Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vintage Hankie Banner Tutorial

Treasures were abounding at Junk in the Trunk's Vintage Market earlier this month.  My friends and I walked away with all sorts of treasures (you can read more here).  My favorite finds were these vintage hankies.  Soft cotton, lace and crocheted trim, sweet embroidery and time-worn colors.

I wanted to use them in a banner and place, as a valance of sorts, over the plantation-shuttered windows in my daughter's room.  They started off with a good laundering and ironing, then I laid them out until I found the arrangement that looked best.

After pondering different ways to string them together, I decided, in the end, to simply double them over into triangles and tie them by the corners.  If you choose a hankie that is trimmed with vintage lace, it helps to sandwich it between plain cotton hankies.  That way you can pull harder on the plain cotton one and not damage the fragile lace of the other.

It was hard for me to get a complete photo of them hanging over the sunny window (I'm not as adept with the digital camera just yet), but the result was whimsical and vintage and sweet.  Just right for a little girl's room!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's Peach Pickin' Time Ya'll!

We've got a bit of a tradition going with our good family friends.  It starts by getting up at the crack of dawn, driving way out to cow country and picking peaches at Schnepf Farms.  We take a hayride out to the orchards and then head back for a peach pancake breakfast.  This year they also had pulled pork sandwiches with amazing peach BBQ sauce and the best coleslaw I've had in a long time.  By the time you leave you're dirty, dusty, tired, stuffed and carrying a huge box (or two) of plump peaches.  It's worth it!


We typically eat our peaches over the course of the week either plain or atop vanilla bean ice cream.  This year I decided to make my favorite peach crisp from the Barefoot Contessa.  This recipe calls for raspberries as well and they really do add so much color and flavor.  Plus, I'm sure you'll agree, Ina Garten rocks.

I omit the orange zest on this and add a little more oats and raspberries than called for.  Be sure to use firm peaches (worked well for me since this year the peaches needed one more week on the tree IMO).  Also make sure you don't overcook.  That results in a mushy mess inside and burnt crisp outside.  Oh and don't skip the step where you boil the peaches.  It really helps take the skin off quickly and easily.

This is a super easy recipe so have your little helpers grab a stool and do some measuring, pouring and mixing.  Hello, summer!

Here's what you will need:

4-5 pounds firm, ripe peaches (about 10-12)
1 orange, zested (I omit this - too strong for my liking)
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1 c light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c plus 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pint raspberries (I like to add a bit more)
1/4 tsp salt
1 c quick-cooking oats (I add maybe a 1/4 c more)
1/2 pound cold, unsalted butter, diced

Here's what you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the inside of a big baking dish.

Immerse the peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place them in cold water (I usually just run under cold water while I start peeling).  Peel the peaches and slice them into thick wedges (this is key - if they are too thin they will turn to mush).  Place them in a large bowl and add the orange zest (I omit), 1/4 c granulated sugar, 1/2 c brown sugar and 2 tablespoons flour.  Toss well.  Gently mix in the raspberries.  Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.  If there is alot of liquid, add 1 more tablespoon of flour.  Pour the peaches into the baking dish and gently smooth the top.

Combine 1 1/2 c flour, 1 c granulated sugar, 1/2 c brown sugar, salt, oatmeal and cold, diced butter inthe bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low until the butter is pea-sized and the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly on top of the peaches and raspberries (I always find I have way too much leftover).  Bake for 1 hour until the top is browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. 

Here's what you get:

Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator and reheat in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes until warm.  I like to serve this with vanilla bean ice cream or plain Greek yogurt - if you're going the healthy route.  Keep in mind this recipe calls for 1/2 pound of butter, so why worry about the ice cream at that point?  


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pintrest Dinner Challenge

As I've mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Pintrest.  A few weeks ago I set a little challenge for myself:  cook a new Pintrest dinner recipe each day for a week.

Since these were going to be weeknight meals for our busy family, I stuck to recipes that were easy to prepare and family-friendly.  You'll find everything from a grilled sandwich to Indian, meatloaf to vegetarian.  Just click on the name of the recipe for complete instructions.  Ready to hear how it went?  Let's go!

Day One: Honey BBQ Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Carrots

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Imagine if BBQ ribs and meatloaf had a baby.  This would be it!  Amazing smokey flavor and bite.  This was a huge hit with my family.  A couple of changes...I used agave nectar in lieu of honey and would probably increase the amount of panko next time, but overall a delicious take on meatloaf.  To counter the BBQ I served it with simple roasted carrots.  Take a half bunch of carrots, peel and cut in 2-3 inch pieces.  Toss in olive oil and roast on a baking sheet at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh pepper.

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These were so simple, healthy and actually very tasty.  I used Wholly brand salsa which is found in the produce section, but if you have the time (and energy) there are some excellent homemade salsa recipes on Pintrest like this one.  Next time I may use sweet potatoes just to up the flavor and health benefits.

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Technically, this was not a new recipe, but we had a late afternoon swim lesson so this Crockpot dish fit the bill.  To be honest, it's not really even a recipe, just a few ingredients thrown in with some chicken breasts.  But I tell you, it's one of the fastest ways to make great tacos.  Occasionally I'll put black beans and corn in with the chicken.  I serve them with the typical taco fixings and either LaTortilla Factory Handmade Corn Tortillas or Mission Flax & Blue Corn Tortillas.  

Day Four: Chicken Tikka

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I love Indian food and despite the unique ingredients, it really is simple to make.  Don't be scared!  If you don't have or can't find garam masala, feel free to sub curry instead.  Because the chicken marinates in yogurt overnight, it comes off the grill moist and flavorful.  Couple of changes I suggest making: use chicken breasts instead of thighs and no red food coloring.  To me it's healthier and tastier that way.  I served it with the Whole Wheat Naan from Trader Joe's.  The leftover mint is great for adding to homemade iced tea too.  Hopefully I'll have my own herb garden soon, so I can grow our own.

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Hands down the favorite meal of the week.  Immediately after taking his first bite, my husband used profanity to describe the passion he had for this sandwich.  Even proclaiming it restaurant quality.  I have to admit, it is a darn awesome sandwich.  Panini really.  I used Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce instead of the hot sauce mentioned in the recipe and in lieu of the white sauce I used chunky blue cheese dressing.  Mmm...My husband picked up some fresh thick bakery bread and we used our panini maker to grill.  Much easier than trying to flip in a pan.  This would also be amazing on ciabatta bread.  

I hope my own Pintrest Dinner Challenge has encouraged you to try a few new recipes yourself.  If once a day for a week is too much, aim for once a week or once a month.  It's never too late to try something new.  And don't forget to share how it goes!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vintage Market Madness

Junk in the Trunk Trio's Vintage Market was this last Saturday and *finally* handmade hipness has made it's way to Scottsdale!  These girls did an amazing job.  This market is the real deal.  They transformed a parking lot at Westworld in to a sweet country fair.  

I tried to snap as many photos as possible, while maintaining my hunt for treasures.  My favorite find was a bunch of vintage handkerchiefs that I plan to make into a banner valance for my daughter's bedroom window.  I'll be sure and post photos and a tutorial for ya'll. 

The Vintage Market will be back at Westworld in September.  Here's what you have to look forward to, so mark your calendars!

The Red Dutch Door was my favorite booth - so colorful

Fabric covered branches with birds were a cute find

Who doesn't love twine?

My friends found wooden cubbies, drafting tables, little tin boxes....Lots of treasures to be had!

Unique vintage map wreath

Loved these pretty silver spoon business card holders

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boutique in the Barn Recap

I've participated in many shows with Petal Pusher across the Valley over the last couple of years and am constantly impressed by the ingenuity and quality of handmade items that I see.  Even if there are two vendors making the same product, it's interesting to see their individual perspectives and creative flair used to make it their own.  Here are some of the items I was most taken with at Boutique in the Barn last weekend.

The little girls loved sorting through these baubles to make their own custom necklaces.  I thought it was fun how the vendor displayed them all in repurposed cans covered in colorful scrapbook paper.

One vendor was offering feather extensions and I thought this girl wore them well.  A very subtle peacock shimmer against her gorgeous auburn hair.

Felted wool flower necklaces.  This could be a colorful cozy look for fall or winter with a gray boyfriend cardigan and distressed jeans.

I adore these hair wraps.  Every time I see one I want to pop it on.  Still not quite brave enough, but I think it would be darling with an updo for summer.

Loads of colorful neckties for boys...

The Pink Trailer just rolled right up and opened their doors to an entire wonderland of clothes and accessories inside, complete with fitting room.  Genius!

These luscious roses in vintage bottles were being sold for only $1.

Benefits from the day's sales went towards the Shine Project.  For more details on this worthy cause and the inspirational founder click here.

Shoppers shopping away...

Super cute wood signs. There were also state-shaped wood signs with a heart in place for the capital city.  Fun idea for a house warming or moving present.

Check out these bird feeders!  Made using vintage tea cups, saucers, dessert plates, forks and spoons.  My promise to you: a tutorial on how to make your very own before the month is over.

My booth buddy, Dana, makes these darling bobby pins.  Have you ever seen a tinier rolled fabric rose?

Another event I have to share with you is Junk in the Trunk Trio's Vintage Market coming to Westworld on May 5.  If you are a lover of all things chippy, vintage, rusty or handmade, you will not want to miss this event.  There will also be live music, a vintage photo booth and DIY tutorials on site.  I can hardly wait!