Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Splurge or Save?

Splurge or Save?
Børn Water Lily $120

Target Emilia Leather Comfort Flower Thong Sandals $18

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coconut Macaroons: A Traditional Passover Dessert

Passover observance began last night at sundown.  During this time, certain ingredients are banned in food preparation.  Particular to the making of desserts is flour, leavening and alcohol (vanilla extract)  Coconut Macaroons are a traditional cookie because not only are they simple to prepare, they contain none of the banned ingredients.

Coconut Macaroons
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
3 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
pinch of coarse salt
* 3/4 cup chopped almonds optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat.

In a medium bowl, with electric mixer on high, beat egg whites into soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating after each addition until peaks are glossy. 
Fold in coconut and nuts. Using a 1 3/4" ice cream scoop, drop mound on to prepared cooking sheet.  If you don't have an ice cream scoop, wet your hands and form into 2 tablespoon mounds and drop onto sheet.  Bake until lightly brown on bottoms and edges, about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes on baking sheet and then remove sheets to counter to completely cool.
Makes about 24 cookies.  Will keep, covered, up to 1 week.

If you research coconut macaroon recipes, you may see a version that uses sweetened, condensed milk.  I tried the Ina Garten recipe.  The condensed milk adds many more calories but lends a much richer taste to the cookies. They are delicious and may stay fresher longer. For a Kosher meal that features meat, this cookie recipe would not be allowed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Jewelry Designs, Chains for Layering

Layering chains is a big jewelry trend for Spring.

I've added some new jewelry designs to my Etsy shop.  These chains are perfect for layering.
Silver Twists Etsy $76                       Coco Chain Etsy $40

Chic Chain Etsy $36

Friday, March 26, 2010

6 Classic Dishes: Chicken Soup

It is a damp, gray day here in Michigan and a perfect day for soup.
Chicken Noodle Soup is one of the
I agree with the article that chicken noodle soup is a comfort food.  Don't we all think of chicken soup as the "cure" for a cold?  The article refers to a recipe from Tyler Florence.  This recipe asks the cook to make a homemade stock for the soup.  I'm sure you could substitute a canned chicken stock but is that cheating?  If you are pressed for time, who cares?  Honestly, I've not had too much success with homemade soup from homemade stock.  Just not enough flavor and the taste was too uni-dimensional.  

These ingredients added to chicken soup contribute a zest that I find more hearty and flavorful.  The recipe, Chicken Tortilla Soup, is from The Common Grill Cookbook which I mentioned in an earlier post.  I used the leftover chicken from my Roast Chicken meal earlier in the week for this soup.  

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 lb carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 large red pepper, diced
1/2 large yellow pepper, diced
1 Poblano chili pepper, diced (may substitute jalapeno)
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 28 oz can Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
5 cups chicken stock
1 lb chicken, cooked and diced
6 corn tortillas, cut in thin strips, fried for garnish

Optional garnish: shredded cheddar or jack cheese, chopped cilantro, 1/2 tablespoon lime zest

Heat olive oil in soup pot. Add red onion and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in carrots and celery and cook until carrots are soft, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.  Thoroughly mix in peppers, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.  
Stir in tomatoes and chicken stock and cook for 30 minutes.  Add diced chicken and continue cooking for and additional 30 minutes.  

*Corn tortilla strips: Cut corn tortillas into thin strips.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in saute pan.  Saute tortilla strips until crispy, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from pan and place on paper towel until ready to serve.  

To serve: ladle soup into bowl and top with fried corn tortilla strips and other garnishes if desired.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Egg Cups for Easter

Egg cups are so genteel.

Antique Porcelain Royal Vitreous Egg Cups and Plater Etsy $70  
2 Adorable Ceramic Pastel Easter Egg Cups ebay $17.99
3 sweet pair of vintage porcelain egg cups from japan Etsy $8
4 Apilco Plain White Accessories 1.8" Baby Egg Cup $17.95 

But I never use my egg cups in the traditional way.  
I like to use them at Easter for decoration and display.

1 Spring Flowers in Egg Cup Containers  2 Eggshell Flower Arrangements
 3 Tiered Bouquets  4 Green Grass in Eggcups
Ideas from Martha Stewart

Soft-boiled-egg Candles
Martha Stewart

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bright Eyes

I had to share this great product I recently discovered.

Laura Mercier Eye Basics in "Eyebright" is a one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose product that soon becomes "an indispensable".  Laura Mercier's Eye Basic Line is a collection of tinted eye primers that can be worn alone for a natural eye look or can be worn under other shadows to help prep and prime eyes. "Eyebright" is a unique light blue matte shade that, when applied very sparingly, works on all skin tones to brighten and illuminate the eye area for a refreshed and rested look.  Eyebright lights up any eye shadow that is applied over top and is subtle enough when worn alone.  
Try this product to look awake and refreshed.  Perk up your look for Spring.
Eye Basics - Eyebright

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

6 Classic Dishes: Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken is the third dish in the series of 

I absolutely agree that Roast Chicken is a classic, comfort food everyone should know how to make.  I made roast chicken tonight for dinner.  It is a rainy, damp, cool evening and the delicious aroma of roasting chicken filled the house and heightened the anticipation for dinner.  Creamy mashed potatoes and roasted brussels sprout rounded out the meal.  I roasted a 4 lb bird and hubby and I ate about one third so now I have meat for sandwiches or a jump on a meal later in the week using the already prepared meat. 
Roast chicken is a great Sunday night supper.  A good idea would be to roast TWO chickens to assure leftover meat for a  quick prep meal later in the week.  Of course you can use the carcass to make stock or as the base for chicken soup
The recipe referred to in the original article was an recipe that you can view by clicking here.   Martha Stewart gives some good tips in this recipe but it neglects to give oven temp (425 degrees F) and roasting time (1 1/2 - 2 hours depending on size of chicken)  I love the idea of the thick onion slices under the chicken.  They are outrageously delicious.  I use either thyme or rosemary in the cavity along with lemon and garlic.  

Free Pastry Day at Starbucks

Get a free pastry on the morning of March 23 with the purchase of a handcrafted beverage.
Now that is a pleasure!
Offer ends at 10:30 am (or when they run out of pastries) 
Below is your coupon.  Just show this from your mobile device or print and take with you.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Savoring Spring

It is official, Spring has arrived.  
Buds are getting ready to pop.

Just two weeks ago there was ice on the pond.  Now there are ducks, and geese.

Bulbs are poking through the ground.

I found pansies at the Farmers Market and I couldn't help myself... I just had to dig and plant.

Have a wonderful start to your week.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Giveaway on Made in Canarias

 My blogging friend, Ave, is hosting a giveaway on her blog featuring my Etsy shop, DFJewelry.  Click on her logo above to view her blog and be eligible for the giveaway.  Ave's blog, Made in Canarias, just passed the 400 follower mark!!!  Congratulations, Ave!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Etsy Easter

 Start with a basket...

handmade quilted Easter Basket Etsy $12
..add something sweet

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1 White chocolate Easter egg lollipops- set of 2  Etsy $5.75  2 Chocolate covered Oreo  Etsy $10.99
3 Easter sugar cookies Etsy $18  4 Two solid chocolate bunnies Etsy $7.50

...and something fun

Easter animal finger puppets Etsy $19.99

 Easter crayons Etsy $12.00

and top it off with something cuddly.
Soft Sculpture Ewe Etsy $65

Thursday, March 18, 2010

6 Classic Dishes: Meat Lasagna

Continuing the series of
Today I look at Meat Lasagna.

When I think of lasagna, I think pot-luck and covered dish.  While any dish with pasta is a comfort food, lasagna just doesn't seem that interesting.  My guess is that it is the layering that appeals to people as being special.  Not everyone eats meat.  I'd bet that macaroni and cheese would be the winner in a contest between lasagna and mac'n cheese.  I wouldn't dream of offering a recipe for mac'n cheese since every cook probably has their own version but here is the recipe for Meat Lasagna that was offered in the original blog post.
Last night I made one of my favorite pasta comfort foods, Spaghetti alla Carbonara.  This is a simple food, combining bacon, eggs, and cheese to make a silky, rich sauce for pasta.  The origin of this recipe is vague and interesting and you can read about it here.  While the ingredients are humble, the technique is a bit tricky.  If you don't pay attention you'll have scrambled eggs and bacon with pasta instead of the glossy sauce from the eggs and cheese. This is the recipe I use.
On a cold, snowy Sunday night, this is the comfort food I love best.  Rigatoni with Cheese and Italian Sausage.  The ingredients are combined in one pot and then divided among individual serving bowls, topped with cheese and then popped under the broiler to melt and lightly brown the cheese, a sort of de-constructed lasagna.  Easy and comfortingly delicious.  This is a great dish for non-cooks.  View the recipe here.
Which is your favorite, Lasagna or Macaroni and Cheese?
Please leave a comment and tell me, Thanks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Color My World

I saw the Pantone Color app for iphone in the NYTimes Sunday and was about to download to my iphone when I saw the price was $9.99.  Now I'm not cheap and as hubby would say, "you can't buy a pizza for that".  BUT, exactly how often am I going to use this?

I did a little checking and realized that Benjamin Moore, my absolute favorite paint, has two apps for iphone.  

Benjamin Moore ProConnection app is designed for the paint contractor.  It features all the Benjamin Moore colors and paint collections so you can use it like a Pantone color palette with full screen swatches of color.  Using your iphone, you can take a photo of the room you want to paint, save it and and then list the the paint colors and formulas you are using and save them as favorites.  If you are remodeling, or doing a paint project, this would be idea as you will always have your color swatches with you when you shop for drapes, sheets, pillows or room accessories.

But why limit to home decor.  Use it to find the color of your new sweater, keep the swatch as a favorite and then you'll have it to compare to that scarf that you think would be a perfect compliment.

Do you ever see a great color and think, "I want that"!
With the Color Capture app you can use your iphone to  take a photo of that deeply desirable color and have the Benjamin Moore Color Capture app find the exact match from one of the more than 3,300 colors available.  When you find the match, you can then find complimentary or contrasting colors to go with your match.  I tried it and it works well and will a little practice I'll really get the hang of it.  You can click on the link above and view the video demonstration.  

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Classic Dishes

I read an article about
The article calls the 6 dishes comfort food and proclaims every beginner should know how to make them.  So, I am going to look at these 6 dishes in the next few weeks and give you their recipe and also my take on the dish.  

Here are the Six Dishes:                                                             
     Chicken Noodle Soup
     Roast Chicken
     Beef Stew
     Meat Lasagna
     Chocolate Cake

Today I Take on Beef Stew
The article uses a recipe from Rachel Ray Magazine and you can view it here.
My recipe, does not require browning beef cubes which is very time consuming.  I use a 3 lb piece of chuck and brown the entire piece at once.  
Using a technique I learned from Mark Bittman, heat your pot without oil and add the meat to the very hot pot to brown.  Allow the meat to brown for several minutes before you flip to the other side.  The benefit of no oil is very little splatter on the stove area and less added fat.  I'm a fan of both of those ideas.
The meat is moved from the pot and all the vegetables are briefly sauted in the pot prior to adding the wine and tomatoes.
Place the meat back in the pot and place the pot in a very low oven for at least 4 hours.  
I had the pot in a 275 degree F oven for 6 hours yesterday.

This is the result, a very hearty, tender, comforting meal that is quicker and less messy to make than traditional beef stew.  There are no potatoes in this dish.  I served the beef over gnocchi but equally good with penne pasta, mashed potatoes or polenta.
3 lb chuck roast
2 large onions, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4 inch slices
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 lb mushrooms of your choice, thickly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
28 oz can whole tomatoes with their juice
2 cups dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Heat a heavy, large pot on the cooktop.  When quite hot, add beef, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Turn heat to medium-high.  Allow to brown and then turn and brown all sides.  Remove beef to plate and set aside.
Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and oregano to the pot and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes to pot, breaking up whole tomatoes with a spoon.  Pour in 2 cups of wine and season with red-pepper flakes and salt and pepper.
Cover pot and move to oven and braise for about 4 hours or until fork-tender.

Serve over pasta, gnocchi, polenta or mashed potatoes.  This recipe is based on a Martha Stewart recipe that you can view here.
What is your beef comfort dish?
Do you agree with the 6 classic dishes?
Please leave a comment...thanks!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunday at the DIA

We had a rainy, gray weekend in Michigan.
Hubby and I spent Sunday afternoon at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  Luckily we caught this great print exhibit before it ends, March 21.  

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The Buzy Bee, Eli Jacobi, 1938 2 Open Air Barber, Louis Lozowick, 1939 
3 Picnic, David P. Chun, c. 1935/1943  4 Night Repairs, Louis Lozowick, 1939,

This exhibition features around 100 prints created under the Federal Art Project, a unit of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created in 1935 to provide economic relief to Americans during the Great Depression. Like railroad workers, miners, farmers, and anyone out of work, artists were recognized as a special group of laborers in need of financial assistance.

A photo exhibit featuring photos taken in Detroit 
was also showing.

Drive-In Movie, Detroit, 1955

Detroit Experiences: Robert Frank Photographs, 1955

Over 60 rare and many never-before-seen black-and-white photographs taken in Detroit by legendary artist Robert Frank are the subject of this exhibition. The work was created while Frank traveled throughout the United States in 1955 to take photographs for his ground-breaking book The Americans, published in 1958.

If you live in the Detroit area, try to get a chance to view these images.  
The DIA is truly a treasure in a city with so many problems.

If you ever get a chance to view WPA prints, take the opportunity.  The techniques of print making displayed are astounding.  The subject matter is thought-provoking and quite timely.

Have a great Monday.

Night Repairs, Louis Lozowick, 193

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Spring Jewelry Designs

I was inspired by all the "blush" colors I've been seeing as well as the floral trend and came up with some new jewelry designs.  They'll be in my Etsy shop over the weekend.  

Have a great weekend and see you on Monday.


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