Magees Bakery, Lexington Style

Since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, there have been danishes to devour at Magees. Ok, I kid. But only slightly. Magees is a longtime fixture on the Lexington grid and a popular one at that. I forgo Magees on the weekends. The line goes out the door, which isn't really my thing. For me, a mid-week 10am stop for milk and doughnuts with the little guy is just my pace. The pecan danishes are buttery and flaky and utterly amazing. And a walk to nearby Woodland Park with Magees coffee and pastry in hand is the most wistful way to spend a Wednesday morning, in my book.

Serious Eats Pancakes. Thanks BraveTart.

We are in an ongoing pancake predicament over here at the Smith Homestead. Pancakes are a staple in the Saturday morning diet of these growing boys and even with years of Saturday morning pancake-ing under our belt, we are on an ongoing quest for that perfect pancake recipe.
A cry for help on Facebook led me to this site, thanks to my friend Stella over at BraveTart (yes, that Stella. One of Food and Wine's best new pastry chefs...she's pretty remarkable.)

**and so many of those beautiful images on BraveTart's site are photographed by Sarah Jane that I talked about yesterday. Go over and swoon...

I had Stella's recipe suggestion sitting on one of those back brain burners for weeks and finally set aside the 2 minutes required to print it off last Saturday morning. The recipe is good...really good. Is it IHOP good? Maybe not. But any pancake that is flipped on a griddle while you drink cheap coffee at a Formica table and comes out served with pats of prepackaged butter is probably going to taste just a little better than homemade. Go ahead, agree. It's ok.
Find the recipe over at Serious Eats, but before you go...

Women That Inspire - My Friend the Food Photographer

Some women literally catapult me to the next level of creativity and inspiration in life. With each relationship that is forged, I glean (and hopefully offer) something different; an encouraging word, a new perspective, an unconventional angle, a fresh idea, an opportunity to help and motivation to grow. It's miraculous actually that we, as women, can provide this for one another.
I spent Friday night at the Sanola Photography art show at Wine+Market in downtown Lexington. Sarah Jane Sanders, who was showing her food photography collection (more on that tomorrow), is a genius in my book. A macaron is not just a macaron when it's in front of Sarah's camera. Her style is distinct and her talent is incredible. To boot, she is just one of those people that makes you think, "I want to know them more." I am inspired.
I snapped some shots that evening. Its hard to not want to photograph Wine+Market. In fact, I am sure there are thousands of Instagram photos floating around cyberspace of their digs. Each turn, each shelf, each counter is a perfect photo op.
**disclaimer: It is incredibly intimidating to snap photos at a professional photographers art show.

Put A Bird On It

Do you put a bird on it? That Portlandia sketch, (ummm...if you haven't seen it yet...go do that first and then come back here.), always pops into my head when I see a bird on a journal, on an IKEA lampshade or an Anthropologie bracelet.
Recently I was commissioned for some work (you can read that here) for Trawick and Martin, a luxury gift company based here in the bluegrass, and it got me thinking once again about...birds.

What do you put a bird on?

Beautiful photo from one of my favorite new sites, Griottes, Palatte Culinaire

I read an article in The Guardian about these two brother in Norway that devoted their lives to
bird watching and bird feeding. It was beautiful story.

Better Homes and Gardens bird feed storage idea. Easy peasy.

I love the idea of a bird watching picnic. You can follow my picnic Pinterest board here.

This might be a little too close for my liking...sweet pic nonetheless (found on Pinterest)

Spring Home Collection 2012 Art of Homemaking Style

our springtime mantle...with artwork I painted a few years back.

I almost shutter when I hear the word "collector". My mind flashes to scenes from Hoarders or memories of sitting at auction houses with my parents as a child, watching large collections of people's belongings being sold for chump change.
a collection below a collection. Can't seem to part with some of our favorite CD's just yet.
Boys rock collection below Mike's Wilco collection. I don't know if John Lackey did this one or not but he's
done many amazing Wilco posters over the years. Check out his site.  

But as much as I think I buck the system, I must admit, I am a collector. Spring has arrived here in Kentucky and some of my favorite collections have made their annual appearance. White stoneware, artwork, mason jars, and garden pots are on a seasonal rotation at the Smith Homestead.
these pots are awaiting their to see if that will indeed happen before fall...

And as each season passes, the plaid painted kitchen floors gain more scuffs, scratches and wear...which is exactly the point, right? Each scuff is a made memory in my book.
Otto and his dog...the chasing ensues....
What do you collect?
And how do you decorate for spring?

Giveaway Winner

Just a quick note to let you know...well first sincere apologies to all that tried to enter and couldn't. Not sure what glitch happened in the Blogger system but many of you emailed telling me you were unable to enter the giveaway. SO SORRY!

But the show must go on and the lucky winner is Momuvfour76 who wrote, "I plan on giving a derby/princess themed birthday party for my 5 year old. It's only my 2nd time throwing a kid birthday party in about 8 years. Wish me luck."
Congrats! Contact me via email with your address!

Chocolate Muffins ~ Gluten and Sugar Free

**last day to enter for the MINGLE magazine GIVEAWAY (click this link to take you there). The system has been a bit whack this weekend, not allowing people to enter. So sorry about that! Try again, if you had trouble before. The giveaway will end tonight at 9pm.

I am not a gluten free girl necessarily, although my intake of flour has dramatically reduced over the past year to almost non-existent. It started with a 40 day flour free fast over a year ago and during that time I realized just how much I didn't miss it. Which is crazy talk for this former bakery owner/northern-bagel-loving girl.
Because I am not gluten free, I don't go hunting down recipes to make gluten free baked goodies. I've looked at the recipes but the thought of keeping all of those flours and powders and such in our small pantry just hasn't struck my fancy.

But this recipe...found on Pinterest which was posted by this site...caught my eye. Oats, check. Eggs, check. Hot water, got it. I tweaked it from the original..lessening the sweetener & taking out the chocolate chips.
The only out-of-the-ordinary ingredient is some sort of a sugar substitute. I am not a big fan of those but I did have a bag of Stevia in the Raw around for guests so I thought I'd give it a try.
These muffins are...ok, let me start by saying, they aren't the best bakery muffin ever. BUT if you are craving a little baked goodie, one of these might do the trick. I like to under bake them so they are still gooey in the middle (think molten chocolate cake~almost). Don't overbake. I don't think that would taste so good.

Click below for the full recipe and photos.

Favorites Giveaway MINGLE Magazine 2012

Most bookshops have good magazine sections. Our local bookshop has an outstanding one. Its on those shelves that I find a ton of crafty inspiration, read a ton of gossip news (just being real here, people) and discover new magazines on the market.
A few months ago I discovered Mingle Magazine. It is published by Stampington and Company, which published a slew of fantastic publications like Where Women Cook and Stuffed.

Mingle is not just a magazine. I would consider it more of a beautiful piece of coffee table decor filled with more inspiring, entertaining ideas than one mastermind hostess could retain in one sitting. Its genius. And beautiful. And I had the opportunity to contribute to this season's Mingle Magazine (squeeling and dancing as I write that).

Anytime I have the opportunity to write for a publication, locally or nationally, I feel so honored and blessed. This publication is like icing on my freelance writing cake. This was my "goal" magazine. When I bought that first issue months ago I told Mike, "one day I am going to have an article in here".

The more you read this blog, the more you'll learn~ I am a goal setter and a goal reacher. In fact, I fervently believe that we can and SHOULD set and reach goals in life. I have written some posts about this here and here and a few others touch on the subject under the "creating home" tab up top. What goals are you setting? This week? This month? I have lists of them. 3 month, 6 month, 12 month, 5 year...It keeps me inspired, motivated and a more engaged mother, wife and friend.

Today I am giving away a brand spankin' new copy of Mingle. It just hit the shelves yesterday!
I'll include some other little goodies in the package with the magazine too...

Comments close on Monday at 9pm EST

1. Leave a comment here on the blog and share what entertaining you hope to do this spring.

2. Follow Art of Homemaking on Facebook and leave a second comment saying you did so.

3. Share the giveaway on FB or Twitter and leave a third comment.

(and if you aren't following on Pinterest or Twitter, you can click those nifty buttons in the top right corner to do that. AND if you want the weekly newsletter, become a subscriber up there too.)

Kid Friendly Spring Cleaning

I am a firm believer in pride of ownership and its a habit I am passionate about passing down to the boys. They care for their things very well, sometimes with a little prodding from yours truly, but each prodding is a chance for a little life lesson in showing responsibility over what they have so they can be given responsibility over more in time (i.e. there is no way under the sun they are going to get the bigger, more powerful Nerf gun if they can't even keep track of the foam bullets for the one they already own.)
Over the past couple of weeks we've dove head first into spring cleaning. The boys are always eager to help and its so great to see Otto take on some chores of his own.

Here's a task the boys love...shoe cleaning. Even Otto was in on the action this year...although as you can see from the photo, I think he got a little distracted and started cleaning the picture frame...with the dirty shoe cleaning cloth. Two year olds sometimes have their own cleaning agenda.

These photos were taken over the course of a couple of weekends, I promise. I am not a slave driver. Although the boys are perfectly content to wipe down every surface a thousand times over if it means they can have their hands in buckets of soapy water.

Otto, when not helping his brothers, can usually be found in a pair of my shoes and stripped down to his diaper. In my Toms, its cute. In my new 3 inch black heels...not as adorable (ok, fine. Its still adorable...just more work to scrape the caked mud off the heels). And let me also add, these days when you see Otto, he has a hat on backwards. Its his thing. This North Face hat (a gift from my parents to Canaan) immediately became a backwards fixture on Otto's head. Even on Easter Sunday...with his Easter outfit church. Lovely.

Canaan got an upcycled bike this winter. He has yet to gain the confidence for a ten speed, but nonetheless (again, with pride of ownership) keeps the bike shining. (I can't get over how big Ezra is getting. Can you believe it? They are all growing up far too quickly for my liking. Slow it down, boys.)

Mike built this fence recently. He found the reclaimed horse farm boards for $.50 a piece so building it was inexpensive...although fairly backbreaking work. Our backyard is looking mighty lush and full this spring. Oh how I love it so.

And here's our sweet Otto. Much of the day I come outside and ask the boys, "where are Otto's clothes and shoes?" To which I get blank stares and alot of, "I don't know" responses. If you have kids, I don't need to explain this picture. Yes, he looks completely disheveled. Hanging diaper, dirty feet, tantrum in progress...yep, hello two year old. This tantrum was in an attempt to get him to come in for a diaper change (he's the stubborn one of the bunch...don't get me started on potty training). He is clinging to the fence for dear life.

Savoring each moment...even those with tantrums in progress.

Butternut Squash Pizza with Carmelized Onions, Peaches and Country Ham

Butternut Squash Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Peaches and Country Ham

This beauty was about to go in the oven (pre-mozzarella covering). There are no post oven pictures because...well in a house of 4 boys, there are rarely pictures of the finished product. They are like vultures around the stove at dinner time. There is little patience for a mom with a camera.

This recipe is very organic in nature, very apropos for a pizza representing Seedleaf. Here's what I did...its easy to replicate, so give it a try.

Click below for the full recipe and step by step photographs.

Seedleaf and Saul Good

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a pizza cook off for charity. Some really inspiring friends of ours, Jodie and Ryan Koch, are two of those rare birds that live a simple but very rich, rewarding and full life. Ryan is founder of Seedleaf. An organization that not only plants community gardens around the city but does so much to feed/educate people that I can't fully wrap my head around how he can juggle so much in a 24 hour period. Jodie runs Kids Cafe, providing free meals and snacks to low income children. Jodie rocks this out each week with two adorable kiddos in tow and still maintains the wittiest sense of humor I've ever come across.

Both of these organizations are always looking for volunteers and funds, so click on the sites above and learn more.
(If nothing else, try to get your hands on one of the tee shirts or hoodies...they're American Apparel and they are oh-so-cozy)
Now back to the cook off...Ryan asked me to represent Seedleaf in a charity pizza cook off hosted by Saul Good Pub. If you haven't heard of Saul Good, its because you aren't from Lexington. Lexingtontonians know Saul Good. Its local and its ridiculously amazing.

The owners (who are the hippest husband and wife team around) know what it takes to make a business run efficiently, effortlessly and with style. And when a company pours into their local community, we all love it a little more. The recent cook off (the pub is known for wood fire pizzas...but the burgers are delish and don't even get me started on the chocolate popcorn or fondue~) had 15 great local charities vying for the $1000 prize.
And when I mean vying, I mean rubbing elbows with 15 pizza baking novices for the most fun competition I have ever been a part of. What made it even more exciting was that Saul Good kept the doors open for business...the charity cook off contestants and spectators just slid right in on the action. The entire night was loud, and fast and in high spirits.

My pizza didn't win. I told Ryan I would start saving my pennies to donate $1000 to Seedleaf myself. may take a while, but I'll make it happen. The winning pizza was delicious. Figs, feta, can't go wrong when it comes to figs, friends. Speaking of friends, I made some new ones that night too. I am always so grateful for experiences like these. Although just a blip on the radar of life, it has lasting memories. And this night was very memorable, indeed.

Check back tomorrow for the non-winning pizza recipe (although still tasty enough to share on the blog, I hope.)