Friday, May 29, 2009

Portobello Parmesan Recipe!!

Here is the promised Recipe!! Enjoy. I think I may make these tonight...

Portobello Parmesan
by Mollie Katzen
from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without
(Hyperion, 2007)
Makes 4 single or 8 shared servings

There are so many ways to use a portobello. This one can be a light main course if served whole, or a substantial appetizer or side dish if cut in half. Assemble the ricotta mixture while the mushrooms are cooking. After you cut open the tomato, hold it over the sink and squeeze out the juice and seeds before slicing it. Use a skillet with an ovenproof handle so this can go directly from the stove to the broiler. Make this dish just before serving — it tastes best fresh from the broiler.

4 firm portobello mushrooms (4-inch diameter)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium-sized ripe-but-firm tomato, thinly sliced
About 1 tablespoon thyme leaves (or about 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Remove and discard the portobello stems, and scrape out and discard the gills, being careful not to damage the mushrooms' edges. (Okay to leave a few gills around the edges to protect them.)

2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.

3. Lay the mushrooms cap-side down in the hot oil, and let them cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Turn them over and cook on the other side for 10 minutes, then flip them over one more time.

4. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, garlic, and mozzarella in a small bowl, grinding in some black pepper, to taste. Add about 3 tablespoons of this filling to each mushroom cavity (okay to do this while they are still in the pan, if you can), spreading it gently into place.

5. Arrange a few tomato slices on each mound of cheese and sprinkle the tomatoes first with a little thyme, then with a nice coating of Parmesan. Heat the broiler.

6. Place the pan under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the tops of the filled mushrooms turn a lovely shade of golden brown. (Watch carefully so they won't have a chance to burn, which can happen quickly!) Remove from the broiler and serve immediately

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rainy Day Projects

Well, here in the Boston area, we are experiencing some cold, rainy weather. Ugh. To pass the time, we have been doing some rainy day projects... J and C spent a good part of the afternoon writing with sticks dipped in food coloring. Seriously, this keep them busy for over an hour. And it wasn't nearly as messy as I was anticipating, although I am glad we covered the table with newspaper before hand!
They actually spent a good part of the time making different birds. Fun, fun! :)
Now my project. I was taking pictures of the boys room (you'll see them tomorrow) for my Friday Show Us Where You Live post and I realized that the boys have the last remaining piece of furniture from John's bachelor apartment. It will be obvious tomorrow! Anywho, the boys needed a new chair for their desk. I found this at a thrift store. It was only $20. Just in need of some paint. So that was my project. I painted the chair red, with navy finials and a navy star and all it needs is a gingham cushion (0n its way as I type).
Voila, new chair for the desk! (that still needs to be painted, but that is for another rainy day)
Be back tomorrow with the boys room (and maybe the guest rooms, since I didn't have my act together to post those last week!)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Book Group

Last night was bookgroup. What a great time we had!! There are eight of us, and we were all able to be there. We will have one more meeting before we take a break for the summer. Only "beach" reading for July and August!!! My friend Jess hosted, but at my house. Perfect! Especially since John is once again playing golf (I mean traveling) for work. Here is the dining room set up for dinner and discussion.
And we read this:

What a GREAT book. I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy a book written entirely of letters, but I really loved it. Let me know what you thought if you have read it too!

And book group wouldn't be complete without a wonderful meal! Jess made Parmesan Portobellos and they were SO delicious! The recipe is from Mollie Katzen's book "Vegetables I can't live without" I will have Jess email me the recipe, because these were SO good!!! We stayed up way too late and had such a great time. What a special treat!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Show Us Where You Live Friday -Children's room edition


Yay! Time for Show Us Where You Live Friday - Children's Room/Nursery Edition! No nursery here anymore, so here we have our boys room.

Come on in....if you dare! I think we have found the wizards castle..:) I don't have any "before" pics of this room. Just think flowered wall paper and bright blue wall to wall shag carpet!!! Seriously.

So, it really isn't that scary (well, sometimes it is VERY scary, but not today!) Here is the boys room. They decided they wanted to share a room about 3 years ago, and we haven't looked back since! Certainly makes it easier to travel etc.... This is the view when you walk in the door. (After getting past the wizard sign and all) I got this knock off PB rug at Overstock and it was quite a deal! The desk you see is a work in progress. I found it for $5 at a rummage sale and am slowly getting it works out great though. The boys share the middle drawer and then each have 3 drawers of their own. See yesterday's post for the new chair I painted for the desk! The beanbags get jumped on quite a bit....

ok, I couldn't take it anymore! I had to add this picture of the new chair. Big improvement! I am waiting for the navy gingham seat cushion to arrive.....
Whoops! Just noticed there is a picture missing from the boat frames....wonder where it got too??? I got white lampshades at Tarjay and decorated away! J's is wrapped with bias tape then ricrac and then I painted the J using acrylic paint.
This lamp base was my father's when he was a boy. I love that it is in the boys room, and fits with the decor too! ;) Again, just got the shade at Tarjay and painted his monogram on it! It could use a little more embelishment...
This is obviously Jackson side.... I painted the letters for them. They have to have some thing painted by their momma!!

and this is Chase's! (J likes blue and C likes red, so this color scheme works great!

I made these curtains when we lived in our old house and couldn't bear to leave them. That's why they don't really fit the windows, but I like them, and more importantly the occupants of the room really like them! The valances were fun, although I did get into a few fights with my sewing machine!

View from other corner of the room. I would still like to add crown moulding in this room (as well as all the upstairs rooms....someday....Chase just recently decided to sleep with his head at the opposite end than he used too...hence the sailboats going different directions! :) He's quite a character, that one!Jackson's footstool. He came up with the design, and I did the painting. What a good team! ;)
Thanks for touring! (I only wish it would stay this clean...)
I can't believe I originally posted this without a picture of these pillows (J has one monogrammed in navy) I ordered them from here. (She does fantastic work!!) :)
Please feel free to leave a comment, so I can visit you!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

A friend emailed this to me this week, and I thought it was fitting to post...
I hope all the mother's out there have a wonderful Mother's Day and to those waiting to be a mom, you are in my thoughts and prayers!

This is from Anna Quindlen:

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there some thing wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the, 'Remember-When- Mom-Did Hall of Fame.' The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pick up. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, 'What did you get wrong?'. (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get onto the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Show Us Where You Live Friday - Living room edition

Once again, I am participating in Kelly's "Show Us Where You Live" Friday. I LOVE this idea. I love to see other homes. The Kitchen edition was so much fun! And now I bring you to our Living Room. Again, we had do quite a bit of work on this space, so I will start with the before pictures...
They were taken in the midst of our "remodel" so all our furniture is in the middle of the room. We added crown moulding (with some help from an extremely generous local contractor!!) and painted. I had some window treatments made and we found two side chairs that work well with my grandmother's furniture. (I have posted on this room before, but I don't think we had found the chairs yet...). We moved our china cabinet from the dining room into the living room and then had fun accessorizing! I mostly repurposed things I already had, plus a few additions from Target and Brimfield antique market. Ok, without further ado....the after!

This is the view from our foyer. The room off to the right is our dining room.Our china cabinet. I actually do use our china! This cabinet works really well against this wall. It was my grandmothers.
I love this little arrangement! I absolutely love my window treatments!!! The two chairs are two of our dining chairs, but they fill this space well. I had the tea set, it was a gift a few years ago, and I never had a great place for it. Table is from the Brimfield Antique Show. I think it was maybe $25! And you can't see them, but the feet are metal claw feet that match our dining room table (which you will see when we get to the Dining Room edition!)
These are the two chairs we found. I love how they mimic the lines of my grandmother's sofa and chair, yet are more contemporary. The lamp is from the Christmas Tree Shop! J gave the nautical chart to John as a gift and the colors match the new colors in our living room and its HUGE so it works great on that wall.

And finally, a picture of our china. I have Lenox Liberty. After 10 years of marriage, I still love it.

OK, on to the family room! Of course, keeping to tradition, here are the "before" pics.
We had literally just moved in, hence all the clothes on the couch! (notice my husbands embroidered pants there??)
Lots of great storage, but SO dark...
And the "After" (really just about 3 gallons of primer were used in this room alone!!) The same wonderful seamstress made these treatments that made our living room window treatments.

This (above) is the view looking in from the kitchen

View from foyer - So my big question (and never ending debate with John!) is: Do we paint the brick or not paint the brick???? Please give me your opinions!

I found these Ball Jars at Brimfield (LOVE that place....anyone want to go next week???)
Just a beachy grouping...

I made this Nantucket basket for my wedding (along with 5 smaller ones for my brides maids.) We all carried our flowers in them and they were my gift to the bridesmaids. For some reason, I haven't made another one since!!!!

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Kitchen - Part of Show us where you live!

Kelly over at Kelly's Korner hosted a Show Us Where You Live Friday Carnival and even though I am a tad late, I thought I would show you all my kitchen! (and I am ready for the Living Room edition this Friday!)
This is our kitchen a few weeks after we moved into our house (built in 1969) We had already replaced the fridge and replaced the carpet (yes, carpet!!) with wood flooring.


(I just realized there is stuff everywhere! We were still in the process of moving in!)

And AFTER......

We had the cabinet doors painted (and painted the rest ourselves). We extended the counter at by the stove so the boys have a great place to eat breakfast, we replaced the stove, and got rid of the ugly hood. Unfortunately, last summer a bathroom upstairs leaked into the kitchen, but fortunately that meant we got to replace the ceiling (no more popcorn!) and add some recessed lighting and the pendants over the stove. I have to say, now I LOVE my kitchen! Oh, and we covered the "island" with beadboard as well as the soffit over the cabinets. We live near the ocean, so we have tried to have a bit of a beachy theme throughout the house.
Looking in from the dining room
my cake plate that was a gift from John and next to that, our fish, Wakefield. (who is 4 1/2)
How I make sure we are where we need to be! This is a life saver!
I have found these copper tea pots at various places. One was even trash picked! I love the plate above, it is from the late 1800's and has a picture of Nantucket on it. And the poem underneath, it is a verse (underneath the "Love") from Corinthians that we had read at our wedding. It was painted by Jen at Laineybug Creations. It is a great reminder to me just about every day!
This is a calendar that I get from Santa every year for Christmas. It is Susan Wallace Brown. I love it. (thanks Santa!!)
My favorite part of our kitchen in this rug. We got it at Claire Murray on Nantucket this past fall. It is a scene of town and the harbor. The only downside is that it is under my kitchen table! I really love it though! Thanks for visiting! Looking forward to having you over again on Friday to see my Living Room. :)