Something Old Something New

old things 4There are two worlds at conflict within me…the old and the new.  At heart, I’m an old soul…yet easily adaptable to going forward. I think there is an art to being able to mix both worlds and be happy.  One of my favorite things to do is  travel the cobblestone and brick paved streets of Old St. Augustine.  It’s a place where my creative side comes alive .  My husband and I love to take our camera and just walk for hours to capture it.

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To keep the  warmth of old times alive, I surround myself with reminders …the tiny blue lit Christmas tree I keep in my bedroom from my childhood Christmas at LuLu’s , my classic movie collection, cookware from my grandfather’s house, ornate frames from local antique shops, and huge beveled mirrors from the vintage shops around town.  All of these beautiful things get incorporated into my everyday living space.  It’s not that I hold onto the past, but enjoy it for what it once was.

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Vintage, antique, and progress can  live side by side in perfect harmony.   Even though the simple times and old world craftsmanship may seem to have faded, we can still incorporate it in with a little imagination and creative flair.

Thank you to all of you who have restored, recycled and rebuilt the past to be enjoyed and cherished everyday.old things 5

Where Creativity and Simple Meet

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Photographing old barns was a creative pastime for me when we would travel up the east coast.   Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to the Ozark Mountains and take in the wonder and freshness of this beautiful place.  We settled in for dinner at a fly fishing resort and wandered upon this beautiful rustic barn converted into an eatery. Behind the barn was a breathtaking waterfall rushing into a clear cold stream.

It’s places like this that get my creative juices flowing and warm my heart.  It’s the kind of location you could come to write that book or paint your masterpiece.  For me, I always think about the endless possibilities of recipes and the love of a home cooked meal.

Where do you go to stir up the creativity inside of you?  Think about it today and find it…God created each one of us with gifts and wonderful ideas to share.  Share your heart with the world!

For a Change

new living room 3I like change and I’m one of those creative types that like to experiment with new colors once in awhile.  My usual palette consists of reds, golds and greens but after being inspired by an episode of “Rehab Addict”, I decided to try a white, brown and black mix.  The evergreen trees set so beautifully on either side of the fireplace gives the room warmth and I just LOVE the black and white chair.  The only new purchase was the Laura Ashley lace panels ($10.00 total) which gives it a romantic feel.

Your home should reflect you…it’s the place you can be your most comfortable and let your hair down.  If there is a such thing as casual formal with a romantic twist, this would be my reflection.  How does your home reflect your true self?  Capture your creative side by just changing a few elements in the room and bringing all of the pieces you love and enjoy together.

BTW…I changed it again a few months later because I was missing my reds!!  Enjoy mixing it up!

Good Life Waiting

Christmas 2011 008I walk into the room and take my place at a well-appointed and cheerful dining table.  Conversation, laughter, and the news of the day pulls me into a longing for more.  As the momentum builds and friends connect the meal is served.  The aroma and beautiful presentation add to the charm and everyone raises a glass to good life.

Breaking bread brings us together because there is  a story to be told that day.   Food and conversation not only sustains, it warms the heart, and creates a lasting bond in both satisfaction and fulfillment.

As people, we need connection and if you think about it, food is always a common element of that endeavor.  Whether it’s pizza or caviar, people are connecting over food.  When I was growing up, a meal was not only made for sustenance but was an event.  Lingering in each other’s company, sharing stories and laughter about the good ol’ days seemed to be a way of life.  It didn’t matter how long you stayed, it wasn’t putting anyone out.  The day was unending.

The sad thing is we have stopped “stopping by”, “dropping in for a cup of coffee”, “coming over for dinner” because of our overcrowded calendars and just plain exhaustion.  We need a way to recharge our tired batteries and be connected to something more than our smart phones.   We need to find our place at the table again, where lasting bonds and making memories becomes a priority.

No more second guessing, putting off or waiting until later… should I invite?, should I not invite?….do it… good life is waiting to happen right around your table!

Simply Enchanting Chicken and Mushroom Crepes

crepes 5Recently I had the opportunity to take in a cool mountain breeze, sip delicious coffee, and experience the charm of a storybook town called Mountain Brook.  As I captured the wonder of this place, I was stunned to find the ambiance and style of Chez LuLu Café as an added bonus.  It boasts of a captivating enchantment,  right in the historic district surrounded by an English Village and storybook houses.   I walked straight into another world with all of the allurement and authenticity  a sidewalk French café can hold.

As both my culinary and visual senses enjoyed the day, I thought I would capture the moment of the memory and indulge in the delicious creamy taste of a Chicken and Mushroom Crepe.  Crepes are quite easy to make if you treat them with a gentle hand and pay attention to the light consistency of the batter.  I’ve studied several recipes and came up with my own version of this classic.

I hope you will savor the taste of  this velvety blend of gourmet mushrooms and chicken flavored with an oaky chardonnay, smooth cream, and a buttery roux encased in a light pastry crepe.  Simply blissful.

Makes 4-6 crepes

Ingredients List:  For filling

  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (I boiled mine ahead of time)
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot or thinly sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons Chardonnay (or Sherry if you prefer)
Whisk together a simple Roux by adding your butter and flour to a  well heated sauté pan.  The consistency should be thick and creamy.

Whisk together a simple Roux by adding your butter and flour to a well heated sauté pan. Gradually add milk and broth, whisking, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently, whisking frequently, until sauce is silky and thick. About 20 minutes. Set aside when finished.

Next sauté the mushrooms, chicken,

Next cook shallot or onion in remaining tablespoon butter over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and chicken and cook until lightly browned. Stir into roux along with chicken and wine.

For Crepes

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  •  1/4 cups milk
  • 1  egg
  • 1  egg yolk
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Sift together flour, salt, and pepper into a bowl. Whisk together the milk, whole egg, and yolk in a small bowl, and lightly combine into flour mixture. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and lightly coat with melted butter. Spoon a think layer of batter into skillet. Watch very carefully for the underside to cook and then flip gently to other side.

 

 

Gently fold chicken and mushroom mixture over with crepe and top with sauce.

Gently fold chicken and mushroom mixture into crepe and roll. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place crepe seam side down, into a baking dish, adding more crepes. Bake in middle of oven 15 minutes. When finished drizzle with sauce.

Sauce Topping

I cheated here a little and used 1 cream of mushroom soup  and added  1/4 cup cream, and a  1/4 butter to it.   Whisk together and drizzle crepes with sauce.   Enjoy!

 

The Richness of Our Favorite Things

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I love the song “Favorite Things.”  Just a simple tune capturing the heart of life’s joy.

For me, the simple richness of a cozy fire, warm colors,  beautiful woods, geraniums, pumpkins, lights, and treasured books, journals, classic movies and photos are among my favorite things.  When I walk into my home at the end of the day, I want to be welcomed by warmth and relaxation.  There is nothing more unsatisfying than coming home after a long day into disorganized chaos.  Not good for you or your loved ones!

You can create spaces in your own home which consist of those things most loved in easy fashion.  The desk below was a thrift store find for $50.00.  We cleaned it up and put some polish on it and it’s one of my best-loved treasures.  The curtains are a ” Tuesday Morning” find for around $30.00, and the chair was given to me by friend which we recovered.  One last thing, the cute Waverly pillow, also found at an antique/thrift store for $7.00.  and the awesome burlap lamp, once again, Tuesday Morning for $20.00.    DO NOT spend a lot to get a great look!  The look comes from your heart…you imagine it there first and with a little scouting you can find great looking items.

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I don’t think we have to go far to find within our hearts those things that bring comfort, joy and content.  You know what they are.  Now go out and find them and bring them into your home for you to enjoy!

Turn Your Eyes

CCMV Core Leaders Fall Brunch 002Currently, it’s 57 degrees and raining.  This doesn’t stop me from enjoying the weather or the day.  Enjoying the sound of the rain rustling in the trees and feeling the cool crisp air today requires a change of heart and a turning so to speak. Realizing that we can enjoy the little things in life independent of the annoying troubles we may face throughout the day.

So often we allow life’s seemingly negative jabs control our day and what we decide to enjoy. In the quiet of this day all I can hear is raindrops and birds singing.  I can’t hear the many voices that compete with this kind of peace.  It was my choice…

Choose to focus on the beauty of LIFE  and the desire to OVERCOME your obstacles and trials will grow strong in determination.