Friday, December 30, 2011

Recipes & Gadgets

After many technical difficulties,
our computer has finally rejoined the living!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Holiday.
Ours was filled with lots of laughter, visits with family and of course food!!

I wanted to share a couple of Holiday highlights with you.
I opted this year to go a little out of the box with our Christmas Eve meal
and stay away from the more traditional turkey or roast.

I chose duck!
Duck breast to be exact.
Complete with a fig sauce, a heavenly duck fat potato gratin and asparagus.
Inspired from here, but as always tweaked a little by me.


It was incredible!
People often think of duck as fatty and heavy,
but if you render the fat off and then crisp up the skin,
what you are left with is this amazing flavor.
The figs and brandy in the sauce balanced the richness beautifully.
My kids, who at first were "you're making what!?!?"...
went back for seconds!


I wanted a hearty potato dish to stand up the rich duck 
and knew I had found it when I saw this recipe made with duck fat and demi-glace!!
Easy to make and so delicious!
The thyme added a subtle freshness to a very substantial dish.

I was very happy with the meal and love to see my kids exposed to new foods.

Now for the gadgets!!
My husband knowing how much I love to cook got me this...


The spiffy All-Clad Slow Cooker that
lets you go from stove top to slow cooker and even in to the oven!!
I love it!
I've already used a few times...
and what an upgrade from my 15 year old crockpot I was using!

And then this...


The Whip-It whip cream dispenser.
Oooohhh...I can't tell you how excited I am about this one!!
I see them used all the time on the cooking shows and now there's one in my kitchen!!
You can make flavored whipping creams, sauces, foams...endless possiblities!
I've picked out our New Years Eve dessert tomorrow based on using this gadget.
More to come on that soon...

So that's my recipe and gadget share!!
What yummy things have you eaten lately?
Any fun things under your tree?

I'd love to hear about them!

I'm glad to be back and wish each and every one of you a very
Happy New Year!!



Monday, December 19, 2011

Unplugged Christmas


Technology is my friend...well, most of the time.
That was until last week when our Mac decided to show it's true colors...
The dreaded,
yes,
the one,
the only...
Grey Screen of Death!

Translation...not good!

No morning blog runs.
 No catching up on what's happening around the globe.
No doubt I've missed some vital Kardashian or Bieber news that would have changed my life, 
but I carry on nonetheless.

All kidding aside...
I'm still not up and running properly, thus my absence both here and at all your lovely blogs.
I hope all is well out there in blogland and that everyone is enjoying their
preparations this busy Holiday week.



So whether it's thoughts of sugar plums or potato latkes dancing in your head.
I wish you a very happy Holiday Season.

I hope that I'll be back up and running very soon.
I had all sorts of wonderful goodies and posts planned that currently lay on the back burner
until the technology gods shine favorably on me once more.

Until then I wish you the happiest of times with family and friends.

Merry Christmas!


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Monday, December 5, 2011

Institute Of Domestic Technology


So what do Western literature and artisanal cocktails have in common?
Well, when you are at the historic residence once belonging to author Zane Grey...
a whole lot.


Newly established, 
The Institute's "mission is to reignite the passion of how we make food, 
the ingredients we source and the farms on which they originate."

It's a place to come explore the fading arts of handmade cheese and jam making, 
home coffee roasting and the art of crafting liqueurs and cocktail bitters.

As we entered the cavernous kitchen, we were welcomed by the scent of fresh citrus 
and spices lingering in the air.


Individual work stations were set up with glasses, bottles and spoons.


I felt like I was standing in a vintage apothecary lab!


Our instructor for the class was a mixologist with almost 15 years experience in the industry.
He had a Sherlock Holmes vibe, which suited the evening perfectly considering
the concoctions we were set to mix.

After a brief history on cocktails and bitters we each set out to concoct our perfect cocktail.
Jars of mysterious steeping flowers and herbs wound their way around the room.

You sniffed.
You tasted.
Did it speak to you?
The ones you felt were a fit went into your jar.
Combining until just the right mixture was reached.

Mine...
Lemongrass
Angelica
Chamomile
Cardamom
Then some fresh citrus peel and dried lemongrass for an extra nudge of flavor.


There were about twenty people in the class and not one person's was the same!
Each one unique and indicative of your tastes and personality.

Then we got to mix a signature cocktail using our new bitters formula.
I paired mine with gin and rosemary simple syrup.
Ice and stir, being careful not to bruise the base spirit.
The result...alluringly simple with subtle depth.
I was very pleased.

It was an evening of mixing and mingling in a setting 
that made you feel a little like you'd stepped into another era.
Where hand crafted foods and drinks were the way of life.
A simpler time.
A time that would be most agreeable to visit again.



For more information on the classes offered at the 
Institute visit them online.


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Zane-y Weekend


It's almost the weekend!
I've been looking forward to this one for a while.
Why?

Well, a little hint...


My weekend is set to include Zane Grey and artisinal cocktails.
Well sort of.

Me...smirking,
Make sure you stop back in next week and I'll fill you in!!

Happy Weekend!




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Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Thank You


November is gone!
Can you believe it?
What a busy, but wonderful month it has been.
I want to take a moment to thank my wonderful November blog sponsors.

My newest sponsor the lovely Anne over at
Her shop is filled with global inspired jewelry and gorgeous scarves!
Look no further for your Holiday shopping!!


Rebecca and her fabulous shop 
full of great vintage goodies!
Check out her wonderful selection of Holiday finds!!


One of my favorite shops for all natural handcrafted soaps and lip balms.
Their products smell divine!
Thanks Julia & Wayne.


Heather over at her beautiful etsy shop
filled with the  most amazing artisan jewelry!


Amy Rice is one of my favorite mixed media artists...
make sure you pop over and see her beautiful work.
She has some wonderful gifts!



Laura over at her etsy shop
has the absolute best selection of organic & heirloom seeds.
The perfect shop for vegetable and herb gardeners!


Looking for some fine art prints with Mid-Century flair...
then Pool Pony Design is the perfect shop to browse.
Colorful, fun & affordable!



If you haven't had the chance to visit them, please do...
they truly have some wonderful & unique shops.

BIG November thank you to all of them!!

December will bring some new sponsors to browse.
So make sure you stop in and visit!

Interested in becoming a sponsor...email me,
I'd love to hear from you!



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Monday, November 28, 2011

Turkey Day


I'm back after a whirlwind week of cooking, baking and entertaining!

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
I want to share just a few photos and food highlights from our dinner.

Here is my tablescape...
a little outdoors/garden looking because 
we had planned to host in the backyard this year, 
but our normally gorgeous California weather was rather uncooperative this year,
and we ended up inside!


Brown table cloth, topped with burlap purchased for $2 a yard on clearance 
and then a Pottery Barn runner which I picked up on clearance for $15.


Individual place settings held in place with pages from a thrown out library book I found at work!
I cut out strips on a paper cutter and Voila!


Instead of an expensive arrangement, I purchased flowers from the market and 
put them in a vase with cranberries in the water for a splash of color!



I think it all suited the tablescape very well...even if we were inside!

We started with appetizers early in the afternoon.
This one which I found through my friend Patty was a huge hit!
I had to keep my husband from eating it all the day before...
every time I turned around he was back in the fridge again!




This is the first time I have made this.  I came across the recipe in an old cookbook I had.
It is delicious!  
It was gone...completely!!
Lucky for me...I canned a few jars so I have more!


Then it was time for dinner!!


Turkey of course!
I dry salt brined a couple of days ahead using this herb salt recipe.
Everyone said the turkey was the most moist they'd ever had...
I'd have to agree that it was moist, very flavorful and a definite make again!


Smoked gouda mashed potatoes, so rich and creamy...YUM!

I also made a vegetarian dish...


Sun-dried Tomato, Wild Mushroom & Bourbon Sauced Pasta

I followed this recipe substituting vegetable broth instead of the beef.
Rich, creamy and gobbled up by everyone including my kids!!
This will be a regular pasta dish in our house.

And of course it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without dessert!




This is Chad's favorite pie in the whole world...he makes a special request for it every year.
It's so good and really easy to make.

I also made this Salted Caramel Pie
but somehow forgot to take a photo.
It was a bit of a labor of love, making the caramel in the oven, but oh so delicious.
Very sweet...
a regular size pie yields about 16-20 slices...you don't need much!!

It was a lot of work and the day after I'll admit to taking a tiny nap in the afternoon, but it's so worth it.
Having our home filled with family & friends, enjoying good food and each other's company.

We have so much to be thankful for!

So how was your Thanksgiving?
I'd love to hear how your day went and what wonderful food you ate!



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Preparation

As Thanksgiving is upon us...
I will be busy in the kitchen this week, 
prepping and getting ready for a feast with family & friends.



I also get to enjoy some extra time with my own family,
 as I welcome those additional couple of days off work.
I am really looking forward to that!!

Wishing you and your families all the best this Thanksgiving week.
Enjoy the preparation, and find joy in the company of those not seen as often.
May your homes be filled with family, friends and laughter.
And of course savor the food!!

I will be back next week with recipes and photos to share from our festivities.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Happy Kitchen


I guess you could say that the kitchen is my happy place.
I love to cook in it, hang out with my family & friends.
It seems to be the central hub of our house.
It sees a lot of traffic!!

It may not be my dream kitchen...
it is after all a house built in the 80's...need I say more?!?!
But it's a happy place none the less.

You might remember here me anxiously awaiting the arrival 
of my mid century wallpaper.
Well it came and thanks to my hubby and a few hours on a Sunday morning...
it went up!

I love it!
I mean, really love it!!
It's certainly not a design for everyone, or for the faint of heart,
but it couldn't be more "me" if I tried.
It's bright and sunny in the daylight and warm and cozy in the evening.


And that picture...a vintage page from a cookbook found here and then framed.


And now the hunt is on for that perfect mirror to fill the empty wall space.
I'm seeing flea markets in my future!


So my happy place just became a whole lot happier,
 and that 80's kitchen...
well it just went and disappeared!

The wallpaper has met with these descriptions so far...

funky 
(according to my hubby)

wild 
(according to the guy at the framing store when I brought in a sample)

a bit like Narnia 
(according to my kids who say it feels like they should be able to part the vines and climb through)

happy
(me)

What word would you use?


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winners!

I want to thank Rebecca of 
for hosting her wonderful vintage giveaway right here on 
The Hairy Peach!


Thank you to all who stopped by here to enter and 
to those now following Rebecca's lovely new blog.

Random Generator has spoken,
Drum roll please...

Winner #1
You are the lucky winner of the gorgeous vintage relish tray!

Congratulations to... 

PonderandStitch 





Winner #2
You are the lucky winner of the beautiful vintage Vera scarf!

Congratulations to...






Please watch your inboxes as Rebecca and I will be in touch shortly!

Thank you again to all who entered and 
Congratulations to the winners!!

Happy Wednesday!



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Monday, November 14, 2011

For Me...Why Thank You!

One of the nice things about blogging is receiving comments, 
that way you know you aren't just talking to yourself!
So I was just tickled when the lovely Sarah of Yes Teacher gave me the
Kreativ Blogger Award!


I'm supposed to tell you seven things about myself and 
then pass the award on to seven other bloggers.

Here we go...

1. I love the color orange...it's such a happy color!
2. My adult crush...Tommy Lee Jones...there's something about that man in jeans! 
(and yes, my husband knows)
3. My favorite holiday is Christmas...there's nothing quite like kids faces on Christmas morning.
4. I was born and raised in Canada and I don't miss the cold winters at all!!
5. The strangest thing I've ever eaten is durian...an Asian fruit that smells like onions and dirty socks but tastes like vanilla custard!
6. My favorite city in the world is Florence, Italy
7. I'm a bare feet kinda gal...I don't like socks!

I love all the blogs that I read and I can't pick just seven...so if you want to participate,
leave me a random fact in the comments...I'd love to know an interesting fact or two about you!

Also you still have a couple of days to enter my giveaway 
so make sure you check out the wonderful vintage goodies being given away.

Happy Monday!



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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vintage Giveaway


I'm so excited to be doing this post!
You get the chance to meet one of my lovely sponsors...
Rebecca from Meadowview Vintage
And she has offered to do...not 1 but 2 lovely giveaways!!

Before you find out what wonderful goodies Rebecca is offering from her fab vintage shop,
let's find out a little about her and her wonderful etsy shop!



Tell us a little about yourself...

I have lived in or near the Sierra Nevada Mountain range all of my life.
Right now my husband and I live about 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe which is
perfect because I absolutely love the outdoors!

I have been an artist for many years and when I am not busy caring for my
shop I volunteer my time to two non-profit art organizations that provide
scholarships and art education to children.

I truly dig all things vintage! My parents loved to collect antiques so I
suppose that I come by my love of old things naturally. I have been re-using
and re-purposing vintage and antique items all of my life. Personally, I
like to collect pottery plus old etchings, prints and paintings and my
husband collects vintage radios. 
Our home is filled with an eclectic mix of treasures.




Why did you start your Etsy shop?


Due to the changes in the economy I was laid off from my  job in 2009 and
was having a hard time finding other work. It was then that I decided that
it was a good time to start clearing out items from my childhood home, my
grandparents estate (which has been stored away for 20 years!), and even
some of my own collections. When I discovered Etsy - everything just
clicked! I opened up my shop a year ago and have been loving selling vintage 
ever since.




How did you come up with your shop name?

The name Meadowview pays homage to my childhood home. The property sits on a
bluff overlooking a beautiful meadow.


What is your favorite item in your shop?

I love vintage fabric designs and have a real affinity for vintage scarves.
 My absolute favorites are my vintage Vera Neumann scarves.  She
was so iconic and her designs so diverse, I think that anyone who loves to
wear vintage clothing 
simply must have a vintage Vera in their collection!




Any other sites where you can be found?

facebook

twitter
Plus I have started a brand new lifestyle blog
that will be featuring vintage
housewares, home d├ęcor, fashion, and art.

Anything else you would like the readers to know?

Right now everything in my shop has been marked down 20%! I am making room
for new items. During the Holidays I will be listing rustic and primitive
goods that came from my family's Tahoe cabin along with clothing and jewelry
from the 50s, 60s, and 70s!


Thank you Rebecca for sharing your wonderful behind the scenes story!


Rebecca is offering 2 lovely giveaways from her shop...
First is this beautiful vintage relish tray valued at $30!
How gorgeous would this be on your Thanksgiving table!!



and secondly this stunning, Autumn colored vintage Vera Neumann scarf!
Beautiful!!
A $30 value.


How incredibly generous of her!
2 prizes means 2 winners!

{ Entry }

and leave me a comment telling me your favorite item.
That's it!!

{ Extra Chances }

Like Meadowview Vintage on facebook { + 1 }
Follow Meadowview Vintage on twitter { +1 }
Become a follower of Rebecca's brand new blog { + 1 }  
Give this giveaway a shout out on facebook/twitter { +1 }


Please leave a separate comment for each entry and make sure you leave contact info.


Winner will be announced 
Wednesday November 16th at 5 pm Pacific Time!


Good Luck!!




* Please note *
Due to the high shipping costs of sending the relish tray internationally, 
the tray will only be available to US winners, 
but the beautiful vintage scarf is open worldwide.








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