Archive for ‘Domestic Bliss’

February 14, 2011

A {LOVE}ly Breakfast

by Hannah

This morning I made and enjoyed these heart-shaped pancakes with my two funny valentines.

This is my favorite pancake recipe, adapted only slightly from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook. They’re whole wheat, so they’re better for you and keep you feeling full longer. I usually put chopped bananas in the batter, but they would also be great with blueberries, chocolate chips, or just by themselves with some real maple syrup and butter.

What I love about this recipe is that you make the dry mix ahead of time and store it. It lasts through several pancake mornings, and we get from-scratch pancakes without tired mama having to think too much too early :)

The mix:

4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined, and store in an airtight 2-quart container.

 

Whole Grain Pancakes:

1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups of the above mix
{optional: chopped bananas, blueberries, chocolate chips, apples, etc.}

Preheat griddle or skillet on medium heat. Beat egg and milk together until smooth, then beat in the oil. Stir the mix into the wet ingredients. If you’re adding bananas or anything else, stir in gently now. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk. Batter should spread on griddle but not run. Cook on  preheated, lightly oiled griddle or skillet until golden brown on both sides.

One things my mom told me about pancakes, that always  stuck in my mind, is that when there are lots of bubbles coming to the surface of side one, it’s about time to flip it over.

To make a heart, drip little by little, starting with one side of the heart, spreading it down, and then dripping the other side of the heart and spreading it down to join the two. Other fun shapes include butterflies, snowmen, and funny faces (with ears and hair, and kids can used fruit for the eyes, nose and mouth).

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I hope you’re having a love-filled Valentine’s day. Seth is going to grandma’s house tonight, and we’re staying to make dinner and watch a movie together. I’m looking forward to a leisurely and uninterrupted evening with my hubby!

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January 30, 2011

Thrifted

by Hannah

Something you may not know about me: I’m not a huge fan of shopping in malls. I have heard some ladies describe shopping as “exhilarating” and “energizing”, but while I don’t completely hate a few hours at the mall, it overwhelms me. I always leave exhausted. Then I discovered the wonders of thrift, antique, and vintage stores, and I think I understand what my mall-shopping friends are talking about. It’s a bit like treasure hunting, and I love it. So here are some of my finds from this week…

I have been wanting a nice floppy hat for gardening and the beach- this one is perfect :)

wooden bowl and spoon- always on the lookout for food photography props

two vintage pillow cases- I always see project tutorials that call for them.

I love this mug for my tea- such a lovely color

a nice, big, simple vase for flowers

I got three of these plates- I love dinnerware that has a handmade feel

The pattern on this skirt- oh I just couldn’t resist.

paisley shawl

This just amazed me- dated 1899 and super heavy (cast iron). I had to get it.

This box is now holding fruit on my kitchen counter.

Pretty patterned butter knife

This lens… doesn’t actually go on any of my cameras, but again I just couldn’t pass it up. I am interested in learning about how to make homemade lenses, which can give a very interesting tilt-shift/Lensbaby look. If I can’t use it for that I might sell it, because it is in great condition.

When I was exploring downtown a few days ago, I found an antique mall that looks like it will easily replace my favorite on that closed several months ago. Seth was fussy so I only glanced at a few things before needing to leave, but I am planning on going back in by myself soon and taking some time.

Have a beautiful week, friends!

-h

January 16, 2011

Soup for Lunch

by Hannah

Yesterday’s lunch {and it will be today’s as well}- this wonderful soup recipe from Cannelle et Vanille.
With a hunk of hearty bread, it is the perfect winter meal.

 

I want to do more food photography. I have been so inspired lately, by the above-mentioned blog, as well as this post, this flickr group, and this website.
I am planning on going antique and thrift shopping for more props soon.

December 23, 2010

Recipe: Turtle Candy

by Hannah

Pecan turtles are one of my all-time favorite candies, and I decided I’d like to try my hand at making some to give as gifts this year. I’ve seen more complicated recipes, but this one is pretty simple (though it can get pretty messy- be warned!).

Prepare a couple of baking sheets by covering with aluminum foil and spraying with nonstick cooking spray.

I used packaged caramel candies- a 14 oz. bag- and unwrapped them all and put them in a microwavable bowl.

I added a little water to the bowl so the caramels would soften well, and then microwaved, 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each, until it was smooth. I found that I had to pop it back in a few times while I was making the candies, because as the caramel cools it becomes pretty sticky and difficult to work with.

Meanwhile, I toasted up some pecan halves in the oven.

Then arrange the pecan pieces on the prepared baking sheets in clusters of four.

When the caramel is soft, drop onto each pecan cluster with a spoon. I had to use two spoons because the caramel is so sticky and didn’t want to come off easily.

Next, use a double boiler or the microwave to melt a small package of semi-sweet chocolate chips. If you don’t have a double boiler (like me), you can use a stainless steel bowl resting in a slightly smaller saucepan, with a couple inches of water in it, on medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the chocolate is smooth.

Then drop chocolate onto the caramel-pecan clusters.

Put the baking sheets in the freezer so the candies will set.

It’s always great to have a little “helper”. Though really at this age, I needed someone to help me with the little helper : )

When the turtles have hardened, take them out of the freezer. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to a week, but let them sit a bit before eating so the caramel can soften.

I packaged mine up in tins I found at the craft store, with wax paper to keep them from sticking together too much.

Enjoy!

December 22, 2010

Festivities…

by Hannah

Decorating our tree. Manny’s parents came over to help.

Manny shot these:

And the next week, we went with them to get theirs and we all decorated it together.

{It was pretty cold (for Florida) for a while, with lows in the 30’s. Now it’s back to the 60’s/70’s, which is perfect for me.}

Here’s the whole group- shot using the timer and a makeshift tripod:

It is so, so great that we are all together, home, and healthy this year. I am so thankful. Last Christmas we visited Jackie in the hospital, as she was just finishing up her first round of chemo. What a huge difference a year makes!

And… a sneak peek at gifts I’ve been making. I made these felted hot mats for my grandma, who doesn’t read my blog, so it’s safe to post here :)
I’m kind of in love with felting things lately. The one on the left came out a little funny, since I had to kind of make them up as I went. I really like how they came out though, and might be making a set for our table.

And tonight, we went (very spontaneously) to the zoo where they’re doing “Holiday Nights” this week. It was so much fun, and Seth got to meet “Santa” for the first time. Thankfully, he didn’t ask for anything he’s not getting :-P They had LED Christmas lights everywhere. Our zoo is very conservation-minded. We have a membership and we just love going and walking around as a family.

Tomorrow, Seth and I are heading to visit my family until the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Manny works Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, so our Christmas celebrating will be kind of odd and spread out. I’m really looking forward to it though, and I’m busy finishing up my last few handmade gifts! It looks like I’ll be sending out packages the Monday after- but better a little late then never, right?

I’ll be back in the morning with a yummy recipe!

December 18, 2010

Today I’m dreaming of…

by Hannah

A simpler existence.
One without complicated grown-up problems that I feel like I just can’t solve.

I’m dreaming of walking on the beach with my family, of taking time to shoot just for me, of reading books again, of just slowing down and focusing on what is most important to me, and letting everything negative just melt away, at least for a while.

I’ve been daydreaming lately about the perfect outdoor space. I picture a long wooden table to fill with friends and family, and strings of lights hanging. Mixmatched vintage chairs. A hammock, a play area for Seth, and a little herb garden. I love our little yard- and am so thankful to finally have a yard- but I do look forward to one that’s big enough to do a little bit more in.

I’m inspired by images like this:

via Style Files

via Little Lovely

via Dress Design Decor

via Apartment Therapy


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December 11, 2010

Decking the Halls {Part III- Giving}

by Hannah

I always stress a little bit over gifts for the holidays. I want each gift I give to be meaningful and thoughtful. If it’s not, I would rather not give anything at all. I rarely go to the mall for holiday gifts- if I can’t make something myself, then I look to Etsy or other unique shops. I look for handmade and/or earth-friendly gifts that will be useful to the recipient, and also within our budget. Kind of a tall order sometimes.

Without being too very specific about the exact things I’m making and giving this year {I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises!}, I wanted to share some ideas I am loving right now.

To Make

I am always inspired to break out the hooks and yarn at this time of year. I love to crochet gifts for people, and I always wish I had more time to do it.

I also love making beaded jewelry for the special ladies on my list.

Photo gifts are a great option that are personal and meaningful. Creating small scrapbooks and albums by hand, framing special images, or using websites like Shutterfly to create books, calendars and other merchandise are all great ideas.

Baked goods are another great handmade gift. I love to bake, and this year I am planning on trying my hand at a few new things. I love the idea of using healthier options like whole wheat flour, non-refined sweeteners, and organic ingredients. I’ll be posting about my baking adventures, with photos and recipes, soon!

To Buy

Here are just a few of my favorite gift ideas from Etsy right now….

for the photographer

Vintage Camera coffee bowls by AceroStudio

Plum paisley camera strap from emfalconbridge
{I have one of these straps and just adore it!}

Leather memory card holder from PorteenGear

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for the guys

World Peace t-shirt by rctees

Personalized silver guitar pick from andreaevansdesign

Recycled leather wallet from nicaeli

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for the ladies

Felted merino slippers from ing00te

Unlock Your Dreams necklace from bellawish

Long wanderer skirt from GaiaConceptions

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for the little ones

Natural wooden toy camera from littlesaplingtoys

Sign language “I Love You” teether from littlesaplingtoys

Fabric alphabet book from pilosale

Short sleeve toddler tee from makristababy

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for the home

Colorful felted pebbles from reyaveltman

Whales eco-friendly throw pillow from zenthreads

{shameless plug here :)}
2011 photo calendar from my shop- hmphoto

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for the pet lover

Hemp dog collars from TheModernPet

Custom dog tag from TheCopperPoppy
{these are so nice- we have one for Zeus}

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I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for gifts this year!
Now I’m going to get busy making things!

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December 2, 2010

Decking the Halls {Part II- Hanukkah}

by Hannah

Yesterday, for the first time ever, our little family celebrated Hanukkah.
We lit the menorah, and we talked about the history of this holiday.
We said the blessings (I stumbled over the Hebrew words, and then said them in English), and we listened to Maoz Tzur.
Seth opened a small gift, and Manny and I ate chocolate coins.

This is a tradition I wanted to include in our annual holiday celebrations, for a few reasons.
First, my ancestors were Jewish. For the last few generations, they did not practice the religion, but I grew up knowing that my grandfather was at least ethnically Jewish (and he did go to Hebrew school as a child), and that I had some Jewish blood. It always meant a lot to me, because I understood the Judeo-Christian connection.
I also believe that the Hebrew roots of Christianity should be recognized and celebrated. The two are so very intertwined, and knowing the early history of these religions adds a new dimension to all of it.
Finally, I want my children to grow up experiencing various traditions and knowing the meaning behind them.

For my family, Hanukkah will be about recognizing diverse traditions, celebrating the light in the world, and praying for peace. {And also, celebrating my love for latkes… :)}

November 30, 2010

Decking the Halls {Part I- Decorating}

by Hannah

I have been whipping up handmade holiday decorations in my spare moments over the last couple of days, and I wanted to share a few of them with you! We ventured into the attic yesterday and retrieved our boxes of ornaments, and our faux wreath for the door, which I decorated the first year we were married, as well as our stockings and some other things. I’m hoping to add lots of handmade things to our collection this year.

I found this great blog post about decorations made from simple white cardstock, on d.Sharp Journal, via Design Sponge. I love how my snowman garland and angels come out!

Also on Design Sponge, I found the instructions for these fun paper ornaments, which I hung from the chandelier above our dining table.

A few nights ago we went to CityPlace, where they have a giant Christmas tree and a train for the kiddos, which Seth thoroughly enjoyed.
p.s.- It was dark outside when I took these. I love my D700’s high ISO capabilities!

Yes, the holiday season has officially arrived, and I am loving it!

xoxo, h

November 28, 2010

Welcome Christmas

by Hannah

Wow. Suddenly I haven’t posted here in over a week. I feel like life just forced me to take a break.
I’ve been so occupied by the holiday, and work, and spending time with family. All good things.
It was a great Thanksgiving with my side of the family. Seth has been in a tough place due to teething and needs plenty of attention. I too have been in an emotionally tender place, probably due to Seth not letting me sleep as much as I need. Even without any cold weather, I feel winter coming. I feel the urge to bake and do crafts, and drink hot cider or tea, and cozy up with my loves. I want to hibernate. It always happens this time of year.
I’ve become more sentimental as I’ve gotten older, and I feel like I am enjoying the holidays more than ever this year. I was so excited for Thanksgiving, and now I am even more excited to get down to decorating for Christmas. I want to make a lot of decorations, and have been looking up tutorials online. I am also looking forward to baking for Christmas.
Seth is not two yet, but I want to start some new traditions surrounding the holidays. I want my kids to grow up with special traditions that they can look forward to and that will make this time of year even more meaningful to them.
I’ll probably post here and there this month about my holiday prep and ideas, along with more of my usual content. I am looking forward to catching up with work and taking some solid time off so I can start 2011 with a totally fresh perspective and enthusiasm for my business.

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