coffee or espresso is so easy to make! I do it every morning, and then just add foamed milk to make a
cappuccino. All you need is a moka pot or machinetta which works on the
stove top. For a cappuccino, all you do is add warmed frothy milk to the
espresso. My frother of choice is the Nespresso Aeroccino.
It heats the milk in it’s little thermos-like compartment and all you do is top of
1. Unscrew the base
of the caffettiera and take the coffee basket out of the base. Fill the base of
the caffettiera with cold water, ensuring the water level is just to the level
of the valve.
2. Fill the basket
to the top with ground coffee and use the back of a spoon to smooth the
surface, without pressing the coffee into the basket. Place the coffee basket
back into the base and screw the base back onto the caffettiera.
3. Place the
caffettiera over medium heat (a hotplate, or gas or electric stovetop is fine)
and heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the gurgling sound subsides and all
the coffee has risen to the top half of the pot. Don't put it over a high heat
as a slow extraction will yield a better result. When the gurgling noise stops,
immediately remove caffettiera from the heat (it should be about half-full with
brewed coffee). If you leave it on the stove too long, the coffee will boil and
may develop a burnt flavor.
4. Stir coffee with
a spoon and pour into warmed serving cups. This method makes espresso coffee
for 4. If you like weaker coffee, add hot water to taste. This is the way my mother and grandmothers always made their coffee too!
Framed succulents are the ideal focal point for a barren patio
or garden wall. I know there are many nurseries that sell similar arrangements to these, but they can be pricey. Have you ever thought about making one of your own? Here are a few guidelines for you, if you’re feeling crafty
enough to create your own succulent wall hanging.
Make or purchase an interesting wooden frame. With the frame still face down, you’ll want to use a staple gun and staple ½ inch grid hardware cloth to the back edge of the frame. Then attach a
¼ inch plywood backing to the shadow box with nails or
staple gun. Fill with soil over the hardware cloth and push soil through the
openings. Keep adding soil until it reaches the bottom of the wire grid. Lay
your project flat on a table.
Have your succulents ready. Choose varieties that stay small.
Echeveria, hens & chicks, and sedums are good choices because they’ll stay
tidy and compact. Limit your palette to three or four colors. Choose different
varieties of succulents within that color scheme and supplement with cuttings if you can.
Create movement of color through the display. If it’s a larger piece, you can give
your framed plants a focal point, such as a singular large floral shaped
Use a chopstick or pencil to push through one square of the grid
and into the soil. Place the stem of each succulent cutting into the planting
hole. Finish the look by tucking in smaller varieties after you've planted the larger ones. As the
succulents grow, they'll fill in bare spots. Keep the framed succulents flat
and in the shade for at least a week or two for the roots to establish themselves. Hang the frame on a wall with heavy duty
picture frame hooks and water about once a month, by laying it flat.
I am so happy to welcome spring this year, especially since it's the perfect time to work on new
ideas, rejuvenation, renewal, resurrection and regrowth. And of course the most glorious representation of spring are the beautiful flowers that explode this season. Take time this week to treat
yourself to flowers. Cut a few wild flowers or garden flowers or buy yourself a
little bunch of daffodils or daisies. Celebrate the season of rebirth!
After women, flowers are the most lovely things God has given
the world. --Christian Dior
Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless
garden when the flowers are dead. --Oscar Wilde
I am following Nature without being able to grasp her, I perhaps
owe having become a painter to flowers. --Claude Monet
such a treat to wake up to freshly-baked blueberry muffins on a Sunday morning!
They make the kitchen smell amazing and they’re the perfect little treat for
our morning coffee and tea. My favorite organic muffin mix is Cherryvale Farms
Blueberry Muffin Mix. All you need to add to this mix is a stick of melted
butter, a cup of fresh blueberries, and water. It all mixes up in a bowl in
less than three minutes and they bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
can also substitute coconut oil for the butter which I do occasionally. This time
I added the yummy butter, but I used about a half cup of coconut water and a
quarter cup of water in the mix for the liquids, just for fun!
you know me, then you know I really like
to change things up a bit each time I make them, but my favorite way to add a
real nutritional boost is to these muffins is to add a tablespoon or so of
Trader Joe’s Super Seed and Ancient Grain Mix. It’s filled with super foods
like quinoa, flax seed, chia seed and more! We also love adding this mix to
cereal, oatmeal and almost anything we bake here at home!
they turned out to be so delicious and soon after these photos were taken, my
family had already gobbled them all up! Look at these sweet and juicy blueberries infusing all their goodness into the muffins! Next time I think I’ll need to make two
now that we’re passed St. Patrick’s day, my focus will be on Easter décor. In
my collaboration with Oriental Trading, I’ve put together several fun and easy
Easter ideas for your table and more. This first one in the series is a sweet
little place setting that’s really a cinch to put together. There’s not much
crafting involved and these little guys will last at least a week or more, so
you can make them early and really enjoy them!
started with a set of these light colored ceramic mini flower pots and a dozen chocolate flavored bunny lollypops. These little flower pots are the perfect size and can
be used in so many different ways too! Now for something to put in these pots. My
favorite health food market, Mother’s Market, sells 4 inch pots of wheatgrass,
and they’re only $2. I also picked up a bunch of this small purple
flower. I’m not sure what it’s called, but any mini flower, like baby’s
breath, would be perfect. Each container of wheatgrass will fill 4 of these mini
flower pots. I just took the wheatgrass out of its pot, and using a serrated bread knife,
divided into 4 little squares that fit perfectly in each pot. All you have let
to do now is decorate with small flowers and your bunny!
sure to water the wheatgrass after a day or two and you may even have to trim
it a bit, because it grows so fast!
a glimpse of my tablescape with a few more elements added. This faux farmhouse table was a thrift store find at only $12. I had so
much fun distressing it and then finishing it off with some fabulous chalk paint.
And, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for my new Serena & Lily French bistro
“Riviera” chairs to arrive this week. I ordered them online, and they arrived so quickly! I love how they look with my little table and all the Easter
goodies surrounding them. Now I’m off to look for a few of my pretty vintage dishes that have that delicate spring look. You see, I’m working on another look
green and decorating with shamrocks are a given on March 17th, but the origins
of these traditions goes back hundreds of years with Saint Patrick. Saint
Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain
the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.
The earliest evidence
of this anecdote first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older.The color green has been associated
with Ireland since at least the 1640s and green ribbons and shamrocks have been
worn on St. Patrick's Day since at least the 1680s. Throughout the 19th and 20th
centuries, the association of the color green and with St Patrick's Day grew.
Here's something really interesting
to me... in Buenos Aires, a huge party is held in the downtown street of
Reconquista every St. Patrick’s Day, where the Irish community is the fifth
largest in the world outside Ireland. Irish emigrants arrived in Argentina mostly
between 1830 and 1930.
In fact, the Irish community in Argentina is
the largest in any non-English speaking country in the world! The
Irish-Argentines are still trying to keep the inherited traditions alive and
are working to rescue older traditions that have been lost over time. It’s
believed that there are over a million Irish descendants in modern-day
Argentina. One of their most famous orinfamousdescendant of the Irish is Che Guevara!
celebrate in many ways and the shamrock is still the most significant symbol of
Nancy’s garden is a tropical sanctuary, and as you can see, she pours her heart and
soul into here yard. The result is a peaceful and relaxing retreat, right
outside her doors.
here’s her darling little companion, Buddy enjoying the garden along with his
Also, don't forget to check out my newCiao Tablescapespage. It’s a collection of my favorite
tablescapes that I’ve created since starting my blog in 2011. I'll be
constantly updating thispagewith
new favorites, so check back often! If there are any holidays or themes you’d
like to see, leave me a comment! You can find the tab at the top of my
page or simply clickhere.
of my favorite French bakeries here in Newport Beach, C’est si Bon, has been
renovating their exteriors for the past few months to include lots more outdoor
seating, and a more garden-y outdoor space. Here’s a little peek at some of the
cool pierced metal and reclaimed wood planters that they’ve designed and filled
with succulents and some "Hot Lips" salvia, on the left. I love this look! And they’re so pretty up against the aged brick
are such a personal space, and whether you like to cook or not, it’s ultimately
the place where everyone likes to congregate. So today I’m wondering what your favorite kitchen style is. How
would you describe your perfect
kitchen? I’m sharing some examples of a few interesting ones I found recently. This
first one is Coastal Inspired. White cabinets, a hint of ocean blue, driftwood tones
and beach glass inspired lighting are some of my favorite elements here.
I love this Traditional Modern look. It has all the characteristics of a
traditional style, but is streamlined, uncluttered and elegant.
next style I’m labeling Eclectic Modern Farmhouse. It’s a little boho chic, with a
little nod to kitchens from the past. Gathered vintage elements combined with
modern amenities create a warm and cozy look.
best of both worlds, Coastal Farmhouse style! This home would fit in perfectly
near the beach or in the middle of a prairie, or for that matter, anywhere you
wish! The vibe of this style is easy, breezy, comfortable.
last style is hard to pinpoint with a name. Vintage Estate style
is what I come up with. Picture a stately old home with amazing details and
character, and then infuse modern luxuries. (This may be my favorite style!) You
can have the best of both worlds! And, oh that table! Who doesn’t love a good
old-fashioned eat-in kitchen? So
remember, let me know what your
favorite kitchen style is. It may not be pictured here, but I’d love to know!
spent part of the day today testing yummy cake recipe for Easter. For the cake
itself, I used Miss Jones’ Organic Vanilla Cake Mix, which is just as good as
making it from scratch, in my opinion. (Miss Jones' is available at Target.) To the mix, I added 3 eggs, milk and
melted butter. I then used a cookie sheet that was buttered and floured as my
baking vessel. I poured the batter straight on the cookie sheet. I’ve never
done this before, but I’ve seen it done on “Chopped” and other cooking shows. It’s
a great way to bake a cake fast! It was done in about 15 minutes. And when it
was done, the cake was about 1” tall. I let the cake cool for a few minutes
and then used a round biscuit cutter to cut out as many circles as I could from
the cake. I got about 12 cut, so that means I would have 6 little 2-layer cakelets
put these on a cooling rack and iced them with this amazing white chocolate
buttercream frosting that’s soooo easy to make! It’s just cream, butter,
powdered sugar and white chocolate (I used about ½ a package of Baker’s Brand
white chocolate chips). My neighbor Clare, who’s a fabulous baker and caterer
gave me this recipe, which she also tops with toasted coconut! I used organic, unsweetened
large flakey coconut and toasted it in the oven. I then finished the cakelets
off with 3 little speckled malted milk egg candies in a variety of colors. The
end result is adorable, and so delicious!! The sweet white chocolate frosting
with the toasted coconut is a divine combination! I will definitely make these again for Easter.
1 package (6 squares) premium
1/4 cup heavy cream OR: milk
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup confectioners sugar
1.Microwave chocolate and cream in large microwave-safe bowl on high
power 1-1/2 minutes, stirring halfway. Stir to melt chocolate. Let cool to room
temperature, 15 minutes.
2.Beat butter, sugar gradually into cooled chocolate on high speed
until smooth and fluffy, 2 minutes. Makes 3-1/2 cups.
3. Don't forget to add the toasted coconut flakes on top!
I invite you to stop by my newCiao Tablescapespage. It’s a collection of my favorite
tablescapes that I’ve created since starting my blog in 2011. I'll be
constantly updating thispagewith new favorites, so check back often! If there are any holidays
or themes you’d like to see, leave me a comment! You can find the tab at
the top of my page or simply clickhere.