Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beatrix Potter's Easter: Blackberries and Cream

 I AM sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening.
His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter!
``One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.'' 
 BUT Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries, for supper.
The End.
-Beatrix Potter's "Peter Rabbit"

I want you to know that I DO NOT pass on recipes on this blog if I feel like they just turned out "okay." If I am definitely going to re-make something (And in this case, probably about three times this week,) then I share the recipe. Because I want you to have the joy of Blackberries in sweet cream soaked bread, with a crispy top, drizzled in white chocolate cream.... I might have to make more right now.

*This is an adaptation of the "Kneader's Raspberry Bread Pudding" recipe.*
Blackberry Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Cream Sauce

3 Cups of Blackberries
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/4 C. White Grape Juice
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Cream
1 Egg
1 loaf of crusty bread (I used 2 small loaves, but just judge what will fit into a 9X9 pan)

Mash the blackberries, sugar and grape juice together.
Mix the Milk, Cream, & Egg.
add them all together with the bread broken into one inch crumbs.
Let it all soak for a while, and bake at 375 for about 40 minutes.

White Chocolate Cream Sauce
1 stick unsalted butter
2 TBSP flour
1 1/2 C milk
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C White Chocolate Chips

Whisk butter and flour in a saucepan over medium heat until it's just starting to change color. You do NOT want this to turn brown, you just want the flour to cook so you don't taste flour paste. Then whisk in the milk and sugar, and cook until it thickens. Add the vanilla and white chocolate and whisk until it's all incorporated. Drizzle over the bread pudding and enjoy!

The Ultimate Seal of Approval.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Beatrix Potter's Easter: A Garden Entry

Then he squeezed into the larder. 
Miss Butterfly was tasting the sugar; but she flew away out of the window. 
"Tiddly, widdly, widdly, Mrs. Tittlemouse; you seem to have plenty of visitors!" 
 "And without any invitation!" said Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse.

I am good at a lot of stuff. Diaper changing, check. "Fake cleaning" a house in a matter of 10 minutes when you hear someone is headed over, check. Eating more than my hubby (who looks like a linebacker,) check. So you may be thinking to yourself "Gee, Miriam. You seem like a human being who is nigh unto perfect. What could you possibly improve?" Well, I will tell you: I never decorate for holidays, (Except Christmas, of course.) And it makes my hubby and kids sad. So I am working on it. 

Here is our newly outfitted Spring Entry, inspired by Beatrix Potter and her Peter Rabbit:

My favorite addition was this little bunny. 

I printed a silhouette, traced it onto scrapbook paper, and cut it out.
And placed it in a frame that held a print of Trafalgar Square, because that just didn't seem very "Spring-like"

I covered some balls in moss, because I have taken to putting moss on everything that doesn't move. 
And I added a little friend to the picnic basket.

(Also, in a super-stalker-ish move, I still have the tag on that basket which was a wedding gift from a friend like a decade ago. But she just has the coolest handwriting ever. Thanks, Alisa!)

I also spray painted some plastic eggs, and mod-podged book pages onto one of them.
(My mod podged egg did not turn out so lovely. After the fact, I read a tutorial on Dear Lillie and realized that I am a moron and if I had soaked my paper, it would have turned out much better. Oh well, next Easter...)

My second favorite additions were the floating flowers and butterflies.

I used clear thread to hang them from the ceiling and attached them to the string with hot glue.

And of course, there had to be a print of Peter Rabbit in there somewhere.

Happy Reading, and Happy Easter!

Linking Up:

Dear Lillie's Easter Link Party

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beatrix Potter's Easter: A Spring Wreath

What Beatrix Potter's Easter would be complete without a spring wreath featuring a rabbit?  I took my plain old magnolia wreath and hung a little "Happy Easter" plaque in the center.  Unfortunately, when I first stepped back to look at the wreath, I frowned.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but the rabbit looked unhappy to be bedecked in blossoms.  I succumbed to imagination and surrounded his little world with some Spanish moss.  
(It's as close to a grassy field as I could get.)  
I don't know if he feels better, but I do.

Beatrix Potter's Easter: A Beatrix Potter Baby Nursery

Romance is not my strong suit:  I prefer lamp light over candle light, I like showers over bubble baths, and I would rather gargle shards of glass than have someone sing to me.  Perhaps my pragmatism stifles my romantic sensibilities.  But all that changes when there is a baby on the way.  Somehow having a bun in the oven turns me into the most fanciful of females . . .
and I take it all out on the nursery.  

For our last baby, I decided to do a Beatrix Potter nursery.  Because the baby's gender was going to be a surprise, I went with the calm, earthy, gender-neutral tones of Beatrix's pictures:  sage greens, ochres, creams, and rusts.  Much to my hormonal dismay, I found myself having to wrangle with the sewing machine to create slipcovers, bumper pads, valances, draperies, and bedskirts that fit in the color scheme because apparently no one on God's green earth sells Victorian baby lore in said color scheme without having to remortgage your home.

 I framed Beatrix Potter prints for the walls and hung a special few by ribbon and medallions from the moulding.

Flora and fauna (especially bunnies) punctuate the room in an homage to Peter Rabbit and "everything spring."

I found this precious needlepoint of Peter Rabbit on Ebay for pennies and decided to frame it to save myself further sewing drama.

As the feature piece of the room, I refinished a $50 icky-brown armoire from the classifieds to fit our vintage color scheme.  I then had my uber-talented artist-mother pick out her favorite characters from Beatrix Potter's stories and paint them on the doors.  Her favorite is Tom Kitten who has split his trousers.

As a finishing touch to the nursery, I put a phrase from a traditional Victorian lullaby on the wall in vinyl.

I love that every time I open the door to my nursery I feel as though I've stepped into the reminiscent charm of one of Beatrix Potter's books.  Now if that isn't romantic, I don't know what is.

Linking Up To
Skip to My Lou
Sew Much Ado- The 36th Avenue - Shabby Creek Cottage - House of Hepworths - The Shabby Nest - Chic on a Shoestring DecoratingMiss Mustard Seed - Family Ever After - Tatertots and Jello - Lolly Jane Boutique - Funky Junk Interiors - Be Different Act Normal - Blue Cricket Design - Embracing Change - French Country Cottage- DearLillie

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Beatrix Potter's Easter: An Easter Gift Basket

Little Benjamin took one
look, and then, in half a minute
less than no time, he hid himself
and Peter and the onions
underneath a large basket. . .
-Beatrix Potter, "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny"

There are no onions in this basket. That'd be a little weird.  But we made "Bunny Buns" This week, and I realized they'd be a perfect easter gift, wrapped up in a bunny napkin, nestled in a basket with flowers. 

The recipe for Bunny Buns is here, and it is fantastic. Like so fantastic, that it appeared in 1980, and they keep having to re-print it for all of us. But I always think I can improve on a classic, so here is a tiny twist on Bunny Buns.

Bunny Buns

1 pkt of Yeast, proofed in 1/4 c warm water,

1/2 C melted Shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
1/3 C sugar

2 Eggs
1/4 C. Orange Juice Concentrate
2 Tsp. Orange Zest

5 C. Flour

Mix the Shortening, salt milk and sugar together. Making sure it's just warm, add in the eggs, yeast mixture, orange juice, and orange zest. Mix in your flour and knead about 6 minutes. Let rise til double, punch down, roll out to a 1/2 inch thick, 14 inch long rectangle. Cut into strips that are 1/2 inch wide, so you should have 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 14 inch dough pieces. Make a circle out of the center and twist the tops to create the bunny ears. Let rise again (1 hr) and bake at 375 for 12 minutes.


2 C Powdered Sugar
2 TBSP Soft Butter
3 TBSP Orange Juice Concentrate

Mix it all up and brush on rolls hot from the oven.

When cool, feel free to add some cream cheese to your leftover glaze, mix well, and fill the bunny tummies with it for dipping.

These are delicious and fun to decorate if you feel so inclined. My sweet little lady gave a personality to several of our sweet little bunnies. And in the interest of keeping it real out in blogland, I would like to introduce you to a little friend of mine:

Scary Bunny

Have a Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Beatrix Potter's Easter: A Spring Vignette and an Ode to Carrots

I have had several devastating food realizations in my life, including finding out at 8 years-old that "veal" is code for baby cow, that Caesar dressing is laced with anchovy paste, that the carrots-improve-your-eyesight-myth is just that:  a myth.  Apparently the British used the virtues of carrots as a cover-up for their state-of-the-art WWII airplane technology known as Airborne Interception Radar.  Because of the technology, British fighter planes were having wild success pinpointing enemy bombers.  When pressed to account for their improved accuracy, the Royal Air Force claimed that they had been feeding their pilots large of amounts of carrots which had a beneficial effect on their eyesight.  Well, the rumor stuck.  

It's not that carrots come to the dinner table empty-handed.  They are easy to hold, they are a cinch to peel, they make the perfect snowman nose, and they taste good, too.  And if you really can't let the eyesight thing go, you can rest assured that beta carotene in carrots has been linked to preventing cataracts.  It's not quite the same as improving eyesight, but at least it is in the vicinity.

Since I have carrots on the brain and Beatrix Potter in my heart this week, I decided to combine the two in a little Spring Vignette for the kitchen.

In a twist of literary irony, my poor little Peter lost his shoe today---not in Mr. McGregor's garden, but on my slate floor after he slipped from my butterfingers.  After repairing my long-eared friend with some superglue, I made him feel at home with an abundance of crunchy garden fare, and a miniature copy of the story that made him famous.

I realize that making carrots a focal point in my diet won't improve my eyesight.  However, I'm happy to find that carrots can still be a "sight for sore eyes" when it comes to spring decor. 

Many happy spring vignettes with carrots to you all!  Do it for Beatrix.  Do it for Peter.

Linking Up:
I Heart Naptime

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beatrix Potter's Easter: A Peter Rabbit Mantel

I don't remember when I first became an ardent fan of Beatrix Potter, but I believe it was when I read the words, "And their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter . . ."  When I finished reading the rest of the story of Peter Rabbit, I decided then and there that I wanted to be best friends with Miss Potter and invite her over for a supper of "bread and milk and blackberries."   

In honor of dear Beatrix, I decided to do a Peter Rabbit spring mantel.

I started with a picket fence background, a watering can, a garden sign, and some carrots for "garnish" as a nod to Mr. McGregor's vegetable patch.

I then added this adorable little bunny who seems to be contemplating what to do next.  Poor Peter.  "He had not the least idea which way to go."  

Miriam created this precious little printable (Available for download below).  It is the perfect addition to our little Peter Rabbit story scene.

And what Beatrix Potter-inspired mantel would be complete without a book of her adorable stories?

Regardless of what you did today, whether it be creating a Peter Rabbit mantel or wrangling hot-dog throwing toddlers at Costco (both were highlights of my day), may we all take a cue from Peter Rabbit and make time for a warm cup of chamomile tea before bed.

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