havest basket for housewarming
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekly Menu | Pork Roast, Caramel Corn, Moroccan Chicken Stew & Martha Videos

This week's menu looks a little different than most weeks.  Actually, this week is going to look a little different in general.  I'm giving myself some free time this week to check off some to-do's before holiday business begins.  The biggest thing on my list is to complete a couple of years worth of photo albums!  Remember this post about Emma's 0-1 book?  Well, shamefully, that was the last one I completed : )  So, this is the week.  I'm spending the week in photos - creating a gallery wall in our stairwell and completing all of the books I've missed... including a wedding album for Mike and Me.  Since our 5 year anniversary is this year, I thought it was high time.  Whoops.
As I was saying, this menu looks a little different because this week I've challenged myself to find some new recipes and fresh inspiration this week.  I love fall cooking and have already made many of our favorites, so I'm ready to reach out and look to others for inspiration.  I have a new favorite (pork roast with onions and apples, served with a dollop of apple butter, cheddar grits and salad with cranberry and pumpkin seeds) pictured above that I'll share tomorrow.  I thought it would be fun to share some spots where I find inspiration along the way.

Another way this week is going to look different is because I'm going to write more.  When I added the store two years ago, it takes up most of my allotted "work" time, which leaves me less time to write and share other aspects of our life and home.  I miss writing - it is actually one of my favorite ways to unwind and reflect.  I love looking back on a week or a moment and taking time to relish in it.  So this week, I'm allowing myself some time to write more on the blog and reflect on some of the "thin moments" of time that bless us.  Now that the Halloween products are available in my store, and I have a little breathing room until Thanksgiving and Holiday collections come along - I'm going to take it.

I hope everyone has an opportunity (or makes an opportunity) to enjoy this week.  Taking time to slow down and just enjoy is such a treat that we all deserve.  Make an effort to do that for yourself, or better yet - to help someone else do the same.

. . .

Monday :  The first thing on my list is this Caramel Corn from Tessa.  I'm planning this for an after school snack and for dessert tonight.  Tessa treats you to two recipes in the same post, this caramel corn and a Moroccan Chicken Stew that I've been itching to try.  I love the way Tessa blogs - it is well worth your time to look at her years past posts of Fall months- one of my favorite things to do..  Lots of great fall traditions to put on your list.

Caramel Corn

Chicken Moroccan Stew

I'm looking for a really great Lasagna recipe.  I've never made one with a b├ęchamel before and have been day dreaming about it for a while.  I always start with a google image search for new recipes.  If you have any favorites, please share!

It is no secret that I find much inspiration from Martha Stewart.  Truthfully, while I like the current magazine, I really love the old videos in her archives.  I can vividly remember hurrying home from school to catch the daily show.  My mom would come home from work to find me making some sort of seasonal craft or recipe inspired by the show.  What a nutty kid, right?  I don't know what it is about these old videos that are still chalk full of inspiration for me - maybe the traditional elements, or the settings of classic new england farm kitchens/yards?  Whatever it is, I still love them.

The other day at Target I came across this Country Home magazine (I believe it is a Better Homes and Garden special mag?).  I flipped through it, loving every single photo.  I hardly ever find a magazine that really inspires me or offers something that really speaks to me.  Every home featured was just everything I love.  I didn't buy it because it was $12.99, but I can't stop thinking about it.  So, today I'm headed back and will treat myself to a copy.

I'd love to hear about where you get your inspiration.  I'm on the hunt for recipes and decor ideas this week, so please share.  I hope everyone enjoys this first full week of October : )


Friday, October 2, 2015

Halloween Collection | Pumpkin Spice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Jack O'Lantern Tags & Donuts!

Halloween Collection

As I said in my email newsletter yesterday, for me, Halloween is one of those quintessential childhood holidays that stir so many nostalgic feelings.  This collection is all about those classic moments of childhood and making it simple to creating those moments for your family.

I am so glad Halloween is on a Saturday this year, which means a fun family breakfast is in order.  This collection is full of breakfast ideas from Pumpkin Spice Syrup (for your latte) to homemade (baked or fried) donuts.  If you don't feel like making them, you can package up bakery (or cider mill) donuts in these cute boxes to give as gifts.  You'll be the most popular spook around!


Shop the entire Halloween Collection, here >

Maple Syrup

Let's start with the most exciting new product (for me) - Everyday Occasions Maple Syrup.

Our love of real maple syrup runs deep.  Mike introduced me to it when we were dating  Wait, did he introduce me to it or insist on it?  Hard to remember...  
Last year I included a well designed bottle of maple syrup in our holiday gifts for friends and neighbors.  Of course, I immediately had a vision for a bottle and label design that I would love to use this year.  It is just the thing to enjoy for yourself or give.
8 oz.
Grade A Dark Amber
Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Pumpkin Spice is definitely the flavor of the season.  I have a major Pumpkin Spice Latte habit - thankfully, I'm making them at home this year with the help of this syrup.  It is also great on top of ice cream or pancakes, too (of course!).
Emma's teachers are going to be receiving this this year - as a gift with a special coffee cup and gourmet coffee.
12 oz.

Donuts for Giving
I love homemade gifts.  Around here we don't wait for Christmas to deliver gifts to our neighbors and friends - almost every holiday or season we find a way to give and share.  Who wouldn't like a box full of donuts on their doorstep?!  You can make them with my new donut supplies (more details below) or just buy them and wrap them in these new boxes.

As we were waiting in line for our beloved Cider Donuts at our local farm stand, I picked up a recipe book of old fashioned treats.  As I read the recipe for the very donuts we were waiting for, I thought, I really want to make these at home.  I've made a baked version in my Donut Pan (also a new item offered for Halloween!), but I also wanted to try the real deal.
The recipe recommended the use of a donut cutter.  I like to think that my kitchen is equipped with almost every tool I might ever need, but this was something I didn't have.  So, of course when I need something, I assume you do, too!
I purchased both sizes and put them together in a set.  I'm just as excited about the "holes" as I am the donuts!  The 2.5" size is great for cake donuts and the 3.5" is perfect for yeast.
2.5" & 3.5" Donut Cutters

Baking donuts is just as easy as stirring together a muffin mix, then baking for 10 minutes.  An added bonus is feeling a little bit better about making donuts every other morning.  
After brushing with butter and rolling them in cinnamon sugar, we were instantly transported to the cider mill.  In our pajamas.  
The Donut Pan bakes 6 donuts at a time and has a non-stick finish.
This year I really wanted to create a cheerful halloween tag.  Maybe it is because all too often I see really scary and yucky halloween images.  For me, Halloween is kids walking through the neighborhood in costumes crunching on leaves, big bowls of chili, a classroom full of costume clad kids, bags of candy and a front porch of Jack O'Lanterns.  I'm going to hold on to my Halloween vision for a while (and let someone else do the blood and guts...).  
These cheerful Jack O'Lanterns will add a festive Halloween feel to any simple treat - like this bag of candy corn or a popcorn ball.   
Printed on creamy cardstock and pre-punched with a hole, these tags are ready to be tied on any treat with ribbon or twine.  See my favorite jute twine or gingham ribbons, here : )
Set of 20 tags.

Rectangle Kraft Window Boxes

Of course these boxes can be used for anything - a gift, cookies, cupcakes, etc. - but they make a great box for donuts.  A nod nicer than a bakery box, they feel like something special and nostalgic at the same time.  Like donuts from the nicest neighborhood donut shop of your dreams : )
10"W x 7"D x 2.5"H
Set of 10 boxes.
Treat Bags | Kraft or Glassine

These bags are great for any season or holiday.  This halloween, I plan to fill them with popcorn trail mix for Emma's class (they're into not so sweet at her school).  For the party at our house, I'll fill them with decorated sugar cookies (see below!) and line them up in rows in a basket as take home treats. 
I love wrapping it with gingham ribbon or twine and sealing with a label.  
25 bags per set
5" x 7" bags
Select Option : Kraft or Glassine/White
Products Used :
Printable LabelsGingham Ribbon
Printable Labels & Halloween Templates

I use these labels for everything - they are great to have around.  They are blank sheets of labels made from a thick, creamy white paper or kraft paper (purchased from Paper-Source) and make beautiful, high quality labels.  They are the same that I use on all of my own products for the store.  You can print anything on them for any season.  
The labels come in sets of 50 in easily printable sheets for $5.  *I've added the Halloween Labels to the Template Files below!  

Copper Cookie Cutters, Bat

These bats have been my favorite Halloween cookies for years, so of course I had to restock this year.  They are very simple to make - the sprinkles do most of the work!

They come wrapped in a cellophane bag with my sugar cookie recipe, tied with a ribbon ready for giving.
Cookie Cutter Pancakes

Cookie Cutters aren't just for Cookies.  I used my cutters for these haunted Chocolate Chip Pancakes last Halloween - I'm sure they'll be making several appearances between now and the 31st!

See Recipe Link and Instructions, here.

What is more classic Halloween than a Pumpkin Sugar Cookie?  Emma's first sugar cookie decorating experience was a  when she was 10 months old : )   I wonder what we will make together this year?

Happy Halloween season everyone!  I hope I've shared something that will help you to make some new traditions and memories with your family.


Shop the entire Halloween Collection, here >

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Maple Trees | October Glory Maple Trees

This spring, as our home construction was nearing completion, I shared our plan for the landscaping and garden.  We've really enjoyed every step and have done everything ourselves (to this point) for plantings and design.  Here is a post about the design, inspiration and layout I shared in the spring.

You can see that the backyard is fairly open.  While it does feel lush because of the flowering vines and overgrowth on the back fence, we really need some shade on our patio and the back of the house to help with efficiency.

Our plan has been to do things step by step, and to add more each year.  We've accomplished the hydrangea hedge on the left, the peonies on the right, replaced the back fence, planted the cherry tree, the rose garden to the left of the porch, and the hydrangea under the elm tree.  We also added a stepping stone path from the front yard on the left (photos at the end of this house post, here).

The next step for our grand plan was to add the two maple trees in the back yard to help add some shade and some relief to our too open backyard.  We've enjoyed the wide open grass area for running and playing, but know that adding trees will add to the cozy factor of the yard and much needed shade.

We've had a love affair with Maple Trees for a while.  We spent many days admiring them when we lived in New England - on our walks in Concord, Ma., driving to Deerfield, Ma., and (our favorite) trips to Vermont.

Here are some of my favorite New England Fall Folidage posts from the past :

Concord Mass Fall Foliage
Deerfield Mass Village & Homes Tour
Vermont (Lots of posts)
Nantucket Fall Trip
Bedford Post Inn, New York

The decision of what kind of Maple Tree was next.  Because we don't live in Vermont, we wanted to make sure we picked a variety that would thrive here.  Factors I considered :

- Color
- Fast Growing (we desperately need shade!)
- Shape : Oval, but wide spreading.

We considered Celebration Maple, Autumn Blaze & October Glory, as these three had the largest selection available in our area.  For local shoppers, we purchased ours at Suburban Lawn & Garden.

While shopping, I found myself leaning toward the October Glory because it seemed the fullest and healthiest looking.  It sealed the deal when we had a great costumer assistant tell us that he grew up with an October Glory in his backyard.  He says he still remembers how it created the most amazing, warm light in his childhood kitchen in the afternoon.  Sold.

Here is what I learned about October Glories :

"Quality shade trees can take a bit longer to mature than other fast-growing trees, but the October Glory Maple is an exception. This special selection of the native red maple will grow at least three feet a year, so rapidly turns from a young tree into a mature tree in a short time. - http://www.thetreecenter.com/october-glory-maple/

"This Red Maple (Acer rubrum October Glory) is known for its rapid growth and enduring fall color. In fact, its “October Glory” display of orange-red leaves lasts far longer than many other Maples. 
For several weeks you will be treated to one of the most vibrant displays of any tree in your neighborhood. It would look spectacular in your yard as a central focus, or equally at home near other plantings due to its narrow, upward growth.
October Glory is one of the most popular Maples for many reasons.  Tiny spots of fiery red flower clusters appear on the bare branches in the spring while the rest of your yard is still muted in browns and greys. 
The birds will flock to the small, elongated red fruits that accompany the flowers.  Glossy green leaves will appear next, some slightly tinted with a reddish hue.  As summer progresses, your Maple will grow 2 feet or more, achieving an oval-rounded form for optimal shade." -http://www.naturehills.com/red-maple-october-glory

We planned to purchase substantial size trees to help with shading the back of our house sooner rather than later.  Were were advised to not buy a tree any larger than a 3" diameter - meaning the trunk is 3" in diameter.  This means the tree is about 12-14 years old.  Maple trees grow 2ft taller each year.  Our trees are about 20 ft tall and will grow almost 2 ft every year.   Here they are as they arrived.

We really debated on planting the trees our selves, but decided that we better leave such large trees to a professional.  The delivery fee was about half of the planting fee, so even if we had them deliver it, the savings of digging, removing the dirt, staking and mulching the trees were minimal.  It took them about two hours to complete the job.  I'm pretty sure it would've taken Mike and me an entire weekend and a rented truck.

This is the view from our bathroom upstairs.  They were much bigger trees than I remembered.  I was afraid that when they showed up and where planted that they would seem smaller.

Out of the kitchen window.

I can't wait to watch them change color in the next couple of weeks!

They really make the yard feel cozier and more lush.  Now, I'm off to water them - again : )

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekly Menu Plan | Roasted Pork with Braised Cabbage & Goat Cheese, Chicken Carbonara | Kale Harvest Salad | Braised Beef Chili

Every year about this time I start getting organized about weekly meal planning.  It must be because I love fall food so much, that I want to make sure I get everything in : )  This week the forecast is really and truly Fallish.  Today is our last warm day, then 70's and 60's for the next two weeks with really cool nights.

It feels like our entire home is on the brink of fall.  I've schedule the old chimney to be swept and cleaned this week in anticipation of wood fires, we're getting two maple trees planted in our backyard (right now!), there is a Harvest candle burning on my desk and I'm sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte that I made myself (more to come on that later this week!).

As Mike and I were sitting on the back porch last night (looking for the Super Moon!), we were talking about how good it feels for it to finally be on the brim of Autumn.  There are so many weekends coming up filled with favorite traditions - that will all feel new for Emma.  It makes me warm in fuzzy all over just thinking about it.

On our kitchen table is a basket of apples we picked from the little orchard on my parents' farm.  It is an "unkept" orchard (we like to call it "organic"!) and produces wonderful oddly shaped, un-perfect real apples.  I've been using them all week in recipes like homemade applesauce.

We don't have any pumpkins or gourds yet - that will come after this weekend's trip to my cousin's farm in Lexington (Missouri).  Here is a link to our visit there last year.  Here is a link to their facebook page with visitor info - Fahrmeier Farms.

Here is what else will be on our table this week... if all goes as planned :

Pork Tenderloin, Braised Cabbage with Goat Cheese, Bacon Green Beans

This is that homemade applesauce!

Chicken Carbonara with Roasted Chicken

Of course, I have to have a pasta dish.  I will use roasted chicken in this and make extra for the next night.

Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds & Cranberries

I've been making this lately with Red & Green Leaf Lettuce instead of Kale.  Um, also instead of the apple cider vinegar I've been using balsamic.  You get the idea.

Braised Beef Chili

I like to make chili on Thursdays because I love to have it in the fridge for the weekend.  It is so easy to reheat for lunch (hello, chili dog! yes, I'm serious) or easy dinner.

Spice Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I have to have something sweet and fall-ish to splurge on.  I love these cupcakes with cream cheese frosting with cider with Emma after school.

And right now, as I type, this is happening at our house - two new Maple trees going in in our back yard!  We picked them out a couple of weeks ago and I'm excited to see that they haven't turned yet.  I'm looking forward to watching them over the next couple of weeks out of my kitchen window.  I'll post later this week about how we picked the specific variety and what size.  There was a lot more research and information involved than I had thought, so I'll share what I learned.

Happy Week : )

Friday, September 18, 2015

Autumn Comfort Collection | Wheat, Harvest Candle, Apple Butter & Maple Leaf Copper Cutters

Good Morning : )   
I've just added a couple of cozies to the store that I hope you'll love.  Like all of my products, these are things that I've been craving in my own home (and my kitchen) as the temperatures finally begin to drop - a great candle, some natural elements, maple and coffee inspired desserts, and the best way to refresh your sweaters...

Enjoy browsing and I hope you find some Autumn Comforts that inspire you.


Fall Harvest Candle in French Tumbler

I've been searching for the next perfect vessel for my hand-poured candles. These Fleur de Lys Tumblers have been a staple in my kitchen for years and were a best selling product when I added to the store last spring.  It is twice as large (8 oz.) than the previous bowls that we used and will last much longer.  After you use it, it can be cleaned and used as a vase for flowers (my favorite) or as a drinking glass.  I love this!
Autumn Harvest Scent
This seasons' scent is a classic Autumn favorite - Orange, Cloves, Cedar and Spice.  It is warm and earthy and will add instant Fall atmosphere to your home.
Fall Harvest Candles in French Tumblers, $28

It was hard to photograph the Fluer de lys on the glass once the wax was poured in, but most of you are so familiar with this glass anyway!  It is heavy and thick - and I'm so excited that it will last much longer than the small bowls.
Wheat Bundle, Tall 20"

The original 15" Wheat Bundle that I featured in my store two years ago is still one of the top requests.  This year I've added this 20" tall version.  It will look great for more grand look for your table this fall, or on your mantle, as I've used it.  It comes wrapped with a jute twine, but I've wrapped mine with my 2" Grosgrain in Gold.    

Wheat Bundle, 20" $24

Wheat Bundle, 15"

This is my table set last year with the original size wheat bundles.  They are still available in my store.  I plan to use the Tall Bundle on my mantle, and the original size on the table.  I love having balance in my house and like to use the same textures multiple times throughout.

Wheat Bundles, 15", $16

Maple Leaf Copper Cookie Cutter

We have a little thing for Maple Leaves, Trees and Syrup around here. Is there anything more beautiful than when the maple trees change color in the fall?  Some of our favorite trips have been to Vermont to see the maple trees in full glory... and to stock up on pure maple syrup.  In fact, we just purchased two new Maple Trees (October Glories) for our back yard.  
I used the Maple Leaf cutter to make these Pecan Shortbread cookies this week, then drizzled them with a Maple Glaze.   Talk about yummy - and very easy.  I'll share the recipe soon!
As always, the cutters are packed with a recipe card in a cello bag tied with a pretty grosgrain ribbon - a great gift.

Maple Leaf Cookie Cutter, $15 >
Apple Butter

This is fun - my first "food" product!  Apple Butter has been a favorite of mine since I was young.  There is nothing better than topping a generously buttered biscuit with a generous dollop of apple butter.  It is earthy and comforting - full of cinnamon and spices.  It tastes like Autumn.  I love serving it with biscuits for breakfast, or dolloped on roasted pork loin.  I will share some favorite recipes soon!  It makes a great gift for a friend - in a basket with apples or biscuits.

Apple Butter, $7 >

Natural Linen Apron

Several customers have requested an apron to coordinate with my linen collection.  I actually love using aprons - and do often.. because I am usually a huge mess in the kitchen.  This apron is made of 100% natural linen.  It is heavy and soft and very large to cover every inch.  It is chef style, so it wraps all the way around and hangs very long - quite flattering.

100% Linen Apron, $52 >

Harvest Basket Tray
This is a larger, tray style version of the Harvest Basket I released last month.  I ordered this style specifically for my house because I plan to use it more of a utility basket.  They are lined up on my shelf in my office to hold (disguise) all of the things that pile up... like spools of ribbons, cookie cutters and supplies.  In the laundry room, I have them lining my shelves holding cleaning and laundry supplies.  Pretty and functional, my favorite combination.  
It also works well to use as a gift basket or transport a display of cookies at school or friends' homes.  
19" x 13" x 5"

Harvest Tray, $8 >

Sweater Brush
Pilled sweaters are my ultimate nemesis.  The problem is that once I find a favorite, I wear it constantly until it looks too terrible.  Then, too many times my favorite sweaters have ended up in the donation piles just after one season.  I recently discovered this sweater brush and had to share.  It has stiff copper and wire bristles that take the pills right off without damage to the sweater.  It is a staple in my laundry room now.  It is the perfect thing to use as we change our wardrobes from shorts to sweaters.
Use caution on any very fine sweaters, and test a small area first, but I have not had any issues. 

Coffee Extract, $7

So many recipes for chocolate cakes or brownies call for a splash of coffee.  Too often I end up skipping it because I don't have a freshly brewed cup around (they're usually empty...).  


This very high quality extract is a great thing to keep in your pantry to add to chocolate baked goods and make yummy coffee whipped cream, like I did with this Barefoot Contessa Brownie Pudding I baked in my Small Brown Paper Tart Pans. 

Have a great weekend.  We are escaping for a bit of a fun weekend with just the three of us in one of our favorite spots.  I can't wait share photos next week ; )


Heirloom pumpkin
fall decor
Stews & Soups
autumn scone recipes
pumpkin floral
Fall Entertaining favorite recipes
fall linen Tea Towels &
my favorite fall candles
chocolate molten cakes in cupcake
sides & salads
camel & Grey
my favorite fall candles
mini paper tart pans
oak tree stationery
organizing my craft supplies
item11 item10 fallhead item20