Sunday, May 29, 2011 0 comments

Frozen Sweet Treat

It's been in the 90's here for the past several weeks and it definitely feels like summer.  Not unusual for south Texas, but it puts you in the mood for cold drinks and anything frozen. I like to make this pie when it's hot because it's such a nice change from ice cream or Popsicles.  This is really easy to make and tastes very refreshing.  I originally got this recipe from an issue of Southern Living Magazine but I wrote it on a index card so I'm not sure what issue it was.  Anyway, it tastes great and is so easy, you can make one for yourself and one to take to a neighbor or to your next summer party.  I'd love to know what you think if you make it.  Enjoy. 

Frozen Raspberry-Lemonade Pie

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 6oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
3 TBSP. seedless raspberry preserves ( I have also substituted this with Marionberry Preserves and it's what I used in the pie pictured)
1 8oz. container frozen whipped topping
1 6oz. ready made graham cracker crust ( I've also used the Heartland Granola crust which is the one I used in the pie pictured)
Garnish: Fresh Berries and Mint.

Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.  Fold in whipped topping.  Pour into crust.  Freeze 4 hours.  Garnish with fresh berries and a sprig of mint (optional).  Enjoy.
Thursday, May 19, 2011 0 comments

Shell Love.......

It's so amazing to me that the ocean provides so much beauty that we never see. I grew up close to the beach and I live close to the beach now and whenever I go, I look for shells.  I also look for anything interesting that has been shaped and softened by the ocean.  Driftwood, sea glass, and even coins.  I like to disaplay the shells that my family and I collect when we go and I also have some shells that I've picked up at thrift stores.  In addition, I have quite a few large shells given to me by my 95 year old grandma who used to throw some crazy good theme parties back in the day, one of which was the "Luau" party.  My love for shell decor doesn't just stop at shells from the beach.  Chandeliers, sconces and of course the shell motif (cocquillage) on Baroque furniture are all favorites of mine.    Since the weather is warming up and summer is around the corner, I thought I would display my shells in a different way.  My mantle has a very limited area to decorate due to the fact that we have our TV mounted on the wall above.  Although I would love to have a giant mirror in place of the TV and be able to stack candles and art on my mantle, it's just not possible.  Believe me, I've tried.  I've compromised on this because it really is the best place for the TV and so I work around it.  Here are some pictures of my shell display and some shell inspired pieces to bring a touch of natures' decor into your space.




And now, some shell inspiration......
Simple and beautiful seashell sconce from Oly Studio.
Love the glow this capiz chandelier from Oly Studio has. Wouldn't this be pretty hanging outside over a long table with lots of candles?
This is my favorite.  A definite statement piece. From Oly Studio.

Sea Fan Bottles from Williams Sonoma Home. 
I love this room and the modern stripes on the baroque headboard.  (photo credit: unknown)

This is a faux clamshell made from a mold of a real clam shell at a very affordable price at $69.99 from Treasure Gurus.
Showing some Etsy love.  Great vintage Victorian Seashell tin for $28 at GoodNorth.

Monday, May 16, 2011 0 comments

Monday Motivation.....

May you start your week with the optimism that you can accomplish great things.  May you learn something new and share a smile with a stranger.  May you find peace with the beauty that surrounds you.  May you have the courage to do what you love.  Be bold and begin it.  May you always remember to give thanks and help others when you can.  May your week be full of laughter, love and peace.

Friday, May 6, 2011 0 comments

Menu: Mushroom and Spinach Ravioli with Bacon

I'm not a big fan of spinach but ever since I had spinach with bacon, I converted.   This is realtively quick to make because there's not a lot of prep involved.  Even my kids (okay, just one of them) like this.  If you decide to try it, let me know what you think.  Buon Appetito!

Here's what you'll need:
2lb. bag of frozen large or jumbo cheese ravioli
1 10z. package baby bella mushrooms (the ones I buy are pre-cleaned and sliced)
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
1shallot (I used half of the one in the picture)
1 1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 TBSP Butter
4 slices crumbled cooked bacon 
1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
4tsp. Salt Free Italian Seasoning (I use Penzeys Spices Tuscan Sunset)
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

Mince the shallot. Cut the stems off the spinach, rinse and set aside. Start to boil the water for the ravioli.
In a large pan, heat the olive oil.  Put the minced shallots in the pan and heat until tender.  Add the mushrooms and 2TBSP butter , 2tsp. Italian Seasoning (Salt Free) and  cook until mushrooms are starting to get tender (about 2-3 minutes).   Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup white wine and let reduce for 1-2 minutes. When the water is ready for the ravioli, add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and cook ravioli according to directions.  While raviloi is cooking, add the spinach to the pan and let it shrink down.  Add the remaining 2tsp . Italian seasoning and the remaining chicken broth.  Let this simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Add half of the crumbled bacon, remaining 2TBSP butter and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.  Stir until the butter is melted and the heavy cream is incorporated.  Drain the ravioli and put in serving bowl.  Pour the sauce over the ravioli and stir.  Add remaining crumbled bacon, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (to taste), fresh chopped parsley and serve.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 0 comments

Chic Sheds.......

I decided last weekend not to work on any projects around the house but instead take myself to several home and garden tours.  I love these for the simlpe fact of seeing where other people live.  Even if it's not my particular aesthetic, I can appreciate all of the hard work and passion that goes into it.  The first tour was close and included homes in my area.  This tour was gardens only and did not include the inside of the homes. One of the homes on the tour was modest in nature but the backyard was particularly unique.  The man that lived there had built a tree house (respecting the tree of course) and also built this great greenhouse that really surprised me.  There was a lot of detail and charm put into this space and although the couple that lives here uses it primarily for plants, I thought it would make a perfect little quiet space for reading or relaxing.  It's the smallness of this little house that I like.  With the glass roof panels, I can imagine myself in there on a rainy day listening to the rain on the glass ceiling and catching up on my reading.  I guess it would be my grown up version of a playhouse.  Here are some pictures of the greenhouse that inspired me. 

The entrance.  Welcome to the greenhouse.

Love this chandelier in here.  I'll bet this looks so pretty at night.

Even though this is space is small, the height of the ceiling and the glass panels makes this space feel larger.  The light in here is so wonderful.

Here's a side view of the greenhouse.  The treehouse is just above it.  Two totally different architectural styles but it works.  It's a his and hers playhouse. 

Here's a look at the inside of the treehouse.  The door leads out to a little balcony.

The view from the treehouse balcony.  The bottle tree was made by the homeowners too. 

Below is another beautiful greenhouse turned glam getaway.  This is actually from my personal inspiration files.  This came out of Country Living Magazine from 2009.

It is very modest looking and blends in nicely with the garden.  Wait until you see the inside.



So, are you inspired? These little houses are so charming and intimate. I'm definitely keeping this on my want list.  Here are some books worth checking out if you want to see more. 

Available from Amazon.

Available from Amazon.