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May 29, 2014

Summer Recipe Index & New Blog Header | Peonies, Strawberries & Robin's Egg Blue



 This week has been a little quiet on the blog, as Emma's been on her Summer break.  But after three days of working during naps I finally have updated the blog template to feel a little more summery.  As you can see above, the new header features some fun pink peonies, the robin's egg blue enamelware, linen tea towels and other goodies from my store.  Only another week or so left of peony season, so I will be glad to relish in it everyday on the blog : )

I've also been adding some new pages and features to make the blog more user friendly.  As I've done in seasons past, I created a Summer page with an image gallery (and links) to all of my favorite Summer posts and products. 

Here is a snapshot of the Summer Galleries page.  As you can see, there are links to each recipe category - Summer Desserts, Summer Salads, Summer Appetizers, etc.   Anytime you need some inspiration, just start browsing!


You can also find links to these galleries and recipe indexes on the right side of the page - all of the thumbnails on the bottom right.

















Here is a snapshot of what each gallery looks like - this is the Summer Appetizers page.  As you can see, it has an image/link gallery of all of my summer appetizer recipes from years past.  I loved going through and finding the recipes again - many favorites that even I forgot about.





















 
Another thing that is back by popular demand is the search bar... actually, I'm not sure what happened to it the first time, but now it's back.  Now you can find anything on the site you're looking for.  It is located on the right hand side under the header.
Another big improvement is my new Email Newsletter system.  I've upgraded it to a prettier format, with personalized messaging.  Click on My Email Newsletter to add your email address to my receive regular emails with whats new on the blog.

I'm also working on indexing all of my recipes from the last 6 years.  Gulp.  It might take me a couple more weeks, but it will be another great improvement. 

All of these changes have been made from your suggestions.  Thanks so much for continuing to encourage me to improve my site and services.  Happy Summer to you - naptime is officially over and Emma and I are off to the pool : )

May 27, 2014

Sweet Summer Berry Bread | Dessert... or Breakfast?



Summer is officially here.  Emma's home with me all week for a little summer break and while we have a couple of projects to work on (never ending closets to organize, and prints to frame for her room...), we plan to spend most of the time in the berry patch, at the pool and petting zoo. 

With the new easy breeze feeling of summer, my baking is evolving from pans of brownies to lighter, brighter flavors... for the most part.  I'm not quite sure where the idea for this came from, but I had a vision for a pound cake packed with berries that I could get away with enjoying for breakfast.  I wanted it to be full of berries of every color - almost half berries, half cake. 

I added just a touch of lemon zest for extra freshness, but you could easily add extra vanilla instead.   Because I was packaging these for gifts, I did not garnish them, but I think next time I will sprinkle them with powdered sugar or a lemon glaze.

It is perfect with coffee in the morning, or whipped cream at night.  I recommend storing it in the refrigerator (or freezer for an extended period) because of the extreme moisture from the extra berry content. 

They make great gifts or summer party favors, too.  See the packaging details at the bottom of the recipe. 


Sweet Summer 
Berry Bread

1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
3 cups of berries
....
optional garnishes : 
-powdered sugar
-lemon glaze
Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Cream together butter and sugar for 3 minutes.  Add eggs.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  In another separate bowl, combine milk and extract.  Add half of the wet ingredients to the butter sugar mixture, mix for 5 seconds, then add half of the dry and mix for 5 seconds.  Repeat with second half, ending with dry ingredients.  



Toss berries in tablespoon of flour before adding them to the batter. 


Fold in berries carefully. 


Pour batter into lined loaf pans.  This recipe will make about 6 of my medium-sized wooden baking basket loafs.

Bake for 25-30 minutes (longer depending on size of pans) until a cake tester comes out clean.

Serve plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar or a drizzled with a lemon glaze.

I packaged my berry breads for some summer gifts for friends and teachers.  Would also make a great hostess gift, of course.




Materials :

Wooden Baking Baskets (medium)

Large Cello Bags

Everyday Folded Cards - Papaya Pashmina

Cotton Ribbon - Thin

Tablet+LePens - Privet Berry Blue (the pens)



May 23, 2014

Summer Collection | Tea Towels, Linen Pillows, Blue Enamelware, Herb Pots & New Colors for Tags

It is officially (almost) summer!  This may be my favorite season of products yet - I have so many fun new things for you.   Thank you for taking the time to look through my new collection.  I hope you find something you'll love.

Jenny

It is officially (almost) summer!  This may be my favorite season of products yet - I have so many fun new things for you.   Thank you for taking the time to look through my new collection.  I hope you find something you'll love.

Jenny


Robin's Egg Blue Enamelware, $16-24

Nothing says summer entertaining like enamelware - especially, in this perfect Robin's Egg (better known as Seaside around here) Blue color.  Did you see the enamelware everywhere in the June edition of Martha Stewart Living? It is the perfect lightweight service-ware for using outdoors or on picnics.

Every time I use these, I love them even more.  The salad plates are the perfect accent to freshen up a table for summer, rinsing berries in the colander is a pleasure and I have so many individual dessert ideas for the mini pots... starting with petite blackberry cobblers.

Linen Pillow Cases, $32-48

I am so excited to be carrying these pillow cases.  Every season I look forward to freshening up our rooms with new accents.   These linen cases are beautiful - made in Europe of 100% linen.  They have a subtle herringbone pattern with shell buttons.  They are so soft and cool to the touch.

As you can see, I've added them in almost every room of our house - and it feels like an entirely new, fresh and clean start for Summer.  I like to start with big Euro pillows in subtle colors, like the Natural White (on the sofa) and the Light Chatham Blue (on our bed), then accent with some of the fun seasonal colors.

These are Cases only and will fit over any 18", 20" or 26" (Euro) insert you have.

Also available in the following colors :
Natural White
Light Chatham Blue
Papaya Pashmina
Concord Green
Chartruese


Willow Serving Baskets, $28

For me, Summer Entertaining is all about ease and bounty.  These serving baskets are exactly what I envision when I think about a breezy, easy summer party.  They make anything from appetizers to stacks of plates and linen napkins look inviting and lovely.


Herb Pots, Set of 3, $34.50

These rustic Herb Pots and Saucers are just the thing for a casual centerpiece to sit on your patio table, kitchen window sill or even in your dining room.  They have a beautiful tall, elegant shape that makes them look like they belong in an Tuscan farmhouse.  They are perfect for Proven├žal herbs like thyme, lavender and rosemary.





Linen Tea Towels, Set of 2, $24

Every season I brighten up my kitchen with fresh linen tea towels.  This season, I added three new colors to the collection from spring.  Now I have Light Green, Natural Oatmeal, Light Blue, Light Grey & Classic Black.  The have simple and classic patterns, perfect for anytime of the year.

They instantly made my kitchen feel lighter and more fresh and clean.  Don't be afraid to use them - they soften beautifully in the wash.


Everyday Tags & Cards, $8.50

Last season, when I launched a set of Everyday Tags & Cards, they were so popular that I thought it would be great to have them made in all of my favorite colors.  They can be used for any occasion - birthdays, showers, parties, weddings...  or just packing up baked goods and gifts from your kitchen.

The Small Tag is pre-punched with a hole, ready to be strung on ribbon or twine.  The Folded Card can be punched and attached to a gift as a card, or used as a place card.  I love anything with a double use.











When I was catering, I used cards like this (that I would make!) to display the menu items.  They really make food displays look more professional and is another way to add to the overall color scheme of your party. 








I designed the Everyday Tags & Cards to coordinate with my collection of Candles & Ribbons, so you can design beautifully coordinated parties and events.  Even if you don't have a specific event in mind, perhaps you can choose a signature color for your home this season.  You could wrap your gifts with Papaya Pashmina Ribbon, and display a matching pair of taper candles on your mantle.  If you are hosting a party, maybe you'd like to use a combination of Privet Berry Blue Tags with Seaside Candles and Ribbons. 

See all of the Colors in my collection, here.

I hope you have fun browsing.  This has been such a fun adventure, I have loved getting to know more about you through your orders and love seeing how you use my products.  Hashtag #everydayoccasions in a photo of your order and I'll send you a free shipping code!

  I'll be back tomorrow with the recipe for the Berry Bread... Happy Summer!

May 20, 2014

Packing Up Emma's Keepsakes


As we've been making the transition from Emma's nursery to her Big Girl room, I've been packing up things she's outgrown, art projects from school and little keepsakes.  I go through this routine every couple of months or so and have been doing it since she was born.
 

I can remember going through her closet when she was just a couple of months old and putting away her newborn outfits that no longer fit.  It is always a fun little trip down memory lane.   I packed up very special things in plastic bags like her hospital gown & receiving blanket.



I started with a little box I kept in her closet where I had stored cards and notes from my baby showers and added things like her hospital bracelets, first photos and little booties.   This is the book Mike gave me as our 1st anniversary gift, when I was 8 months pregnant.  We hadn't officially decided on a name, but my vote was Emma.  This was the confirmation of his supporting vote : )  It was the perfect gift - traditionally, paper is the 1st anniversary gift... I gave him an ipad- modern paper!
 

The collection kept outgrowing the box as I added favorite first outfits, blankies, lovies and more shoes, of course.



With this transition to the big girl room, I decided to officially pack up the box, labeled "Baby Emma" and start a new one, "Toddler Emma." 



I added some photos of her in those outfits that I'm replacing with new photos in her room, and included a photo book I made of her first year.

Over Christmas break this year I finally finished her Baby Book.  I made two copies, one titled "Emma Elizabeth Hobick 2011-2012" and one "The Hobick Family 2011-2012."  I put her copy in her Baby box and I'll keep the other copy for our own library... so I can look at it all of the time.  I had them made at Mpix, and really love the way they turned out.  The printing quality is great, and I love the hardcover, bound in a dark grey linen.  They cost about $50 each, but look like $200.  I plan to do one for our wedding (a little late?), and ever year from here on out... including last year, that I'm already behind on.

The process of selecting the photos, writing the captions and details was the best part of all - reliving every experience and trying to capture the spirit of the moment for her when she reads it in the future.    




The inside coverpage - my favorite from her first year.  She was 9 months old in a linen dress at the Boston Public Garden.



It starts at the very beginning - even before this page, I included pregnancy photos and sonograms.



Photos of our first Vermont adventure, of course.



And what she wore : )



Our first Mother's Day at the beach.



Packing up for the move back home, and photos of her new room.  I love documenting living spaces in the book - I find it so interesting to look back at photos of my old rooms.  There are such big memories in spaces.



Her first Halloween.





And her homemade costume.



  Her first Christmas.



And her Christmas PJs. 

Mike and I both wrote a letter to her on the last page, with special photos of us each.  A tradition I hope to continue in each edition of our books.

One of my goals for the next year is to organize, sort and pack all of our keepsakes from our years past.  Right now, I think everything is sort of stuffed in bins, unlabeled and unorganized.   What special ways do you keep your keepsakes? 

May 17, 2014

Summer

- See more at: http://www.barefeetinthekitchen.com/2013/09/How-To-Create-A-Recipe-Index-On-Blogger.html#sthash.ceXVCTj9.dpuf

May 14, 2014

Emma's Big Girl Room Inspiration Board

It's that time.  Time for Emma to have her own big girl room.  I know what you're thinking - aren't you in the middle of remodeling your house?  Yes, we are, well, sort of.  We are very, very close.  We've hit some delays.  (Inevitable, I've been told.)  It looks like construction is still a couple of months away at this point.  Groan. 

While we're still waiting to get the final tweaks back from the architect (going on 3 weeks now...), I got antsy.  We've been living in our house for a year and a half now, in limbo.  We don't want to fix anything or fix anything up, because we're getting ready to rip it all out.  It is really starting to drive me crazy - the trim that needs touching up, the light fixtures that are broken, the floors that need refinishing... all of the little things here and there that continue to add up, are driving me a little crazy.  It is my nature to fix things.  I love fixing things. 

Mike asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day.  My answer, to decorate Emma's room.  I spent Mother's Day running around town, pinning (here) and gathering bedding and inspiration.  Finally, a house project! 

It wasn't until last week that I finally decided to have Emma's room stay Emma's room even after construction has completed.  We'd debated moving her into our old room, but I just love her room, for her.  It is small, cozy with nooks and crannies, and a huge closet that doubles as a secret play area.

I want her "new" room to feel very collected and layered, with a touch of feminine and fairytale whimsy.  I love the photo in the upper left corner of the floral wallpaper, but, I'm taking that idea and applying it to the bedding I selected (right corner).  It is from Pottery Barn Kids - white fabric with a rosy/brown woodland fairytale print.  I also bought the white ruffle sheets pictured here. 

I'm planning a wall gallery of framed prints, sketches and blank frames to display her own artwork.  I am working on collecting the prints now.  So far, I have the vintage Winnie the Pooh illustrations I bought from the Brimfield Antique Show two years ago.  Mr. Darcy's favorite toy is his Pooh Bear, and seeing these illustrations remind me of Emma and D for some reason : )  I also have some classic nursery rhyme book pages to frame, and her sillouette cutout.  I've been looking all over for a gallery wall that is exactly what I have in mind, but I haven't been able to find one that I love.  I know they have been done, and done again, which makes me a little hesitant, but I think I have a great vision for it... fingers crossed.

I am waiting on furniture for now - but still hunting.  I'd love a real, old farmhouse pine chest of drawers.  I think I'd like it to be a reproduction so the drawers work nicely, though.  Anyone have an idea of where to start?  I haven't decided on a bed, either... maybe upholstered?  Maybe stripped down pine? 
  

This is Emma's room as it stands now (more details here in the original reveal post) the one and only room that will not be effected by the construction, because I love everything about it.   I love the paint color on the walls that we painted when we moved in - Pristine, by Benjamin Moore.  The trim is painted in Navajo White - giving a very subtle tone-on-tone look to the room.  Both are very creamy colors. 


The color palette, as you can see from the inspiration board above, is staying basically the same.  I'm adding some more patterns and layers.
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