Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweet Dreams

    The only time the cats are this close is bedtime. Good night!

Afternoon Pick Me Up

One of my afternoon pick me ups. Adam is better than caffeine.

                                                    Maroon Five - One More Night

Lunch Break - Fashion Update

Fashion Week (s)

It's already time to think of fall/winter fashion for 2013/2014. New York, London, Milan, Paris...the results are coming in.  I'm still working on this spring. ha. There are so many interesting runway styles to look at, and then some that for me, actually translate to street fashion or in my world, aprons. As usual I love Victoria Beckham, above. So simple and elegant, yet edgy.

I always like seeing the current trends and their variations. It looks like versions of the peplum will carry from this spring/summer to fall/winter, like the Proenza Shouler ensemble above. Yes!

One trend I'm already loving for this fall/winter is not color blocking but fabric blocking as in the above left outfit by Victoria Beckham and Prabal Gurung on the right. I was actually doing that on a sample apron with leftover fabrics. That's what I love about fashion and creating in general - thinking
outside the lines and taking what exists and making it new and fresh.
More fabric blocking and asymmetrical hemline...from Jason Wu

 I also love men's fashion. And lest you think I've forgotten about men's aprons - you're wrong! I'm working on it.

 Prada's ad for fall. I think it's fun how they incorporated the actors.

Versace is still one of my favorites, but I don't think I'm even ready for this........maybe
pics from,,

Morning Wake up Call - Muffins

Good Morning! I had a craving for these this past weekend. Morning Glory Muffins. As far as muffins go I consider them healthy because they have carrots, apples, and raisins in them. This batch was made without nuts because, for the most part I don't like bits of nuts in any of my cakes, cookies or muffins. And, since my kids don't like coconut, I left that out ( ok, I threw in like a tablespoon. shh.) And since I had just run out of canola oil, I used olive oil, which actually made these come out a little lighter.

Speaking of   ;)

1-1/4 cups sugar
2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup raisins, light or dark
1 large apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups grated carrots
*1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3 large eggs
*1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) Position a rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.
2) Whisk together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts, and stir to combine.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with the oil and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.
4) Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling to top of each cup. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to finish cooling. Yield: 16 muffins.

* I just used a tablespoon or so! of coconut, no nuts, and substituted 1 cup of olive oil for the vegetable oil. Delish!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rooms I Love

Office Space
                             I was just day dreaming of my future office. Do you like it?

Of course I would have this in the corner. One of my custom apron designs. (You can't see my actual workroom - it's off to the side and it's pretty messy ;) )

And in my day dream my personal bartender brings me one of these. Hey it's Friday afternoon! (I love how the Cosmo matches the room...I notice details like this)

So I really am working and I'm just about ready to get my shop back up on Etsy. I've been doing some major renovating. It's a process.

I've been listening to The Canadian Tenors lately. All of their songs are so beautiful and inspirational. Here's a sample.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Animals A to Z

Meet the Alpacas part 1

Come with me to feed the Alpacas. Don't let the weather deter you. It's 18 degrees out, cloudy, and breezy. It could be worse. And don't let that pesky bronchial infection stop you. Dry, frozen wind will fix that right up. (You're familiar with sarcasm, right?)

The right outdoor attire is a must. I'm joking. Sort of.

Boot are a must though. These have been working well this season. Keeps the toes warm and are fun to boot. sorry.

 First we have to walk through the yard down the tree lined path toward the loafing shed. (a big lean to for animals to provide them shelter - kind of a half barn).

Then through the gate and through the forest. Yes we planted a little forest when we moved here. It has Austrian pines, Colorado Blue Spruces, and Aspens.

There's the table and chairs where I sit with tea or a glass of wine in the summer and fall whilst reading a book.

There are the boys. Ever curious and waiting for food.

This is Fantan aka Fanny. A little skittish and shy.

                                      This is Quito. Fantan's real brother. Curious yet aloof.

And Puca. Friendly and likes to sniff your hair. They all came with their names when we bought them.

Alpacas are native to the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile and survive at altitudes of 11,500 ft to 16,000 ft above sea level, where it can be extremely hot during the day and freezing cold at night.  Please don't confuse them with Llamas, although both are camelids. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burdens, but were bred specifically for their fiber. And they're much cuter and gentler (I had an unfortunate experience with a llama when I was young. Can you tell?) And they only spit green gunk at each other occasionally not at people like camels.

First thing I do is feed them sweet grain. These guys only get fed about a cup or so a day. It's more like a treat, and they love it.

Then comes hay. After living here for 17 years I've learned more than I ever wanted to about hay. Suffice to say there are as many options about types and amounts of feeding hay to various animals as there are types of coffee to order at Starbucks. Our alpacas get grass hay - sometimes with a little alfalfa hay mixed in when that's what's available (there I go - I'll have a dry cappuccino with a half shot of chocolate syrup....) People who raise alpacas for their premium fiber often feed them a richer diet because it shows in their fiber.  Since our Alpacas are basically pets at this point they don't need nor do as well on a rich hay diet. Don't get me wrong - I have them sheared and save their fiber. I have 40 bags stashed in the garage and attic to prove it! (More about that in part 2)

And last but not least fresh water. Out here you need one of these. Pumps where the pipes are three feet down in the ground. Below the freeze level. During the winter, hoses are pretty impractical (unless you thoroughly empty every last drippy drop of water out of it after each use) So buckets it is. You tend to build arm strength when taking care of large animals. And yes, that is an empty cat litter bucket. We believe in recycling here. So two trips with this to the heated water bucket in the loafing shed.

 After the boys are taken care of it's back the way we came

And inside to have some hot chocolate and a snack. Until tomorrow when it has to be done again...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Morning Wake Up Call

Sometimes you have to cut to the chase....with an espresso. In this case a Cuban coffee. In Miami, you'll find an abundance of outdoor Cuban coffee shops. From South Beach to Downtown, to Little Havana. One of our favorites is outside one of our go-to classic, famous Cuban restaurants, Versaille.

The "modern" Cuban coffee can be made in your home barista. Take freshly ground strong Cuban coffee and add a good amount (about a tsp for a cup) of turbinado, demerara, or brown sugar to the basket and brew together. That's it!...Well, fill a small espresso cup. Then you're good to go. Quick, flavorful, and to the point.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sweet Dreams

Hey it's better than her other half!! Nighty night.

Afternoon Pick Me Up

If the wind will not serve,
take to the oars.
Destitutus ventis, remos adhibe
Latin Proverb

Lunch Break

....for Rocky Mountain Elk. They are a mainstay up in Estes Park which is about an hour from here. You'll see them in peoples' front yards, in crosswalks, parking lots, golf courses.

Morning Wake Up Call

A latte and fresh beignets for breakfast. I just got this little mug because it was so dang cute - and it's smaller than a regular sized mug, which I like. (Left over beignet dough from Mardi Gras. yum)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Afternoon Pick Me Up

Happy Mardi Gras!

Here are some ghosts of Mardi Gras pasts. I love an excuse to celebrate. And what better day than Fat Tuesday. Last chance to live it up , eat it up, and get ready for lent. .

I usually make some kind of traditional Cajun inspired beans and rice, jambalaya, and hurricanes!

And Kings Cake

Decorations are, of course, purple, green, and gold - as are costumes (Purple represents justice. Green represents faith. And gold represents  And, can't forget the masks!

 And there always seems to be dancing. And Cajun Music
Here are a couple songs to get in the mood:
And these Grammy winners....we actually saw them live here in town a few years back:

And, the most important part of our celebration....beignets. Yup. Puffy fried dough with powdered sugar. Our nod to Bourbon Street treats.

 Here's one link to the history of Mardi Gras.
Take time to celebrate!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Notes From the Country

Flu and Dreams

Yup. This has been my life lately. Chicken Soup. And it's not even homemade. Has anyone not had the flu? Count yourself lucky. Of course I don't just do simple flus. No. Soon I intend to get back to the land of the living and productive. In the meantime, I can dream...

of this...."my beach"

and favorite South Beach Condo...and morning walks

oh and this - the Everglades - yes I love the Everglades. It's magical and primitive.

and overall...this

                     and the productive part....this

  and even this....spring....and watching my husband work in the garden...
For now, I think I'll make some tea and crawl back in bed and ponder -
1. Last night's Grammys and all it's outstanding performances, and some pretty amazing fashion (except when it all fell apart at the end with that guy singing the Elton John song - who was he??, Frank Ocean singing about Forest Gump! What was that???, and LL Cool J ending the show with a flash back performance of 90's rap! Really???

2. The Pope resigning - really? The Pope resigned? I didn't even know that was possible. Well I guess not since the Middle Ages.

3. T minus 4 months 12 days till departure for my other life in Miami.

4. Finishing up my shop changes and adding new aprons and stuff....