Vintage Sale!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I wanted to quickly share one sale that's going on this weekend (Friday and Saturday.)  Carol from Redeemed Vintage has unrivaled talent and an amazing eye for detail.  Hop on over to her blog and sign up to receive an invitation to her sale in Lake Zurich, IL.

Here are a few preview images from her blog of the items available for sale.

Here are a few purchases I've made from her (the only ones I have pictures of at least!)
The stunning vintage cedar chest at the foot of my bed is from Redeemed Vintage as well as a whole bunch of vintage cameras!

Happy Shopping and let me know if you make it to her sale!

Change Up

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I was doing a little "spring cleaning" today (although we're still buried in gobs of snow) and while I was making significant progress I kept shuffling around all of my gold spray painted mason jars from the holidays.  I was a little sad thinking I wouldn't see them for another 10 months and it got me could I make these look a less christmasy?   I knew I could distress them but I wasn't happy with the white scratches from the sandpaper so I started wondering what would happen if I waxed them.  I always love the transformation tinted wax makes to painted furniture so I thought I would give it a whirl on the gold.

Using a clear furniture wax, I simply rubbed down the jar with a little wax on a rag, let it dry for a few minutes and then buffed it off with a clean rug.  What ended up happening was the wax turned the bright shiny yellow gold to a beautiful muted gold tone and its perfection!  The wax also smoothed away the scratches and softened the edges of the distressing.   Sweet and simple...the way I like it!

I'm thinking the first order of business for these beauties will be center pieces of eucalyptus and orange flowers for St. Patrick's Day celebrations!

Special Occasion Dinner at Home

Friday, March 7, 2014

This year for Jimmy's birthday dinner I decided to make a little feast at home instead of dining out.  I was racking my brain over a menu I could create at home that would be both impressive enough to make him not miss going to a restaurant but also doable in a few hours.  Here is what I came up with and it was hit!  {Side note: Jimmy usually eats super clean.  As in, he washes his 99% lean turkey in a collider after cooking it to get the rest of the fat out.  So relative to his usual eating habits this is all quite indulgent!}

Bone-In Prime Rib Roast {5.3 lbs} 
I decided on a classic Chicago winter meat option.  We would have purchased this cut of meat at a restaurant. This boy also loves leftovers so I knew we could keep this birthday meal going for a least one more night with this sized roast.
Whipped Sweet Potatoes His favorite
Roasted broccoli tossed in Trader Joe's Sweet Chili Sauce (its delicious on everything!)
Homemade French Bread with roasted garlic butter - I found a great 1 hour recipe I'll link below
6-inch Carrot Cake - I made cakes earlier in the afternoon so they could cool down to frost while the roast was cooking

Prime Rib Roast 
I chose this cut because I could put it in the oven and not have to think about it for 90 minutes. I seared it in frying pan with oil to brown up the sides and then placed it bone side down in a glass Pyrex dish.  In the bottom I added a few cloves of garlic, half an onion and a little water.  It cooked to a perfect 135° internally at 375° in 90 minutes.  It rested for about 30 minutes while we opened presents :)

Tip: Take a peek at the roast periodically to make sure there is still liquid on the bottom of the pan so you have something to work with for a sauce.  If its getting dry add cup of water at the 45 minute mark.  

For an easy sauce, I took the drippings and onions from the pan and dump them into a sauce pan.   Mix 1 tablespoon of flour and enough water to make it about the consistency of whole milk.  Pour the flour mixture into the sauce pan and mix until its all combined.  I kept it on low until everything was plated so it was nice and hot when we sat down.

Roasted Garlic Butter
The easiest but yummiest spread for your bread!  Take a small piece of foil and fold up the sides a bit.  Place 4-5 cloves of garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and a little pepper to the foil pouch and seal it shut.  Pop it in the oven when the roast has been cooking for 45 minutes.  Let it cook in its little foil pouch until you take the roast out.  Smash the roasted cloves (they'll be super soft) and mix them with a few tablespoons of butter and you're done.  You could also just skip the butter and spread them right on your bread.  So so good!

Whipped Sweet Potatoes
I added a little pure maple syrup and a 2 tablespoons of Keri Gold butter to the boiled potatoes.  I used my emulsion blender to make them super smooth!

Roasted Broccoli
This is one vegetable I actual crave pretty frequently.  I just love the flavor and the crunch of roasted broccoli.  All you need to do is toss the cut crowns in olive oil, salt, pepper and a few tablespoons of Trader Joe's Sweet Chili Sauce.  Place them on a foiled cookie sheet in the oven at 400° for about 15 minutes or until the edges are dark brown and crispy.  We make this side dish regularly but the sweet chili sauce really changed it up!

Quick French Bread Recipe
I tried Keep Home Simple's 1 hour recipe and it was pretty good!  It was a little denser than I was hoping but it still made for an easy soft dinner bread.  This recipe makes 2 beautiful loaves.

You can see its a little denser than your typical French bread

6-inch Carrot Cake
I made the cakes earlier in the day because I only have one oven and you can't cook carrot cake and a rib roast at the same time :)
Buying 6-inch cake pans was one of the best baking purchases I've ever made.  I find that I use them so much more now than I ever used 8" rounds.  Plus they make for an adorable mini cake that easily feeds a small gathering.  You can find Fat Daddio's 6"x2" pans on Amazon:

I only ever make one carrot cake and its Fannie Farmer's Rabbits Carrot Cake.  It's just one of those recipes that fall into the "if its not broken, don't fix it" buckets.  It fills two 6" rounds with about ¼ cup batter left over.  

Rabbit's Carrot Cake
{Fannie Farmer}
1½ cups grated carrots (This is about 3-4 carrots)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup crushed pineapple
1½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each allspice, cloves, nutmeg 
¾ cup vegetable oil 
3 eggs
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup walnuts

1. Preheat your oven to 350° F.  Now is also a good time to set out your butter and cream cheese to soften for your frosting.
1. Combine grated carrots, lemon juice and pineapple in a small bowl.  Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add the oil and mix well.
3. Add your eggs to the flour/oil mixture and continue mixing the batter until it is smooth.
4. Now add your raisins, walnuts and the carrot mixture to the flour mixture.  Mix until it is smooth.

Grease your loaf or cake pans and divide the batter equally.  Bake for 50 minutes or until your knife comes out clean. I had about ¼ cup of the batter that would not fit in the cake pan.  I just tossed it.  

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting
I don't like having to ration my frosting when I'm making cakes so I usually double most recipes.  This recipe will cover a double layered 6" cake with enough to frosting to fill the middle (and a little left to spare.)  You could probably save your left over batter and frosting to make an emergency cupcake :)

2 packs of cream cheese (16 ounces), softened
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Option: I also added a few drops of lemon extract but you could also add the zest of a lemon too.

Beat the cream cheese and butter together.  Slowly add in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Mix in your vanilla and lemon and you're done!

Add a little carrot swirl, walnuts and cinnamon for garnish

Breakfast Biscuits

Sunday, March 2, 2014

These have been my go-to biscuits for about 15 years. They come together so quickly and with only 5 common ingredients you will more than likely be able to make them any given day or night. I make them for breakfast, served with butter and jam. I've added goat cheese and fresh herbs to serve with dinner. And they are the best biscuits for strawberry shortcake!

This recipe yields 6 medium sized biscuits.
25 minutes for prep and cooking.
Preheat oven to 400. 

2 cups flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 
8 tablespoons cold butter (I love Kerigold unsalted butter) 
1 cup milk (any fat content works)

1. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. 
2. Cut your butter into cubes and add to dry ingredients. You can use a food processor to mix the dry ingredients and butter but I just use a pastry blender to break up the butter a little bit more. I like to keep them about pea size. 
3. Add your milk and with a wood spoon mix until the milk is fully incorporated into the flour mixture. 
4.) Scoop out a full spoonful of the batter and drop them on to a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown. 

- For dinner biscuits add chunks of goat cheese and fresh herbs into the flour mixture before adding milk. 
- For dessert biscuits add 1/4 cup sugar to the flour mixture.  Sprinkle sugar on biscuit tops prior to baking. 


Saturday florals

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Eucalyptus and firey spray roses adorn the credenza today!  Now off to make a birthday boy a big feast!  I hope everyone has a beautiful Saturday and happy March!

{quick iPhone photo}