The Day After

The kitchen bathed in glorious Fall light.

Did you have an enjoyable Thanksgiving Feast? I hope so! We certainly did. As you can see, the “dry run” flowers I bought over a week ago from the Farmer’s market lasted beautifully. Gerber daisies might not be the chicest bloom on the block but they’re like the good, steady husband of the flower kingdom-long lasting, reliable and always there when you need them. No flaky boyfriend type flowers to be found in mid November anyway-unless of course one is willing to pay dearly-but what else is new with flaky boyfriends??

We cooked a massive ham, scalloped potatoes, steamed brussel sprouts and candied bacon sautéed in lashings of butter, and my husband & younger son made a banana cream pie from scratch. In between the 700 games of football on yesterday. It was awfully sweet, in more ways than one. They made a crust my husband described as thicker than a deck of cards, but seriously, how bad can graham crackers, sugar and butter taste?!

We also had gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from the market that needed to be eaten quickly so I thought this delicious, Hawaiian inspired tomato, fresh pineapple & garlic chip salad would be nice with the ham.

Recipe from Food & Wine magazine HERE

Tomatoes the size of steaks. yum.

I concocted a glaze for the ham by heating Hediard’s Red Currant  fine jelly until it melted, then adding freshly (and this is a must) squeezed orange juice and Cointreau to taste.

OMG. I can’t begin to tell you how good this is, especially for being so ridiculously simple. I’m sure Martha would sieve those bits of orange out before serving, but whatever. This would be divine with Cornish game hens & duck as well.

If you cannot find “Hediard’s” red currant jelly, I’m sure Wilkin & Sons would be good too.

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After dinner and dessert, there was a rousing game of “Scrabble” in which my father took umbrage at me using the letters “H” & “O” to spell “Ho” (to make two words for 15pts)

Dude, it’s a word;

 Merriam-Websters Dictionary; Ho (used as a call to attract attention, sometimes specially used after a word denoting a destination): Westward ho! Land ho!
2.
(used as an exclamation of surprise or delight.)
or, according to;

A word Santa Clause says three times when he sees your wife, mother and sister together in the same room.

Ahhnnd we laughed…well, I did. Dad was not so amused.

So another Thanksgiving has come and gone and we all know what that means…

Are you partaking of “Black Friday”??   I can’t imagine anything I’d rather do less, but I will definitely be supporting “Small Shop Saturday” again this year. If we don’t all do the same,  I fear every main street in every city and town across America will soon look exactly the same. It’s starting to get that way already. More importantly, small, local shops are owned and run by our friends and neighbours- let’s do everything we can in this tough economic climate to help them stay open.

Christmas gift ideas coming soon.

You don’t actually expect to see them more than a month out do you?!

PS.   Please check out my piece in the December issue of “C” Magazine this month :)

Ho Ho Ho!

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Off to a Good Start…

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As we near the end of this first week of 2012, I’m sharing just a few photos I snapped in Santa Barbara where we’ve been blessed with some of the most incredible January weather I can recall  in many years.

Almost guilt-ifying (but not quite )

I popped over the mountains to beautiful Ojai on Wednesday afternoon and on the drive home felt compelled to pull over to the side of the road and capture the moment.

 I’m afraid I missed the best of the light, due to the driver behind me who was obviously neither a proponent of the “Slow Movement” or a person who appreciates spectacular natural lighting but I guess that’s life in the fast lane (see what I did there?)

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In addition to the spectacular vistas encountered on the pass between Santa Barbara and Ojai,  the copious amount of avocados rolling around on the road at this time of year is almost comical.

 I was mashing guacamole the entire way :)

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and lo & behold the “Golden Arches” (Montecito Style) are out

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Meanwhile, the last batch of Trader Joe’s frozen chocolate croissants were devoured…

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(Sorry, but these just never get old for me. I mean look-they’re jockeying for position off the baking tray for goodness sake!)

This is the closest I will ever come to baking like Martha Stewart.

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I grabbed nice long hugs before I sent my cubs back to school

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…I did not win the first Scrabble game of the year, despite a last minute “Qi” on a triple point letter square, but did manage to keep several New Year’s “Intentions” in tact, including pulling out my art supplies and reading a non-fiction book ( resolution #4; learn something new everyday and write it down).

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Although I didn’t get a yoga practice in, I intend to this weekend.

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from the book “Bitter with Baggage”

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Lastly, the second season of “Downton Abbey” starts on Sunday night- I can hardly wait!

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and this was the view from my desk most nights this first week in January.

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The world is indeed a wondrous place to live.

Slow down, look around and pick up the free avocados

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Thanks again for all your lovely comments on my New Year’s Post, I truly appreciate each and every one.

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Happy Weekend All!

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Merry Christmas Eve!

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Presents finally got wrapped on rainy days beside the fire…

 

Click Here for a little Christmas tune:


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Vintage ribbon and “frosted glass” paper from my favourite gift & trimming shop in San Francisco “Bell’Ochio”

 

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The “Forest Floor” Christmas table was set…

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Reset,

and set a third time.

The hiccup being my “great last minute” idea of a heavy burlap runner as the floor of the forest-  Yes, the burlap did indeed achieve the earthy look I’d  envisioned…

It also made my dining room smell like old railroad tracks.  Even after two washings, a day of airing and copious amounts of Bounce, there was just no getting around it

It was shaping up to be a Very Merry Creosote Christmas…

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So off with the burlap,  back to plain white, and the “minimalist” table has somehow given way to a more sparkly forest feel!

All the more enticing for last minute Holiday Sprites I hope.

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The dress to go with the table (One can dream…)

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As usual, the best laid plans…

along with all those great gift suggestions I had planned to share with you :(

 

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Oh well- I did discover these incredible looking “flowers” that I’ve never seen before- have you?  They come on stems that look exactly like carnations- they must be from the same family. They’re furry little moss like balls of  the most gorgeous green.

And guess where I found them? Costco!

 

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I mixed them with some chartreuse spider mums and pine

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And called it a day. Or rather, a night.

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Chocolate covered seeds and cherries

 

 

Meanwhile, outside…

 

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The scent of freshly cut wood has been wafting about the property the last couple of days…

Now THAT’S a fine smell.

It makes me want to put on a plaid shirt and get my tool belt out.

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Pssst- wanna buy some oak??


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As some of my ever clever readers noted;

While one very special tree did come down,

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Another one went up.

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And we marked and marveled, as we do every year, how time flies and children grow up so quickly…

 

So, if the airlines deliver a certain someone’s missing baggage tonight, all will be right in our little kingdom this Christmas Eve

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(assuming I win the Scrabble game, of course!)

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Wishing you the MERRIEST & HAPPIEST  CHRISTMAS EVER!!

xoxo SP