Thursday, November 23, 2017

An Untraditional Thanksgiving 2017

Times change.
Life changes.
The trick is to not get stuck in the past,
but rather move on and change too.
First, let me tell you 
I AM a traditionalist.
I don't particularly like change.
I pretty much cook the same
holiday meals every year.
I decorate with the same 
accessories over and over.
I might be accused of being stuck
in a rut.
BUT, not this year.
This year's Thanksgiving has been
anything but my traditional one.
You may remember my best friend/sister Nancy
has moved away to be a caretaker to our Mother.
So, it was only Kate and me this year.
(SO HAPPY she made it home for the holiday!)
Since Kate would be having a
Thanksgiving dinner with her Dad
later in the day,
I decided this year 
I would not be cooking my traditional 
Thanksgiving dinner.
It seemed so excessive to cook
a huge meal for the two of us
just to send her off to eat 
another huge meal.
So, we did Thanksgiving brunch this year.

I found an interesting crust less quiche recipe in the current
(If you have it, be sure to take note
of their article on Abingdon, Virginia.
It's a neighboring town and a treasure.)

The recipe suggested quiche toppings
of sour cream, chopped tomatoes and green onions.
That cried out for an avocado as well.

We did pull out the holiday dishes.
No point in giving up every tradition!

We both decided the recipe is a "keeper."
My local grocery store does very nice muffins,
so I added store bought pumpkin and cranberry ones.
We filled our plates and ate in front of the TV
watching the end of Macy's parade.
(I'm usually up to my elbows cooking during the parade.)

After brunch, we settled in to watch the final episode
of the current season of
Kate had already seen the whole season,
at least two or three times.
She's a G of T nerd and would not 
be bothered to have me call her that.
I, on the other hand,
have waited for Kate to be home
to watch this season.
Mainly because she would explain all the
finer details to me.
It did not disappoint.

Finally, we finished up with a nice long walk
in my new neighborhood.
We had a lovely, late fall day
and it was great to be outside.
This is my street,
a walker and house lover's delight!

Kate has now traveled on to her Dad's and 
I have the rest of the evening on my own.
Earlier in the week I did make my favorite
(I cannot let every tradition go!)
and will have for dinner
 a turkey sandwich,
with this delicious relish on it.
All in all,
a lovely and relaxed Thanksgiving.
Change is good and I am thankful!

Finally, a quick house update.
This area is at the top of my stairs
and just got finished this week.
I replaced the window with a solid glass one,
knowing I wanted to use a stained glass panel 
which came from my previous house in it.
I'm so pleased with how it looks
at the top of the stairs.
I'm showing it to you now,
rather than waiting until 
I share the rest of the upstairs because
tomorrow the Christmas decorations come out,
and this spot is calling out for
one of my traditional holiday trees.

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Cottage....Still Tweaking!

I haven't posted in a while.
Life seems to be getting in the way!
Although I still have more house projects,
which sometimes seem never ending,
I have made lots of progress settling into 
Buttermilk Cottage.
It's hard to believe I've been here
almost six months!
You've already seen the office and kitchen,
so today I'll show you the rest of the downstairs.

Here's a look at the living room
when I bought the house.
Very good bones,
but I needed to make it "mine."

This shot is just inside the front door.
The ceiling was smoothed out 
and the carpet was removed from the stairs.

All the walls in the house were painted a pale gray.
That enabled me to use the window treatments
from my previous house 
along with my numerous
blue and white accessories.
And of course, there's a pop of red
in every room!

The chalk painted wardrobe came from
the entrance in my previous house.
The mirror backed french doors,
also chalk painted,
were from the dining room.

One of the fun things about moving for me
has been using old things in different rooms.

The fireplace has gas logs which have already been used
on numerous occasions.
I am loving this cozy, comfortable room!

Here's a reminder how the dining room looked before....

...and after.

There's a curved archway
from the living room
into the dining room. 

The table is presently "dressed" 
for fall.

The corner cabinet
is still a work in progress.
The top portion has a
pretty arched glass door
and the bottom 
two shelves will be 
closed behind two solid doors.
Presently the doors are all 
in the basement
waiting for me to finish them.
(Another project....another day.)

I am highlighting green in the dining room,
since these are the dishes on display.

Loving how the downstairs
has come together.

Finally, the last bit of downstairs
I haven't yet shared
is the bathroom.
Except for keeping the
original tub and toilet...

...lots of changes in here.
I am using bead board halfway up the walls.
The mirror above the sink
belonged to my grandmother.

As in the kitchen,
I've also used subway tile
and the same checkerboard floor.

That completes the downstairs.

And of course,
I couldn't have a single room
without at least 
one little lamb in it!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Autumn!!!

As I begin this new fall season,
I have been thinking back on my
"Summer of Flowers."

Aren't they all gorgeous!
M has kept my little house
filled with flowers this summer.
I wish my photos did
the flowers the justice
they deserve.

I have spent the summer with
house projects and am
almost finished with
"Phase 1."

I haven't posted in a while
but promise to catch you
up to date with my
"settling-in" details
before long.
In the meantime,
Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse Perfection

Google Images

I have just returned from a few days away.
I had the extreme good luck
to be invited by friends
to view the eclipse from
the path of totality. 

A group of friends
met up at
in Blairsville, Georgia
Monday morning.
The weather was perfect.

The vineyard organized a spectacular event for viewing
this once in a lifetime experience.

Spectators were limited to 100,
so it was not crowded.
We arrived around 10 AM,
claimed a perfect spot under a huge shade tree,
and set up our chairs and provisions.
Afterwards we headed to the tasting room
to sample the wines.
A glass of wine was included in the admission,
so everyone was able to make their choice.

The vineyard staff grilled hot dogs and hamburgers
near their pavilion and served lunch.

The actual eclipse was stunning to see.
We watched the progression of the
moon crossing the sun 
until it was totally covered.
It was almost eery 
to feel the temperature fall,
and see our surroundings 
 change from mid day sunshine to night,
in a matter of minutes.
And then to see the reverse happen.

What a treat to have experienced 
this once in a life time occasion in
such a perfect spot,
with a wonderful group of friends.

Thank you especially to Tami and Martin
for organizing this 
once in a life time outing!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The 2017 Davidson Bake Off

Got chocolate?
For the past couple of weeks,
my family has had chocolate to the max!

Do you remember our Bake Off cake from last year?
It was a Zucchini Cake with
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
and it was GOOD!

This year my brother Rick choose our cake.
It was the 1966 second place winner in the
Pillsbury Bake-Off Competition.
This cake has a soft fudge core baked into the
center, hence the name.

The original recipe calls for a package of
Double Dutch Fudge Buttercream Frosting Mix.
Alas, powdered frosting mixes are now defunct.
Because this recipe is one of the Bake Off's
most requested recipes,
Pillsbury developed an alternate recipe,
resulting in the same cake.
Above is Rick's cake from the oven.

Here's Nancy's cake just out of the oven.
I must tell you, 
Nancy gets extra points for her cake,
since she is limited to the use
of a toaster oven for her baking endeavors.
(Another whole story there.)
Nancy and Rick used the same recipe.

As usual, I had to go in another direction
and found a recipe for the cake from

Rick's finished cake. 
It got high marks from him.

Nancy's cake. 
Her assessment of it was
it's a good cake, but next time
she'll buy a package of brownie mix
and make those instead.
Enough said.

Here is my sister-in-law, Pat's cake.
Pat is picking up the slack from our 
brother Bill, who is not a baker.
However,  Pat says the cake was yummy 
and passed Bill's taste test.

Here's my NYTimes cake,
which was the only one 
to not call for a glaze.
This cake is VERY rich and
really didn't need a glaze.

However, if the glazed cake
 is NOT rich enough for you,
serve it with 
a scoop of ice cream,
as Nancy did.
My neighbor Sue, 
who was gifted
with a few slices of my cake,
suggested heating a slice,
topping it with ice cream,
and then perhaps a 
drizzle of chocolate sauce. 
(This suggestion was given as a joke!)

The recipe I used had some 
of the most specific instructions 
I have ever come across in a recipe.
For example, 
"Crack the 4 whole eggs into a large mixing bowl.
With a small knife,
cut the yolks and barely
stir the eggs,
minimally blending the
whites and yolks."
What the...???

Another interesting instruction,
"About 30 minutes after taking the cake 
out of the oven,
press the inside and outside
edge of the cake bottom down
all the way around 
to minimize the air pocket"
above the soft fudge center.
I followed this recipe to the letter,
but it started cracking 
before it even came out of the pan.

More cracking and collapsing!!!

Total collapse!!!

The cake is now all gone,
enjoyed by several people.
I don't think it's a cake
I'll ever make again,
although, Pat has already gotten
a request to make one for someone.

We all had fun with this year's cakes.
Thank you Rick for choosing our
cake and keeping us on track!

Nancy with her cake.

Sharing this week at
Foodie Friday/Rattlebridge Farm
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