Wednesday, January 27, 2016

W H I T E



Oh, for the LOVE of white!! Seriously!!
It is my favorite color...and yes, my children ALWAYS reminded me that white was NOT a color...but it is so fresh, clean, and perfect for those that have a hard time in the commitment department.
First of all, many.many.moons ago, I was a young college student on a budget, and then a young wife and momma on an even tighter budget...and when you are thrifting for your HOME, and you want old things to be nice, you grab a can of spray paint or a gallon or two of silky white paint to transform the dated and yucky into beautiful with very little effort.
When our HOMES are simple, we find ourselves less stressed and more relaxed when things start getting crazy busy.  And for me, white has a calming effect.
So, I thought I would break down a few white things in our home so that I could convince you that 
W H I T E 
is definitely the way to go:

White sheets:  It keeps me from having to re-do our bedroom decor on a regular basis.  Every new season comes beautiful new color palettes...that are OH.SO.TEMPTING.  I mean velvetty coral and pink for Valentines???  Yes, please!!  But with the cost of plush King-sized sheets, no thank you.  All I need to do is add a bouquet of coral tulips and a new throw pillow cover and voila.  Trendy, not spendy!!

White towels and wash cloths:  YEP.  You got it!!  It feels like luxury and we have our own spa in our own home.  Sick babies, pets, muddy projects...no problem.  Add a bit of bleach to the next load of laundry and no.one will ever know the dirt that was once lurking in your clean pile of freshly folded laundry...unless it is still on the fluff.cycle in the dryer three days later!!

White dishes:  BUT OF COURSE!!  I think all food looks more appetizing and stunning on a white plate.  It keeps your cupboards streamlined and uncluttered looking.  White is easy to mix and match if a plate or two get dropped and the original set has been discontinued.  This also keeps the urge to invest in pastel.pink plates at bay that always seem to be the dangling carrot in front of the hungry little bunny come Easter time.  Don't do it!!

White kitchen {small} appliances:  Again, colors come and go when it comes to kitchen colors.  Save the pops of color for fun dish towels, fresh flowers and spices, cookbooks, fruit and veggies in baskets etc.

Have I convinced you???
Anyhoo, thought I would just get up on my soap box for a bit today.

Have a lovely Wednesday!!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

{Vegan} Pumpkin Pie Scones




Happy Wednesday!!!  This is definitely the most popular/requested Thanksgiving Sweet Treat from the archives...they are simple to make, easy to freeze and work for breakfast, brunch, after dinner dessert served with a HUGE mountain of whipped cream or a late night snack with a cup of tea and a roaring fire!!  If you happen to be having guests stay with you...these little beauties make a great addition to your guest room basket of soft towels, bottled water, books and your HOME key!!  Enjoy!!


Thanksgiving is sneaking up on us!!  Are you all ready for the holidays to start?  We are!!
There is something comforting about everyone bringing their favorite dish to Thanksgiving...but if you are like me, it is always fun to bring something new or something old with a twist of "new" and unexpected to keep things a bit exciting.  Whatever you do, DO NOT skip the GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE...just ask our children!!


Vegan Pumpkin Pie Scones
Lisa Pearson

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice or 1 tsp. ginger and 1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. soy flour...available in  the Winco bulk section or at Whole Foods

1/2 cup cold Earth Balance, cut into little pieces

1/4 to 1/3 cup soured almond milk {sour with a tad bit of lemon juice or vinegar}

1/2 cup pure pumpkin {no spices added}


*Whisk together dry ingredients.

*Add Earth Balance and blend with pastry cutter or with flat beater in stand mixer.

*Add all wet ingredients together to flour mixture.

*Blend until ingredients come together.

*Transfer to lightly floured surface or ROULPAT.

*Pat into a disc about the size of your hand spread out.

*Cut into 8 triangles.

*Place scones on SILPAT or onto a lined baking sheet.

*Brush with soymilk.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

*Bake at 425* for 13 to 14 minutes…or until golden.  Don't over bake.  You want moist scones,   not hockey pucks!

Remove to wire rack and drizzle or SPOON on glaze while scones are hot.

Orange Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

4 Tbsp. soymilk

Zest from 1 orange or 1 tsp. pure Orange extract {optional info...my friends like it better with the zest IN the scone...not in the glaze...}  I add my zest to the glaze...because I think it looks nice!

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth and “drizzly”. {Not a word, but you know what I mean, right?}


BLAH.BLAH.BLAH...

Variations: Add ½ cup mini chocolate chips OR GHIRARADELLI ALL NATURAL
CLASSIC WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS...BE CAREFUL IF YOU HAVE
PEANUT allergies.
May make mini scones
May be rolled out and cut with biscuit cutter for dinner biscuits. No pumpkin pie spice or glaze…just ½ tsp of cinnamon for a bit of flavor

If you aren't a huge cinnamon fan...you may want to skip the cinnamon sugar...if you are adding the glaze.

For the holidays: Mix up several batches of the dry ingredients at the same time and freeze until you are ready to make them!

Okay. I think I am done going on and on with this recipe.

{If this is not your thing...be sure to check out my regular Pumpkin Pie Scone recipe}

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pear Cider...The Perfect Hostess Gift

Happy Monday!!

Here we are well into the month of November which means that the HOLIDAYS are upon us.
In reading Psalm 9 this morning, I am reminded that in all of the hustle and bustle of the next couple of months it is most important to praise the LORD with my WHOLE heart...not part of it, not the leftover part, but my whole heart!! 

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
  I will tell of all your wonders, I will be glad and rejoice in you:
  I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."

I can't think of a better time than now to praise Him and sing of His wonders, can you?


Friends ask me quite frequently for hostess ideas that are quick, economical, and thoughtful.  This one is an old favorite, but I spiced it up a bit with pear juice instead of the traditional apple.  Pear juice is a bit more festive and will cover you for Thanksgiving and for Christmas.

The added benefit is that you will reap the benefits of smelling it simmer!!




Spiced Pear Cider
Lisa Pearson


2 quarts of pear juice {I use ORGANIC Santa Cruz}

2 lemons, cut into slices…less, if you aren’t a fan of citrus

2 Bosc pears, sliced

A fresh cinnamon stick



Heat pear juice with slices from 1 lemon and slices from 1 pear in crockpot.  Right before serving, remove the old lemon and pear and place fresh ones in your crockpot for serving.  A fresh cinnamon stick may be added as well.

If gifting, let it cool, pour it into a glass bottle and refrigerate until it is given as a gift.


Enjoy this!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Autumns' Calling



One of my long-time favorite seasons is AUTUMN.

With the exception of the craziness of school starting and the overwhelming, paralyzing feeling of the new school year and fearing the morning routine of running late despite what I would call major prep the night before…AUTUMN, is like no other season in my book.

AUTUMN doesn’t have to make a HUGE “I’m here” announcement.  It is a whisper.  It’s a gentle change.  Clearly different,but oh.so.subtle.  The sun goes to sleep sooner and it has no problem sleeping in a bit later.  The hot, stuffy air becomes cool, sweet and refreshing.

It is crunchy leaves underfoot. It is sipping on fresh hot apple cider as you walk your little trick or treaters around the neighborhood, it is football {like it or NOT!!!}…and it is the anticipation of the Holidays peeking around the corner.

For me, it is as though Autumn has it’s very own calling card.  A simple card, really.  One without loud print, squiggly filigree, and a million different fonts. It is as though it beckons an invitation for stillness, for quiet…a small pocket of your time to pause and slow down. 

What is not to LOVE about calling cards, anyway?  It is the GIVER that desires a relationship.  A reminder that they care enough to see you again, that you are worth investing in, that you matter and are important.  God’s calling card to us is His Word…and within His Word, He refers to seasons.   He knows our lives are filled with change.
 
I don’t think that God made a mistake in starting His creation in a garden!!  There is so much to learn from the life of a gardener…and when I think of gardens I think of Autumn.  It has always fascinated me.
I think it is the reality of it that I like.  It is the imperfection and the yucky and the far from glamorous that is truly intriguing.  It is the jaunt out to the garden that was the envy of everyone on the block, not that long ago.  It was the garden that boasted the most fragrant of crops, the biggest and the best, that has become the nastiest sight almost overnight.  It is no longer brimming with beauty, but has almost become hideous.  All that seems to be left is the produce that didn’t quite make the cut.  There are the few  rotting veggies that were pulled off by helping chubby baby hands, bug-infested tomatoes that have enticed the neighbor dog and squirrels that were tantalized by the garden’s offerings…now ready for the compost.  YES, the compost!!!

Farmers that know what they are doing do not waste the scraps.  To them, it is necessary to use the material for next year’s glorious garden.  Indeed, it’s true.  It’s like gold.  A precious commodity and balm to nurture next spring’s beautiful crop.

I like to think that the best farmers in the world are great composters…and you know what?  I happen to know THE GREAT COMPOSTER.  He specializes in using every last bit of what we think of as debris and even has a use for the fallen leaves of AUTUMN that seem to have served their purpose and are so carelessly thrown away.  However, even the clippings are used as blankets to tuck the garden into bed for the dark, bitter cold days and nights that lie ahead.  The GREAT COMPOSTER has amazing resolve to take impeccable care of what belongs to Him.

If your life is feeling like a big heap of worthlessness, a life filled with no fruit, no beauty to speak of and unsightly weeds that you, yourself can’t even look at…allow THE GREAT COMPOSTER to take the scraps from your garden bed and, in His time, with His expertise…use it for next year’s crop.  Take His que and put some of the unsightly things to rest and wait patiently for what spectacular things He has for His new crop come Spring.  

I think if THE GREAT COMPOSTER were to give me His personal calling card today, it would differ from AUTUMN’S CALLING CARD.  I think it would still be simple…but it would be dirty, blood-stained and definitely hand-written.  I think it would be a bit tattered…and I think He would  be super-generous with His stack of cards.  He would give me plenty of extras to give out to those who are in need…just like me.  I think He might kiss me on the forehead and assure me that it is okay to be still with anticipation for the miracle of new growth to come.

I may be a bit hesitant to the miracle He has promised, but I think He would quietly remind me that it wont be long before the yuckies will be just right for the new soil that will produce beauty again…or maybe beauty for the very first time.

It is in the quiet days of Autumn when you are feeling alone and fragile that you will hold HIS calling card and read HIS words over and over again “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9


And when the birds start chirping again, the sun goes to bed later and its sleeping in is no longer an option, the hot sipping cider is replaced with fresh-squeezed lemonade…your soul will soar knowing THE GREAT COMPOSTER has turned what was debris into something marvelous to ensure your garden bed will brim with new life, beauty and purpose.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fire Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad




Pasta salad is one of the easiest go.to salads to make during the Summer.  Fresh veggies that are sun.ripened are easily available and packed with good nutrition.  There is no right way or wrong way to make one.  It is easy to use up your leftover veggies for a one.of.a.kind salad as well.  It is also super versatile as it can be the main dish or a side salad.  It's up to you!!

With this fire roasted pasta salad, my hubby likes to add in a few of the fresh crunchy veggies while adding in the soft.roasted veggies that add a bit more depth and flavor.  If this were my recipe, it would be called "Lisa's Charred Veggie Pasta Salad"!!  Doesn't that sound appetizing?? :}



Scott's Firehouse Fire Roasted Veggie Pasta Salad

2  {16 ounce} packages tri-colored pasta...prepared according to directions on package.

Boil noodles in sea.salted water and drain.  Rinse with cold water and then salt and pepper noodles a bit.


1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 of one red onion, sliced...save the other 1/2

1/2 of 1 large tomato, cubed...save the other 1/2

1 zucchini, sliced

Add these veggies to a large Ziploc and add a bit of olive oil and 1 pressed garlic clove.  shake.
place in a BBQ veggie basket and roast over hot coals.  Let cook until roasted.  Cool a bit.

Add to pasta.

1 package sun dried tomatoes  {I use the dry ones}

1 small jar of artichokes, drained

1 can of black olives, drained

1 small jar of green olives, drained

3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

Add the rest of the veggies including the other half of tomato and red onion to the pasta.
Pour 1 {12oz.} bottle of Romano Caesar Dressing on pasta.  Toss salad and serve.



Friday, July 17, 2015

MINI PICNIC PIES




M was once a mini-pie,
Pidy,
Widy,
Tidy,
Pidy,
YUMMY insidy, mini-pie!

We are right in the thick of picnic season, although we picnic all.year.long as it is so much fun.
I'm always trying to find little treats that travel well and that are simple to make.  These little pies are just perfect tucked into individual parchment bags.

This time, I used Trader Joe's pie dough and homemade freezer jam!  {Speaking of freezer jam, last night I had a few friends over to make jam...it was the perfect little get-together to not only make jam, but to laugh, learn and snack away.  It took almost zero prep and we all combined our berries at the end for a mixed berry jam that was to.die.for!!}
For the PICNIC PIES,  I used a 4 inch round, fluted cookie cutter for the dough and put about 1 tsp. of jam in the center. Use fork tines to seal the half-moon pie and brush with a silicone pastry brush dipped in one beaten egg. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top. Gently, place the pies on parchment paper and bake at 425* for about 15 minutes. Aren't they sweet? Just small enough to enjoy with a cup of iced lemonade!!

Little rhyme adapted from Edward Lear...thank you Mr. Lear!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Old Fashioned Refrigerator Pickles



To me, a Summer isn't quite a Summer without a trip to the local Farmer's Market. The smell of the fresh fruit, veggies and kettle corn is so enticing! When considering Summer HOSPITALITY, whether it be simple or gourmet, the farmer's market is a great place to stock up on fresh produce, blooming flowers, and freshly-made breads.   You will want to incorporate these little treats into your weekly menu!

If you haven't tried fresh garlic, you will have to promise me you will at least try it. It is the best!

If you shop the farmer's market, do you have a special find???

Happy Thursday!



Old Fashioned Refrigerator Pickles
Adapted from Art Smith

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Hain Sea Salt {non-iodide}
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed and cut into rounds
1 small onion, cut into thin half-rounds
12 cherry tomatoes
8 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and cut into half…lengthwise
¼ cup fresh dill sprigs

Directions:
Bring vinegar, salt, coriander and peppercorns to full boil.
Sterilize two pint jars.
Jars should be hot when adding veggies


Layer into each jar:

1 cucumber
½ onion
6 cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 cup vinegar mix

Screw lid on and chill for at least 3 days…no cheating! May be stored for up to 1 month.

Enjoy!


These make lovely hostess gifts, too.