Sunday, December 30, 2012

Stracotto…ring in the new year…

::Nothing rings in the new year quite like a hunk of meat::
Hearty…fills the house with the warmth and flavors of Italy…on a cold day…
Stracotto….simply means cooked loooong. Luxuriously long.
Add it to pasta…pappardelle I love cipriani brand…if you are splurging.
From The New Basics Cookbook,by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds beef bottom round roast
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery (I used a fennel bulb  instead)
4 cloves garlic, slivered, plus 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup homemade beef stock or canned broth
1 can (28 ounces) plum tomatoes, drained (I didn't drain the tomatoes)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 pound penne or pappardelle
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the pot roast and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan, and set aside.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, and slivered garlic and sauté until soft, 10 minutes. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
Set a rack in the bottom of the pot and place the roast on top. Pour the stock into the pot. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. (Instead of a rack, I put the stalks of fennel under the roast.)
Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
Remove the roast and the rack from the Dutch oven, and cut the meat into 1/4-inch-thick slices (they will be quite rare). Return the slices to the pot, layering them evenly.
Crush the plum tomatoes slightly, and add them to the pot along with the tomato paste, the 1 teaspoon minced garlic, pepper, salt, thyme, bay leaf, red wine, and reserved vegetables. Bring to a boil, tranfer to the oven, and bake, covered, until the meat falls apart, 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the meat and bay leaf from the pot, and allow the meat to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaf. Shred the meat and return it to the pot. Add the parsley, and heat through.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook at a rolling boil until just tender. Drain.
Serve the stracotto over the hot pasta.
stracotto paapardelle
And welcome in a new year….2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Quick escape before 2013 begins…

….Dream with me for a moment

will you?

Let’s pick a quick escape…before the New Year begins….The last of 2012. As it were…


…Maybe to the Auberge du Soleil…in California's wine country



This 30 year old  ‘Inn of the Sun’

shines when it comes to the lovely art of relaxation


Or perhaps you would prefer the Rosewood Hotel

in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


In a city the color of it’s sunsets…




Or off to Aix-en-Provence, France…for a minute

at la Villa Gallici





Where would you toddle off to?


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It was a wonderfully exhausting day…




For SOME of us.

fa la la la laaaa la laa laa laaaaa.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The colors of Christmas…

Always stun me.


Here, in this land of change and chance…I mean, c’mon, Christmas should be chilly

even cold. No? Maybe cloaked in red and green.

When else do we have permission to light fires, drink hot cocoa?


But EVERY year in this little piece of paradise… I am reminded of the quiet beauty

That is a tropical Christmas.

Bromeliads blooming…just now. Especially now. Fuchsia and purple.

I call them my Christmas Bromeliads.

They are resplendent in color.

Parading. Curling. Begging us to notice.



While we have been busy with shopping, and parties and life… and whatev…. We may very well not notice…

They are low, inconspicuous.


But so so stunning. Kick you in the shin, look at ME stunning.

I love being reminded to look…like I was today. I as ran to my Mom’s looking for cream of tartar.


And it also makes me realize why our Christmas is full of the BRIGHTEST Pinks and purples.






Merry Merry ChristmasIn all of it’s colors.

To you….and to Yours!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It is a simple Christmas at our casa this year…

I’ve somewhere lost my Christmas decorating mojo.
Sad but true.
But it is all the other  things which  are important in these days…
::keep your family and friends close::
Essentially we just draped lights everywhere.
Happy Heartfelt Sunday.
:: you will find WAY more inspired Christmas decorating at Melisa's and Angela's blogs ::

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tropical Christmas peek…

Keeping it simple…collected shells
and pink ornaments…
A coconut from a nearby tree…
Painted gold….
c’mon…someone had to do it.
More this weekend.
Happy Happy Joy Joy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012



Pantone color of the year for 2013
Emerald Green
Pretty enough. No?
Apparently…when the color was developed it was made with poison arsenic

Brief description of Emerald green:

It's a poisonous copper-acetoarsenite developed in an attempt to improve Scheele's green in 1808 and commercially availble from 1814. This became known in England as emerald green, and for a time it was the finest green pigment known, rapidly displacing Scheele's green.Unusually it has a brilliant blue-green to green colour with fair hiding power. Unfotunately, it is also chemically not stable and very poisonous and therefore was used just until ealry 1900s. Because it was quite cheap to manufacture, emerald green was used not only as an artist’s paint but as a household paint: it was widely used on patterned wallpaper. This made damp rooms death traps, and in the 1860s the British Times newspaper expressed alarm about the possibility that young children were being killed by the deadly fumes emanating from their bedroom walls. It is believed that Napoleon’s death in exile on St Helena was hastened this way. It can be seen more in watercolour medium particularly sea and landscapes.
Not this kitty…..
Eh. Works for us.
all images from pinterest...except our yard. Click on the earrings image if you want it in YOUR stocking

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our ‘lovely’ home….

Doesn’t everyone have a Great Dane kitchen in their
family room?
Carry on.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Off to the races…sorta kinda

Down to South Florida

for a show with the youngest…


Life tends to move faster there.

Have a beautiful and eventful weekend!




Christmas tree on Sunday.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bits and pieces….

Little bits of Holiday decorating this weekend
The bromeliad flower below
looks like a teensy Christmas tree at the sink…whoville
and if I squint real hard….the tiles look like snow….
Lanterns hung and lit outside
Limes…gathered in silver with palm seeds
And the best most prolific decoration…
IMG_0098 Another beautiful day
Enjoy YOUR weekend.
See much more Christmas inspiration at Cottage Magpie and Songbird


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