happy valentine’s day…and things I love

Happy Valentine’s Day! Instead of just talking about Valentine’s Day I thought I would talk about things that I love, which include vintage Valentine’s cards.

I also love old pewter porringer bowls. Nobody seems to want them anymore, and I use them all over the house. The bigger ones make great coasters as long as their bottoms are flat inside. I use them to put hair ties in and loose change. They even act as coasters for wine bottles, I use one for the bottle of Madeira I keep for cooking. They are also a great dish for candles. If you like this idea, you can pick them up for a minimum amount of money at garage sales and flea markets and church sales.

Other things I love (and use)? Old gardening books and cookbooks.

I also love the story of my friend Lynn’s engagement years ago as written by John Grogan for The Philadelphia Inquirer. The funny thing was, I read this article before I even knew who she was, and then we met over time in Ardmore and became friends.

I also love old German tea strainers….

And then there are things I love like old crocks which I use for all sorts of things. As planter cache pots in the garden, toilet paper holder in the powder room, to hold my spoons and things in the kitchen.

I also love to clip things occasionally from my magazines. Recipes, ideas, things I like. In recipes:

In the not physically clipped but sharing- other things I like (and some I use): Transferware, egg cups, old trunks, hat stands, books. I also clip ideas like dressing your porch like another room, or hanging trays or plates like art:

Happy Valentine’s Day!

happy valentine’s day

Aren’t these adorable looking? They taste as good as they look! Valentine’s Up Cakes from Dixie Picnic in Frazer.

I am cooking a nice dinner for us for Valentine’s Day and I decided that I wanted Up Cakes for dessert.

Maybe we might have to eat dessert first?

Have a nice Valentine’s night everyone ❤️

“teachable moments”

IMG_3459ABC NEWS Photo

The first Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition occurred the year I was born, 1964. Babette Beatty was the model. The photo there above? That is her last year during the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. And that photo was considered scandalous back then.

However, the first woman to appear in a bathing suit on the cover of Sports Illustrated was named Pamela Nelson in 1954


So 2015 bought a new interpretation of the bikini shot on the cover. I’m sorry but who cares? The magazine does this every year, and either you subscribe to the magazine or you don’t, buy a copy or you don’t. But this year apparently the Puritans are coming so look out.

This cover shot this year is being described as a “teachable moment”. No they don’t mean “wear sunscreen”.

Once again Sports Illustrated has done what they do every year, almost every year: create a controversial cover. It’s what they strive for all year long , and that’s how they sell magazines. And I have to be honest and say that I have seen skimpier bathing suits and skimpier while being more covered up outfits on girls starting as young as 12 in the real world. And that’s the point isn’t it? This isn’t the real world it’s a freaking magazine.

This morning I thought I was entering Censorship USA when I peeked in on a Facebook group. There was this mom declaring a mother’s jihad on Sports Illustrated. She said (and I quote):

Ok Mommies of Girls! I have a job for you! Every time you see the new Sports Illustrated in a grocery store checkout line or anywhere else your daughter may see this – – – PLEASE turn it around! Your daughter, your sons, and the kids behind you should not have to see this unrealistic image that object defies girls. Thank you. Rant over……Oh course this is a teachable moment. I’m not saying that you shouldnt seize this opportunity. However, a journey starts with one step. We may not be changing the world when we simply turn a magazine around but it’s something that we can actually DO. Sure we can complain aimlessly about these faults in our society but there are simple everyday things we can DO, like have a convo, turn the TV off and again- simply turn a magazine around. Don’t underestimate the power of a small action.

Ummmm…..I had visions of when strollers attack.

Of course this will throw me out of the mommy club but I don’t really care I think they are being ridiculous.

Seriously? Teachable moment? Give me a break! I don’t buy Sports Illustrated, I have no interest in the swimsuit issue, can’t see it from my window when I wake up and who cares? Turn on the TV you see far worse. Frankly kids can learn far worse from their friends and the Internet and even other parents. Go to your local beach or swim club in the summer and you often see far worse.

If women want to give their daughters weird self body image issues keep turning around magazines. And I’m sorry if that sounds mean or uncaring or even careless, but I think the whole premise is ridiculous. It is what it is and we don’t have to bring it into our homes as a matter of personal choice.

But that doesn’t mean that we go all censorship on things and start turning around magazines we personally find objectionable in a store. In my humble opinion but also teaches a poor lesson, does it not? Why not just ignore it? Why do you have to create some false premise of a teachable moment because you don’t like it?

The world is made up with a lot of different people, different tastes, different religions, different styles, and while we want to set the best example possible for our children we not only need to be realistic but we also need to teach them that the world is a very diverse place right, wrong, or indifferent.

Journeys do start with small steps and teachable moments but it is how you teach and how you present that makes the world of difference.

This whole thing reminds me of a story a friend of mine who is a grandmother told me a year or so ago. She knows someone who has a grandchild living with a parent and female stepparent. The child is a teenage girl and she is a lovely girl. A truly good girl. Yet the stepparent prefers that this cute teenage girl dress basically like a refugee from a weird polygamist cult. All covered up at all times, not at all like a teenager.

So maybe this stepparent is trying to teach a teenage girl modesty but the message I’m seeing loud and clear is that the teenage girl should be ashamed of her figure, and that the adult here trying to “teach” the child has serious self body issues. And that is the message I am seeing if mommies go on the rampage turning around copies of the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated in the grocery store checkout line.

Should women be objectified? Of course not. However and let us not forget that these models chose to be in this magazine for this issue. It’s good for their careers and they make a lot of money. That is their choice. I know this is a contrary opinion for me who is a New Age Victorian times, but the truth is I just don’t care. I don’t know anyone with daughters who have to worry about their daughters running away to become a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Kids aren’t that dumb and even they realize this is somewhat of a fantasy and unrealistic issue of the magazine.

If kids male or female ask about the issue why can’t we just say it’s just a magazine it’s not the real world? Why do we have to go into all the drama and angst of turning the magazine around in grocery store aisles and check out lines ? Are we all supposed to start running around with a pile of the “Glamour Don’t” black bars in our purses to slap on things we find objectionable in magazines in the grocery aisle? Doesn’t that make more of a big deal of these magazine, make it more of a forbidden fruit?

Okay I know the Puritans with their pitchforks and brooms will be at me now for my opinion it’s just I’m so tired of hearing about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and the fact that the model is basically showing off her Brazilian and need for sunscreen. And I laugh because a lot of the people complaining about this are the ones that don’t check out the outfits on some of the tween and teen girls on even the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon or ABC Family….or reruns of Gossip Girl and the original 90210.

I just don’t think we should teach girls to be ashamed of their figures and their bodies. You can teach them about appropriate behavior and how to dress more appropriately and how to behave… and at some point as I’m learning you have to let go a little bit or they will go where you don’t want them to. They are after all, teenagers, and once upon a time we were too.

Happy Valentine’s Day thanks for stopping by.

what’s cookin’ good lookin’? (valentine’s dinner at home)

Yes it’s Valentine’s Day, but it is a school night in my house. So I am cooking. Call it family date night.  Believe it or not it is already in the crock pot and will burble happily while I get on with my day.  I will serve over Carolina Gold rice and a salad will accompany.  Dessert is a cinnamon-maple kissed cheese cake.

This chicken recipe is all me and not an exact science. I am a pinch here, to taste there kind of gal.  Sort of Nigella Lawson meets Ina Garten with a dash of Carla Hall – I use recipes as guides and create and tweak from there.  This recipe was born out of reading and being bored by most chicken paprika, chicken rosa, and chicken cacciatore recipes. But it is still quite tasty, my Valentine’s Chicken (it got a name today – after all it is a very yummy thing and deserves a better name than “chicken in the crock pot.”)

Valentine’s Chicken

1 cut up chicken

1 can Italian Crushed tomatoes (28 oz)

1 small can tomato paste

1 bunch of leeks cleaned and cut into thin circles

As many Crimini/Baby Bello mushrooms as you would like

1 small to medium onion, rough chopped

3-4 stalks of celery cleaned and chopped

2-3 cloves fresh garlic MINCED

fresh rosemary

fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

2 red bell peppers chopped

Regular Paprika

Smoked Paprika

Hot Paprika

Tumeric (just a dash)

Salt to taste

Regular Pepper



White wine

Flour to dredge mixed with Paprikas, salt, garlic and a small bowl of milk

Olive oil to brown and sear chicken

BIG crock pot

6 hours to do nothing after

Turn your crock pot on low.  Into the bottom layer part of the onion, leeks, red peppers, garlic, mushrooms.

Warm a pan with a thin layer of olive oil in the bottom.  Set up your dredging station for the chicken: chicken ready to go, small bowl of milk, flour with herbs and spices.  Dunk chicken pieces in milk then dredge in flour, then brown and sear in pan, a couple of minutes a side.

Layer chicken into crock pot with more of the veggies (as above), until done.

Open the tomatoes, pour over top of all evenly.  Open can of paste and dollop on.  Add the herbs, spices, salt, pepper, etc.

Cook on low crock pot setting approximately 6-7 hours.  With my crock pot, six should do it.  At the 3 hour point, carefully remove lid and toss your dish gently in the crock pot to mix, not mush.  Toss in 1/3 cup (or more, depending on your taste and how much room you have in your crock pot) white wine and minced fresh parsley, or red wine and ignore another 3 -4 hours.

Serve over rice.  I am thinking Carolina Gold from Charleston.

This recipe is not an exact science.  It is sort of paprika chicken meets chicken cacciatore.  I do it in the crock pot to give myself a break.

Serves a small army or a family and then leftovers…


what restaurants are favorites for valentine’s day in chester county?

Hearts galore from Picket Fence Confections on Esty

Valentine’s Day is but a week away, so I thought I would ask what your favorite Valentine’s Day restaurant is in Chester County?

I have written about restaurants before (click here), and two of my favorites are Gilmore’s in West Chester and Birchrunville Store Cafe.  Both of these places are very romantic – one in a country spun sort of way, and the other more traditionally romantic.  And the food never disappoints.  Both are BYOB, so take a bottle of what you love with you.  I have been discovering that the wine selections in the Chester County State Stores are quite good – like the one in the shopping center with the ACME Market on Paoli Pike. (Mind you I am not encouraging anyone to drink, or drink and drive.)

The fabulous cookies in the photo are from Picket Fence Confections.  They can be found on Esty, and are baking tomorrow February 8th for Valentine’s Day so if you have the desire to buy your sweetie a treat that is much prettier than the average box of chocolates, check them out before NOON on February 8th.

My final note is this: you can check out restaurant reviews and dining suggestions on West Chester Dish.  I love this site and think it is very fun, and I have used their recommendations to do some culinary exploration!