Thursday, September 27, 2012


I have always been attracted to white.  I love white dishes because the food never clashes and a table setting can be created with just about any accent color imaginable.  We have our color phases, but as I look at the white possibilities in design, the kitchen accessories seem to call out to me.

I have a wonderful kitchen that was updated about 10 years ago.  I wanted pure divided light cupboard doors and knew that what was showing would always have to be in perfect
order and interesting in content.  While visiting a friend a few weeks back (and the first time in her home) I was blown away with her display of white in her kitchen. . .

Her collections of white, glass and pewter were beautifully displayed and easily
accessible.  I promise you that this picture does it NO justice!

I was inspired so much that I marched my little self home and when from a green
cubby to an all white cubby.  I loved it and realized I was long over due for
a change.  It is Fall afterall and I was beginning to NEST.

I have a lot of white and found it scattered . . . . so I gathered!

The soup tureen came home in my carry-on from France.
Silver birds keeping company with pewter seems to work very well.
The pewter revere bowl was a purchase from an estate sale
last year. . . . $2.00

More white, silver and pewter.

My Bridgewater Collection and a vintage pair of salt and
pepper shakers.

More silver, glass and white.  The dinner bell was made from my mom's
everyday silver.

An inspirational afternoon of playing house.

Have you been nesting?  Who has inspired you and what
have you done?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It was a Village Gardener event.  I was the co-chair of this event and we chose to have our first meeting of the year at the farm.  Trudi Temple's farm, Cherry Lane Farm to be exact.

It was a beautiful sunny day with not a cloud in the sky when Maria (my
co-chair) and I arrived before the members to make sure all was in place
and ready for our garden club's planned activities of the day.

Trudi greeted us with smiles and bouquets just picked from
her gardens as she helped create the fresh ambiance to her main
barn where we would have lunch.

What is it about a farm that is so nurturing to the soul?  It was quiet,
beautiful, simple and soul filled to be on this land again.  There was
something magical about this quiet venue.

Wide open spaces, gazebos, many, many gardens of various
proportions and ingredients, many barn buildings, stone benches,
picnic tables and places to sit, lounge and contemplate all that
is so comforting.  I must say, I am ready to be a farmer!!!

This is the most recently completed building and just like Trudi and what she
represents, all the building materials that were gathered were reclaimed.  All
of the windows are different and sometimes picked up curbside and stored
until there were enough windows to create this "workshop" for gardeners and
creative learning events.  Trudi calls this classroom Salvage Hall.

She learned about a log cabin that had been taken down and the owner
was going to chop up these logs for firewood.  HALT!  Could she have
them?  Sure, take them away!  That she did and had them installed
as her ceiling in Salvage Hall.  She then had them painted. . . .and the
look is GRAND!

This shiny copper pot held dried Annabelles that she had
recently arranged.

Collected quilts line the walls of Salvage Hall.

Lunchtime in the barn. . . . .

Antique armoires adorned with clippings from gardens
with a slight hint that Fall would not be far behind.

Trudi's main barn built in the 1800's

Jacquilan, our bread specialist for the day. . . . using only
organic wheat from a local farmer which results in a very
dense bread.  She provided the bread that was served
with lunch.

Amy Cox of the Urban Homestead provided a very tasty
lunch of fresh tomatoes, green beans from Trudi's farm, fresh herbs and greens,
sauteed yellow and red peppers which had been prepared with
a special vinaigrette made by Amy.  Organic and antibiotic free
chicken was an option with the salad.  Lunch began with cold gazpacho
that was to die for!!!  Dessert by Jacquilan, Carrot Cake that was all organic
made with applesauce and lots of carrots, very little sugar and topped off
with a warm organic honey mixture. 


A vintage wheel barrel

A symbol of the old schoolhouse.  As so many know, Trudi is the inventor
of Market Day in the schools.  She took her dream across the USA so she
could help schools make extra money.  The story goes.  .  .that one day her
daughter came home from school and said she needed to have her mother bake
for a school faire.  Trudi said, "I don't bake"  She eventually gave fresh vegetables
from her garden that were so well received,  they wanted more.  Frankly,
this is how Market Day actually began . . . . . and she began buying from farmers
directly and took her well received (on a small scale) vegetables and fruits to greater

Trudi provides so much aesthetically to so many.  A huge fire
pit with seating on all sides.  This would be an evening of
big skies, big stars and quiet soul searching to be sure.
A kind of "listen to the quiet" kind of night.

Trudi's gazebo . . . . looking up.

In the gazebo . . .a new find, the first MacDonald's furniture to
be used.

The Council Ring. . . the site for our wine box herbal plantings following
lunch in the barn.

 A true European glass dome just outside of Trudi's home.

All that is natural just outside her back door.

Two poured cement ends with natural beams at front and back
and voila . . . . . a great herbal  container garden!!

Our big hands on project of the day. . . . these wine crates were
filled with mushroom compost and rich black dirt.  We then planted
parsley, rosemary, garlic chives and sage.  Great herbs for Fall
food recipes.

Fresh basil in old zinc containers, , , just outside
Trudi's back door.

Part of Trudi's extensive birdhouse collection

Book signing with Trudi

A planted wine box ready to take home

As we pulled away from this magical day I was reminded that
tomorrow (today) was the anniversary of 9/11.  God bless the
families of those who lost their lives.


God bless Trudi for sharing her sustainable farm in rural Morengo.  She is
as unique as the farmland she lives on.   A very special and lady that I am
comforted to call my friend.


Sunday, September 2, 2012


It is a joy to have a son whose selected profession is a chef.  His mantra, fresh and organic.
We learned of the event we just shared with him, a few weeks ago.  It was a Farm to Table event held on the grounds of Round Barn Winery and Distillery in Baroda, Michigan.

The rows and rows of grapes were to be seen on the left as we
traveled down this promising country road that would feed us
for the day.

  Southern Michigan is gaining in popularity for the wine being produced and today we sampled quite a few wineries and the various offerings each vineyard had to share.

 It is quite obvious where Round Barn got its name.  Actually, I have never seen a round
barn before.  It was quite charming in its architectural statement. 

Roger (our son) asked us to get there early so parking would not be a problem.
We arrived and saw smoke billowing from the big white tents accompanied by fragrances
that promised an exciting afternoon of tastings.   As we approsched outside grills, firepits and smokers, each chef was putting final touches on his or her delectable selections that would be sampled when the crowd
arrived.  The atmosphere was in high energy mode with everyone making every minute count! 

Roger's sampling would be olive oil toasted baggette slices with mini
heirloom tomatoes, pork cheek slices with Pickled Green Bean
Panzanella with a corn vinaigrette.  It was amazing!!

He also served small slices of red and yellow watermelon that was
sweeter than sweet!!

His sampling table was what he is,  all fresh, fragrant, natural and appealing

The simplest of serving pieces when gathered together and not fancy,
can be so appealing.  Roger is putting his prepped pork cheeks into a hot
pan to simmer and meld flavors even more prior to the crowds arrival.

Showtime, the crowd gathers and a chef's chosen sampling gets sampled!!

The fresh herbs were a perfect addition to the plated sampling that
awaited you.

Background, right, is Rick Gresh of David Burke's Prime Steakhouse, Chicago.

Roger watching over his responsibility of providing the after party foods.  He
has roasted a pig many times in his career and especially for his fare at the
chef's Bar-B-Que, held on the grounds of the Green City Market every year
in July when 70-80 Chicago chefs and for a fee, provide food samplings
representative of their individual restaurants.  It is a 'sell out' every year.

The VIP tent was most inviting and cool compared to the other tents and
offered an antipasto table full of goodies. 

Handmade truffles of various flavors and shapes, including
salted chocolate caramels that were to die for!!

The chocolate apricot truffles topped with a sugared apricot were
also full of flavor.

The confections were those of Katherine Duncan opening her
candy boutique in Chicago in another week.

Rides were available throughout the day for families, children
or just anyone who wished to travel the vineyard.

View outside the wine barn.

Another Chicago restaurant, Markethouse, with a sweet potato
breadpudding that was quite special!

This sampling from Trenchermen restaurant was cool and refreshing
and delicious!!

Soaked and grilled corn all ready for the post party.

 We couldn't have had a better time at this Check Please sponsored event
The food was great, the venue superb and the people all enjoying many
chefs participating in their each and every individual way. 
If you ever have the opportunity to experience such an event, you will never
be sorry!  I promise!


If you wish to enjoy a wonderful dinner at SOCCA, he is open everyday in
Chicago,  at 3301 N. Clark.  A wonderful European atmosphere with food and
service at its best!  Ask for Mark to even increase your enjoyment at
SOCCA, certainly one of Chicago's best waiters!