Monday, October 28, 2013

Music Mondays | Mozart's Violin Concerto No 3 in G Major

 I have been working on Mozart's violin concerto #3 in G major for the last few months, and as I was browsing youtube for a good performance to listen to, I came upon this one of Hilary Hahn performing for His Holiness at the Vatican.  Isn't that amazing?

 “The music is not in the notes,
but in the silence between.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In the Kitchen Thursdays | Cranberry Oat Bread

I know, I know, another cranberry recipe.... but you have to understand.  I am not going to say the exact amount of cranberries I bought at the store the other day, but let's just say the freezer is stocked.  And I seriously need to do something with them.  So, to all you cranberry lovers, this one's for you!

The banana mixed with the cranberries gives it a very unique flavor.  I got this recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
1/4 cup rolled oats, plus 1 handful for topping
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup smashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1 1/2 cup cranberries (it says to use the whole; I put them in the blender for a few pulses)

1. Pre-heat oven to 325˚F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch pan and dust with a tablespoon of flour.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together all-purpose flour, rolled oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. To the buttermilk, add the vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs, light brown sugar and white sugar together until thick and pale, approximately 3-5 minutes. Mix in smashed banana and buttermilk mixture. In two batches, add flour mixture, mixing until just combined, being sure not to overmix.

5. Fold in cranberries and transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Top with a handful of rolled oats.

6. Bake quick bread for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert bread onto a rack to cool. Cranberry Oat Bread will be moist up to 3-4 days. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to preserve its freshness.

 Have a lovely day!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Music Mondays | Pride and Prejudice for Piano

    The Pride and Prejudice 2005 soundtrack is definitely one of my favorite soundtracks to listen to.  I love the way Dario Marianelli wrote it a predominantly piano composition, which means..... yes, time to scrounge for some sheet music.  I have played a few pieces from this collection, but this track remains my favorite...

I love the way it begins, quietly, hesitantly, then resolves... beautiful! 

And, as an added bonus, and since it is Music Monday, here is a clip my of the Misty Mountains sung by none other than the great brother himself.  He knew I liked this song so he recorded himself singing it just before he left for school at the end of the summer.  It's not perfect or anything, but I love it.  

Enjoy. :)

(I know, he filmed it in a random corner of the mudroom.  Don't ask me why, I have no idea.... :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

In the Hope Chest | Bridal Hankie

  This past weekend I took my mom to a couple of estate sales and antique shops.  It has been a favorite pastime of ours, cut back a bit recently by difficult family circumstances, but needless to say, we had a wonderful time.  I was even able to pick up a few more things for my hope chest, one of which was a lovely sheer hankie with some breathtaking lace around the edges.  Mom thought I could keep it for my wedding hankie, and I thought that was a lovely idea, so into the chest it went.

I have collected a fair amount of linens already... whenever I'm at antique stores and estate sales I dive into the piles and piles of all that linen, cotton, tatting, and lace... *sigh*

It is extremely sheer and lightweight, and the lace is in such good condition.

I just hope I don't shed TOO many tears into it on my wedding day! :)

Do you have a hope chest?  If so, what do you like to put in it?

Have a lovely Sunday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

In the Kitchen Thursdays | British Cranberry Scones

I found this recipe on Martha Stewart and used buttermilk instead of the heavy cream.  It turned out absolutely delicious, perfect with a steaming cup of Earl Grey.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup halved cranberries, drained on paper towels (I just threw them in the blender and gave it a couple pulses)


  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2/3 cup buttermilk until just moistened. Gently fold in cranberries.
  2. Step 2

    On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently, 5 to 10 times. Pat into a 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges; place on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with remaining tablespoon buttermilk; sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Healthy Eating | Caramelized Carrot Soup

I found this recipe in Christina Ferrare's "Big Bowl of Love" cookbook, but tweaked a few things here and there.  It was absolutely delicious and very fall-ish.... so, here's the recipe! :)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
3 scallions, chopped coarsely
8 medium-size carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock, homemade, or store bought organic chicken broth
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into pieces


1. Heat a heavy stock pot on medium-high until hot, 1 minute.

2. Add oil, onion, and scallions, and saute until the onions start to caramelize, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add carrots, salt, ginger, and curry powder; saute for 1 minute.

4. Add sherry and chicken stock.

5. Lower the heat so the soup is just boiling.

6. Gently boil until the carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Test with a small knife: if you can slice through the carrot easily, it’s ready.

7. Puree the soup in a blender in batches: start with a couple of ladlefuls of soup and add half the cream cheese.

8. Cover and puree.

9. Lift the lid and slowly add more soup, a ladleful at a time, until the blender is three-quarters full.

10. Cover and puree for 1 minute, until silky smooth.

11. Pour into a stock pot and repeat the process until all the soup and cream cheese have been pureed.

12. Add salt and pepper as needed.

13. It said to garnish with jalapeno, balsamic syrup, scallions, walnuts, coconut, green apple, a drizzle of walnut or olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  But there was no way I was going to bother with that so I just chopped up a few scallions and sprinkled them on top. :)



Monday, October 14, 2013

Music Mondays | The Wartime Violin

Her name is Rose.  I first saw her in the dark stained cabinet at the violin shop in the old part of town.  At first I thought she was too fancy a violin for me, and surely too old and worn.  After all, I had set out to buy a spankin' new violin with the graduation gift from my grandmother.

However, after I tried a few of the violins in the shop my eyes rested again on her beautiful, golden brown varnished curves.  She seemed to be longing to be played.  I asked the gentleman if I could try her out.
"These are antiques," he said, as he unlocked the glass door of the cabinet, "A little more expensive, but worth every bit."  And so I played her.  For a minute.  Then five.  Then ten.  I couldn't compare the rich, rustic sound to any violin I had ever played before.

Long story short, she is now mine.  The only history I have is her era: 1850s/60s, American Civil War.  As typical for a wartime violin, she has some wear... a few cracks and split seams here and there that have been carefully mended.  Someone obviously spent quite a lot of time and care in her making.  The sound of the handmade violins verses the machine assembled is amazing and unmatchable.

Her beautifully smooth scroll.... I love the variation in the varnish's tone.

I like to think about who may have played her over 150 years ago.  Were they skilled?  Were they wealthy, poor?  Was it a soldier, a lady, a grandfather, a child?  Was it played in a wealthy house along a cobblestone street lined with carriages or perhaps it was treasured in a frontier cabin, or a plantation in the South?  

It has lasted the Civil War, WWI, and WWII.  Who's hands did it pass through before now?

I think it is what is unknown about this violin that attached me to it.  It provides more for the imagination.  Who knows who will play it after me.  I will probably end up keeping it with my hope chest for teaching my own children someday.

The inlays are mother of pearl, and we are guessing the design was unfinished wood painted silver, which has dulled to a soft grey over time.


I thought Rose suited her well since two of my favorite Civil War tunes to play are "The Rose of Alabama" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas".  And I was born in Texas, so all the more. ;)


Just an update --  I've decided to begin a new series of posts on the blog for Mondays and Thursdays.  Mondays will be called "Music Mondays" in which I will post anything musical that I have been up to lately, which is usually quite a bit.  Thursdays will be "In the Kitchen Thursdays", where I will share my latest baking/cooking adventures.  I'm really excited about these new series and (hopefully) they will keep me posting a little more often. :)

God bless you all and have a lovely fall afternoon!  Goodness, it's already after 4:00.  I really need to start that carrot soup...

Other posts of interest....

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