Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Garden Fix: Sources of inspiration found (Isola Bella on Lago Maggiore in Italy)

Once upon a time there was a girl that traveled to to lake that divided Italy from Switzerland.
On that lake was an island that was once ruled by a noble family for many years.

On that island was a house (hmph) that the noble family lived in for many centuries.

Surrounding that house were extensive beautiful gardens.

Beautiful gardens that housed such exotic creatures as albino peacocks...

and enchanting statues...

and don't forget captivating views.

And then that girl came back home & used everything that she saw to use as inspiration in her art and jewelry.

So my gradmother's garden & greenhouse were nowhere near this grand, but all that time I spent with her either working on her flowers or crafts definately rubbed off on me. Oh, and if you're wondering where the pictures were taken - here you go: Isola Bella (fitting, "Beautiful Island") on Lago Maggiore in northern Italy bordering Switzerland. Links to more history & travel specific info here.

Hope you're inspired!
♥ -Kat.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Because you'd rather be... shopping: hats

Here are some great hats from katarinacouture on Etsy.
Very fun.....my hair's too long again to pull off hats. Winter waves be damned because I'm ready to be done with long hair for the time!


Sunday Treats: No fuss, free-form fruit pie recipe

 Easiest pie you'll ever make - rustic & casual, yet inviting (think La Madeleine country french cafĂ©)! I dug this from my stash of collected recipes of the years - this one is from Glamour magazine July 1996.

The picture is mine using very ripe plums, raspberries, blackberries, & peaches...this recipe is great for finishing off the fruit bowl. Still ripening fruit will produce a firmer & slightly more tart pie.

Fruit Pie
Refrigerated (not frozen) piecrust
Flour for dusting
Fruit filling (recipes follow)
1/2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Let dough sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a circle about 13" in diameter. Fold dough into quarters, then unfold it onto baking sheet or a 10" pie plate. Refrigerate fough while you prepare fruit filling.
Heat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from fridge. Arrange fruit filling evenly in the center of dough, leaving a 2" border fruit-free. Fold edges of dough up around fruit to form sides of pie. Pinch folds of dough to secure sides. Dot fruit in the center with butter.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until crust is lightly golden and fruit filling is bubbling. Cool pie 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Makes 8 servings. Calories per serving: about 270; Fat per serving: 13 grams

Plum-Berry Pie Filling
1-1/2 lbs ripe plums (or nectarines or peeled peaches)
1 cup mixed berries, such as blackberries, blueberries or raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Pit plums, nectarines or peaches and cut into 1/4"-thick slices. Place in a bowl with other ingredients and lightly toss.

Apple Pie Filling
1-1/2 lbs apples, such as Golden Delicious or Granny Smith
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Peel and core apples and cut into 1/4"-thick slices. Place into a bowl with other ingredients and toss.

***For my fillings I generally decrease the amount of sugar I use & add a tbsp or 2 of honey.
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