Turkey Turkey, Soup Soup

Confession: I don't really like Thanksgiving dinner. But somehow I keep making it every year. I guess some traditions are like that: you don't question what they are, you just keep doing it because you've always done it that way. So, I keep making the traditional dishes (and lots of it!!) every year and am stuck with a fridge full of left-overs I don't really want to eat anyways, and then I just wait until they have probably been in there too long to still be considered safe to eat and I can justify throwing away the pounds of food - probably enough to feed a starving village somewhere...ones with lots of flies everywhere.

But this year, I am determined to eat what I can stomach and make it into something I will actually like. And this winter has been the winter of soups for me - I've probably made one a week at least since the first scarf came out of the closet to warm my chilly neck. This soup is easy to prepare, and you will most likely have all the ingredients sitting around in your fridge anyways. And, dare I might say, your house just might smell even better than it did on Thanksgiving. You can also add any other veggies you have on hand (mushrooms, leek, etc.), these are just the ones I used.

You will need:

1 TB olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (I even used green onions)
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup rice
2 cups turkey - pulled apart or chopped
6-10 cups water
4 stems kale, pulled from the stalk and chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 tsp. fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over med-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrot. Stir occasionally until the veggies start to get soft, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about one minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the rice and stir for one minute. Add in the turkey and enough water to cover the ingredients by about 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 2. Stir in the kale and herbs, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. You can add more water at this point too if it's too thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

So, if you're as sick of turkey sandwiches by now as I am, make this soup and you won't even know you're eating left-overs! Enjoy!

Devonly, yours


Goodie-Goodie-Gumdrop Salad

No, this salad doesn't have gumdrops in it, but it sure has lots of goodies in it! And it's super yummy, perhaps causing you to exclaim "goodie-goodie-gumdrops!!" while consuming it bowl after bowl (which is what I've been doing lately!) You can mix-and-match veggies as you please or to what's in season. Either way you toss it, this salad is a great staple to any recipe library and keeps for a few days, so lunch is all ready and dinner's side dish is waiting for you when you get home.
You will need*:
6 cups chopped dark greens (kale, chard, mustard, etc.)
1 1/2 cups cooked, cooled grains (lentils, wild rice, quinoa)
2-3 cups chopped assorted veggies (tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, radish, fennel, broccoli)

1 lemon
1/3 cup well-stirred tahini
2 TB water
2 garlic cloves
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar

To prepare salad, combine all the veggies in a LARGE bowl, set aside.

To make dressing**, combine the zest and all the juice of the lemon in a blender with the remaining ingredients***. Buzz a while till smooth and creamy. Toss with the veggies, and WA-LA! A wonderful year-round salad.

*In the salad I have pictured here (and if you're short on time and/or are close to a Trader Joe's), I combined TJ's chopped Southern Greens Blend, a pouch of TJ's pre-cooked Black Beluga Lentils, tomatoes, carrot, celery, and red onion.

Devonly, yours

**Recipe courtesy Epicurious.com

***You can also add a blop of honey if you want it a little sweeter, or some herbs or spices if you're feeling spicy

****My apologies for the funny spacing in the posts recently, I am being forced to post in IE as opposed to Firefox, and it makes all my spacing jankitty-like*****

*****Phew! That was a lot of footnotes!!


Pumpkin Cake with Ginger-Buttermilk Glaze

If you're like me and made the pumpkin butter recipe from last week you feel like you still have a bunch left over even after putting it on and in anything you are consuming. So, that means it's time to make pumpkin cake! There's nothing I love more than smelling something containing pumpkin baking away in my oven. And especially if it's topped with a gingery goodness! So, when life gives you pumpkin butter, make pumpkin cake!

You will need:

2 1/2 cups pumpkin butter*
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB. butter
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 TB. fresh ginger, minced

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a tube pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Step 2: Beat together eggs and butter in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin butter, and buttermilk. Beat until combined.

Step 3: In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt.

Step 4: Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixer in two batches, mixing completely between each batch. Pour into the prepared tube pan and bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Step 5: Cool 10 minutes in the pan and then turn over onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Step 6: Make glaze: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and drizzle over the cake.

Devonly, yours

*If you do not have the pumpkin butter, you can substitute a 15oz can of pumpkin puree into the wet ingredients and 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 1/2 tsp. cloves, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp. allspice into the flour mixture.


Not So Fast!!

This last weekend Jason and I did one last yard clean-up and prep for winter. It's so bittersweet pulling out all the vegetable plants that you nurtured and cared for all summer long and reaped such yummy produce from. But, they would have shriveled up and died anyways, so I guess I'm doing them the respectful duty of taking them while they still have some beauty, no?

Anyways, that's not my point. My point is: some of those dead things in your yard are actually quite beautiful and can still be put to some use. I saved some of the more odd and unique clippings from dead-heading my plants for the winter and some general pruning. Just arrange them together like you would a bouquet, and you have a lovely fall focal piece. If you have a lot of darker-colored dead-heading, it would be kind of a spooky porch-piece for Halloween. Too bad I decided to prune the day after...oh, well...Next year for sure!
It just might take some creativity and unlikely pairings. For my fall's end bouquet, i have clippings from:

Arugula flowers
The last withering hydrangea flowers
Dried fenel flowers
Devonly, yours


Currently Reading

These are the books I have just finished, am currently reading, or am reading next (minus Marquez's Chronicles of a Death Foretold, which has been returned to it's owner..swoon!). And I will be reading them all in my lovely new chair. What are you reading?

Confessions of a reader:

1. I am quite sporadic in my reading. It could take me 3 days to 9 months to finish a book. Which, when doing the latter, is quite hard to follow an intricate story.

2. I'm rather rough on my books. I like to carry the one I'm reading with me - everywhere - in case I get the opportune time to hunker down in a cafe for a while with it. This means it's tossed into the large curjumbled abyss that is my purse along with other things that may or may not consist of that day's lunch, keys and general purse items, shoes (yes, my purse IS that big), water bottle, and perhaps a day's errand purchase or two.

3. I really don't read that much. Not nearly as much as I'd like to. It's getting better, but very slowly. Reading is an activity that I have to be sitting still, for a while and give all my attention to it. Therefore, this usually doesn't happen very often at home. Lately, Jason and I have been going to our local pub and he will work and I will read. This is the ONLY reason I still know anything that's going on or can keep any of the characters straight in Wuthering Heights.

Devonly, yours


Pumpkin Butter

This Halloween, I didn't carve my pumpkins into silly faces and pictures, I carved them up for butter. Why waste one of fall's yummiest bounties? It's very easy to make and your house will smell delicious. Last year I attempted making a large batch and then proceeded to can it all for holiday gifts. However, I read promptly as my last batch was cooling that you are not supposed to can squashes of any kind for fear of easily producing bochelism. So, sorry friends, you didn't get any pumpkin butter last year. If you would like some this year, feel free to stop by with a container and I will give you some refrigerated butter!! This year I used a white pumpkin, but really any kind will do, even a butternut squash would be really tasty.

You will need:

1 small-medium pumpkin
1/2-1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
juice from one lemon
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Quarter, peel, de-seed/de-slimmy stuff the insides, and chop your pumpkin.

2. Place your chopped pumpkin and about 1/4 cup water in a large soup pot and cook over medium to medium-high heat until it breaks down easily, about an hour.

3. If you have a food mill, run the pumpkin through that, otherwise, you can pass it through a sieve, removing any obvious pools of liquid as you go.

4. Return to the soup pot and combine the remaining ingredients over medium heat until nice and thick, about an hour.

5. REFRIGERATE, and enjoy! Great on breads, english muffins, in pancake batter, melted on top of ice cream or in a spicy pork sauce.

Devonly, yours


Corner Cozy

What happens when you find three unassuming gift cards to Pottery Barn left over from your wedding 3 years ago? You have enough to buy a chair! (and a cute one at that!) It completes the cozy corner of our living room quite nicely, don't you think?

**Please ignore the ugly green-tile hearth and cords everywhere. That is one of the only areas of our home we haven't touched since moving in! But it's on the list, and moving to the top quickly!

Devonly, yours


House Plants

A lot of my house plants have been out-growing their pots lately, so it's time to repot them into larger containers. However, there are some guidlines you should know about when repotting your house plants.
While you might think it would just be easier to stick your tiny plant into a large container as you think it might one day grow to that size, this is not the case. The new pot should be 1-2" larger in diameter (at the top) than the old pot - MAX. Because the roots of your plant are only a big as the last pot they were in, they would not be getting efficient water as all the water would sink to the bottom where the roots are not yet reaching. So you need to take it little by little when growing your indoor plants.
Also, holes at the bottom of the pot are essential for preventing root rot. Some suggest a gravely mixture at the bottom to aid in drainage as well. And speaking of rot: I've experienced a plant that will mold at the top from too much water if I'm not careful. This is a sure time to repot your plant.
And lastely, when you move the plant to the new pot, by pulling apart the roots you will help them grow into your new pot more quickly.
So, happy house planting to you and long live your house plants!
Devonly, yours


Fall's Glory

Some of you know how much I love love love fall. The crispness in the air, the bright golden light that seems to last all day, the leaves - Oh!! the leaves! Bundling up after a long summer of being exposed, comforting stews and squashes. But, my dear friends: do you also know how much I love pumpkin beer? And I'm not talking just any pumpkin beer. The Elysian Night Owl pumpkin beer is the best pumpkin beer you will ever have privy to try. And given that they only produce it during th fall months, I have to take in as much as possible while it's around. And last night was my first sip of the year. yummm.....this year they have prodiced a magnificent batch. The spices - allspices, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon - that they use really come through and it's the best yet.
Well, before you all go running to the Elysian, let me tell you about something that made me as giddy as school girl when I found out:
The 5th Annual Great Pumkin Beer Fest
30 pumkin beers on tap from various vendors plus 9 Elysian brews including Night Owl, The Great Pumpkin, Dark ’O the Moon Pumpkin Stout, Hansel & Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pilsner, Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin Ale, Jack ’O Bite Barrel-aged Scottish Pumpkin Ale, Bete N’Owl Dark Belgian, 8472 Amber Sour and Pumpkin Hefeweizen.
Won't you come and join me in celebrating fall?
Oct. 10th 12-10pm & Oct. 11th 12-6pm
The Elysian, Capitol Hill


More flowers...

Here is a photo from the wedding, by the professional! More to come later...

Devonly, yours

Photo courtisy: JKoe Photograpghy


Kelly and Brian's wedding

I didn't take one.single.picture! How bad is that? I did all the flowers and decorations for the wedding and didn't get a single picture of the action. But, I did get to take a bunch of the flowers home, so I got a few pictures of my hard work. And the photographer took some amazing ones, which I will post as soon as I get my anxious little paws on them. Here's what they look like the day after - not quite as glorious but still quite beautiful:

The Bride's Bouquet:
(The groom's boutonniere was a white calla lily with 2 black fern curls. It was so cute!)

The Bridesmaid's Bouquets:

This arrangement was a large vase at the front of the church:

And lastly, the center pieces for the tables at the reception hall:

It was quite the stressful day, I must say! I didn't really imagine it being so stressful. Partly because on the morning of the wedding when I woke up to start the bouquets (I had planned the timing of the day with no room for error) all the calla lilies had died! Just *poof* Dead! They were a gross brown, decaying mess. I don't know what happened. So I had to make a bunch of phone calls, run around to some wholesale florists, and eventually found one that had a little less than half the number that we originally had (the bride wanted those to be the main flower). So, we made do, and hurried like crazy. I was making adjustments, giving directions, and organizing people until the minute the family was being seated.

But, all in all, it was a very successful, beautiful wedding. It's strange, because it felt a lot like mine - same time of year, same time of day, same order of events and timing of those events, similar look and feel to the sites, etc. So, afterward, I felt like I should be going on a honeymoon! The happy couple are honeymooning in Hawaii and I'm so jealous. And after all that hard work I put in, I think I deserve a little vacation!

Hope you enjoyed the photos, I know there are a lot, but they're all just so pretty! I will be posting the professional ones as soon as possible.

Devonly, yours


Autumnus Greatust

We moved our television set downstairs and our couch is not at all comfortable. I like what it's doing to me.

What's does favorite non-tv night look like?

Devonly, yours

P.S. I hade my first batch of zucchini bread for the fall. Yes, I know zucchini is synonomous with summer, but I just can't bake that much during the warm months. Now that fall has arrived with a bang, I'm craving warm bread, tall boots, long scarves, and a crisp autumn afternoon.


My brother-in-law is getting married in T-minus 11 days and I'm helping them with different aspects of the wedding, which I'm having so much fun with. One thing we are doing is stamping cocktail napkins to have at the bar. They are so elegant and inexpensive to make! I bought the stamps at a local stamp store and the napkins at a party supply store. The total cost of the project for 300 napkins was $20.

You could do this easily for any occasion - a birthday, luncheon, dinner party...whatever event you are throwing!

Devonly, yours


A new love

Lately I have been contemplating purchasing a Lomography camera. The basic idea behind a lomography camera is that it produces "happy accidents" by letting a little more light in, over-exposing, bluring the edges, etc. I use a website to treat my photographs before uploading them here and really like the "lomo" treatment. My friend let me borrow his Dianna to play around with. I am so desperate to see how my photos turn out - you actually have to have them developed! How much I have come to rely on the instant gratification of digital cameras. How did anyone ever know they took a good photo!?! But alas, I will wait...

I don't think that I actually used the camera properly for the first few frames - I couldn't quite tell if the film was advancing (or I was unwinding it, which was quite a pain in the keaster to wind!), and how far to advance it. So, I'll be curious to see what they look like.

I took her for a walk on Queen Ann. I went to school in that neighborhood and spend so many a hour walking those streets and lusting after those gorgeous homes. Here's a few snaps I took with my digital - can't resist the wait! But I'll definitely share the others with you once they're developed.

Cobblestone streets

Vines creeping along a curved wall

This is moss growing on top of a stone rail, so fuzzy!

Devonly, yours


Nature walks, sisters, and sunshine

My sister has been visiting me this past week from California, and we've been enjoying all the beauty and oddly enough the sunshine of Seattle.

We were enjoying a walk through Lincoln Park in West Seattle, and there are these trees there - forgive me, I do not know what kind they are - but they reminded me of the manzenita in Northern California where I grew up and I love the way their bark peels off in these curls. Arent' they lovely?

The ocean was so peaceful and inviting (mostly because it was really hot and we wanted to go swimming!). Next time you go for a walk, take a camera and pay attention to the smaller things you might not normally notice.

Devonly, yours


Blackberry Cobbler

My dear friends, do not let the humble appearance of this quaint looking cobbler fool you. I promise this is one of THE BEST cobblers you will ever have (move over mothers, there's a new kid in town!). My mom and I have been making this recipe every summer since I can remember. We would spend the warm summer evenings picking berries, our fingers dyed purple within minutes and scrapes up and down our arms reaching for the bigger, juicier berries just out of reach. It's one of the two recipes I actually have memorized and never skip a chance to make it. We even eat it for breakfast the next day it's so good. And dare I say it's a little bit healthy? You can of course use any fruit you like, but blackberries are by far the best. And perhaps you will want to make a double batch, it won't last long, I promise you that! Just see if you want to dilute it with ice cream!

You will need:

3-4 cups berries
1/3 cup sugar
1 TB flour
Dash of Cinnamon and Nutmeg
1 box Krusteaz Oat Bran Muffin Mix
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter

Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Combine the berries, sugar, flour, and dash of cinnamon and nutmeg in an 8x8 dish.

Step 3: Pour muffin mix and the 1/4 tsp. nutmeg into a large bowl and cut in butter. Spread evenly over the berries.

Step 4: Bake for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

This dish says summer to me like nothing else. And brings me back to those warm summer evening sitting on my parent's back porch swing watching the sky turn gray. This is so easy and delicious, I hope you enjoy it!

Devonly, yours


Basil Gelato

All I can think about in this heat is eating something cold. And that something is Basil Gelato. It's cool and refreshing, sweet but not overpowering, and earthy. Like something from a street-side cafe in Italy...

You will need:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 egg yolks
3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar Sugar
Fresh basil (about 1/2 cup lightly packed and torn)

Step 1: Mix milk and cream in medium saucepan. Warm until a foam forms on the edges of the mixture. Remove from heat.

Step 2: Beat together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until frothy. Pour the egg mixture into the milk mixture while whisking constantly.
Return saucepan to medium heat. Stir with wooden spoon until mixture gels slightly and sticks to back of spoon. Remove from heat immediately.

Step 4: Pour mixture through a sieve to remove any egg lumps that may have formed. Cover and chill for several hours overnight.

Step 5: Put mixture and the torn basil into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.

Oh, heavens my!! This is so good! You will not be disappointed, I promise.

Devonly, yours


A few of my favorite things...

My birthday is fast approaching and here are a few items on my "wish list" (if I had the money to have a wish list like this!)

How cute and comfortable is this?

This is perfect for bouncing around town in the summer time.

Everyone needs a pair of jeans that feel as comfortable as these look.

I've been pining after a watch lately, and this is the perfect balance between sophistication and casual attire, don't you think?

Every cow-girl at heart needs a belt like this!

I don't even need to explain why...

I could lounge in this beauty all the time...however, I think I would prefer it in a lime green with yellow accents.

The bigger the better.

What do you get when you combine cotton knit tank and flowy skirt? This adorable little dress.

Don't you love the lines and the print on this little number?

This is actually the one item on this list that I actually need.

(but what' the fun of a wish list if you actually need the items?)

Devonly, yours