The gift of giving

Posted in Faux Fashion, Food, Garden, Home on December 13, 2009 by aouten

As it is with fine food, presentation is a critical component of gift giving.  It excites the senses and, frankly, gives you a bit of a reprieve when it comes to the actual contents within.

My girlfriends gushed over these little boxes I gave them last night.  They’re adorable!  Inside was about $15 worth of lip balm and a hand-painted magnet, both from Anthropologie.  It’s my favorite place to find trinkets and treasures, especially if you’re a frequent visitor and can take advantage of their deep discounts.

Another great and practical gift is this awesome reusable grocery bag by Ityse (it comes in a compact carrying case with several other bags).

Not only are they stylish, practical, washable and strong,  they’re also made in the USA…in fact Ityse contracts its production with Oregon Corrections Enterprises (OCE). OCE provides inmates with skills to enhance their opportunities to secure employment upon release.

A large percentage of wages earned by the prisoners are returned to the community in the form of payments to victim’s restitution and child support. OCE is NOT funded by tax dollars.  Cool, huh?!

And, for the gift that keeps on giving, I have to give a shout out to my favorite farm friend, MaryJane Butters.  Her magazine is gorgeous and professional, yet as homegrown as it gets.  MaryJane takes the majority of the beautiful photographs on her organic farm in Moscow, Idaho and works with her small, smart, resourceful staff to create a conscientious, clever and creative magazine low on advertisements and high on content.

And, I’d be remiss in not mentioning Ree!

“The Pioneer Woman Cooks; Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl” is delightful new cookbook.

Ree Drummond has parlayed her incredibly popular blog into an incredibly lucrative publishing career.

“I’m the wife of a rugged cowboy. I’m the mother of four spirited children. I have horse poop on my porch. I’m Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman. You can read more about my adventures, my cooking, and my photography on my crazy website.”

Her self-deprecating humor makes her lovable, her talents make her marketable, and her country cookbook makes a great gift!


Simple pleasures

Posted in Food, Home on December 11, 2009 by aouten

I have the day off today. 

My modus operandi is to plan for every vacation day I use.

Typically that means taking big chunks of time and traveling (which I plan to do the last two weeks of the year).  But, today, I went way out on a limb and decided to simply slow down!

I got up early (not a big sleeper-inner), made a to-do list and set about executing the perfect day off.  The first stop; my local Co-op…the first purchase; coffee and croissant (from my favorite French restaurant Cafe de Paris

This, alone, set the tone for my day.  A productive, slightly indulgent, very intentional day off!

Just in time!

Posted in Garden, Home on December 8, 2009 by aouten

I lamented earlier about my resistance to raking leaves.  Well, it seemed I’d put it off as long as nature would allow.

The air was feeling less like fall and more like winter.

So, I enlisted a little help from my Faux Farmboy and his trusty dog, Sage.  Under the guise of “blog documentation” I managed to escape the vast majority of work by hiding behind my camera.

Turns out my internal clock was correct. 

I awoke the next morning to 3″ of fresh fluffy snow on the ground…which has now remained on the ground all week in our freezing cold temperatures.  The leaves would have been a lost cause!

Here’s to the transition of seasons and to my perfectly timed procrastination!

Rise and shine

Posted in Home on December 4, 2009 by aouten

I don’t have roosters, nor snuffling pigs, nor mooing cows, nor neighing horses.

But, even from my urban abode I can enjoy my room with a view

and rise & shine on Mother Nature’s cue.

Morning view from from my bedroom window.

Faux Shizzle!

Posted in Faux Fashion on December 4, 2009 by aouten

City Slicker sh*t kickers!

I just bought these super shiny shoes at a consignment store in Eagle, Idaho.

If this isn’t a righteous reason to embrace recycling…then I give up.


Posted in Food on December 1, 2009 by aouten

Day #2 in the at-home infirmary.  I thought about going to the doctor, but decided to make some soup, instead.

As you will come to learn…I am the Great Saver of Food!  I hate seeing food go to waste!  I’m the Queen of leftovers and not shy about stealing my friend’s doggie bags if they’re not taking them to a suitable, food-loving home.

Since I wasn’t presentable to the outside world, I knew I’d have to make due with what I had.

And…this is what I had.

Thanks to Thanksgiving, I had leftover turkey, beans and stuffing.  In the cupboard I had wild rice…in the fridge some herbs and cream…and, in the freezer about 2 cups of homemade chicken consomme.

The recipe below was my inspiration for the soup, but it is such a forgiving recipe that I only used 2 of the 13 ingredients it calls for…so it’s a very loose interpretation.

I did not use: pancetta, mushrooms, butter, carrots, cellery, shallots, flour, turkey stock, rosemary or corn.  Instead, I thawed my consomme, added my turkey, green beans, stuffing and about a cup of leftover squash bisque that a friend brought me (that also allowed me to cut down on the cream).  I then added just enough water to cover everything.

In a separate pan I cooked the rice.  Once it was done, I put the rice in the soup pot and added a little cream.  It was as delicious as it was resourceful.  Plus, I did a masterful job cleaning out the fridge!!

Soothing a sore throat

Posted in Food on November 30, 2009 by aouten

Dang it!  Home sick with a sore throat.

I’m already a big tea drinker, but when I get a cold or sore throat I practically drown myself in cups of hot tea.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a snob.  I buy the expensive, organic, loose blends at my local Co-op, but I think there are healing powers in even the most crushed up commercial tea bags.

The added ingredient for my home remedy is honey.  I bought this jar from Harvard Honey Bees in at a Farmer’s Market in Moscow, Idaho.  I don’t normally add sweeteners to my tea, but, in this case, I think it helps deliver a one-two punch…especially if you lick the spoon!