Happy Weekend Everyone!
Looks like it’s going to be another sunny day here in Northern California.
Daffodils are blooming all over town.
They’re so pretty and tulips won’t be far behind.
I didn’t get tulip bulbs in the ground last year.
I’m going to the nursery later today to see if I can find some to put in pots on the front porch.
Meandering is a good word because it’s all over the place today
… from doormats to donkeys.
Let’s get to it.
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HELLO (ALMOST) SPRING
Spring is a month away, but it’s on my mind and in the air. I hope to score tulips for my porch pots today. And I’m keeping an eye out for a welcoming, spring-themed doormat. I don’t typically make major seasonal décor changes to my house (inside or out). But I do like to add simple and inexpensive touches. On the porch things like a doormats, wreaths and flowers are easy change ups to welcome a new season.
Doormat sizing is all over the place so if you’re ordering online, be sure to double check size. With small mats I like to layer a larger rug underneath. This hydrangea mat is beautiful, but it’s probably too big for my small porch. Here are a few others that caught my eye. Which one will it be?
LUSH LIFE COOKBOOK
Sunset magazine introduced me to Valerie Rice back in 2014. I became a devotee of her blog where she shares her recipes and beautiful home and garden in Santa Barbara. Fast forward seven years and I was first in-line to purchase her cookbook, Lush Life. Yesterday I finally sat down and read the book cover to cover. Perfect timing because Valerie’s garden driven recipes are the ideal inspiration for spring and summer planting. As well as cooking and cocktailing. And speaking of cocktails, I mixed her Cara Cara Margaritas last night. Cara Cara oranges are still in season, so if you love margaritas what are you waiting for? Look at her enchanting garden table setting.
But back to the book. Valerie’s an avid gardener, home cook and creative mixologist. She organized the book by season with recipes driven by what’s available from the garden or farmers market during that time of year. She also recommends what to plant each season and I’m excited to follow her lead in my own small garden. Valerie enlisted her friend and wine expert, Rajat Parr, to make wine pairing recommendations throughout the book as well. This is a gorgeous book and I’m inspired to plant my spring garden and get cooking.
In nearly every recipe Valerie mentions Diamond Crystal kosher salt specifically. In her introduction she explains that it has no additives and larger granules make it less salty. Ok then, I ordered a box. She also talks about finishing salts … and mentions Jacobsen’s flakey sea salt. I’m always intrigued when I hear television chefs talk about finishing salt. I suggested Jim use it recently … on a platter of sliced steak. He gave me a weird look which means he either had no idea what I was talking about or thought I was crazy. Do you use use finishing salt? I’m going to give it a try.
Take a look at my Instagram stories for last night’s adventures in cocktailing.
SCENE STEALER … BOOKS
Speaking of books … I’m continually amazed by what goes into designing sets for television and movies. I just finished watching And Just Like That … reviews are mixed. But we’re talking about books. They’re featured prominently throughout the series. On background shelves, on tables, and in the actors hands. Carrie is frequently seen carrying a book in her arms or in her bag. This wasn’t haphazard, the books were carefully selected, and you can read all about it here.
HOMEMADE CHEESY GORDITA CRUNCH TACO RECIPE & MY TWIST
Last fall I bought my first Tieghan Gerard (Half Baked Harvest) cookbook, Super Simple. I believe it’s her second cookbook. The first was a runaway best seller (as was the second) and her third, Every Day, comes out in March. While I’ve been aware of Tieghan and her Half-Baked Harvest brand, I only recently started following her wildly popular (that’s putting it mildly) Instagram account. She posts daily recipes there and on her blog … the most scrumptious looking recipes. A few weeks ago, I saw her Reel for Homemade Cheesy Gordita Crunch Tacos and made the recipe that night. Oh my gosh … so good. Jim said they were the best tacos he ever tasted … at home or in a restaurant. My niece came for dinner and seconded his opinion. It was a major hit.
Last week I took a few liberties with the recipe. First, I made my own taco filling recipe. We all have one, right? To the exterior (flour) tortilla, I added a layer of lime jalapeno refried beans. Then I added the cheese. Not only super delicious, but the beans made it easier to get the inside (crispy) shell to adhere to the outer tortilla. Once again, a major hit and I’ll probably never make tacos without this extra tortilla/bean/cheese layer again. If this doesn’t make sense, it will once you’ve made the original recipe.
MY NEW FAVORITE MASCARA
Can I tell you a sad, pitiful story? A year or so ago I took a walk on the wild side got eyelash extensions. And for one brief shining moment I had fabulous eyelashes. Eight months later I developed an allergic reaction. Probably to the lash glue, not the lashes themselves. Anyhoo, they had to come off and I was left with the shortest, sparsest, most pathetic lashes ever. After a two-week rest period, I started using Latisse and about eight weeks later my lashes rebounded and I was ready to apply mascara again.
While searching for my abandoned mascara, I pulled this one out of my drawer. Where did it come from? I have no idea. Maybe a free sample or a long forgotten impulse purchase. Wherever it came from I gave it a try and wowza! It has a big, fat applicator and goes on like a dream. Long story short … I love this mascara. It goes on evenly, no clumping and really defines my lashes and makes them appear longer. Sometimes I like an oomphier lash … so I apply a second coat of my regular mascara to get the result I’m looking for. Not quite as fabulous as lash extensions, but close. And a lot less time consuming, costly and … itchy.
OSCAR’S PLACE SANCTUARY
Last summer this article in our local paper caught my eye. I love animals and I love people who love animals. Especially those who rescue and care for animals who have been abused and abandoned. Did you know that donkey’s are smart, affectionate and form close bonds with each other and their human caretakers? This story about Oscar’s Place, a donkey sanctuary and adoption center in Mendocino County, touched my heart. I shared it with Jim, and we became monthly donors. Oscar’s Place Instagram is a daily delight. Take a look, I think you’ll enjoy it too.
So, there you have it,
a few things on my radar this week.
Let’s see what Kim and Elizabeth have for us.
As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
Hope you have an amazing weekend!