Thursday, September 30, 2010

Stand~ Stand By Me~

One of my favorite songs..One of my favorite standbys..For many many reasons.. Even the simplest foods~
Some foods can still be pretty because of their color~And taste~Or Form..

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry, no I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darlin', darlin', stand by me, oh stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me, stand by me-e, yeah

Whenever you're in trouble won't you stand by me, oh now now stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Darlin', darlin', stand by me-e, stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

SO important to have someone to Stand By You~
I often make my soups the same way..My husband is a master at them~
THis one is one of our carrot soups..
Sauté onion ..some garlic..add you chopped veggies..cover w/ a fine stock..simmer until soft..Use the hand held blender and liquefy..Add cream or milk and adjust seasonings and taste..w/ either herbs..spices..maple syrup..etc..~

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Giada Giada Giada♥

I Googled Butternut Squash Lasagna..And hers popped up..
The addition of the Amaretti cookies..sounded interesting..I had no bake pasta....butternut squash..amaretti..cheese..and a penchant for something soft and comforting~

I can't tell you how delicious I found this to be..I know it's rich..but my appetite has been waning..apart from J's excellent champignon risotto one night this week and my daughter's recommendation for baked sweet potato fries w/ a curry lime juice mayo to accompany J's moist chicken.... I thought I would give this a try..
Nothing short of exceptional to me..W/ J's basil..
and a newish salt from Nancy~

le tour était joué~
Sage must be great too..But I must admit the basil was my delight~
So thank you Giada..~

I know you're listening;)

La Recette~

Cook Time:1 hr 25 minLevel: IntermediateYield: 8 to 10 servings
Recipe Tools:
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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
3 amaretti cookies, crumbled
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
Pinch nutmeg
3/4 cup (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the squash and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the skillet and then cover and simmer over medium heat until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer the squash to a food processor. Add the amaretti cookies and blend until smooth. Season the squash puree, to taste, with more salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg. Cool slightly. Transfer half of the sauce to a blender*. Add the basil and blend until smooth. Return the basil sauce to the sauce in the pan and stir to blend. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste.

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the sauce over the prepared baking dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/3 of the squash puree over the noodles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Repeat layering 3 more times.

Tightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 40 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the lasagna. Continue baking uncovered until the sauce bubbles and the top is golden, 15 minutes longer. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Soul Food #56

And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around - in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's things, you might just see a fairy's wing.
~ Author Unknown

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A lovely little pepper jelly~♥

Delightful to make.. heavenly scent..and from someone that makes such good food all the time and shares :)

Josée..Au Plaisir De Bien Manger~ Merçi beaucoup..Tape à l' miam miam..

And now for La Recette in english~

In a food processor chop 6 red peppers..Josée adds 1-2 jalapenos..I added one.
3 peeld apples..cut in slices..

Place in a heavy pot..

1 1/2 oranges sliced..
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 cup distilled white vinegar
3 cups sugar

and the processor mixture..

Boil 20 mins.. remove the orange slices..add 3 more cups of sugar and boil ap. 15 more mins or until you see a slight thickening~

Pour in hot Mason Jars

Water bath for 10 mins~

It made all these little burnished pots~

My Note..I should have let it cook 5 more be just a bit thicker for me..But it's still lovely..

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nigella's Lavender Cupcakes~

I have Lavender in my gardens and I love it~I love watching it..I love it's shape,it's scent..the way it sways in the wind..the way it feels when I brush my hands against it..the way the perfume lingers,the way it always reminds me of Provence~Oh..and Bleu Lavande..

I tried Nigella's little cupcakes~ Easy to melt in your mouth♥

I had the Lavender sugar~ I had Lavender~ And I had Lavender food coloring~ And Lavender sugar flowers~ All set~

La Recette~
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup very soft unsalted butter
7 tablespoons lavender sugar, sifted
2 large eggs
Pinch salt
Few tablespoons milk
For the icing
9 ounces instant royal icing
Violet icing color
Handful of real lavender stalks

Preheat oven to 400~
Cream butter and sugar ..add eggs one at a time..then the flour and pinch of salt..
Add 1-2 tbsps of milk to get a nice consistency..

Put in little cupcake papers in the tins and bake 15-20 mins..

Let Cool..Ice..and decorate w/ real little flowers or the sugar ones~
Pretty little things:)I made 10 so they were puffier ..Make 12 and they should be flat and the icing will be like a coat of pretty Lavender paint.

See the note addressed to La Madame De La Gazette?
We get the newspaper delivered 7 days a week..6 days a's in the the road..behind the car.. sometimes in a puddle..
But Sundays..
It's a different person ..I know..Because it's in the Gazette box:)

How nice is that?

She really is devoted...and conscientious..I wanted to thank her.. so I tied a little bouquet of Lavender w/ a note and left it in the Gazette box as a surprise~I appreciate her~

Footnote~ Since I prepared my draft for this post..The newspaper has stopped publishing on Sundays..A few Sundays ago was the last issue..I am so glad I told her what I was thinking..before it was too late..

Another reminder for me to say things sooner than later~Good things~

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Daughter's Black Forest Cake~

It was made with love for her dad..this past Father's Day~

I was happy she had made this for him~He was well surrounded by his 4 little grandsons and family~
Well deserved~

She had found the recipe here..

It's delicious~

Perfect for any celebration~
It's amazing how food offerings can make one feel loved..It takes time to create food gifts..the preparation.. the actual making..the baking..the presentation~
The whole time you are usually thinking of the person with affection and caring..They become the key ingredients that can actually uplift the giver's spirit as well as the recipients~
Never miss an opportunity to share something you made~
You just never know how you can make a person's day that way~
Most of the time..the gift is eaten and savored even more than usual~
Each little bite containing those key ingredients I mentioned above..that aren't on the original recipe~

Go.. go bake for a neighbor..a friend.. an aquaintance.And see how good it feels.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Soul Food #55~

I'm partial to pinks and blues..But sometimes in Spring..a bouquet cries out for Tuscan colors..

So these have been planted~

Planting bulbs always reminds me of the movie One True Thing~When Renee Zellweger is planting bulbs for her mom♥
You just need a spade..a shovel..some dirt..and some bulbs..You'll be happy you did it next Spring~

I am almost certain of it~


Noah was coming for lunch with his I practiced a special lunch for him..
I was fortunate to have received the tools to make cute little Bento lunches..

Little molds for rice and dividers for the boxes..I had the little ladybug boxes already~
It was fun to make this..thinking of Noah's reaction:)

The bunny..the happy dividers..

It was a treat for me..It seemed to be for him also~♥

My bunny's features are a tad askew~ C'est la vie~
In and out of the garden~Imperfection happens:)

It's a small small world after all♥Thank you sweet Ju~

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Le Mariage De Sylvie~

L'Amour~ Toujours l'Amour~

When a friend married recently..and I was unable to attend..I packed a gift for her and added a small token of my affection for them..

Le Mariage De Sylvie~..

Et Robert♥
May their life together be exactly that..a lifetime of Affection and Devotion~♥
They are truly a match made in heaven~
God Bless Them.

P.S. The little pillow is burlap..but the top is made w/ the Reynold's paper and fabric that I shared in a previous post~
The Graphic is from Heidi..that I miss..Her site seems to have disappeared.
These little pillows/cushions are fun to make and personalize~

I just added words..The magic of Photoshop~

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heaven on a plate~

Soft..sweet ..delicious..decadent..comfort dessert~

This is Marie's Cake~

I think I have made it 12 times since the first time:)

It's absolutely delish..Just make sure you don't overcook the icing..Let It Be~ As the Beatles so brilliantly put it♥

La Recette

*Ginger Cake with Caramel Icing*
Serves 10
Printable Recipe

A deliciously divine cake filled with the spicy flavours of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and covered in a luciously buttery caramel icing. We didn't have any today, but vanilla ice cream is a given with this!

165g (3/4 cup) firmly packed soft light brown sugar
110g (3/4 cup) plain flour
75g (1/2 cup) self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground powdered ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
125g (3/4 cup) butter, softened
2 large eggs
160ml (2/3 cup) buttermilk

For the caramel Icing:
60g butter (a generous 1/4 cup)
110g (1/2 cup) firmly packed soft light brown sugar
2 TBS milk
120g (3/4 cup) sifted icing sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Butter and lightly flour a deep 10 inch ring pan. Set aside.

Place all the cake ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth and pale. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, until well risen and the top springs back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before dumping out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Stir the butter, brown sugar and milk together in a small saucepan over heat until the sugar is totally dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the icing sugar until smooth. Pour over the cooled cake.

We LOVE this cake!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Soul Food #54~

From time to time.. the irregular sets in~

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Smore Cookies Please~

I have been so blessed with walkover treats this summer..from soups to desserts.. I'll post a few.. on a first day..and kept coming~

A special melt-in-your-mouth decadence treat one of our daughter's walked over with..These have become one of my very favorite cookies..although the ones I made.. never ended up looking like hers..Not tasting like hers..
They are so good just made..

She had found them here..

I did see similar recipes elsewhere also..

I'll add the recipe so you can just have to peek here when you are ready..

La Recette

S'mores Cookies
adapted from Make and Bake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven. Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of hershey bar into each cookies. Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

And so I can just look here when I am ready:)

She lives so close we get to sample and savor her talents..last night was a different cake like version..that was so delicious too..Again..melt-in-your mouth..
So grateful~Enough to be in a gratitude journal:)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

May the force be with you~♥

In the dog days of summer that seemed earlier this year..the wild flowers in my borrowed landscape ..pleased me w/ endless yellow bouquets for our home..the first I picked almost..It's a summer that was different to me..and for rose colored glasses were on a table somewhere~I hope to pick them up and put them on soon~
But I do have bouts of creative energy..for ..
My sweet♥ they came directly from California ..~

Cute little Star War Cookie Cutters~

In my sunny kitchen..w/ my yellow flowers..and my cookie cutters~I had fun.

The boys thank you too~

La Recette~

From the Cookie Cutter kit of W_S

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
Have all ings.Room temp.Sift first 2 ings.together and set aside.
Beat butter at high speed until creamy about 2 mins.Reduce to med speed.Slowly add sugar and beat until light and fluffy about 2 mins.Stop the mixer and scrape occasionally.Add the egg and vanilla and beat 1 minute more..Scrapes sides again..
Stop the mixer and add 1/2 the flour that you have already sifted with the salt..beat at low speed about 1 minute,.add the rest..and continue toi beat until the dough leaves the side of the bowl..ap 2-3 mins.
Turn dough onto a work surface..and divide into 2 parts.Shape each into a dsik and ref for at least 2 hrs or up to 2 days..
Remove dough and let stand 5 minutes..Om a lightly floured surface roll dough to 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick,preheat oven to 350F.Line baking sheets with parchment paper.Using the cookie cutters cut into shapes.. place on sheets spacing 1 inch apart..bake 10-15mins,
Transfer to wire rack and cool... Ice if desired~

Monday, September 6, 2010

Soul Food #53~

Whenever you want to see the face of God you will see it~Paulo Coelho/The Pilgrimage
I had read The Alchemist and enjoyed it..but a few months ago a friend gave me a small book by Paulo Coelho..Life..Selected Quotes..The cover is all tattered now and many passages bookmarked..Great book to keep by your bed..~There is always just one quote that works for the keep till the morning~

Thursday, September 2, 2010

L'Aubergine De Nancy~And 2 years ago~

I planted at least 60 Mammoth Sunflowers from seed and reaped 6 tall small ones.. where are the 54 mammoth ones?:(Where is my field of Provence in my borrowed landscape?

My friend grew eggplants and already got for us~

I also grew pattypan squash.. heirloom ones..from seed you may remember..let's just say I have not set up a roadside stand yet:)~

Trying to watercolor Nancy's Aubergine..brought back a flood of memories of quick watercolors in the journal I kept while in Europe 2 years ago~♥

Not watercolor paper..but how happy I am to still have that journal..with peeled off wine labels..train passes..resto bills..napkins..paper napkin rings..

We were supposed to return this the land of enchantment,it was not to be..

But my friend Nancy brightened my spirits today and we went foraging for art supplies for trips to come..~Or armchair painting too~

She is an artist par excellence..Like Ronelle @My French Kitchen..and Susan @ Savoring Time In The Kitchen~

It was nice to spend time in an art store with a true my mom was..

Qui sais? Maybe one day I will return to France~♥God willing.
My friend lived in the South of France and Paris also..I love the stories she tells me~

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Come in~

It's been a long while~ just come for a quick re-aquaintance visit..and hopefully we can catch up on a few things.. when time permits~I'll visit and visit again.
Today..We'll talk of fairies and gardens and cakes~

You just have to pass through the gate..and walk into the garden~

Then follow me into the see a little cake I made for my eldest daughter's 35th Birthday.I didn't do a party this year..first time ever I think..but she came for lunch.. with Noah..and this was her little cake~

I first saw Zurin's and fell in love w/it..Zurin is a talented cake decorator..which I am not.. go see her cake if you have not's a joy to look at~ but I did want to try my hand at one..and I had seen the little face molds here..

And tried..

Thank goodness these shots aren't Macro is all I can say~

Because Oh lala..the details are far from perfect..I may order some larger face molds and see if I can handle those better..These little flexible molds are so easy to use and the seller..? I recommend her~:)Pleasant..helpful etc..and so talented too!

I keep confidences of the ♥..

But resources?Are meant to be shared..Enjoy the 2 links I have added~
They were treats for me to discover,now it's your turn.
A clematis to discover if you pictured here..Betty Corning~ The hardiest most floriferous and long blooming clematis I have here~ My first one was sent to me by a great gardener and Clematis Expert from Ontario..she arrived all bundled up..a wee thing ..and grew and grew and grew~ She is my favorite here.. ~