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March 14, 2020

Coronavirus Recipe Ideas & Shopping List | Home for a Month?



This is a really strange time.  I'm not trying to get in the over-react or under-react category, just doing what I can to prepare my family for staying out of everyones way for about a month.  I've made a meal plan and a shopping list that should keep us fairly fed for the next four weeks.  I'm sure I forgot something and might have to get really creative at some point!

I've included links to all of the recipes and the staples you'll need to make them (for the most part).

Baked Potatoes
Pancakes & Waffles
Cupcakes & Cakes



March 11, 2020

The Spring Collection & The New Store


As I shared a couple of weeks ago, we've been setting up my first in real life store this winter.  My goal was to get it ready to go for the spring launch... and it is ready.  We tested the water this weekend and opened up the doors.  Eek!  We will have a more festive grand opening event later this month, but if you are around the KC area, we are here and we are open.  

Tuesday - Saturday, 10am-2pm


I launched the Spring Collection online yesterday, and the store is filled with all of our spring goods - new pillow covers, linens, baskets, candles, pottery, pitchers and essentials.










With all of the work that has been happening in the shop, I was anxious to take a day and get back into my creative cooking mode again.  I spend the day in my kitchen and whipped up some lighter feeling recipes.  I've been focusing on bringing back more cooking to the blog with tips on how to really simplify time in the kitchen.






Powder Blue Block Print Linens


In the winter, we do roasted carrots or broccoli (always like this - veggies topped with olive oil and sea salt and roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes) almost every night.  Now that spring is on the way, we'll shift to asparagus... and still carrots.  Roasting veggies like this is such a lifesaver for me and helps us round out a meal.  Even if we are having spaghetti and meatballs, I'll throw some veggies on a sheet pan just to easily add something green to our dinner.

Baking Sheets & Parchment Paper Sheets









We discovered Farmhouse Pottery a couple of years ago when we were in Vermont.  It is a truly small artisan brand as they hand make each piece in their studio in Woodstock, Vt.  I love supporting businesses that give us examples of living well.  The family that owns and operates Farmhouse Pottery is living their dream in a small town, running a small business with integrity, making very high quality beautiful heirloom pieces.  They are special and gift-worthy.






Happy Spring, everyone.  



Spring Cleaning Check Lists



Above : These are my favorite Tablets to stay organized.  You can purchase these in my store, or you can download some cleaning worksheets I've put together below.

I love spring cleaning.  I'm sure that sounds nutty, but I do.  Remember when we moved out of our house for our new addition?  I said, "I love packing."  And again when we moved back in, I said, "I love moving and unpacking." 


 It is all in the same vein for me - that fresh start, new project feeling.  Cleaning up and cleaning out.  I just love the feeling I get of physically working and cleaning, not to mention the lightness it brings to our house.


Our home works very hard for us - entertaining, family time, play dates, nightly dinners, big and little holidays - so keeping it in good order helps us to live fully.  



We've all had those issues in our home that make us feel like "we can't have anyone over until..." or "we can't enjoy the backyard until..."  I never want any of those reasons to keep us from fully living and enjoying - having friends for dinner, family time in the backyard, relaxing on the porch with wine in the evening, coffee in the morning, and our time in the kitchen.  

If your home is not serving your life in a productive and positive way, it will make you feel so much better to take some time to tackle those "if, only, when" barriers.  



Here is the list I made for myself.  It is just a simple overview of each area in our house that needs attention.  I think I will move room by room and check them off as I go.  I might designate an area for each week/day.  For instance, Saturday I'll tackle the kitchen, then Sunday the mudroom.  Two projects a weekend will get our entire house in shape by the end of the month.




Simple supplies can make the process more fun.  I am a big fan of simplified packaging that doesn't add visual clutter to our home.

Shop Home Keeping Essentials >


Sometimes we don't have a month.  Sometimes we have a couple of hours and we just want it all done.  I do this express list once a season (at least) and it instantly helps everything feel better.  It is a list of all of the hot spots that drive me crazy on a daily.  I should have added mudroom to the list.  Just taking 5 minutes to weed out jackets, fleeces, cardigans, shoes, boots, etc. that pile up and need to be put away makes the entire house feel better.




And sometimes the trick to cleaning is just to make everything pretty.


 

I am so glad it is almost time to get our hands in the dirt again.  Since I end up working at my computer for a big chunk of the day, I really look forward to nice weather so we can spend our after school time in the backyard.  We've done the cleaning out, now the fun starts with mulch, seeding and some little gardens we're planning.  I'll share more details on those in the next week. 




And do you know what little secret helps me feel organized every single day when I'm really not?  Making my grocery list on a Market Tablet + (remembering) Tote Bags when I head to the store.  



Shop my organizing essentials in my store >




March 10, 2020

Banana Cream Pies Per Mike's Request


Mike's number one favorite pie is Banana Cream Pie... at a restaurant in town (Rye for locals).  Of course, I find it so annoying (insulting?!) that his favorite pie is from a restaurant.  I've tried to duplicate it, but even I can admit - it is really good, and has a certain something that I hadn't quite mastered.  Until now, I'm happy to report.  

Oddly enough, the secret is more of a shortcut.  I had been trying to make a homemade shortbread crust in the past, but this time I used Chessman Cookies to make the crust (ala Paula Dean) and it made all of the difference.  The other component is the flour in the custard (which makes it thick and slice-able) and the absence of sweetness.  This custard is just creamy, creamy and thick and smooth.



I made them in my Petite Tart Pans to make them individual size.  It would be really great for a party or you could be like us and get one out to split every night last week.

Essentials Used :

Petite Paper Tart Pans, $6 for 10
Flat Whisk, $10
Large Piping Bags, 100 for $18
Jumbo Star Tip, $4
Large Sheet Pan, $10
Parchment Paper, 100 for $10

New, Flat Whisk, $10

This is a favorite staple in my kitchen - always the whisk I reach for.  It is perfect for smoothing out a sauce, or making a roux on the stove.  I love how the flat whisk gets all of the way to the bottom of the pan.





Banana Cream Pies

6 small tarts or 1 large pie

1 package of chessman Cookies, crushed
4 tablespoons of butter, melted
....
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
4 1/2 cups of milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla
4 bananas, sliced
....
1 cup of whipping cream
1/4 cup of sugar

Place the tartans on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Petite Paper Tart Pans, $6 for 10

For crust, mix together crushed cookies and melted butter.  Press into the bottom of the tart pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

For filling :

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour. Gradually whisk in milk and egg yolks.  Turn heat on medium, and continue to whisk until thicken and bubbly.  Cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat.  Whisk in butter and vanilla.

Spread about 1/3 of the custard mixture in the bottom of each crust.  Top with sliced bananas.  Fill the rest of the tart pan with custard.  Let cool completely before topping with whipped cream.

To make whipped cream, whip cold cream and sugar on high with whisk attachment until thick.  Fit a Large Piping Bags, 100 for $18 with a Jumbo Star Tip, $4 and fill the bag with whipped cream.  Spread a layer of whipped cream, then pipe the edges in a pretty shell or star pattern.  Resist garnishing with fresh banana - it will turn brown : )

Keep refrigerated until serving - can be made a day in advance.











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