Sunday, September 30, 2012

Parmigiana de Poulet et Mon Sac de Pain

It all started out when I became frustrated by the paper and plastic bags
that encase the breads that I purchase. The paper bags work well for a short 
time, but then allow the bread to dry out.  The plastic bags seem to encourage 
mold and mold is icky!  What to do???

I found a vintage linen towel that I thought might be perfect for a 
bread bag.  I thought it out and created this ...

Mon sac de pain ~ or my bread bag.  I had an idea of what I wanted and
just went with it using the vintage linen towel and scraps of fabric and ribbon
and embroidery floss.  

Instead of making it narrow to keep just baguettes, I made it a bit wider to store
artesian style breads as well.

I served my bread with Chicken Parmigiana, tossed green salad, spaghetti dressed
with EVOO and crushed garlic.  

Chicken Parmigiana 
(Courtesy Southern Living  "Easy Weeknight Favorites" cookbook)

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1/2c Italian bread crumbs
1/2c grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, beaten
2 T butter or margarine
1 (14-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 c (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

Flatten chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper to
1/2 inch thickness.  You can use a mallet a rolling pin or a heavy skillet
to flatten the chicken.

Mix the seasoned bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Dip the breasts into
the beaten egg and then dip into the crumb and cheese mixture.

Melt some butter into a large skillet and add chicken.  Brown the chicken
over medium heat until golden.  Place chicken into lightly buttered 
baking dish.  I used an 11x7x1 1/2" baking dish.  Pour the spaghetti sauce
over the chicken and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cover with
aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven.
Serves 4

Bon appetit!!

I am joining ~

The weekend went by very fast didn't it Bentley???

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Special Message From Bentley to You

I am a lucky dog.  My Momma and Daddy love me.

I go everywhere with my Momma and I get to bring my toys along too!

I live in a happy cottage where I get yummy food every day.  I have a 
cozy little bed to sleep in (although I always cuddle up with Momma and
Daddy at night in their bed).  I can run around in my yard and bark at the squirrels or 
the cats who stop by.  I love the postman who comes to visit me!  I am one
of his favorites on his route.

I am an important member of my family.
But ... life is not always happy for other dogs.  Many are abused and neglected.
For these dogs and yes cats too, life is very sad.  My Momma told me about an
organization that helps these helpless and unwanted pets

Best Friends Animal Society  is a grassroots organization dedicated to caring
for pets that are unwanted or neglected.  Their mission is to reduce and hopefully
one day eliminate the huge number of dogs and cats destroyed each year in
our nation's animal shelters.  They have spent over 20 years working toward
this goal.

They are first responders in times of peril for animals like the time
hurricane Katrina left so many homeless dogs and cats alone, frightened 
and hungry.  

They have a wonderful sanctuary at Angel Canyon in southern Utah where
they care for lots of best friends in these special areas:

Cat World
Bunny House
Horse Haven
Parrot Garden
Piggy Paradise
Wild Friends 
The Clinic

   Here is a little pot bellied pig who is getting special care
at Piggy Paradise.   This should be of special interest to my friend

Thank you for reading my special message from me to you.  Momma 
says that you humans are to care for the animals because Our Lord says,

"For every animal in the forest is mine and the cattle on a 
thousand hills".  (Psalm 50:10)

By the way ~ Boo Boo bear is doing great and is climbing trees at the
sanctuary in McCall, Idaho and will be released into the forest very soon now!

Okay Momma, I'm all done now.  Can I go help Daddy drive the truck?

Not yet Bentley, you still have to tell everyone that you are joining these
fun parties ~

Okay Bentley, now you are finished!

Susan and Bentley

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Stash at Ash Tree Cottage

Here it is ~ the little cabinet where I stash fabrics, trims and ribbons.

It's not the only stash I have.  I have baskets full of fabric, buttons and more.
I am a material girl :-)

Cheery fabrics.

Buttons and bows and trims that make me happy.

And happy is my favorite way to be!

Trust me though ~ it's not always this neat!

Joining ~

I'm thinking that it's time for Momma to make you a new
quilt Bentley.  I know how much you like to be comfy!

Susan and Bentley

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Cozy Spot For Creativity

Ever since I was a young girl, I have always needed a cozy spot where
I could be creative.  As you have probably come to know, I am a
nostalgic girl who is most comfortable in an atmosphere with lots of 
vintage touches.  So I have carved out a little spot just for me.  My Mac
sits on another big desk, but this little desk cost me exactly $2.00 and I
love it!

This is how it looked before I tweaked it.  Dark brown stain, gouges in the desk
top.  Not a very pretty sight.  But I fell in love with those curved shelves.  I knew
I could store sketch pads and water colors on those shelves.

So I painted the desk a soft green.  I added things I use and
things I love.

Notebooks from France and sketchbooks stored in thrift shop baskets
sprayed in white.  An old chair with a vintage chenille seat cushion.

A place for me to work on the sketches for the book I am writing
and illustrating.  Can't imagine what the subject matter can be
can you???

Do you remember the lampshade I tweaked last spring?  It is
living happily in my creative corner now.

I am joining ~


I would ask Bentley to pose for me, but he is furious that there is a
cat next door who is taunting him from the safety of the other side of
the picket fence.  Wow is he ever mad!!!

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Being Dead Is No Excuse

I know you must be thinking ~ what is with that blog post title?
I have a reason for it ~ really I do!
I love cookbooks.  A few years ago I was reading only Southern
authors when I discovered this delightful book ~ Being Dead Is No Excuse
The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral.

These two authors, Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays have 
combined the perfect mix of storytelling, wit and recipes into a fun
read.  Go to the website Being Dead Is No Excuse for more info.

This is one of the recipes from their book that I highly recommend!  It comes
from the Viking Cooking School.  Since I have a Viking, I could hardly
wait to make this recipe.

It is sweet and has a very fresh taste because of the addition of the lemon zest
and the fresh parsley and garlic.

Positively yummy!

I laughed so much while reading this book.  One of my favorite stories is when they
discuss the women of St James' Episcopal Church:

"Ladies from the alter guild have been known to visit the Vatican only to sniff
'That's not how it is done at St James'."  So true!  I spent several years serving on the 
alter guild of St Michaels' Cathedral and I know how particular and careful
the alter guild ladies are to uphold tradition.  

Viking Tomatoes will be a great addition to your recipe file, so give it a try.
Check out a copy of the book too.  You will have so much fun
reading it!

I know Bentley, your Daddy is not a tomato fan, but we love them
don't we?

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, September 22, 2012

She Did What? And What Will She Do With It???

David wanted a job trailer and he found a really inexpensive one.  It's pretty rough,
but it was such a good deal that we could not pass it up.

I know that you must be thinking ~ "what will they do with that?"

I have plans and dreams for a perfectly wonderful job site office.  I am collecting
ideas.  We will paint the exterior and give it some style.  We will gut the
interior and give it new life.  The exterior will be David's baby.  He will have it
painted and build a little porch ~ but the interior ~ that's my job, and I am 
going to love it!

I don't have much space to work with, but I have big plans.  I want it to
be cozy and traditional. 

I will strip out the flooring and replace it with hardwoods.  I'll use lots
of deep jewel tones and hunting prints, David's humidor, his favorite golf
books, and a electric fireplace.  

I know that it's not the usual sweet feminine cottage style you expect from me,
but it gives my designer's heart a challenge!!

I am joining ~

Don't worry Bentley.  I will be sure to remember a cozy dog bed for you
and a barrel full of dog treats too!

Susan and Bentley

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Can Judge a Book by It's Cover

When I am not decorating, thrifting, cooking, crafting or playing
with Bentley, I love to make a pot of tea, find a cozy spot and curl up
with a good book.  

And if I don't like the book cover ~ I change it!  I cover it with a fabric fabric or
felt or pretty paper.  I covered one of those inexpensive memo books with felt
and inside it's pages I keep lists of the books I have read.

I do this for two reasons.  Firstly, it's a wonderful resource when I want to
refer a friend to a book I have really enjoyed.  Secondly, sometimes I forget
what I have read and will pick up a book that I have already read, so it's
nice to have a list.  Although I like to keep up with current authors, my
favorites are those from the Victorian Era.  I am always re-reading the Bronte
sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell and more.  A great resource for me is ~

The Victorian Web

So check out your library or a local bookshop.  Find a book that interests you,
enjoy a cup of tea, cocoa or coffee and turn off that TV for a bit.
I highly recommend it.  It's one of my favorite things to do!

I am linking up with these great parties ~

Pink Saturday
Favorite Thing Friday

Bentley loves it when I curl up to read a book.  He snuggles up
close to me and takes a nap.  Well, that is until he hears a squirrel or a
cat in the yard ~ then he is off like a flash!!

Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let's Have a Glass of Wine and Catch Up

So glad you could stop by.  Let's catch up.  I'm having a glass of red wine,
would you like some too or do you prefer white?   

See those big pine cones in the background?  I told you I was going to buy
them.  I hope that I will get to put them in our cabin, but I'm trying not to get too
excited about our cabin because the Wesley fire is not contained and continues to  
grow.  You can see the fire plumes from our property.  I am praying for rain!

Bentley is feeling much better.  He was so cuddly and sedate for one day.
I could hear little gurgling noises coming from his tummy.  I thought I would wait
and see if he got better before I panicked.  He is back to his old feisty self.  He's 
barking and playing and begging for treats.  I could not be happier.  

Several weeks ago I broke my big toe.  Wow did that hurt!   My toe is
healing nicely, but I have been favoring it so now the arch of my foot is 
strained and I have been limping a bit.  I'm really looking forward to 
wearing cute shoes and working out again.

My Mom is feeling fine.  I spent the afternoon with her.  We went through
her closet and decided what she needed for fall and winter.  There is a 
shopping trip in our future!

Now that the sun is starting to set earlier I want to eat dinner earlier and put on
comfy pj's and get cozy.  Does that happen to you?

David and I always laugh about how the evenings were just beginning for us at 8 PM when we were younger and now at 8 PM we are so happy to be at home and comfy cozy.
And we are not missing anything!  I never thought I would say that.  Did you?

That's enough about me.  How are you?  What's happening?

Bentley ~ I am so very happy that you are back to your playful,
fun loving self!!

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tweaking My Vintage Tool Box

This vintage tool box was filled with bunnies and colored eggs last Easter.

And it was filled with flowers, a trowel and seed packs this past

And now it's been tweaked for fall.

I am joining Brenda for ~

Tweak It Tuesday
Wow Us Wednesday

Bentley is feeling a little bit under the weather today and
does not want to leave my side.  His tummy is a little bit upset,
so he is getting lots of loving.  I think he is starting to feel better
though because he wanted to chase the broom when I went to sweep
the kitchen floor.

Susan and Bentley


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