Thursday, February 24, 2011

A question for Victoria readers...

Has anyone seen this latest Victoria Classics magazine in bookstores? I haven't come across it yet and was wondering if I should just order it from the site. If anyone has seen it, could you let me know where? I loved the Rooms of Bliss they put out last year. (In case you're not familiar, this Victoria Classics series contains photos, etc., from Victoria magazine's first incarnation.)
My apologies for being rather scarce of late. I'm afraid I have been rather busy and lacking in inspiration ~ not a good combination.
Wishing all of you a lovely week...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wishes for a lovely weekend...

It's still raining here and will be for the next couple of days, so I'm thinking a weekend of reading and watching DVDs is in order ~ might as well burrow in if that's what Mother Nature dictates. I came across these photos I took awhile ago of some tulips and they cheered me, so I thought I would share. I am on a bit of a flower kick lately ~ more so than usual, I mean. :) Thank you all for indulging me.
Sending you wishes for a lovely weekend, whatever the weather...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rainy Wednesday...

I woke up to rainy skies and cool temperatures this morning. It's one of those gray days where the wind blows and the sky is gray, even when the rain decides to take a break. I love the rain, as a rule, but I much prefer it when I can stay home, cuddled up with a cup of tea and a good book. I would have given just about anything to stay in bed this morning, but needs must, so off I went to work. Since I would much rather be at home, I've decided a comfort food dinner of my Shepherd's Pie is in order (it helps that I've got some homemade mashed potatoes left over to kick start things), followed by some peace and quiet and that stack of magazines I've been meaning to get through. Perfect for a rainy Wednesday evening.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing everyone a day filled with love from every source imaginable. Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love in bloom...

This luscious pink beauty bloomed this week in my yard, just in time for Valentine's Day. Perhaps it's Mother Nature's Valentine's gift to me? Aside from another white bloom, it's the only flower to be had in the entire yard right now. Of course, when you're this beautiful, I guess you're entitled to have the show pretty much to yourself.
I am linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound. Stop by Beverly's place for more pink loveliness this Valentine's weekend.
Wishing all of you lots of love...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Favorite find... beautiful candles

I was wandering around Pier 1 imports the other day with a gift card I forgot I had (does anyone else do that?) and I came across a set of their new spring candles. These six-sided beauties come in a few different designs, but I decided on the blue/green peacock. Isn't it lovely? It's almost too pretty to burn... almost.
If you don't have a Pier 1 near you, you can check out these lovely indulgences here. They would make a perfect gift ~ for yourself or someone else.

Chocolate, delicious chocolate...

Be still my heart ~ dark fudge brownies that aren't overly sweet. Such indulgences must be heaven sent. This brownie mix was a gift to me at Christmas from a co-worker. While I am firmly in the fresh food, make-it-from-scratch camp, I frequently make an exception for brownies.
My friend found a bunch of these Gourmet Girl dark fudge brownie mixes from Sisters Gourmet at Ross and bought them up for everyone at work. I have to admit I am always curious about those gourmet goodies at Ross, TJ Maxx, etc., though I don't usually try them. My experience with these brownies, however, has changed my mind ~ I must indulge more.
I made these this past weekend and they were delicious ~ fudgy, with a true dark chocolate flavor, not super sweet. I had a couple squares of Ghirardelli dark chocolate floating around, so I broke those up into little pieces and threw them in the batter. Truly fabulous ~ a perfect chocolate treat in this month of love.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The beauty of fresh winter fruit...

One of the luxuries of living where I do is fresh fruit growing in your back yard in the winter, as these oranges do. Don't they look wonderful? The perfect antidote to a gray winter day.
Wishing all of you a cheerful and bright weekend...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Furry First Friday ~ the love edition...

Things have been so off-kilter lately, I almost completely forgot about Furry First Friday! How rude for the hostess to throw a party and forget to, well, host. My almost-bad manners aside, I hope some of you remembered.
Since it's February, the month of love, I decided to show photos of my sweet pups snuggling ~ or, at least as close as they get to it. In the top photo, that's Russ and Emily on the same bed (look how pleased with herself Emily looks to be next to Russ, her hero) and Nick on the round bed in the back. In the bottom photo, that's Russ, 13, on the left and Nicholas, 11, on the right. It's rare for the two of them to curl up on the same bed, but it's been chilly this winter.
Furry First Fridays is hosted on the first Friday of each month by moi. All you need to do to join in is post photos of your furry friends, put a link to my blog in your post and then link up to the party, which is open through the weekend. Don't forget to grab the button, too.
Happy Furry First Friday!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Winter indulgences...

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant."
~Anne Bradstreet

How true that is. As February arrives, winter is in its last weeks. But while it would be easy to let the shortest month fly by with little notice in anticipation of spring, I’m going to try to embrace winter’s last gasp with a few indulgences. One of them is perhaps my most favorite simple recipe ever: my mom’s apple cake. It is easy, delicious and addicting ~ perfect for a quick indulgence for yourself, friends or family in this month of love.
After I finish another piece of this scrumptious bit of heaven, along with a cup of tea, I’m going to work on my latest knitting project (photos to follow in the next week or so) and watch Downton Abbey again. (Has anyone else watched this? It is absolutely fabulous. If not, you can watch it here until the 22nd. Fair warning: It, too, is thoroughly addicting.)
And here’s the recipe for that apple cake, perfect on a winter's day...

Mom's Raw Apple Cake

Mix together in bowl by hand:
3 cups chopped baking apples
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups oil
2 eggs, well-beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients with apple mixture. Add 1 cup chopped nuts (optional).

Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour, or until toothpick comes out clean. (It may take longer than an hour, depending on your oven.)

Note: This cake is a cross between a cake and a coffee cake, if that makes sense. It's perfect for dessert or with your coffee in the morning or for a snack. The cake will keep up to three days, covered. After that, though, you'll find it becomes too moist, so plan to eat it within a couple days. Mind you, it never lasts that long at my house, but you never know.

I am linking to:
Tuesdays at the Table
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Fat Camp Fridays

Stop by each for more delicious recipes.