Sunday, December 15, 2013

Hansel & Gretel Welcome Here

Yesterday was the perfect day to create these little gingerbread gems.  It was snowing and Christmas music filled the air.  We took advantage of the snowed in-time and gathered all our ingredients. We opted to use graham crackers for sheer ease. We also decided to go the easy route using pre-made icing and tube icing with those fancy tips. Although using the pre-made icing instead of making royal icing might have been a mistake since that icing doesn't harden right away and our houses kept caving in. Getting the first one under our belt was an accomplishment. The next couple seemed a bit easier since I knew what worked and what didn't with the structure. Decorating the houses were by far the most rewarding. I loved that my daughter crushed up butterfingers and used it for the roof on one. The decorative icing with the interchangeable tips were really fun and easy to use as well. I totally love the pretzel sticks on the roof of another, reminds me of a log cabin in the winter.  I would say my favorite part was doing this fun Christmas project with my kid Mo! 

If you want to view the original pictures without all these fancy shamancy filters then CLICK HERE

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chicken in a Biscuit

  • prep time20 min
  • total time45 min
  • ingredients4
  • servings8

cups Green Giant® frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
cup diced cooked chicken
can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Flaky Layers refrigerated biscuits

Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, combine vegetables, chicken and soup; mix well.
Press each biscuit into 5 1/2-inch round. Place 1 round in each of 8 greased regular-size muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up side, forming 3/4-inch rim. Spoon a generous 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each. Pull edges of dough over filling toward center; pleat and pinch dough gently to hold in place.
Bake at 375°F 20 to 22 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan.

Baked and photographed by Val McNichols, IOBette


Friday, December 6, 2013

Sidekick or Superhero?

Pantone unveils fabulous new color for 2014!

Radiant Orchid is the newest color selected by Pantone professionals to represent 2014. It's a great color, full of life and inspiration. However I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed. I think this orchid color is a wonderful accent color or complimentary color.  I'm speaking strictly as a designer. This particular color needs strong colors to back it up, amethyst, eggplant, plum, deep purple and even seeping into the red undertones of wine and merlot. I don't think that radiant orchid is a strong enough hue to stand on its own. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the color however I believe the Pantone peeps picked a "sidekick" instead of the superhero.  
-Val Mcnichols, IOBette

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

50 Shades of Fall

Classical mythology offers multiple explanations of the origin of the cornucopia. One of the best-known involves the birth and nurturance of the infant Zeus, who had to be hidden from his devouring father Cronus. In a cave on Mount Ida on the island of Crete, baby Zeus was cared for and protected by a number of divine attendants, including the goat Amalthea ("Nourishing Goddess"), who fed him with her milk. The suckling future king of the gods had unusual abilities and strength, and while playing with his nursemaid accidentally broke off one of her horns, this horn then had the divine power to provide unending nourishment, as the foster mother had to the god.

My interpretation of the cornucopia is one of lush verdure and flora paired with fruits and figs. Autumn is much more than just oranges, burgundys, and brown hues.  In fall, especially in the Northeast the colors are vibrant and rich. There is color in everything living. The hemlock trees seem to be the brightest green of the year and the maple leaves depict a spectrum of color that could be categorized not of this Earth. The nuts that fall from the trees have shades of wood tones including mahogany, cherry and poplar. Long gone are the Thanksgiving centerpieces in a dreary monotone array of chrysanthemums and baker fern.

Friday, November 1, 2013

More than Meets the Maple

Autumn is the perfect time of year to explore the outdoors and really take in the ridiculous abundance of botanicals morphing into bright spectrums of eye candy. 
Clearly, the Japanese maple leaf branches give this design life and style. I clipped a few branches from my garden along with some berried spiderwort. The simplistic pairing between the vendela roses and maple branches make this design really work. 

Goodbye October Hello November

I think of all the seasons for floral designing, fall is my most favorite. I do enjoy the spring with all the fresh bulbs and new growth but the colors and textures of fall make me so happy.  Maybe it's the nostalgia of things in fall that trigger childhood memories like carving pumpkins, the smell of smokey wood burning, the rustling of leaves on the ground or maybe the warmth of a home and the amazing aromas of food cooking in the kitchen.  Whatever the memory you have or the thoughts of favorite seasons, one things for sure nothing beats the mix of autumn botanicals atop an heirloom pumpkin. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pumpkin season is finally here!

Today I rocked the pancake world by making homemade pumpkin pancakes.  I mean seriously these things are redic. Garanteed to leave you on the sofa in a food coma. 

  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

    Easy breezy....
    Threw all ingredients into a big mixing bowl, mixed with a whisk (try not to over blend) and Voila! 

  • Friday, September 20, 2013

    After The Boys of Summer Have Gone...

    "The Boys Of Summer"

    Nobody on the road
    Nobody on the beach
    I feel it in the air
    The summer's out of reach
    Empty lake, empty streets
    The sun goes down alone
    I'm driving by your house
    Though I know you're not home

    But I can see you-
    Your brown skin shinin' in the sun
    You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby
    And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
    After the boys of summer have gone

    I never will forget those nights
    I wonder if it was a dream
    Remember how you made me crazy?
    Remember how I made you scream
    Now I don't understand what happened to our love
    But babe, I'm gonna get you back
    I'm gonna show you what I'm made of

    I can see you-
    Your brown skin shinin' in the sun
    I see you walking real slow and you're smilin' at everyone
    I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
    After the boys of summer have gone

    Out on the road today, I saw a DEADHEAD sticker on a Cadillac
    A little voice inside my head said, "Don't look back. You can never look back"
    I thought I knew what love was
    What did I know?
    Those days are gone forever
    I should just let them go but-

    I can see you-
    Your brown skin shinin' in the sun
    You got that top pulled down and that radio on, baby
    And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
    After the boys of summer have gone

    I can see you-
    Your brown skin shinin' in the sun
    You got that hair slicked back and those Wayfarers on, baby
    I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
    After the boys of summer have gone

    Monday, August 5, 2013

    Foraging Forward

    There is nothing more satisfying than going out, whether its to a wooded area, your backyard, a meadow or field and foraging your own botanicals for use in a design.  You don't even necessarily have to have the design planned out in your head. It may just come to you as you discover unexpected forest dwellers or sprawling vines.  That's exactly the case with this wonderful bouquet. I spied these bright pumpkin orange colored wild raspberries.  The laurel and spirea is also foraged from a small woodland not far from my home.  The peonies are from my garden. The cool thing about this bouquet is that its natural and organic in ever sense. It's rough around the edges and has different stage of development and decomposition with both the raspberries and peonies.  Sure we can order pristine blossoms and create a blemish-free design but I think a foraged bouquet tells a story of a different kind. 

    Thursday, June 27, 2013

    Fresh Picked From The Garden

    My favorite pastime is picking cool botanicals and blossoms from my garden and arranging them in a natural styled design that woks well with the container. This floral arrangement is created with everything from my garden, my neighbor's, and a friend's beloved garden. This design features Bradford pear clippings, crabapple branches, angel wing begonia, hydrangea, and jasmine vine.