Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Eve Menu for Deux

Trying to plan a New Year's Eve Menu. So far I have this:

Image via


Image via by peet-astn

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12 Things I love about Christmas

12 Things I love about Christmas
 Christ is Born

Image via

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12 Things I love about Christmas

12 Things I love about Christmas

Animals wearing reindeer antlers

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Things I love about Christmas

I wanted to take a moment and remember 12 Things I love about Christmas. In all the hustle and bustle, it is easy to lose yourself and what is important in this frantic pace. I'm trying to remember to slow down and appreciate everything, no matter how big or small. So, if you don't have enough on your plate, with parties, shopping, decorating, baking, entertaining, cooking, gift wrapping, etc... Please feel free to join me in this exercise. 

12 Things I love about Christmas

Snow Globes

{Image via}

Monday, December 5, 2011

Love Actually

If you are not in the Christmas spirit yet, hopefully this will help. It is a scene from one of my favorite Christmas movies. It makes me laugh every time I see it. I can so relate...


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm thankful for bloggers

During this season of thankfulness, I'm very grateful for many things, one of them is bloggers. Thank you for sharing your stories, thoughts and inspiration. I start most mornings by reading blogs and with a cup of tea. I love blogs so much, that I decided to join the conversation and start a blog. It has been such a pleasure reading your comments. Thank you for a glimpse into your world and thank you for sharing in mine.

{print by Jennifer Ramos on Etsy}

Monday, November 14, 2011

Finch Fest

Lately, there have been a lot of Lesser Goldfinches around. You could say it's been somewhat of a finch fest. I've seen one or two before at the bird bath, but when I hung up the finch feeder, the party really got started. On any given day, I've seen eight to ten bathing in the hot tub/bird bath or hanging from the "sock" feeder. There was not a huge investment to get the finch fest word out. The feeder only cost $5.00 and the thistle (the food of choice) was only around $8.00. The hours I've spent enjoying the finches... priceless. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rustic Pizza Night

There is nothing better than a homemade pizza. The crispy crust, the sauce from scratch and hand picked toppings, will make you want to stay in rather than go out, for a slice of pie. Until I get my wood burning stove from Italy, (ha, ha, dream on) this homemade dough recipe is the next best thing. It's actually Wolfgang-Puck's pizza dough recipe. We cook the pizza on a pizza stone to make the crust nice and crispy. For the sauce I use a Classic Marinara. Add your on toppings and cheese and you are ready for some fantastic pizza. Enjoy!

Classic Marinara:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3-4 large garlic cloves
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 can (35oz) whole italian tomatoes with juice (San Marzano) crushed with your hands
1 pinch sugar
2 sprigs fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, heat oil. Add garlic and cook over medium heat, until garlic is golden. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add canned tomatoes, stir in sugar, basil and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil. Simmer sauce over low heat for 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Panna Cotta

Ever since traveling to Italy, I've been obsessed by this dessert. It is one of those dishes that just melts in your mouth, literally!! My husband and I decided to try to recreate this creamy, decadent dessert. Panna Cotta is typically served with fresh fruit. We decided to serve ours with macerated blueberries and candid lemon peels.The panna cotta recipe that comes the closest to bringing me back to that wonderful food memory in Tuscany is this Gourmet recipe:


1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons cold water
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar, Plus 1 Tbs.
1 whole vanilla bean, (1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract)


1. In a very small saucepan sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand about 10 minute to soften.

2. In a large saucepan bring cream, half and half, and sugar just to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture and vanilla seeds. Divide cream mixture among eight 1/2-cup ramekins and cool to room temperature. Chill ramekins, covered, at least 4 hours or overnight.

3. Dip ramekins, 1 at a time, into a bowl of hot water 3 seconds. Run a thin knife around edge of each ramekin and invert ramekin onto center of a small plate.

Yield: Serves 8


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tree Planting

A couple of weekends ago, we planted a tree in the front yard of our new home. The neighborhood has lots of gorgeous, mature live oak trees, so I wanted a tree that was different and would be the focal point of our yard. After some extensive tree research, I settled on a Burr Oak. Yes, I know the acorns are huge and it is a slow grower, but I loved the leaf structure, texture on the bark and the deep green color on the leaves. 

(Please excuse the trash cans and garden hose in this picture)

Even though the tree is small right now, I can envision it fully grown, majestic in all its glory in the fall. We are planning on installing a flower bed around the base of the tree. I'm thinking of planting some xeriscape type plants in the bed. Even though it resembles the Charlie Brown Christmas tree right now, I love my little tree. I can't wait to decorate in the fall with the acorns and wonderful fall colored leaves.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Coffee Break

 Latte Art

Doesn't this inspire you to want to take a coffee break? 
I'm suddenly craving a latte.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butterflies, Bees and Caterpillars! Oh My!

After reading the Central Texas Gardener's blog post "Caterpillars to love with Meredith O'Reilly from Great Stems!", which mentioned the Spring Branch library's butterfly garden, I was inspired to visit this lovely garden this past weekend.

The weather was perfect and there were tons of butterflies floating around. 

 The bees were buzzing around everywhere. It looked like they were working over time.

Passion flower vines intermingled with a Hyacinth Bean Vine on a large teepee structure.

The garden, while not very large in size, takes full advantage of the space provided. It is very well thought out in design and purpose. 

 There is even a picnic table if you decide to pack a lunch. 
What a wonderful contribution to the community. 
To get directions to the Spring Branch library's butterfly garden, please click here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Paging Matt Lauer

Attention Matt Lauer, I made your favorite chicken dish. Have to admit this dish has become a favorite of mine as well. When I first heard the ingredients in this recipe, my initial reaction was Yuck!! I think it was the dried prunes that elicited the response. Once I tasted the dish, my reaction changed to YUM!! The sweet prunes nicely off set the vinegar and complimented the salty olives. This is one of those go-to dishes if you are having company for dinner. Just make sure to give it enough time to marinate.

 P.S. Matt I have leftovers in the fridge if you want to stop by.

I used the Silver Palate's Recipe or you can try Matt's Recipe. I don't think there is much difference in the two.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Support Your Independent Nursery Month: Antique Rose Emporium

I will choose an independent garden center any day over a big box store. They have plants that grow better in my local climate. Antique Rose Emporium is one of my favorite independent nurseries, since I live South of Austin and tend to visit  frequently. 

Top 5 Reasons I support the Antique Rose Emporium:

1.) Roses - They of course are known for their amazing selection of heirloom and disease resistant roses. 

2.) Free classes - Yes, you read that right. They offer a variety of classes on different subject matters to the general public. I just attended one on fall vegetable gardening. To get a list of the upcoming classes click here.

3.) Pots, fountains and bird baths - They have a lovely assortment of colorful pots, fountains and bird baths. I purchased my own bird bath from them and haven't been disappointed. 

4.) Herbs and vegetables - They have a great selection of seasonal herbs and veggies to plant. 

5.) Perennials - I have to admit this is why I frequent this nursery the most. They have a wonderful selection of tried and true perennials for South Texas. They carry unique and different plants that might be overlooked at the big box stores. You can also find out what is blooming or should I say "surviving" at any given time of year when you walk around the grounds at Antique Rose. The perennial beds are a great example of what will work in your garden. 

Antique Rose Emporium - 7561 East Evan Rd., San Antonio, TX 78266. Open Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm, Sun 11:00am-5:30pm

Monday, October 10, 2011

Kale Chips


Kale Chips are a healthy easy to make snack. All you need is some Kale (I like to use the dinosaur kale variety), olive oil, salt & pepper and parmesan cheese to garnish. That is it!! First, wash the kale and dry it very well. I usually put mine in a salad spinner to get the excess water off or you could pat it dry with a towel. Then rub your kale down with olive oil. Give it a nice little massage, making sure to get the olive oil into the kale. Season with salt & pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Garnish with parmesan cheese.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Raining...

We got just a little shower. Hopefully, this weekend we will get a good and steady rain.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Served with Cilantro and a Wedge of Lime

Wonderful roasted vegetable soup with a Thai twist.
Veggies Ready For Roasting

Spice Blend
Caramelized Goodness

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup Recipe:

1 Bunch Carrots peeled
1 Medium Sweet Potato peeled and sliced
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 medium Red Onion, Sliced
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Yellow Curry Powder
1 Teaspoon Red Curry Powder
Olive oil
1 Clove Garlic, Sliced
2 inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 can Coconut Milk
3 cups Chicken Broth

Arrange chopped veggies on a large baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over them and bake and 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. 

In a large soup pot, combine 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and ginger. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Add your roasted veggies, spice blend and chicken broth. Puree in a blender, food processor or break out the boat motor (hand held blender). Blend until smooth.

Stir in your coconut milk. Serve with a wedge of lime and cilantro.