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Friday, March 27, 2015

Red Cedar Gardens | Spring Exploring with Emma

When Emma and I have a free day we usually head out to the country for some exploring.  At the beginning of most seasons, we find ourselves at Red Cedar Gardens (for locals, it is in Stillwell, about 20 minutes south).  It is an enchanting nursery nestled in the forest amongst giant Red Cedar trees.  There is something about being there that feels good to my soul.  Everything is beautiful in a very natural, non-contrived way.  We were gathering inspiration for our landscaping plan for the new house.

Here are some photos from our trip last week during Emma's spring break.  Hope you are getting out and doing some spring exploring.  It is one of my favorite times of year - with the trees still bare everything feels fresh and clean... withe little pokes of daffodils peaking through.










How cute is this bunny planted amongst lettuce!








Emma loves the fairy gardens - I always tell her that's where we are going, to see the fairy gardens.



Of course we brought home a little fairy garden to plant.


With some morel mushrooms, of course!  Have a great weekend  : )

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thyme Mushrooms & Burrata on Garlic Crostini


Don't be shocked... two recipe posts in one week.  This appetizer (side dish, meal...) is my new favorite thing.  It would go great with a big Italian dinner, or holiday beef tenderloin, or a fresh grilled dinner, or a heavy appetizer party, or with a salad would be dinner all by itself (for me, anyway).  I served it as a side item to our ultra healthy dinner of Lemon Roasted Salmon and Vegetables.  Mike and Emma are not mushroom fans (no matter how tempting I make them look piled on fresh burrata) so we left half with and half without - also a great way to serve at a party if you have any non-mushroom (crazy) guests.

This recipe was inspired by the cookbook Sheet Pan Suppers.  I tried her method of roasting the mushrooms in the oven, but didn't love how they seemed to be dry and a little crispy.  They were great finger food, though - I gobbled them up while I made a batch of sauteed mushrooms instead.

Thyme Mushrooms & Burrata
on Garlic Crostini

1 baguette, sliced in 1/2" slices
olive oil
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of butter
1 pint of mushrooms
fresh thyme
sea salt & cracked pepper
burrata (ricotta or fresh mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place sliced bread of sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.

In a saute pan, saute mushrooms in butter for 5-8 minutes until brown and soft.  Add fresh thyme leafs (removed from stems) in and cook for 1 more minute.

Just before you are ready to serve, toast bread in oven for 5-7 minutes until golden on top.  Remove from oven and immediately top with burrata slices (or spoonfuls if runny).  Top with piles of warm mushrooms and serve.



She also suggests trying butternut squash or broccoli toppers, as well.  Maybe... but I'll stick with mushrooms for now until I burn myself out.


This was how I tried the sheet pan roasting, but as I said, I opted to saute the old fashioned way.  I will make roasted mushrooms for little nibbles, though.


I added al little bit of fresh thyme garnish to give it some green.


See those baby hands?  She's helping me stuff small fresh mozzarella balls into meatballs.  That's coming up next week : )

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables | Sheet Pan Suppers


Yes, this is a recipe post.  Nope, not a house post, and not a store post - a recipe post!  Feels good to be back in the saddle again.  Enjoy!  ; )

There is nothing like a new season to inspire new recipes... and a fantastic new cookbook that's right up my alley.  Just so you know, this is not a sponsored post.  I came across this book at a little book store in my hometown.  I do a lot of sheet pan cooking myself and thought it had some really great ideas for keeping dinner simple with great flavor.  With Emma becoming more involved in the kitchen and dinner prep, putting everything on a sheet pan and putting it in the oven is something she can 100% help with.  Stirring and sautéing on the stove?  Not so much.  For entertaining (remember all of the entertaining we used to do... when we had a house?!), putting everything on a sheet pan, early in the day ready to go in the oven when guests arrive, is a dream.


The cover recipe was what reeled me in, so it was the first I tried - Salmon & Roasted Vegetables.  Of course, I modified the recipe a bit, simplifying even more.  She instructs to make a gremolata (parsley, lemon zest and garlic) to sprinkle on after.  I'm sure it is great, but I just threw lemon slices, garlic and olive oil all over everything (and some butter on the salmon) before baking and it tasted delicious.  As the tomatoes roasted, they let out a little juice that blended with the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice and it made an amazing sauce in the pan that I poured over the platter after baking.  Simple!


Sheet Pan cooking goes right with my favorite way of serving - everything on one platter.  So, everything bakes on one sheet pan, then goes onto one platter.  Mike's dishwashing duties just got very easy.

Lemon Roasted
Salmon & Vegetables
serves 4

1 1/2 pounds of Salmon, into 4 pieces
1 pound of Green Beans, trimmed
Large Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion, into large chuncks
2 Cloves of Garlic, sliced
1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Butter
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

On a sheet pan, scatter green beans, tomatoes, onion, lemons and sliced garlic.  Drizzle on olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and toss.  Top with Salmon filets.  Put a lemon slice and bit of butter on each salmon piece, then sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake in oven at 425 for 20-25 minutes until salmon is cooked thru.  Serve on a platter with sauce from pan drizzled over or on the side.



The next recipe that caught my eye was this Roasted Mushroom and Burrata Crostini.  I need a carb (and usually melty cheese...) with every meal, so this seemed to be the perfect addition to our uber healthy roasted salmon and vegetables.


I started with prepping the vegetables.  The book called for asparagus, but Mike isn't a huge fan, so I used green beans.  I loved the crunch they added overall.  It made the entire meal seem very fresh.


Love the tiny tomatoes on a vine.  They stayed mostly intact during cooking and looked great on the platter and plate - again, perfect for entertaining.


Everything ready to go in!  Not pictured, I added a tablespoon of butter on top of each lemon piece on each salmon.  It oozed over during baking and made gave the salmon a very flavorful crust and added to the 'sauce' that accumulated in the pan.


Don't forget lots of sea salt.


Everything went in the oven and I got out the platters for serving... and waited.


After about 25 minutes everything was perfect.  Veggies and all.




Onto the platter and drizzled the sauce over.


Here is a peak at the burrata with thyme mushrooms on top.  Mike and Emma aren't mushroom people (as much as I try to convince them!), so we did half and half.  Recipe coming tomorrow (or thursday).


Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Sale! | Free Shipping & Bunny Tag Giveaway | Emma's Egg Decorating Party


Easter Sale & Free Shipping!

This is the last week for Easter orders - it snuck up on me! Emma and I had her Spring Break last week, which really limits my computer time : )  But, we did lots of spring activities, made fresh dinners every night (from my new favorite cookbook and recipe - gasp - I'll share tomorrow!) and enjoyed the weather.

For all of you that still need Easter goodies, I'm offering Free Shipping on all orders over $50 today.  You'll also receive a free set of Blue Bunny Tags in your package.  Stock up on Natural Easter Grass (smells so good!), Wooden Eggs, Eggcups and Candles for your table.
Shop Easter Collection, here.

I love to work, but a week of forced 'no work allowed' is good for my mommy soul.  Like most working (and stay-at-home Moms, ok all Moms), it seems like I always have an ongoing work (and currently, new house) to-do list in half of my brain while the other half is doing my best to stay focused and present during my quality time with Emma.  An ongoing struggle for all of us.  Last week I really tried to drop everything (thank God for my packing crew that keeps things moving even when I'm not around!) and pretend like I was that "perfect Mom" we all want to be.  Picnics in the park, walks, movies, lunch dates with friends, play dates with friends, homemade dinners each night and Emma fun.  It was great!  I don't feel one bit guilty for getting up at 5:45 this morning to get a jump on an entire working day all by myself : )

On one particular rainy day when she woke up from her nap, I surprised her with a little egg painting party with her favorite dollies and me.



How cute would this be for an activity at Easter brunch?!  Or, a little pre-Easter neighborhood party... I'll add this to my list of parties to host for next year when we have a house.


I used the Wooden Eggs from the store that come on stands... very on sale right now.
Wooden Eggs : $5 for Set of 4 Hen Eggs and stands, and $7 for 2 Goose Eggs and Stands
Did I mention this is the last week for Easter Sales!?!


Emma and I made this keepsake egg together - she also made one all by herself that she signed.


Wooden Eggs


Just as I did for Thanksgiving with my "Thankful For..." cards, today all orders will get a free set of 10 Blue Bunny Tags.  So cute on an Easter Basket.



The Blue Bunny Folded Cards are on sale right now, too, $3 for set of 10.  They work great as gift cards tied on baskets or bags, too.


Shop the entire Easter Collection (on sale!) and enjoy Free Shipping on all orders over $50 now : )



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Spring Round-up Inspiration | DIY Flower Arranging, Recipes & Table Settings

Emma and I are having a very springy week.  It is her Spring Break and instead of spending time on the sandy beaches of Seaside (as we usually do), we are enjoying some beautiful spring weather at home.  We are in "go" mode at the house and we didn't feel like we should be away this week when crucial decisions are being made... and there is that budget thing.  We may end up at our favorite spot for sand and sun in April, but we wanted to make sure all of the bills were paid first - details, details.

We've been so busy lately, it is nice to have a week of break from routine.  Yesterday, we went to my favorite nursery supply store (Red Cedar Gardens for the locals) for their spring open house and had a picnic at the arboretum (photos coming tomorrow).  It is not the beach, but I'll take all of the fresh spring air I can get.

In complete spring mode, I was looking through my blog files for Easter table and recipe inspiration.  There are so many pretty posts from the past that I forget about!  I miss the days of endless inspiration and blogging - right now, I'm finding myself in a bit of a busy fog between keeping up with store orders, researching items and making decisions for the house.  Fun, but a little different from the normal table settings and recipe posts of the past.  I remember this same feeling when we had just moved to Cambridge, living in our temporary apartment during spring.  It is a frustrating feeling - sort of a limbo mode of waiting.  Back then, we were waiting to find a new home (and ended up in Concord), and now we're waiting for our house to be finished.  I'm staying strong (and I hope you will too!) as I know endless inspiration and posts are just around the corner when we move into the new house.  Enjoy this round-up of my favorite springy and Eastery posts.  In the meantime, Emma and I will continue to play outside and build fairy gardens and have picnics in the park.  Not a bad way to spend waiting!

I've also changed the "Spring Guide" (and the right side bar of the blog) page to include even more posts with recipes, tables and ideas from the past. 





I loved this table!  "Easter Egg Hunt" Table Setting


 A very simple setting - piles of eggs and bowls planted with Mini Daffodils

Using my favorite pewter bowl to create a Potted Pansy Centerpiece.






Easy Lemon Curd Layered Pound Cake with Berries and Plums.  So pretty!





My favorite Lemon Pie!  Easy, easy easy.
The famous Bunny Cake my Granny made - one of my biggest traffic sources this time of year.


































This cake is sooooo good.  Lemon Butter Cake.




Poached Salmon & Vegetables

Spring Dinner Party Menu & Table (Lobster Mac & Cheese!)

Sort of missing our little house after looking at these Linen Storage posts - but,  I promise you, they never again looked as good as they did in these photos : )

Linen Storage in our (old) little house ideas.




Here's to beach memories... and hopefully a trip to Seaside soon!  Photo from last year's trip, here.

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