Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Hello!  It's been pretty uneventful around here and that's a good thing, right?  I'm getting caught up on reading, cooking up a storm, cleaning up the garden beds and well, just enjoying a little of quiet bliss.  Oh, and watching a bit more TV now that I have this cozy and comfy den that I shared in my last post.  In the past few days I've watched Just Go With It, a comedy with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston.  Everything that comes out of Sandler's mouth is too funny.  I love a movie that makes me feel lighthearted so I re-watched Love Actually, Something's Got To Give, Falling In Love and Best In Show.  I made an attempt to go with some more 'recent' movies, one was The Silver Lining Playbook but it was making me not only as depressed as the characters, but a little bored.  I couldn't finish it.  Can anyone recommend a few good movies that I can rent on Xfinity?
So a repeat from Instagram.  This is a picture of my island.  God forbid I need to roll out dough or make cookies...it will take me twenty minutes to clear it all off.  I just love to see the things that make me smile.  The rustic wood and marble top make for some fantastic vignettes.  Some of you might remember how I begged and cajoled The Husband into agreeing to buying this.  And as practical and perfect it is for my kitchen, I still play 'dress up' with it. This little arrangement is sort of cool...a bit organic.  I have bananas ripening, plum tomatoes filling in for my slow growing babies outside in the pot, a bouquet of spray roses from the grocery (just $5 for these...wow!). and some ivy I'm trying re-root.  It makes me feel good to look at it and that's nice.  :)
I hope those of you who follow me on Instagram don't find my pictures to be too repetitive.  I do think that I give more of a story behind them on my blog than Instagram allows.  If you'd like to follow me, just click the icon on my sidebar. 
And speaking of tomatoes, I've only made Caprese salads.  I have a lot of green tomatoes on the plant and with our current heat wave I hope they ripen up soon so I can make a red sauce or something!!!  I'm using up the basil in my garden quite well, too.  Tomatoes and basil go together like peanut butter and jelly...or something along those lines.
On the garden front I still have phlox blooming (must add more), hydrangeas looking good (adding coffee grounds around them, heard  this was good. Yes?  No?).  And finally my morning glories that grow rampant up my back porch railing and trellis around this time of year.  I have to trim the vines quite as bit as I've had them wrap around my herbs and strangle the life out of them.  Trimming the long winding vine parts also helps to direct the energy to the flower buds.  Around November when everything has dried up, I pinch off the seed pods and crumble them into the same garden bed beside the porch.  I pull off the old vines and come spring, once I water they start to pop up like crazy.   End of story.
Son Kevin and Mary Clare stopped by with little Elsie on Sunday.  Oh, we just want to eat her up.  I wish I could hold her longer but my arm just wants to give out.  Still, we get such a kick out of her.  She's sitting up pretty unassisted for long periods of times which you can see here.  And she's cutting teeth.  Kevin says she is always happy and never cries unless she is hungry or tired  That's really great for a 'first baby".  Emily was very difficult from day one, I think she cried and howled for the first six weeks.  Not a great way to start motherhood,
Yep, she's a happy, gentle, good natured little girl.  And that's very much the way Kevin and MC are.  Good genes.  She smiles and giggles nonstop.  :)
One last pic...remember the cute photo of her at son Jeff's wedding two weeks ago?  This is another shot.  She almost looks like a baby doll.  Oh my gosh, she's just so pretty, I love her to pieces, we all do. 
A simple but delicious recipe with little prep, a tiny bit of stovetop action and then finished off in the oven while you get on with something else.  Emily gave me the recipe after telling me she was making it for dinner.  We were simultaneously making it last night.  It was just so good, I hope you Pin it and try it. 
Baked Chicken & Chorizo
2 T olive oil, divided
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
12 oz. soft chorizo sausage, crumbled
2 cups medium diced yellow baby potatoes
One red onion, roughly chopped
2 t. dried oregano
2 t. salt and pepper each,
Zest of one large orange.
In a medium size ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven heat 1 T. of the olive oil over medium heat.  Lightly brown chicken thighs about 3 minutes each side.  Turn heat off.   Add crumbled chorizo sausage, then top with diced potatoes.  Layer red onion over, then oregano and S&P.  Grate orange zest over the top and then drizzle the remaining T of olive oil.  It will look like the above photo.
Remove from stovetop to oven  pre-heated to  425 degrees.  Bake 30 minutes covered, then 30 minutes uncovered.  Serves 4.
This dish was above and beyond delicious.  Very flavorful, filling and a bit spicy but not overpowering.  I served it with a simple handful of baby greens and cucumber along with a basic vinaigrette and the juice of a lime.  This was a cool balance.of all the flavors.  I plan to have a big family dinner and serve this.  It won't be hard to double or even triple the recipe and much of it can be made ahead of time.  I hope you try it.
I've really had a relaxing few days and it seems it will continue..hopefully.  Chicago and the surrounding suburbs are having the second heat wave of the summer, in the 90's tomorrow.  I have the feeling the dogs and I will be getting little if any outdoor time.  And...The Husband very casually announced to me that he hasn't taken any vacation time this year.  To be honest, with all we've been doing, especially with Jeff and Deirdre's wedding, I never really noticed.  We've always taken a 2 week stretch at the lake in August and a few three day weekends here and there,  but obviously this couldn't happen with the lakehouse in such disarray.  He's looking at his schedule and good naturedly told me the itinerary is mine.  Hmmmm..two weeks to fiddle and plan, within bounds of course.  A visit to our place in Asheville for sure and maybe a few jaunts south?  The East Coast possibly for a little time oceanfront?  Oh my gosh---this is really exciting and no, I don't take it for granted.  The Husband runs the ship at work and he's always the last one to abandon, so to speak..  Anyway, we can be taking off at any time depending on his schedule.  You'd think I would roll with this but no, I'll be a mess as usual overthinking and micromanaging everything.  I'll keep you posted. 
Hope all of you are off to a fabulous week!
Jane xx


Sarah said...

Jane, I'm admiring the yellow roses on your island. Gorgeous!
Glad you've had some down time. And two week getaway in your future......that sounds great!
Have a grand time!

Val said...

I envy your vacation options! I hope you pick some trips/places you'll love, and I'm sure you will.

That baby is adorable and my favorite age for babies--just so chubby and cuddly. :)

SilvanaJoanne said...

Jane, Elsie is such a beauty! She looks like a baby doll in that pink dress. Even with a sore arm, I can imagine wanting to hug her tight :-) Pinning the chicken recipe by the way, can't wait to try it! Best, Silvana

Jane@Bluebird1959 said...

Hi Jane - sounds like you have had some glorious summer days and yummy food! And little Miss,Elsie, such a doll. What a blessing! Jane

Gina said...

You've made me hungry for all those yummy dishes & it's only 7:17 am! LOL
Baby Elsie is so adorable. Precious!

Anita Diaz said...

I love your island vignette!! and that baby is definitely a doll! She reminds me of my girls--and you do just want to eat them up:-)

Stacey said...

You know that little baby steals the show!! I hope your arm gets stronger and stronger so you can play and hold her to your heart's content.

Oh, with those green tomatoes you should try fried green tomatoes. Delicious!

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

She really is a little doll - so pretty! Enjoy your vacation planning - so many possibilities are fun to think about :-)

Rita C. said...

Oh my goodness, baby Elsie is adorable! You can tell she's a happy baby - what a pleasure she must be. That chicken recipe sounds delish, Jane. My husband is always remarking about me playing house like you dressing up your island. When we stop playing dress up is when they need to worry, right??

Penny @ The Comforts of Home said...

Love all the goodies on your island. Little Elsie is adorable! Enjoy planning your vacation!

Kim said...

Elsie is just precious and I would want to hold her until my arms gave out, too! I think your movie choices sound fabulous. I like fun, light, love and silly myself! May have to get that first one...I could use a laugh!

Row homes and Cobblestones said...

Oh that adorable sweet Elsie. Ahhhh Sweetness in her wedding dress. Enjoy your east coast get away.

Kathy Moreland said...

Well, it's about time you had a few "down" days!! You stay busy, girl!! Sweet Elsie is growing up so fast. What a doll!! I know you could just eat her up! Your dinner looks wonderful! You do such nice meals! I'm a one dish kinda cook right now. Just not into cooking. :) Hope you two have a great vacation and enjoy the time together. Take care!

Kathleen Grace said...

Oh my goodness, ELsie in that pink confection of a dress! Such a pretty baby. That was one of the things I loved about having girls, dressing them up! Have fun planning your vacation, it will do you good to get away, and Autumn is a great time to do it!

Sonny G said...

that little youngin' is so adorable. enjoy every minute with her, they are tiny for such a short time.

Barb @ Bella Vista said...

Hi Janie,

I have said it before and will state it again. YOU are what blogging should be about. Sharing.

I have made several Caprese salads this summer. I love them but Ron thinks anything without meat isn't worthy of eating. Mercy.

I like and don't like The Bee Cottage Story....it is really an odd (different) book. I am reading so many things at once that I may not be objective. Duh!

Love your blog, sweet girl!


Susie said...

Blondie, I love that island..perfect decorating spot. Glad you are getting some tomatoes. You have made some wonderful food. Oh that sweet baby...she's precious. I just love her dress too. Blessings to you and yours, xoxo,Susie
p.s. hope your weekend is lots of fun.

Vel Criste said...

Elsie is tooo cute! I wanna eat her up too! She is growing up a happy and beautiful baby, you all should be proud! I love "Love Actually" and "Something's gotta give"! 2 of my faves, but I also love "While you were sleeping", "Bridget Jones diary", "chocolat" & "Shakespeare in love" - all hilarious and heart-warming!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I'm sorry, Jane, but I couldn't look at anything but your little Elsie in this post! She is just too cute!!! I'm sure whatever food you made was delicious, though. : ) It's so great when they are at the age when they are truly smiling {and no one can say it's gas!} and you are the one who gets that smile to come out.

We are awaiting the second granddaughter here. If everything goes as planned she will be here Friday morning! Can't wait!

Lori E said...

Well doesn't she just look like a delicious ice cream cone. How adorable is she!!!
I took one look at your counter and suddenly thought of where to use a retangular tin basket that was part of my retirement gift basket. I didn't know what to do with it so I put it in my bathroom but now I know it will be perfect on my island in the kitchen with maybe some garlic bulbs and a couple other things piled into it.
Can't wait to see what you come up with for your vacation time. Fun, fun, fun.

Beth said...

Jane, Enjoy your travels! Can't wait to hear what you decide. I love your island. You have such a sense of style - I can see where Emily gets hers. And you're a GREAT cook, too. You're creative and energetic in the kitchen; you seem to love it. Little Elsie is just a dolly!
Blessings, Beth

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Dear Jane,
Elsie is a living baby doll, from the very tip of her precious and perfectly round head to those tiny toes, including her tulle skirt. I share those same feelings you describe-I guess we are truly head over heels in love with are grand babies aren't we? I don't know how we keep Islands free from the things we love-or even if we should. You are such a creative cook, and I enjoy your recipes so much, I am pinning them to my Yummies Board. You certainly deserve and really need this upcoming vacation, you have had a whirlwind Summer. Please take care of your arm.

Ellen Thompson said...

I want to squeeze that adorable baby! Too cute!

The food looks great. I hope you get your vacation and get a rest!

Carla from The River said...

Elsie is just so sweet. I want to hold her. xx oo

Your vacations sound fun, looking forward to hearing more.

I like to watch funny shows too, it is nice to just laugh :-))

Doreen@househoneys said...

I just want to reach into the screen and pinch Elsie's cheeks! I can't imagine how you control yourself around her. Such a doll!!!

Now about that vacay...you do know that New England is gorgeous in the Fall, right? I know someone who has a log cabin in the woods with your name on it ;).


Cozy Little House said...

And I plant those blue morning glories every year and they never come up!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Oh Elise is just a doll...I know you must hate to see her go home. Enjoy your vacation...wherever it might be.


Art and Sand said...

I am in love with Elise!

Ellen Ross | Ask Away said...

OMG your dinners look amazing. I love your blog!
XO Ellen from Ask Away

podso said...

How do these babies grow so quickly? Elise is adorable and I can't believe she is sitting up already. Love the wedding finery!

Picnic Benches said...

I want to hold that adorable baby! Too cute! The food looks great. Enjoy!

Melanie said...

Elsie is an absolute doll! You are right - she looks like a baby doll in her beautiful dress.

Movies...I rarely watch TV or movies and we don't have xfinity, so I guess I'm not much help in that area. Do you have Netflix or Amazon Prime?

Your chicken and sausage dish looks and sounds amazing. I Pinned it so I can make it when the weather gets cooler.

We haven't had a vacation in 6 years! Just one overnighters here and there. We're going to Galena later this month.

Hope you have a good week...stay cool!

Deanna said...

Oh heaven's to Betsy, little Miss Elsie is a living doll!

I am definitely going to try your recipe. If it's got chorizo in it....I'm eating it!! :D

White Lace and Promises said...

Elsie reminds me of my little Gerber baby, Harper. She really looks like a doll! Precious. I love both Jennifer Ainstin and Adam Sandler. He is a hoot and she's a natural beauty and funny. Glad you had a relaxing day.

Elaine Foley said...

90 degrees here too. Shouldn't it be Fall already? I can't wait to wear sweaters and ankle boots.

Your little Elsie is the cutest! I know you are having a ball with her. Love her expressions!

East Coast would be my pick for your vacation but I am a little biased.

Bluebird49 said...

Hot there, too, huh? We've been in the high 90s for days here and can't get rain. I'm not good in the heat
The crops are suffering badly, and gardens that couldn't be watered just flopped.

Isn't Elsie growing like a weed? She's beautiful, Jane! I know her daddy is already completely in love with her! I hope she'll be like you!
I don't think I've ever eaten chorizo. (Did I spell it right? ;)) But I like sausage, so I'll bet I'd like it. Sounds and looks good.
You are so good at creating dishes with a flare of your own, Sweetie! I think you are a born "nester"; you love to make your houses homes---decorating, gardening,, cooking, "fluffing", researching. Anything to make your home warm and inviting, yet making a statement that has "Jane's Nest" all over it -- is your thing, girl! Wish I had that gift. Ahhhh, we can't all be alike though! What a boring world it would be.
The kids are coming Sunday for the night, so I'm already in a whirl, trying to get ready. (Impossible, though, in this tiny space!!)
Have a wonderful holiday. Look forward to hearing more about your vacation plans!
Trudy xx

Anonymous said...

The movies Tammy and This is where I leave you are two movies we rented this summer that I will be adding to my collection.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

What an adorable baby!!! Yum, yum! I'm so sorry to hear about your busted arm! drag! I'm glad to hear that you are doing better. I hope you are hundred percent soon! SO sweet of you to leave a comment for me. It's been a tricky busy summer. I think for a lot of folks. So glad you and the hubs are getting a vacation!

Carol said...

I think your island looks fantastic, Jane! I love decorating ours, too, but it's big and tends to be the drop-zone for everything! I rarely need the island for prep, so I can center-stage something and not have to move it. Your recipes sound delicious. But, that baby just takes precedence over everything else in your post....she is so adorable!

deb @ frugal little bungalow said...

Elsie just gets cuter and cuter! Of course you'd want to eat her up :)

Your chicken recipe looks and sounds delicious!

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

That baby is precious!!! I know you're looking forward to your arm fully healing so you can play with her more. Your food pics always make me hungry. :) Enjoy the long weekend!

Sherry @ Thrift My House said...

What an adorable baby! My youngest daughter cried the first 2 years of her life... She's very good natured now. Thank goodness! The chicken chorizo recipe looks and sounds wonderful. A vacation sounds good about now. We didn't go any where this summer. Do keep us updated and I love your Instagram. I love keeping up with peeps on there. A lot easier than fb to me. Have a great weekend!

Mary said...

Like you Jane, I'm always overloading my island with bits and bobs therefore always clearing it and starting afresh! I love having it though especially now for writing - such as cards - as I find it so much better on my old back to do things like that standing at a higher piece of furniture.
As for that Elsie - couldn't you just kiss and cuddle her all day long? She really is adorable and looks so cheery always.

Enjoy the holiday weekend dear - we plan to take a country drive with a picnic in our new (old) basket if the sun shines and the storms stay away.
Hugs - Mary

TexWisGirl said...

elsie is adorable. :)

Susan Freeman said...

Elsie is so precious! How lucky you are to have her in your life. I have been in a cooking slump lately, but you have really inspired me to get creative in the kitchen once again and loved your recipe! Always a joy to stop by to see you.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Hi Jane. Elsie is such a doll. She must bring sunshine to everyone's life. Your recipes sounds great. I am getting into the spirit of making soups. this morning is chilly. Enjoy your time away. It's great to relax and re-focus. Happy Saturday. xo

Kit said...

Oh Elsie is so WOW! Such a pretty little thing. I love the pic with her in the pink dress. Tho she looks happier in her common clothes. I love my Morning Glories, but I never get "volunteers" the next year. I will try your technique. Glad you are enjoying your den and TV. I am on a kick right now where I am streaming from Netflix, the old Dick Van Dyke show. I grew up on it and want to watch all 5 seasons. :) It is fun! Off I go, before I can watch, I have to clean my shower. :/ Kit

Dewena said...

Elsie must be such a happy baby! She is so adorable and I can understand that you're all crazy about her. After these last eventful months, it is good that you're having some time to catch up on movies. And--getting some away time! Enjoy it all!

And your island must be so much fun to rearrange--that's what they're for, right?

Rue said...

Elsie is so stinkin' cute, Jane :)

I'm glad things have settled down for you. You certainly need it. I hope you get to go somewhere fabulous ;)


Mersad said...

Such cute baby images Jane. Love to food as well. If you like you can join us and link in, on the latest edition of Through My Lens.

Mersad Donko Photography

Mersad said...

Such cute baby images Jane. Love to food as well. If you like you can join us and link in, on the latest edition of Through My Lens.

Mersad Donko Photography

Decor To Adore said...

That Elsie! Oh my goodness how do stand such sweetness!!! I also am salivating over your food pics.
Have a happy Labor Day and a wonderful week!

Poppy said...

Elsie does, indeed, look like a little doll, all dressed up like that; she's adorable, Jane!! Your counter is very pretty, and I can understand why you love seeing all those wonderful things on it, very decoratively appetizing. The salad and the chicken/sausage dish looks delish, and best of all, you get to go on vacation! Have a wonderful time!

Poppy x

chateau chic said...

Elsie is so adorable!! She's a little doll!
So glad you're getting in some relaxation, and how wonderful to look forward to a vacation.
Mary Alice

Traci said...

That is one pretty little girl!!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Oh that baby is beautiful - I know you could just eat her up. Sounds like everything is rolling along smoothly. I am going to try that recipe - sounds very good.
We have had one HOT Summer. for the last 2 weeks high 90's and 100's. My poor A/C has been running night and day. We have also had high humidity, which we normally do not have. I thought I was back in Chicago LOL. Normally it cools off at night but a lot of night stayed in the 80's. The dogs run out and do their job and back in stretched out on the floor. I feel so sorry for them. I get out early and run errands and then back in the house. MY garden are one hot mess. I have lost all interest in them - shame on me.
Sorry to be so late in sending a comment but the heat I have a hard time breathing and it makes me very tired.
Take care my dear friend.