Friday, February 1, 2019



3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 2/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large handful (or whatever amount you like) fresh cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 81/2 by 41/2 inch loaf pans, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine pumpkin puree and both sugars.  Mix on med. until well combined.  Add eggs and oil, mix until combined, scraping down the bowl.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour.  Gently stir in cranberries with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Place the pans on a baking sheet.  Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans and cool completely.


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 cup good orange marmalade
  • 1 generous handful of fresh cranberries, cut in half
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 small orange, sliced thin, seeds removed
Preheat oven to 350.  Cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and egg, beat until smooth, then add dry ingredients except nuts and cranberries.

Set aside approx. 3/4 cup of the dough and press the rest evenly into a 9 inch pie pan.  Spread the marmalade over the top.  Add the cranberries.  Mix the reserved dough with the nuts and oats and crumble it over the top.  Decorate the tops with the orange slices.  
Bake until lightly browned on top, about 40 minutes.  Let cool, then cut into wedges.

Friday, January 25, 2019


Dear friends, I must apologize for the lack of photos this week.  Either I am having a bad day, or my computer is.  Let's blame the computer, shall we?


  • 2 small tangerines, cut in half, then sliced thin
  • 1 whole head of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (or more, because it's pretty!)
  • 1/2 lb manchego cheese
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese
In small saucepan over med. heat, cook the tangerines, garlic, and OO, until garlic begins to turn golden, 10 minutes.
Put in med size bowl and allow to cool.  Add rosemary, salt and cheeses and gently toss to coat.   Cover and chill for 12 hours to 3 days.
Good luck with that last part!  We ate ours right away, and it was awesome!

  • 1 small package country ham pieces.  ( I found this in my local Kroger with the other country hams.  It was much less expensive than the country ham slices)
  • 1/2 cup butter, or 1 stick
  • 2 cups self-rising southern flour
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk
Cut away the fat from the ham pieces.  Cut into a small dice. Set aside.
Cut butter into flour.  Add diced ham.  Add buttermilk.  Stir until just moistened.  With a rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times.
Flatten to about 1/2 inch and cut out biscuits.
Place biscuits on greased cookie sheet, allowing them to touch.  Brush tops with melted butter or buttermilk.  
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Cranberry-Grapefruit Muffins

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 ruby red grapefruit, sectioned and membrane removed
1/2 cup frozen whole cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with non stick oil.
In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, up to, but not including the sugar.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.  Add sugar, oil, and vanilla.  Cut the grapefruit pieces into small chunks, add to egg mixture.  Add the four mixture, and stir to combine.  Fold in the cranberries, using a rubber spatula.
Divide the batter among 10 greased muffin cups.
Bake until golden brown, approx. 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  
Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
If desired, ice the muffins tops with whipped cream cheese and decorate with cranberries.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Recipes of the week

3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 scant cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons salad oil
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped dried papaya
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift together dry ingredients.  Combine egg, milk, and oil:  add to dry ingredients, stirring just till moistened.  Stir in fruit and nuts.  Turn into greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees about 1 1/4 hours or till done.  Remove from pan; cool on rack.

Gluten Free Drop Biscuits
1 3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick cold butter, grated with a cheese grater
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. each, garlic powder, onion powder, sesame seeds, poppy seeds

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add grated butter. With clean hands, mix the butter into dry ingredients making certain all pieces of butter are coated with flour mix.  Make a well in center of dry ingredients and pour buttermilk into well.  Using a rubber spatula, gentle incorporate the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed, adding more buttermilk if necessary.
Mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, and seeds in a small bowl.  Add half of the spice mix to the batter.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet.  Using a small ladle, place scoops of dough onto sheet.  Brush the tops of the drop biscuits with buttermilk, the sprinkle with the remaining spices.
Bake at 425 degrees for 17 minutes.

Thursday, January 3, 2019


Welcome back to my blog.  It's been a while, and I admit that I have forgotten quite a lot about how it's done.  Please be patient with me, as I relearn.  Also, I need to apologize for the poor quality of theses photos....something else I seem to have forgotten how to do!
This is the finished product.  As you can see, they are light and fluffy, but the cheese decided to escape from the sides!
As promised on instagram, I will be walking you through the process of making these stuffed biscuits.  I will include the recipe at the end of the post.

This is my preferred brand of flour.  Use the flour of your choice, however, I definitely recommend using a southern (or winter wheat) flour, which will improve the lightness of your biscuits.

I have recently discovered the ease of shredding my butter into the flour, rather than using my pastry knife.  Obviously, your butter will need to be cold enough to shred, in fact, you can take the butter right from the freezer!

Once I had my biscuit dough, I divided it into two equal parts, and shaped each into a round of equal thickness.  

Placing the cheese blocks on the round of dough.

Covering the bottom round, and cheese, with the top round of dough. Then feeling for the blocks of cheese, (awkward!) I used my biscuit cutter to cut my biscuit shape.

When all biscuits were cut out, and placed on my greased cookie sheet, I generously brushed the tops with buttermilk.
Recipe for Cheesy Stuffed Biscuits.

1/2 cup (one stick) cold butter
2 cups self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
12 small blocks of cheddar, or cheese of your choice.

In a wide shallow bowl, measure two cups self-rising flour.  Using a cheese grater, or pastry knife if you prefer, grate one stick of butter over the flour.  With clean hands stir the butter around so each piece is coated with flour.  Add 3/4 cups of buttermilk, and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms..

Sprinkle a clean cutting board with flour and tip the dough onto the board.  With clean hands, knead the dough five or six times, until all flour is incorporated.  Form the dough into a ball, and with a sharp knife, cut the  ball into two equal halves.

With hands, or a rolling pin, roll out each ball of dough into equal sized rounds, approx. 1/4 inch thick.  Place two blocks of cheese on one of the rounds (refer to photo for placement), then cover with the other round, gently patting with your hands.  After feeling for the placement of the cheese, cut out biscuit shape, keeping the cheese block centered in the biscuit cutter. Roll up the leftover dough and repeat until all dough is used.  Whew, still with me?

Place biscuits on a lightly greased cookie sheet, allowing biscuits to touch.  Brush the tops with buttermilk and bake in the preheated 400 degree oven for 15 to 17 minutes.

I know this sounds a bit complicated, so please don't hesitate to ask for guidance.  

The end result, was a light fluffy delicious biscuit with a center of gooey melted cheese!

My finished biscuit.  Next time, if there is one, I'll use a much larger block of cheese.  The end result was not as cheesy as I had hoped. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Cheesy Green Onion Cornbread

As promised, Cheesy Green Onion Sour Cream Cornbread.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 15 oz. can cream corn
  • 1 small bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbs. dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 oz. sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 6 oz. pepper jack cheese, grated
  • 1 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 vegetable oil, and more for the pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs in large bowl.  Add all other ingredients apart from one handful of grated cheese.
Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until done.
Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Master Biscuit Recipe


Master Biscuit Recipe

  • 1/2 cup cold butter (one stick)
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
Measure flour into large bowl.  Cut cold butter into flour using a pastry knife or your fingers until it resembles corn meal.
Add buttermilk to flour and stir until just moistened.

Tip onto floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times.
Roll to inch thickness and cut into biscuits.
Place on lightly greased cooking sheet.  They should be touching.
Cook at 400 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. 
Brush the warm tops with melted butter if desired.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Thought I would share a new playlist for 2018 we put together on Spotify, in case you need an dose of optimism for a kickass year. I had a lot of fun putting it together. Still needs some editing, but it's definitely trending with 6 followers and counting! :) Here's the link in case you want to give it a shot:

Mojo Mix Link

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Human Cameleon - Bodypainting Camo as a Muse for Design

And NOW for something completely different. 

I love waking up to an idea and researching things as muses for design. Research is fun, at least to me, when it involves the visual and art and design. 

Who knows where it may lead? In this case, I was thinking of Suburban Camouflage as an alternative to the military or hunter variety. The art is amazing, and there are bodypainting competitions as it turns out. Hope you enjoy the photo essay. Braxton


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Why we love Colonial Williamsburg.

Definitely check out Pierce's Pitt Barbecue.  It's the best I've ever had and I know a few things about good bbq.
Braxton and I had the pleasure of living in Williamsburg Virginia for the first year of our marriage while he was finishing his studies at the College of William and Mary.  Years later, our youngest went to W&M, and we rediscovered our love for it and have been regulars ever since.  I'm going to keep this post photo heavy, but if you have any questions about traveling to W'burg.....where to stay, where to eat, what to do...I'm here for ya!  

Get off the beaten path.  The last time we were there we went the length of Duke of Gloucester Street by walking only through the gardens.  Every garden is fenced with a gate to the next garden so you can avoid the tourists on DOG street and enjoy the beautifully tended landscapes.

Williamsburg is considered a "living museum" which means there are costumed actors who drive the carriages, work in the shops and taverns, or just stroll down the street ready to answer any questions.  Definitely photo ops galore.

The cemetery at Bruton Parish Church.

Everywhere you look there are charmingly tiny houses with the prettiest gardens.  If anyone is interested in the small house movement (B and I sure are) there is so much inspiration here.

Sheep, horses, and oxen, oh my!

This room, at the Williamsburg Inn, was apparently not part of the recent renovation.  Whew.

So much brick here!

The lovely gates which lead from one garden to the next.

The Christopher Wren building on the campus of William and Mary.  There is some question as to weather or not Sir Wren actually designed this beautiful building but it's definitely a favorite of mine.

A gorgeous colonial staircase in the Wren building.  I'm not certain every tourist knows that this building is open to the public.  They still have classes here but it's perfectly acceptable to quietly explore.

Our stay in CW always includes drinks and snacks in the bar at the Williamsburg Inn.

Prior to the recent renovation the bar had a clubby feel.  The furniture was upholstered in the most buttery soft leather, the walls were dark, there was no wallpaper and the room was lined with beautiful architectural drawings.  Here it is post renovation.  Hmmmm.

The lobby of the Inn where they seem to have redistributed some of the old portraits and art work.
Thanks for sticking with me.  It was definitely a long post.  Y'all really need to come visit colonial Williamsburg Virginia.  Any questions?


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Zero to Hero - Old Hollow Core Door Makeover

Before                               After
We were orignially going to replace all the ugly hollow core doors in the house, but we decided to save money and do an extreme makeover instead, creating beautiful faux captured panel doors.

The plan was to fashion panels out of moulding, top and bottom to keep it simple, and paint the doors gloss black with good Benjamin Moore paint, and add Baldwin Brass hardware, including hinges. It turned out perfectly, and was good recycling. I hated the idea of all those doors going to the landfill!

Back of door - also a mess! Our girls are artists, and this Studio door shows it. We ended up having little fingerprints all over the house, but this door got the worst of it.

 The Project Begins...

First remove the old hardware. The hardware was ugly and paint covered. Upscale hardware will be the jewelry of this door, and will add some sparkle and really make a big difference!

Next we are going to mark the locations for our woodwork to create the faux panel effect:

I used a combination square set at 4" and marked around all the door edges, sliding it and marking it with a Sharpie as it moved, but you can mark your 4" with a ruler or measuring tape and connect the dots with a yardstick if you like.

 I suggest you use a pencil and not a Sharpie (my mistake) for marking unless you paint the door black, otherwise the Sharpie will bleed through your paint over time. Lesson learned! Once it bleeds through, it's very challenging to cover it up! It just bleeds through the second and third coats until you get ticked off and you hit it with some Kilz primer, and even then... Fortunately, we had always planned for these doors to be black, for a luxe effect.

If your door is still hung on the frame like mine, you will need to use a tape measure to mark 4" from the right and bottom sides of the door, and connect the dots with a ruler. 

To mark where the middle moulding will go, center the tape measure with the #2 in the center of the doorknob opening, and mark 2" up and down from there on the pencil line to create a 4" center rail. If you are a little off, no big deal, nobody will notice. 

Measure the middle woodwork marks you just made, and transfer those marks to the right side of the door. 

Connect the dots left and right to show the middle woodwork locations. The lines should be 4" apart.

The finished woodwork markings should look something like this. The moulding will  fit inside these frames, so the lines indicate the outer edge of the woodwork we will tack onto the door.

Measure your lines. The shorter horizontal pieces will be the same length top and bottom, the vertical pieces will be different lengths top and bottom. I made a quick diagram of the measurements so I could cut the molding correctly, showing the 45 degree angles of the cuts. 

Using your combination square, mark the location and angle of the cut you want to make, and check it against your diagram to get the cut right. Measure off and mark the length you need, in this case 22" from sharp tip to tip (outside thicker dimension). We want the pointed ends of the cut molding to fit just withing the boxes we marked on the door. For non-woodworkers out there, the old saw is "measure twice, cut once" so you don't waste material.

You can make your 45 degree cuts with a cheap mitre box and saw like this, or with a professional chop saw if you have one. I didnt have a chop saw at the time. You can also use a finishing saw and cut without a mitre box, but it is more difficult to get the cuts to fit together snuggly, which is key to making this project look great. Note that the molding I've used is thicker on the outside edge (at the top of the picture), and tapered to thin out on the inside edge to create the faux captured panel look. 

The finished woodwork, lined up like soldiers, and ready to tack onto the door. 

I used a silicone adhesive loaded into my caulk gun to apply in a zigszag pattern to the back of my molding, and pressed this snugly against the inside edge of the box line on the door. You can also use liquid nails or some other fast acting adhesive. The adhesive will hold the molding in place so we can tack the molding on with finishing nails later. 

Fitting the woodwork in place, and tacking it on with small finishing nails. You should fit all the pieces of the top box panel together prior to nailing, so you can reposition pieces for a tight fit. The adhesive I used gave me plenty of time to reposition, which is easily done. Repeat this process for the bottom panel box. 

The nails should be set into the wood with a nail setter once the glue has dried so they don't show, prior to painting. Note the moulding is positioned inside the box with the mitre cuts facing inward.

I found the little molding buggers were shifting a bit as I positioned them, prior to tacking them in place, so I used electrical tape to help with the hold until the glue set. The glue together with the nails should create a good strong hold.

Once the glue sets, and the moulding has been nailed, if there are any small gaps at the mitre or between the door and moulding, you can use the silicone caulk or other caulk to fill the gaps, and wipe away the excess with a finger prior to painting.

Once the glue set, the door was painted with Benjamin Moore Impervex High-Gloss Enamel latex, Black N30980 from the shelf (not custom mixed). I painted along the grain of the wood (pic above right), had the door been a wood door and not hollow core, to complete the illusion of a solid wood door. I covered the hinges with blue painter's tape for a clean paint job. When the paint was dry, I installed the new Baldwin Brass hardware.

 The finished door. The illusion is complete. 

A closer look at the solid brass hardware and the moulding. The jewelry helps make these doors shine! 

One thing I learned from 20 years in the furniture industry, a bit of the really good stuff, like Baldwin Brass knobs, really elevates the entire room, despite the rather humble pedigree of these doors! 

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