two yummy recipes from The Tasha Tudor Family Cookbook (+ a giveaway!)

“If you took some chamomile tea and spent more time rocking on the porch in the evening, listening to the liquid song of the hermit thrush, you might enjoy life more. Joy is there for the taking.” ~Tasha Tudor

It must have been lovely to join Tasha Tudor for afternoon tea at her beloved Corgi Cottage in southeastern Vermont.

Perhaps her Corgis would greet me at the door, and if I was a little early, she’d put me to work, melting semi-sweet chocolate to fill her speckled cookies. I would happily set the table with her favorite heirloom Blue Canton or hand painted pink lustre tea set, basking in the warmth and charm of her cozy kitchen, only too willing to immerse myself in her 19th century world.

Tasha’s older son Seth built Corgi Cottage in 1970 using only hand tools (photo via Tasha Tudor & Family).

I can’t remember when I first encountered Tasha’s work; it seems like her enchanting pastel watercolors were always part of my read-write-teach existence as they adorned nearly one hundred children’s books and a myriad of greeting cards and calendars. How I appreciated this gentle reminder of simpler times, the idyllic views of New England people, villages, woods, fields, farms, and gardens!

photo by Richard Brown/The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Tasha’s life was a work of art. She often remarked that she was the reincarnation of a sea captain’s wife who lived from about 1800 to 1840. Here was an artist who wholeheartedly lived and dressed the part, making her own clothes from flax she grew, raising her own farm animals, indulging her passions for gardening and traditional handcrafts such as basket-making, candle-making, calligraphy, weaving, sewing, knitting, and doll-making.

photo by Richard Brown/The Private World of Tasha Tudor

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nine cool things on a tuesday

cooldimsumposterbig1. Few things make me happier than the thought of Dim Sum, so this delectable giclée print by Ellen Blonder pretty much gets me where I live. The watercolor paintings are from Ellen’s wonderful book, Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch (Clarkson Potter, 2002). Love the precise detail and quiet beauty of her work.

cooldimsumcoverAlso available is this print featuring art from Ellen’s award winning cookbook Every Grain of Rice: A Taste of Our Chinese Childhood in America (1998), which she co-wrote with Annabel Low. Both prints are signed, available in several sizes and are printed with archival-quality ink on acid-free paper. Gorgeous!

cooleerygrainbiggraincoverBe sure to visit Ellen’s website to see more of her exquisite paintings and her impressive list of awards, commercial clients and projects. Prints are available at her Etsy Shop.

*ETA: Ellen is on a short break, and will re-open her shop March 15.

Since 2017 is the year of the Rooster, here’s one of Ellen’s rooster paintings (she lives on Kaua’i where roosters run free).

coolrooster*

2. These chilly winter days are perfect for indoor craft projects. Check out Margaret Bloom’s latest book, Making Peg Dolls & More: Toys That Spin, Fly, and Bring Sweet Dreams (Hawthorn Press, 2014):

mollycover2This inspiring new collection by Margaret Bloom builds on the success of her first book Making Peg Dolls. With peg dolls at the heart of each design, you’ll discover how easy it is to create toys which fly and spin, pin cushions, herbal pocket friends, wall-hangings, and much more. All projects are richly illustrated throughout with hand-drawn diagrams and full color photos.

The easy-to-follow instructions will guide you through a selection of simple and more advanced designs. Many of the projects are suitable for young children and will only take an hour or two to complete. Interwoven with poems, songs and stories, the projects can engage the whole family in the art of crafting and playing with these magical toys!

margaret-bloom-making-peg-dolls-favourite-page-vegetablesmolly3mollyonemolly4These dolls, which come from the Waldorf handcraft tradition,  are so sweet and will inspire hours of imaginative play and storytelling. Don’t you want to enter this tiny world of enchantment?

Here’s the cover of Margaret’s first book, Making Peg Dolls (Hawthorn Press, 2013):

mollycoverOh, and my foodie self was especially happy to see tutorials for making a peg doll dining table and tiny cakes (!) at Margaret’s blog, We Bloom Herewhere she regularly features fun projects for the whole family to enjoy. 🙂

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[review + recipe + giveaway!] Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls by Kristi Carlson

Mmmmmm! What’s that delicious aroma wafting over here from just two days away?

*closes eyes, inhales deeply*

Well, I think it’s mainly COFFEE –a freshly brewed good morning sunshine rich medium roast, fog up my glasses keep me humming all day kind of coffee.

Wait. There’s also pizza, cheeseburgers, chili fries. Risotto, spaghetti and meatballs, and glazed donuts. Is that pie? Oh, marry me chocolate pudding, beef-a-roni, oatmeal cookies!

They’re almost here, they’re almost here:

GILMORE GIRLS!!!!

Credit: Netflix

This Friday, November 25, 2016, “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life” premieres on Netflix!

Finally, finally, finally, after nine l-o-n-g years of clenched fetal position withdrawal patiently waiting, we’re getting four, count ’em, FOUR, brand new 90-minute episodes all at the same time!

All I can say is, Copper Boom! Pop-Tarts! Huzzah!!

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[tasty review + recipe] The Pancake King by Phyllis La Farge and Seymour Chwast

Pancakes, pancakes, who wants pancakes?

Just hearing the word makes me happy. I’m six years old again, sitting at the kitchen counter in my red polka dot pajamas, while my mom adds eggs, milk, and a little vegetable oil to some Bisquick.

I wait for the sizzle of slightly lumpy batter on the hot griddle, the little bubbles forming on top, and that great swish-hiss when she finally flips them. Then it’s gobs of butter and a river of syrup on those steamy, golden beauties. Mmmmm!

Since the only thing better than eating pancakes is reading about them, I was excited when I learned that Princeton Architectural Press had recently published an updated edition of The Pancake King by Phyllis La Farge and Seymour Chwast.

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[tasty review + recipe] Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story by Nadiya Hussain

All of us here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen were thrilled when Nadiya Hussain won Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show (‘Great British Bake Off’ in the UK).

We loved her unusual flavor combinations and beautiful presentations, and it was awesome seeing how her confidence grew each week as she tackled all those signature bakes, technical challenges and show stoppers.

Nadiya wins Series 6 of The Great British Bake Off

Most agree that she also captivated audiences with her telling facial expressions. Her flexible eyebrows sometimes told the whole story: determination, panic, joy, disappointment, fear, frustration. It was such an emotional moment when she was declared winner and said, “”I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.

This 31-year-old Leeds wife and mother of three has been very busy since her big win last year. In September 2016, she published Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story, a charming collection of 15 updated fairy tales + recipes for children, and her adult cookbook featuring family recipes, Nadiya’s Kitchen, will come out in 2017.

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