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StorybookWoods
my bloghttp://storybookwoods.typepad.com/storybook_woods/
Interests: travel, knitting, calligraphy, classical music, wine, homemaking, history, parties, tea, homeschooling, brewing, nature walks, charlotte mason, chocolate., england, old children’s books, susan branch, making bread, entomology, cooking, drawing, sewing, baking, france, decorating, crafting, cozy mysteries, cottages, old building
Recent Activity
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Whenever I make something my family raves over, ask me to make again, you know I have to share it with you ;-) My whole family has gone low-carb now (for different reasons: health, skin issues, weight loss. Nobody is pre-diabetic like I was!). Well that means LOTS of salads for dinner, since we all tend to like our veggies raw. But everyone has different work schedules, hours, one works the night shift and that makes makes things a bit more complicated for me. I want a salad that can hold up for a couple of hours, I want one that is filling and of course delicious, as well as nutritious. So I have been playing a lot with slaw's for a couple of reasons They hold up well! They are filling. I have to feed 5 adults who eat a LOT!! If there is no meat or bread, I need filling veggies. They are cheap. It's the blingy stuff that adds up! All that fiber is fab for your gut!! I gave amounts for the slaw but really I never measure, I just wanted to give you an idea of amounts. So throw the amounts out the window and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2018 at Storybook Woods
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Hi everyone, just thought I would share it is David and I 30th wedding anniversary. I have been reflecting on the past 30 years. I was scared to get married, both of our parents had been divorced and so may people made marriage sound so difficult. Well I wish I had not been so scared because it been great. Fantastic even! Plus it gets better and better. I can truly say I have never had a day where I thought about divorcing David. Sure we don't always get alone but its usually a misunderstanding because we have such different temperaments. I think the reason David and I work, is because we are best friend. We respect each other and always have each others back. I never fear David won't be there for me. He is my rock and I am his light. I also wanted to share I got a new wedding ring. Well a revamp of my wedding ring. For the past 8 years I have been living with cheap rings, waiting for a new ring. I originally had an oval 1 cart spinel but lost the stone (broke my heart). So I went to Goldmine Design Jewelers in... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Storybook Woods
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If you are new to me and my blog, four years ago I found out I was pre-diabetic. I immediately went on a super low-carb/paleo/keto diet and started exercising. I lost 54 pounds and have kept it off (well mostly). I have also made my pre-diabetes go away without medication. This is my yearly check in to share how my path is going. Year 4. Well I will confess this last year has been challenging. Pretty much after my 3yr anniversary my peri-menopause really kicked up it heals. In a short time I gained 10 pounds, even though I was exercising and eating as I always do. I have to say it's really hard to have you body just go up in weight while still eating right and exercising. I felt depressed, I had a pity party and then a talk with myself. I have been able to loose 8 of the 10 pounds and am gaining a lot of muscles ;-) Also I traveled this last summer (which I rarely do), it was a great challenge for me because I was with a group of people and could not just eat wherever I wanted. You see if I eat... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at Storybook Woods
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I have been making bottles of this for all my friends (because that's how much I love this stuff), so I thought I should share it with you. This all started because last summer was looking for a good moisturizer for my body and thought I would try aloe vera. And found I LOVED it for my skin. It did not leave a sticky reside, like lotion can. Easy to spread on my body and I liked how it makes my skin feel. Since hitting 50 I am have more and more issue with dry skin. Plus I have always had very sensitive skin, even in my youth and moisturizers do not always work for me. I found aloe heals as well as adding moisture and that is a win/win combo for me. Then I decided to try to make a face spray and came up with this combo. I just spray it on my face liberally a couple of times a day. Only at night before bed do I use a heavier moisturizer. But this spray has become so much more, I will list all the ways I use it. 1. I spray it on before putting my make-up.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2018 at Storybook Woods
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Well this is embarrassing :-O I have not posted Christmas my theme yet (and Christmas is long gone). Life has been a bit crazy for me. Plus this theme has to be done more last minute, so I did not have the time to do photos ahead. But I will share now and hope it inspires you for next year. This years theme, a Nature Christmas. I use traditional colors with lots of plants, greens and foliage. I made a video on FB giving you a tour, check it out! We could not decide between a coca bar or whiskey, so we did both ;-) LOL, it was not until after Christmas the my mother pointed out my little bouquet garni message might be for the wrong season. Akk, life with a dyslexic. Never even dawned on me :-O I loved this years them but it was hard because something I could not do until last minute. Plus I killed 3 plants, haha. I never realized what a black thumb I have. Thank you for letting me share and sorry I am so behind the times xox Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2018 at Storybook Woods
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Hello everyone. I have been busy decorating and cooking. I am not quite ready to share this years theme but soon. I am busy making treats; cookies, candy, etc. It is hard at this time of year to go sugar free but over the years I have discovered I can make healthy version of what I love. I have compiled a list of thing I love to make. I thought it might be helpful for you too. Just to let you know I primarily use xylitol, stevia and coconut sugar. These are low on the glycemic level and my body/blood sugar does well on them but use what works for you. My number one favorite treat is this No-Sugar Fudge. You can make it without peppermint. I have had it plain or with coffee or nuts added. It is yummy and so simple. You can also make it vegan with coconut milk and oil. My second favorite is a recipe of mine, Grain-Free Snowball cookies. We have loved this for a long time. Another favorite cookies is Rosemary Shortbread! Orange and chocolate are a wonderful combo in this Orange Chocolate Cookie-dough Bark Cafe Cookies are great because you can keep... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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So one of the ways I have kept my 50# off for these three and half years is by eating a good amount of healthy fat. Yes, you heard me, eating fat has kept my weight down. Crazy I know but true. Of course I am talking healthy fats and I still eat way more low-carb veggies, than anything else but health fat has a real place in my diet. One reason is, fat helps my body deal with carbs. If I eat something like bread, I make sure it has a good amount of butter to help my insulin sensitive body, because that is what a pre-diabetic is. Although I have healthy insulin levels now because of my diet. I am not pre-diabetic anymore, yeah! But trust me, if I went back to all my old, my bad behaviors, I would become pre-diabetic and eventfully diabetic. So I always need to be mindful of what I eat and how much sugar I put in my system. So fats help my body regulate and digest sugars. And that brings me to bulletproof coffee. I am not going to get in a discussion if coffee is healthy or not and that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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Javapresse I have been getting into bulletproof coffee lately (I will write more about this later) so I got a Javapresse hand-grinder for my coffee, and wow, great product. First off they have the best customer service I have EVER had, sent me a new one (no questions asked) when I had problems with the one I bought. Great website full of helpful info and they have quickly answered any questions I may have. Well done Javapresse! Oil Cleansing. Now that I am in my 50's I am starting to deal with dry, dull looking skin. I don't want to look 20, but just maintain what I already have (thank you mom for my lovely skin ;-) Oil cleaning has really become my friend. I put it on when I get in my bath and just enjoy. I add some essential oils too, so it feels like a real spa treatment. I have been using this castor oil (I use on my hair too) and love it. Great product, great company. By the way I make small batches of the oil using half avocado oil, half MCT oil and a dash of castor oil. I just eyeball it. 2-Minute Low... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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I eat a LOT of salads, at lest one a day. So I am always looking for ways to bling it up. I made David this Whipped Feta Salad for Father's day and it was a big hit. Now I am making whipped feta all the time. It is easy to make, keeps a good week in a air tight container and great with veggies. Check it out! Whipped Feta Salad whipped feta Greens tossed in a vinaigrette cherry tomatoes, avocado and pistachio nuts to garnish Simply spread some whipped feta on your plate, dress your greens and add garnishes. Very simple to make. Whipped Feta 1 cup (8oz) feta cheese at room temperature 1/3 cup (3oz) whipped cream cheese, at room temperature, see notes In a food processor crumble feta into tiny piece. Add cream cheese. Run processor until smooth and fluffy. Takes about 3-4 minutes. Store in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps about a week refrigerated. Balsamic Vinaigrette 1/2 cup oil, I like a good olive oil 3 TBL Balsamic Vinaigrette 1 TBL honey (optional) 1 garlic clove, finely minced salt and pepper to taste Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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Ha! Well after living here what ... 15 years, we finally finished a room. Our library is done and I am loving it! My in-laws were selling their fake fireplace and I have been coveting it for years, so we snapped it up. I will be honest, the pretties on the mantle will go. A biggg flat-screen TV will be on the mantel instead, but I had to make it pretty for the photos ;-) We purchased two leather chairs (my first barko-leather furniture. my husband is over the moon). I know everything looks really orange in these photos, but it doesn't in real life. Much more like earl grey tea with milk in it. Well, except my desk which is a dark tangerine color. It is small but I was able to come up with a whiskey/port bar. Every library needs one of those right? There is even room for elkzilla, as I like to call him. My husbands pride and joy. The things you do to make your man happy. There is a LOT crammed in this room, but I tried to create some space too and it all seems to work. Very cozy on a winter day.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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We purchased a Breville Smart Oven Air and told my FB'ers I would write a review. Thought I would post it here. First let me say, I was looking for a second oven but putting in a wall oven meant a good $1000 and taking out half my cabinet. So $400, seemed a good deal compared to the price of a second wall oven. I was interested in this oven because it is the biggest counter oven I could get. I have plenty of counter space, so I want to get the most out of it as possible. This oven has 13 preset functions: Toast, Bagel, Bake, Roast, Broil, Pizza, Cookies, Proof, Air-Fry, Dehydrate, Reheat, Warm and Slow Cook. It comes with 2 oven racks, 13" nonstick pizza pan, 2 heavy-duty oven racks, broil rack, enamel baking pan and air-fry/dehydrate basket. I was a bit nervous this would be a wasted purchase, but I had two ovens before and know how nice it is to have two. I have to say I am beyond thrilled with this oven. Actually I have only used my other oven once since I bought the Breville a month ago. This oven is veryyy accurate... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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This recipe all came about because I miss mac and cheese. I wanted a low carb version and tried several recipes, but honestly they were too much work, relied on a roux (I do not eat flour) and I was not happy with the results. In mac and cheese your cooking a pasta that absorbs the sauce, cauliflower does not absorb, so you need a different type of sauce. I learned a long time ago just thickened cream makes a simple sauce. Add some cheese, bake until thick and bubble and it is quite good, and easy :-) I have made at least 5 different versions of this with cook /frozen/riced/not and this is the version my family liked best. The second recipe is the one I like the best, because it is easier. I did not have to prepare and par-cook the cauliflower. They are both good though. The only kind of cauliflower I would not use is frozen florets. We all agreed it was too mushy. I do not know why the frozen riced cauliflower is not mushy, but it is not. Par-cooking the cauliflower florets gave a perfect textured with the finished dish. I like to serve... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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I get asked a lot what tricks I use to keep my weight off. A big one is stopping and really thinking about what I want to eat. How to have treats without going whole hog. I tend to have my treats on the weekend, so I so that cuts of a lot of the week. I will also try to plan it out. If I know I am going to have a really carby meal on Saturday let's say, I try to make sure I eat really good the day before and after to make-up for it. But I also look at what is being served, what I would really like and try to make it as healthy as I can, while still enjoying what I want. I will give you two examples. Example 1, last weekend we had hot dogs topped with bacon, guacamole and monterey jack cheese (which is a fab combo by the way). I served nacho chips in the side because my family loves them. I looked at that meal and thought what was the problems with it? First there is the hot dog buns, second the chips and third no veggies (I don't consider... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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Celebrating my three year anniversary of not being pre-diabetic anymore and major lifestyle change. 3 years, wow!! I know some of you are having the same issues as me, so I thought I would share. In the past three years I have lost at least 54 pounds. The even better news is I am keeping it off! My number one goal has always been to maintain what I have lost. And to be able to maintain that weight loss, well ... that feels like the biggest success to me. My second goal was to drop under 200 and stay there. I can say I have been able to maintain that goal for 7 months now. I am not sure what my next goal is, but honestly I am just happy with what I have obtained so far. I still eat a very low-carb version of Paleo. I still struggle with eating enough veggies. My goal is to make 70% of my daily diet low-carb veggies. I do it, but still have lazy days. I exercise once a week for 1 ½ hours (hard) and "try" to work out another day for 40 minutes, but I do not beat myself up... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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Happy New Year! I hope it was a great ending. I know it was for me. Last year was a hard one, personally. I was stretched and challenged a LOT! In the end, it is all is good. A lot of change but change is good, right? ;-) This is the first time I am really feeling that empty nest stuff. I did not think it would get to me so much, but I am finding my ways, slowly. A new chapter of my life. I did want to share one last project from my Copper Christmas. As you know every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make a small gift for each of my guests. Since I drink large amounts of Clear Mind Brew Dr Kombucha I decided to save the bottles. So all year I have been collecting bottles and corks from the sherry I cook with. Just add some copper paint and a simple word. Joy! We all need joy. I am happy with how these turned out and hopefully everyone can use an extra bottle for storage. The other thing I did was use copper pennies. After I choose copper for my theme, I looked around at what... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Storybook Woods
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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours I love this photos because I hardly see my girls anymore (they work so much). I love that we can still be silly and giggle. I will be back after the New Year and share a bit more of my Copper theme. I hope this is a blessed week for you xox Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Well the one coppery thing I did do was a wreath. This was fun and pretty easy to do. Hubby welded the elbows on each corner. I cleaned up the copper with a mixture of 1 cup plain white vinegar and 1 TBL salt. Worked well. My bow is ribbon I have had for a good 30 years. The beautiful buckle in the center is from one of my favorites stores in Poulsbo, Red Plantation. It is perfect addition. This wreath is simple and open, but I like that. Air in decorating in needed, if that makes sense? Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Good day, here is our Christmas menu. Christmas Eve potato bar was such a big hit last year, I am doing it again! I am sorry I do not have links to recipes to link. Either they are mine (and I need to write one) or I am not cooking it. Like the ice cream will be brought by my sister from Molly Moon in Seattle. I am hoping my Bacon, Chocolate Pecan pie is a hit. I will let you know. What are you making that your excited by? Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Two years ago we did a whiskey bar and last year we did a cocoa bar, so this year we thought a champagne bar would be perfect with our theme. Plus these copper champagne glass, I got last year, were the whole reason I did a Copper Christmas! We made champagne cocktails. You take a sugar cube and add a few drops of bitters onto your cube. Place sugar in your glass and fill with champagne. I used Scrappy's Bitters in both chocolate and lavender flavor. They were a big hit at my Christmas party. I also had some raw sugar, that looked so pretty with the copper. Copper tinsel and copper wire lights filled in the small details. This bar turned so elegant. Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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I gave a shout out on FB/Instagram I was cutting up a batch of sugar-free Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge and several people requested a recipe so here you go ;-) Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar free, gain/paleo friendly 3 cups chopped dark chocolate, I use 70% chocolate ¾ cup coconut cream/milk or raw milk or regular whole milk pinch of sea salt 4 TBL grass-fed butter or coconut oil ¼ cup Frangelico ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped. I like big pieces in my fudge Put chocolate, milk, salt and butter in a small sauce pan and heat over low temp until all is melted. You do NOT want to boil, just melt. When chocolate is melted, pull pan off heat. Stir in Frangelico and hazelnuts. Pour fudge in a loaf pan. I like to use a silicone pan for this, because later I can easily pull the pan away from the fudge. Refrigerate your pan overnight. Then unmold the fudge and cut into small squares. Store fudge in fridge between parchment paper in a airtight container until ready to serve. This is a soft fudge, but firm enough to hold and enjoy. Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Next I am sharing from my Copper Christmas, my wall of mirrors. I had teased on FB/Instagram I was running around my house collecting all my mirrors. I was really flummoxed how to fill this wall space. I change it out each season. Spring/floras, fall/homey works of art. I needed something I have a lot of and mirrors I do. I was luck this house came with 3 antique mirrors and the large center one belonged to my Grandmother Claire (who I was named after but never met). The mirrors have a reflexive feel and go with my theme. It also reflexes the lights from the tree and when the tree is gone, reflections of the water. I added a few glitter do-da's and wha-la! Wall of mirrors! Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Okay, my theme this year is a Copper Christmas!! BUT, I confess that I do not own a lot of copper things and cannot afford to just go buy a bunch a stuff (plus that is no fun). So I had to DIY and stretch my thinking a bit. I own a lot of silver, gold, mercury glass and hoped this would make the copper shine. So in a way you could call this more of a metallic Christmas, but in the end I think it came out very pretty. I am quite happy. Today I am sharing my china cabinet. We took the back off and use this cabinet as a divider between the living and dinning space. This is a large, longggg room with 3 distinct spaces. The divide really helps with creating cozy space, like one would want in the winter, without closing off the room. I needed to put something in the cabinet and can be admired from all sides. My white village and lots of pale, glittered trees worked well. I purchased 2 white buildings and copper glittered the roof of one and painted the trim with copper metallic paint on the other. I also... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Here is some glimpses of my kitchen and pantry. I used gray, red and white in my kitchen. As it picked up the colors of the tote holding greens on my kitchen door. I always do these kinds of garlands. Just layers of ribbons I have on-hand, in the colors I am using. So simple. Our vintage Santa collection from Davids family. For my pantry I decided to go with a French feel. I used my glittered Eiffel towers, pops of color and black/white to ground it all! Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Happy December friends! I have been busy working on my Christmas theme this year, but I am not quite ready to share yet. So I welcome you into my house and kitchen. My little shoe room is a simple collection of shells, drift woods and other goodies I find when I hang out on the beach (or dropped in my yard by a bird. These brown bottles I have been saving for a Christmas project (share soon). Instead of a wreath I took this tote (that looks like wool but is recycled plastic bottles) and filled it with greens and holly from my property. Add some large pompoms from a past Christmas theme, and wha-la, simple! I will be back with my pantry!! Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2016 at Storybook Woods
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Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours xox This is a post from FB I thought I would share with all of you! I was asked by my good friend (who I can never say no to) what my Thanksgiving menu is, so here we go. Barbecued turkey, in a white wine, orange & lemon slices, fresh bay leaves brine Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce Sausage, dried sour cherry, chestnut bread stuffing Cream cheese mash potatoes Store bought gravy (yes I buy my gravy ;-O ) Green beans with Dijon-made by my mom Green salad with fresh persimmon, pomegranate, toasted pecan salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette Dairy free pumpkin pie Pumpkin Cheesecake-made by Chloe Grain-free Chocolate chip cookies-made by my mom Also I was requested the recipe for the Spiced Port Cranberry sauce. I will be honest and say I just wing it So feel free to not follow the amount for spices too much. I cook, taste, adjust and simmer 5 minutes longer, It always seems to turn out and is a yearly favorite! Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce makes a generous 2 cups 3 cups fresh cranberries ¾ cup port (I used sweet ruby port, but you can use dry... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2016 at Storybook Woods