Thursday, September 25, 2014

Welcoming Fall ♥

Hello Friends!
I'm taking a break from the Café today to welcome in the wonderful season of Fall!
Fall is my favorite season.  I love that scent of burning leaves drifting through the air and the changing colors on the trees. I love that the mornings are chilly because I can be more cozy. I need socks to keep my feet warm.  My coffee tastes better on a crisp morning.  My mind starts to think about the holidays and I have an urge to bake.  I don't do a lot of baking in the summer because it's too hot.  By September I'm ready to get back in the kitchen.  Besides, the oven warms the house so why not make some pumpkin bread?

The other morning I went to the garden center and picked out my mums and a nice fat pumpkin for my doorstep!  Just look at those colors!
Bringing out the decorations is always fun.  Such a nice change from Summer.  I got this little lady last year when we went apple picking.  She's right at the front door to greet you! We will be going apple picking next week and I'm hoping to get her a boyfriend for the other side of my door.  I think she needs some company!

Do you like my new Fall garden flag? My son picked it out! : )


Ok, I may be jumping the gun a little bit with Halloween décor, but once the pumpkins come out I can't seem to help myself.  This is our Halloween tree.  Isn't it adorable? I love the little ghosts, pumpkins, and witches! My son loves the cotton clouds though the tree. 
For the record I have no candy corn in my house yet! : )

And speaking of....this guy is officially a second grader! Here he is on his first day.  When he flashed me the two fingers I thought he meant "peace".  Turns out the two was for second grade. I guess I needed more coffee that morning : )
According to him, second grade is a breeze. I hope he always keeps this attitude!
It's a big year for him.  He'll make his first Holy Communion in May. 

The temperatures are finally getting cool.  In fact, it's actually quite chilly in the morning which I really love.  Last week I dug out some of my warm & cozy long sleeve shirts.  Going through the pile I realized that I must have an unconscious obsession with stripes! Practically every shirt I own is striped or solid black!

Pumpkin spice lattes are back! Yay!!!!! 

Lately, breakfasts consist of oatmeal or toast with peanut butter and bananas.  Comfort food on chilly, dark mornings! I light a pumpkin spice or Autumn leaves candle and wait for the sun to come up. Looooove it!

I have little jack-o-lanterns scattered throughout the house, like these ones in the kitchen.  I love Fall to have a little whimsy!  I'm not a fan of the scary stuff.  I prefer happy pumpkins!                                   
The other night I made a big pan of apple crisp! We served it warm with vanilla ice cream and it was so good.  The first apple crisp (or pie : ) of the season is always the best!

It got me thinking of all the things I love to make in the Fall and I thought I would share just a few of my favorites that I have on the blog:

Baked Apple

I got this recipe out of Susan Branch's book of Days that sits on my counter.  I like it for breakfast but could easily be a dessert! What a treat!

Apple Swirl Cake

My Mom's recipe for Apple Swirl Cake is the best! You put orange juice in the batter!

Cranberry Cobbler

I baked this in my Dad's cast iron skillet.  It came out perfectly!

Chicken Pot Pie - Buttery crust on the outside - creamy deliciousness on the inside! One of my favorite things in the world to eat!

Shaking up the apple crisp by adding the last of the summer raspberries! So good!

Chicken Pot Pie & Apple Raspberry Crisp   (perfect combo for a chilly Fall night : )

Butternut Squash Risotto

This butternut squash risotto also has dried cranberries in it.  It's so worth all that stirring! I served it as a side dish to chicken and broccoli, but I think I could easily have made it my main meal!

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Skillet Cake

 The apples, cinnamon, and sugar get all sticky and sweet.  It's soooo good!

Gingerbread Waffles

A perfect Sunday breakfast on a blustery Fall morning.  I serve with hot apple cider and sliced granny smith apples drizzled with honey.  This is THE start to a stay- in- your- PJ's- all- day- kind of a day! (geez, I love those days, don't you?)

After School Apple Snack

The first time I saw this was in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine.  It's so simple, yet so delicious.  Melted cheese and a sliced apple on a toasted English muffin.  My son loves this as an after school snack! If we are home on a weekend he'll eat it for lunch!

I hope you all are enjoying these early days of Fall!
I'll be back in the Heartfelt Home Café soon!
See you there! xo

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Heartfelt Home Cafe: why I love Julia Child ♥

Hello and welcome back to the cafe!  Firstly I would like to thank all my twitter, instagram, and blog friends for all of your kind words and feedback .  Creating this space for us has been a thrill for me and knowing that you love the idea too, makes it all the more exciting! It seems I'm not the only one who loves cafes and dreams of a perfect place to gather, talk, laugh, and drink coffee (& tea! : )  I have appreciated all of your ideas and will be taking them to heart in the coming weeks and months. My friend Rosinda suggested that we travel to a new city each time we visit the café and I love that idea.  We can combine our love for cafés with our endless Wanderlust! Thanks Rosinda

I've found so many lovely things for our cafe on Pinterest (my newest obsession!).  Every time I post something from Pinterest I will link back to the website or blog it came from through the "via" link I will put under the photo.  
You will find a wealth of inspiration, recipes, ideas, and new blogs.  

For example...

Wouldn't these tea bag shaped shortbread cookies (dipped in chocolate) be darling in our cafe?!  Can you imagine a tray of these with our tea next Monday when we get together to discuss Downtown Abbey? I think they are a must! I love this idea! ♥♥♥

Luckily for us we are located right next door to a florist (how convenient : ).  I picked up some beautiful flowers to decorate the tables today. How could I resist these lovelies?  One bunch for every table.  You can take yours home if you want to?  ♥

On the menu today we have warm almond croissants dusted lightly with powdered sugar.  


And since Fall is in the air, how about a cinnamon apple chai tea? Doesn't that sound heavenly? It's a hug in a cup.... 

Or how about these delectable pumpkin apple spice donuts?  I mean, could you them all?!  I could! And don't forget, calories don't exist here! Another reason why I love this place ♥

Ooh, I think I just heard the postman.  Excuse me for just one moment while I step outside and check the mail...... 

Here it is! There's something for you!  Enjoy your snail mail! We don't get enough of it these days, don't you agree?  

So now that you have your mail and your cuppa  pull up a chair. Your seat is waiting for you....♥

Are you comfy? Great! Let's talk.  How are you? In real life my days have been busy. It took no time at all to fall back into the school routine - homework, packing lunches, etc. The weeks are flying by and I feel like September is going by in one big blur.  We are finally experiencing our first burst of Fall weather - cool and crisp - and I'm loving it.   I've decorated my house inside and out with mums and yesterday I made Susan Branch's Cornbread with honey bee butter! It was so good! Hubby is loving Football as much as I'm loving nesting.  Pumpkin spice and cinnamon candles are keeping the house cozy while outside it smells of burning leaves.  How I love the Fall! ♥

I am so happy because last week I finally got to read this book that I had somehow missed out on for years.  My Life in France by Julia Child.  As if it were possible for me to love Julia even more it has happened. Have you read this book?  I loved it beyond words! The way Julia described first arriving in Paris in 1948 gave me chills.  Her first French meal that changed her life and how she could not believe that people actually drank wine with lunch?!

 Julia enrolled in  Le Cordon Bleu cooking school to fulfill a passion she had for cooking.  She did not speak a word of french and was in a class of all men.  Determined to succeed (after failing her first final exam) she graduated and a star was born. 

 With the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia succeeded in changing the way Americans related to food.  She gave us the courage to try new things and taught us is OK if they don't always come out perfectly. Julia was awkward and sometimes clumsy in the kitchen, but she would never apologize.  "It's okay" she would say.  "You are alone in the kitchen".  She was real.  She was what we all wanted to be. 

 Without Julia there would be no Food Network or the celebrity chefs we know today.  Julia was a pioneer.  And her first book was not published until she was 49 years old.  In some ways, that's my favorite part.  If you are a fan of Julia or just love to read about inspirational, determined women, give this book a read.  I promise you will love it.  ♥

Thank you for joining me in the Heartfelt Home Café today.  I hope you enjoyed your visit.  Drop me a line and let me know what you a reading.  I'm in between books right now and looking to start something new.  It's getting darker earlier now and somehow books are more a comfort at night, with a quilt and a hot cup of tea.
Enjoy your week, my friends! Let's meet again soon! xo

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Heartfelt Home Cafe


Welcome to The Heartfelt Home Café!  The Heartfelt Home Café is a virtual space I have created for us to gather.  After a particularly stressful week at work I thought about how wonderful it would be to actually have a café that I could go to, meet my friends, have coffee, tea, & treats, and talk about whatever is on our minds.  How relaxing....  


I have a love for cafe's.  I love the smell of coffee, most of them have comfy chairs, and books, and are filled with the sounds of friends talking and laughing.  Whenever we travel, my husband and I  always pop into a local coffee or tea shop to get the feel of our environment.  The coolest people hang out in these places. And that's where you come in...

This is our space.  I need your help building our café.  Last night I created a pinterest board  (here)with ideas and images of what I thought you would like.  I picture our café on the corner of a cobblestone street in some beautiful European city.  I think next to a florist would be perfect because I could get bouquets of fresh cut flowers every morning to fill our space. 

Wouldn't this be lovely?

We  have an assortment of gourmet coffees and teas, all served on beautiful china.  If you are hungry there are pastries, croissants, and an endless variety of sweet treats, cookies, brownies, cakes, and chocolates. (and naturally everything is fat free at The Heartfelt Home Café - calories do not exist here : ) And maybe once a month we could have a wine and cheese tasting - after hours ♥


Music is key. I love the sounds of classical music in the background while I'm working, but I am open to any suggestions. I want you to be comfortable. What are you in the mood for?  I think white twinkle lights around the windows would be charming and I'll have vintage stationary available for you in case you would like to make a note or write a letter.  There is a charming old fashioned mailbox right outside next to the lamppost.  How convenient. We have at least one wall full of books available for you to take - all the classics of course.  Just be sure to return it so the next person can enjoy.


When you come to the café I encourage you to bring your current book, sewing project, or whatever else you may be interested in.  Our café is a place where we can share ideas and get inspiration. And don't worry about the time.  It stands still here.  Stay as long as you like.
Wouldn't it be grand?

It's a place for dreaming.  We can talk about what it would be like to go to Paris one day.  And someone in the group will surely have already been (as is usually the case) and she can tell us how truly fabulous it really is.  And then I will go get us more brownies because we will need them ♥

If you have any suggestions for our café please let me know.  I would love your ideas. The café would be nothing without you.  Every week I will visit this place with a new topic to discuss.  Maybe a book or a recipe or a TV show.  I just heard today that the new season of Downton Abbey starts September 21st!  We will have much to discuss after that!
I will no doubt still be doing my regular postings, but having this café will give me a new escape.  And isn't that what we all need once in a while?
After I leave here tonight I have real life laundry to do and a Spiderman lunchbox to pack. It's all good ♥
So do please join me in the café.  Leave me your comments & suggestions for our special place.  You are always welcome here and I am happy to have you  ♥♥♥