The Kitchen Window

The Kitchen Window
Antique Milk Bottles with Herbs and Flowers


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.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brunch at Frog Hollow Farm

A few weekends ago FHFB and I served our first brunch - can you believe it?  We're not big breakfast eaters here - something simple - maybe a poached egg with whole grain toast and coffee or a simple bowl of oatmeal - and we're good to go. 

Although we set the table in the dining room for the main part of the meal...

it was a gloomy day...

We actually started out in the kitchen with the banana muffins, Irish Soda bread and hot coffee....

then we moved into the dining room.

Here's the menu with the recipes:

March Brunch Menu

Fresh Organic Strawberries and Blueberries

Chocolate Flourless Torte (Ina Garten via Judy Marino)




I'll be over at Tablescape Thursdays and Foodie Friday!  

Ciao, bella!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gifts in the Mail

Sitting on our back porch today was a box from San Luis Obispo, California.  It brought along bright sunny skies, but unfortunately left the warm California temperatures, flowers and green grass behind.  

But, the most important things that came along with the box were some wonderful gifts from a blogger friend ~ my very first!  Do you know Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen blog?  She has a delightful and delicious blog - along with sweet Teddy.  Please stop by and see her wonderful blog!


The other day Kary posted about knitting dish rags in her kitchen.  I just loved their simplicity and functionality and asked her if she was selling them.  Kary wrote back and said that she wanted to give them to me as a gift - it was the sweetest offer!  

Kary included a sweet little note on Becky Kelly stationary in her package to let me know that one of the dish rags had a mistake right in the middle because her dog Teddy had grabbed it - she had mentioned in her posting that Teddy loves to grab her ball of yarn and run with it while she's knitting - Teddy sounds like he's a bundle of energy - but so adorable - you can see a picture of Teddy on Kary's blog.  The mistake is barely visible, but I think of Teddy every time I look at that particular rag!

I'm using these adorable little dish rags as large coasters under several things in my kitchen - my electric kettle, and two large antique pottery fruit bowls.  These sweet little knitted squares slide easily  when we slide the bowls or kettle over the counters - preventing any scratching.  They are too pretty for me to use as rags - but that's me - LOL!

To make things even more wonderful, Kary included several delicious items in her package - perfect for an afternoon tea here at Frog Hollow Farm.  

Since we're expecting rain and gusty winds this week, I think I'll be making the Strawberry Scones and Sweet and Spicy Good Earth tea one of these afternoons.  The scones will be delicious with the wonderful Avila Valley Barn strawberry and raspberry fruit spread - yummy!! The only thing missing is some clotted cream, but I think I must find some!  

So, thank you so much Kary for your generous gift - it was such a sweet gesture!

Ciao, bella!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Philadelphia Flower Show and Other Things

FHFB and I drove down to the Philadelphia Flower Show a couple of weeks ago. 

Our weekend started with a night at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City with dinner at Bobby Flay's Steak restaurant - I know that I've mentioned before how much I love the Chopped Salad with Lobster - just delicious! 

The next day we drove over to Philadelphia and met our friends Forrest and Stephanie for the weekend - visiting the flower show and hanging out at the Reading Terminal Market - a new favorite place of mine!! 

On Saturday we drove over to Bethlehem, PA for a couple of antique shows that were a bit disappointing but we made everything better by stopping by the Apollo Grill in Bethlehem for their delicious small bites menu - they serve all of the appetizers at the bar - we love to sit and try a few different dishes each time we visit, and we always meet someone interesting! 

This last photo is of one of the displays at the flower show.  It is such a beautiful room - I especially love the walls and how the panels are used to decorate and create structure.  Isn't is gorgeous??  You can see all of the awards that this design won right there in the front, sitting on the floor. 

How can I get this look in one of the downstairs bedrooms? 
FHFB just shook his head when I mentioned this - but I think it's doable on some level, don't you??

Here are a few more photos from the flower show - they are keeping me happy while I watch the snow pile up outside the windows of the great room at my dad's house. I'm hanging out with him for the day.

Thinking about flower gardens and spring entertaining on our back porch!!

I'm joining Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper!!

Ciao, bella!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I planned on posting a photo of my mom for St. Patrick's day, but had been having difficulty with our scanner.

Thanks to our wonderful, patient and brilliant techie Oliver, things are up and running once more!  

Lilly's Irish Soda Bread recipe was posted here for St. Patrick's Day. She was born in Ireland in a small village called Killmactrany in County Sligo - FHFB and I will be visiting there this summer. 

We'll be meeting up with cousins that I haven't seen in years - even some that I've never met!  My cousins Angela and Caroline, living in Dublin and Boyle respectively, have been emailing me and I can't wait to see them!

  Mom was the ultimate entertainer, and my love of cooking and entertaining definitely came from her.  In the 70's she had these fantastic fondue parties in our 'rec' room.  My dad would set up this long wooden table and Mom would set up about 6 different fondue pots down the center of the table.  Friends and family would gather for hours of eating, drinking wine and laughing - those were fantastic parties. 

Lilly loved a party and would always bring along something to help the hostess - some of her famous potato pancakes or one of her many casseroles.  She knew I didn't like onions and would always try to sneak them into her dishes, thinking that I wouldn't notice - but I always did! 

I'm not sure where this photo was taken, but don't you just love that little frill on the top of her white glove?  I think she's holding the second glove in her left hand. Maybe she's not even wearing gloves, but I can't think of what else could be around he wrist.  

And that waist -  I don't know if I ever had a waist like that!

I'm sure that I'll be posting lots of photos now that our scanner is working!!

Ciao, bella!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Seasonal Recipe and Menu Binders

Okay, I know I'm a little obsessive with organizing things.  Being organized energizes me on several levels.  First and foremost I hate reinventing the wheel.  What I mean by that is if I've found a great recipe or put together a fantastic menu, I want to be able to locate that information easily in the future. 

I know that it's not always easy to re-create a mood or feeling - and sometimes dinner parties and casual get-togethers take on a personality of their own - duplicating a particular menu or cocktail at another time may create an entirely whole new experience. 

Nevertheless, I like to be able to easily find specific menus and recipes - I really hate spending time looking for things like that - the time spent searching always distracts me and I find myself engrossed in looking through new recipes and cookbooks and before I know it an hour or so has gone by!!

This is my "Winter Binder" from Vera Bradley - a little blurry, sorry.

 So, several months ago I started putting together a Winter binder of easy entertaining menus along with the recipes.  Vera Bradley designs have never been a favorite of mine but I do love her  colorful binders. Color motivates me and can also add to the whole feeling of creating and looking at something special.  

The idea of creating this binder was the result of wanting to have simple delicious entertaining menus at my fingertips.  FHFB and I love to cook, but sometimes we are so exhausted after having a dinner party that I had to begin simplifying things, but still keeping our menus special, delicious and fun.  I think that as foodies ourselves we just want to have lots of things to taste and of course, a table full of delicious homemade dishes is always so wonderful to see - we eat first with our eyes 
(my eyes should be 10x their size if that's true!) 

This week I purchased a second Vera Bradley binder for Spring entertaining!

So far I have two vegetarian menus filed away.  
Our son is coming home for a few days at the end of March before heading over to Florence, Italy for the month of April, so I wanted to be ready with some simple but delicious vegetarian meals.  

Menu #1
*upside down mushroom tartlets
*yellow squash with hazelnuts and pecorino
*warm peanut and sesame noodles

Menu #2
*vegetarian lentil soup
*white bean and tomato casserole with broccoli rabe
*whole grain penne pasta with shaved 
If you would like any of these recipes please let me know and I'd be happy to send them to you!
Here are a some links to a few of the recipes:
It's snowing here this morning - spring is a little confused.
I'm participating in Metamorphosis Monday over at Between Naps on the Porch.
Ciao, bella!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Menu from The Irish Pub Cookbook

I've been meaning to post this menu for over a week!  A friend of mine, Stephanie, who loves to cook as much as I do, gave me a wonderful cookbook a few weeks ago called The Irish Pub Cookbook written by Margaret M. Johnson and published by Chronicle Books.  

It's called the culinary celebration of Irish Pub grub!  
I found so many new and delicious recipes for our St. Patrick's Day celebration here at Frog Hollow Farm on Saturday.
Here's what we're serving from the cookbook to 26 adults:

Esther Dunne's Bacon-Potato Cakes
Guinness Beef Stew
Chicken and Ham Pie
Cider Braised Chicken and Cabbage
Some things that our guests will see on the table when they arrive that I ordered from a little local restaurant called Stella G's:

Lobster Salad Tartlets
Salmon Crepes
Several other appetizers that my sisters are bringing.
And of course we couldn't have a St. Patrick's Day party without the following:
Corned Beef (from my sister Laurie)
If you're having a St. Patrick's Day party this weekend like we are and would like one of these recipes please email me, I'll do my best to send them to you!
Still figuring out the dessert menu!!
Ciao, bella!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lilly's Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Hi everyone, as promised, here's the recipe for 
Lilly's Irish Soda Bread.

Lilly's Irish Soda Bread

Mix these together these 4 ingredients together:3 1/2 cups of flour
2/3 cup of sugar
1 1/2 cup of raisins

1 T. caraway seeds
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 T. baking powder

Mix together 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons of melted butter.

Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine throroughly.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour. 
You can bake it in a loaf pan greased with butter or just form it into a mound, score a large X on the top, and bake it on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. 

I'm over at Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper 
and Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum- come take a look!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Beautiful Dominican Republic

The resort we were staying at in early February has beautifully maintained grounds, full of many different types of flowers and palm trees.  Here are some of the flowers and trees that were on the pathways to the pools or beach.  I'm not sure if these are natural to the environment.

 These salmon flowers were all over the place.  They grew on spikes about 12-24 inches high, and looked like they spread pretty easily in the flower beds.

 Do you see the large pods hanging from the right side of this palm tree?

Okay, I usually hate, hate, hate photos of me, but here's a photo of FHFB (always handsome) on our last day at one of the private pools with hammocks and all kinds of creature comforts (I'm the one on the right).  We were ready to catch the transport to the airport.  Two of our beautiful friends were on either side of us but I don't have their permission to put them in my blog so I cropped them out. 

(Hmmmm, afterthought, did I crop them out because they are so gorgeous??)

To tell you the truth, I'm usually pretty ready to go home by this point, and that's after most every vacation. We love getting away and visiting different countries - but the place we love best is our home. That may sound a little corny, but I can't imagine what it's like not to have a place to come home to.  

It's always a great feeling walking into our house after a long flight.

 I feel that I'm living a pretty charmed life.

Ciao, bella!