Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning Muffins

Merry Christmas to the few of you who look at my blog!  We're long overdue for a post, so here it is...  No better time than on Christmas!  I have a lull in the day right now-- husband's downstairs baking bread, pug is asleep, and my mom's flight doesn't arrive for a few more hours. 

This morning I made Nigella's Christmas Morning Muffins.  They were delicious, and smelled so good even when mixing the dry ingredients together.  You see, there's nutmeg in them, which is probably my favorite spice ever.  And there are dried cranberries, and they get sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.  They're soft and moist and just the teensiest bit eggy.

I will probably make these again, and not just on Christmas morning.

Meanwhile, we have a lovely tree.  I think it's a noble fir.  I love my squirrel and other various critter ornaments.

And I love the other cute Christmas decorations we have.  This house is a new addition this year.

So is the Santa.

Decorating gingerbread houses is one of my favorite things about Christmas.  Now, I didn't make the gingerbread. It came in a kit from the grocery store.  I used some old fashioned candies and gumdrops (as well as the candies that came in the kit) to decorate.  Husband's planning on eating it.

 We're waiting for my mom to arrive before we open presents, but Pug was allowed to see what he got from Santa (not that he was necessarily nicer than he was naughty this year).  He spent all morning with his gingerbread man, and got so tuckered out he had to take a nap.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pretty English Things

So here are a few more pictures from England, sort of a mish mash of inspiring things and pretty things and pugs. I loved the letterbox above. Would love to have one like that someday!

My friend and I stopped by this Art & Craft market in downtown Cambridge.  Below is the sunset from Ely Cathedral.

And could any trip to England be complete without a stop at Pet Kingdom in Harrods? I was amazed at all the clothing!  They also had a small Mungo and Maud store.

This cute pug was the model for a brand of harnesses and collars they sell call Holly & Lil.  I didn't get Pug one, but I did get him a toy passport.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow and Biscotti

It snowed!

Despite Pug's expression here, he really was quite excited about the snow. I was too, only because there was very little of it. My strong opinion is that one shouldn't live where it snows, but one drives somewhere to see it... sort of like the zoo.

I decided to make biscotti... it seemed like a nice thing to do on a snowy day.
This recipe is from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

They turned out quite yummy, and just perfect for afternoon tea, which I've been having mostly every day since coming home from England.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mole End, Pug Cottage

I was so, so happy to see thatched roof cottages in England!  I wanted to go to the Cotswalds for that very reason (that will have to be another trip), but I was very happy to see them around Cambridge, in the village of Histon (and Impington), and in Grantchester.

Many thatched roof cottages have animal designs on top of them, such as these thatched ducks above.

Love the monkey!

Equally adorable were the many homes with quaint names such as "Mole End"

and "Toad Cottage."  Hoping for a Pug Cottage someday!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I'm back from a week in Cambridge (UK, not MA). Had a wonderful time, but madly missed pug and his antics.

If you're wondering what the soup is, it's split pea and ham. Yes, Pug helped himself to the recycling tonight while I was out. It appears to be his new favorite toy, which made me feel a little bit bad when I took it away from him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From The Kitchen: Ginger Cookies

Recently, my days have consisted of lots of cooking and baking. Chicken pot pie, white bean soup, applesauce, and cookies! I was in the mood for quintessential fall sweets and so I made the Barefoot Contessa's ginger cookies.

Ahh... there is nothing like the scent of allspice, cloves, cinnamon and ginger.

The batter is surprisingly thick. Don't worry though, it's supposed to be that way.

Beautiful Australian crystallized ginger.

The cookies before they went in the oven...

and after they came out. They were delicious! Slightly crunchy on the outside, but soft and warm on the inside! Pug loved them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

When In Doubt, Knit

I've had the nicest past week relearning to knit.  Since I'm still sans sewing machine, knitting is about the best alternative to quilting!  The teal swatch on the right was my practice attempt to try out some different stitches.

Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick is a great book for learning how to knit.  It has clear, simple instructions and pictures and some cute (though kid-centered) projects.

I fell in love with some gorgeous Malabrigo yarn (Aquarella) at a knitting store in Cannon Beach.  It's soft and chunky and so nice to touch!

Pug is a good knitting companion.

I bought one skein of the yarn so it made a shortish scarf, but still long enough to fit around the neck.  It'd be cute held in place with a pretty pin.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Out And About

"Did you say trip?  As in leave the house?  You want me to get off the chair?"

So Pug stayed home and I went by myself on a little day trip to Aurora and Butteville.

Along the way I passed Swan Island Dahlias,

Molalla River Park,

and Aurora Mills Archictectural Salvage, which I just had to go in!

They had pretty planters,

and pretty doors, and all sorts of old house odds and ends.

The town of Aurora is almost entirely made up of antique stores. 

My favorite find of the day (besides discovering Champoeg State Park-- gorgeous!) was the very charming Butteville General Store.  I peeked inside and will absolutely have to go back for lunch or dinner and some old timey live music!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest Bounty

These tomatoes came from our garden!  For a while it seemed like they'd never turn red...

We grew the corn too.  It was delicious.  My husband's a good gardener.

These pastries didn't come from our garden, sadly.  But I know where to find them!La Petite Provence on NE Alberta.

The marionberry pastry was delish.

My favorite (and a good one for fall): apple beignet.

Chai + beignet= couldn't get any better.

Picture of Pug coming in next blog post.  He's sleeping behind me as I type this, full from a piece of boeuf bourguignon.