September 17, 2014

Hutch LOVE

I have to share with you that I am kind of, well a lot of excited because I have a pretty new (old) hutch in my living room to decorate for the fall. 


So I have been searching the web via Google images to find some inspiration, and boy I don't have to tell you that there is A LOT of inspiration out there. Here are a few that I really loved.

This first one is a stunner I found on Pinterest. This gorgeous hutch display was created by Lucy over at her beautiful blog Craftberry Bush.

Love this fantastic hutch makeover by Meg from the blog from Never a Dull Day.

And how could I possibly not include Yvonne's fabulous hutch from StoneGable.

Or the eye catching blue/white pottery and dishware contrasted with the little orange pumpkins of Debbie's over at Confessions of a Plate Addict.


This next hutch is beautifully rustic with its copper ironstone and pumpkins, and was created by Kimberly over at the blog Serendipity Refined.


OK it's not a blog, but I just had to sneak this one is from CountryLiving.  Beautiful isn't it?


And last but not least, I adore the beautiful colors of autumn as dis[played on this hutch from Custom Comforts


Wow...what a feast for the eyes! My little hutch is just that, very little, but I think with all of this wonderful inspiration I should be able to create something beautiful for our living room to help usher in my favorite season, Autumn! 


September 14, 2014

Elegant 4 Layer Carrot Cake

I've been making this cake for about a year now and I have to say that it may look like a complex dessert but in all actuality it is REALLY easy to create! In order to achieve this pretty rectangular cake, instead of baking the cake in conventional cake pans it is baked in an 16 X 11 jelly roll pan. Then the cake is cut into 4's and are stacked  to create an elegant look. 

The ingredients are fairly basic but since the cake is in a wider longer pan, the baking time is drastically reduced. The recipe uses baking soda in the batter so to raise its pH. This is done to insure the carrots soften enough during the shorter cooking time. 


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups shredded carrots
cream cheese frosting (I used store bought, roughly 32 ounces, but of course you can always make your own.)
2 cups chopped pecans

First set your oven's baking rack to the middle position, then preheat it to 350 F. Prepare your jelly roll pan by greasing it with cooking spray and then lay a a piece of parchment paper on top and grease the paper with the spray.

In large bowl whisk together the first seven dry ingredients. In another large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in the carrots and the dry ingredients. Then using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until it is just combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan making sure to spread the batter into the corners. Place in oven and bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on a baking rack. 

Next transfer the cake onto the rack with the parchment paper still under the cake and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Once cake is cooled, slice the cake in half crosswise cutting through the parchment paper as well. Then slice each half lengthwise, again making sure you cut the parchment paper, to create 4 equal rectangle cakes. 

Using a cake board or large plate turn one of the cakes onto it, paper side up, and then carefully peel off the paper. Spread about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of frosting on to the first layer and then repeat for the other three layers. (If your cake has baked with an uneven thickness, adjust the orientation of the layers so they are stacked to produce a level cake.) Once your cake is assembled frost all 4 sides of the cake. Then gently press the chopped pecans into the 4 sides of the cake. 

Chill for about one hour before serving.

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September 11, 2014

Our Seasonal Gallery Wall

I have often struggled with what to put on the wall above our piano. I've had mirrors there and various pieces of art work, but with the room taking on an entirely new look I decided to make the space into a gallery of photos of which I can change out the pictures to reflect the seasons. 

I had a few pictures of the kids at different ages in pumpkin patches, so I thought it would be cute to go with a pumpkin theme. I added mini pumpkins to the top of the piano to tie it into the pumpkin patch idea. 

I also added two photos I had taken during the fall of 2012...just before Superstorm Sandy!

The upper left hand picture is one I took of the grist mill in Clinton NJ. The lower right had photo was taken in Voorhees State park. I loved the beautiful orange of the trees.

The pictures were printed out at my local Walmart for about $6 a print, and the frames were purchased at Michael's craft store for $20 each. So the grand total of my wall art is a little over $100.

I still have a few more items to attend to before I show you the total reveal of the living room, but I have to say so far I am really loving the room's new vibe!

Hope you are all enjoying a wonderful Thursday!!!


September 9, 2014

Our 2014 Fall Entry

Each year our foyer takes on a new look in the way of furnishings. From a buffet to an old radio and turntable combo to this year's cedar chest, the front room's furniture seems to be on a constant merry-go-round. When I rearranged the furniture for my master bedroom makeover, (to see the makeover click here) this cedar chest no longer fit in the room's new configuration and had to be relocated to another spot in our home. To be honest I kind of like it here at least for now. The mirror above the chest helps to fill up the wall and the shelf adds some architectural interest to the space.

This year I decided to go with a grand and colorful floral arrangement for atop the chest. To soften the look of the wood, a quilt, which was handmade by my cousin Carol, was placed on top of the chest.

Some darling miniature pumpkins fill the little ceramic weave basket.

And that is our autumn inspired foyer!
 Hope you are ell enjoying some cooler fall weather with its stunning blue skies and white puffy clouds!

And have a great day!
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September 4, 2014

Smokey Chicken and White Bean Soup

Soup is one of my favorite types of foods which is probably why I seem to be drawn to them whenever I peruse through magazines and cookbooks. To me it is the ultimate comfort food.

 This recipe I found in the recent issue of Southern Lady magazine and thought it looked really yummy with all its brightly colored veggies and wonderful white beans. One of the changes I made was to substitute chicken for the hickory-smoked sausage in the original recipe. I did this because number one, I couldn't find hickory-smoked sausage anywhere, and number two the sausage has way more calories and fat than chicken, and since it is a processed food (of which I am trying to move away from all together) it is also very high in salt content. And I need to watch my salt since I have boarder line high blood pressure. 

 I bought boneless chicken breast to replace the meat protein and then simply added some liquid smoke to give the soup a smokey hickory flavor. The sodium in liquid smoke  is 45 milligrams per one teaspoon, but you really don't need very much to give your entire dish a smokey flavor. 

Pair the soup with some crusty bread or better yet make cornbread biscuits to go along with this flavor intense meal, which is also low in calories, fat and cholesterol, and a great source of protein and fiber.

Doesn't that look delish??? All that goodness in just one bowl!


2 T olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 lb boneless chicken breast, rinsed, dried and cut into bite size pieces
1 medium yellow onion
4 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium broth or bullion)
2 15.5 oz cans of cannelloni beans, rinsed
1 15.5 oz can of Great Northern or navy beans, rinsed
1 cup of carrot, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder a few grinds of fresh pepper
1 tsp of liquid smoke (can be found at your local grocer in the condiment isle)
1 6 oz bag of baby spinach

Heat oil in large pot and add the garlic, cook for one minute, then add the chicken and the onion. Cook until chicken is no longer pink inside and it has released some of its juices, about 8 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients except the spinach. Bring to boil over medium heat then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the spinach and cook another minute or two stirring constantly until the spinach is wilted.



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