Author Archives: admin

around the house: my favorite teas

October 20th, 2014 | Posted by admin in AROUND THE HOUSE - (1 Comments)

I love tea any time of the year but when the weather starts to turn and a chill is in the air… there is nothing better than a cup of hot tea!  I am constantly trying to cut out the needless calories and at the same time fighting an enormous sweet tooth that I insist comes from my Mother’s Danish side.   I credit the Armenian side of the family with every other food group.

I found these teas at first to satisfy my desire for dessert after a delicious “low carb” meal.  They are amazing!  This is coming from a gal who loves a slice of apple crisp, a warm chocolate chip cookie, and an oozing deep chocolate brownie.   I know you may not believe that these teas can foot the bill as a substitute but they are wonderful.

I make a cup every night to satisfy that craving of chocolate, dessert, and the warmth of something a tad bit sweet.  I add Truvia instead of sugar and never artificial sweeteners.  In the past a bit of honey was usually added but I have to say the Truvia is great alternative.

My absolute favorite is the peppermint chocolate… yummmm!  But really I enjoy them all.  Please try a cup and let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

 

 

recipe: butterscotch brownies

October 9th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I was looking for an easy recipe to make that I could freeze if I had left overs.  My thinking was then I wouldn’t be tempted to finish the left over dessert.  So I have made variations of this recipe but the one below is out of a cookbook “Southern My Way” by Gena Knox, it’s her grandmother Dot’s recipe.  Of course brown sugar and butter made into a bar… there were very few left overs! Four bars made it into the freezer and were eaten several days later with a dollop of ice cream.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons of baking powder
• 1 lb of light brown sugar
• 1 ½ sticks of butter
• 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ teaspoons of “good” vanilla
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• ¾ cup of chocolate chips or butterscotch chips (optional)
• Preheat oven to 350˚

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

• Melt butter and brown sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat till melted.

• Let cool slightly then whisk in eggs and vanilla.

• Transfer to a larger bowl and add in dry ingredients ½ cup at a time.

• Fold in pecans and chips then pour into a greased (buttered) 8 ½” x 11” baking dish.

• Bake for 40-45 minutes until center is a bit gooey but somewhat set.

• Let cool and then cut into squares… or whatever shape you prefer!

Enjoy!

 

 

new fall containers

October 1st, 2014 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (0 Comments)

Perennials, grasses, cabbages, and bittersweet make a great arrangement.

Mums, cabbages , bittersweet, pumpkins & grasses a beautiful look for fall.

 

 

recipe: grilled pork chops & sautéed vegetables

August 29th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Meals | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Summer is all about grilling, farmers markets, and easy meals.  So this simple but delicious combination is just how I like to cook.

I like to salt & pepper any meat for several hours or overnight.  It helps with flavor and tenderness.  I added a small baste of “UB”, that’s “Urban Barbecue” sauce.  Delicious when you don’t have time to make your own.  I grilled the meat on a high flame approximately 6 minutes per side.

Fresh vegetables from the farmers market sautéed in olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and pepper.  I added leeks, padron peppers, banana peppers, garlic, and okra… makes a perfect side dish.

 

 

grove park in asheville

July 25th, 2014 | Posted by admin in PLACES TO GO - (2 Comments)

We had a great two days in Asheville, NC.  Our first stop was the Biltmore Estate.  The tour through the house was amazing.  The drive up to the home was beautiful and the gardens, greenhouse, and plant varieties were spectacular!  Fields of sunflowers, rose gardens, wisteria canopies, succulents in abundance, and beautiful water gardens… borders of perennials… I was on a visual overload!!!  We stayed at an old beautiful hotel “The Grove Park Inn”… historical and lovely. The small town is nestled in the Smokey Mountains filled with wonderful restaurants and shops.  A perfect weekend getaway.

 

 

 

summer sun planters

July 1st, 2014 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (0 Comments)

Fun summer sun planters papyrus grass & lots of color!!

 

Ferns, begonias, fushia & more.

 

Who says you can’t have color in the shade?

 

Simple but gorgeous.

 

 

 

kitchen girl

February 28th, 2014 | Posted by admin in UPDATES - (1 Comments)

Sometimes we connect with others in a way we never thought possible… and sometimes that connection is with a special pet.  My Kitchen Girl… my best friend, Callie passed away.  It has taken me a few weeks to write about her passing.  She was my constant companion.  If I moved to another room she was right by my side.  In the kitchen she peered at me from under the kitchen table, watching my every move.  If I was baking and mixing then she was right at my feet, waiting for her turn to lick the beaters!  Yes, it was always my treat to her for watching over me.

My sweet girl Callie was unlike any other dog I have had.  She was huge… gentle… soft… calm… sweet… watchful… and loving.  If I was upset or sick she would know.  She would find me and become my lap dog, sitting next to me on the sofa, her head perched in my lap.  Her presence calmed me down and made me feel better always.  When I walked into the house she waited for me and when I left she looked at me as if to say don’t worry I’ll be watching the house, but come home soon.

As a puppy Callie had two operations on both knees, I spent many nights laying with her on a pile of quilts stroking her soft ears and keeping her calm.  We became the best of friends then and I know she spent the rest of her life giving back to me tenfold.  At night she continued to expect to sleep with us, so my 110 lb Great Pyrenees nestled herself between us most nights.  Many mornings I would wake up with that sweet face
resting on my pillow.  I can’t explain how much I miss my girl.

I will have more dogs, but I am not sure I will ever have a friend like Callie.  She was my big polar bear, my little cookie, and my dearest friend.  If you are not a dog person you will not understand my sadness and the many tears I have shed.  She was not just a dog to me… she was my girl, who I am forever grateful to have had in my life.

(Callie sleeping)

 

 

recipe: cranberry apple cake

January 28th, 2014 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Easy and delicious are the best words to describe this dessert.  We were having another couple over for a very casual pizza & chopped salad dinner and movie.  I had picked up several flavors of gelato but just had that feeling that I needed something else to add to the dessert menu.  (I am a lover of all things sweet!!!)

I had these wonderful fresh cranberries that were frozen and I had wanted to use them… sitting on the counter were a bunch of honey crisp apples.  So I Googled easy dessert recipes using my two fruits… Ina Garten’s “Easy Cranberry Apple Cake” appeared on my screen.  I have included Ina’s recipe for you to follow, but I did add another 1/2 cup of cranberries and an additional 1/2 of an apple.  I like the fruit and it worked perfectly filling up my deep-dish pie pan.

I popped this cake in the oven only a few minutes before my guests arrived.  The recipe took maybe 20 minutes… so fast, east, and I have to say, delicious!  The cake was so good my guests took two helpings of dessert.  I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

• 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
• 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
• ½ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
• 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
• ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
• 1-1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
• 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• ¼ cup sour cream
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

• Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.

• In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

• Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and ¹/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

 

winter greens

December 20th, 2013 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (3 Comments)

I spent the day on one of my final jobs for winter planting this season.  It was cold but actually felt good to be outside… as it will be a long winter.  I am such a fan of the birch branches as they add a nice contrast to the dark greens.  There are so many fun accents to add including eucalyptus, winter berries, pine cones, red huck, rose hips, and various pods.  Have fun and be creative as these pots last through the spring!

 

 

holiday table dressing

December 17th, 2013 | Posted by admin in TABLE DRESSING - (0 Comments)

These tables are set for a festive holiday meal and all the items can be found at Material Possessions in Winnetka or Chicago, IL.  Mixing and Matching your dishes, pretty napkins, and place mats are all the little details that make a table inviting!  Of course a wonderful meal will also help!