Friday, January 30, 2015

Pillows and Scraps...

I have been collecting fabric scraps for a while from my shop. It has become a major issue for me. Mainly finding places to store them and not having an idea what exactly I want to do with these scraps. 

Recently I stuff them in a bag and placed them on my sewing chair. Then I found out I kind of like the feeling of having fabric filled pillow on my chair. Specially, when I am sewing for an hour without stopping for a break. This is not an idea all new to me I have made one before but someone else uses it now. 

How many pillows I can use at once was another question that I ran into making fabric scrap pillows. Then one of my friends told me that I should try to sell them in my store and specifically classify them as cotton fabric filled, wool filled, and cotton batting filled. I was pondering on this idea for a while. I really did not want to waste the scraps. I sat down one night and made few. I offer couple of pillows to my friend and then she offered them to her friends who are working on desk jobs. Her friends told her that they like them very much and she told me to work on it and try to sell them in my store.

Finally I decided to add them to my store! I love these two pillows specially the print. So we decided to name these pillows back supporting pillows! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blizzard Juno

The blizzard Juno engulfed us. but the flip side of it was no school and had ton of fun with children. Nicolette was so elated to head outside with neighborhood kids to play. From walking to sledding it was non stop fun. Hot chocolate, and the excitement of not having school was too much to bite once. 

Although the snow was not even packed down to the slope all including kids and adults are making pathways using tubes and sleds. It was fun, cold, and warm afternoon. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The project ended…

Yes, the beautiful paper whites which adorn our home has finished it non stoping blooming. When they wither and fade we know it is time to dismantle this lovely project. However, this year I had so much help in taking this apart. Oldest was very helpful to take them to the compost, and of course we chooses a warm day to complete this task. 

When I was scrubbing the glass hurricane my daughter comes over to watch and I asked her if she would like to help me to scrum the stones  so we can let them dry and put them away. She was happy to be around and definitely to play with the rocks.

These wonderful rocks bring back so many memories, because we have collected them from our trips to beaches and and other fun places. Surprisingly I have few from when my oldest collected them when he was wee little. Yes, and the best part is I could remember them. There is something with rocks that gravitate the smoothness, the color, the locations we collect, the experience that is entangled with bring so much.

To my wonderment while scrubbing each one Nicolette was so happy to categorize them according to the size and color, this kid is so much into organizing and I love watching her.

When everything was scrubbed and cleaned I had to snap few pictures so I can remember this moment. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Mushrooms, Marsala Wine, & Pasta…

I am a huge mushroom fan, well it goes back into decades. I still remember how my mother made the first mushroom dish it not fancy as involvement of marsala wine and an oven. it was simple but tasted great with rice and curry. I might give it a try if I can find the same mushroom which we use gather up from our garden in Sri Lanka. I don't know what exactly that is called. But I wanted to say it is very mush like the oyster mushrooms you could find in a Chinese grocery store. 

But this dish was from Smitten Kitchen. I love her blog and often I make dishes from her blog. which involves cremini mushrooms and marsala wine. I just could not skip it because I had both of these lovely ingredients in hand. 

I loved the creamy texture and it was a great dish to make and leave it in the refrigerator to heat up later. More time read, create, and spend with children. However, next time I make this I would love to incorporate some anchovies and see how it would taste with these lovely creamy combinations. Great recipe to try!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Caramalized Onions and Mushrooms

This is one of the great recopies I found during holidays and made it twice. This looks and taste really good on mashed potatoes. I usually use them as a topping and a side dish. Very easy and simple to make.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Kale Sambol

Kale has become one of my favorite greens. We make them in so many ways from cooking to sambols. This is one of our all time favorite way to prep kale in a hurry. Kale adds so much nutrition to the meal and make a scrumptious addition to regular mundane rice and curries. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

From my neighbor...

This is a lovely cake we enjoy every holiday. Fun part is I don't get to bake this because my sweet neighbor bakes this. I love how she simply decorate it with a fresh sprig of rosemary and lemon wedge. Lemon does't get wasted in our household because we love them so much.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

They Bloomed…

I was so happy to see the paper whites bloomed. The fragrance of this beautiful somewhat strong flowers could be somewhat strong at times. I love making this beautiful project every season with my children now I get to do this with Nicolette. She gets super excited when hey bloom. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Finally it was pot roast...

Christmas, was fun to celebrate with our neighbors and family. We unanimously decide we are going to go low key for christmas lunch since we have fun at our neighbors with desert. I have write a post of that next year. Any way I want to write about my beautiful and perfect pot roast.

This is a such a wonderful meal to make for a gathering. Although I do not eat meat anymore I am assigned to cook meat for the rest of the family without any complain. I do some times find this very challenging because I have been eating meat for a ling time. But I am not going to vent about that lets get to the post of perfect pot roast. After browsing few blogs and recipe books I decided that I am going to make this with much influence form Pioneer Woman.

I did add 1 cup of red wine and it was so rich in color and the entire family enjoy it. While serving it I noticed it was easy to serve since it was cooked to tender. Meat was almost falling apart and it was delicious with mash potatoes according everyone. Of course little Nicolette was not a big fan of pot roast. 

Below is the recipe. 
1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (Up To 8 Carrots)
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Red Wine (optional, You Can Use Beef Broth Instead)
2 cups To 3 Cups Beef Stock
3 sprigs Fresh Thyme, or more to taste
3 sprigs Fresh Rosemary, or more to taste

Preparation Instructions
First and foremost, choose a nicely marbled piece of meat. This will enhance the flavor of your pot roast like nothing else. Generously salt and pepper your chuck roast.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil (or you can do a butter/olive oil split).
Cut two onions in half and cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices (you can peel them, but you don’t have to). When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.
Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.
If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.
When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and about 3 sprigs of fresh thyme.

Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cranberry and Pear Jam...

Cranberry is truly native to Massachusetts and I was over excited that I was able to make this unique fruit to pickles and delicious jams this year. I have made two kinds jams this year one has pear in it other is a spiced jam and so good with a piece of toast. My favorite was pickled cranberries. They were truly yummy! I used the left over jelly with sparkling water to add a bit of a festive color to my mundane water. 

From my last visit to costco I decided I am not going to buy any more cranberries. However, my past visit to costco I walked out again with a bag of cranberries I do not know how that happened. Well I told myself again I am not going to buy them again, but this time for sure I know I wont be able to get it because we are done with cranberries at least in New England this year!

I love this simple pear cranberry jam. After few attempts I decided to cook the pear with vanilla for a while and then add the cranberries. It is absolutely divined and the vanilla is very subtle. This is the last of cranberries for us this year.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Warming up the Backyard...

Three in school including Nicolette, Niegel, and myself we usually gather so much paperwork. We are excited to ind kindling to start the fire. I know it sounds a bit crazy but working outside in this cold weather we desperately need a bit of warm air to clean the coop. On the other hand we get to clean our recycle bins fro schools. 

Although, few years ago at the beach I ran into a family who does a bonfire told me she get so excited to burn her children’s homework with a very light heart. I was skeptical about it until I joined the ritual. 

We do recycle a lot from kitchen and from our garden. But we do enjoy finding kindling as well from around the house!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pancake B'day Cake...

This was a big surprise for little Nicolette on her real B’day. She woke up to eat her favorite breakfast but in a cake form.

 Usually I make silver dollar pancakes which are kind of small but this was a bit bigger. I used a 1/4 cup to pour the batter so I was able to get a bigger pancake. Then the assembly was easy, place them in the cake stand use syrup to keep them in place and pour the melted sugar icing and went to town with all the sprinkles we had at home. 

Simply placed a candle and surprised her early morning. What I would do next time is get a small B’day banner to install on the cake and I think it will be really cute!

A simple way to make b’day cake!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A little bit of 2014

Christmas this year was a bit quite around our house. Panduka was solely responsible for getting the tree to hanging the decorations with little Nicolette. I remember the pine smell overtaking the house quite subtly reminding us it is time to slow down. I have so many memories with some of these decorations on my tree. Some are from dear families from schools I have taught bring sweet memories. 

Some I have bought by myself. I love the glass icicles, crystals, and the little silver angels. Of course we have broke some as well from our moves. 

Little Nicolette enjoys hanging the decorations this year with her dad. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Kiwi Crates

This year I surprised out little Nicolette with a craft subscription. Matter of fact not only Nicolette but her cousins who resides in state also was gifted with a craft subscription and it was the Kiwi crates. It is a neat gift which is children and parent friendly. Everything you need to do comes in a box including the kid’s own scissors which was very cool. 

Nicolette loved it, actually I gave it to her on her B’day since her B’day and Christmas falls on the same month she gets to have a ton of things. We were very cautions this year picking her gifts since she is getting old and and we wanted to give her something she can enjoy.

The first box, included many activities based around snow. We made these beautiful luminaries and was a cute project to work with her. Less screen time but more project time with everything you need for the project comes in a box. 

This gives Nicolette a conversational topic when she calls her cousins. We had a small craft box for the little one in the cousin’s family and can’t wait to hear all about it. Nicolette is very excited to hear about the project. 

If you wish to order here is the site, 

There is always something to do during her free time which she has come to love!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Peppermint Bark

This is one of my favorite holiday treat to make. I still remember to this date my very first attempt to make this wonderful treat. I was purely happy with the end result. I had no idea that there was real peppermint essence let along giving it a go. Now I am the proud owner of the essence of peppermint. This bring the holiday cheer right up to my neck of woods. 
My first attempt was merely to make this work and with some experience I have come to admit I have improve how I make my peppermint bark. But to this date I keep it very simple and easy.

6 ounces high quality white chocolate, broken into pieces 
6 ounces high quality semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vegetable, coconut, or canola oil
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
3 candy canes, crushed

Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch or 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, smoothing out any wrinkles and set aside. 
Melt the chocolate in a double broiler or in the microwave and add the peppermint essence. Pour the mixture into the baking sheet and level it. I would take about 15 minutes in the refrigerator to set. Then melt the white chocolate and add the peppermint essence and pour over the chocolate. At this time add the crushed candy cane on top. Let it cool may be about 20 minutes and cut them into squares and place them in a container. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Backyard Beauty....

I love capturing our backyard at this time of the year. Although many plants are aout 2 -3 years old in our yard still hold the blooms from the summer. Still working on few chores outside other than the usual chiken coop cleaning. We were glad to get our winter bulbs in this year before it was too late. I am looking forward to see my bulb garden this year.

We might also have a lot of compost to prep the beds before spring that is always a fun project to do. Empty bird nest reminds me of the spring. Many birds from finches to robins scurry our backyards to find a safe place to lay their eggs.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January begins...

New year brings a lot at times it could be a bit over whelming. I had a lists of things planned for the month of January from stocking the shop, to eating well, and taking care of myself for this month. 

I was able to start off the day with a bit of reading and connecting with few friends which I have come love lately to begin my day. I have been going to gym almost every other day and we enjoy it very much including little Nicolette. 

Gladly, I did not have to cook much as we have so much left over food and cookies to be devolved to make a dent in our food supply. Actually that opens up a lot of opportunities for me to handle all my other projects from the list of things to do. 

One of the biggest from all my projects was to clean the chicken coop. I know it sounds so pathetic but my ladies have been hanging out with a lot of droppings. It was so cold we had to get our fire pit all lit up for this task. We love to hang out by the fire pit when we work on this task and it is not too bad at the end of the day. Because we can always stand around the fire pit to warm our fingers. 

Mostly I like the idea of hanging outside with chickens. It is a good excuse to catch a breath of fresh air. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Holiday Movie Marathon...

I promised little Nicolette, that I would watch movies with her during her vacation. We had a list of all my all time favorites including The Polar Express. There is something magical in this that makes my heart gets warm and truly want to listen to the sounds of bells. 

Of course, I wanted to watch Bambi with her, I know… I know… the horrible part but she is being six she handle it very well to my surprise. We talked about the humans presence in the woods. This was a very sensitive subject but I try to explain the best I could. We also discussed about what would happen if we neglect the fire at the camping site. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas, is one of my favorite movies. I am a big fan of Tim Burton. I love this twisted tale of Christmas sprit. The Nightmare Before Christmas originated in a poem written by Tim Burton in 1982, while he was working as an animator atWalt Disney Animation Studio. Little Nicolette love Tim Burton productions just like her mother. 

Of course the Elf, adds the real essence to the Christmas sprit. This is a funny yet a charming story for young and adults. Although, according Nicolette it is really funny!

Home Alone, I remember the very first time I watched this movie. I recall i had so much fun watching this movie. So did my oldest and Nicolette. niegel watched this all by himself this Christmas and with me. I guess that counts twice!