Still wanting more……Cranberries!

Thankfully the Christmas season is over, the season of MORE. More food, more parties, more fun, more stuff, more wanting!

Please don’t miss understand, I love Christmas. I cherish each moment spent with friends and family. Preparing gifts to give, cooking meals to share and mostly reflecting on the greatest gift of Jesus. His birth, his life, his love and how we are here because if it.

Today the New Year is still fresh. A time of cleaning out the old and making plans for the new. Dreaming big dreams. It feels good to have a fresh start.

However, there is one thing I’m not ready to give up and find myself wanting more of: Cranberries!IMG_9124-7_07_46PM

I love Cranberries (the fresh ones, never been a fan of the can stuff). In the past my favorite was the Cranberry Bread (you know the one, the recipe on the back of the package). Then there’s always room for cranberries on my sweet potato casserole. But now thanks for Pintrest and my food blogger friends there are so many other ways to enjoy them, and enjoy them I have!

So as the “fresh Cranberry” season comes to a close, I thought I would share a few favorites with you. Maybe you can still find some in the store if you find them pleasing.

As soon as the red beauties show up I start making  Cranberry Ginger SconesIMG_9140-7_07_48PM

I came by this recipe from my friend and food photographer Denise Woodward in a piece she wrote for  Eat Boutique

You should check out her personal blog:  Chez Us 

By the way, these are sure to be on the breakfast menu at The Hatton House

Then comes the Spiced Cranberry Sauce with apricots.Thanksgiving-8-11_42_57AM

I originally found the recipe in a Cooking Light magazine several years ago. These days we tweak it a bit, sometimes adding mangoes or nuts. I usually make enough for our Thanksgiving dinner of 30 or more, extra to share with others and at least one jar for our refrigerator. I highly recommend it on Turkey sandwiches any time of year and it adds a spark to oatmeal on these could winter mornings.

Another form Denise at Chez Us, which instantly became “a must have” around our house. “Sugared Cranberries”IMG_8806-11_42_47AM

I made these for the first time last year.IMG_6721

This year, I bagged them up with ribbon and shared them with my Book Club ladies.

They are wonderful to garnish a chocolaty desert or a yummy cocktail but our favorite way is to just keep a bowl on the table and pop them in your mouth! They don’t last long.

Two new ones this year:

This Spiced Winter Cranberry Cake from a sweet blog called “The Year in Food”

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We only made it once but will keep it for next year. It was great with coffee and perfect for our Gluten free friends.

Last but not least by any means! Cranberry Cake from The KitchnIMG_9088-Edit-11_42_55AM

Being a big hit at our house, I can’t even count how many times I made it. Mostly in decorative gift size pans and shared it with clients and friends. Christmas morning I baked it in a 10” spring form pan. It didn’t last long with the crowd of family at my parent’s home.

I find myself still craving it so I made it once more yesterday. This time in small little loaf pans so we can eat one and freeze a few for later. Notice the little heart shaped pan? I wonder if it would be as good with cherries for Valentines?IMG_9076-11_42_53AM

Well, thanks for wadding through my cranberry obsession! If any of these sound tempting you might still be able to find a few fresh ones at the market. Just click on the links above in blue.  I’d love to hear how you like them or if you have any other wonderful ways I might try cranberries next year! Feel free to drop me a comment!

Until next time.

Re-Invent or Re-Store, sometimes they look alike

We’ve all heard the saying about life being a journey, going through different seasons, taking different paths., reaching different crossroads. At this stage in my life the seasons seem to change quickly and the crossroads are many. As many of my friends are taking the “ I have to re-invent myself” road, I think I am taking more the “It’s time to Re-Store an old self” road.

Years ago (too many to count, but let’s say a long time) I would buy and read books on growing and using herbs, and gardening. Lavender was and still is one of my favorites. Years before I heard anyone talk about lavender farms in Texas, I was dreaming of walking through those amazing purple fields in France. I scoured magazines such as  “Country Living”, Southern Living, Food and Wine. Reading and keeping articles and pictures of old farm houses, Bed & Breakfast sites, and recipes of homegrown and beautiful food. At the time I really didn’t think about photogenic these all were. I didn’t think of creating these images, I just wanted to live in them.

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Photography is still my profession and will always be one of my passions but it is looking a bit different these days. As I approached one of those crossroads in life I decided to restore an old dream instead of re-inventing a new one.

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My husband and I own a wonderful old rock house built somewhere around 1857. We have always dreamed of restoring it for a guest house or B&B. My other dream was to walk through lavender fields but have never made it to France. Life has always taken us down other paths. Oh, they have been wonderful paths just different than these dreams.  But time has come to follow those dreams.

We haven’t made it to France, instead I planted my own lavender field.IMG_3584 I spent the last year loving over that small field, fighting to keep the horses from pulling up the tiny plants. Worried about the drought and then about too much rain,  the Sweet lavender was the only variety to bloom the first year and with that we had lavender ice-cream and gallons of Lavender Lemonade all through the summer.IMG_3585

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At the same time we began work on our little rock house, slowly restoring and working it into shape to welcome guest. Although there is more we want to do we are excited to say we have officially opened The Hatton House B&B at the Creek Road Homestead, and ready for you to come stay!

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WOW, that is a little scary to say out load.

When you have dreamed of something and then the reality is here, and what if it’s not what you think is going to be? Oh well, here we go!

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As of now, we have the downstairs open and plan to open the upstairs room in May or June. You can get more information and book a stay here www.creekroadhomestead.com or you can just email me! If you want to come just walk through the lavender that is fine to.

So you may have noticed I changed the name of my blog to Lavender Lemonade.

When I started my blog, I shared stories about my life, I wrote and shared stories about my clients and a few stories from the streets. At first it was a lot about my photography business, a bit of self-promotion! There will still be a touch of that since I often get my stories and images from my clients but my hope is for it to be more. As I find and share these stories I want them go deeper. I hope they will be inspirational. I hope they tell a story of following ones dreams and stories of hope. I also plan to write, photograph and share more stories about food, about culture and travel. (more later on why I think food is so important)  Lavender Lemonade represents that to me, it reminds me of dreaming, of hard work, of hope, of cultivating a life , of the beauty of a sweet  and sometimes sour life. So I plan and hope to write more in this new year to come, along this new adventure of adding an inn-keeper hat to my collection. I also hope you will join me on occasion, laugh, dream and share the ride, I would love to hear about your dreams as well.

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A Treasure in Dripping Springs

“Because it fits me.”  That was the answer Fabienne Bollom gave when asked why she chose this location for her bakery/bistro, Rolling in Thyme and Dough in 2005 (Known locally as just Thyme and Dough)

This little Gingerbread looking house, built sometime around 1904, sits on the corner of HWY 290 West and Bluff Street, in the heart of Dripping Springs, TX. Longtime locals have seen it go through many lives, from a cherished home, to office space, to the lovely Bolton’s Nursery. But none would have thought this tiny house would become a culinary landmark. That from a small but busy kitchen could come some of the most delectable treasures your taste buds could desire.

But that is exactly what has occurred over the last 7 years as Fabieanne has brought us a mixture of her Belgium roots and world travels, adding to a bit of local farm and flair. She as exposed us to a creative culture of exquisite food, beauty and peaceful surroundings and the joy of sharing it all in community.  I’ve heard it said she has one rule she tells a new employee, “My customers are Queens and Kings”

Not long ago I had the opportunity to spend some time behind the kitchen doors and watch Fabienne and her staff work their magic. I arrived around 4:30am with the “early baker” who had been there since before 2:00! The quiet morning kitchen immediately brought me back to my own bakery days in the 90’s and a love of baking and creating sweet and savory treats for those you love. I believe good food created by those who love what they do can bring such pleasure to both the ones preparing and those fortunate enough to partake.

Currently Thyme and Dough is going through an expansion, adding more room for both preparing and dining, and where Fabienne can host her fabulous cooking classes. (Watch for further blogging on that!)  We are all looking forward to the grand opening this week on Friday Oct 5th!  Even though the structure may take on a little different look, the food and feel with only remain the same or get better! If you are local and have not ever made a visit you should. For the rest of you, it will be worth your time if you are every driving through Drip!

Here are a few of my favorites as I spent the day at “Thyme and Dough”

It looks a bit different today but still wonderfully charming.

Joy in the kitchen!

Can’t make breakfast? Then try the The Two-Ninety Torte for lunch.

Check our the Lunch menu.

And don’t forget Thursday is “Bistro Night” for an unbelievable dinner with local entertainment.