Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tea in my Cupboard

For the Tea series this week, I thought I'd show you what teas are in my cupboard right now. I'm usually a black tea kinda girl but I do have the occasional green tea available for late evenings when I don't want an extra jolt of caffeine before bed. Here's what I've got...

My new favorite, Harney & Sons Earl Grey

My favorite from when I was young (with no caffeine), Sleepytime from Celestial Seasonings.

Bigelow's Constant Comment

My holiday favorite, The Republic of Tea's Comfort and Joy

My all time favorite, The Republic of Tea's Cinnamon Plum

(Sorry for the blurry pictures, the camera was acting up last night.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tea Time

This week I'm focusing on one of my favorite things to do; take tea! I'll feature a couple of places that I love to take tea or want to take tea and some of my favorite brews and recipes.

Today I'm talking about my absolute favorite place to take tea, The Drake Hotel in Chicago. When I turned 16, my mom and I spent an extended weekend in Chicago and as part of my birthday trip, we took tea at The Drake. The Drake is in the heart of downtown Chicago and boasts gorgeous furnishings and is the hotel of choice for the British Royal family when they are in Chicago.

Tea is served in The Palm Court and the centerpiece is the limestone fountain with a 275 year old urn in its center. There is always a live harpist and tea service usually lasts about an hour to an hour and a half and is served daily from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. One thing that has stuck out in my mind from our trip was the elegance and the wonderful scones with fresh Devon cream and lemon curd!

If you are ever in Chicago, this is the place to have tea!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Yummy treat

My brother recently returned from a trip to New Orleans where he had the world famous Cafe Du Monde's Beignets and Cafe o Lait. He likes to call them 'coffee and crack' since they are so addictive. I found this pretty easy recipe for Beignets that I can't wait to try at home.

Also, pop on over to Design*Sponge today and see their in the kitchen with: jewels of new york article where they are sharing a Spring Brunch recipe that inclues Classic Beignets.

A yummy treat to try this weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Party Time

As I mentioned yesterday, this past weekend my parents hosted a St. Patrick's Day Party. Everyone who attended was supposed to bring something green to eat. Here are some of the goodies that we enjoyed.

My mom's table setting.

My mom made Colcannon and it was delicious!

A huge plate of Corned Beef, Green Bean casserole, Cucumber Salad and Lima Beans.

Two types of Soda Bread (recipes to come soon)

The dessert table: Lime Gingersnap Trifle, Green Rice Krispie Treats & Key Lime Pie (courtesy of my brother), Green Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Cake and my Irish Cream Chocolate Cake.

One picture I didn't get was my dad's Irish Stew with Lamb. It was the hit of the party!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Irish Cream Chocolate Cake

This past weekend my parents hosted a St. Patrick's Day party at their house for a group of people from church. My contribution to the party was an Irish Cream Chocolate Cake that I concocted from a couple of various recipes. I started with The Farm Chicks' Chocolate Cake because it is such a moist cake. Their recipe makes two cakes which allowed me to make a layer cake with The Repressed Pastry Chef's Buttercream Icing. After putting the first layer of cake down, I coated it with Torani's Irish Cream flavored syrup. I then put a layer of the Icing and the other cake. I completed it by using my new piping tools and decorated the top of the cake, after another layer of Irish Cream syrup, with the remaining Buttercream.

The cake turned out perfectly and so moist, but I do think it could have used more Irish Cream. Maybe next time I'll make the icing Irish Cream flavored instead of Vanilla!

More about the party tomorrow...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

I love the first day of spring, especially when it's gorgeous weather outside!

I'm excited because I recently purchased On Gossamer Wings, a limited edition screen print poster from BluLima that I can't wait to get and hang with my Keep Calm & Carry On poster over my desk at home. I love the colors and the gold behind the butterfly.

Hope you have a great Friday!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Grey Gardens

Sorry for the Grey Gardens obsession lately, but I just found the movie poster for the new version of Grey Gardens and it's so colorful compared to the 1975 poster. Can't wait for this movie!

2009 version

1975 version

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grey Gardens

I was so excited to see a trailer for the new version of Grey Gardens with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as Big and Little Edie.

Can't wait for this to come out!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pot o' Gold cupcakes

Since today is one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick's Day, I thought I would make cupcakes to bring in for my co-workers. I used Magnolia Bakery's basic vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream (colored green), used my new baking cups and gold sanding sugar. I'll make another version of these for my parent's St. Patty's party this weekend. Maybe I'll add Irish Cream flavoring...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Etsy St. Patty's Day

I've been looking around etsy for great St. Patrick's Day finds. Here are a couple of items I've seen that I like.

St. Patrick's Day Necklace and Earring Set by TashinaFalene

Legendary Luck - Felt Brooch Pin by Jefita

If You're Lucky Enough to be Irish card by kategreiner

Tomorrow, my St. Patrick's Day cupcakes!

Friday, March 13, 2009


A big inspiration for me recently has been daffodils. They are blooming all over Alabama and I love how they come in so many different color combination's and sizes. Here are a few to inspire you into a great weekend!

Pictures from Girthmeister, O!Rachew!, and 2nd Witch.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Etsy favorite

I thought I would profile one of my favorite finds on etsy today. The first jewelry designer I found on etsy is still my absolute favorite. luxedeluxe is based out of Edinburgh, Scotland (a must-see city) and I love how she makes each of her pieces unique and uses great color combinations. Here are three of my favorites that she has in her shop right now. Enjoy!

Draped in Ivy necklace

Origami Crane necklace

Athena's Love Nest (turquoise) necklace

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Limeade, my absolute favorite sunny weather beverage (and it's green). There are many recipes for punches and -ade type drinks, but my favorite of all is Limeade. Actually, I just had a nice tall glass of it from one of my favorite Limeade makers, Zoe's Kitchen. I also enjoy a Cherry Limeade from Sonic's Drive-In every once in a while. But the best is whipping one up at home and my brother has to make the best homemade Limeade maker I know! Here are a couple of recipes for you to try. For those of you in snowy and cold conditions, maybe this will help you think of spring on it's way.

Rachel Ray's Limeade

101 Cookbooks' Blackberry Limeade

Epicurious' Ginger Limeade

Taste of Homes' Bottoms-Up Cherry Limeade

Martha Stewart's Sparkling Limeade

I especially love this picture in the vintage Kentucky Derby glasses. I bet my Aunt has some of these!

Pictures from Martha Stewart.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Chocolate Project, Recipe 1

This weekend began my journey into the 10 pound bar of chocolate and I have to say that it started off well. While over at Smitten Kitchen, I found this Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust recipe that I have been wanting to try. So, this weekend a group of friends got together and I made this as my contribution to the night. Everyone liked it and it is an easy recipe for all of you chocoholics. Recipe No. 1 is a success!

Chocolate Used: 12 ounces
Chocolate Left to Use: 9 pounds, 4 ounces

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Chocolate Project

I recently purchased a 10 pound bar of Guittard bittersweet chocolate at my favorite cooking store. The reasoning behind the purchase was that I needed the bittersweet for a recipe and the price was right (they were marking it 75% off because it was 'expired'). With the bar of chocolate in tow, I drove home wondering how on earth I was going to use this whole 10 pound bar and how fast it would take me.

Then it came to me, I'll start a project to see how long, how many recipes, and how much chocolate each recipe takes until I use the whole 10 pounds. And you'll get to read about it here! The first recipe is slated for this weekend and you'll get to read all about it next week. Enjoy and as Julia Child would say, "Bon Appetit!"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jamie's in my home

This past weekend I finally purchased the newest cookbook that I've been drooling over for a while now, Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home. Ever since it came out last year, I've been wanting to get it and try some of his recipes. This book centers around Jamie's garden and all that he grows and incorporates into his recipes. Each chapter is based on a vegetable or fruit and gives you recipes for each item and then Jamie's tips on how to grow that veggie or fruit.

I love this because even though I'm in an apartment and have such a small piece of ground right outside my door, I am going to try and grow some vegetables this spring and summer and I can't wait to read Jamie's tips for growing (even though he grows in Britain and I am in the Deep South). I'm looking forward to trying the Curried Cauliflower Fritters and the Tray-Baked Meringue with Pears, Cream, Toasted Hazelnuts and Chocolate Sauce.

Watch out tomorrow for the start of a new cooking project!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Éirinn go Brách - (Ireland Forever)

I know everyone is in the mood for spring, I am too, but I can't seem to forget that there is a holiday in the month of March very close to my heart. St. Patrick's Day! I don't know what it is this year that's got me in more of a green mood than previous years. Maybe it's The Chieftains concert I went to this weekend or the Galway, Ireland print in my JHill Design calendar or the new green stripe baking cups that I bought over at Fancy Flours or maybe it's helping my mom plan a St. Patrick's Day party for friends. No matter what, you'll be seeing a lot of green in the next week or two. Éirinn go Brách!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Farm Chicks Giveaway

Serena and Teri, aka The Farm Chicks are having a giveaway over at their blog. Stop by and enter for their surprise prize!

Vintage Chieftains

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend my third concert of the Celtic group The Chieftains. They are one of my favorite groups and I love how over the years they've incorporated many different genres of music into the traditional Celtic music that they are known for. Their most recent cds Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions and Further Down the Old Plank Road are my favorites. These incorporate country music's greatest artists with traditional Bluegrass, Country, Folk and Celtic music and they get some great sounds. Here are some vintage Chieftain photos (they've been a group for 58 years, according to Paddy Moloney at the concert this weekend).