Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hello Sprink!



Isn't this graphic just lovely?  Reflects just sweetness and gentility of the season.

At precisely 9:15 a.m. this morning, Spring Sprang!

First came Daylight Savings and now with the advent of Spring,
the cold dark winter goes from our
windshields to rear view mirrors.
I was always told not to wish my time away 
as I would one day want it all back.
Gulp.
Deep truth.
Never-the-less, always happy to see winter gone....

With the new season, I have woken from my long
winter's nap, rubbed my sleepy eyes,
and have discovered the color 
PINK!

But hold on...I don't like the color pink.
You will not find that color in my closet.
It is not scattered throughout my home décor. 
I don't focus on that color for my garden landscape.
I am a white rose, lemon and lavender gardener-gal.
Pink is low on my color totem pole . . . 

But Hmmmm - then this happened today:

M
y rear view mirror view on the way to work this morning ...
Look at that sky!
Mr. Sun was feeling his PINK feminine side.

Then as I sat down at my desk...
My weekly purchase of office flowers from Trader Joe's,
just so happened to be
PINK

Then the new geraniums at my front walk
Holy Moly - that color again - 
PINK
IT IS EVERYWHERE!

So whilst wandering and marveling in this intoxicating color
with newly awakened eyes,
hummingbirds chirping and swooping around my head,
I bring you my "non-pink" garden....














Isn't it all just lovely?
Bold color strokes or lightest pastel, the color taps your shoulder
and says "Aren't I pretty?"
So, for this one day, the first day of Spring,
BLUSH and BASHFUL are....


Image result for pink is my signature color gif

Thank you Ms. Julia
and
thank you for stopping by Moonlight Lane.

x0x - holly


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Yogurt

OK.  So that title just pulls you in don't it? 
Gives you goose flesh.
Sends a spark up your spine.
Makes your toes tingle.
Just up and scream Eureka! 
well
not

But here to say and highly recommend 
a new product from Yoplait.
Yes, a new yogurt. 
Not Greek.
Not Scandinavian.
But Oui....
French.
Oh. Mon. Dieu.

Yes - a new yogurt and it is 
Delicieux.


Found by my friend Milet
(just the cutest little woman at my office)
at, dare I say, Walmart?
Since I don't shop there as they have destroyed
small town America (don't get me started)
I thought I would give

(pronounced Tarshay).
And Oui, they had Oui!

I bought all but one flavor, coconut.
Me no likey coconut unless wrapped in chocolate.

They come in the cute little French yogurt pots.
Yes, French yogurt is sold in glass containers....so darn smart.
Glass preserves the integrity of the yogurt. 
Ha! Gocha there.  You didn't know yogurt had integrity, did ya.
Peel off that little aluminum lid and this good tiding was on the inside. 
Ah oui, I will take you up on it and buy myself some 🌻 flowers 🌻.


A little stir in the pot, lift the spoon to my lips and
Heaven. 
This is more of a dessert than a quick little 
gotta eat my daily yogurt for all that good bacteria stuff.
It is rich. Creamy.  Not too sweet. 
The balance of the fruit and the yogurt is just right.
Here is the list of ingredients on my little pot of strawberry
Pasteurized Grade A Milk  🐮
Cane Sugar  
Strawberries  🍓
Pectin
Carrot Juice (for color)  🥕
Natural Flavor
Yogurt Cultures
All of which are non-GMO.   

Once eaten, you can recycle the glass pots or
you can reuse them for 
votives  🕯 
salt/pepper cellars
toothpick holders
or little places to hold those 🌻 flowers 🌻 that you buy.


So mes amis,
hurry on over to your Tarshay and grab every little jar on the shelf.
Alexa play La Vis en Rose
Je reve de France.

Now if only that were the view from Moonlight Lane.....

xx-holly




Monday, January 15, 2018

Movie Review


After the inspirations seen and heard 
at the Golden Globe Award Ceremony 
last Sunday evening...
Seth Meyers as host and his 
thoughtful and funny guidance
through the ceremony while leading that elephant around.
Nicole Kidman,
"When my cheek is against yours, everything melts away."
Gasps in the room as even jaded Hollywood recognizes 
that dreamy love we all dream of.
Pomp and Circumstance.
The black gowns.
The black tuxedos.
The tension.
The sighs of relief.
And then...
there was Oprah.

Just in case you missed it or want to see it again
and again
and again
and again.
Does anyone doubt there is that HORIZON?

We long to see some "Grown-Up" movies.
No comic book heroes flying across the screen.
No animated musicals with animals that have no butt holes
(really! have you ever seen a Disney creature with a butt hole?)
No serial killers terrorizing and slashing through a terrible script.
I want movies that inspire. 
I want movies that teach.
I need movies that make me think. 

Bingo...
Here comes Steven Spielberg providing the adults in the room that place to think. 


The true story of Katharine Graham who is tasked with saving the family business
which just happens to be The Washington Post. 
Her challenge to cross the bridge from wealthy social widow 
throwing her parties dappled with politicians and celebrities 
to the leader of a great newspaper.
She grows with the story of the Pentagon Papers 
and with her story told here on film.

Portrayed by Meryl Streep to perfection.
We watch her character reach from within, 
past her insecurities, self doubt and fear of really screwing it up
to follow her instinct to not what is easy but what is right.

Her story could not be told without Ben Bradley.

Tom Hanks is magnificent.  
On the delivery of his first two lines,
Ben Bradley comes crashing back into the room.
Brash, gravel-voiced, strong-willed 
and a true force of the universe not to messed with.
I remember his interviews on Larry King.
There was always a twinkle in his eye.
He seemed to always "know" something
and that something just happened to be the truth.

Katharine Graham was Yankee.  
The scene of her leaving the Supreme Court building while 
young women protesters in the crowd just quietly part to create passage 
as Kat moves through them with dignity.  
She and they know that she is stepping into 
Woman Herstory.
My eyes welled with tears as I took in that moment on film. 

As the movie wraps up, there is ol' Tricky Dick 
demanding that no reporter from The Post 
ever be allowed in the White House again.  
His words in our ears as images of flashlights bouncing on walls 
at the offices of the Democratic Party at the Watergate.
A reminder that history doesn't happen in chopped up scenes.
It flows like a river around each bend, over each rock, down each fall.
Quietly babbling along or roaring over cliffs, 
the truth is always there.
I feel the river flowing now and it has picked up speed.
I see and hear the rapids that lie just ahead.  
Brace yourself, it's going to be a bumpy ride......

Two thumbs up



xx - holly

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Rain Rain Come Today

As I sat yesterday morning, the rain was falling outside. 
Not a sound heard often here. 
San Diego is waaaayyyy behind on rainfall this year.
We are at 0.09" for the season and have some catching up to do. 
From the sound on my roof, we made a dent. 

After madly rushing outside to move the potteds from 
under the eaves out into the rain, I am dried off and cozy by the fire.
Yes, I start a fire at 4:00 a.m.  
Take the chill off.
Let the flames ignite my imagination.
Pioneer thoughts of blessings for shelter.
Fairy sparks rising for their brief life dancing above the logs.
With coffee and vitamins in hand, I plan dinner. 
Part is already done....home-baked bread. 
I make this nearly every week in the colder months 
and love every step of the process.
The smell of bread rising in the bowl.  
Warm and yeasty. 
All bubbles and life.
The feel of the bread as it gets moved to second rise. 
Floured but slightly sticky hands caress it to a soft mound on the towel.
It's soft pliable body, like a precious baby bottom. 
Dish towel covered like a baby down for a nap.
The warmth of the oven preheating for the bake
adding to the warmth of the fire.
The beauty of removing the towel after the second rise
to see it grown and ready for transformation to 
a golden dome of comfort food. 
The aroma that fills our little home while it bakes.
I sometimes leave, stepping outside to clear the smell
so when I step back into the house, the aroma hits.
Bathing my senses with it's warm welcome.
I am now craving it.
Fresh from the oven.
Crusty golden on the outside.
Warm and soft on the inside.
Creamy butter melting into the crevices.
Heaven.
Simply Heaven.
Are you craving it too?

Here is the simple and divine recipe.

3 cups all purpose King Arthur flour.
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon active yeast.
1 1/2 cups warm water. 


Place flour, salt and yeast in mixer with dough hook.
Let the dough hook mix just to get it started. 
Slowly add the warm water and turn up the speed 
let it run a bit as the dough pulls away from the sides,
clinging to the hook like it is hanging on for dear life. 
Getting all dizzy in the bowl.
Pull off the the hook and make a little mound.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise overnight.
Magic in the morning......


Tear off two large sheets of parchment paper.  
Flour one - not generously but make certain there is a 
good coating of flour.
Gently remove the bubbly dough
and place on the lightly floured parchment. 
Don't over-handle, this dough is young and sensitive.
Kinda like a teenager.  
Handle with care. 
Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and let her rest for 15 minutes.


Uncover and fold the dough over on itself.
Re-flour surface if needed and place seam side down.
Dust that dome with flour, cover with second parchment sheet
and then top all with a kitchen towel.  
Let her nap for 2 hours.  
She will double in size.


Preheat oven to 450* with the covered French oven heating in there too.
Remove French oven carefully - hotter than August pavement. 
Gently turn dough over so she is seam side up
and remove that now top sheet of parchment.
Lift the parchment with dough and 
slide it into the French oven, jiggle to center.
Cover and bake 30 minutes. 
Remove lid  and surprise - she's grown up a bit!
Return to oven for another 20-30 minutes until 
the color of gold you prefer. 
Lightly golden or full on summer beach tan.
Queue Stevie Wonder...
Isn't She Lovely...

Even the parchment has a lovely patina. 
All amber and gold.


Lift the parchment and bread to rack and let cool a bit
but if you can't wait, slice.


Schmeer on the butter.
Enjoy with soup, a breakfast toast,
your gravy sponge, dipped in olive oil & Balsamic vinegar,
a rustic sandwich with salami & cheese,
a bite with a glass of hearty red wine.
Whatever your fancy....this will change your attitude to bread.
F.O.R.E.V.E.R.

Final little tip - to keep bread tasting "just baked",
slice entire loaf within 24 hours of baking.
Place on parchment lined cooking sheet in the freezer. 
Once frozen, bag them and keep them in the freezer.
Bring to room temp in no time 
or speed it up with the toaster.
Each slice will be just as good as day one....

Thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane!

xx-holly




Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello 2018


So another year has come and gone.
As with every year - some good and some bad.
We all have our own rulers on our lives
and I too tend to keep measure of
my failures and accomplishments. 
While it is beneficial to reflect, 
it is detrimental to dwell.
I shall not bare my soul on
the events/emotions of 2017
but will do the hopeful thing and 
look to the horizon.

Here are the things that I plan to do for myself in 2018.
If any ring true to your vision of this year to come, 
please do add to your list.  
I share with open heart and soul...

  • Be present.
  • Consume less.
  • Save money - go here  Thank you Courtney of Be More With Less.
  • Stretch before getting out of bed.
  • Drink more water every day - Carlsbad Mineral Water is my local favorite.
  • Finish projects lurking in the guest room closet.
  • Eat food. Not too much.  Mostly plants.  Michael Pollan.
  • Practice yoga every day.
  • Visit Mother Nature - she's lonely. 
  • Waste less food.
  • Take a class: gardening, painting, pottery, cooking, French...something.
  • Find the silver lining.
  • Take my camera with me everywhere I go and snap away.
  • Follow The Four Agreements: Be Impeccable with your Words, Don't take anything Personally, Don't make Assumptions, Always Do Your Best.  (These are not as easy as they sound).
  • De-clutter and donate.  Someone will love it more than you.
  • Tighten stomach muscles while waiting at a red light.
  • Recognize Grace, the unmerited divine assistance from the universe which is given humans for their regeneration and thank her for her gift.
  • Sunday breakfast with an old friend.
  • Remember your Good Manners.  
  • Turn off the news.
  • Turn on the music.
  • Do something that scares me.
  • Stop dropping the f-bomb.  It really is unattractive.
  • Return to Simple Abundance, A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  
  • Mend a fence.
  • Build a bridge.
  • Soften the edges.
  • Win the lottery. 
  • Lighten up and don't take it all so seriously.
And there it is. 
Hope some of these inspire you to start a list or add to one already in progress.
Some seem obvious but are easily forgotten when caught up
in the day to day struggle with life.
And should I succeed with only some these,
life just might not be such a struggle!
Wishing you the sweetest days ahead. 

XX
holly



Saturday, December 30, 2017

Madam Butterfly-To-Be

While the rest of the country is in the freezer,
we are having normal Southern California weather
which allows me to get into the garden
and perform a little maintenance.  
While cleaning up the sage, roses, Bird of Paradise and other shrubbery,
I was putting the latest cuttings in the green waste when...what?
On one of the dead stalks from the milkweed,
a vivid yellow-black-white stripe figure stopped me in my tracks.
I immediately recognized this to be a creature of import.
Cinderella maybe.
Sleeping Beauty perhaps.
Royalty in the making for certain.

Here is Madam Butterfly-To-Be.
She is small but she is mighty. 
I took the branch she clung to back to the milkweed
then left her alone to find her way.



I will keep an eye on her 
and make certain she is still hanging out.
I cross fingers that she finds enough nourishment
to make her journey to cocoon and
eventually her coronation as 
Monarch of the butterfly world.

I will keep you posted on Madam's progress.

Still here on Moonlight Lane.

XX
holly



Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas Reading

I hope that your holiday was a lovely one filled with 
Laughter.
Surprises.
Affection.
Warmth.
The Joy of Giving.
And today finds you filled with
Gratitude.  

Ours was quiet and always richer as it is my grandson's birthday!  
A solid thirteen this year and fully engulfed in smelly feet, 
long showers and video games that destroy planets.
On the softer side, there is even 
a confessed girlfriend 
and a first kiss!  
Too soon?  
Maybe.
"Let's let her mother worry about it.", 
Mrs. Walsh.  The Goonies, 1985

His birthday cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes
So decadent with chocolate/chocolate chip and that insane frosting that
makes your teeth hurt but is Oh. So. Good. 
I sacrificed - phoned in the order, drove and picked it up.
All by my myself! 
If you have them in your area, definitely worth it 


OK - focus and back on-topic.....
Christmas Reading....
by John Baxter

A lovely story that lets you peek into a French family Festin de Noel 
and feel the love and dedication that goes into preparing
the revered holiday meal.

John Baxter, and Australian film critic finds himself, 
oddly enough, in Los Angeles. 
John meets French woman, Marie-Do.
John falls in love.
John moves to Paris.
John marries Marie-Do.
John prepares Christmas family dinner for 18
at the family chateau outside of Paris.

Not surprisingly,
the French take Christmas dinner quite seriously.
Nothing fast.
Nothing purchased ready-made 
except for the bread from the local boulangerie.
Several courses.
Loads of wine.
Every bite savored

Le Menu:
Mareindeer Clear Oysters
Roast Suckling Pig (Cracklins included)
Roast Potatoes
Carrot Pudding
Clochard Apple Sause
Vacherin Cheese
Pears Crassanes
Chateau les Eyquem Margaux, 1998and for dessert .... Fruits Brules.
And yes, the French take naps post fete.
Snoring included!
The bonuses are the travels taken to assemble the feast.
My favorite, a trip to Charente-Maritime for oysters.
Ah, to have a home there and maybe one with a gite.
Je Reve. 
But por moi, hold the oysters. 
Finished the book on Christmas Eve - Perfect Timing!

I enjoyed his gift of insights into French culture 
and my only regret is that I could not join them for the feast.

Our Christmas dinner was not suckling pig as in John's book
but Porcupine Meatballs at the request of the 
Birthday Boy-Man.
Here is the recipe as adapted from the original 
found in Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, 
Porcupine Meatballs
My recipe is from the "Who Knows When" edition 
as that page is long gone.
They really are quite good and a family favorite
since my girls were young.
An easy prep and includes the must-have 
Midwest ingredient of a can of Campbell's condensed soup.
We served with mashed potatoes and 
NO vegetables.
Again as requested by the Boy-Man.

Now we march on to yet another family birthday Wednesday,
and then mine.
 I have begun my New Year Resolution list.
Have you?

xx from Moonlight Lane

holly

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Autumn Solo Breakfast

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I am watching the sun rise in east 
and paint my room with golden tones. 
Mr. Moonlight slumbers in bed.
Baby Boop sleeps on top the back cushion of the sofa.
Che is off snoring on his cheetah pillow.
I, alone am awake and loving these precious moments.
Reflecting on the week past and preparing for the one ahead.
Day at a time madam, day at a time.
So I slow my thoughts and breath -
yoga breath...
inhale through the nose, pause;
exhale through the mouth, pause.
Repeat.

Autumn comes slowly to Southern California.
Our seasons are like quadruplets. 
All looking alike but each a little different.
It's subtle.
A few random trees are changing their
headdress crowns to garnet and amber.
Most trees are not. 
The palms still wave their green fronds.
The pines whisper their golden pollen to the breezes.
Magnolia trees holding their buds like jeweled scepters.
Such a beautiful tree of emerald leaf tops and cinnamon velvet undersides.

Stepping out in the garden (before, middle and after images to come)
the newly installed DG crunching on my footstep.
What a lovely sound.
Hummingbirds swirl to breakfast at the feeders
while others are warring over rights to salvia bushes in full bloom.
The air is crisp, at chilling 57°, which is sweater weather here.
I work to deep water pomegranate, roses, lilac 
and whatever has survived the hot dry summer.
Slippers wet from unseen puddles in the grass, I step back inside
to prepare my solo breakfast.

Steel Cut Oats
Original Recipe from The Simply Luxurious Life

1/4 C steel cut oat (I used John McCann's - love the tin)
1 Tbsp butter (I use Trader Joe's French Butter)
3/4 water
pinch of sea salt (I use Trader Joe's French Fleur de Sel)
heavy cream
seasonal garnish
berries, raisins, nuts, apples, bananas,
any combo of the above
honey


In a small skillet, melt butter and add steel oats.
Shake skillet to evenly distribute and let the oats toast
for two minutes.  Add a pinch of Fleur de Sel.
Boil water in microwave while the oats
are getting toasty golden.
Slowly add water to oats.
Water and oats will boil.
Reduce to simmer for 7-10 minutes
until water has been absorbed to your desired consistency.
Pour in heavy cream and cook briefly to thicken.
Once in your bowl, add garnishes.
This morning I had blueberries
in a different bowl than when I started (full disclosure).




Please stop by The Simply Luxurious Life.
It is a favorite blog with lovely ideas on décor, fashion,
lifestyle/coaching and beaucoup de choses French.
Enjoy your Sunday and
thanks for stopping by Moonlight Lane.

Bisous,
Holly