Jackpot

November 25, 2018

I recently ran across an unused gift card in my desk drawer…then another. Then, an online credit memo. Yoo hoo! What I had tucked away for safe keeping I had completely forgotten about. I think I’ll use this “found cash” to jump start my holiday shopping…maybe pick up a little perk for myself in the process. Just in time for Cyber Monday. Check those drawers, people.

 

 

 

A few ideas to kick off the season, top to bottom:

A new glaze, Zinc, on Heath Ceramics Coupe Dessert Bowl courtesy of that unearthed online credit memo. Photo: https://www.heathceramics.com/collections/bowls/products/dessert-bowl-coupe

This Floating Gemstones Necklace Kit from Purl Soho provides enough material to create several great gifts in the month ahead. Photo: https://www.purlsoho.com/floating-gemstones-necklace-kit.html

Also from Purl Soho, Posy, a hand-dyed Superwash Cashmere, Merino and Nylon blend yarn. Gift the skeins to your favorite knitter or whip up a warm cap or scarf in this Winter-busting shade…Sour Gooseberry. Photo: https://www.purlsoho.com/posy-gift-list-gallery.html

If you’re itching to start decking the halls, Trader Joe’s has the best value in town with their mixed evergreen wreaths. Photo: gp

Start them now and you’ll have gorgeous amaryllis in bloom for Christmas. This moss covered bulb is available from Terrain. Photo: https://www.shopterrain.com

 

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I Didn’t Know Jack

September 17, 2018

Jackfruit. I had no idea that this Asian superfood is an everyday staple in South and Southest Asia. Used in both its green and ripe forms, from savory dishes to desserts, Jackfruit is a great source of protein, potassium, calcium and iron. Benefits of eating JackFruit include improved energy, regulated blood pressure and better cardiovascular health, improved digestion, cancer prevention and enhanced vision. That said, I thought it was time to try to integrate some Jackfruit into my Meatless Monday rotation. My early simple plan was to cook it up in barbecue sauce as a pork-less pulled pork. Then I got sidetracked by a suggestion from one of the guys at my local Trader Joe’s to use it in place of crab in crab cakes. That did it, I was off and running. Starting with the crab cakes, I offered the first couple of test batches to friends. Their response was unanimous …” Wow, these are fantastic”. Who’s going to argue with that?

Then I went back to my original thought and whipped up a little faux “pulled pork” using Trader Joe’s recipe and their Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce and Marinade. Could not have been simpler. Piled on a brioche bun topped with some slaw and chopped onion?  Another meatless Monday winner. See for yourself. Looks just like pulled pork, doesn’t it? Recipe here: https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes/lunch/pulled-jackfruit-sandwich

Photos:gp

 

Perfect Timing

June 11, 2018

After a Winter that seemed endless and the shortest Spring ever, the timing is perfect for Heath Ceramics Summer Seasonal collection. From our favorite bud vases in Wildflower, Zinnia and Black Plum to the debut of new glazes like Sunset Fade on the Deep Serving Bowl and Sorbet on the Multi Stem Vase, it’s clear from where the inspiration was drawn..Summer flowers in pinks and oranges, glorious Summer sunsets and juicy late Summer fruits.

 

Heath Ceramic photos: http://www.heathceramics.com/summer-seasonal

Peony and plum photos: gp

 

 

 

Just Starting That List

December 13, 2017

or, tying things up? Either way a few gift suggestions couldn’t hurt. Smaller personal gifts seem to really hit the mark, even more so if that gift was made by you. So, I’ve included some DIY ideas as well.

A homemade hand cream would be welcome by anyone who works with their hands or is feeling the effects of Winter already. Simply blending a base of beeswax and olive oil with essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus and wintergreen… your gifts will be ready to give in no time. Photo: gp https://simplequietmodern.com/?s=Salve

Perfect for getting into all of those nooks and crannies. What gardener wouldn’t love this hand rake?  Photo:https://www.shopterrain.com/fall%2Dcleanup/sneeboer%2Dhand%2Dleaf%2Ddebris%2Drake/searchString/Hand%20rake

Pom Pom or not, everybody loves  a cap. A quick knit project like this could have you completing several before the 25 th. Photo: https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2016/10/17/basic-hats-for-everyone-in-new-colors/

A simple modern knit, this Elementary Wrap from Purl Soho might just be the project to take the edge off all of the holiday stress. And, the end result will find you not only relaxed, but with another gift checked off of that list. Photo:  http://www.purlsoho.com/create/2017/10/20/elementary-wrap/

 

For the design obsessed, it doesn’t get any more simplequietmodern than the work of icon Eero Saarinen. photo: http://needsupply.com/saarinen.html

Easily broken down into three separate gifts or two gifts and one for you…this trio of bud vases from Heath Ceramics in their Winter Seasonal glazes of Arctic, Shell White and Sequoia  Fair warning, when they’re gone they’re gone. photo: http://www.heathceramics.com/winter-seasonal/bud-vase-set-12

 

Irresistible, and so simple. Cayenne Maple Glazed Walnuts…a little sweet, a little heat.. Photo: gp    https://simplequietmodern.com/2013/11/30/mmmm-maplely/

You can gild that lily by presenting those walnuts in this Heath Ceramic Deep Serving Bowl. There won’t be any re-gifting here. Photo: http://www.heathceramics.com/cook-dine/bowls/deep-serving-bowl-110

 

What girl wouldn’t love the simplicity of semi- precious gemstone beads lovingly strung into this assortment of necklaces? Each Gemstone & Knots kit from Purl Soho makes 4 necklaces in the designs shown, and is available in nine color ways. Photo: https://www.purlsoho.com/create/2017/11/29/gemstones-knots-necklaces/

 

I received this mysterious blend of cypress wood and incense years ago and it’s been my signature fragrance ever since. Even Jaxon enjoys a spritz to start his day. L’Occitane Eau des Baux. Photo: gp  https://usa.loccitane.com/eau-des-baux-eau-de-toilette,82,1,66807,262187.htm#descriptionSection

 

 

 

Making the Cut

November 29, 2017

Well, it’s time to cull through the stack of Christmas cookie recipes, hold some auditions and see who makes the cut. Sounds brutal, but editing to one selection keeps things simple while still keeping the holiday festive. Espresso Hazelnut Cookies, classic Shortbread and Walnut Horns are being edged out by a twist on last year’s selection…the Chewy Molasses Cookie. By pressing a thumbprint into the center of the cookies while they’re still warm from the oven and filling them with 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry preserves…well, they were simply the hands down winner.

Chewy Molasses Thumbprint Cookies. Chewy, spicy with a little extra Christmas magic.

Photos: gp

 

 

Turning Back the Clock

November 6, 2017

Daylight Saving Time just messes with me. The simple act of turning the clocks back each Fall seems simple enough, but the darkness that descends is just too much too early. It’s as if there is no longer a difference between AM and PM…it’s all the same…dark. Maybe that’s why breakfast for dinner is popular with so many. While pancakes or eggs might satisfy some, it’s not as comforting as I’d like after a long day. Enter the perfect mash-up of breakfast and supper…Pasta Carbonara. A simple combination of a few pantry staples; bacon and eggs, half and half, Parmesan and Italian parsley tossed with hot spaghetti has dinner on the table in as little time as it takes the pasta to cook. Now we’re talking. I’m feeling better about the time change already.

I tweeked this already simple recipe from Everyday Food, https://www.marthastewart.com/341240/spaghetti-carbonara, by using the great smoky Black Forest bacon from Whole Foods Market and halving the amount then adding a handful of coarsely chopped Italian parsley. Guess what just moved up into my Fall and Winter recipe rotation?

photos: gp

 

 

and to all a good night.*

December 24, 2016

The holiday seemed to speed up on us, didn’t it? Now that it’s here, all that needs to be done is to leave a plate out for Santa. These Nut Horns have been part of Christmas as long as I can remember. I’m thinking Santa will be pleased.

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You might try Mrs. Donato’s recipe for nut horns found here. Thanks Leslie, it’s every grandma’s recipe.  http://www.afriendtoknitwith.com/2016/12/mrs-donatos-nut-horns.html

photo: gp

* A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore