Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Joyful Space

Victoria magazine has published a "Special" issue called Rooms of Bliss.

This issue was a result of the staff of Victoria magazine going through some of the archived original magazines. I have always been a fan of Victoria magazine and have most all of the original issues. When I go through some of those older issues it never fails to fill me with a warm and comforting feeling.

After enjoying this issue I find myself asking, what is the special space in my home that becons me there? Where I feel most sheltered, most serene, and most joyful. I try in every room in my home to decorate with that same thought in mind but this is my special place. The spot in my home where I go to relax and unwind.

It may be in the morning with a cup of coffee or in the afternoon with a cup of tea. Always with some reading material and just relaxing.

Surrounded by those special things that gives us a warm feeling.

That may be family photos and those special photos of lossed loved ones or photos that bring back happy memories. The trivet my cup is sitting on has my initials on it, handpainted by a dear friend and it is always sitting on this table waiting for my cup of something and this too is a warm reminder of dear friends.

Sometimes with a bouquet from the garden, even a wee bouquet but fragrant.

And always surrounded by my furry friends. Miss Scarlet laying next to me and Huey at my feet.

Today I am joining Marty's blog Party at a Stroll Thru Life. To view other participants of this lovely party just click here.

If you have not gotten this "Special" issue of Victoria magazine, I highly recommend it.

I hope you enjoy the remainder of this lovely Tuesday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Blueberry Cheesecake

I love a good cheesecake and having said that, I have tried many many cheesecake recipes. I can honestly say that this is the best cheesecake I have ever prepared. Maybe because I picked the blueberries myself on our farm in S GA and there is something very comforting about that. We have lots and lots of blueberry bushes at our farm. Enough to fill my freezer to last me through the year and also enough to feed the birds.

I had been on the look out for a recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake because at one of my favorite local restaurants, they serve one that is their most often requested dessert. It is very good but I knew that I could make one better and I did.

This recipe I am sharing today comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Coastal Living Cookbook. This is a book that shares the best of recipes from all coasts of the USA.

You may ask, what makes this cheesecake different? Two things, the crust is made with ground almonds and adds so much flavor and the whipped cream topping that has just a touch of sour cream in it for a little tartness.

Blueberry Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups finely ground almonds
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
Garnishes: blueberries, lemon rind strips

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Press mixture into bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch spring form pan; set aside.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Combine 1 1/4 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and salt. Add to cream cheese, beating until blended.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 8-ounce container sour cream, vanilla, and lemon zest, beating just until blended. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups blueberries. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 300* for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until center is firm; turn oven off. Partially open oven door; let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours. Release sides of pan.

Beat whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add 2 teaspoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in 2 tablespoons sour cream. Spread over cheesecake. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Since the recipe didn't call for it and I always follow a recipe exactly as it is written the first time I prepare it, I did not place it in a water bath. As one might expect it did crack on the top.

Not to worry because that lovely whipped cream topping is placed on the top to cover it.

This Blueberry Cheesecake has become my favorite recipe and at the same time I tried a new recipe from my vast collection of cookbooks which is also a "Good Thing".

This cookbook is a book that I highly recommend.

Today I am linking to Michael Lee's Designs by Gollum. A wonderful blog to share recipes.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I was reminded today about that "special" relationship between mother's and daughter's. My daughter has been working on her art work talents and brought me something special today. What I call a "Happy". She said it was her trial and error piece but she probably has no idea how very special it is to me. I was thrilled that she wanted to give it to me.

I thought it was just beautiful.

They grow up,go away to college, move away from home, get married but nothing can change that special bond between mother's and daughter's.

Today I am being a little sentimental.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Farmer's Market Fritatta

Today I am linking to Kim's first Saturday Swap.

Today I am sharing a recipe that comes from a new cookbook that I recently purchased by Emeril Lagasse. This book was published this year and like so many authors of recent cookbooks, it encourages cooking fresh and cooking local. I found this book to be excellent.

The first recipe I tried from this book was Farmer's Market Fritatta. I was not disappointed and it was a perfect dinner for two pared with a salad and a glass of wine.

Assembly of ingredients makes for a quick and easy dinner.

It's a beautiful one dish meal.

And out of the oven it comes.

Farmer's Market Frittata

8 eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 cup thinly sliced yellow, red, or orange bell peppers, or a mix
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (about 4 ounces)
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 cup diced smoked ham
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, or your favorite mix
1 cup grated Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces)

Set a rack in the upper third of the oven and pre-heat the broiler.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper together until combined.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a 10-inch oven proof saute' pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and cook, stirring as needed, until soft, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and corn and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ham and cook until warmed through, 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and when it has melted, add the egg mixture. Sprinkle the fresh herbs over the eggs, and top with the grated cheese. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the eggs, undisturbed, for 3 minutes, or until the surface begins to bubble and the bottom starts to set.

Immediately place the saute' pan in the oven and broil until golden brown on top, 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven. using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from the sides of the pan. Tilt the pan and gently slide the frittata onto a platter. Serve hot or warm.

Serves 6

Today is Foodie Friday hosted by Machael Lee West at Designs by Gollum. You can see some wonderful recipes being shared by other participants by clicking here.

Thank you for visiting my blog and have a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Little Changes

About a year and a half ago we did a kitchen remodel but when we did we lost our breakfast room. At the time we had intentions of adding a sun room to our house, enlarging the dining room and the family/reading room with the fireplace would become the breakfast room. We had already added on to our house about twenty years ago a second family room so it all made sense. After our kitchen remodel our daughter was married and we put our addition plans on hold. A little too long me thinks because I got very nervous about our economy and decided we didn't need to do that addition.

However, our breakfast room furniture remained at the end of that family room just off from the newly remodeled kitchen. It was a very dark spot and I always had to light it with candles no matter what time of day. Now that is not a problem because it did create an ambiance that was rather nice but it was bothering me that the light in that area was so poor.

This brings me to my Met Monday post hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. I had thought about putting a smaller scaled chandelier in the corner but my husband didn't like that idea. I had even found one that I liked and he liked it too but still didn't want to put a chandelier in the corner. We "upped" upon some wall sconces and the lights in my head and his went off. It became our compromise and here is what we did.

This is the way it looked before the metamorphosis.

And this is the way it looks now.

A little more light but ambient lighting. I LOVE the new look.

I have a real affection for lighting and this really appealed to me. The leaf design was very appealing and I found the little shades in a design studio. The shades picked up on the gold in the lamps and the macrame all over the shades really made them very elegant.

You may ask yourself, what did I do with the needlepoint framed pieces that I had stitched myself so many years ago? On the other side of that wall where the other family room was located. I learned a long time ago that using the same color scheme throughout your house would enable you to move things around in your house and achieve a new look. I have indeed achieved that color scheme throughout my house in varying shades and I am able to move furniture to different rooms and even wall hangings. It's a "Good Thing".

I did recently recover this wing chair but I will save that for another Met Monday.

Little changes can indeed be just what one needs.

There are so many amazing participants at Susan's Metamorphosis Monday and you can see those wonderful ideas by clicking here.

Have a lovely Monday.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Roosters and Hens

Today is a very special party hosted by Barb at Bella Vista. Thank you Barb for hosting this fun party.

This is a party to show off your Roosters and I have a few to share. I couldn't share my Roosters without also sharing my Hens. My most favorite of all my Poultry obsession is one I accquired about a year and a half ago when we did a kitchen remodel. It is behind my cooktop, the center piece of my kitchen and I had an artist in England paint tiles that I selected. The name of the piece is Three French Hens.

Above the cooktop sits three oil paintings. I was gifted with these by a very dear friend and fellow blogger because she knew of my fascination with Roosters and Hens. I always think of her every day because they are a reminder of my friend and I am always in the kitchen. The shelf was so narrow and they fit perfectly in that spot.

I have lots of Rooster and Hen pillows. These happen to sit in the chairs of my breakfast room tables.

This is a Soup Tureen sitting on my breakfast room table.

I also have various rugs in my kitchen with Roosters and Hens.

These plates were an antique "find".

My French Hen.

And yet another French Rooster.

Various others hanging around my kitchen.

This one is very special to me. The tole painted towel holder belonged to my mother and it hung in her kitchen.

I have a collection of McCoy Cookie Jars and you guessed it, the collection would not be complete without a McCoy Rooster.

I also have a collection of S&P's and I have added a few Roosters and Hens to my collection.

This fella sits by my back door to greet guests.

Of course, I could not forget about my Staub Hen covered casserole.

I know I have many more lurking in closets somewhere but these are but just a few to share with you. I have enjoyed sharing my obsession and I look forward to seeing other participants of Barb's Second Annual Rooster party. To see other participants please click here. Enjoy the Rooster Party.