Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fall Porch Preview

Hey Everyone!
Hope you all have a fantastic weekend planned. 
Thought I'd pop in for a minute to say hi and to share a sneak peek of our Fall porch.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook and read my last status update, you know I had a little problem with my thryoid meds last month and it finally caught up with me...It through me out of commission and I'm slowly getting my energy back. 
Ya know it's bad when you don't even have enough energy to blog surf!
I have a LOT of blog reading to catch up on, for sure!

Enough about that... I'm currently working on decorating the porch for Fall.  I have a little project for the porch planned for today, so hopefully my craft room is stocked with what I need.

This year I brought out a wreath from a couple of years ago. My plan was to use what I had, so I could save some money. 
That was my plan....

....until I stopped by Walmart. I was there yesterday when the bins of pumpkins were just filled to the brim. The price for the large pumpkins was $3.88. The pumpkins don't count, because went in there knowing I'd be buying a few of those anyway. lol. 
But I hadn't counted on finding chrysanthemums...or buying so many...even if they were only $3.33 each.
I left with 4, then went back later that evening to get 6 more. 
So much for not spending any money decorating the Fall porch.
In my defense, I usually pick up a bouquet of flowers at Trader Joe's, but didn't when I was there on Thursday, so that made up for at least 1/2 of the mums. 
Don't ya just love how I justified that?
 Anyone else guilty?

That's all I'm going to share of the porch, for now. 
Don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to the trees changing color and to when the yard will look like this:

One thing I don't like about Fall is all the leaves. This year, though, I can't wait, because we're going to make a huge pile. After shredding them and piling them up, we're going to just let them sit there and compost to make some good black dirt for our veggie garden. I discovered this last Spring after forgetting about a pile of shredded leaves from last Fall.
 Gotta love that kind of diy accident!
Why am I so happy about having a big pile of black dirt next Spring? Because I won't have to buy a bunch of bags of organic dirt from the big box store. Should save me at least $50. Ha! That will pay for the porch decorating.(justifying again...hehe)

That's all for now...gotta go rest (lol), then work on finishing the porch. Hope to be posting (and visiting) on Monday.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Fall Veggie Garden

I am so enjoying these cooler days, aren't you?
 We've had a couple of warm days, but the nights and mornings have cooled off to the point where you could wear long sleeves or a light jacket. My Fall veggie garden is all planted, except for another row of potatoes and I'm not sure if I'll get to planting those. 
The tomato plants are producing another round of good sized fruit and I've just harvested the first of the radishes I planted a few weeks ago.

The peppers are doing beautifully now. The sweet peppers didn't set at all while the weather was super hot. These hot peppers always had peppers growing on them, though. Not sure what I'm going to do with these since none of us like to eat them. I thought the seeds were yellow sweet peppers. Surprise!

They actually turn a pretty shade of red if they stay on the plant long enough.

The green peppers are about half way done.

I planted snap peas last month, as well and they are already starting to flower.

The marigolds did really well in the hot weather we had this summer. They have taken over the raised bed with the tomatoes and peppers. Look at all the buds that will be blooming soon. Now you know what to plant if you have hot summers!

The hot weather was really brutal on the lettuce I planted in the shade a couple of months ago. It didn't even grow large enough to harvest.

The romaine lettuce I planted about 3 weeks ago is finally doing well. Looks like this batch is going to make it. We had a little hot spell last week and some torrential rain last night, but fortunately I covered them with a wood frame with black screen. The little seedlings behind were just planted last week and are already coming up. Had I not covered them with a screen last night, they would have all been washed away in the downpour last night. See, I've learned a thing or two!

This particular kind of Romaine did really well in early Spring and it tasted great!
It's called "Cos" Romaine. It's crunchy and tasty, too.
I planted some broccoli plants, but am having a little trouble with those getting nibbled on in the middle of the night. Hope I get a few heads from the garden. I also planted carrots which are about 6 inches tall. 
A whole bunch of cucumber seeds came up in the compost pile, so I planted them. We'll see if they can produce any cucumbers before the first frost in November. It's a race against time.

Well, now you're up to date on the Fall veggie garden. Anyone else planting any veggies this Fall? If you're new to gardening, you can always plant some lettuce in a container. Lettuce is an easy cool season veggie and looks pretty as it grows.
I almost forgot that I will be planting some garlic in October! Better get some asap.

Hope you have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Tablescape

This Fall is something to celebrate, especially after such a HOT summer. I'm even hoping for a COLD winter with lots of snow so that all the mosquitoes will be gone and next summer there will be fewer of them. I don't know about you but  it seems like every time I go outside for  5 minutes, I come in with at least 3 mosquito bites. I'd put a long white sleeved shirt on if I was going out to work in the garden, but I always thought I could get away without being bitten if I was only going out for 5 minutes. 


Ah, but I digress...

I've changed up the Breakfast Table decor to incorporate more muted tones of blue and green, with some brown and orange thrown in for good measure.

I keep the Breakfast Table simple. 
Y'all know it doesn't have to be fancy or perfect to be beautiful, right? 
I used my second favorite salad plates that I found many years ago at Marshall's. The dinner plates are Mikasa, Italian Countryside. They go with everything. Gotta love that!

Just use whatever you have, and if you don't have much, take a walk out to your yard and see what pods or nuts are out there. Just remember to freeze any nuts you bring in for at least a week in order to kill any critters!

See, simple....not too cluttered.

There you have it....Fall in the Breakfast Room.
I'm looking forward to making chicken stew next week. What are you looking forward to this Fall?


Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Fall Vignette

The weather has been pretty gorgeous around here and I hope you are enjoying your weather, as well.
Mornings are cool; a telltale sign that Fall will be here soon.  Cooler weather has me thinking about making chicken stew again, wearing cozy sweaters and boots and of course, decorating for Fall. 

This past week I was going to be up in Charlotte and stopped off at Pottery Barn because I had a gift card from last Christmas. They had so many beautiful vignettes and tablescapes; so much inspiration! I think I walked the entire store 3 times before deciding what to get. 

Despite their gorgeous items, I still have trouble buying anything there, even if I did have a gift card.  Is it just me or any of you feel the same way? 

I pulled together some things I already had from around the house to create a vignette in the Foyer.

The blue Ball jars are from two different antique malls, the footed silver tray was found on Ebay awhile back and the faded golden dried hydrangeas are from my neighbor's yard.  The framed sunflower art has a long time place on the dresser in the Foyer. It used to be hung in the hallway across from the Powder Room.

My antique keys look great in the tarnished footed silver tray.

I ended up getting two things from my Pottery Barn visit. One was a pillow cover, which I will show you another time; the other are the gilded acorns in the large Ball jar. (I can't believe I paid what I did for them)
After going to Pottery Barn, I stopped off at HomeGoods on the way home. LOVE that place...especially when I find something  that's expensive (somewhere else) for so much less. 

There's still so much more Fall decorating to do around here, but first I have to find the decorations in the Basement, which has been in disarray lately. I should have known to put the Fall decorations up front instead of buried in the bottom in the back!

Do you have a favorite store (website, catalog, or actual store) for Fall decorating inspiration?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins

Last week I gave you a peek of some muffins I made.

Yep, I made them, 
not Mr. Fanatic.

You might think I'm a little nuts to be proud of these, but I am because the recipe is something I adapted from another recipe. No small feat, considering I don't really like to cook.

Now that the mornings are cooler and Fall is fast approaching, these muffins would be great to make for breakfast. My girls loved them when they were little and I made them often when we lived in California.
The sad thing is that after we moved into our house 12 years ago, I misplaced the recipe and never made them again, until now.

A few months ago, I tore through all my cookbooks, recipe folder and recipe box(like they get used a lot by me. lol), determined to find that darn recipe. 

After going through them several times, I went through the recipes on the cards in my recipe box one more time, but this time, I took out each recipe card that  I kept in a plastic sleeve. Lo and behold, the missing recipe for my pumpkin muffins was stuck in between a double, folded over card. 

Can't tell you how happy I was!
I think I was actually jumping up and down after finding it!!!

The recipe is a healthier, low fat version of the pumpkin bread recipe that everyone has. I make the pumpkin
bread at Thanksgiving and Christmas. A loaf of pumpkin bread makes a good  hostess gift or part of a larger gift, too.

 Here's the Low Fat Pumpkin Muffin recipe:

Blend together:
2 egg whites
1  whole egg
1 cup honey
 then add 1 cup canned pumpkin

In a separate bowl blend with a wisk:
1 2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour (this isn't regular whole wheat flour and HAS to be Bob's Red Mill because it is a really finely ground flour)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to liquid. Mix just until blended.  Fill greased muffin tins almost full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Makes 17 muffins.

* I bought Bob's Red  Mill flour off Amazon since I couldn't find it anywhere in my area. I tried using a couple of other brands of whole wheat pastry flour, but they were too coarsely ground and the muffins didn't taste as good.

 The muffins taste great with a little butter. Who am I kidding? They taste great with a LOT of butter. But, since the muffins themselves are lower in fat...ok, now I'm justifying!
The muffins are still high in carbs(because of the honey), so I TRY to make them on a day when everyone is home or am going somewhere that I'm sharing. 

Thought I'd include the pumpkin bread that I adapted the recipe from and make at Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Combine and mix well:
2 eggs( beaten)
1 1/2 cups sugar
Set aside

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil (I use safflower or canola)
1/4 cup water
Blend thoroughly

In another bowl, combine:
1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add dry ingredients to wet and blend thoroughly.

Bake in greased large loaf pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees. This recipe will fill 3 small loaf pans, as well. Bake the small loaf pans for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Hope you try the recipes and like them as much as I do!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Vintage Treasures And A Soup Tureen

Hope ya'll had a fantastic week and weekend. Our daughter had a week off of college while the Democratic Convention was in town, so we headed on up to Chicago to visit Mr. Fanatic's mom.
We drove.
It was a lonnnnnnng 13 hour + drive.
Each way.
I don't want to eat fast food for awhile, which is all that's available on a long road trip.

Our daughter celebrated her 19th birthday on Friday and we went to a restaurant where the chef was a cast member on Hell's Kitchen, which is one of her favorite shows. We also drove into Chicago, so she and the friend she brought on the trip could go shopping. Mr. Fanatic and I found a HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, then stopped off at the Corner Bakery Cafe because they had wireless internet. After that we stopped off at the Marriott, found some comfy chairs with ottomans, put our feet up and I got somewhat caught up on my blog visiting, while the girls finished shopping on the Magnificent Mile. 
As you can tell, I'm not one for shopping for new stuff. Antique shopping is another story.

Now that you're all caught up, I wanted to share a few things my mother in law gave me. The first photo shows a closeup of the detail of a vintage embroidered linen tablecloth. I'm a sucker for these lovely handmade beauties. She said the tablecloth was her mother's (and she's 91).
The tablecloth has been very well taken care of and seems to be made of cotton, as it's very soft. 

Here you can see the size of the tablecloth. It will be perfect to use as a topper on our dining room table .

My mother in law also gave me the white soup tureen. I've been looking for one just like it for awhile now on ebay for a few years, but hadn't been able to find one. I can't wait to use it in a few weeks for my chicken stew.

The tureen is in perfect condition and even has a ladle.

The stack of cloth napkins have embroidered cutwork.
Can't wait to set a gorgeous table with all the new treasures.

The question of the day is would you rather go antique shopping or clothes shopping?


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Keep Your Breakfast Room Pretty

Hey Everyone! Hope you all are having a great  day and are doing something creative. You know that being creative doesn't have to be painting or making could just be doing something you haven't done before or improvising something you usually do. My mom used to say necessity is the mother of invention and inventing a new way of doing something is definitely creative. That's my thought for the on to a little update.

First off, I wanted to give you an update on the hydrangeas I've been propagating.

As you might recall, I started a few cuttings back in June; you can see that post  HERE.I put four cuttings in our Breakfast window and hoped for the best. I used seltzer bottles (cut in half) to make little greenhouses. I tried to keep them watered, but you know how that goes, don't you?
Of course, I let two of them dry out and they died. That's why you always plant more than you need!
I'm happy to tell you that the cuttings have grown new leaves and are establishing roots...
I'm so excited!
I've read that you can make cuttings up until October and I might just go take a few more cuttings because I love hydrangeas, don't you?

I wanted to share a little find I'm thrilled with. Can't remember how much it cost, but you know it was cheap because I don't like to spend a lot of money. Found it at HomeGoods, of course. It's a simple painted cloth rug and of course, it's washable. Plus, the colors are my and green. This little addition adds a little more prettiness to the room.

It looks great in my Breakfast Room. And yes, I keep my table set like this all the time. I just re-set the table after dinner at night. It's simple things like this that help keep our Breakfast Room pretty.

I know you've seen this place setting before, but it's my favorite. Fall will be here before you know it and the table will be changing up very soon.

Couldn't wait for Fall and made some healthy pumpkin muffins that taste good  even though they don't have any sugar,  are low fat and made with whole wheat pastry flour. I'm so proud of myself because I created this recipe myself and y'all know that I don't cook much!
You'll have to wait for the recipe another time...Sorry about that! Will explain later.