In My Kitchen – January 2014

Happy New Year to all – I even got the year right although I’m sure I’ll go back to writing 2013 once today is over. Special New Year’s wishes go to Celia for hosting the In My Kitchen monthly feature.   Not only is the IMK a fun post but I’ve found some wonderful blogs and blogging friends thanks to Celia.  Be sure to check out Celia’s IMK first post of 2014.  Celia, thank you again and since we aren’t quite into the new year here, I’d like to ask you – how is 2014 looking so far?

In my kitchen this month, I’ve got a tree casualty…

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This sad looking fuzzy reindeer ornament is sitting in my kitchen while I ponder whether or not he can be repaired.  You see he’s missing an antler and an ear because the cat batted him off the Christmas tree and the dog grabbed it to show me what a bad cat Moe is.  Unfortunately, once Lola got the reindeer, she didn’t want to give him up and he lost a few parts in the tussle.

Of course in my kitchen this month are some fantastic gifts…

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This is one of the coolest cheese boards I’ve ever seen and is a gift that Tim, my daughter’s boyfriend chose.  It’s made in Italy and made of alder wood.  I love the grain and bark.  Now, resting on that cheeseboard is not a cheese knife but something that I really could have used on Christmas Eve as I was shucking about 24 cherrystone clams!  Do you think someone could have remembered and said “hey, let Mom open one of her presents a little early”?  That is a very nifty oyster shucking knife which opens the shells and has a rounded tip so you can loosen the clam from the shell.  Oh well, maybe we’ll see how it works out with the next batch of Clams Casino.

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This is a gift from an Irish lady who my husband works with – homemade Irish bread and some Irish butter to go with it.  I can tell you both were superb!  I melted the butter on a slice of this bread and made a lunch of it.

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I enlarged this shot of a special gift from my daughter which is a cutting board that she had made with our favorite and famous Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.  It’s a special recipe for her because I always had a plate of these cookies waiting for her after her first day of school.

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Another special, hand crafted gift is this brass candle holder.  It has so much pretty detail and the church windows open.  I put a little tea candle on the stand behind it to light up the church.

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How these egg coddlers have made it this long without a chip, I’m not sure but we’ve had them for decades.  You just plop an egg in each one and set them in a pot of boiling water for coddled eggs, my husband’s favorite.  It’s interesting that I had this post almost complete when I read Celia’s and noticed that she has an Evesham Gold water jug posted that would make a great match to these!

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And finally, in my kitchen is something a little sad but full of sweet memories.  This large, heavy, leaded crystal heart has been hanging over my sink (now over the new one) for years.  It’s a special birthday gift from one of the sweetest, most generous friends I’ve ever known.  Gail was diagnosed with cancer just 3 months before I was and unfortunately died much too young almost 4 years ago.  Her smile would light up a room.  She was the best friend and confidante anyone could ever have.  Although I miss her terribly, I remember her positive outlook and generosity and think of her every day when I look at my crystal.  I think it’s fitting to include this in the first post of the new year to remind me that life and friends are precious and should always be loved to the fullest.

Wishing you all a very special, happy, and healthy New Year – Diane

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46 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – January 2014

    • I think if Lola got a chance to keep that reindeer it would be long gone. Lola might be a lady, but she’s certainly not gentle with toys. We once bought her a chew toy made out of a TIRE & it lasted maybe 2 weeks.
      But yes, Christmas was full of fun things this year.

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  1. Love your animal stories. Lola wins. I am loving those gifts you got. That cutting board is a fantastic idea.. Way to go Niki. You must tell me where she got it. You are blessed, my friend.

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    • Judy, there is something up with these animals every day & I really should write a book! Moe might not have climbed up the tree this year, but every day he picked out one ornament to knock off & play with. Most of them I caught first but I missed the reindeer until Lola brought it over to me – little fink that she is.
      Niki ordered the cutting board from a vendor on Etsy. She sent him the recipe, he did the template & sent it back for proofing, then he must have used something like a wood burning tool to imprint the recipe in the wood. Isn’t it cool? I thought it was such a unique & personal gift that I always have it out.

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    • Aren’t they great? I love the cutting board because it’s so unique. And you’ve known about Irish butter? I never heard of it before but it is out of this world great! Happy new year to you too – guess you’ll have to wait a little longer than me (but I’m just about ready to get in my pajamas & read a good book – exciting new years eves for me nowadays).

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      • I’m the same way on New Year’s! I don’t expect to be up until midnight. Popcorn and my PJs are calling to me as I type (and I’m on west coast time, remember : ) ). Happy New Year, anyway! Looking forward to more of your wonderfully uplifting posts in 2014.

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      • Thanks – and I can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2014. I’ve had very quiet New Year’s Eve’s for a long time. My husband is a controller for a large company here & has to be there until midnight to close out the books at year end. He could be home early this year but I doubt we’ll be up partying.

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  2. Hi Diane. Do fix the reindeer. It will have even more sweet memories when you hang it on the tree next year. Lola will remember it for sure. Your egg coddlers certainly do match Celia’s jug, what a coincidence. It is very lovely of your husband’s colleague to make the bread, that is what Christmas is all about – little gifts that mean a lot. The cutting boards a both lovely, you can’t have too many boards.

    Remember your friend well, we will all live on in memories.

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    • I think I could fix the fuzzy little guy up – I’ve got such a fabric stash & I know I could fix little bits of felt to fix him. He could use a little rinse since Lola’s gummed him up a bit.
      I love the grain of the cheese board & how it has a knot in the center. I agree with you about never enough boards & certain ones stay out all the time.
      I’m so glad that I have the crystal heart from my friend – I really do remember her every day & smile.

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    • You know, I’m just starting to put away the ornaments and cannot believe how many I’m finding under the tree skirt, under the couch…well everywhere. I guess I’m lucky that Moe’s taken care of a lot of the undecorating work.
      My daughter is amazing with the unique gifts she manages to find & this one she actually kept as a surprise. She’s never been good at keeping secrets but this one was a complete surprise to me.

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  3. Happy New Year Diane! You know it would not be a holiday unless there was one incident. How do you exactly get a cat out of a tree anyways? LOL I think the ornament is just a little snafu, heck Buddy is trying to bring down my whole tree. Lovely gifts and I especially think that your gift from your daughter takes the cake, I mean cookie. Now there is no excuse that you lost her favourite cookie recipe. (On a side note, can your daughter hook me up with the company that did the engraving for her. Great idea!) It was a great 2013 and looking forward to lots more fun posts from Diane’s kitchen table!!! Take Care, BAM

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    • Well, you don’t really get a cat out of a tree – they kind of have to come down when they feel like it. Did you remember that Steve Martin movie (forget the name) where he was a fire chief in a small town. They got a call that a cat was stuck up in the tree & the entire department came out in force with ladders trying to get the cat. Steve Martin just shook his head, opened a can of cat food & set it down on the ground whereupon the cat just came down on his own. I can imagine Buddy had a great time with your tree – did he get a Christmas stocking – or was he in a stocking?
      Isn’t that board the coolest? I just sent you an email with the link to the Etsy seller. It looks like everyone jumped on the bandwagon but Niki got this for me last year & the link is for the person who originally had the idea (plus the price is excellent). It’s a great idea for mother’s, grandmother’s, but also great for a wedding or shower gift.

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    • Karen, I love that heart and it was one of the first things that went back into my kitchen. Gail was such a warm and generous person…you know the expression of someone “giving you the shirt off their back”? That was Gail & I had to stop admiring things in her house because she’d give them to me. If I refused, I’d find whatever I admired in my car or she’d leave it on my front steps when I wasn’t home.

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  4. Di, I’m sorry you lost a dear friend, but glad you have such a joyous reminder of her in your kitchen. Your brass church candle holder is just beautiful, and how fab that we both have Evesham china in our kitchens! PS. I think Tim’s a keeper – what a great gift! 🙂

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    • It is sad to not have my friend to share things with but I am so glad to have such a beautiful crystal to remember her every day. The detail on that candle holder doesn’t show very well but it’s very intricate & I admire the craftsmanship that went into it.
      I guess I’ll have to keep my eye out for pieces to match my egg coddlers.
      Yes, Tim is a definite keeper & I so happy that he and my daughter found each other. He’s a very kind and thoughtful guy. He actually remembered me admiring these planters in a restaurant that we went to – they were hollowed out tree stumps & I’d said how I loved the look & the bark on the outside. When I saw the cheeseboard I was so impressed that he had remembered.

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  5. Diane, I have been missing reading your beautiful posts. Between family treeing and family visiting I haven’t even thought about blogging and I am so far behind reading your posts.
    You always have the most lovely things to share with us. I hope to catch up soon again.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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    • You have had a busy time & of course this time of year can get crazy but I’ve loved seeing your photos on FB and hope you’ll be back posting soon. We’ll catch up as things quiet down. Right now we’re buried in snow so it’s a good catch up day for me too.

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  6. What fun items you have in the kitchen! The best gifts are the memories that all of those “things” will help you to create with your friends and family. May your memories of those around you now and in the past continue to live on!! Love and happiness to you and your family (and the “pet-kids”) for the new year!

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    • Tandy, thank you for stopping by. I debated whether or not to include the story of the crystal because I try to be update on my blog, but I think sometimes it’s a positive thing to remember and talk about dear friends – past and present.

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    • I’m glad that you stopped by. I’d never used egg coddlers before until I got them as a gift. Much easier than trying to poach an egg in a pan while keeping it under control (mine have a habit of blobbing all over the place).

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  7. Diane, your thoughts on the New Year and living life to the fullest meant so much. Thank you. I love the cutting board your daughter customized! Family and friends (even in memory) — yes, precious.

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    • Thanks Kim, the older I get the more I appreciate friends. I’ve had so many people ask about the cutting board which I think I’m going to get for a girl for a shower gift. You can have them put anything on it – recipes, wedding vows – stuff like that.

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  8. What a touching visit in your kitchen. I feel uplifted and inspired and just a little envious of your egg coddlers! Thanks so much for sharing and for being vulnerable about your friend Gail and your memory of her. I have memory reminder all over my house of my sister- they make me smile and feel tender towards all those I love and remind me to tell them how special they are to me.
    You received some very heartfelt gifts! Those are always my favorite! My son made me a shelf of the whistles from the organ they replaced at his church- it was such a surprise and I LOVE it!

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    • Thank you so much and thanks for swinging by my kitchen. Some people feel sad with reminders of family and friends who have died but I think of these things as beautiful reminders and love the memories associated with them.
      I can’t believe your son made you such a thoughtful gift! What a wonderful surprise and he must be extremely creative. I can see why you would love it.

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      • The best thing about the gift is that you can blow on the whistles and hear the them! The memories are the best things we have from those you love who have gone on- they live on in that part of us they helped to develop! I hope this new year treats you kindly. 🙂

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    • We call Moe the Terrorist Cat. Ever since he was just handful size, he terrorized the 90 lb. Bernese Mountain dog although they really do love each other. He can jump more than 6 feet from a standing position & I’ve found him stuck to the top of windows. Strange cat but we love him. I agree – I’ll probably keep the fuzzy reindeer as is as a reminder that he could have done worse – like take out the entire tree.

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