Day Trip

Took a little trip to Susan' s on Saturday morning.  I wanted to see the last little Halloween clearance items.
Don't you love the entrance to her store.  The two urns were done by lovely Shannon (Ducks in a row)
I do love all the black crows.  They are so magical!
Her flowers are so lovely.  But I was more excited about the little tree on the right set up waiting to be adorned when Susan returns from her niece's wedding.  Can't wait until Christmas set up!  Excited to see what the new Christmas must haves must be.
So I was excited about this.  Susan had these lovely runners for the tables.  You know how burlap pillows with french print or words are really in now?  Well I bought her runner and look what I made with it.  Ta DA!!!!!!!  A lovely little french pillow for my settee.  Isn't it charming.  I made it myself on the sewing machine.  I am very proud.  It's even prettier than the one I saw in Pottery Barn.
Just a new little touch on my list of things to do before Barn Night.  Susan is having a class at my house on Nov 18th.  Throughout the year Susan has these lovely informative classes showing us how to make our homes more beautiful and tricks on how to entertain.  Well Susan is having one in my barn.  I went to the store and checked the list to see if any one had signed up.  OMG!!!!!!  It was closed.  There was no more room for any more sign ups.  And, get this, there was a waiting list for any cancellations.  Yikes!
I need to get my house and barn ready for the event!  
Will post fully with pics when the class happens.  I promise.


Behind the Lens

Yesterday afternoon my sons were outside and I took this photo.  I try to take good photos and I've always loved it but I think the true photographer in our household is my oldest son, Tim.  Take a look at some of his photos.

And this one he took of his brother I love!


We Gather Together

I don't know about all of you, but when this time comes around, late October, the leaves have all started to change and the winds have begun to howl, I immediately get into a nesting mode. I start thinking about wearing my boots, warm throws, crocheting, baking, eating comfort foods, making fires watching old movies and most of all I start thinking about Thanksgiving. And when I do, I am back in the fifth grade in Ms. Magliaris class singing We Gather Together. I hum it in my car, hum it while I cook. It just reminds me of so much and I truly love it. So enjoy this short video and sing a long with me.
Another thing I do every year during this time is watch an old episode of my favorite show of all time.  "Thirty-somethings" We Gather Together episode, where Hope wants to have her own quiet Thanksgiving with Michael and Janie, it being there first and all, but all there friends invite themselves and Hope ends up opening her house to have Thanksgiving at the Steadmans only to be plagued with a 24hour bug.  What I love about it is that Hope focuses on all the negative and it's not until she is delirious with fever does she have an outer body experience where she see's what Thanksgiving would be like if she wasn't in the picture.  I'm a lover of any story that is a take on It's A Wonderful Life.  One of my favorite movies of all time.


Comforting Week

October is settling in and although the weather has been more like Indian Summer, everything around us is telling us that Fall is here.  The leaves are changing and the light is spectacular.

I visited my dear friend KC's home on Wednesday before we went to visit Susan's store.  
KC has a lovely home nearby and I got to go and see it.  It is absolutely charming and elegant, definitely Country Living Material.  She has such a sense of style, her home is warm and inviting filled with elegant pieces and lovely antiques.  I loved it.  Her husband and her are both artists in many ways and it shows.  I've learned so much from her.  
Above, KC at BES old location.
Part of KC's garden in the Spring.  Spectacular!
That evening I decided to make my favorite FRENCH ONION SOUP.  I know Shannon (Ducks in a Row) loves when I blog a recipe.  I truly love this soup.  My favorite, and often when I go to a restaurant, my younger son Matt and I rate any french onion soup that we have from one to ten.  My favorite of all time is from Hearts Restaurant right here in Bucks County (Lahaska, Peddlers Village) If you haven't had it please try it.  Well I asked the waitress a series of questions and with her answers I was able to experiment and make the soup pretty perfectly close.
Look how dirty this card is.  I have been meaning to rewrite it, but keep forgetting.

This is the finished product.  I tell you it's to die for.  My best friends came over on Saturday with my nephews/Godson and I made these for lunch for them.  They loved it.
Take 2 large vidallia onions, sliced with 2 tbs of marg.  Put in large crock pot or porcelain heavy lid pot.  Cook until translucent and start to brown.  Then four tbs of brown sugar (filled to the top)  Mix in and let it caramelize a few minutes.
Then throw everything in and let boil, when it starts to boil lower flame to simmer and let cook for an hour.
1/2 cup good red wine, 4 beef bouillon cubes, 3 cups of water (you can dissolve the bouillon cubes in it before you throw it in.  1 teasp of vinegar.
For my friends I doubled the recipe.  Then top with a few slices of a french baguette, three slices of fresh mozzarella,  and put in your broiler and watch for a few minutes until it looks like this.  Yummy.
Above my sister and best friend, Sonali and my mom, above her children Elijah and Gabriel.  Our visits are always too short and few and far between.  I always cry when she goes.  


It's That Bewitching Time!

My oldest son decided to practice his carving skills on one of our pumpkins.  He did this wonderful wolf howling at the moon silhouette.  I decided to dazzle mine a bit after watching Martha do it on On Demand.     I picked a brown and copper glitter that I purchased at Michael's that is Martha Stewarts Brand.                The brown looks more like pink in the photo but it is a pretty brown. 
I loved the outcome.


If Life Were This Easy . . .

So my older son, Tim loves, loves, loves my apple pie.  Now this is my recipe.  I didn't get it from a book but have perfected it over the years.  I can make it in 15 minutes flat ready for the oven.  I know I have been blogging about food lately, but it is the Fall and it has been getting cold and I love comfort food.  So those of you on diets might want to skip this blog entry.  But remember, everything in moderation right?  That's the key.
So I decided to blog about my pie.  It's also very beautiful to look at if I do say so myself.  (Hey why not right)  I wish to share this with you.  And it is so easy that even if you have never made a pie, this will be your favorite.  I have made my own crust many times.  But the pie crusts taste just like the pillsbury ready made, (unless it is a sucre pastry, sugar dough that you need for something, otherwise use pillsbury one)
I tend to use Gala for pies because they are less watery than some other brands.

This is a lifesaver, this apple peeler.  It is great.  WS has them.
I enjoy the placement of the apples just as much as the crust forming.  I know it's a disease.
Do you have one of these fancy dough cutters?  They are the best!

It will enable you to cut like this and make your pie look fancy.  

Okay so here is the recipe:  1/2 cup of granulated sugar.
1 teasp of cinnamon, 1/4 of brown sugar (a bit less than 1/4)
1 teasp of good vanilla extract  And 5 to 6 Gala apples peeled.
1 tbs of flour and 1 tbs of gran sugar on the crust in the pie plate before you place the apples.  Spread then place the apples.
Put your pie crust on top then whisk egg and brush crust.  Spill a bit of cinnamon sugar on top.  Teasp of marg or butter break up and stick in holes before baking.  Bake 350 for an hour.  And there you have it. 
Begin weaving the crust like a basket. 

Then fold in sides.  Like above.
Then do this all around with your thumb.  Nice trick that adds just the right touch!
Like this.  Doesn't it look prettier with the scalloped edging?
The finished product!  Now Enjoy!  See I told you it was easy.


Julie, Julia & Me

So I'm sure by now most of you have seen Julie & Julia, the movie about Julia Child's life.  I loved it and had seen it when it came out.  Ever since then, about a month after I saw the movie I purchased The Art Of French Cooking, Julia Childs cookbook  in hopes that I would make the Beef Borguinon.  I went to a great French Restaurant and had it in April and got inspired again.  Well I decided that today would be the day.  I started reading the recipe two days ago, not only to get inspired but also to get acquainted with it and get a better understanding on what it entailed.  I went on line as well to see what the food network rated this recipe.  THEY RATED IT DIFFICULT!  Well to some that would be a sign that would discourage some, for me it became a challenge.  I felt like, okay I went to college, I raised two sons, don't tell me that this is difficult.
My day began at 6:45, okay so I managed to sneak in 15 more min of sleep since Rob took Matt to the bus, My day began at 7am.  Took the dogs out, went for coffee and then came home, put my apron on and began.  By the time I was settled, had had my breakfast and was ready to conquer Julia and the French cuisine it was 9:15am.  I began by cutting all the ingredients.  Believe me they were alot.

I didn't allow myself to become overwhelmed, I tried to focus on each part of the recipe.  I do find that I become afflicted with Dimentia when I am cooking something new.  I will read the next step, walk over and begin and then two seconds later I think "What was that?  Or Was it one tbs or tsp?"
Anyway,  from 9:15 when I officially began, my pot which I used my trusty creuchet (spell check) pot that is perfect for all stews and fine meats.  Goes perfectly from stove top to oven which I had never done but seen on the food network constantly.  If your using the right pot, it will not ruin the pot.  
By 11:00 my pot was in the oven.  I had beat Julia by fifteen minutes.  Now, it needs to be in the oven for THREE HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!  THAT IS NOT COUNTING THE 120 MINUTES IT HAS TAKEN TO PREPARE IT.  Oh the French!  They must have alot of time on their hands.  I think it's because there television programming is so lousy.  I mean I love Jerry Lewis as much as the next person but geeze.  Now this recipe contains 3 cups of a good bold red wine and 3 cups of beef stock.  There is a lot of liquid that has to simmer.  But I tell you that when I finally sat down with my dinner plate and fork in hand and took the first bite. . . I said a big thank you to Julia Child whom I believed was watching with her arms crossed wondering if I would pull it off.  The meat was so tender it truly melted in my mouth just like she said it did in the movie.  The onions (pearl onions) popped at just the right moment.  The mushrooms were delicious.  I served it over a bed of my mashed potatoes  (By the way anyone who makes mashed potatoes out of a box in my opinion should be hung in a public arena)
Here are a few pics.  

This is my onions and carrots (not the pearl they come later) sauteed in the bacon drippings.  

This is how it looked 4 hours and 50 minutes after I began.  The colors don't look as beautiful as it did in person.  But believe me my kitchen smelled amazing.  I am so proud of myself for trying.  Thank you Julia. 
Now for those of you who don't like to cook, I'm gonna be honest, don't try it, because you can easily become overwhelmed.  But those of you out there who are constantly trying new things in the kitchen and are good and dedicated to it. . . I promise you, you will not regret it.  It was worth the trouble and honestly, I would do it again.  Especially since I did it once, it will be so much easier because I know what to expect.  
I loved it! Loved it! Loved it!  It was Restaurant Quality (Le Park in Philadelphia, mine was just as wonderful as the one I had in April)
I rate it difficult/ but rewarding.
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