The Kitchen Window

The Kitchen Window
Antique Milk Bottles with Herbs and Flowers

Welcome!

Welcome to the Frog Hollow Farm blog! I've been blogging since January 2010 and have switched from Blogger to Word Press, but I'm back to Blogger because, for me, it's easier to use. My husband and I live on a little farm in Northwest New Jersey. We have some chickens and a very large vegetable garden with asparagus and raspberries, and rows and rows of sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias. Traveling, entertaining, gardening, spending time with family, studying Italian, blogging and reading keep us busy and happy. With all of this going on, moving towards a simpler life seems almost impossible but it's definitely a daily goal.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two Sweet Easter Bunnies

Here are two sweet little bunnies I found a few weeks ago. 
They remind me of two very good friends who love being together or a big bunny sister hugging her little bunny sister. 

Aren't they adorable?


We are so busy at Frog Hollow Farm right now, still working with our contractor finishing the steps on the back porch - hopefully before Easter, and getting ready for our Easter buffet on Sunday. 

Even though we're busy I wanted to post these little bunnies for you to see.

So many bloggers are posting such wonderful photos of their Easter, Passover and Spring tables, colorful flowering plants, delicious recipes (thank you Bonnie at Living with Thanksgiving for where to find the recipe for the macaroni cheese muffins on your Bridal Coffee post) and of course, all the fabulous decorating ideas that I get to sigh over every single day. 

I am so impressed at everyone's creativity and design flair - it's so inspiring! 

My guess is that these bunnies love being in the conservatory, sitting pretty among the mint, tulips and daffodils, if I were them I'd be feeling pretty good!

 
I hope I remember to take photos of our Easter buffet for everyone to see - so often I forget because I get so busy with everything! 
Ciao, bella!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mini-Metamorphosis

We've been trying to get our basement offices back up and running since we had some water damage about a year ago.  Since I've been retired I've been working out of the kitchen temporarily, specifically from a 6ft square portion of the kitchen and kitchen table - I'm starting to feel a bit claustrophobic and have decided to set up a secondary temporary office space in our unfinished butler's pantry right off of the kitchen.  So, that's what I'm showing off today for Metamorphosis Monday.

Before...


After...



Yes, that's a poinsettia behind the laptop screen - she just won't quit, I guess this window and space is just right for her!  Thanks for stopping by Frog Hollow Farm!  Ciao, bella!

Browsing Through Cookbooks for an Easter Menu


I am blessed to have all of my immediate family living nearby Frog Hollow Farm.  That means for holidays and other gatherings there are automatically at least 20 people in attendance.  Then, we need to add some cousins, husbands and wives of neices and nephews, and now two sweet little babies, and the number grows to around 30 people!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Early Evening Get-Together at Frog Hollow Farm

Last week I was so excited to have three very special friends over for an early evening visit.  This is a very special group of women that I have worked closely with as a team member and supervisor for the last five years - some of us have known each other for almost 20 years!  I've really missed our daily talks and needed to have them over so we could catch up on things - it's important for me to keep in touch and although life takes over so often I'm determined to make sure that we always make time for friends and family at Frog Hollow Farm.  The weather was so nice that we were able to sit on the backporch for a while with our wine, and then into the conservatory for some savory aperitivo and of course, more wine! 

My first spring project will be painting the floor of the conservatory with a wonderful lime green paint but for our get-together today the red painted floor worked out fine. 

I used one of my April Cornell tablecloths because it was bright and worked well with the various pottery pieces I planned on using. 


Here are two close ups of the tablecloth print....


My friends stopped by around 4:00 so it was too early for dinner and they were only able to stay for a few hours - so I decided beforehand to serve some of the aperitivo recipes I've been making along with a wonderful Italian red wine from Umbria, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese and merlot and a wonderful French chardonnay from a vineyard in southern Burgundy’s M√Ęconnais region. 

Here's a photo of the table before everyone arrived....


Frog Hollow Farm Boy surprised me with these wonderful daffodils, so I used them as our very simple, Spring centerpiece...


Our menu was comprised of three savory indulgences, just enough to tempt the palate, placate those 4:00 hunger pangs, and keep the conversation going.  My choices for our get-together included the following recipes...



Goat Cheese with Thinly Sliced Red Onions, Fresh Thyme and Red-Wine Viniagrette




The dishes and glasses are a mix of peices that I have and seem to often have the color green in them.  The small plates with the lemons are part of a pottery set that I purchased in Florence in September.  The green plates were purchased years ago in Home Goods - they seem to go with so many plates and dishes that I own.  The glasses are also from Home Goods.  I see that I hadn't put out the silverware when I took this photo - I used pieces with different colored handles (purchased in Bed, Bath and Beyond) that picked up the many colors in the tablecloth.  The napkin holders and small glass votive candles are from Williams-Sonoma.  Sorry for the off-centered dishes - I need to pay more attention to some details when setting the table - I was just so excited to begin taking the pictures as things were falling into place so well! 


For dessert I made a Banana Cake from the Slow Like Honey blog...


The plate stand is hard to see but is a blue delft pattern purchased for $2 from a consignment shop years ago. 

All good things must come to an end - we had a wonderful time catching up and just chatting and laughing - I really miss seeing these tremendous women every day.  The sun had set and our brief time togehter was over - we'll be sure to set another date soon.

I'm participating in Tablescape Thursday today.  Check out all of those beautiful tablesettings!  Just breathtaking!

Miss Olive

Hey there, I'm ready to come in now....


I mean it...I'm ready to come in RIGHT NOW!


Now that I've started blogging, she always knows where to find me.... 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday at Frog Hollow Farm

This


Tonight's Aperitivo at Frog Hollow Farm

This sweet simple sign is from a street in the little town of Bellagio in Lake Como, Italy.  The town is built into a hillside, so every street is comprised of steps that take one up tiny alleys full of wonderful shops and beautiful views of that lake.  I'd love to go back and take a car trip around the entire lake, just Frog Hollow Farm Boy and me, stopping at as many of the small towns that surround it as possible - drinking their local wine and experiencing all of the aperitivo experiences possible! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Silly Small Bathroom Projects

These two little projects are nothing compared to what I've seen on Metamorphosis Mondays at Between Naps on the Porch  but I was determined to post something this week and this is all I could put together - I guess things get like that once in awhile???
This was the way I organized things on either side of my vanity in the upstairs bathroom.  On the left side was a tiered wire planter
that I thought would look interesting in this room and on the right side was a small wooden table from Home Goods as well as a patterned ceramic footbath, also from Home Goods.  The wire planter contained my blow dryer, curling iron, hairspray, and other hair products on the top, small Longaberger baskets with skin and nail products, and brushes on the bottom two layers.  The baskets just didn't work well - they looked kind of messy. 
The table contained rolled bath towels on the bottom shelf and the ceramic footbath on the top, with rolled face towels and hand towels. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.


No matter how long the winter...


Spring is sure to follow!



The snow and ice have melted, the ducks and geese are visiting, the peepers are peeping in the forest, the frogs and tadpoles are waking up, and the turtles will soon be basking in the sun at Frog Hollow Farm. 

I hope your first day of spring is full of sunshine and perpetual astonishment.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Irish Tea with a Savory Bisquit


Happy St. Patrick's Day to Everyone.  This is a sweet little tea set from my mother.  It was made in Connemara, Ireland and has four teacups with saucers, a teapot, honeypot and salt and pepper shaker that sit in a little holder with three individual spots. 

As you can see, I've used one of the saucers as a plate for a savory bisquit that I made from this recipe in Bon Appetit.  I've also placed a little pot of shamrocks in another one of the tea cups. 

Now, I think I'll make that cup of tea and savor one of those delicious bisquits.

As Promised...Detail Photos of the Bedroom Makeover

Hello to all of my blogger friends - I am always so excited when someone comments on my blog even if they stop by for just one visit.  A few days ago I posted a before and after photo of our master bedroom, and one very sweet blogger asked me to post some details of things the new bedroom - so here goes. 

Lingerie Chest serving as a night table....

Monday, March 15, 2010

Salty-Sweet Aperitivo



Just putting together our aperitivo menu for this "Almost Spring" evening - and hoping to fit some yoga into the day's schedule, I've been kind of lax on that recently and I think it helps me sleep better.  So, back to food, some lovely, delicious goodies to slide us into a cozy evening at home.  FHFB has confiscated the digital camera today so I'm forced to take the photos with my Blackberry (yikes!)  or find them on Google.  I'm having problems sizing and placing the images today - I think this template limits what I can do.  Here's the menu:



Aperitivo
Pancetta-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Manchego Cheese and Mint
Mini Sage-and-Fontina Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Fresh Creamy Buffalo Mozzarella Salad with Roasted Red Peppers

Dinner
Fresh Sauteed Cod with Marinara Sauce
    Frog Hollow Farm Boy's Famous Stuffed Artichokes


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend Adventure

Recipe from Lidia's website - a bit different.What an interesting weekend!  Frog Hollow Farm Boy and I decided to plan a quick, simple getaway to the Water Club in Atlantic City, heading down there after an Association of Learning Consultants conference I attended in Long Branch on Friday.  The drive down to the Water Club went fine, we dined at our favorite restaurant in the Borgata, Bobby Flay Steak and had fun just puttering around the slot machines and casino games for a few hours.  The next morning my husband joked that maybe we should stay another night since the weather forecast was sounding pretty ominous with driving rain and pretty forceful winds (why didn't I jump at this?)  But, of course, we figured that we could handle anything, so started the journey home around that afternoon. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thinking of Spring

I'm sitting here multi-tasking as usual; looking out my window at the melting snow and patches of field and grass that are beginning to peek out as the sun warms the ground, gazing at the bright yellow tulips in front of me and making some delicious aperitivo for dinner.

Tonight's aperitivo includes fresh organic strawberries, juicy orange wedges, cucumbers marinated in white balsamic and mustard dressing and risotto cakes with homemade marinara sauce


For dinner we're having Farfalle Medie ai Funghi (Bow Ties with Mushrooms) from Viana LaPlace's Pasta Fresca cookbook and Artichoke Ragout with Garlic, Saffron and Orange Zest from a new cookbook my wonderful husband surprised me with on Sunday morning - New Flavors for Vegetables from Williams Sonoma.   

Still gaga over my bedroom makeover.  Susan and Pam are miracle workers! 

Caio Bella!

Monday, March 8, 2010

I Can't Believe How Beautiful Our New Bedroom Is!!!!

Okay, I promised that I would post the after-pictures of the bedroom makeover, so here goes.  Susan and Pam were here all afternoon with their two very handsome male helpers along with the curtain installers.  They have transformed a very plain room into a romantic haven.  Susan explained to me that I was trying to decorate the room in a country style, and that I needed to think more elegantly.  The bones of the room are farmhouse, with beadboard walls and painted wood floors - but the decor is now chic, warm and extremely inviting, and it balances so wonderfully with all of the wood in the room. 

Here's the before picture taken this morning around 11am -
And here's the bedroom now, magically transformed into a beautiful space by two very talented decorators, using many of my own furniture peices and accessories -

Isn't this beautiful, have I said that enough in this blog? 

Ciao Bella!!


Bedroom Makeover

Today is when Sue and Pam are coming to put our new bedroom design together.  This make-over includes gorgeous new silk bedding, romantic curtains with pretty sheers, a colorful area rug, small sofa makeover with a slipcover and new furniture that includes 2 painted dressers and a bookcase.  Sue and Pam were tremendously helpful as they planned and designed the new color scheme and chose the furniture and fabrics.  They chose the handstitched geranium pillow that I purchased from Loretta Caponi in Florence, Italy, as their key piece to work from. 
I'm waiting for them to arrive and have planned a simple lunch for them that includes a fresh vegetable frittata and a green salad.  The frittata includes organic potatoes, fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped red pepper and bright green brocolli.  While whisking the eggs I added some sour cream and parmesan cheese.  After pouring the eggs into the pan I chopped some fresh green chives from our conservatory and placed them on top, along with some discs of herbed goat cheese.  This was baked at about 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. It's cooling on the counter right now and will be ready to serve at room temperature with the green salad later this afternoon. 

As soon as I can I'll take a photo of the bedroom after the makeover. 

Here's the blank slate that they will begin working on shortly:

Ciao Bella!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Conservatory at Night

Yes, the little Christmas tree is still up!  It looks so pretty that I still light it every night!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My First Collage in Picasa!!!

The Reformer

Today was Day One of my five week Foundation Level Semi-private Apparatus Session with Kurt at the Move Studio in Long Valley.   Actually, Kurt was wonderful to work with, very supportive and knowledgeable.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Skip Town Every Other Thursday

Do you remember the sitcom Will & Grace, and crazy Karen?  There was one episode when Karen is walking down her very large staircase in her very posh Manhattan apartment and starts shouting "I can see you!  I can see you!" - and you see her cleaning woman scurry away through a door to the left. 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mulled Wine in the Woods - Dinner in the Kitchen

We had friends over for a walk in the woods and a light dinner yesterday.  The late afternoon weather was perfect for a walk, with the sun reflecting off of the pure white snow, casting long lanky shadows from the ash trees and maples along the trail in the woods.