Sunday, August 26, 2012

Healthier Eats: Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are all trying to help out a little with regard to dietary restraint, right?  But hey, I like a cookie now and then.  So as a compromise, I adapted this recipe from  These are not eggless - there was one adaptation.  I didn't use wheat. I wanted to experiment with other natural grains and these were the result.  The texture is a little different, a little more "grainy" but the flavor is delicious, and healthier than the usual variety.

Oat & Brown Rice Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep time: 15 Mins     Cook time: 10 Mins
Yields: Approximately 30 cookies
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Oat Flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 1/4 cups Brown Sugar (I used Spelda Brown Sugar Blend)
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup Canola Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Grease (use shortening/butter/non-stick spray) the baking sheet (I use a Silpat silicone sheet on a half sheet pan myself);
  2. Beat the egg;
  3. In a large bowl combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix well;
  4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10-13 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the sheet before removing to a cooling rack (this is why I use two sheet pans at a time).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Shared Vision: Hooked on Houses/Stephen Saint-Onge

One of my new favorite blogs, "Hooked On Houses" had a before and after feature that I think is outstanding. It is exactly my taste - I could live in this room exactly as Stephen Saint-Onge designed it (his blog is "Designer Dad"). All photos from Stephen Saint-Onge!

Before & After: Designer Stephen Saint-Onge Turns a Little-Used Dining Room Into a Family Room

Reblogged from hookedonhouses on July 30, 2012



Check out Stephen’s blog Designer Dad to see the rest of the pics and get all the details about the transformation.

You might also like his book, No Place Like Home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eat This: Stilton Pecan Cocktail Crackers

Photo: Courtesy Gourmet or Gourmand

These Stilton Pecan Cocktail Crackers were adapted from a recipe from Ina Garten.  I edited this recipe, adding some other distinct flavors and these are a favorite!  Served with cocktails or just as a snack cracker, they are addictive and delicious!

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces Stilton cheese (or other fragrant blue cheese), crumbled (about 12 ounces with rind), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Chipotle powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I use a KitchenAid stand mixer), cream the butter and Stilton together for 1 minute, or until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt and pepper, chopped pecans and mix until it's in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined. You may need to adjust the water depending on your situation and humidity.

Place the dough onto a floured surface (I use my quartz countertops because they stay so cool), press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the log 3/8ths-inch thick with a small, sharp knife and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (I use a Silpat half sheet pan myself). Brush with the egg wash. Bake for 22 minutes until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fresh: Bedroom Update

I have been in my home for 5 years now.  The bedroom was basically unchanged, so I thought a little update, a little refresher.  This was the BEFORE:

I added some draperies made from canvas painter's drop cloths (from Lowe's).  I washed them and dried them, so forgive me, they aren't yet ironed. Photos below taken with a Nikon D5100 DSLR in automatic mode.

This is the AFTER:

The chaise in my bedroom is a very comfy place to sit and read, or watch TV, or just relax. The big, waxed pine entertainment center came with me from Florida.  I bought it at Rooms To Go and think that for something like this, it was a great purchase.

I raised the drapery rod up as high as possible to give the 8.5 foot ceiling some visual "height".  I used a dark brown "Aged Coffee" colored rod and clip rings.  I got the rod and rings from  The tortoiseshell shade was from Lowe's too.

Those lithographs on the wall were previously hanging over the nightstand lamps.  They came from a garage sale in Dallas in the early '80's. I decided I wanted mirrors behind the lamps.  I bought this pair for less than $100 for both at HomeGoods!  I like the effect.

I relocated the prints to either side of the window.  

This is a Victorian, faux bamboo sewing box that belonged to my great grandmother.  I use it as an accent table at the entry to the bedroom.

I wish I knew something about these ceramics.  They were in  my grandmother's house for as long as I remember.  They are a granite colored ceramic with these BRIGHT red roses on top.

Milo, fresh from the groomer, almost is invisible on the bed.  My friends say that I got Milo because he was color "neutral".

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Inspiration: House Beautiful

When was the last time you cracked the cover of a House Beautiful magazine?  Me either, until it became an online resource.  I am sitting in LAX, surfing through some sites and snagged these inspirational photos. Each one has something I really like. Each one brings something to the table.  Might just be one table, or a chair, or the overall saturation of color and texture.  Something.  Enjoy!

All photos courtesy of House Beautiful.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Delicious: Peach, Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler

Once in awhile I just get the urge for something decadent, satisfying and seasonally appropriate.  Thus tonight's cobbler. It is so good, you will have to really resist the urge to immediately dig in when it comes out of the oven.  But wait.  15 minutes won't kill you and it's worth the wait.  Serve it up with some frozen vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream.. delicious.

Peach, Blackberry and Raspberry Cobbler
(adapted from Cooking Light 2008)

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 fresh peaches peeled and diced into "berry sized" piece
  • 6oz. fresh blackberries (one container)
  • 6oz. fresh raspberries (one container)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk 
Preheat oven to 350°. Pour 1/4c melted butter into the bottom of a 2-3 quart dish coated with cooking spray. Combine peaches, blackberries, raspberries, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1 tablespoon flour in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar and toss to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Combine 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; mix with a whisk. Add remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and milk, stirring with a whisk. Pour batter evenly over fruit mixture. Bake at 350° for about an hour until golden brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before you dig in.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Stay: The Standard, NY

Overlooking the waters edge

I recently stayed in NY at The Standard Hotel in the Meat Packing district.  Sounds grimy and gritty, right?  No.  Diane Von Furstenberg, Hugo Boss, many upscale designers call the area home.  It is filled with unbelievably beautiful people and I was surprised.  The Concierge told me that it was a haven for models, euro visitors and well heeled US visitors as well.  And at prices that are palatable for me, $375 a night for a postage stamp sized room was OK!  The larger suites are commensurately more expensive running around $1000 a night.

Looks a bit like an alien spaceship has landed
 One note: the staff were all well under 30 as was most of the clientele.  I remarked to my travel companion that I had luggage older than most of the people we encountered there.

I didn't get a suite like this

The view from my room
 The Diane von Furstenberg glass penthouse atop the building housing her showroom was unbelieveable.
The glass dome is the DVF building.

View across to NJ

Interesting carpet in the hallways.