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my blog
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Things I love. What I really love about this time of year? Is just that, this time of year, Autumn. Between now and Christmas is what I love the most. The nip in the air, the deep gold light, smoky smells from the wood stove, the pots of hot tea and snuggling. It does not get much better than that! Paper Table Cloth, love the look and simplicity of this for the holidays! David Lebovitz French take of the Cheese Ball!! DIY Lip Plumper, so easy and just a swipe in the center of my bottom lip works well! Sharpie Mug, I am thinking of making this mug for Christmas gifts! Image 2 from Cauliflower Popcorn, I am addicted to this stuff. It feel satisfy and fill that salty, snack need. The trick is to keep the pieces really small, do not over crowed the baking pan and roast the heck out of them! Be generous with your spices! Bye Bye Red, let me start by saying I am not paid to say how much I LOVE this product. I am not paid to say that about anything I talk about on my blog. So having said that, I have... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at Storybook Woods
I am always trying low-carb version of dishes and I will be honest, my family doesn't always like them. Which is fine, as long as they are tasty to me, I am happy. But this replacement I made for potato salad was a big hit for my family. I have been making it all summer long. Really it is the same version of potato salad I always make, with capers and lots of lemon zest. I just replaced the potatoes with raw, riced cauliflower but the dish did not have the same creaminess like regular potato salad. I could have used cooked cauliflower, but we like it raw better. So instead I upped the hard boiled eggs. Between tiny pieces of cauliflower and lots of hard boiled eggs, this dish still has that creaminess that one loves in potato salad! PS. this is very typical of a low-carb dinner for me. My family all had Moroccan Burgers. I had my burgers without buns with fresh avocado and a small piece for French cheese. And of course no potato-potato salad ;-) works for me. No Potato-Potato Salad makes one large bowl 4 cups of raw cauliflower, riced (finely chopped) 3 green... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2016 at Storybook Woods
My sister and I always have a tea for my mother on Mother's day. I wanted to make her something extra special and this ice cream cake was a big hit. Because my mother's is diabetic, and does not do dairy (except for butter), I made the cake grain free. The base of the cake is my lavender infused brownies, where you infuse the butter with herbs and then use that butter to make a chocolatey brownies (no cocoa powder here, all bittersweet chocolate :-) . Topped with strawberry ice cream and then lavender ganache. This cake was a BIG hit!! A little time consuming, but so worth the work! Lavender Strawberry Ice Cream Cake, grain-free, low-carb Base, 1 Lavender Infused Butter Brownie Cake baked in a spring-form pan * see notes 1 pint (or so) strawberry ice cream, I made vegan ice cream but feel free to use what ice cream you love. Dark Chocolate Lavender ganache Assemble cake; let brownie base cool for 30 minutes after baking. Cover brownie with ice cream (if ice cream is frozen hard let it sit on your counter, or pop in microwave a minute, to soften a bit). Set cake in freezer... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2016 at Storybook Woods
"Wren sets another bushel of tomatoes under the table and sets to making a salad. On the outdoor worktable Wren has arranged small crocks filled with herbs; chives, basil and hyssop. Next to the crocks is a large shallow pan filled with lettuce leaves floating in cold water. From the pantry she procures some fresh ripe cream brie Luc has sent and carefully crushes a handful of herbs with a clove of garlic in a mortar. Taking the heady paste, she whisks it with some olive oil and strawberry infused balsamic vinegar. Last summer Wren had macerated large vats of balsamic with strawberries from the garden. After a day, she strained them out and set the vinegar in a dark corner of the pantry. This is her favorite vinegar. The strawberries bring out the fruity intensity of the balsamic. Carefully drying the Red Speckled lettuce, Wren arranges it on an opalescent platter. Adding fresh figs and slices of brie to the dressed leaves completes the salad. She admires it for a moment the intense purple against the cool white platter. Devlin comes striding out of the dining room with a tray of iced tea. He hands her a glass, kissing... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2016 at Storybook Woods
Twice a month I have lunch with a girlfriend. She is an amazing cook, so we always eat well. This is a salad I made for one of those get together and was requested to write a recipe for it. I like this salad because it s liking having 2 salads in one. It is actually quite hardy and would make a great meat-free, dairy-free, carb friendly dinner. It looks pretty too, which is nice when you have guests! Please read the whole recipe before cooking! Peanut-butter Coconut Salad Dressing ½ cup peanut butter ⅛ cup coconut milk 2-3 TBL honey or coconut sugar 1 TBL soy sauce 1 TBL fish sauce 1 minced garlic clove * (Add these later) juice of half lime 1 generous tsp. grated, fresh turmeric (or tsp. dried ground turmeric) salt and pepper as need **Water, if needed In a small sauce pan add the first 6 ingredients. Heat ingredients together on low setting on your stove until melted and whisked together. You do NOT want to cook this, you are just warm it up enough to melt ingredients together. Take pan off heat and let cool 10 minutes, then add lime juice and turmeric.... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2016 at Storybook Woods
Thank you for all the congratulations on my 10 year bloggiversary. I wish I could send each of you a gift. Winner of Wishes Are Like ... Dawn at The Feathered Nest and the winner of the nest ring is Barbra Weaver xox I was requested to do a Things I Love Post, so here you go. What are you loving lately? * Roses, oh my gosh ... what more can I say!!! I think we all need to make a pair of cup-cake flats I love this movie Little Boy A tear jerker and heart warming. It is directed by Alejandro Monteverde who I respect. Ricotta has been my favorite cooking ingredient lately. This is on my to make this month list, Baked Ricotta Spinach Kalamata Olive and Sun-dried Tomato Timbales Knit a Blue Bird of Happiness Who says your too old for swag. Boy he inspires me, I love him! (image source unknown) Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2016 at Storybook Woods
Wow, it is Storybook Woods 10 year bloggiversary. 10 years! I do not know what to say. It seems like yesterday when I started this blog. I had NO idea what blessings, opportunities and friends blogging would bring into my life. Of course 10 years ago blogging was just in its infancy and a whole another world. Nobody was famous. Nobody had books, TV shows, etc. Just a simple wanting to share and connect with others. It has been interesting to watch the medium grow over the years. Like all things, it must grow and change. Some good, some not but I am proud to be apart of the blogging community. My first post in April 2006, "Hello friends, welcome, I am very excited about my new little home. I am hoping to share lots of exciting ideas that I make and find. I truly hope you will find Storybook Woods a place of inspiration. A place to help you play. So get a cup of tea and something to eat and enjoy, Clarice "What we play is life." Louis Armstrong I still feel this way. I truly hope I inspire you, but I have to say, I get much... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2016 at Storybook Woods