recipe

Tea for Two

Last week, I picked Grace up from school at noon so we could go have lunch together. She begged me to take her back to the "magical tea house"...also known as the Lady Di's Tea Room. How could I say no to that? Of course, my camera joined us...

Oh so serious...not for long...

the most lovely sweet potato soup and cheddar and tomato sandwiches...yum! Cheese on toast for Grace...

Sweet primroses blooming outside the window next to our table...

for dessert a plate of the most delicious English shortbread! It went fast...I almost missed a photo op!

Sitting there with her, watching the rain outside and nibbling our sandwiches, I couldn't help but wonder if we were making a memory that would stay with her. I hoped so. My mom used to take me out for lunches like this, just the two of us and I always felt so special. I had her undivided attention and she smiled and listened to all my stories patiently. If I can make Grace feel that same love, that same importance...then perhaps, one day, she will do the same for her child. When I so often feel that I'm not doing enough for her...it felt good to see the happiness in her eyes and hear the excitement in her voice.

A good Mom day.

xo,

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello friends, Tonight my brother came over to make pumpkin pie with Grace.

It was so sweet. He patiently measured out each ingredient and then allowed her to add it to the bowl. With her tiny hands, she carefully emptied each cup or spoonful, making sure she didn't spill a drop. I stood back to observe the magic and take pictures...

Grace didn't like the sound of the mixer but managed a smile for me.

The pumpkin pies won't win any prizes for beauty but they tasted delicious and my brother and Grace got to bond.  I'm so thankful to have him living here in Portland! It means so much to me that Grace will grow up knowing her Aunt and Uncle.

I hope tomorrow, your family and friends will experience the delight of preparing delicious food together! Being surrounded by those we love is something I will always be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

xo,

Halloween Pumpkin Face Mask

The past couple of nights we've been gutting the pumpkins we harvested and carving them up for our Jack 'o' Lanterns. It's a bit of effort but Grace loves the process. She diligently picks out the pumpkin seeds so we can roast them. What to do with all the pumpkin innards? How about a DIY Pumpkin Face Mask? Pumpkins are full of enzymes and Vitamin A that exfoliate, soften and smooth your skin, so why not pamper your skin after the trick or treating is over. (You can slather this mixture from head to toe!)

Here's the recipe I found via Spa magazine.

1 small pumpkin 1 cup yogurt Juice from 1 lemon 1 Tbsp. honey 1/2 tsp. ginger (freshly grated, preferred) 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

To Make: 1. Cut the pumpkin, removing skin and scooping out pulp.  Place the flesh in a pot with a small amount of water.

2. Cook the pumpkin until mashable with a potato masher.

3. Remove from heat, mash pumpkin, and add yogurt, lemon juice, honey and spices. Use while still warm.

To Use: 1. Sit in the tub or shower and slather the warm pumpkin mixture all over your dry body and face. You may apply to your hair too, if you like.  (Make sure hair is clean.)

2. Rest with the mixture on your body for 10 minutes.

3. Rinse off with warm water.

4. Pat the skin dry and follow with an application of your favorite body and face moisturizer.  For hair after rinsing, follow with your favorite conditioner.

Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

xo,

p.s. Can't be bothered making your own pumpkin mask? Try this ready made concoction from Sephora.

Gorgeous pumpkin photo via Shaun Ingham

Peonies & Peas

Yesterday the rain poured down one minute, only to be replaced by the glorious sun the next. It's the nature of Spring in Oregon and we love it. Unpredictable but beautiful. Silver light and gold. With a bouquet of gorgeous peonies on my table and a handful of fresh spring peas I figured it was the perfect afternoon for a little team work with Grace. She was so excited to pop open each pod to reveal the tiny green peas. While she delighted in this task, I took pictures. I really loved the green of the peas with the pink of the peonies.

At the end of this lovely afternoon, I cooked up a fresh Spring inspired meal from Rachel Ray's cookbook. Check out the recipe here. It was delicious!

Happiness all round.

xo,

Ivy

Relaxing Steam Facial

Images via AvaNiviTava

Okay, so three days ago our house went on the market.

It's kinda sad. We love our little cottage but we are just needing more room and I'm dying for a fireplace. A garage would be nice too.

Monday morning the house looked beautiful...almost perfect. Fresh flowers, clean floors and sparkling sinks - it was a sight to behold.

We thought, in this real estate market, it's gonna take some time to get any traffic but we were in for a surprise.

Late that afternoon, we went on a little family outing to the local Gelato place. Tea for us and gelato for Gracie.

At 5:17 pm I received a call from a realtor and then Chris got one two minutes later. Thus the craziness began...

Ever since that day, we have had multiple showings of the house.

Preparation for these showings involve frantic, rushing movements, pulling drapes, plumping pillows, lighting candles and simultaneously trying to contain Grace so that she doesn't undo any of this. It's a rather difficult task...oh and did I mention our insane beagle that loves to track mud through the house at the most perfect moments....sigh...

All in all...it's been a stressful week. I'm exhausted. So tonight I decided I needed a good dose of pampering. I washed my face with my favorite cleanser and prepared a steaming pot of herbs for a steam facial.

Here's the recipe I like to use to relax, hydrate and soothe my skin-

Boil 3 cups of distilled water

To the water add:

1 tsp of  calendula flowers

1 tsp elder flowers

1 tsp lavender

1 tsp comfrey leaves

(I use dried organic herbs and I order them from here.)

1 tsp olive oil

Cover and let steep for 5 minutes

Place your pot on a table and sit in a comfortable chair.

Drape your head and shoulders with a bath towel, hover about 10-12 inches above the pot and remove cover.

Breathe the steam in deeply and allow you skin to drink in the moisture.

I sit with my ipod playing soothing music for 10-15 minutes.

It's sooooo relaxing.

For further pampering...follow with a mask, hot shower/bath, cup of herbal tea, a good book and your warm bed.  So lovely.

Nighty night.

xo,

Ivy

Dungeness Crab Dinner

Our second day in Newport we had some pretty serious plans:

1. Sleep in

2. Get dressed

3. Go buy crab & food to go with crab

4. Drink lots of wine

5. Eat lots of crab

Let's just say we got through the list and over did # 4 & 5 like champs.

Did you know that it is good practice to eat freshly made salsa and chips while you crack your crab? Well it worked for us...unlike that stupid red plastic cracking device! Oh, it's also advisable to sip a fabulous white wine while you excavate crab meat. My recommendation: The Four Graces Dundee Hills 2008 Pinot Gris.

The result was a pure delight! A creamy, yet light sauce with delectable crab pieces that melt in your mouth, citrus-y sparks of lemon and the lovely taste of fresh baby dill. Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup clam juice or chicken stock

1/2 cup white wine

3-4 fresh cloves garlic, minced

1 cup half-and-half

2 teaspoons  butter, softened

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 pound fresh Dungeness crab meat

2 tablespoon chopped baby dill

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

8 oz. linguine

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a skillet sauté garlic with a touch of olive oil, the add in the broth and white wine. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the half-and-half, stirring constantly until blended. Return to the heat and simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 1/3 cups.

2. Meanwhile, combine 2 teaspoons butter with flour. Slowly whisk into the milk mixture. Continue stirring until the sauce is thickened and has no lumps. Add crab, salt and lemon juice. Reduce the heat and cook until the crab is heated through.

3. Cook linguine according to package directions. Toss with a little extra butter or olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Pour the crab sauce over the pasta and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle with fresh dill and serve.

Enjoy!

xo,

Ivy

1/2 cup chicken broth 1/2 cup white wine 1 cup half-and-half 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 teaspoons butter, softened 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1/2 pound crabmeat 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 tablespoons chopped green onions 1/2 teaspoon of salt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 8 ounces linguine 1 tablespoon butter 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  1. In a skillet combine chicken broth and white wine. Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in half-and-half and cream, stirring constantly until blended. Return to the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced to 1 1/3 cups.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 2 teaspoons softened butter with flour. Slowly whisk into the milk mixture. Continue stirring until the sauce is thickened and no lumps remain. Add crab, chopped parsley, chopped green onion, salt, and lemon juice. Reduce the heat and cook until the crab is heated through.
  3. Meanwhile, cook linguini according to the package directions. Toss with 1 tablespoon butter and grated Parmesan cheese. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss until evenly coated.