Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Orange pound cake ♥

Even though it doesn't quite feel it (at least not around here anyway) Spring is here! I am itching at the bone to put away all of my woolly winter sweaters and boots and bring out something light and frilly to wear.  All the dresses at Kohl's are sleeveless and "Cinderella inspired" and I must say - I love them.  If only I were 16 again : )
Sadly, the temps are still very cold here, so I can't put away my winter coat just yet.  The sun is shining stronger than ever though, and everyone seems to be in a Springtime-state-of-mind.  We will just ignore outside until she decides to catch up with the rest of us.  OK.
How about some orange pound cake for dessert tonight?
♥ recipe from Shelly at Cookies and Cups
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, vanilla, and zest and mix until combined, scraping the sides as necessary.
Slowly incorporate flour and orange juice.  Mix until smooth.   
Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with non stick cooking spray.  Spread batter into the pan and bake for 55-60 minutes.  (I have an electric oven and it baked for 60 minutes) 
Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes and then remove from the pan before glazing.
 For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2-3 tablespoons orange juice
Whisk all the ingredients together.  If you prefer the glaze to be on the thicker side use less orange juice. 

 Drizzle over cooled cake (as much on as you like!)
With or without the glaze this pound cake is yummy.  A perfect Springtime treat to have with your tea.  As you can see I cut my slices thick!  Just the way my Mom always cut our Sara Lee Pound cakes when I was little ♥
But anyway....

 Now that it's Spring I've started collecting houseplants and trying my best not to kill them.  Its nice to have color in the house again. Thanks to daylight savings we have light until almost 7 pm now.  It's glorious!
It's amazing what a little bit of sunshine can do.  Not driving home from work in the dark is awesome! Little by little we are getting there.  Warmer days are coming.
Outside the ground is still frozen, but look what I found yesterday....
Hope you are all having a lovely week! xo

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Fabulous Fashions of Downton Abbey ♥

Season 5 of Downton Abbey ended two weeks ago.  It was an awesome finale. I cried, watched it a second time, and cried again.  I loved it!

I've been feeling the "Sunday night void" ever since.  How am I going to be able to make it until January when season 6 starts? And to top that off, I'm hearing rumblings that season 6 will be the last!!!! Oh No! Please say it's not true!  I'm in denial.

The clothes in Downton Abbey are sometimes so beautiful they bring tears to my eyes.  How I would love to raid the wardrobe department on this set!

This season we entered the roaring 20's! Everything from dresses, shoes, headbands, hats (oh, the hats!), jewelry, and accessories were executed flawlessly.


It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite look, season, or style.  I love them all. Each year gets better and better and I look forward to seeing the clothes as much as the actual story lines.

Lady Rose tends to dress in pretty pastel colors (pinks, soft blues, and yellows) and floral patterns.  She's gentle and sweet and her personality comes through in her wardrobe.  Look at the beading on this dress. 

Some of the closes are made especially for them and some are actual vintage finds. I've never seen anything this exquisite at my local thrift shop! ♥   


In my opinion Lady Mary is the most stylish.  She always looks amazing.  With her dark hair and porcelain skin, everything looks perfect on her.  Even when she's being horrible to Edith, you can't deny she's wearing the prettiest dress in the room.  And she knows it!


Outer wear is never forgotten.  Look at this coat! And that hat!

Love ♥


Flappers ♥


The wedding gown of my dreams ♥


Even Edith looks lovely with her headband and gloves. Not even her sorrowful eyes can downplay this outfit ♥

Poor Edith....

Party clothes!


Another gorgeous hat.

I would like to know when wearing hats went out of style? Wouldn't it be nice to bring that tradition back? A lovely hat with every outfit....

And gloves....let's not forget about the gloves....

Twirling in the sitting room. As one does ♥


Looking fabulous in yellow at a garden party ♥


Lady Mary got a haircut this season.  She's a Gibson girl! I wish I had the courage to cut my hair like this.  Somehow I don't think I could wear it as well as Lady Mary...... : - )

True Elegance.

And as much as I love the fashions of the upstairs of Downton, I can't forget the downstairs....

The ladies are as just a lovely....

Only they wear less lipstick and have boring clothes ♥

It's a shame for them, but maybe the joke is on us.

  They know all the secrets of the house. 

A fair trade?


Downton Abbey is a time capsule. It transports us to a world of the past.  With every detail we are pulled further and further into this place.  A place where ladies have tea and wear hats and dinners most often look like this...



Now, that's a table!

If you love Downton Abbey as much as I do you will understand how sad I am to hear that our journey may be coming to an end. 

Until then let's hope for the best for Season 6. So many stories to look forward to next year!  They are in the middle of filming it now.  The internet tells me things are happening, we just have to be patient. And know doubt all the happenings will be done in fabulous Downton Abbey Fashions!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

How to froth milk without a fancy-pants milk frothing machine ♥

Good Morning!
Today I have a little tip that you are going to love ~
For the past few months I have been on the hunt for a milk frother.  I love lattes and have always wanted to make them at home.  Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a gadget for under $30.  They all seem to be big, bulky, and expensive. And let's face it, if I bring one more gadget into my house there is going to be trouble. 
The other night while perusing Pinterest (as I usually do : ) I decided to search for "how to froth milk at home".  Guess what? Ask and you shall receive! I never knew how easy it could be.  And better than that,  I don't need a fancy-pants machine.  All I need is a jar and a microwave. 
My mind is blown. My life is changed ♥
Take a look at this....
Step 1: Pour milk into a jar.  For two cups of coffee use about 1/4 cup.   
Step 2: Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. The milk will become frothy and double in size.
Step 3: Remove the lid and microwave for 30 seconds. 

Step 4: Pour the hot milk into your coffee and.....

...spoon the foam on top.  
You did it!
Top with cinnamon or coco powder.
Thank yourself for saving $4 at the coffee shop : )

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday! We are going to see Cinderella today. So excited to see this movie.  Cinderella was always my favorite Disney Princess.  I can't wait to see Lady Rose in the lead roll! ♥ xo

Friday, March 6, 2015

Oatmeal Raison Bars & a little catching up ♥


Hello March! I am so happy you are finally here. Could this mean Spring is coming?  I hope so! Here in the Northeast we’ve had quite a winter! Nothing but snow, snow, and more snow.  In Boston we’ve hit over one hundred inches! Craziness! My son had a full week of snow days in a row.  I’ll admit at first we enjoyed it, but after the umpteenth blizzard, cabin fever began to set in.  Roads (and traffic!) were treacherous so venturing out into the world was a chore. 


My car is not ideal in the snow and I get very nervous driving in it.  I got stuck twice in one day and that was not fun. My yard is still completely covered with snow and the snowbanks are taller than I am. When will it all melt (and where will it go) are the million dollar questions. Hopefully my crocuses are surviving underneath it all.

Downton Abbey and Pinterest are the things that have gotten me through this long winter ♥

I don’t think anyone around here is sad to say goodbye to February 2015. I’m dreaming of a time when I can open the windows and hear the birds sing! This past weekend I put the remainder of my winter decor away and decorated for Spring. Little pops of color and bunnies are cheering up the house no matter what it looks like outside. I ironed spring linens and replaced the multicolored Christmas lights around my kitchen window with white twinkle lights. The window looked so sad when I took the lights down. I just couldn’t bare it! LOL

They say “In like a lion, out like a lamb”….well, we’ve had the lion – bring on the lamb! ♥

I also like to call this past February “eat month” because it seems like that’s all we did – chicken pot pie, meatloaf, roast pork & sweet potatoes! Oh my.  When the snow finally melts hopefully we will be able to squeeze ourselves out the door.  The more I’m home the more I cook.  It’s as simple as that ♥

On the flip side, we are thinking about joining a health club! Yes, I just said that!  My son loves swimming so our main motivator was to get him involved in a swimming program. We visited the Y last weekend to try out the pool and check out the facility.  He loved it! The pool is great fun and they also offer so many other things that we as a family can take advantage of. I’m thinking about getting back into yoga which I haven’t done in years ♥ 

Nervousness about the snow caused me a bit of anxiety and I found myself having trouble sleeping.  I went for a two week period where I was literally wide awake at all hours of the night. That has never happened to me before. (thank God for TV - I watched a lot of 1980’s sitcoms, let me tell you!)  I had heard that warm milk might help so I googled it and found a cure! I don’t know if there is any science to this or if it was all in my head but this concoction really worked for me.  PS – if it didn’t work I was fully prepared to go for broke and add a shot of whiskey!
Heat one cup of milk in the microwave for three minutes.  The milk will be very hot and frothy.  Stir in one teaspoon of honey, 2 drops of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon.  Mix it all up and drink slowly : )
I’ll keep this recipe in my back pocket if that ever happens again.  Actually I think I’ll just make it when I want to relax because it’s really delicious!  Just because ♥
Speaking of Downton Abbey (and I’m not going to say too much here because I am preparing a special post about it) but if you watch it like I do you will understand how I have become completely obsessed with Rose’s wedding gown from two weeks ago……

It’s beyond gorgeous! Every time I watch that show I literally want to jump into my TV and slip into one of those beautiful dresses! I will admit that I did tear up at this one.  I am still speechless about it.  If only to do it all again I would want to wear this dress - headpiece and all. Someone please transport me to 1924.  I am ready! So sad that the season is over. I will get into it later…. : (

Before I go I want to share with you quick and easy recipe for Oatmeal Raison Bars.  I’ve had the biggest craving for oatmeal raison lately. This recipe is so simple and comes from one of my favorite blogs I had everything on hand and the best part is that you press the dough into a pan (no need to scoop out cookies) and then just cut them into bars.

Easy Peasy – Thank you Tracy for another awesome recipe!  
 Oatmeal Raison Bars

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all- purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cups raisons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.  Spray the parchment with non-stick spray. 
Whisk together the butter, sugars, egg, salt, and cinnamon until smooth. 

Add the flour, oats, and raisins until just combined. 

Press dough into the prepared pan. 

Bake 25 – 30 minutes.  The center will still be soft and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out with moist crumbs attached.  The edges will be golden brown. 

Let cool completely in the pan.  Use the parchment paper to remove onto work surface, and cut into bars.  Store in an airtight container : )

These bars are completely delicious. I’ve been sending one a day in John’s lunchbox all week. I think the next time I make them I will add either dried cranberries or chocolate chips (or both!).  The possibilities are endless


Well, that’s all for now.  Here’s hoping the sun is shining on you today and there is no snow in your forcast! That’s what I’m wishing for myself too! ♥  xo