November Flowers

The past week was wet and cold. Today was lovely: it started off brisk and mellowed to comfortably cool.  Golden light even fought through stacks of grey clouds at a few points. After enjoying brunch with a treasured friend, I enjoyed a day of relaxed puttering around the house.

Gathering up the last blossoms that hung in through our first frosty nights was high on my lazy-day agenda. I was able to create a few bouquets from the autumn stragglers. Aren’t they pretty?

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Hydrangeas in a Patch NYC faux bois mug

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Lavender, Black-Eyed Susans, Chrysanthemums, a lone Batchelor’s Button, and some grass seed-heads in an empty olive oil bottle.

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Knock Out roses, Black-Eyed Susans, and a sprig from one of our beauty berry bushes in an empty spice jar.

This last picture showcases a little bit of a larger DIY home improvement project my husband and I have been working on the past few months. We installed a new hardwood floor in the kitchen (much needed— the old floor was junky peel-and-stick vinyl tile on a thin subfloor which we discovered during our demo had been layered over, get this, manky stained indoor-outdoor carpet. Gick.). We found salvaged trim for the doors and baseboards to match the trim in the older part of our house and installed it in the kitchen. You can also see a salvaged door we found, painted black, and installed on the pantry’s entrance. How thrilling that it fit so beautifully!

We found the trim and door at Columbus Architectural Salvage (http://columbusarchitecturalsalvage.com/index.php). It’s a great store to poke around in, it’s large and packed with interesting finds. New trim from big box hardware stores just didn’t compare with period trim. The new seemed so dinky compared to the older stuff. It was a little bit pricier getting salvage instead buying new, but worth every cent. Plus it’s nice to reuse whenever possible.

We repainted the kitchen, taking it from a creamsicle orange misstep to a fleshy sort of coral pink that was inspired by the sunset in a National Parks poster that hangs in the kitchen. We were initially only planning to do an accent wall in the pink, but once it was up we liked it so much we decided to use it for the entire room. I’m pleased we did. It’s a ridiculously flattering hue. It also visually warms up a room that receives precious little natural light and isn’t too pastel or too hot. The last big thing to do in the kitchen will be replacing the sink’s laminate countertop, can’t wait to find the right replacement.

Happy November!

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Winter Food: Slow Cooker Indian

Cold weather and crock pots just seem to go together! I am a fairly terrible cook. Luckily, I had the great good sense to marry a man who is an awesome one. 😊 With all of the cold lately, he was excited to try some recipes from this cookbook:

New Indian Slow Cooker  by Neela Paniz

New Indian Slow Cooker by Neela Paniz

It is a lovely book, with plenty of pictures and easy to follow recipes. For his first effort, he made curried chickpeas and butter chicken. It turned out very well! The book came from our local library, but he liked it so much that we plan to buy a copy. He’s very interested to try the recipe to make paneer (Indian fresh cheese) himself, saag paneer being one of his absolute favorites. I can’t wait to taste test his efforts!

Curried chickpeas and butter chicken, yum!

Curried chickpeas and butter chicken, yum!

Tomato Time!

075It is, at long last, finally tomato time!

This summer has been wet and kind of cool. While that has meant that our grass is nice & green and we haven’t had to fuss with watering our new plants at all, it has also meant that our tomatoes haven’t done very well. And don’t even get me started on the disaster that has been our okra.

But last week, we finally had tomatoes ready for harvesting. So harvest we did! And let me tell you, a BLT made with garden-fresh heirloom tomatoes? That is the taste of summer. Get all fancy and make it as a BLT &A &E? (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado and Egg, that is.) Extra delicious wonderfulness in sandwich form.

After a few days of wallowing in BLT land, last night my husband and I finally got around to making some other tasty tomato options. Now, I am not a cook, but I will assemble things. Like this, my more chopped-up-than-is-traditional version of a caprese salad (makes getting it into your mouth much more efficient!):
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All I did was chop up 3 different varieties of tomatoes from our garden, added some chopped fresh basil, also from our garden, and chunks of mozzarella. Then a tiny bit of olive oil, some freshly cracked black pepper, gently tossed by hand, and done. When the ingredients are this good, you really can’t go wrong.

My husband was more ambitious. He threw-down an amazing, made-completely-from-scratch-and-without-any kind-of-recipe-riff on chicken tikka masala/chicken curry. I am amazed I was able to be disciplined enough to attempt to take a picture at all before falling on my plate like a fiend. (Although the picture isn’t that good. At least I tried!) So. Flavorful. So. Good!!! He used a bunch of tomatoes and peppers from our garden and the complexity of the flavors was unreal. Yum! 010<