court listening to my fellow counselors and the judge, I think about this odd tv show, "Cop Rock." One day, maybe they will break out into song. I bet the bailiffs could do a fabulous number. Can you believe this was actually on Primetime? Funny stuff.

30 Gifts Under $25: No. 27

Wishbone Key Ring

I love this simple silver key Ring from Sundance. It is only $15. I think it'd be a nice teacher gift. . . something a little different.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Upgrade recently?

If you've upgraded your cell phone lately, you probably have an old one laying around. We did. We donated ours to Cell Phones For Soldiers this weekend. It's very easy. Just go to the website and print out a postage paid label. Drop it in the mail and it will be sent to a soldier. This helps all our troops keep in contact with their loved ones. Donate yours, please.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

30 Gifts Under $25: No. 28

The Microplane

This is a must-have for the kitchen! I love this little tool. It is one of my most-used kitchen tools. I use it for citrus zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, you name it. If you have a cook in your family, get him or her one of these. It would be a lovely gift with a bottle of whole nutmeg for grating. You could even include a few recipes that list nutmeg as an ingredient.

Friday, November 14, 2008

30 Gifts Under $25: No. 29

Pecan & Raspberry Kringles from O&H Bakery

These things are fabulous. I first tried the O&H Kringle in law school, when a classmate brought one in for an ealry morning Mediation Class. Her mom had sent it to her. The bakery is in Wisconsin and it must be a magical place to produce such sweet delight! The Kringle is moist, flaky and delicious. Anyone on your list with a sweet tooth would surely like to receive one or two of these!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

30 Gifts Under $25: No. 30

I have been inspired by some old posts of Jordan Ferney at Oh Happy Day to do a "30 Gifts Under $25" post. I'm starting now since I know a lot of friends and family have already started their shopping. So here goes ...
From Lollyphile - Lollipops in three neat flavors: maple-bacon, absinthe, and wasabi-ginger! Not your average Christmas candy! You can buy 12 for $24.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Living Room Do-Over

I have taken on the living room this week. We started painting on Sunday and I finished most of the work today (since it was a holiday from work.) I used Valspar in Martha Stewart Signature Colors. I really liked this paint, great coverage. I was painting ove a dark brown, and it worked really well. The walls are "bamboo mat" and the trim is "bakery box." Don't you just love that? I also bought quarts of "wading pool," "vintage map," and "boathouse blue." I plan on painting various pieces of furniture and frames and such. There are quite a few other projects to do still: 1) patchwork pillows 2) framed embroidery 3) painting to hang above the sofa 4) family trees 5) paint lamps & buy new shades. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.

I apologize for posting this late, but I have had massive computer problems as of late (resulting in the loss of all our drivers - yes, this means the camera too!) However, I'm back up and running and happy to report that I received my Blogging By Mail package! I received lots of treats sent to me all the way from Canada! The lovely owner of the blog "It's the Little Things" sent a fabulous box of goodness. The package contained the following items:

* pumpkin-shaped candy & cookie confection in a cookie cutter
*"Life Is Good" luggage tag
*cute little vase
*lemon-scented candles
*weekly magnetic calendar
*shiny lip gloss
*recipe cards
*flour sack dishtowels
*scrapping materials
*good-smelling shower stuff

Thank you for the delightful package. And thanks to the organizer of this swap-by-mail, Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness.


Bunny-rific Birthday.

My niece is now 2 (which is hard to believe!) I made her birthday cake again this year. Her "security blanket" is her bunny. So I decided to go with a bunny theme. I thought it turned out very well. The cake was vanilla bean with swiss meringue buttercream frosting. I made the bunny and the carrots from fondant and the fence pickets from gumpaste. The dirt is crushed Oreos. She was delighted with it, which totally made it worth the time and effort. I made carrot cake cupcakes for the adults with a little fondant carrot on top of each one. Another successful bbirthday I think!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yummy stuff.

I want this! This book is from a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I have baked up a few of their recipes before. The Sweet & Salty Cake was featured on Martha 2 Christmases ago. It is sooooooo good. I can't wait to get my hands on this!

I'm alive.

I'm still here. Just had some technological difficulties. I have all sorts of photos to share, but our computer hard drive was fried recently. It has taken a while to get everything back to normal. I will be posting some neat things soon, I promise.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Martha blogs too.

Martha Stewart recently devoted an entire show to blogs and their bloggers. She is having a contest. Submit your blog here!

Friday, September 26, 2008


We bought one of our local 4-H Club's lambs from the state fair. It is being delivered today. I'm so excited. Oh the possibilities! Our deep freezer awaits. Here are some recipes I'm thinking of trying: Grilled Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Molasses, Proscuitto and Cheese Stuffed Lamb Tenderloin, Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Butter, Lamb Medallions With Black Olive Wine Sauce, and Moroccan Braised Lamb Shanks.
{photo from gettyimages}

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome Autumn.

We celebrated the First Day of Fall by decorating our front porch. I also baked a pumpkin pie, which we enjoyed after a walk with Nigel (the not so good dog) around the neighborhood. Parker (the good dog) stayed home, as he has a natural hatred for the felines and they tend to run rampant in the evenings. I also have plans to make pumpkin butter and cinnamon swirl bread sometime this week. Happy Autumn.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hot off the presses!

I am so looking forward to these two books. They are both to be released in October. I have recently fallen in love with Domino Magazine. And am a longtime fan of Martha, of course. I absolutely love her baking book. It is so informative. I really learned a lot from it.

Mad Men.

We love this show. It is absolutely fabulous. The acting and writing are superb and the sets/clothing are to die for. The characters have so much depth. It is one of the best shows ever put on television in my opinion. If you aren't already watching, WATCH. You won't be sorry. Sundays @10 on AMC. Oh, and it just won an Emmy for best tv drama. So it's not just me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Festival Frenzy.

It's a really fun time in East Tennessee. Both the Hola Festival and Greekfest are next weekend. You can sample latin foods from MANY countries, including Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Honduras, and Cuba. At Greekfest, you can tour the Greek Orthodox church, see traditional Greek dancing, try souvlaki, pastitsio, spanikopita and greek pastries. Both are great family events. If you are near Knoxville and looking for something fun to do next weekend be sure to check it out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Garden Time.

My poor little tired garden isn't looking so fine anymore. I have a few different kinds of plants that are still producing: kohlrabi, swiss chard, eggplants, carrots. I moved all my pumpkins out to the front porch and I'll be cutting down the cornstalks this weekend to add to my display of autumnal joy. Everything else has bitten the proverbial dust. And it is FINALLY getting cooler! So it's time to plant some fall crops. Here's the plan: shallots and early italian garlic (for a spring harvest), baby's leaf & Avon spinach, endive, arugula, red russian kale, pak choi joi choi (chinese cabbage), buttercrunch lettuce, and radicchio red surprise.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Check out these free desktop wallpapers from Cecily Ink. I like having the calendar on my desktop an awful lot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

S'mores in a Cupcake?

I made these for our family picnic two weekends ago. I had seen them on Martha a while back and wanted to try them, but hadn't gotten around to it. I thought they'd be a fun and portable dessert for a picnic. I also made an Italian Jam Tart (which I forgot to take a photo of, but I'll post the recipe sometime since it was sooooo easy and delicious.) Plus, I finally got to use the culinary torch Scott got for Christmas last year. (We just never seem to get around to creme brulee.) I used giant cupcake liners, so I only got about half the yield. Everyone ended up cutting them in half, but I thought they looked cooler in big form.
Makes 2 dozen
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Marshmallow Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

The Lone Melon.

It's sad but true. Only one watermelon survived whatever that was that was eating the babies and the blooms. Way to go, little melon. However, meet your arch nemesis, the melon baller.

Grilled to Perfection.

We grill pizza. Yep, right there on the plain 'ol gas grill. No fancy pizza stones. People seem shocked by this. Trust me. It doesn't stick to the grates. The trick is to have a VERY hot grill when you throw on the dough. Grill on one side then flip it over and put your toppings on the already-grilled side. Then slide the pizza back onto the grill (I use the wrong side of a cookie sheet often, as you can see.) Here's the recipe we use for crusts.

1 pk Yeast
1/2 ts Sugar
2 tb Olive oil
2 c Flour -- to 2 1/4 c
1/2 ts Salt
1/3 c Warm water
1/3 c Warm water
Soften yeast in 1/3 c warm water for 5 minutes. Add 2 c flour and the rest of the ingredients. Knead til smooth, adding additional flour as needed. Place in greased bowl and cover and let sit til doubled. Punch down and roll out to fit pizza pan. Or just stretch to your desired shape and size if you're grilling. I like an oval for grilling.

Source: Gourmet Magazine.

Purple Potatoes!

These are my precious purple potatoes. Fresh from my garden. They are actually "Russian Blue Potatoes." Aren't they pretty? Not too pretty to eat though. We just tossed these with some olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper and grilled them in a metal grill basket. Yum.

Gingerbread Blueprints.

It's time for me to start planning for my gingerbread house. Every year I participate in a gingerbread competition. Last year I particiapted in two, the Fantasy of Trees in Knoxville and the National Gingerbread Competition in Asheville, NC. I won a blue ribbon at the FOT. I won second place the year before (for the house in the photos.) Unfortunately, due to my criminal court schedule I won't be able to go to the national competition this year. But I will be at FOT. This year's theme is "There's No Business Like Snow Business." I'm thinking about a "Hollywood" (emphasis on the "holly") theme. Maybe something like Rodeo Drive with Santa's sleigh loaded down with shopping bags from the designer shops. We'll see. I'llbe sure to post updates when I get started.