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July 22nd, 2012

Toby and I woke up early this morning. We left the sleepy-heads in bed while we ventured out into the garden. It rained last night, and everything was glistening with early morning light.

Toby

This is my favorite time of day, and my favorite place on Earth. In this special, quiet time, I remembered the words of an old hymn my grandmother, Annie, taught me.


“I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear, falling on my ear…The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks with me, and tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”

The song was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles. I wonder if he knew, that 100 years later, his beautiful words would mean so much to someone.

Even the spider webs were beautiful this morning.

Take a few moments every so often for some quiet time of your own. Remember your grandmother or the words of an old song. Pray, or just be silent and listen to God speak to you. To truly flourish, we need to feed our minds, our bodies and our souls.

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July 17th, 2012

The bins at the local farmers’ markets are over-flowing with beautiful summer squash. The prices for these summer staples are reflective of the abundance, so go ahead and buy a basket full! Here is a delicious recipe I adapted from one I found online some time ago. You can use any variety or combination of summer squash.

Don’t worry about measuring too precisely. This is almost a no-fail dish. It’s the perfect thing to bake one evening, put in the fridge, then reheat and serve for brunch the next day. To keep the crust flaky, reheat in a conventional oven, not a micro-wave.

• 4 cups summer squash (yellow, patty-pan, zucchini or a blend) thinly sliced
• 1 cup yellow onion (or 1 medium onion and 1 small red bell pepper), diced
• 2 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon herbes de provence (or 1/2 t. dried oregano & 1/2 t. dried thyme)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (not the grainy kind)
• 2 eggs
• 8 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 prepared pie crust

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1.  Sauté squash, garlic and onions in olive oil over medium heat until softened, but not browned. Stir in parsley, herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

2.  Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add the cheese to the beaten eggs. Pour into the pan with the vegetables and combine.

3.  Spread mustard over bottom of pie crust. Add squash mixture to crust.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve with a side salad of arugula and cantaloupe, peach, or blueberries.

Oh, the colors and flavors of summer! An edible chive blossom garnishes the salad.

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July 11th, 2012

I’m continuing to unearth treasures from storage. I’ve had this darling desk so long, I can’t remember where it came from! It is remarkably comfortable and would make homework ever so much more fun! Email me if you are interested in this, or any other item featured in recent posts.

Vintage Wooden School Desk – A very charming little accent piece, this old school desk is made of solid oak and is super sturdy. The attached writing surface is the perfect size for an iPad or small laptop.

Functional book shelf under the seat will store a laptop.

The desk is large enough to accommodate an average size adult. (It fits me comfortably.) It could be used as a cute seating piece, a bedside table, or as a useful conversation piece in a sun room, family room or child’s bedroom.

I wonder if Tom + Dot are still together.

The desk has its original finish which is nicely worn. It has a few paint splatters as well as the old, original graffiti on the writing surface. (You can tell it’s old…there are no four-letter words!)

Charming Vintage Wooden School Desk – $50.00 (plus shipping, if required)

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July 8th, 2012

Vintage Directoire Style Dining Chairs, Set of Four
These beautiful mahogany chairs used to grace the dining room in our home in Northern Virginia. I have kept them for years hoping to find a place to use them again. But, as hard as it is, I’ve decided it’s time to let them go. Even though they probably date from the 40’s, these chairs have a classic style that would work well in an eclectic or contemporary space. I would love to see them along the sides of a glass or lighter wood dining table with upholstered end chairs. They would work equally well in a dressy breakfast area, with a round or square table. The seats are currently upholstered in a cheetah tapestry fabric, but this could be changed easily to suit your décor.

Classic Directoire elements - saber legs and clean lines

Beautiful proportions

Detail of back design

If these chairs have your name on them, email me to claim them. Link at left of this page.

Set of Four Chairs – $825.00 (plus shipping if required)

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July 6th, 2012

When you think of lavender, you probably think of a hue of light purple or a beautiful, relaxing fragrance. But after you taste this decadently rich frozen custard ice cream, you’ll also think of lavender as a flavor. Quite possibly the most elegant, delicious ice cream you have ever eaten, this recipe is totally worth the effort.

This dessert deserves to be eaten with a vintage silver spoon.

The only somewhat unusual ingredient in this recipe is dried lavender blossoms. Lavender is so easy to grow. Plant next to a walkway or other sunny place where you will enjoy the fragrance as you pass. It will also do well in a large pot. Common lavender is a shrubby semi-evergreen which needs to be cut back every year. If you don’t grow your own lavender, see sources, below*.

a small portion of this year's harvest

Honey Lavender Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup half-and-half

1/3 cup mild honey (I always use a Virginia clover honey)

2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers

2 large eggs

1/8 teaspoon salt

Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally,then remove pan from heat.

Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.

Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not allow to boil).

Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl. You may need to push it through with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Delicious served with thin gingersnaps.

Cooks’ notes: • To cool custard quickly after straining, set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stir until chilled.
• Custard can chill up to 1 day before freezing. • Ice cream keeps 1 week.

*Edible lavender flowers available at Penzeys (800-741-7787) and Kalustyan’s (800-352-3451)

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