Sunday, October 22, 2017

" Little Italy " in Pittsburgh

          Hi Everyone!
              Today I'd like to take you on a trip to the"Strip District" in Pittsburgh, Pa. This is the Italian section of Pittsburgh....even Pittsburgh has a "Little Italy".
This section is one long block of wall to wall Italian specialties,dried meats, homemade pastas, ravioli, imported olive oil, olives, cheeses, pastries, biscotti. This is only a small list of what is available. You can find everything you need to cook an Italian feast! 
 One of the things I miss most about living in N.Y. is not being able to find all the Italian foods I am so used to. This section of Pittsburgh was like a trip back home. I wanted to buy everything and bring it back to Northeastern Pa. but we did the next best thing...we ate lunch in a great little café.
Enrico's Café was like going back to Venice, Italy. The food was just wonderful!!

Now, no matter where I go I always manage to find at least one store that has something to do with decorating the house. I found the prettiest little shop, Roxanne's Dried Flowers. A beautiful shop filled with dried flowers. My daughter-in-law, Lauren and I got lost in this shop. Lauren and I share the love of flowers and gardening. We both find dried flowers the next best thing.  The
displays were to die for!!! Roxanne was gracious enough to allow us to take some pictures.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall Curb Appeal

           Todays post is about decorating the front of the house. It may be small but I try to give it as much impact as I can.
           I like to decorate the front of the house. To me it says, "Welcome".
 The Fall season has so much to offer in the way of decorations. Corn stalks, pumpkins, hay stacks, gourds, winter pansies, and don't forget the beautiful mums. I don't think I ever saw so many colors as I did this year.
          This year we went to about three different farm stands and nurseries to purchase the decorations. I was in awe at the variety.
                         There was so much to choose from... I wanted it all!!

                                                                           Front Porch


      A Basket of Mums in the Perennial Garden

The townhouses are all the same on this block. We didn't have a choice about color or shape of our units. They all look alike....but it is through our decorating that we bring our own personality and uniqueness. I love to walk through the neighborhood and see how each person has decorated their home for the Fall. Somehow we have all managed to add a little bit of who we are to our homes. The neighborhood not only looks festive it looks LOVED!!!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Decorating for Fall Con't......

          Fall decorating is continuing this week. I am ignoring the fact that it's 90 degrees outside.
                                                              Inside it's Fall!!
          I can't seem to get enough of the white pumpkins.....Just love how beautiful they look in my black and white kitchen.

                                                          There's always room for flowers.    

            Nothing says "Fall " in our house like candy corn. They are one of Phil's favorite candies. I have to confess I love them too! You know fall has arrived in our house when a jar of candy corn
shows up on the kitchen counter. Well maybe not just one jar.....maybe three and some extra in the pantry. Did you ever wonder why we associate certain things with a particular season?? For me It's the colors of Fall ... the leaves, the mums, the fall flowers and the pumpkins... and oh yes, the candy corn. For Phil it's just the candy corn!!
                                                What is it that says "Fall" to you?


                                                                                              please leave a comment!!!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Beginning to Decorate for the Fall..... White and Pale Blue Pumpkins

Can you believe it's Monday morning already?  We were away for the weekend. It's good to be home!
         Well, I finally began to decorate for the fall. I decided to use white pumpkins this year. I wasn't so sure when I started if I would like the look...But I have to say I love it!!  It is a softer look for fall.
         I'm still not too sure what I will do outside.

White Pumpkins and Dried Hydrangea
Glass Front Kitchen Cabinet...White Pumpkins and Straw

Dining Room Centerpiece

 Matilda the Witch
There is a story behind this witch..... I purchased her at Home Goods many years ago when the grandchildren were younger. I fell in love with her! I especially loved her satin, velvet and lace dress. And how I loved the feather in her hat not to mention the jewelry around her neck!! I thought she was  so ugly, that she was beautiful!!! I believed the grandchildren would love her as I did. I sat  her on a bench in the kitchen for all to see.
When the grandkids came to visit they didn't love her as I did. In fact they hated her!!! Some where afraid!  but they all found her Very Creepy!!!
So Matilda sits in the kitchen, but has to fly away when the grandchildren to visit. 


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Displaying Old Photographs

Hi Everyone!
    Happy September!
       Do you believe it's already September?
 Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania it's been quite cool. The feeling of Fall is in the air. It makes me want to run out and buy those beautiful colorful  mums and pumpkins that I love. But the flowers in the garden are looking so beautiful at the moment. I can't bring myself to replacing them just yet.

                                         Nothing says Fall like sunflowers in the kitchen!!

              Todays post is about old photographs. Recently we inherited a couple of old photo albums from Phil's mom and grandmother. The albums were in poor condition so we decided to place these old pictures in new albums. Phil worked for months on this project. So many pictures from so long ago. Some pictures of people we didn't even know. Pictures of celebrations and holidays. People laughing and smiling for the camera. I was amazed at how many photos were taken at what seemed to be just an ordinary Sunday dinner. They were photos of different times, times when the whole family came together to share a meal. Much different then the pictures we take today.
      After finishing the albums we decided to take a few of the pictures and display them, The people in these photos were our relatives, our history. Seeing their happy times and realizing how important these times were to them, so important that they needed to capture these moments in pictures. We just knew we had to give them more prominence than being stuffed in a closet until our children inherited them some day.
       We chose to display them on a wall in our hallway. The frames I used were simple and mostly the same. This keeps the display from looking too busy. I also believe that the more simple the frame the more you appreciate the picture We used mostly original photos not copies. I hung them symmetrical, again to try and keep it pleasing to the eye. Most of the pictures were black and white and sepia. This kept the display looking old world. We also had some original birth certificates and wedding certificates that we hung. The pictures go back as far as my great grandmother. Some of them are as old as the early 1900s. My only regret is that the wall isn't bigger.

We still have a few more to add.  We have been waiting for family members to send us some old pictures that we didn't have to add to our wall. I like the fact that it is always being added to.

Phil's Grandparents Wedding Picture 1922
My Grandmother's Engagement Picture 1916
Phil's Grandfather WWI
Each time I pass through the hallway I can't help to look at  this display. I am so glad we did it!



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Summer Tomato Sauce and Penne "Farm to Table"

                 Happy Saturday! Can you believe this week is almost gone?
      This week we decided to search for a farmstand. We know there is a farmer's market not too far away. But it is only there on Monday and Thursday. For what ever reason we never seem to be able to make it on those days. The area in which we live is mostly farm country. In fact that is just what attracted me to this town...Acres and acres of farmland. I am in love with the beauty of the many miles of corn fields. I think There is no doubt this is what sealed the deal for us to move here.
I also think the farmland reminds me of what Long Island was like when I moved there many years ago. All of the farms are now gone from where we lived on the Island. The land became so valuable most farmers sold their land. The farms are now replaced by shopping malls, shopping centers, home developments and condominiums. I know this is progress but I missed them. I loved them!
When I get homesick what makes me feel better is to ride past the miles and miles of farms... the corn fields, the vegetable farms the peach orchards, the strawberry fields, the fields of wild flowers and the rows and rows of greenhouses For those few moments the memories of back home fill my heart. I am in awe of the beauty here. Little by little I am falling in love with this little corner of my world.
        I wanted to buy local produce. There are so many farms we knew there had to be a farm stand. We came across this stand in the middle of nowhere. It looked like it had been there forever. What fantastic vegetables! There is something very appealing about standing in the middle of the farm where you can see the vegetables growing.Smelling the air and the earth and being able to purchase what was in the ground just a short time ago. Buying what is in season and locally grown is not only healthier, but also tastier.
Corn field

       Tomatoes, garlic and basil to make a summer sauce with penne pasta for dinner. The cantaloupe smelled so good we couldn't resist... they were only $1.00.

                                                 Summer Tomato Sauce with Penne

            1 lb. ripe cherry tomatoes (vine ripened are best) rinsed, dried, and cut in half
            1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling over finished pasta
            1 teaspoon sea salt
            pinch of crushed hot pepper
            4 cloves garlic peeled
            10 fresh basil shredded
            1/2 lb. bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella) cut in half
            1 lb.penne
Toss the tomatoes, oil, sea salt, and crushed red pepper together in a large bowl. Whack garlic with side of knife and toss into bowl. Let marinate at room temperature, tossing once or twice for at least 30 minutes.
While the tomatoes are marinating, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8 quart pot over high heat.
Stir the penne into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi covered 10 to 12 minutes,
Remove the garlic from the marinated tomatoes and toss in basil. Drain the pasta, and add it to the bowl, and toss well to mix. Check the seasoning. adding salt and more crushed red pepper if necessary. Gently stir in bocconcini and serve.
Serve with freshly grated cheese (Grana Padano)


Thursday, July 20, 2017

A French Chateau in the Pocono Mountains

         Since we moved to Pennsylvania two years ago we spend a lot of time traveling to new towns. It began as a way to learn our way around, but now it has become an adventure. We both love historic towns where main street is full of small shops and great restaurants. Some of the towns we have traveled to have been a big disappointment. But last week we traveled to a town called Milford, Pa.
A neighbor's father heard we liked historic towns and he told us we had to go to Milford. He assured us that it was exactly what we were looking for.
         Milford is about one and a half hours northeast of us. I don't think either one of us was setting our expectations too high. All we could think of were the many times we drove for hours only to find a town that was called historic, but was a run down town with abandoned buildings and a few mom and pop stores.
          Much to our surprise it was Beautiful!! Milford was everything that was promised and then some. A town filled with such beauty and history. The streets were lined with antique shops, gift shops, a cupcake shop, an old fashioned candy and ice cream shop. I was in my glory!!!!  And oh, the beautiful Inns, Bed and Breakfasts and Hotels. I was most impressed with the warmth and friendliness of the shopkeepers. They seemed to want you to enjoy all their town had to offer. That's how we found out about the Historic Site Grey Towers.
           Grey Towers was built in 1886 by James Pinchot. Architect Richard Hunt designed the summer home to utilize local materials and to reflect the French heritage of the Pinchot family.
                                                                           Grey Towers

                                     View of Pocono Mts. from front porch of Grey Towers

                                                              Antique shop in town
One of the Inns in town
   We missed the last tour of the house and  garden. So we will return!!!! I can't wait!!!! I also didn't get a chance to check out all the antique shops. So I have to go back, right???

Have a great weekend!!