Friday, December 20, 2013

A Merry Little Christmas dinner party

Christmas table nuetrals with pops of red

With my red dining room, Christmas decorating is easy! I like to set a simple table with neutral table linens and dinnerware so that the centerpieces on the table runner become a focal point. By keeping the arrangements low and using many candles, I’ve found that we can talk easily with everyone. For this table I gathered greenery from outside, focusing on aromatics like pine and lavender which is still green. I also gathered accents to spray gold. Here is my quick DIY:

Krylon metallic fast drying gold spray paint

leaves, pine cones, seed pods, dried flowers

Spray outside, wait 10 min, turn, spray backs. These accents can be used for many years. They also make a Yule/Christmas table transition into New Years with a few minor changes. Here are some I  made this year:

leaf, pine cone, seed pod spray painted in gold simple and natural Christmas table

Here are the Lee Wolfe Pottery pieces I used. Click image to see details:

Minimalist Christmas place setting tree candle holder on Christmas table

You can find my recipe for the Gingerbread Cookies here- they are gluten free and wonderful.

I also used my totem animals. I enjoy making these for fun. They take a bit of time but really let you return to that magical time when you were 4 years old and a wolf could have neon eyes or a penguin chevron green wings.

hand painted penguin DIY simple Christmas table decor

With simple greens , candles, and handmade accent pieces, I’m ready for a few dinner parties and Christmas guests.

woodland style Christmas table

Have a merry little Christmas, Happy Yule, and dream big for a New Year!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Kiln load

orders ready to ship from Lee Wolfe Pottery

I had 9 orders that need to ship this weekend. Even though I have back up pieces for them all, I would much rather ship with a few days leeway, so I really wanted a good firing. I unloaded the kiln and was so happy to see a perfect, yes, PERFECT firing. Here it is, one layer at a time.

Lee Wolfe Pottery top of kiln firing

Joyful Blaze mug

middle shelf of kiln loadlower kiln shelf

bottom of kiln firing

noodle bowl

I have another load firing now that will be ready to unload Sunday morning, I hope the kiln gods smile on me once again. I love seeing new pots in the bright winter sunlight streaming in my windows. It’s a magical feeling. The pieces that were not preordered are for sale on my website Lee Wolfe Pottery and Etsy shop, OneClayBead.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Pie French Toast with Cranberry Relish – Gluten Free

Pumpkin Pie French Toast with Cranberry Ginger Relish -Gluten Free

This turned out to be one of my best recipes of the year! We ate it for dinner and then had a second helping for dessert. I will serve it for brunch during the holidays. The trick to getting great French toast from gluten free bread is to whip the eggs until almost frothy, keep the eggy mix thick, and cook slowly. Adding pumpkin thickens the egg mix and also tastes incredible.  If you don’t have time to make the relish, just whip up some of the best French toast ever!

My Cranberry Ginger relish recipe is here. Make this at least 4 hours in advance. It keeps for weeks. Well, theoretically it does. In our house it gets eaten up pretty quickly.

Pumpkin Pie French Toast with Cranberry Relish

serves 2

4 slices gluten free bread (or sourdough)

1 egg

1/2 C canned pumpkin

1/3 C milk

2 t pumpkin pie spice

2 t powdered sugar

butter for pan

Whip egg until almost frothy; blend it into 1 substance until the yolk and whites are all one. Stir in pumpkin, milk, spice, and sugar until smooth. On a hot griddle, add a pat of butter then reduce heat to medium high. Dip both sides of bread into eggy mixture, allowing it to soak in and leaving a nice coating on the outsides. Use a spatula to remove bread and place on the griddle. Cook both sides until golden brown, approx 3-5 min each side.

Place 2 slices of French Toast on a plate with a healthy dollop of cranberry relish in between. Add a dollop od relish on top. If you are really ambitious, you can top with sugared cranberries. But only if you are serving mimosas or another drink where your beautiful cranberries can be used as a garnish.

Well, it is Thanksgiving eve and I still have a pie to make. I unloaded a great kiln load today, so check out my adorable new Owl Bowls!

From our Thanksgiving table- Roasted Butternut Squash, Garlic and Onions puree

roasted garlic, onion, and butternut squash with toasted walnuts

The flavors of roasted root vegetables are intense and I can’t get enough of them! I’ve tweaked this roasted butternut squash recipe until it is absolute perfection. I also made it dairy free by using coconut milk which improved the taste even more. It’s not hard and you can’t get it wrong; just adjust the salt and pepper to your satisfaction at the end. I serve this in my 4 cup flower bowl for a pretty presentation.

Roasted Garlic, Onion and Butternut Squash puree

1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1/2” cubes

1 whole garlic pod

2 med. onions, peeled, cut in wedges

2 T olive oil

1/2 C coconut milk

1 1/2 t thyme

toasted black walnuts (or other seeds) for garnish- optional

Wrap squash cubes drizzled in olive oil in aluminum foil packet. Cut top off garlic so that every clove is exposed, place on foil, drizzle with olive oil, wrap into closed packet. Place onion wedges on foil, drizzle with oil, wrap into packet. Place all your packets on a cookie sheet and roast in a 400 degree oven for 50 min.

Remove squash and onions from packets and puree together in a food processor. Add roasted garlic by squeezing 9 of the cloves into processor. Save the extra cloves for another use. Add coconut milk, thyme and salt and pepper to taste. You may have to puree in batches and transfer to a larger bowl, in which case, just stir it all together and then add the salt and pepper. Serve hot. This can be made a day ahead and heated up before serving with garnish.roasted garlic, onion, and butternut squash

 

You can also make this into a soup: Put puree in a saucepan with 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock and heat.

You can make it into a pasta sauce by adding 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock.

If you have to serve a vegetable dish on Thanksgiving, this will hold its own.

Remember to count your blessings! I count you as one of the things I am grateful to have in my life. It’s a treat to find people who share my passion for tasty, wholesome food that is beautifully served.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gluten free stuffed French toast

I worked 18 hours yesterday. It’s probably crazy but it doesn’t feel like a long day to me, even though I was in my studio until 2:30 am. It feels like this moment, then this moment, then this moment. On Thursday I will be able to open the kiln and see what my long day produced. There are many preordered nesting bowl sets, and one new Modern Lace platter that I glazed in gray and chartreuse that I want to see.

This morning I made a wonderful French toast with gluten free bread. It is tricky because the gluten free breads are dense and don’t absorb the eggs as readily as wheat breads. I overcame this by soaking in a thick eggy mix, and using my old cast iron griddle. I stuffed this batch with peanut butter and jelly and it is about as perfectly tasty as any breakfast could be.

Gluten Free French Toast stuffed with peanut butter and jelly

Gluten Free stuffed French toast

serves 2

1.  In a small bowl, whip 2 eggs with 2 T lowfat milk. Substitute dairy free or water if lactose intolerant. Pour a depth of 1/4” into a plate with a deep lip. I used one of my salad plates, which are 7 1/2” D and worked perfectly. You want the egg mix to soak into the bottom of 1 slice of bread without touching the top.Soak 3-5 min.

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2. While waiting for the bottom to soak, coat a separate slice of bread with peanut butter and jelly. Remove soaked bread and set atop the PB&J with the eggy side up. Pour 1/4” of eggy mix in the plate and use a spatula to transfer your sandwich onto the egg mix in order to soak the bottom. Cook on buttered griddle on medium high heat, approximately 3 min per side. Watch for the eggs to set, turning a golden brown.

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I served mine with a pat of butter and maple syrup. Powdered sugar would be tasty, too.

I’ll be making this more often!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgivukah! Thanksgiving + Hanukkah

Thanksgiving and the first night of Hanukkah coincide for the first time in 125 years! Latkes and cranberry ginger relish, hey, what’s not to love about that? The food is easy since our Thanksgiving dinner is served early afternoon so we can waddle off for a hike afterwards. Hanukkah will be my homemade latkes, rustic applesauce, and an extra dollop of leftover cranberry relish on top, with the sour cream optional. I’ve always served gingerbread Hanukkah cookies for dessert. So the only problem left is how to set the table to morph easily from the riot of fall colors to the cool blue of Hanukkah. My solution is to go with showy white flowers, vases and candles, accent the rustic side of Thanksgiving d├ęcor, add gray as a transitional tone, and use blue for color pop. My husband made the new rustic menorah, which we will light fully for the afternoon meal, and reset for Hanukkah in the evening. Here are some style shots you can use to help style your own Thanksgivukah.

Hanukah table on Thanksgiving 2 lilies in cone vase

lilies

rustic menorah rustic hanukkah 2

flower frog vase with star cookie table set for Hanukah Thanksgiving

 

Hanukkah place setting River Journey dinnerware with a rustic Hanukah setting

Harvest arrangement

May we be forever grateful for the miracles of light that bless our lives with hope and abundance. Have fun setting your table! The pottery here is available at Lee Wolfe Pottery.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 Ornaments

It’s a magical time of year! Here are some things to celebrate the holidays:

Click any image for shopping details.

white tree

 

minimalist woodland holiday decor 2013 winter collection

 

owl house 2013

peaceand love bird ornaments owl house ornaments

tree candles

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

marshmallow ghosts tutorial

I had to try these Halloween ghosts made with marshmallows from Martha Stewart!My first ones looked like neighborhood bullies had attacked a snowman with blowtorches. Eventually I made ones I like. Here are my tweaks to Martha’s ghosts. First of all, select only the roundest marshmallows. I made a bit of “glue” by microwaving a marshmallow for 10 sec, until it melted a bit and then used the sticky part to attach the parts. I also used an edible food coloring marker for the faces. Test it first because if you press too hard the ink blurs.

I also made a few place settings with my marshmallow ghosts, dried seed pods, candles, and mismatched plates and my River Journey bowls. Each setting becomes a bit comically spooky by using odd angles. My table centerpiece will be a simple arrangement of candles sitting on pods, dried leaves, plastic spiders, and white pumpkins painted with glow in the dark paint so they will glow. Here are some settings:

Lee Wolfe Pottery Halloween setting  Halloween place setting

I love the one night when we let kids fly their freak flag, stay up to late, and eat too much candy. The laughter and excitement lives in our memories throughout adulthood. May the magic and freedom you felt as a child on Halloween carry your spirit aloft tonight!

Halloween Ghosts tutorial from Lee Wolfe Pottery

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Simple and natural holiday table

My favorite meals are with a few people at a time, and I like an intimate setting that lets us all shed our worries, relax, and enjoy that exquisite pleasure of being appreciated. Without taking hours of time, I make a few welcoming arrangements of candles, flowers and pottery in my foyer, living room, and dining room. I like this a lot better than an over-the-top table runner packed with tall, intimidating objects so that you can’t see across the table. These look great when you are making them, but I’ve found that they aren’t truly inviting. No one feels comfortable being the only one who can’t recognize a Rookwood vase, or comment knowledgably on Japanese floral arrangements.  I pull more precious objects out for large gatherings but for my small dinner parties, I like simple and natural. Like this:

white reindeer ornament in simple display simple and natural holiday decor

natural and minimalist table centerpiece arrangement natural winter decor with Owl House ornament

minimalist holiday place setting place setting with handmade dinnerware

Click on any pic here to see details or purchase. Hope you have some guests over soon!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Moody Side of Autumn Beauty

skywhite mums

Last Rose

 

blue pumpkindrying hydrangeas photography by Lee Wolfe

Before the magic show of turning leaves, autumn days have a soft foreboding quality that I find beautiful. The last roses bloom pale and their petals will drop soon. Full round pumpkins have hard shells to insulate against the coming chill. Preservation. Harvest. Gathering in.

It seems like we have so many seasons when we are young but as we age I’ve come to understand that the reason seasons repeat so continuously without variation is that the lesson to be learned is hard. Things change. Bodies change. Relationships change. All that is mortal  is impermanent. If you are very, very blessed, you have stumbled upon what endures. I hope you have.

I took these shots at the Arboretum yesterday, where I laughed and felt lighthearted with my husband and daughter-in-law Hayley. Only later did it occur to me how somber the photos are that I took. Perhaps it is because I walked here so many times with my baby, with a group of small school children, with my husband when we were younger and newly in love. That’s the seasons; all that has passed. Our family, though it looks quite different, is still here. And the same gaiety I felt as a child myself at  mums and pumpkins and twilight.

                                                          Blackwater woods quote