Saturday, October 23, 2010

Farmer's Market

Today was a good day. My husband and I drove down to the city and stumbled across the best Farmer's Market in all of Houston. We spent at least a good 2 hours and still didn't manage to go through the entire market. We kept taking bags of produce back to the car so we could return with more and more. By the time we pulled off the entire back of the car was filled with produce. I even purchased 4 pumpkins. I can't wait to go back.

If you know me well you'll understand why I'm so excited. I love to cook. If I'm not hunting down antiques, playing in the flower beds, you'll find me in the kitchen. When I use to live in California my BFF, Elizabeth, and I would drive miles in search of certain produce, cheeses, meats, and spices. She also loves to cook.


Most of the produce is trucked into Texas from California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Mexico. That's one of the things I miss about growing up around the Sacramento Valley in California. My Aunt Diane had a farm and I use to pick produce during the summer months between swimming in the pool. We'd snap green beans in the evening and prepare dinner. All of it from literally her property. Those were some of the best summers of my life.

This is brown sugar from Mexico. A little clip can go a long way. It's really strong so you don't have to use as much. I'm thinking of using some tomorrow in a loaf of Banana bread.


Tis the Season for pumpkin seeds. I love to use them in my salads. Sometimes they fix the occasional sweet tooth by dashing a little cinnamon over them and baking them for about 5 minutes.

My mangoes were shipped in from Brazil. My husband loves to make mango smoothies. Believe it or not it was really hot today. I know that must sound funny coming from those who live up north. I had a short sleeve shirt and jeans on. By the time I returned home I quickly changed into a summer dress. Thankfully I was procrastinating and haven't stored my summer wardrobe away yet.

The papayas are from Chile. They are delicious! I love a good papaya.



Here's another mango but these are shipped in from Mexico. Look how large they are. I was starving by time we returned home so I cut open one of these beauties and by the time I finished my portion I almost spoiled my appetite for dinner. I could literally live off of mangoes.

Tonight I made a pasta dish with a ton of fresh peppers, sweet onion, tomatoes, etc. It was awesome. I purchased my meats from a local Cajun meat market. Can't beat buying meat from a butcher. And of course I always cook to New Orleans music to get me in the cuisine mood. Tonight it was one of our favorites Ingrid Lucia.



This really doesn't have anything to do with my Farmer's Market post but I thought I'd just share. Has anyone else come across these adorable little mini size ice creams from Starbucks? I noticed them in the freezer section of my local grocery store and decided to pick one up. It's so cute the top even come with a little spoon. The calories are not so cute but this Java Chip Frappuccino ice cream is so good I practically licked the cartoon clean, ha!



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Royal Weddings

Yesterday afternoon I was standing in the check out line at the grocery store. The woman in front of me had a massive load in her shopping cart and the only other register open had five customers before me. I stood patiently as I watched the teenage boy slide produce and canned goods across the electric scanner. I caught myself fidgeting and shifting my heavy basket from side to side as I kept an eye on the line next to me like hawk to see if I needed to switch. Unfortunately that line was trickling like a broken faucet so I began reading the only literature before my eyes, tabloids (blah).

Normally I can't stand such garbage. I think tabloids are one of those secret things people hate to love but can't get enough of. It's amazing how much the paparazzi makes by taking photographs of celebrities running errands, eating, or driving like us common folk. The thought of being a celebrity makes me shudder. I enjoy my privacy too much and I would be horrified at a blown up picture of my back side plastered across every newstand in America. Why on earth do they have to print such terrible pictures?

However, the paparazzi wouldn't have a lucrative business if our society wasn't so caught up (obsessed) with celebrities. What actually makes someone a celebrity? Obviously anything these days (rolling my eyes). Look at the kids on Jersey Shore. I refuse to watch such filth but I know who they are. Heck, even our politicians commented on them. Are you kidding?!! I'm told that the little one is called Snookie. I'll tell you I'm so over the reality television in America and I hardly consider Snookie anything of interest.

I had to smirk as I glanced over the headlines. Half of these people I have no clue who they are so if they are pregnant, getting divorced, or on a diet really doesn't amuse me much. However, I did come across a headline that did catch my interest. Could there be another Royal Wedding in the works? Prince William and his gal pal Kate Middleton?!! I can't believe Prince William is old enough to get married. It doesn't seem long ago he was just a boy. Looking at the snap shot he does look all grown up and a very dashing young man. And I do love Royal Weddings.

Here's a list of my favorites.....

GRACE KELLY

(Grace Patricia Kelly November 12, 1929 ~ September 14, 1982)

The gorgeous and talented Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III on April 18 and 19, 1956. She had two ceremonies, one civil and the other religious. The 40-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956. The next day the religious ceremony took place at Monaco's Saint Nicholas Cathedral.

Kelly's wedding dress, designed by MGM's Academy Award–winning Helen Rose, was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. IT was the most expensive gown that Rose had ever created.

The wedding dress consisted of a rounded collar, full skirt of ivory peau de soie, and a fitted bodice made from Brussels lace embroidered with seed pearls. The lace was over a century old and had flower designs in it. 25 yards of silk taffeta and 100yards of silk net were used in the construction of the dress.

Under her wedding gown, Grace's petticoats had tiny blue satin bows.



Grace Kelly Wedding Doll






Grace Kelly on her Wedding Day



Princess Diana



(Diana Frances Spencer July 1, 1961 ~August 31, 1997)

Princess Diana married Prince Charles, Prince of Whales, on July 29, 1981. The ceremony was held at St. Paul's Cathedral.

She supported many British designers beginning with Elizabeth and David Emanuel who designed her much criticized puff ball meringue wedding dress in 1981. Her wedding dress was based on a romantic look of huge puffed sleeves with a full skirt of ivory silk pure taffeta, old lace and hand embroidery incorporating 10,000 pearls and sequins.

The gown had a twenty five foot train and when the princess Diana emerged from the carriage at the cathedral the world saw how creased the dress appeared. The creases soon dropped out, but the fabric and construction method used was criticized worldwide.



Princess Diana Wedding Day Doll





Princess Diana on her Wedding Day





Jackie Kennedy - Our American Princess

(Jacqueline Lee Bouvier July 28, 1949 ~May 19, 1994)

Jacqueline Bouvier married John F. Kennedy on September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

Jacqueline Bouvier's ivory silk wedding gown required 50 yards of ivory silk taffeta and took more than two months to make. It was the creation of Ann Lowe, an African-American dress-maker born in Clayton, Alabama, who had designed gowns for the matrons of high society families including the du Pont, Lodge, and Auchincloss families. Ms. Lowe was 54 when she designed the Bouvier wedding dress which featured a portrait neckline and bouffant skirt decorated with interwoven bands of tucking and tiny wax flowers. She also designed the pink faille silk gowns and matching Tudor caps worn by the bridal attendants.


Jacqueline Kennedy Wedding Day doll

Jacqueline Kennedy on her Wedding Day

Her dress is housed in the Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.


I wonder what Kate Middleton is going to wear on her big day?
Can't wait to see.........

Friday, October 15, 2010

Baby You Can Drive My Car




I'm a little obsessed with pedal cars. I've always told hubby that as soon as we have our first child I'm immediately purchasing a cool pedal car for him/her. Those vintage pedal cars are the best ( 1956 and 1967 Corvettes). How do I know this, well, I grew up around classic cars. My father owned a classic car business and I worked for my dad since I was practically in diapers. He eventually moved onto to Formula One cars for Ferrari.

I have a ton of useless information trapped in my head. Point out a vintage car and I can name the make and model. I use to order parts for our family business and know classic cars like the back of my hand. I've shocked men over the years by the amount of knowledge I possess. When I was a teenager I hated classic cars and pretty much any car in general. I didn't realize that I grew up with a unique background. All my friends worked at the mall or cosmetic counters and I was stuck delivering cars to clients. Sometimes Ferrari's, Mercedes, Jaguar, etc.. but all vintage. These cars were extremely expensive to transport due to the insurance policies and I use to drive them at age sixteen. I can't remember ever not being able to drive a stick. Now I embrace my unusual upbringing and find myself longing to own one of these classic beauties. My father has since retired and I've grown up, married, and moved away from home. However, I don't believe my passion for vintage cars will ever die. It's truly a love affair if you get bit.

Check out this really awesome pedal plane. How cool is that?

What I would give to own this pedal boat. Look at the retro bell. Now this is the most unique pedal toy I've ever laid my eyes on.


I could totally see myself buying this one for our future children. This is so us it's ridiculous. I'll have to show hubby and insist that our future children must have this pedal car.

However, if the children have a pedal car than so will mama. This would be the ultimate pedal car for me. A father's friend, Jim, owns a black 1957 Mercedes 190 SL convertible with red leather upholstery. It's a dream. Yes, I could definitely settle for the pedal car.

`

Monday, October 11, 2010

Feeling Stressed

It's been a very stressful past couple of days. Last Thursday my husband and I were in a car accident. Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt but the car was totaled. We are currently dealing with insurance companies, rental cars, and now shopping for a new vehicle. We count our blessings that we are still alive. However, this truly was a terrible time for all this to happen. My husband took the LSAT (admissions test for law school) on Saturday. It's a very intense test and I felt horrible for him as we were trying to deal with this mess on top of preparing for the big day. However, he feels like he did good and I'm confident he did an amazing job. We will be receiving the score back in the next 20 days.

I don't know how y'all handle stress but I've been reading a book called, Stress Less, by Don Colbert, MD.. I picked up the book about a week ago and it has really come in handy at the moment. DR. Colbert is a Christian and discusses how important our perception of our problems effect our mental, physical, and spiritual health. It's true, I believe that anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, depression, anxiety can lead to cancer and other illnesses that can rot the body from the inside out. I've seen many people become in bondage to fear and anger and watch their health deteriorate. With our nation under so much at the moment I can understand how depression has overwhelmed so many families. But you can find peace and joy even during the most stressful times in your life. You can't always control stressful situations in life but you can control your attitude. I highly recommend this book.




One of the biggest stress relievers in life is to take time out to enjoy the things that you love. As for me it would be antiques. I love antiques. Look at all this gorgeous antique silver. What I wouldn't do to get my hands on it. Such lovely pieces for a tablescape.






Monday, October 4, 2010

SWISS ALPS

Now that we have toured Lucerne and Bern we are off to the Swiss Alps. My husband has hiked the Swiss Alps and says it is one of the most beautiful areas in the world. He told me stories of how friendly the Swiss were during his visit. They are a very kind and hospitable country. The Swiss Alps is a terrific destination to explore.



The Swiss Alps covers 65% of Switzerland. That's 2/3 of the country. Now imagine if 3% was covered in glaciers. That's very impressive. The countries that border this magnificent mountain range are France, Italy, Austria, and Liechtenstein.






The Alps are referred to in two main parts, the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps, they are divided along the Rhine from Lake Constance to the Spl├╝gen Pass. The western ranges make up the greatest part of Switzerland.





The Swiss Alps drains into the Rhine and Inn River (which is part of the Danube basin). The south side is mainly drained by the Ticino River (Po basin). Switzerland possesses 6% of Europe's fresh water supply. Switzerland has been called the, "water tower of Europe."


The highest summit in the Swiss Alps is Monte Rosa (15,202 ft). You can find this summit near the Swiss-Italian border. I had the opportunity to fly over the Monte Rosa on my way to Italy. How I wish I had been able to see Monte Rosa from the base. Although, it was still quite impressive from the sky.


The Matterhorn is located between Switzerland and Italy. Its peak is 14,692 ft.!!! It is one of the highest peaks in the Swiss Alps. The Matterhorn towers over the town of Zermatt (canton of Valais). It has become an iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps and attracts tourists and climbers from all over the world.



Not only tourists have been drawn to the beauty of the Swiss Alps but Hollywood too. Did you know that James Bond was filmed in Switzerland not for only one but two movies? And that there is a James Bond Mountain tour? Yes, you can find this tour in the village of Zermatt. They will take you on location where On Her Majesty's Secret Service was filmed. My husband and I are huge 007 fans and so this would be a real treat. I think I've seen this movie a zillion and one times as George Lazenby's rips through the powder in his wooden skis. Now the evil hide out has turned into a swanky restaurant. You can enjoy the scenery over a James Bond breakfast or lunch.




Another famous Bond movie Gold Finger (starring Sean Connery) was filmed in Switzerland. The aircraft factory was located just outside of Lucerne. Here's a fun clip of Bond in Switzerland.










My favorite part is at the very end of this youtube clip, "Never eject a Swiss."

I just had to include one of my favorite books from my childhood. Heidi was my favorite story as a little girl. I would spend countless hours studying the illustrations of Heidi, her goat herder friend, Peter, and the Swiss Alps. It was always the book I selected for story time before bed. My grandmother gave me the movie Heidi (starring Shirley Temple) as a Christmas gift one year.








I hope you all had fun touring the Swiss Alps with me