"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Organized Calm

 What could be more calming than an organized pantry cupboard filled with food stored in gleaming glass jars?  At the end of July I was feeling overwhelmed with a general feeling of mess and disorder, something had to be done.  I started with the pantry and then just kept going through the house, one room at a time... success builds on itself is my working theory.
 You'll be pleased to know I found an excellent recipe for spiced walnuts.  I omit the sugar too so the only sweetener to them is a bit of honey.  The recipe is here... try it with double the honey and no sugar, it works very well.
Look, spicy walnuts.
 They are so delicious in a salad with green leaf lettuce and blue cheese.  I know, not everyone is a blue cheese fan, you could try it with goat cheese, or a sheep's milk feta would be nice too.
This is my favourite salad.
 Even though it's hot as Hades I've been cooking up a storm:
 How about this fetching little brass planter?
Bought it on Etsy last winter, threw some potpourri in it.
 With all of my crazy hungry Rascals I figure I've baked at least 9000 batches of chocolate chip cookies.  Taking them out of the oven though, smelling so wonderful, it just never gets old.
I'm trying Stephen Andrew Jones' recipe next.
 Anyone else have a pie dragon hanging around?  This one was my Grandma Jean's, it's a treasure:
 I bought this wonderful new edition of one of my favourite children's books when we were at Stratford with our friends Ade and Tony.  Look at the cover:
 We're on holiday this month but that's not stopping me from looking forward to September.  I'm going to embrace cooking, baking, organizing and polishing just as September deserves.
Ready for some cooking.
 It wouldn't be August without baskets full of zucchini everywhere, and that old standby Zucchini Crusted Pizza by Mollie Katzen continues to be an A+ recipe year after year.
 Here's the link to the zucchini fabulousness.  I omit the flour and use ground almonds to make it gluten-free.

Ready for some toppings.

I hope you're having a lovely August with many moments of feeling either organized or calm or ideally both at the same time.


  1. Well I think you've accomplished what I started doing, but haven't finished! I always do a big clean up in January, but I think around mid-year I start to get a little itchy about decluttering. This was a very soothing post - love the look of your beautiful range and the lovely green pots.
    I have never seen a pie dragon! I have a pie bird, which was the only sort I'd seen before now.
    I am definitely going to order that edition of The Lion etc- such a beautiful retro cover. Well, we're heading into Spring here, and I'm definitely feeling like turning out the cupboards. xx

    1. Heidi sometimes I think I will never finish! Agree mid-year is a perfect time for another de-clutter. I've gone through every closet, drawer and cupboard in the whole house with the exception of the bedrooms of my daughters, they have to do that themselves the end of the month. I'd love to do it but I'd chuck and donate the wrong things I'm sure.
      Yes order that edition it's truly lovely. One of our favourites to read to the kids over and over when they were young. xx

  2. any post that includes a shot of your fabulous kitchen range is A+ for me! thank you for that link to the pizza crust - i'm def going to make that bc larry is watching his carbs. xo

    1. Janet I think you would love that recipe, I'm sure you have an egg substitute you could use for the crust, I saw something about chia seeds soaked in water to substitute for eggs in recipes like this? xx

  3. Me too! I've gone mad polishing and buffing and painting. Glad I'm not the only one! I think for personalities like yours, mine, and most people around the blogs all share a quality of establishing domestic order in retaliation to a chaotic world. Asserting control is a good thing. How adorable is that pie dragon?! I have two pie birds but I need a dragon now. But I need two because you know I always buy in pairs, thirds, or groups of 25. Everything is looking fab around your house. Do let me know how my cookies turn out for you! Try them with GF flour I'm sure they will be the same.
    So funny you mention Lion/Witch/Wardrobe! I've been thinking so much about that book lately. Is it the relentless heat? I used these gorgeous little blue and pewter teacups and saucers for ice cream on Monday and thought how they look like they came from the witch's ice castle.

    1. Stephen Andrew I think your method of buying pairs, thirds or groups of 25 is very sensible. So true about controlling what we can while the world goes mad. Making some use out of nervous energy is pretty smart of us!
      The pie dragon was purchased in Wales for my Grandma Jean by one of her friends at the town library, she never travelled but she had souvenirs from others and this was one of them.
      That's funny you've been thinking about that book. Stratford is doing a production this year and I was so sad my rascals are a little old for it now, but I would have gone anyway, if you lived closer we could have gone together.
      Oh gosh they sound very icy-witchy! xx

  4. Hi Dani, I can always rely on you to give me motivation in the cleaning, tidying and organizing department! Hope you are having a great summer.

    1. Patricia if I can motivate then my work is done! ;) Having a great summer thank you, I hope you are too. xx

  5. In the desert summer is similar to winter up north. Most activities are done indoors to avoid the temperatures. Summer is always my tidying and organizing time and the house is looking quite nice. Come fall we'll be wanting to get out and do things and having the house in ship shape will feel very good!

    Thanks for that link. I'm going to try that soon! Like Heidi, I have a pie bird and have never seen a pie dragon. Its adorable, and so nice for you to have something from your Grandma Jean. I have an old tea pot from my grandma that is a treasured possession.

  6. Your home looks beautiful. It will be a pleasure to return to after your holidays. And you are all ready to start the new year! xo

    1. Jen me too I think of September as the New Year! Much more exciting because January 1st always means that February is looming around the corner, ugh the depths of winter. Thanks Jen looking forward to see you in September too. xx

  7. Well, I have done indeed a lot of organising and sorting with the move. Got ride of tons (I think I could really say literally tons!)of things. Let go of loads of old things to make either just room or room for some new. But the main line was IF anything was brought in it had to be LESS than what has been out.
    I have a "hard" time to get back to cooking and setting up a routine, weekly menus as I have been out of this for several weeks!
    But I know I will get there, just the time I find all my marks.
    We'll have some days off end of the month, but we will use them mainly to really settle in and try to offload all this pressure which has accumulate over the past months.
    Have a wonderful August.

    1. Steph moving to a different country couldn't be a bigger move and you've done so well! Give yourself a break with the routine of meals, you'll be back at that soon enough, what a lot of work it must have been to shed so many things and make those decisions. I hope your days off are really lovely and that you can feel settled and at home, and rested! xx

  8. Well, after reading Jen Lawrence's latest posting and now yours, I'm really feeling lazy! It is good to get things orderly so I'm pleased you've made a big dent, and all that delicious food .... mmmm, making me hanker for your tasty salad.

  9. Dani, Love this post! This summer has been so crazy with little trips and getting my son ready for university that my home is a shambles. I am looking forward to taking stock and fall! I hope I can get my pantry back to shape like yours. It's gorgeous. Love these recipes. We haven't baked! It's just too hot, but I'll check out Stephen's recipe and the zucchini pizza crust. They look yummy! Hope your August is wonderful! xoxo Kim

    P.s. What is a pie dragon? Looks cute.

  10. I always love it when you talk about organizing and polishing. I can just imagine the joy it gives you when you have great results! Love the brass planter!

  11. organised calm makes me very happy!

  12. Dear Dani,

    Hope you are having a lovely and relaxing holiday! Warmest wishes to you and your family from Ulrika. Unfortunately the fall has already arrived in Sweden...