Returning to the shops after having been away for awhile, there are always lots of new things that have arrived, so I am a bit like a kid in a candy store trying to find them all in the displays. Really quite fun! Many are edibles I found in SF at the Fancy Food Show awhile back. Others have a very Valentine bent to them. While others just caught my eye. Here are My Favorite Things Today.
Olivia sent me this photo when I was in New York of the front table at the Home store that she and Heather whipped up. It made me so happy to see all the pink & red goods and to know that the approaching Valentine holiday bug was in the air. I love this day dedicated to love. Such a nice time to celebrate those we care for–your spouse, significant other, family, friends, co-workers. We arrived back to Seattle last eve safe & sound. I can’t wait to head to the shops in a bit and see all that has arrived while we were away. More images tomorrow, for sure.
The yellow tulips a nod to Spring. What is it about yellow that is so happy/energizing? Our Hawthorne stay draws to a close as we fly to Seattle this eve. The yellow tulips more fitting than normal, as Spring-like weather in the upper parts of the Hudson Valley has produced very little snow. The light and days gloriously energizing. Flowers can often mimic the mood–they will usher in the beginning of a bright new week. Happy Monday all, in your perch of the world!
I am not a baker. Let me start off by saying this right off the bat. Mister Sive is the baker in the family, and I have and always will be quite happy about that. Baking requires measuring, which has never been my strong suit. I like pinches of this, a glug of that. The idea of making anything with yeast just makes me anxious. That is why I have great respect for bakers. But this banana bread is really the simplest thing, I just had to share. So few ingredients and so tasty. I was trying to recreate a banana bread with chocolate chips that is my absolute favorite thing I get at Cherry Street Coffee by the Home store in Seattle. I had bought a bunch of bananas in the city when I was at the show last week. A few made the trek up the Taconic. TPS was still asleep and I had a hankering for this bread. “I can do this,” I thought. A little searching around the web and pulling from a few things I saw and here is what I came up with. As stated earlier, incredibly simple stuff.
Turn oven on to 325 degrees and it will heat up while you get this put together. Mush up 2 to 3 quite ripe bananas in a good sized mixing bowl. To that add one egg, a cup of white sugar, and a 1/4 of a cup (which is half a stick) melted butter. Set aside. In another bowl, put in 1 and a half cups of all-purpose flour with a teaspoon of baking soda and half of a teaspoon of salt. Mix those 3 dry ingredients together. Now slowly mix the dry mixture into the banana mixer until full incorporated. My goal was to do this by hand and not a mixer as I was wanting this to be as simple as possible. Then mix in a cup of the best milk chocolate chips you can get your hands on. I chopped them up a bit, but now don’t think was necessary so won’t do the next time. It is ready to be put into a butter greased pan. We did not have a loaf shaped pan so I used a round cake pan. Use whatever you have/like. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
That was it. I by no means consider myself a baker but sometimes you just have to have a piece of banana bread with chocolate chips with your morning coffee and you do what you have to do to make that happen. Insert happy smile…
This week-end, take a moment and just stop for a second. Take a nice long breath in, and a nice long exhale out. Look around you at the details–of the wall, the flowers, the floor, the tabletop, wherever your eye lands. It will slow you down, center you, and put you right in the moment. Repeat as often as you like for a little refresher. The above one of those moments yesterday for me. I stood looking at this dreamy tin wall & ceiling for minutes, locked in the moment. It felt so good…
If you are not finding flowers to your liking, look in the produce aisle for a little dining table decoration inspiration. Lettuces, herbs and kales can make sweet arrangements all bundled up in place of flowers, for a powerful natural hit of inspiring green.
So much of the enjoyment of living part-time in another region is getting familiar with all the things produced in that area. Living in Washington, we are so incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by world class wine. While the Hudson Valley is known for its farms that produce some of the very best produce, meats & cheeses, the reputation of its wine is still taking hold. We were happy to find one of those wineries pretty darn close to Hawthorne. Ghent is smack dab in between Hudson and Chatham. Those are the two towns we head to for groceries, a meal out and shopping. We entertain friends and family quite a bit when we are here, so finding a white wine to serve to a crowd was at the top of my list. The Hudson-Chatham Winery Seyval Blanc fits the bill.
From the maker:
Seyval Blanc is the most popularly grown white grape in the Hudson Valley. A hybrid wine grape variety used to make white a variety of light wines, its vines ripen early, are productive and are suited to fairly cool climates. Seyval blanc is grown mainly in England. It has a characteristic citrus element in the aroma and taste, as well as a minerality. When done in stainless steel, it is very much like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. When done it oak it may be compared to white Burgundy.
This edition is made using a blend of our own estate Seyval Blanc and grapes from throughout the valley. Made in stainless steel, it is light, bright, and lemony like a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc. A lovely, refreshing light white. Great for sipping, but an exceptional table white ready to serve alongside fish, poultry, cheese, salads and soups. Hudson-Chatham Winery
Yes, that time again. Show time! An energizing round of days where product takes center stage. Well actually, where ‘finding’ it takes center stage. I have been so taken by all the details, such as the flowers, ephemera, artwork (I know–surprise, surprise) that many of the vendors have taken the time to add to their displays. It is what gives a booth, or a home for that matter, visual interest that goes deeper than just the things up on the shelves. I snapped away some of my favorite vignettes as well as things coming our way to WK in the months ahead.
Repetition often plays a key element in design. It can also feed into our rituals we in regards to our homes. It can be incredibly soothing, for both the eye and the soul. One of mine at Hawthorne is a single stem of hydrangea in the guest bathroom to the right of the sink. I just like the scale and the color of the flower in the room. I like washing my hands and admiring the bloom. Often, hydrangea have hits of blue and green going on. This room is the only space in the house that is not green. The previous owner had installed just the sweetest tiles in the floor with little blue rounds running throughout, and pulled the exact blue out for the wall color. We liked it all quite a bit, so it was the only room that did not get a splash of green. My point with all of this really is, if you find a spot you visually/emotionally enjoy a flower, place one there often. The amount of joy that will bring is pretty darn awesome.