We can't believe it! We've hit 100 followers! We are so amazed and grateful- it's hard to believe that more than 100 people are reading what we write. We have made so many wonderful new friends and are having the best time! Thank you all. To commemorate this milestone, Allie insisted that we need to start planning our first giveaway- so stay tuned and bring your friends! Within the next week or so we'll have something figured out!
Blogging may be a bit sporadic this week and we may be MIA for a short time. Our girl- yes, that's Miss Alexandra!- will be making her Confirmation this week. We'll be hosting my best friend Kathy who has agreed to act as sponsor and last night Allie informed us all that she wanted to be confirmed with the name Kathleen which is in honor of her sponsor and a derivative of Catherine who is one of her favorite saints. We're quite proud of our girl!
St Catherine's House
So, we've been in the in the midst of dress shopping (if you've ever shopped with a 16 year old girl, you'll understand why I'm living on Advil!) and rehearsals and spring cleaning of our porch
which went from this (yucchy southern pollen!)
I just realized I took these pictures before putting the rug back, so just use your imagination. And I forgot to take the deck with the firepit- just imagine marshmallows, s'mores, and wine- ahhhh.....
I also want to say thank you (I'm blushing here) to all of you who sent such sweet emails complimenting the few pictures I've posted of our home and porch. For those of you who don't know, I do some design and decor work along with teaching cooking classes and training. I'm not exactly your "typical" designer- I specialize in budget redos, vintage textiles, and helping DIY homeowners. Everything in my house with only a few exceptions, is an estate sale, yard sale, Craigslist, Ebay, or thrift store find. We repurpose, reuse and redo. All window treatments are made by me.
If you had seen this porch set when I dragged it home after finding it on CL, you'd have thought I was insane. Actually, my neighbor did! He asked Ray if he was really going to let me unload it from the truck!
My poor husband knows better than to argue- after a few eye rolls, he helped me pull out the 11 million staples and rip apart the frame and remnants of shredded, faded floral fabric. Turns out when we flipped the couch over that the original tag was still attached. This couch came from a designer showroom in High Point, NC and had originally been part of an upscale sample sale! So there!! (not that I knew any of that, but still...)
I got 30 yards of indoor/outdoor fabric from an old design contact of mine- end of roll at 1 dollar a yard. Yes, folks, 30 dollars to reupholster a whole couch, 2 chairs, and some extra pillows. Yes, I'm doing the happy dance :)
In future blog posts, I'll show you some more of our house and some of our projects- this will probably fall under the category of my "reality" posts as you're liable to catch sight of dumbbells, cast iron pots, fabric bolts and assorted sports paraphernalia belonging to my children along with whatever it is I'm trying to show you!
So this is where you'll find me blogging and working when I'm home and not in the kitchen
Me and my cappuchino...
I made these this morning for a friend who requested them- her favorite!
These cookies are SO good with a wonderful cup of coffee or espresso. I've had the recipe for a while and tweaked it a bit. It's hand written on a scrap of notebook paper, but I had the letters FN in the corner. That usually means Food Network, so I searched it out this morning in order to give proper credit. I have changed it just a bit to adapt to my oven and because I wanted the chocolate coating to be a bit thinner. Enjoy- my Nonna would have loved these!
Orange Ice Box Cookies
adapted from a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp- Food Network
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons packed orange zest
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling cookies
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted sweetened coconut
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons shortening
Toast one cup of sweetened flaked coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir continuously until the coconut begins to turn light brown.
Watch it carefully, it can burn quickly. Turn the coconut out onto a piece of parchment and cool.
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Toss in the coconut until combined.
In a medium bowl, using your fingers, rub the orange zest into the granulated sugar, then toss in the brown sugar
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat together butter and sugars over medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat about 2 more minutes. Add the vanilla and mix
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating just until evenly combined. If you have to, use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to combine any remaining flour. Lay 2 large pieces of parchment paper on a clean work surface and put half of the dough along the center of each piece. Shape the dough into 2 logs measuring about 1 1/2-inches in diameter and 10-inches long. Roll logs up in the parchment and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. I usually just stick them in the freezer for about 30 minutes- I find it works better
Preheat oven to 350 F
Cut the logs into 1/2-inch slices. Roll the edges of the cookies in sugar to coat and shake off excess. Arrange on a baking sheet, leaving 1/2-inch between the cookies. Bake until set and golden on the edges, about 13 minutes. Remove to racks to cool completely.
Place the chopped chocolate and shortening in a glass or metal bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water (about an inch or so of water). The bowl shouldn't touch the water. Stir chocolate and shortening with a rubber spatula until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into the chocolate, shake off excess, and set on waxed paper on a cool cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set up before serving. Remove from fridge and allow to come to room temp before serving. They will be chewy in the center with a taste and aroma of orange- my kids have no idea the coconut is in there- which in the case of my boys is a good thing. They "don't eat" coconut but have put a good dent in this batch :)
Buon Alimenti, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie