Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ch-eat Defined


1)  semi-homemade;  packaged products combined with fresh ingredients that yield a tasty result 

2)  pretense or trick:  "No, I didn't soak and cook dried navy beans but used canned ones; it was a total ch-eat."
3)  an impostor: "The marinara sauce was a ch-eat and even fooled her grandmother because it tasted like it had  simmered for hours."

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Place for Everything...

I have been inspired by the The Nester's series called "31 Days to a Better Dressed Nest."  She has some great, realistic, do-able ideas to make home a haven.

One thing that has seriously helped me on a daily basis is this jewelry organizer than I got at Stein Mart for about $15.

This is a hanging organizer for jewelry (although I'm sure you can use it for many other things!) that is two-sided, with 33 pockets on each side!  This baby is amazing!  I use it to stash my necklaces and bracelets so that things don't get tangled up in a wad.  The three pockets on the bottom are larger than the others for oversized items.

One thing I love about this is that it holds almost every piece of jewelry I own and it takes up virtually no space.  I have limited drawer space in my bathroom dressing area, so it's nice that this organizer can hang from a door knob or closet rod.

The other organizer that has improved my home are these Ikea plastic storage bins called Krus.

These are available in 3 different depths and have 2 removeable dividers.  I use them for everything!  The large ones hold craft supplies (glue guns, glue sticks, rubber cement, etc.) and the more shallow ones fit neatly in drawers to hold pens and pencils, crayons, etc. or even toothpaste, makeup, and cotton balls in the bathroom.  These are kinda pricey but are indispensable to me!

One thing I have learned about organization is that I need to take baby area at a time so that I don't get overwhelmed.  Another thing I have learned is that having less stuff means I'll need fewer items to corral the clutter. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time Stood Still

I went to Ross (similar to TJ Maxx) recently and spied this clock.
  Is this cool or what?!

Galvanized metal, vintage look, what's not to love?!

Here's another perspective:

This was 40 bucks, which isn't too bad given that it was oversized and très chic!  I'm thinking about it...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn's Bounty - Pears

A friend of mine who lives in the country decided to share her bounty of pears.   She brought me a large paper sack of them but told me that they're cooking pears only.  I have no idea what variety they are except that they are very hard, almost like an apple.

My husband is allergic to apples, so I thought this might be a great chance for him to have a tender fruit crisp with the warm, fall flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar plus chewy oats and crunchy walnuts for contrast.

Harvest Pear Crisp
Recipe from Cooking Light magazine, September 2002

6 cups pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" thick slices (about 3 lbs.)
1 T. lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (divided use)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. butter, chilled
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 2 qt. glass pyrex baking dish.

Combine pears and lemon juice in baking dish, toss to coat.  Combine cornstarch, granulated sugar, and 1 tsp. cinnamon, then sprinkle over pears, tossing to coat.

Combine flour, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor.  Pulse a couple of times until blended.  Add chilled butter and pulse until mixture looks coarse.  Add oats and walnuts and pulse a couple of times more.  Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over pear mixture

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until pears are tender and topping is golden brown.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  (NOTE:  This can also be reheated in the microwave later--if it lasts that long!)

Warm and comforting pear crisp
Serves 8 with 285 calories per serving (excluding ice cream!)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hello World!

This is my first attempt at writing a post.  I must admit, it is a little intimidating when I look at the beautiful, professional blogs out there already.  Will anything I say be relevant or interesting?  Maybe this first time out, I will just comment on what I like.  Easy breezy, right?


I love the clean, simple look of white slipcovers. I think it would be great to just pop them in the washer to freshen things up.  Stains happen.  It's a pricey and sometimes impossible proposition to erase them.  Yup, I'm all for the Big Coverup.

Now do I even own any of these lovelies?  No, because I cannot sew a stitch!  But my friend, Lisa, and I may be bartering: my homemade cooking for her stitchery skills!  I think I'm getting the better end of that deal!

40's Pottery

I love American art pottery from the 40's:  McCoy, Red Wing, Haegar.  Maybe I love it because I remember it from my childhood.  My mom had a square aqua vase that held lilacs in the Spring.  The shapes can be really interesting, especially the vases.

I think it looks best displayed en masse in a one or two colorways.  I tend to prefer the matte glazes.  I have a few pieces of white, some peachy-pink vases, and that square aqua vase from mom (but no lilacs in the Spring--sniff!).

Garden ornaments--indoors or out!

I like the sometimes crusty look of garden statues, ornaments and implements.  Some are refined, some are rustic, but I like them all.  (Gnomes and mushrooms need not apply!)

Cottage style in all its simplicity

There is something so homey and comforting about cottage style.  It reminds me of my roots in small-town America. Cottage style brings me back to a place where people are more important than possessions.  Where self worth isn't measured by net worth.  I miss that.  I want it again.  And cottage style brings me back to that place where I belong.  Home.

See you next time!