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my newest Sweet Salvage find

cake and sheep

Sweet Salvage was last weekend and I found the most wonderful hand-painted vintage window frame/pane pieces of art.

2 more

There were four of them hanging from the rafters.

rafters

Do you want to try to guess which one “I had to have”?

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January 23, 2015   2 Comments

… these are a few of my favorite things …

It’s been nearly a month since Christmas and ever since then I’ve been meaning to share with you my two favorite gifts.

Arizona cutting board

The first is the fabulous Arizona cutting/cheese board that Marissa gave me. Isn’t it wonderful?

Oh how my girl knows me!

She knows I adore my beloved AZ. I love cutting boards. And, of course, we share the love of CHEESE!

… speaking of cheese…

cheese slab

The second favorite thing is this vintage dairy display slab that Marissa and I found and then Dave gave to me to open on Christmas morning.

display slabs

Dairy and butcher display slabs were common place in English shops in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The slabs were used in markets and grocery stores as counter top displays for sausages, butter, lard and cheese.  These white stoneware slabs were seen as the ideal blank canvas for advertising, thus serving a dual purpose.

A few years ago I purchased two reproduction slabs.

pure butter cheese slab

This rectangular “Pure Butter” slab which sits by my stove …

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January 21, 2015   1 Comment

an especially beautiful salad

I served this salad on Christmas. I think it’s one of the prettiest salads around. It is inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest.

Easy and Pretty. Now that’s a nice combination!

wreath salad

Fruit & Cheese Green Salad Wreath with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Salad

  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 2 small bunches grapes (red and/or purple)
  • 1 small red and 1 small green apple (1 cored and cubed and 1 sliced)
  • 2 pears (1 cored and cubed and 1 sliced)
  • 8 Strawberries (3 left whole for decorating, the rest diced)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Dressing

  • Zest of 1 lemon (remove zest and set aside before juicing lemon)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salad: Place the iceberg lettuce and mixed greens in a large bowl and toss to combine. Place a bowl in the center of a large round platter and spread the lettuces around the bowl on the platter. This is your wreath base.

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January 20, 2015   2 Comments

mini cupcakes for a baptism

Sunday was baptism day for Peggy’s grandson, Cruz. Cruz is the cutest baby boy there ever was! I swear, he is a little chub of pure joy and his grandma is head over heals in love! I don’t blame her one little bit!

Cruz Baptism

Darling Cruz being held by his godfather, along with his godmother, proud daddy Stevo (Peggy’s son) and beautiful mommy Keegan.

 

The baptism was held during the 10:30 mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and the lunch was at Cruz’s great-uncle’s home.

Peggy was responsible for dessert and she did herself proud! She made the most adorable and delicious little lemon cupcakes with lemon curd, lemon frosting and lemon sugar. I held myself back and only had two. It was a test of control and strength!

Peggys cupcakes

I just noticed that the cupcake liners match her dress. What did I tell you? Adorable!

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January 19, 2015   1 Comment

so frustrating

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will be in Phoenix on Super Bowl Sunday.

alarm

Tickets went on sale yesterday morning at 9:30 Arizona Time. I set my alarm, just in case. Didn’t need it though. I was at the computers at 9:00, ready to log in.

desktop

Then, at exactly 9:30:00, I pushed the link and went to the screen below, on three separate computers in the house.

virtual queue

I waited, absolutely certain that I would be the excited recipient of free tickets to see The Tonight Show in Phoenix on Super Bowl Sunday!

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January 15, 2015   2 Comments

slow cookers are made for pulled pork!

Pork + Slower Cooker = Perfect Match

pork loin

Honestly, when I lay my eyes on a large cut of pork, I always think of the slow cooker. With very little initial effort, the cooker turns the meat into the most tender and moist meat there is.

clean plate

In these parts, it’s a family favorite, no matter how I fix it.

salsa and coke

This recipe in particular, using a few key spices, Coke and salsa, is one of Connor’s favorites. So much so, that he insisted I take a photo of his “clean plate” which was clean before the rest of us even finished on taco. Growing boys… always a pleasure to feed!

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January 13, 2015   5 Comments

yes, I do bake… every now and then…

lemon glazed blueberry lemon bread

We all know that I don’t bake.

Yet I did, voluntarily, on Sunday.

Weird, I know!

frys ad

It all had to do with the blueberries that were on sale at Fry’s.

I bought them, only because they were on sale, then I didn’t know what to do with them … so I baked. The result was pretty darn fantastic! (Oh, I bought the pork loin on sale too… that recipe will follow soon.)

meyer

I used Meyer lemons, because I have them, but regular Lisbon lemons would be just as delicious.

2 varieties

If you need either, and you are in my neighborhood … contact me and you can pick as many as your heart desires.

expesive lemons

I do not charge $46 (plus $10 for shipping) for 3 pounds like they do on Food52/Provisions!!! In fact, I don’t charge anything, they are free for the picking. Meyer or Lisbon! And yes, both are organic!

lisbon

Before we get to the recipe, a few notes:

lemon glazed blueberry bread

I love to use a longer and thinner loaf pan for breads. There are more slices and they are a nicer size. A 12″ long by 4 1/2″ wide by 2 1/2″ deep loaf pan is my favorite size to use.

drips

When you use a glaze on baked goods, the glaze drips. Many recipes call for you to place the baked item on a rack – over waxed paper or such.

pastry scraper

Don’t bother, just place on a rack – on a clean counter. It is much easier to pick up the excess glaze drips with a pastry scraper and drizzle over the bread a second or even a third time this way.

drizzle the drips

When making the glaze, start with the juice from 1/2 a lemon and add more as needed. Powdered sugar soaks up liquid like a sponge, so start with a little and add more as needed, instead of adding too much liquid at the start and having to add more and more sugar to get the consistency you want.

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January 12, 2015   6 Comments

kabobs and spears

kabobs

The recipe that follows, along with these easy kabobs (dressed with purchased balsamic vinaigrette) are last of the dishes that I served at my niece’s bridal party lunch.

mo's lunch

I must say, it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to. Congratulations Maureen and Brandon! xoxo

brandon and moPhoto

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January 9, 2015   1 Comment

mini frittatas

frittatas

The only hot dish I made for the bridal party lunch was these muffin-size frittatas. And, truth be told, they were not hot but served at room temperature.

kitchen view

The reason is because I prepped and cooked all the food at the bride’s apartment and transferred it to the hotel…in freezing cold Chicago weather.

view

Actually, cooking in the apartment was a joy. The view was amazing!

sear willis tower

Yes, that is the Sear’s Tower, also know as the Willis Tower! Pretty Cool!

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January 8, 2015   No Comments

savory raspberry dip

This is another of the recipes I made for the bridal party lunch for my niece’s wedding day. The lunch was served in the Presidential Suite at the Hyatt Magnificent Mile, which is where we all stayed in downtown Chicago. Maureen and her bridesmaids were in the suite having their hair and make-up done. The girls had been there since 9:15 and the wedding was at 4:00, so they needed nourishment in the middle of that time.

maureen bridePhoto

How beautiful is she?!?

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January 5, 2015   No Comments