Wilderness Wednesday

fern“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature —

the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”  _ Rachel Carson

unfurl little fern

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Let’s get ‘Fresh’…. hey, it’s Valentine’s!

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A Valentine’s dinner all inspired by Tyler Florence‘s Fresh.

Menu

Roasted Cherry Tomato, Mozzarella, & Basil Tartine

Flat Iron Steak w/ Creamed Spinach, Roasted Garlic, & Parmesan

Strawberries w/ Honey Whipped Cream, Almond Crisps, & Lavender Sugar

Cocktails

Blood Orange – Satsuma Cocktail Mix and Spiced Rimming Sugar by Williams-Sonoma

(mixed w/ Basil Hayden’s)

Wine

a very special bottle of 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon by Deerfield Winery

** Fresh is a gorgeous book, so it’s bound to result in gorgeous food, right?!?  It did.  Although I didn’t follow a Tyler recipe ingredient by ingredient or step by step, I was most definitely lead down a path of culinary happiness.  Thanks for helping us get ‘Fresh’ on Valentine’s, Tyler!  😉 **

Daily Inspiration

Sorry I have been rather quiet in the new year…. I’ve been gathering ideas, making mental notes, and have many things I want to do on Turquoise Autumn this year, and I’ve been waiting to get organized to do it.  But will I ever get organized to my high standards I set for myself?!?  Probably not, so I just need to take the next step.  Take action.  Just do it.  Right?!?  Isn’t this something we struggle with everyday?!?  I find I make many excuses for myself… not enough time in the days, household chores to do, or not enough inspiration, but that’s not necessarily true.  There is inspiration everywhere, in many things…. So today I wanted to share some of the places, people, and organizations where I get my daily inspiration.  I hope you enjoy and maybe get inspired!  😉  Happy Tuesday!

image via Beth Doane

image via Beth Doane

Beth Doane is the founder of Rain Tees, an organization that “plants trees with tees”.  Check out how Beth started this amazing business here.  Be sure to follow her on Pinterest and Facebook for great inspirational images like the one above.

image via Nest

image via Nest

I am in awe of my friend, Rebecca van Bergen, who founded Nest and the good she has spread around the world.  I am always eager to learn more from Nest and spread their mission.  Exciting things to come!  Like them on Facebook or visit here to learn more.  Or check out this great article via PBS.

I love Pure Green Magazine!  They have a beautiful publication always full of lovely content.  I want to jump inside and vicariously live through their articles.  Would that be alright, Celine MacKay?!?  😉

image via Williams-Sonoma

image via Williams-Sonoma

And always culinary inspired by Williams-Sonoma.  I work there.  And love.

Pinterest is also a source of daily inspiration.  Follow my boards here.  I especially love it for my Food Files and Kitchen ideas!

More things to come, my dear friends.  But for now, I’m off for a quick afternoon jaunt to NYC!  I shall be back soon, I promise!  Xo

 

Happy 2013!

After being sick with the flu over Christmas, I wanted to make sure to get 2013 off to a good start.  It has been a lovely day of cooking, reading, mimosas and spending time with my boys.  I made a potato leek tart and drank plenty of mimosas…. ’twas a good day!

IMG_20130101_160412 IMG_20130101_194655I’ve also had on my mind my resolutions for the coming year.  Not that I really write down a “resolution”, but here’s a few things that I “want” (big or small, reasonable or unreasonable) for 2013.

*  I want to make a pie.  Or two.  Or more.  (Help from here.)

*  I want to eat here.  And  here.

*  I want to go here.  Or here.  Or back here.  Or maybe even a quick weekend getaway here.

*  I want to take a photography course, maybe here.

*  I want to read more books.

*  I want to drink one a day.

*  I want more “date” nights with the hubs.

*  I want to take the little man here every day the schedule allows.

*  I want to cook with new ingredients.

*  I want to do more good here.

*  I want (and look forward) to laughing and hugging my fabulous friends and family.

*  I want to be a better (and more organized) gardener.  With inspiration from here and here.

Just to name a few….  🙂

Here’s a quote to start you off for the year… “This bright new year is given to me, to live each day with zest, to daily grow and try to be my highest and my best!”  _ William Arthur Ward

I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2013!

Merry Merry Happy Happy Busy Busy

Delightful snacks Thyme Roasted Marcona Almonds FoolproofCaramelized Bacon“It’s the holiday season….”

And while I love this season so very much, there’s no denying the schedule gets a little crammed with festivities.  So lately it’s been grabbing snacks while running in and out of the door and missing my time in the kitchen.

Good thing Ina Garten‘s new book, Foolproof, now graces my shelves.  I haven’t quite managed to make any of the main dishes in her book yet, but so far the snacks and apps that I have whipped up have been quick, easy, delish, and well, foolproof!  The caramelized bacon and thyme roasted Marcona almonds above have been an effortless snack to have on hand.  Perfectly yummy, perfectly easy.

Tomorrow keeps the busy-ness ongoing…. making cookies, sneaking in a quick workout to offset the consumption of said cookies, and spending the afternoon with Ina Garten!  Yes, she’ll be coming to the Williams-Sonoma King of Prussia store tomorrow to sign copies of her new book.

So tonight, after having a single gingerbread cupcake for dinner, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my week, and I’m grateful that I have this busy-ness to look forward to.  It’s fun, festive, and yummy…. even though it’s on the fly!  Hope to post more foolproof goodies soon!

The Season of Giving: Love to Nest

The holidays are a time of giving.  A time of sharing love, peace, and good energy.  A time of generosity.

Meet Nest.

Founded seven years ago by my good friend, Rebecca van Bergen, Nest reaches to women around the globe, giving them the opportunity to express their artisan craft and create a sustainable business.  Nest helps to alleviate poverty, empower women and their families, and promote peace.

542693_4302278510129_363589090_nYou can also help support Nest this giving season!  If in the New York area, join Nest for an Indian Winter celebration on the evening of December 6th.  Or donate here.

Wilderness Wednesday

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”.  _ William Shakespeare

I am thankful for the beauty that surrounds me….. beauty in nature, beauty in family, beauty in love.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!

A Morning of Holiday Recipes and Treats

The holiday vibe is definitely becoming abundant in my household!  (Yes, I’m that person that starts playing Christmas music a few days before Halloween)!  I so so soooo love this time of year.  I want to curl up by the fire with my stack of November or December issues from my favorite food magazines, have a hot spiked toddy, all while dreams of sugarplums dance in my head!  😉

I was really looking forward to this morning when my lovely friend, Alexis, of Teaspoons and Petals, came to visit.  It was a bit blustery after a Nor’easter that blew through (with some snow!), but we decided to brave the chill and take our gathering outside.

Alexis shares my love of the holidays, my love of cookbooks, my love of Williams-Sonoma, my love of tea…. oh, the list can go on…. so we took the morning to visit… making tea-infused hot chocolate, pumpkin chai chocolate chip bread, and dishing all about our favorite holiday recipes.

If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of Baked (I love Matt & Renato…. who visit our King of Prussia Williams-Sonoma often) and one of my favorite holiday treats to make is the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf from their first book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.  Here Alexis and I wanted to infuse a chai flavor is some way, so I adapted Baked‘s recipe using David Rio Masala Chai Powder.  See the recipe below and sorry for the weird measurements, but the bread turned out divine!

Pumpkin Chai Chocolate Chip Bread

1 1/2 + 1/8 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons David Rio Masala Chai Powder (available at Williams-Sonoma)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup of pumpkin puree

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1 1/2 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Chatfield’s Double Dark Semi-Sweet Chips)

1/3 cup room temperature water

Preheat oven at 350.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, chai powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin and oil.  Add sugar and whisk.  Mix in eggs one at a time, then vanilla and water, and then using a spatula fold in the chocolate chips.  Fold wet ingredients into the dry and mix together thoroughly.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for an hour and 15 minutes.

Enjoy with tea, hot chocolate, or mulled cider!

For Alexis‘s recipe of infusing hot chocolate with tea, visit her blog here.  We used… what I think is the best hot chocolate on earth… from Williams-Sonoma of course, along with their mini vanilla marshmallows, and Steven Smith Teamaker’s Lord Bergamot black tea.  It, too, was divine!  Just what we needed to keep us warm while chatting turkey recipes!

** Most goodies available at Williams-Sonoma.  Teapot from Anthropologie.  Tea cups and napkins are vintage.**