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.