Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hearty Vegetarian Chili - comfort food

This is a favorite at the farmhouse. We have it almost every week during the winter months. It is super easy to make, fiber-rich, economical, and is great packed in a thermos for lunch. Serve it with organic tortilla chips and a dollop of lowfat sour cream (we are loving the Smart Start sour cream these days) - delicious!

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 (16-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add sugar and remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 257 (9% from fat)
Fat: 2.7g (sat 0.3g,mono 0.5g,poly 1.2g)
Protein: 12.8g
Carbohydrate: 48.8g
Fiber: 14.2g
Cholesterol: 0.0mg
Iron: 4.5mg
Sodium: 876mg
Calcium: 150mg

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2003

Friday, February 26, 2010

Luminous Lights

Quiet possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever made. This is a delightful string of lights made from tea stained coffee filters. They are so lovely and whimsical. My daughter loves them instead of a nightlight -magical.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Finial Fanatic

I have been collecting old wooden finials for some time now. The first one I ever received was given to me by my husband for our anniversary. He bought it in a small shop in Essex. It was originally owned by Gretchen Mann, a designer whom I absolutely love. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was. I remember going through a Country Loving magazine shortly after that and seeing a wonderful feature story about her home. Low and behold, there was my finial on the center of her dining table.

Soon, I bought three more of her beautiful antique finials and thus my collection began. But, what is it about these little bits of history that attract me? I love the sculptural quality of the various shapes: urn, acorn, ball. I love the years of paint chipping on the edges – it adds timelessness to the piece. How much longer has this piece existed than I? How many sunsets and rises has it seen sitting upon a porch baluster? How many children’s hands have palmed it quickly running down stairs as it sat upon a newel? There is something beautiful and absolutely simple about them that speaks to me.

“Things are pretty, graceful, rich, elegant, handsome, but until they speak to the imagination not yet beautiful.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Didn't want to leave out the mudroom . . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bedroom and Master Bath

So, this is by far my favorite space in the entire house. I love my bedroom. It is quiet, peaceful and a wonderful place to just "be" after a long day. Again, I used all neutral colors. There is something very calming to me about neutrals - grays, browns, and earth tones. I love the contrast of elements like feedsack pillows juxtaposed with crystal lamps. I remember when we were building this house. It originally was suppose to have four bedrooms. We redesigned it, with the help of my father, to only have three, and I used the additional space to build this fabulously huge bathroom. I love the feel of the cool marble floors when you step out of the hot shower. It is light and crisp and opens into the master bedroom with two oversized French doors. When one of my neighbors saw it, she commented with, "what wasted space;" she just doesn't get it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Living Room and Dining Room

Here are some pics of the dining room, living room, and the entrance way the adjoins them. Enjoy!

Creating My Nest

Kitchen and Family Room
My home is my nest,
at least that is what my husband calls it.
I wanted to share some of my decorating ideas in my home, so I am going to focus the next few posts on specific rooms in my house. I decided to start with the family room and kitchen since that is where everyone tends to be. It is truly the heart of our home. My family room opens directly into my kitchen. There are a pair of large architectural pillars that define each space. It provides a nice sized space for entertaining, and my daughter thinks being so close to the kitchen is great for midnight snacks during sleepovers. All the furnishings are really casual. I wanted a very 'livable' home. It has a warm, subtle style, but not too feminine. I decorate with a mix of modern, vintage, and repurposed pieces. I have become somewhat of a flea market addict over the past few years. I love to challenge myself to think of new ways to use old things. You would be amazed what a can of spray paint can do! I don't believe in spending a lot of money decorating your home. You shouldn't have to "break the bank" to surround yourself with beautiful things that you love. Just be creative with your thinking and don't follow any rules. Create unusual and intriguing pairings. Check out the Goodwill, thrift shops, flea markets, the dollar store, and don't underestimate the deals in the clearance section at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Keep your colors soft and subtle. Rely on a neutral palette to bring out the best in your mix of furnishings - classic and modern. Use creamy whites and taupes to unify your rooms, especially if your rooms flow into each other like mine do. Use fabrics to bring a soft, textural, and vintage element to your space. Go with what you love. I remember when everyone told me not to get marble countertops because they are a soft stone and stain easily. Well, I did get marble. And yes, I have a few chips and stains, and I still absolutely love them. They bear the wear of a much used family kitchen, and there is something charming and real about that.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thinking Spring

I am hopelessly yearning for spring. I love the smell of the earth, dirt under my fingernails, and little green sprouts that poke their heads through the soil. I have forced bulbs all over my house to bring the spring feel to February. This week I have been working on creating a "master plan" for my new potager. A potager, the French version of the kitchen garden, is suppose to be beautful in addition to functional and yielding. Last year was my first full summer in our new home so, I started small: two raised beds with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, peas, rosemary, basil, Italian parsley, and sage. This year I plan to extend it to include: Maxibel hardicot verts, garden sorrel, mesclun mix, Goodman cauliflower, chives, garlic chives, Dark Opal basil, Ronde de Nice squash, lavender, and delphiniums. I also have my eye on a chippy old table at a thrift shop that should make a perfect potting bench. I ordered all my seeds from a fantastic organic seed supplier:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Croque Monsieur - Cooking Light

A few weeks ago I went to see the movie It's Complicated with my mother. If you haven't seen it yet, you have to go. It is hysterical. It reminds me a little of Something's Gotta Give. It made me have a desire to make Croque Monsieur. Here is a wonderful, light recipe that Mr. Farmhouse loved. I used organic ham and Gruyère cheese with truffle mustard - simple and delicious.

Dijon Croque Monsieur
Time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
8 (1-ounce) slices Italian bread
6 ounces thinly sliced ham
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup fat-free milk
Cooking spray

1. Combine mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Spread 3/4 teaspoon mustard mixture over each of 4 bread slices; layer each slice with 1 1/2 ounces ham and 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle evenly with pepper. Spread 3/4 teaspoon mayonnaise mixture over each remaining bread slice; place, mustard side down, on top of sandwiches.

2. Combine egg substitute and fat-free milk in a shallow dish. Dip both sides of each sandwich into the egg mixture.

3. Heat a large nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sandwiches to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and cheese melts.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 350
Fat: 11.7g (sat 6.1g,mono 3.1g,poly 0.9g)
Protein: 25.1g
Carbohydrate: 34.6g
Fiber: 1.7g
Cholesterol: 51mg
Iron: 2.8mg
Sodium: 935mg
Calcium: 344mg

Elizabeth Karmel, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2010