Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baked Goods

If there's a bakery in town, I'll find it. Bakeries - the smell of them, the feel of them...are just some of the coziest places on earth. I especially love the ones that use organic whole grains and other ingredients. But I'll admit, any case full of muffins, breads, cookies and pies melts my heart.

I made these Banana Walnut muffins to quench a bakery craving. It was about midnight and we had just put the babies down to sleep. For some reason, I started to think muffins (then sleep). Two very ripe bananas spurred me on and before you knew it, the house smelled like goodness.

This recipe comes from one of my new favorite baking books, "Gluten-Free Baking Classics" by Annalise Roberts. But this batch came from a gift tin that my friend Karen gave us at Christmas, so all I had to do was add the bananas, milk, eggs and oil.

Made me think I should have these 'just add..' tins on hand at all times.


2 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 packed cup very ripe banana
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Add bananas and walnuts; stir to coat evenly.
3. Combine milk and oil in small bowl; remove 1 tablespoon of combined liquid and discard it. Beat in eggs. Add liquids to banana mixture and stir until just blended.
4. Fill muffin pans (makes a dozen). Bake 18-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on rack.

Here's the recipe for Huckleberry Muffins from the same book.

Monday, January 17, 2011


When I was a Music/Art major in college, I visited a home with the most amazing collection of original art work. The home inspired me because the people who lived there were not wealthy by any means. In fact, you could probably call them 'starving artists.'

Nevertheless, they had an amazing collection that included paintings by well-known regional artists as well as unsigned paintings found at tag sales.

It was a collection that they had been working on for many years and it was a collection they acquired passionately. And it showed. Their house breathed a wonderful sense of vitality because of it.

My collection of paintings has been greatly inspired by them. Here are a few of my favorites.

18 x 14

I bought this Eric Jacobsen painting, unframed, at a fundraiser for our local art gallery. Months later, I happened to find an antique frame that fit it perfectly (see this post). The painting in the first photo was also purchased at the same fundraiser, and is by the same artist. I found an antique frame ($15) that happened to fit it as well.

15 x 18

This still life was purchased at Matthews Gallery in Portland. I had taken the owner a few paintings for him to appraise, and ended up trading them for this piece.

18 x 23

This piece is a reproduction of the The Torn Hat by Thomas Sully. It's signed by a well-known Seattle artist. I purchased it for $60. I found an old wood frame for $20 and had it cut down to fit the piece for another $20.

28 x 15

This is one of my favorite pieces. I love the companionship of the horses. It was a rare find in that the original frame was in pristine condition. I paid $120. Margaret and Graham have taken a liking to this one too!

9 x 13

13 x 9

A few years ago, an artist friend of mine allowed me to raid her seconds bin in her art studio. This pair of landscapes paired nicely with these antique Victorian frames ($45 each).

26 x 19

This piece is one of the largest pieces I've acquired. The frame drew me in as it's a beautiful chunky gold frame with clean lines and a wide profile. I knew the frame alone was worth the cost of the painting - $225.

17 x 22

I did a post on her here. I found this portrait unframed for $44. When I got home, I was thrilled that she happened to fit into this antique floral frame I had picked up several months prior ($20). My friend Steve described the frame poignantly as a beautiful 'dress' for her.

13 x 11

This is done by a local artist, Cathleen Rehfeld. Cathleen's work lovingly captures the essence of the landscape in our region. I bought it unframed and paired it with an antique frame I had cut down to size by a frame restorationist for $100.

16 x 13

This lone oak is by the same artist. I had this frame cut down as well.

As you can see, I'm especially drawn to landscapes and portraits. And I love finding beautiful antique paintings, but I also collect new art that offers that classic Hudson Valley School aesthetic.

I look forward to continuing to grow our collection. The vibrancy of the art is one of the reasons I'm so drawn to having white walls in our home. I love the way the neutral wall contrasts with the brilliance of the gold frames and the lovely imagery of the paintings.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Holiday Scenes

Greetings! I hope that everyone had the happiest of holidays - I can hardly believe we're into the New Year! As you can imagine, things have been busy around here. I did find a moment to take a quick photo of the kitchen shelves - which happens to be the only photograph I took of the house over the holidays!

The transfer ware used to belong to my Grandmother (Margaret's namesake). They have become part of our traditional holiday display.

All of the other photographs I've taken over the past several weeks have been of the babies (which I'm learning are not such easy subjects due to their wiggle worm factor). I started to learn this shortly after we brought the babies home from the hospital, when we took some photos of them in their Christmas stockings. We thought that one day they'd have fun seeing just how tiny they once were.

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