Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall Gingerbread and Transferware

One of my favorite fall breads is gingerbread. There's just something about ginger, cinnamon, cloves and rich molasses that make it so delicious.

I love to pair fall foods with my brown transferware. I'm certain it makes everything taste better.

I purchased the transferware several years ago when I came across them at Home Goods. I bought twelve bowls, salad plates, and dinner plates as I thought they would make wonderful Thanksgiving dinner ware.

This is what the pattern looks like. I love the birds with the flower adornment.

This is the mark on the back.

This monogrammed 'B' silverplate was my Grandmother's everyday ware, but I keep it tucked away for special occasions. I actually found an entire set of this pattern at a flea market, but without the monogram. I wonder where one would bring silverware these days for monogramming?

Gingerbread Recipe:

2 cups organic all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup low-fat organic buttermilk
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup organic molasses
1/4 cup organic low-fat milk
1/4 cup organic canola oil
2 large organic eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour through cloves in a large bowl with whisk. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk through eggs and stir with whisk. Pour into flour mixture, stirring until moist.

Bake for 45 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan. Enjoy.

Happy last weekend of October to you! xo

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nesting Instincts

My nesting instincts have always been quite strong. Even as far back as my teenage years, I can remember devouring the pages of Colonial Home and Victoria magazines. 

Many years later and seven months pregnant, my nesting instincts are as strong as ever. Not only do they motivate me to create a lovely nursery for our little ones, but they propel me to organize the house from top to bottom!

In fact, my Mom's visit this past week was centered around feathering our nest (with tasks organized on paper in my favorite form - a 'to do' list).

The list included tasks such as organizing our coat closet...

...Trading summer coats for fall and winter, and filling baskets with scarves and mittens.

We also mopped the kitchen floor, ran a few errands, and of course, worked on finishing up the last details of the nursery.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

Thanks to our recent warm Indian summer days, we're finally able to pick some of our heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes have been drastically behind this year due to the cool early summer. But the autumn sun has helped nudge these voluptuous fruits to ripeness.

The basil is done growing for the season. I made lots of pesto through the summer which we happily enjoyed with pasta, pizza (in place of tomato sauce), and sandwiches much like the one shown above. So in place of pesto, I've been using sliced avocado instead.

The recipe includes: a crusty loaf of organic whole wheat bread, a sweet tomato, organic avocado and organic provolone cheese. I toast the bread first, then add avocado, tomato and cheese and bake it in the oven for a few minutes until cheese has melted.

It's the perfect way to eat a fresh picked tomato on a beautiful fall day.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A House Plant

We have a new house house plant living with us. I thought our Eastlake plant stand could use some company as I couldn't keep it appointed with fresh bouquets as often as I would like. The fact that I chose a spider plant is quite funny because as a child, I was deathly afraid of my parents' spider plant. This was because my young imagination believed that actual spiders (most likely thousands) made their home in it.

This house plant acquisition (which I couldn't help but thoroughly examine for spider inhabitants) was instigated by my Mom, who sent me the following note not too long ago.

It read:

Now just to give some history, my Mom and I talk on the phone often (almost daily). She lives in California. Nevertheless, I think my Mom still thinks I'm off at college and getting something in the mail makes me feel loved. Ok, it does.

The things she sends in the mail tid bits like the above, articles on river and wetland restoration (for Hubby), recipes, and then there's the hard goods such as holiday decorations, clothing, books, pruning shears and twine...and most recently, lots and lots of baby clothes.

My Mom is actually coming to visit next week and truth be told, I'll miss getting that little something special in the mail. Although I wouldn't put it past her to mail something on her way to the airport.

Love her. xo

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall Hydrangea

Our cool rainy weekend prompted me to clip a bouquet of fall hydrangeas. I call them 'fall' hydrangeas because by this time of year their white and cream summer hues have aged into vibrant pink and fuscia.

Their color turns before the leaves of the deciduous trees, so they provide the first glimpse of the landscape bidding farewell to summer and embracing the crisp cool air of autumn.

This is the season in which I feel the least guilty making bouquets of hydrangeas for the house. All summer long I watch them grow and blossom, but can't seem to find the nerve to make bouquets without guilt. This time of year I know that they're winding down and may enjoy the comfort of a warm house.

I often tell Hubby to compose photos so that my face isn't in the picture. This is due to simple shyness (something I don't tolerate with Hubby obviously). As you can see, I'm in my usual country bumpkin attire...warm sweater, jeans and one of my last maternity shirts that still fits!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Walnut Bread

Of course I couldn't make pumpkin soup and pumpkin birthday cake without making some yummy pumpkin bread. The aroma of it baking in the oven elicited the warmest of warm fall fuzzies. I love the smell of's the coziest spice of all.

I used an Epicurious recipe (found here).

I think this will be it for pumpkin recipes for awhile. But come November, I'll make pumpkin pies. Also, due to the abundance of pumpkins the garden produced this year (I counted twenty-five yesterday), I may make Pumpkin Walnut Bread to give as gifts over the holidays.

Our pumpkin plant, on average, was supposed to produce four to five not sure how ours exploded to five times that amount. Perhaps the pumpkins were trying to make up for the tomatoes that didn't fair so well.

Happy pumpkin season to you! xo

Monday, October 4, 2010

Six Years

We celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary this weekend. I think it's been our favorite anniversary so far. We didn't go on a special getaway or even out for a nice dinner. We were home the entire day working on the nursery and it felt wonderful.

Our vision for the nursery has evolved over the last several months. This has been due to our budget and the decorating resources that are available. And as all of our house projects go, we've been following our instincts along the way.

But I'm so thrilled to say that Hubby has finished the painting, the wood floors have been mopped, and today the antique French armoire was moved in. Everything else will hopefully come together very soon!

A lot of the final details are now dependent on the postal system. This is because I've tried to avoid the arduous task of driving into the city and have ordered several things online. Not too long ago, a trip into the big city was something to look forward to. But at seven months pregnant, my feet begin to swell and my back begins to ache just thinking about it!

Happy October wishes to you. xo

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