Monthly Archives: November 2012

down home

we celebrated our grandfather’s birthday on the farm while in tennessee for thanksgiving. i love the freedom that the farm gives our little ones {therefore allowing time for the “bigger ones” to catch up}. the farm will forever be one of my most favorite places to escape from the real world and just be!

the guest of honor – mr. mcbeth {deda} sprouse – celebrating his 92nd birthday. i just love this man!!

i had to laugh when i saw this photo {i had no idea that this was happening}  . . . but i must admit sneaking a handful of frosting from the cake does not surprise me with this cousin threesome.

hazel + sophie are now bound and determined to get a {real life} pony for christmas. they believe that “one this size” will fit perfectly in our humble abode … not sure my brooklyn neighbors would agree.

all photos provided by missy shofner sprouse

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a handmade holiday

holy smokes … it’s hard to believe that we are now officially in the middle of “the holidays”!

part of the christmas magic for me is discovering ways to decorate my humble abode with a fresh design pallet each year. thankfully, my lovely friend marianne canada, host of weekday crafternoon on, offers creative {and very doable} crafting projects that leave you feeling as if you could take on martha stewart with one arm tied behind your back.

wait no longer . . . go online and make your season bright!

**photo by: hgtv

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{eat on it} white lasagna with gorgonzola + butternut squash

i am a big {no huge} fan of this fall recipe! this is one to take note of and impress family + friends with this easy to make gourmet entrée.

happy cooking!

white lasagna with gorgonzola + butternut squash
recipe courtesy of chef barbara freda via the reluctant gourmet

ingredients for the gorgonzola white sauce
4 teaspoons butter
4 teaspoons flour
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
8 ounces gorgonzola

ingredients for the lasagna
1 recipe gorgonzola white sauce
1 medium {1 1/2 – 2 pounds) butternut squash
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound box of no-cook lasagna noodles
1/2 pound shredded mozzarella
1/4 pound grated parmigiano reggiano

how to make
heat butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. stir in flour and continue to cook, stirring until it is a relatively smooth paste. add wine, stir again, smoothing out any lumps. add milk, about ¼ c. at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition. add nutmeg (freshly grated is best), salt and pepper. turn heat to low, and let cook for about five more minutes. turn heat off completely, add the cheese and stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce.

heat oven to 400°F

slice the butternut squash in half lengthwise. scrape out seeds. place in roasting pan, cut side up. cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the butternut squash is completely tender, about 45 minutes. remove from oven, allow to cool until you can handle the squash, then scrape out softened squash, discarding the tough shell. stir the squash until it is smooth. set aside.

reduce the oven to 350°F.

while squash is baking, heat oil in a medium pan. add onions and garlic and sauté until soft. remove from heat and set aside.

spoon about ½ c. gorgonzola sauce into bottom of roasting pan, spreading it evenly all around the bottom of the pan. place one layer of noodles over the sauce. place about 1/3 of the squash over this, spreading it as evenly as you can. spread 1/3 of the onions and garlic over this and about 1 cup of the sauce over all. sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella over this. repeat the layers two more times, then finish with any remaining sauce and sprinkle the parmigiano over all.

place the lasagna into the hot oven. all the ingredients are cooked, so this step is to heat the lasagna through and to “cook” the noodles. check the lasagna after about 15 minutes. if it is too brown, cover the pan with foil and heat another 10 minutes. remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes before cutting it into squares and serving.

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{food joints} ladybird bakery

my initial relationship with this lovely neighborhood bakery began when i simply heard the name ladybird. my girls nicknames are bug {sophie} + bird {hazel} so i viewed this as a welcomed sign that we were in the perfect neighborhood. i know a stretch … but i’m a fan of finding affirmation in daily occurrences.

once i stepped through the signature blue door the love affair went far beyond the name. the selection of muffins, tarts, cakes and cupcakes often leave us staring at the display cases trying desperately to narrow down the decision to one sweet each. there is an adorable children’s corner that offers a selection of classic reads allowing for a longer time to enjoy the atmosphere and warm beverages. {a super big plus in my book!}

my sister-in-law alyssa {tally} is in town this weekend for a college girls get together and came in one day early to spend some time with us! her only request for her time in park slope was to take the girls to ladybird and walk sophie to school. her request was easily granted! this morning’s coffee date is now one of my most favorite memories – truly a perfect fall day!

ladybird is a delicious experience that you must have!

ladybird bakery
1112 eighth avenue
brooklyn, ny 11215

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{eat on it} bbq pot roast with cheddar ranch grits

crock pot recipes are a dime a dozen but when you find one that really works it is as if you have discovered a gold mine! over the years i have collected a few impressive recipes {that merit big time bragging rights} but recently felt that i needed to expand my repertoire. this mouth-watering recipe discovered on plain chicken did not disappoint! i felt as if i was the mother of all crock pot cooks out there as my children {and their friends} devoured every last bite! so get out those crock pots and be the hero of your very own in-home dining experience!

2 teaspoons garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 {4-5} boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 {12 ounce} can of coke
1 {12 ounce} bottle of chili {i only used 2 tablespoons}
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons hot sauce {i actually left this part out}
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup milk

sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over the roast. place the roast in a 6-quart slow cooker. combine coke, chili sauce, worcestershire and hot sauce; pour over roast. cover and cook on high 5-6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.

remove roast from slow cooker, reserving juices in slow cooker; keep roast warm.

combine cornstarch and milk stirring well; stir into slow cooker. cook, uncovered on high 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. serve sauce over roast.

1 1/2 cup quick cook grits {not instant}
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons ranch dressing mix
1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

in a medium pan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. slowing stir in the grits. reduce heat to medium low. cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. stir in the ranch mix and cheese. cook until cheese is melted. serve immediately.

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get out!

have a lovely weekend!

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i’ve got my love{s} to keep me warm!

the first snow has fallen in brooklyn {and it’s only the beginning of november}!

sophie + hazel’s wonder and excitement of freshly fallen snow will forever be etched in my mind as we trudged through the slushy sidewalks to sophie’s school. {remember we are from the south so even this much snow is kind of a big deal!}

**h&m made the walk to school a bit more fashionable with {my most favorite} mittens and hat**

so bring it old man winter . . . we are ready for you!!

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help wanted . . . hurricane sandy

in the wake of destruction caused by hurricane sandy, i have felt paralyzed by false thoughts that if i didn’t have time to volunteer at a local shelter, donate old coats, clothes, etc. that there was not much that i could do to make a difference. {this is not something that i am not proud to admit!}

diana warner studio sent an eye-opening e-mail allowing me to recognize that there are more people in need than just those in shelters and there are an abundance of creative ways to help! thanks to diana warner studio i am now motivated to do what i CAN do and encourage both sophie + hazel to join me in the effort.

i hope that diana’s words remind you {as they did me} that indeed, although you are just one person, you have  resources, words, prayers, etc. that can impact a stranger’s life!

i encourage you to do something . . . {even if you do not live in new york and can come up with a million reasons why you CAN’T} . . . you CAN . . . PLEASE do something!!

here are some ways to help. {thank you diana warner studio for these creative + insightful ideas!}

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

1. donate small. make small donations to relief funds. on the ground here in nyc there are local relief funds making huge differences. there are loving people from all over the city coming together to make an impact. one i found to be making a huge difference is the sandy relief fund at trinity grace. It’s a simple process. create an account here and then under the “give to…” menu, select “hurricane sandy relief.”

 #EatDownTipUp, if you live in the city. it’s simple: eat downtown, where local business and restaurants lost power for nearly a week and help them recover from their losses, and if you can afford it, tip UP. #EatDownTipUp challenges people to double their normal tips. during this past week, so many wages were lost, staff to the thousands of nyc restaurants are struggling, and business owners like myself can’t sleep at night because they worry about their staff and how they will live without those wages in a city so expensive. so #EatDownTipUp …and don’t forget to shop downtown! post about it on twitter & facebook to spread the word!

3. s
hop early for the holidays. every day this week, monday through saturday, at both of our locations (gramercy park and bryant park), as well as our online store and wholesale offices, 10% of our sales will be donated to the sandy relief fund started by trinity grace. your holiday shopping has to happen soon right? well, start NOW and make a huge difference through the sandy relief fund that is making such massive impact in the lives of new yorkers all over this city.

4. write
 a letter, if you don’t have money to give, write a letter to someone in this city. get your communities involved, your classrooms and your businesses. have your classroom write letters to another classroom who lost everything. write a letter to a business owner who lost her home, or to a mother who lost her children. want to write a letter? we have a list of people in need from our community, any encouragement makes more of a difference in lives then you would realize. e-mail for our list to be sent to you.

5. get involved
– with your community that is. what can they do? what can you do? what can you do together to make an impact?

6. share
. tell your friends to get others thinking about what they can do to help rebuild the northeast.
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halloween in the slope

we were worried that halloween would not happen this year after sandy’s visit to nyc earlier this week but thankfully the show went on in park slope. families {thrilled to be outside} occupied stoops and businesses that had been closed this week due to the storm opened their doors to offer treats to giddy dressed up children.

sophie + hazel dressed up as their current obsessions – –  fashion + mermaid barbie. the costumes were quite simple this year as we gathered most of the costume components from their current dress-up box. the newest additions to the costumes were the construction of the mattel barbie box and the shell bra.

however, despite the sugar, costumes and laughter – – devastation is still apparent in park slope. downed trees block entire streets and are the cause of the temporary closure of prospect park. we have only lived in park slope for a few months but are already overwhelmed by the sense of community that envelopes this neighborhood. it is an amazing sight to see people come together to add normalcy {in the wake of such a terrible disaster} to children on a much-anticipated evening.

– happy halloween –

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