Thursday, October 15, 2020

Decorating with Antique Delft Tiles and Florentine Pumpkins

Delft tiles have been catching my eye when I have been antiquing this summer.  
They never did before, but this is why.
After receiving this pair of blue and white club chairs from my parents,
with our lake house build looming I thought they would be a good fit for that home.  
And because they are this bright cornflower blue
it has steered my decorating path in that direction as well.  
Our current home has become the test ground for the lake house!
Delft tiles are still made in Holland but I have been collecting some of the older tiles I find in  
antique shops.  As a child my parents took us to Amsterdam and we boarded
 a tour bus to visit a factory in Rotterdam.  This factory and others existed from the 17th century!
My parents bought a few souvenirs from the visit, which I have now and they are over 50 years old. 
The little clog is one of their souvenirs, while the Heineken mug
 and the pitcher are two of my finds while antiquing. 
 I love finding the older pieces and tiles are at the top of my list. 
It is fun to be collecting again, with a new perspective on blue and white.
This is a pretty castle scene, much like Cinderella's home!  
You can see the age of the tile, literally, on the back of the signed tile.
The little holes at the top are for wall hanging.
Delft Pottery, also known as Delft Blue, is a general term now used for Dutch tin-glazed 
earthenware. The city of Delft was the major production center, but it can be made elsewhere,
included England.  In the 17th and 18th century, Delft was in it's heyday, exporting all over Europe.
It is amazing to me to find so many pieces in the antique shops in America, but I see it as a 
result of the popularity of blue and white porcelain that many favor today in home decorating.
On another note, I did a crafting project yesterday.  I was inspired by some fancy pumpkins
a friend of mine posted on her blog, Edith and Evelyn.  It involved making clay molds of 
medallions and painting them. I added some gilded Dresden paper trim to mine as well as
did one with decoupage calling to mind a Cinderella castle with an internet image I printed.
It was a fun and fairly easy project and gave me some 
Florentine style pumpkins that go with my decor.
I am not an orange person, and avoid all the spooky stuff that goes
with Halloween decorating.  These are pretty, and that works for me!
Check out Cindy's blog to see the basics on how 
to do the molds and where to buy the products.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Low Carb Meals, Harry and Reeve

Fall has arrived in the Boston area. 
My little shed has been decorated with Indian corn and kale.
The vintage flower cart I found this summer is perfect for mums and pumpkins.
After a year of Covid and the pounds creeping back on
I began my low carb dieting again and have a few easy
recipes to share with those of you doing the same thing.
Buffalo Chicken dip is a favorite for fall football games in front of the TV.
The guys have the chips and 
I have the celery sticks to be compliant with my carb counting.
Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe: 
  • 8 oz softened Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1/3 cup Franks Hot Sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1- 2 cups of Shredded Cooked Chicken 
Carb count is 4 grams per Tbsp serving with celery sticks.
Mix all ingredients together and bake for 20 minutes in oven at 350, but may be served cold.

This is so yummy you will have to control yourself portion wise.
Next recipe is a low carb Eggplant Lasagna.

Eggplant slices take the place of noodles.
Olive oil and salt and pepper into a 400 degree oven until soft, about 25 minutes.
Peel and slice the eggplant longwise. I used one medium size eggplant for a 9x13 dish.
Ingredients call for marina sauce with ground beef. 
I love Raos brand for its flavor and low carb count.
This was absolutely delicious! I found the recipe on  
Wholesome Yum here. Click here to see the full details.  Lots of
great Keto (Low Carb) recipes on this site! 
Net carbs are only 6 per serving!!
The idea is to aim for 20 carbs a day when you begin. 
A standard for me is tuna fish with mayo and celery on a salad 
with 1 carb dressing (read your labels) and a few marinated mushrooms and a pickle.
If you are craving something forbidden like a pizza or hot sandwich, I recommend the Josephs Low Carb Pitas  with 5 net carbs as the base and build on it. Here I layered a little mayo, sliced turkey, shredded swiss cheese and pepperoni slices for a yummy hot open faced sandwich. 
Simply start with the pita cut in half and laid in a frying pan or griddle and then add toppings.
Count the carbs to stay within your limit. This hot sandwich had a carb count 8. 
Pita 5 g, Mayo 0 g, Turkey 2 g, Cheese 1 g, Pepperoni 0 g.  Just count and create and enjoy!
Mashed cauliflower with light cream and butter is a 
favorite low carb substitution for mashed potatoes. 
Served with any chicken or meat and green vegetable,
 this makes a great low carb dinner.
An easy and delicious Chicken Bocolli Alfredo dinner has a secret ingredient. 
This Classic Alfredo sauce has 2 carbs for a 1/2 cup. I baked up some spaghetti squash instead
of pasta, and used the sauce over chicken tenders and broccoli for a total carb count of 8 grams.
If I omitted the squash and just had chicken and broccoli, the carb count would have been half.
I make pasta for the guys, so it is one of the ways you can feed the family but stay true to your diet.
Simply reserve a few chicken tenders and sauce for your portion. 
The guys get the pasta mixed with the sauce and the chicken and broccoli on the side.
Everybody is happy with this meal!
For breakfast its been harder for me since I discovered I had an egg allergy.
Eggs are the perfect low carb food, with only 1 carb per egg.
Alternative eggless breakfast ideas are cottage cheese and diced strawberries.
Strawberries are low in carbs and are 1/2 carb per small berry. 
You can google anything to find out what the net carbs are,
which is the way you count the carbs. Subtract the fiber gram total from
 the food's carbohydrate total to get your NET CARBS. 
And an avocado is only 2 NET carbs for an entire one!

One mistake I made and seemed to slow my weight loss
was not realizing how many carbs are in blueberries.
One of my favorite eggless breakfast is 3/4 cup of plain Greek Yogurt, 
some chopped walnuts and berries. But the blueberries are considered on the high side, 
so I have since banished them and replaced them with diced strawberries to 
add the sweetness the yogurt calls for.  Walnuts are only 2 grams per 1/4 cup. 
A low carb cocktail idea is my version of a cosmo. Lets call it the "SO LOW COSMO"
because the carb count is soooo low. Diet Cranberry Juice, Key Lime Juice, 
Vodka and just a teeny splash of Cointreau or orange flavored liquor 
(this has more carbs so can be eliminated altogether).  
Without the orange liqueur, this drink has only 2 carbs. 
Of course you can have most any clear alcohol with flavored seltzer, 
like a diet coke with run, or vodka with lime soda water. Steer clear of wine!
So far I have lost 5 pounds and I have at least ten to thanks to COVID!!
It was so stressful to me, that during the beginning of the pandemic I chose not to 
stress myself out further with being on a diet and trying to cook for the family while 
not being about to go to the supermarket like I used to do, picking out the ingredients
I needed to stay on my routine.  But now I feel like the food emergency is in the past
and the shopping can be done, using the safety measures like masks, now required to stay safe.
Even little 3 year old Reeve has gotten adept at keeping on her mask when she 
goes out, like here at a farmers market in Maine.
Otherwise she is loving life at the farm~
and has even begun taking dance lessons!
She is in love with her new little brother Harry!!
Harry arrived in early August and I have only gotten to meet him twice.
He is a good natured baby and everyone is head over heels in love with him!
The fall weather is perfect for family hikes in Maine.
Snapchats on a daily basis keep this grandmother up todate with her littles ones.
Reeve likes to hold him and help feed him his bottle. It is the sweetest thing to see,
even if it is from a distance.
The next time I visit them I hope to have dropped a few more pounds. 

Last week I chopped three inches off my hair as I am letting it go natural
in regards to no more coloring.  Another COVID decision!
If you have any favorite low carb recipes or meals leave me a note in the comments, 
I would love to hear them!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Lakehouse kitchen cabinets

Our lake house plan is finally at the finish line!
 The process of building a modular home is very different than 
building a custom home with an onsite construction crew.
With modular builds, you select almost every single thing in the house, from
the kitchen and bathroom cabinet style and color, the countertops, door styles,
trim for the baseboard and ceilings, the staircase elements, lighting and windows.
This home has been completely customized and will arrive on flat bed trailers,
then put together like giant building blocks with all of the cabinets
 and sinks and lights already installed! 
The kitchen cabinet style and color is shown above in an image
taken from Merrilat Cabinet's website.  Because we are having taller ceilings
than the "standard" ceiling height of 8', we will have most of the cabinets stacked
to ceiling height.   Below you can see my notes with the kitchen I designed 
for the lake where I added the top row of cabinets on one side of the kitchen.
Merrilat has a great kitchen cabinet design feature where you can put together your
dream kitchen.  A Swedish style plate display rack was on my list among other things.
On the opposite side of the kitchen there is a bank of cabinets that will function as a secondary
station for microwave, food storage, coffee making, trash cabinet, pots and pans cabinet 
and a bookcase for cookbooks. All the cabinets are maple in a painted white finish. 
A kitchen by East Hill Cabinetry shows some double stacked cabinets with some glass front cabinets.
Our kitchen will be open to the main room overlooking the lake similar to this, but we will have a peninsula with the sink and bar stools creating a separation while still affording the view of the lake.
A kitchen by Julie Williams Design shows white painted cabinets to the ceiling but the ceilings
are lower so no room for stacking.  My cabinets will be 42" with another 12" cabinet stacked 
to take advantage of extra storage space.  I am only having one large glass front cabinet for putting
some of my transferware on display. The others will all be solid front cabinets so I can stuff them 
with my various random collections for holiday dinners etc. I know some people have lots of
glass fronts, but I know mine need to be more for utilitarian storage than for beauty storage. 
And while I have been designing the house I also have been imagining the details of the various spaces.
 I saw a mirror at a local auction house and thought it would be perfect for the powder room bathroom. 
It has an elegant cottage look to it as if it once lived in a grand lake house. 
This antique AntebellumVictorian mirror with its painted floral crest and
 faux bois finish with gilded morning glories was just the ticket to give our new house some soul. 
Flanked  with modern golden bronze sconces, its the mix of old and new that I find super appealing.
That is why I love antiques and decorating with them. You won't see this mirror anywhere else...
Our lake house will be a blend of new and old and I can't wait to see it all 
come together and share it with you on my blog.  

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