Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crafternoon Tea Party

After seeing a clipboard I embellished my friend EE has been begging me to do a craft party for about three years so she could make her own. Then after the purchase of the gold tea set there was a request for a tea party - so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and last weekend had a Crafternoon Tea Party!

I did a mix of store bought food (scones because while I make a mean scone there is always too much buttermilk left over) and homemade (sugar free brownies, cheese "cookies" and tea sandwiches).  I also made a sugar free peach/tea bellinis, which were delicious.  Oh and tea - but it was about 80 degrees outside so the tea was not that popular (but the teapot had it's moment in the spotlight).

Tea party food!

The gold tea set and a little friend hiding in there.

The cheese "cookies" and scones.
For the crafts I bought some clipboards at the office supply store.  Then I found some great images for sale on Etsy of Marie Antoinette, Victorian style fruit, rose and birds and just printed out a bunch of copies.  I took out my supply of Martha Stewart glitter and glitter paint, washi tape, glue, markers, Modge Podge and we went to town.

I kind of ran out of time to decorate so I just put up a garland I had bought a few months ago.

The girls seemed to really like the crafting and eating (and the bellinis). 

The down side of such a party is that there is not only food clean up but also craft clean up. 

The aftermath!
And my clean up crew was less than helpful. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Muse

I've been thinking about getting a painting of Chopper done for some time but they are so expensive so a few nights ago I took a shot at it.  A sharpie and some watercolors and voila - Chopper surrounded by pink flowers. 

When I showed it to him he gave me the sniff of approval. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Lemon Balm Peach Pasta

I don't cook a lot.  I can cook and not half bad actually.  I bake as well.  I can follow a recipe with the best of them.  But by the time I get home from work, walk the dog, feed the dog and have a moment to sit down I'm over it. I usually won't eat dinner, will get take out or eat a bag of freeze dried fruit/veggies (which I will inevitably have to share with the dog).  I've started being better about this recently though and have been making brussel sprouts, steamed broccoli and fish or some other quick meal. 

Recently I have discovered that I LOVE grilled/broiled peaches.  Also I have an insane amount of lemon balm growing in my little container garden and I made a pesto-type of sauce with it one night.  Both were inspiration for this recipe.

1 lb of pasta - your choice but something tubular is better for this than spaghetti.  I made it once with whole wheat and once with regular - either works fine.
1 lemon - we're going to use the juice and some zest
1 cup of finely chopped lemon balm.  I have no idea if you can buy this anywhere.  I bought a plant and it grows like a weed/mint in a container.
3 peaches
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
Creamy Goat Cheese

This took be about 40 minutes from start to the finish but I was doing some stuff at the same time.

First you want to put the water on to boil.  I have a big pot so it takes some time.

Next cut up the peaches.  I just sliced mine into wedges (there are only two here but I felt it wasn't enough and one or even two more was needed).  Then brush them with some olive oil. Put the peaches on the broiler (I don't have a grill but that would work fine too).  I set my broiler to a low setting and checked on them every few minutes. 

Next I started chopping up my lemon balm.  This takes some time.  I divided it into thirds and just went to town.

Also dice three cloves of garlic.

Put some olive oil in a pan and heat it up.  Then you add the pancetta.  I didn't measure this I just put a small handful in.  If you don't like meat you can leave this out.  I like the little bit of crunch it gave the pasta.  I then put in the garlic and let it get a little brown and stirring it up.  Remove from heat when done.

Pour the garlic/oil/pancetta combo in a big bowl.

Your peaches should be done by now - I let mine get a little brown on the outside.  Throw those in the bowl too.


Now put in your lemon balm and three to four tablespoons of olive oil.


Add the juice or one lemon and the lemon zest of one lemon.

Your pasta should almost be done too.  Drain and add to the bowl.  I like to add half and then mix and then add the second half so that everything gets coated in the sauce.


I served into my bowl and put the creamy goat cheese on top.  I used creamy goat cheese because that's what I had.  You could use burrata mozzarella, crumbly goat cheese, feta or even plain old parmesan.  Or no cheese at all (which is how I ate the left overs).


This was yummy hot and the next day as a pasta salad.  If you want to be fancy I would put some peaches to the side and arrange on top of the bowl or each serving.  I found that my kitchen smelled very nutty after making this despite the fact that there were no nuts in the recipe!
P.S.  Grilled peaches are also delicious with some prosciutto, arugula, and burata mozzarella on bread!

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Shop on Etsy

I am happy to report that over the weekend I finally got my Etsy shop, Mandyland,  up and running!  There are a number of glittered goodies and paintings up now and more to come in the next few days.

Hot Pink Horse with Gold Legs

Please visit and use the coupon code GRANDOPENING for a 10% discount good through the end of this week (August 26, 2012).