Women Helping Women

Today I attended a women's luncheon hosted by my church to support an organization here in New Jersey called The Center for Great Expectations. Great Expectations welcomes homeless, pregnant adolescents and their children, and homeless, pregnant adult women with substance abuse disorders and their children. The luncheon today was a fundraiser as well as an eye opener.
I won this fabulous basket in the silent auction.

If you ever get to the Biltmore you must try some of their wines...they are wonderful.

The serviettes and cheese board are from Pottery Barn and the cheese markers were donated from William-Sonoma! All of these items came wrapped in this beautiful basket.

The Center for Great Expectations has four main programs it runs...
The Adoleescant Program which aids young girls 12 to 20 years old who are pregnant and homeless.
The Program for Adult Women which aids women 20 years and older who are pregnant/parenting with substance use disorders.
Katy's Place which is a child development center.
Intensive Outpatient Program which is a service for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use and/or concurring disorders.
The center depends largely on its volunteers as well as the generosity of others...all prizes today were donated for the day's events. The center itself takes donations of supplies from church groups and other organizations as well as donations of time in the way of childcare, office help, cooking for families, and fundraising.
I think all the ladies at today's lunch had a lovely afternoon helping an amazing organization meet its financial goals.
I hope you are enjoying a restful Sunday.

Update...The Center for Great Expectations raised over $6000 at the women's lunch yesterday with 170 attendees. Awesome for them...it is such a worthy cause!!


A Few New Items for My Kitchen ~ Black and White Buffalo Check

As you may remember, earlier this month I wrote a post all about fabulous red and white buffalo check in the kitchen. Well I did go to Country Curtains to purchase the drapes and valances I had shown you in the post.
While I is was in the store I noticed the black and white buffalo check and really liked it, but I had the red and white in my head so that is what I ended up buying. Once home I realized that I was totally wrong about the red and the black would be a much better fit for my kitchen. So yesterday I went back to Country Curtains to exchange the red for the black check.
After exchanging the curtains and valances I went across the street to the Home Goods store, and as luck would have it, I found these pretty black and white dishes. Aren't they adorable? They even have my much loved rooster on them...how perfect...they were just screaming my name!!!
Then I spied this darling black farm basket which I simply could not resist!

So I managed to get one of the valances up in my kitchen...this style is called an Austrian valance.
I can't wait to get the new rod for the drapes so I can hang them. I want a thick black rod and finials to thread the drapes through. These drapes will frame out the sliders to the back patio. I also plan to recover the seats of the kitchen chairs and refinish the table top just to freshen up the space a little bit. Hopefully I can get to that this weekend!
Speaking of the weekend, I wish you all a wonderful one!!!
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Low-Calorie Butternut Bisque

The cool weather is moving in and for me it is the beginning of "Soup" season. I love soups...all kinds of soup, but one of may favorites is butternut squash bisque. I can't think of a better way to enjoy this fabulous vegetable. The flavor of the bisque is bright and fresh and it is chocked full of vitamins. The best part is that you get all this at the low price of only 77 calories per 1/2 cup serving...now that is a bargain! A light soup or bisque like this one works wonders when trying to shed a few pounds.

What you will need...

2 medium onion, chopped
1 large (about 2-3 lbs) butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
4 cups low sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1T. brown sugar
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp.nutmeg
1/3 cup orange juice
1/2 c. 1% milk
Sour cream and crispy sage leaves julienned for garnish

Really simple and easy directions...

In a large pot, saute the onion in 1/4 cup of the chicken broth for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Then add the squash, apple, curry powder and nutmeg along with the rest of the broth, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

In batches, puree the mixture in blender or food processor. Return mixture to pot and add 1/2 cup of milk...heat through. Pour into bowls and swirl a dollop of sour cream into each bowl and topped with sage, serve and enjoy!

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Autumn is Here

The water wheel of the gristmill continues to move along regardless of the changing season...      
...while ducklings swim aside it...
...and weeping willows dip their branches towards the quiet stream.

Autumn is here.

The colors of Fall have slowly begun to wash over the foliage of the landscape...
...as the sky takes on the vibrancy of a cornflower blue...


...and bovine seek silent refuge from the noon sun under the shade of golden trees.


Autumn is here.

 Beautiful beautiful Autumn is here.

Hope you are all enjoying a glorious Autumn day.
(All photos by 21 Rosemary Lane.)
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Thrifty Artwork ~ Picture by Joseph Bodner

Another trip to Pennsylvania equals another trip to one of my favorite places...ReStore! This past Saturday I picked up this picture reproduction of American oil painter Joseph Bodner for $15 at the ReStore in Bucks County Pennsylvania. Bodner lived from 1925 to 1982 and was actually a native of the Garden State, New Jersey. The title of this piece is Riding Shotgun.

I wasn't sure where I was going to put this painting, first thought in my head was over the mantle, but that is already decorated for the Fall. Then I tried it over the sofa...but naaah, not working for me. Then I thought I'd try it above the piano...mmmm...I think it is just right!
The wood frame actually matched the wood of the piano really well...the colors are also perfect for the Fall. I just placed a few natural and rustic items on the piano to compliment the colors in the picture.


I even added a copy of the book "American Statesmen" by author Patrick Henry, published in 1887, to complete the entire vignette.
Can't wait for Mr. RL to get home and see where I placed the picture...not bad I'd say for only 15 dollars!
ReStore proceeds directly befit the Habitat for Humanity organization.
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Another Feature...this Time Over at Southern Hospitality!!!

I just found out via my dear friend Dee Dee over at ddzine that my little Antibes Green Chair is being featured today over at the sassy blog Southern Hospitality as a great 2nd hand find. I'll tell you, I was a bit skeptical about my little green chair, but it has gotten so much attention that I think she really has me in love with her! Don't worry Mr. Rosemary Lane is still my one true love, but every time I pass her in my entry way she makes me smile!
A huge shout out of thanks to Rhoda of Southern Hospitality for the nod.
Happy Monday All!!!


Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

These yummy treats have something for everyone! We are talking chocolate and pumpkin sitting on top of a spice cookie crumb crust here. These little bars are then topped off with a sour cream and sugar mixture and garnished with fresh nutmeg and a chocolate curl!  Aaaamaaazingly delish!! Now I ask you...what could be a better dessert for the autumn?  I found this recipe at a website called Food 52 and wanted to give them a whirl to see if maybe this would be something I'd like to bring to a football home tailgate party or even to Thanksgiving dinner. They're not that difficult to make...to be perfectly honest the hardest part, as with most bar recipes I've made, is trying to get these little darlings out of the baking dish cleanly.
So what you will need for the crust...
1 1/2 cups or approximately 20 spice wafers crushed down finely
3 T of brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Heat over to 325 degrees F. Combine the 3 ingredients and press them into a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, remove an let cool.
What you will need for the filling...
2 8 oz pkgs. cream cheese at room temperature
1 3/4 cup of white sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup of pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin mix
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T unsalted butter
1/4 cups sour cream
1/4 c. white sugar
For the garnish I used fresh ground nutmeg and chocolate curls To read how to make the chocolate curls click here.
In large bowl blend together the softened cream cheese and the 1 3/4 cups of sugar. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture until blended after each egg. Then beat in the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla. Beat on low speed until all ingredients are blended. Then remove 1 1/4 cups of the mixture and put in separate bowl.
Next in a small heavy saucepan or double boiler, melt the chocolate plus the 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter together. When completely melted and and blended together, pour the chocolate into the 1 1/4 cups of pumpkin and beat with electric blender until blended. Spread the chocolate pumpkin mixture over the top of the spice cookie crust and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Spread the remaining pumpkin mixture over the chocolate layer and return to the oven to bake for another 40-45 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes.
In the meantime blend together the sour cream and 1/4 cup of sugar and then spread over the cooled bars and place in the frig for  a minimum of 3 hours.

When ready to serve cut the bars and garnish with nutmeg and/or chocolate curls.
This recipe yields 24 to 36 bars depending size of the bars
Update...these bars were much easier to cut and remove from the baking dish after being refrigerated overnight.
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How to Make Chocolate Curls

First of all Happy Fall to you all as it arrives tomorrow about mid-morning!!! Ah I just love this time of the year with the air becoming cooler and the leaves changing and falling off the trees. Time to start making your favorite chilies and stews, and for me to start doing a bit more in the way of baking.
Well you know how you see all those wonderful cakes in the bakery, or these days in grocery stores like Wegmans, and they have the most beautiful chocolate curls on top...wouldn't you love to decorate your next dessert with some of your own homemade chocolate curls? I know I would, so I googled a few ways of making these curls and the technique I decided to try I found over at the blog The Tasty Kitchen.
Now let's see how The Tasty Kitchen went about making these pretty little curls.

First off you need some dark or semi-sweet chocolate, and a tablespoon of shortening. I used 3 ounces of chocolate.
Put it in a microwave safe dish and pop into the microwave for about 30 seconds. (If you keep your shortening in the frig like I do you may need to nuc it for another 10 - 20 seconds.) Stir it with a fork until smooth and then pour the chocolate out onto the back of a baking sheet.
Spread the chocolate out as thin as possible on the baking sheet (This is the key to this technique according to The Tasty Kitchen.)and then pop it into the freezer for 2 minutes.
Pull it out and let stand for a minute or two. Then with the back of a pancake flipper, start to roll the chocolate. If the chocolate breaks and crumbles it means that the chocolate is too cold, so just let it sit a little longer and try again. On the other hand if the chocolate stops curling up it may be too warm, so just throw it back into the freezer for another minute and try again.
Use what you need and then put the remainder into a zip-lock baggie and keep in the freezer until you want to use them again.
Now what am I going to make that I can garnish with my fancy chocolate curls?
Better yet what would you make? I'd love to know!!! :D
Have a great weekend all!!!
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