Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jeni's Ice Cream

You know I have a thing for artisanal ice cream flavors.  Well I couldn't go to Columbus without a "Trio" from Jeni's Ice Cream, could I?

Dan and I shared these 6 flavors:

Sweet Corn with Black Raspberry Swirl
Backyard Mint
Roasted Pear Riesling

Dark Chocolate
Bourbon Butter Pecan
Honey & Pistachio

Yum. Yum. Yum.  You'd think it was my birthday month all over again.

I am happy to announce that Jeni's Ice Cream is now available at some specialty grocery stores around the US.  Check here to see if you can find a scoop of heaven near you.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Country Living Fair 2010, Part Three

When I read the event schedule for the 2010 Country Living Fair, one seminar jumped out at me.

"Getting The Most Out of Your Cookie Cutters."

It has me written all over it, right?  With over 250 cookie cutters in my collection, I was happy to hear a lecture on one of my favorite things.

Did you know that there is a national Cookie Cutter Collectors Club?  

The demonstration turned out to be focused on cookie decorating (rather than collecting, like I had originally thought) but the instructor, Julie of Tin Treasures, did a nice job and had some great tips for both cookie baking and decorating.

Julie rolls her circle of dough out directly on a Silpat baking mat, cuts out as many cookie shapes as possible and then removes the excess dough from around the cookies.  This allows her to put the cookie sheet directly into the oven, eliminating the stressful step of transferring uncooked cookies from the board to cookie sheet.

Julie recommends "greasing" the cookie cutters by dabbing the circumference of the cutting edge with cookie dough and then dipping it in flour.  The tacky quality of the dough helps the flour to cling to the cookie cutter's edge and prevents the cookie dough from sticking during use.

She demonstrated that a plastic baggie can be transformed into an inexpensive piping bag by taping the corner (to increase stability) and sniping a small hole.  It pipes well enough to eliminate the need for special bags and tips, plus she always has some on hand in her kitchen.

Julie finished by highlighting ways to use unexpected candies as cookie decorations (taffy, fruit roll ups, licorice).  Simply cut the candy with scissors and secure the pieces to the frosting with Karo syrup.

While I was at the fair, I bought 2 vintage cookie cutters to add to my collection.  A fabulous rabbit and a formal coffee pot - love it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Country Living Fair 2010, Part Two

I chose this photo for "Day Two" of my blog series on the Country Living magazine's Country Fair because it shows you so many things.

It shows you what incredible weather we had on Saturday - Blue sky and 74 degrees.

It shows you a glimpse of some of the fabulous vendors at the show.  This spectacular "dress" is made of wallpaper and highlights a necklace at Bloomsbury Loft of Columbus.  This dress is what happens when someone gives into their creativity.  I love it!

It also shows you the idea of collage jewelry.  The show was loaded with a mix of "anything goes" necklaces.  I saw collections of buttons, paper pinwheels, fabric cutouts and more all fashioned together to create statement necklaces. 

Feeling creative?  You should give it a go! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Country Living Fair 2010, Part One

What a day for a Country Living fair!  I spent from 10 am till 5 pm scouring the fair for antiques and treasures and I had a wonderful time!  I attended 3 of the event seminars and will chronicle them here for you over the next few days. 

(*don't forget to enter my blog giveaway by midnight EST on 9/28!)

This "Junk Market Style" display by Sue Whitney was picture perfect.  Every detail of this harvest table was so on point that could practically smell a turkey in the oven.

During her lecture, Sue emphasized that junk is relative and that when you need a neat design element in a pinch, something "found" will often add the perfect unexpected touch to a room. 

Who's to say that an old dishwasher rack full of mason jar "vases" (shown hanging like a chandelier) isn't the perfect way to add a floral element to your dining room.  Simply spray it with galvanized paint and suspend it with some heavy rope.  Want it to be versatile?  For the next party, fill the jars with candles for a soft romantic glow.

The wooden chargers you can see at each place really are wood!  When a stump in Sue's yard had to come out, she converted it into thin wooden chargers with the help of a friend and his band saw.  Now that has to be the ultimate in repurposing!

Her soft brown "tablecloth" is really a needlework floor cloth project (that someone never got around to working with thread) so Sue used Gorilla Glue  to cover the center with plain linen and let the interesting boarder speak for itself.  So country western - I love how it pulls the colors together.

Her last unexpected touch?  Antique metal doorknobs became vases (filled with Alstroemeria blooms) at the center of each place setting.  Who knew that old knobs were hollow?

What is your favorite "junk market" object in your house?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kitchen Soap

When I am getting ready for a party at my house, I take a look at everything...including the kitchen sink!

A long time ago, I noticed how much time my guests spent at my kitchen sink preparing salads, clearing plates or cleaning up when it was time to go home.  I decided then and there that I was going to spruce the area up a bit.  Now I always buy color-coordinated soaps, and when company is coming over, I put a few flowers in a vase next to them.  It makes such a difference!

The hand & dish soaps are made by Farmhouse Soaps. They are my favorite liquid soaps and I never want to run out.  Lavender is my go-to scent.

The goat milk bar soap is called "May" (lightly scented with the flowers blooming on the farm in May) - made by my friends' company, Beekman 1802.

Put a few flowers by your kitchen sink, I know it will brighten your day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Caramelized Peaches

These caramelized peaches were a happy accident.  Intending to "poach" the fresh peaches, I placed them cut side down in a large saute pan in a syrup made of equal parts sugar and water, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and an inch of vanilla bean.  I put the burner on medium and...answered the phone?  Checked the computer?  

Do not follow my example, it was a close call and I almost burned up the pan as well as the peaches.  But I arrived at the magic moment when the peaches had caramelized and the remaining liquid had reduced to a glossy peach-infused syrup.  You can make this incredible (and easy!) dessert too, just please stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on things.

The peaches I bought were large and still quite hard.  The good news is that all of that hardness disappears when you cook them.  I served each peach half with a small scoop of my favorite "ice cream."  Edy's Slow Churned Yogurt Blends in Vanilla.  It is creamy, contains live active cultures and counts as a good source of calcium.  What more could a girl want?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Flowers

This bouquet was my favorite find at the farmer's market a few weeks ago.

A masterpiece starring a bunch of celery-green cockscomb! I arranged it in my woven wicker "vase" (After I bought it, I had to take it to the craft store to find a square glass vase it fit inside!).  I have mostly used this container for peonies, but it looks like it has a whole new life in the Fall.

If I were the flower farmer, I would have a hard time letting arrangements like these go.

I wish that I knew the person that grew these flowers.  I would like to thank them for their mini masterpiece and show them that there couldn't be a prettier arrangement for my dining room.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blog Giveaway

Great news!

In honor of my 1,000th blog post next week, I am holding my first blog giveaway!

The prize? A signed copy of my book, Moments of Delight. 140 pages of full-color photography, stories, recipes and inspirations from Anne Reeves.

The rules are simple.

To enter, leave a comment on this post.

Want extra chances? Leave another comment and let me know that you:

  • Became a blog follower, or let me know that you already are.

  • Like the "Moments of Delight by Anne Reeves" page on Facebook

  • Blogged about it (please include a link)

  • Posted it on Facebook (please include a link)

  • Tweet about it (please include a link)

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

The giveaway will run through Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The winner will be notified by email/through your online profile on Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Be sure to include a way to contact you.

Due to shipping concerns, this giveaway is open to US addresses only.

Thanks - Have fun with this and good luck!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Farmer's Market Guide

I love to wander the farmer's market this time of year picking from the freshest vegetables available and buying big armfuls of zinnias.

I wonder if you know about Local Harvest? It is an online resource for finding farmer's markets in your area. Once you enter your zip code, you can see when/where farmer's markets are hosted near you.

It is a great resource for local info and also really fun to use if you are going on a "cottage" vacation where you will be cooking. What would taste better with a glass of wine, than cheese drizzled with local honey?

Plus, more and more farmer's markets are allowing craftspeople to sell their jewelry, art and even food items (jams, granola) in tents as well. I think the variety makes the market even more interesting.

Tomorrow I'll show you this year's "favorite find" at the farmer's market.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Instant Art

The most interesting pieces of art are often made with items that are meaningful to the homeowner.

A shadowbox of shells collected on vacation, a print of some distant relatives or, in this case, a photograph taken by someone in the family.

Personal touches like these add meaningful elements to the design of a room.

This "painting" is really a photograph that I took in England. When we entered the town of Woodstock, I saw these hollyhocks growing out of the crack between the sidewalk and this old stone-front building. It became one of my first "must photograph" items on our journey into the Cotswolds and they were so beautiful that we actually hurried to find a parking spot, as if the blooms might disappear if I didn't photograph them that instant.

It looks like a painting, doesn't it? I did not edit this photo in any way. The gorgeous mottled stone and blush-colored peach hollyhocks are shown just as I found them. The soft afternoon light made all the difference.

When I learned that the photo department at Costco can print poster-size images on museum quality semi-board, I jumped at the chance to have this photo enlarged. After that, all I needed was an easel to have instant art in my living room.

To me, this is interior design at its best; it is both beautiful and interesting.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heat Haze

These "shades of blue & green" are from a favorite day on Lake Michigan when the elements were backwards.

Normally, the air is clear and the water is a bit murky from the action of the waves. On this super calm morning, the water was crystal clear (look at the rocks!), but I could barely pick out the horizon. A heat haze was hanging over the water. It was still and gorgeous.

I hope this moment of delight gives you some room to breathe.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Visual Real Estate

I wanted you to see this because the use and placement of the ingredients shows the value of something that I had never considered before. The surface of a drink.

When I pour a glass of iced tea, I choose a pretty glass and then add ice to cool it and and lemon to flavor it.

From this photo, you can tell that the chef looks at the surface of the drink differently. She sees it the same way you see the surface of a cake. It is a space to be decorated.By placing a heart-shaped ice cube, a half-slice of lemon and a flower together on the surface of ligonberry tea, you can literally have edible art.

Have you ever seen the entire surface of a drink decorated? It is visual real estate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lakeside Ohio

Earlier this Summer, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon at a Chautauqua in Ohio.

Lakeside is known as the "Chautauqua on Lake Erie" and is a lovely community where families (and guests) can come together over the Summer.

The Lakeside website is proud that, "Since 1873, Lakeside has provided a Chautauqua summer experience dedicated to spiritual growth and renewal, educational and cultural enrichment and recreational pursuits."

To enter the community, you must check in at the visitor center and purchase a day pass. At that time I asked the woman at guest services to recommend a nice place for lunch, "somewhere I would take my Mother-In-Law." She thought that was a funny way to describe a lunch spot, but said she knew exactly what I meant and sent me to The Hotel Lakeside.

I had a quiet table for one at the window (with this view) overlooking Lake Erie. You can see the fountain, the stack of white hulls from the sailboat fleet and the swim pier beyond. What a nice place to spend a Summer vacation with kids. The whole atmosphere reminded me of the movie, Dirty Dancing.

After a nice lunch, I started chatting with the hotel receptionist and got quite a history lesson. Built in 1875, the hotel was celebrating its 135th anniversary this year! Some of the hotel's famous guests have been Rutherford B. Hayes (our 19th President), First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Erhart. If they visited on a gorgeous Summer day like I did, I bet they just loved it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tin Plates

I was the happiest girl at Windsor Castle (okay, except for maybe The Queen, because she gets to live there).

I only had a few minutes to shop in the gift shop because we were on a tight timeline to return our rental car to the airport and meet up with our ride back to London.

So when I ducked in the shop, I thought I would pick up a little something, like a charm for my bracelet.

What did I find? The entire line of Commemorative Plates from the Royal Collection! I had seen these tin dinner plates in a catalog a long time ago and I have wanted them ever since. They look exactly like fine china and bear the design from different eras in royal history.

On the back of this plate it says, "The Great Exhibition Plate: This design is from a dessert service by Coalport. The service was used at the Royal Table at the banquet given by the City of London at the Guildhall, to celebrate the opening of The Great Exhibition, 9th July 1851."

Isn't that neat? I alarmed the teenage girl working there and did some serious speed-shopping. She wrapped as I put things on the counter. I decided my best bet was to select one of each. Love them! I have been displaying them separately around the house and so far this vignette has been the prettiest.

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

Did these homemade marshmallows need to become S'more Bites? Of course not, they are absolutely delicious on their own. But I couldn't resist.

Homemade marshmallows have been on my radar for a while now. I ate some delicious raspberry marshmallows at Fortnum & Mason in London. Then I started noticing the Barefoot Contessa make-your-own marshmallow box mix (in specialty grocery stores) and it peaked my interest.

Then, gloriously, my sister-in-law sent me Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family. What recipe jumped out at me? Homemade Marshmallows!

I followed Ina Garten's recipe exactly and they came out like a dream. Then, to make a good thing better, I toasted my little marshmallow squares with a Culinary Torch (8.8 ounce), dipped them in melted Hershey chocolate and then coated them in graham cracker crumbs to make S'more Bites.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Country Living Fair 2010

Are you getting excited? Country Living magazine's Country Fair in Columbus, Ohio is only 2 weeks away! It is not too late to make your plans to come for a weekend of shopping, demonstrations and all around country fun.

I am happy to announce that my Aunt will be a vendor again this year with her gorgeous tabletop antiques (look for her mint & brown "Carol" banner). You will love her gorgeous silver pieces and fascinating collection of tramp art.

Remember when my business won a Country Living women entrepreneur award? I look forward to this event not only for the family, fun (and food!), but because it gives me a chance to say hello and reminisce with the editors I met at the Country Living Women Entrepreneur conferences. I love this stuff.

So as you look at your calendar to see if you could possibly swing a weekend getaway (Sept 24/25/26), are you wondering just what the Country Living Country Fair is like? Follow these links to my blog posts from prior years...

Cooking Demonstrations, Flower Arranging Seminar, Fall Tablescapes and of course, Jeni's ice cream! Won't you try and come?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Citrus Sectioner

Citrus Sectioner...I know, say that 3 times fast!

But that is exactly what I wanted to show you today. I usually watch with awe as the contestants on "Top Chef" supreme an orange with lightening speed.

To "supreme" a piece of citrus, you slice and trim to create perfectly clean sections of fruit. It looks tricky and time-consuming, so I have left that to the professionals. Until I stumbled upon this...

Starfrit's "Citrus Express Cutter." What you see here is my first attempt and I think my little orange sections look great! I would love to add oranges to fresh fruit salad and compotes and now I can.

You will be jealous to know that I happened to find this on clearance at the discount home store, Homegoods. But I still think it is reasonable at the original price.

So if you are hosting a brunch anytime soon, this may be your next "must have" kitchen tool. Let the holiday planning begin!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Grain Sack Pillows

It has been on my "To Make" list for a year, but I finally had a chance to sew a pillow out of the coffee bean sack that I bought in Paris!

Part of the incredible week I spent with Patricia Wells in Paris was walking the food markets with her. Along the way, we stopped at a whole bean coffee vendor. We poured inside to select beans and inhale the gorgeous smell of fresh ground coffee. As everyone was making their purchases, I wandered outside and noticed a stack of coffee bean sacks from all over the world.

As I leafed through the pile looking at the markings, Patricia asked me what I was up to. "One of these is going to become a pillow in my living room!" I told her. She loved the idea and asked me to email her a picture when it was finished.

Even better, I am sending her a link to this blog post - I love technology!

As it turns out, this season the upcycling (the use of an object/item for a purpose greater than it's original use) of grain and flour bags into pillows is all the rage. If you are looking for a designer touch, you can see some for sale right now at Restoration Hardware and Ballard Designs.

I am so happy with how this looks! The texture, color and graphics are perfect for my living room and serves as a constant reminder me that "We'll Always Have Paris."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cherry Chutney

I have to share with you my latest success in the kitchen: No Cook Cherry Chutney! It is super easy and absolutely delicious with grilled chicken. You can tweak the proportions to your taste.

Cherry Chutney

Mix one 12 oz. jar of cherry preserves with 3 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 4 Tablespoons of red onion (small dice), 2 Tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves (chopped) and a dash of sea salt.

You're done! I brushed this over the chicken as a glaze (the last minute or two that it was on the grill) and then spooned it on the plate as a sauce - yum!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

All Dressed In White

I told you it was a gorgeous day when I visited Black Star Farms. I wanted to show you this photograph because I had never seen a vineyard covered like this - it was almost bridal.

The vines were "all dressed in white"...netting, that is. As the grapes ripen, the nets are required to keep the fruit safe from hungry birds.

It was a quiet afternoon and all you could hear was the wind swooshing through the nets. This is a moment of delight.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love & Pizza at Black Star Farm

I had to show you these lovebirds - caught in a shadow at a local wine bar/cafe.

It was a gorgeous Fall day in northern Michigan (sunny & cool with blue sky and puffy white clouds) and my Mom and I decided to drive to Black Star Farms to have lunch at "Vine & Hearth."

After we ordered our roasted beet salads (and cheesy sandwiches - yum!), we relaxed and looked around. We noticed this cute couple in their late-twenties seated at the long oak bar. They were huddled over a menu trying to decide which wood-fired pizza to order. The lighting in the restaurant happened to cast their shadows onto the oven.

Later as they sipped their wine, they watched their lunch bubble and crackle as it cooked in the fire in front of them. So romantic!

Ahhh...there is nothing like love and pizza.

Monday, September 6, 2010

John Derian for Target

Wonderful news! John Derian (famed New York decoupage artist) has partnered with Target again for a limited edition collection of melamine trays, dishes and coasters. Do you remember when I bought some of his pieces at Target two years ago? I love them!

A few weeks ago, I received an email from that they would be having a 3-day sale of the John Derian collection for Target. It started online at noon on August 20th. I think things like this are very fun and I took the "starting at noon" very seriously. So glad I did! I sat at my computer and was ready at noon on the dot.

I selected a few things and when I checked out at 12:08 PM, some my items were already sold out! Interior designers and collectors everywhere must have been ready to pounce on these pre-sale items.

I am happy to say that this gorgeous feather tray made my pre-sale order and that is why I am able to show it to you today.

The in-store collection was scheduled to be on the shelves (or available at Target online) on September 5th, so now you can shop for it too. But if you like something, buy it. The last John Derian collection did not appear to be re-stocked, so get it while you can.

I also chose a few other pieces that I love and I know that they'll appear in future blog posts. Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Simple Flower Arrangements

I love having casual flower arrangements around the house. It adds an important touch of color and texture to the room.

Some of my favorite arrangements are in one colorway. I bought a giant bunch of zinnias at the farmer's market and pulled out all of the pinks & reds to make this little showpiece.

I arranged it in a black rice bowl and allowed the green chopsticks (see them at the bottom?) act as a flower frog to support the stems.

I have it displayed in my living room on a black tea cart along side a green Japanese tea set (see it displayed here).

So pretty! The next time you pick up a bouquet at the farmer's market (or even a warehouse store) try arranging it in an unusual container (coffee can, pop cans, antique glass). It can make all the difference.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Mousse Torte

I love sweets, but my go-to treat is usually something that I've baked myself. I rarely order desserts at a restaurant, but when I was out for a dual-birthday celebration with my friend, Alice, she suggested that we should each choose a dessert and share.

Before ordering, Alice asked if I liked Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. When I said that it was my first choice on Halloween (narrowly beating Mounds), she ordered the Peanut Butter Mousse Torte shown above. All I can say is thank heaven she did! What a delicious dessert!

It was about 87 degrees outside and we were dining out on the patio of Ocean Prime. It was a gorgeous afternoon, but it was hot, so I chose the Lemon Sorbet. Well needless to say, I dropped it in a hurry and came back to it only after I had devoured my portion of this!

It was cold and creamy, sweet and delicious. It is absolutely what you should order if you ever find yourself "celebrating" at Ocean Prime.

I've found a recipe that mimics this gorgeous pie - you can try it here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Cezanne by the Quart

I gasped, "It's a painting!"

A genius at the farmer's market decided to display their fruit like this. He is luring the next Cezanne.

Look at this link to the famous still life by Paul Cezanne called "Still Life with Fruit Dish" and then come back.

I had never thought about the life of a painter in such real terms before. The man needed fresh fruit for his masterpiece and probably trolled the fruit stand on market day to see what was fresh and worthy.

  • Did the vendors know him?
  • Did they realize that their fruit would be eaten and painted?
  • Did they coax him to their stand by showing how beautiful their fruit was in the light?
I have always loved the art of using an object beyond its original purpose (like this great book that became great art).

I realize now that Cezanne must have eaten a lot of fruit!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Queen Bee

I love honey and when I had the chance to photograph an active hive (in a narrow glass box) this is the result!

Can you see the honey glistening in the honeycomb? So natural and so gorgeous - love it!

I think of September as a time when all of my friends are "busy bees" buzzing about their hives and gathering the information they need from the fields.

I love when Fall activities are finally on the calendar, field trips are planned, committee meetings start up. I was surprised last week when I had to buy a 2011 calendar to keep up with all the dates coming in.

So think of yourself as a "Queen Bee" this week, managing the house, planning the fun and making things happen.