December 8, 2018

Recipe Round-Up...


Thank you to everybody that attended our Christmas Open House.We love seeing you all and I can't believe it's been 10 years already!  We had lots of fun, food and libations.  Here's a round up of the recipes....  

Hot Pepper Cranberry Spirals
Makes 24 Spirals
Ingredients
2 sheets (1 box) puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, additional for garnish if desired
1 egg, whisked with a dash of water


Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare 2 baking sheets by covering them with parchment paper.
Carefully unfold the puff pastry sheets onto a flat surface to ensure there are no tears. Gently spread 2 ounces of cream cheese evenly onto each sheet, leaving the top inch uncovered. Spread the Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly over the cream cheese and sprinkle each sheet with one tablespoon of thyme.
Brush the top inch that was left uncovered with the egg. Beginning at the bottom, roll the puff pastry sheets tightly until you have completed the roll.
Place in the refrigerator to allow it to firm up for about 30 minutes for ease with cutting. Remove and slice into 1/2” slices.
Place each slice down on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the slices have puffed and browned slightly. Garnish with additional thyme and serve warm.



Fluffy Peppermint Dip

Ingredients:
1 container (7 oz.) Marshmallow Fluff
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
¼ c Peppermints, crushed
1-2 drops red food coloring (optional)


    Directions:
    Using a mixer on low combine Marshmallow Fluff, cream cheese, and peppermint extract.
    Sprinkle with crushed peppermints and continue to mix until they are fully incorporated into the fluff.
    Add red food coloring to create a light pink color. This is optional.
    Serve with chocolate graham crackers, or your favorite dipper.


    Curry Mayonnaise 


    Ingredients: 
    2½ Tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 Tablespoon honey
    1 Tablespoon curry powder
    ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    ½teaspoon garlic salt
    2 cups mayonnaise

    Directions: 
    Whisk together the lime juice, honey, curry powder, ginger, and garlic salt in a small bowl.  Slowly whisk the lime mixture into the mayonnaise in a medium bowl, using a fork or a flat whisk.  Be gentle so the mayonnaise doesn't "break".  Store, tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one month.  Serve with assorted, fresh vegetables.  
      This is great as a base for chicken salad, on French fries,or as a dip for shrimp cocktail.

        For recipes from past Clever Girl gatherings, click HERE and HERE





October 27, 2018

The Great American Read

Did any of you watch the PBS series, The Great American Read?  The Clever Girls here did, and we really enjoyed the mini book reports the show gave as it explored the top 100 best-loved novels that Americans chose. The Great American Read was an eight-part series that explored and celebrated the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels.  It investigated how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience. 

The television series featured entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It was comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books was revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examined concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results were announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book. 

I have read 38 of the 100, and definitely am going to revisit the list and try many more.  Surprisingly, a lot that I'm not familiar with are more contemporary works that I just never got around to reading.  Some, like Game of Thrones, Dune, and The Stand are never going to be my cup of tea,but The Book Thief, The Lovely Bones and The Joy Luck Club are going on my list. Click HERE to see the top 100, and see how many you know and love...

         

What's nice is that there are all kinds of novels on this list, from classics, to mysteries to series.  My personal favorite came in at #4 (Pride and Prejudice) I also love Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Color Purple, Rebecca and The Help.  I'm surprised that Little House on the Prairie didn't make the list, along with In Cold Blood, which I found so incredible the first time I read it.  That was the first book I ever read cover to cover in a day.

I love a good list, and think this one is so interesting and comprehensive.  Most of all, I love discovering a great story. It's great to know a good book is awaiting you, isn't it? 

A happy footnote: In looking for some of the top 100 books on my shelves, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my copies of Rebecca and Gone With the Wind are both first editions--as is my volume of A Confederacy of Dunces.   And, while I have multiple copies of Jane Austen, alas, non are signed, nor even close to being first editions.....

October 24, 2018

Wow!  What a moon tonight!  I just happened to be in the right place as it rose this evening.  Spectacular!  Fall is fully in the air, and the pumpkin patch is empty.  Halloween is just around the corner....What a treat to have a front row seat tonight..........

The night will never stay,
the night will still go by,
thought with a million stars 
you pin it to the sky, 
though you bind it with the blowing wind, 
and buckle it with the moon,
the night will slip away 
like a sorrow or a tune.
                                         ~Eleanor Farjeon



October 17, 2018

C is for Cranberry...

We've just received something new and delicious from our favorite, Stonewall Kitchen. Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly has arrived just in time for the turkey season!  They've turned up the heat on classic cranberry jelly by adding spicy jalapeños and a dash of cayenne for a spread that’s sweet, tart and fiery. Perfect for pairing with crackers and cheese or a juicy turkey burger, it’s the hot new condiment you’ll soon be slathering on everything.  
Scrumptious on a ham sandwich, surprising on hot, buttered, cornbread and totally yummy in the recipe below.  

Hot Pepper Cranberry Spirals



Makes 24 Spirals
Ingredients
2 sheets (1 box) puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, additional for garnish if desired
1 egg, whisked with a dash of water

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare 2 baking sheets by covering them with parchment paper.
Carefully unfold the puff pastry sheets onto a flat surface to ensure there are no tears. Gently spread 2 ounces of cream cheese evenly onto each sheet, leaving the top inch uncovered. Spread the Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly over the cream cheese and sprinkle each sheet with one tablespoon of thyme.
Brush the top inch that was left uncovered with the egg. Beginning at the bottom, roll the puff pastry sheets tightly until you have completed the roll.
Place in the refrigerator to allow it to firm up for about 30 minutes for ease with cutting. Remove and slice into 1/2” slices.
Place each slice down on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the slices have puffed and browned slightly. Garnish with additional thyme and serve warm.

Click here to shop for Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly 

I think this is a perfect game-day snack, or tasty appetizer at your next dinner party.  Pretty, easy, tasty and just a little bit zippy!  Enjoy....

September 29, 2018

New from NEST

INTRODUCING SPARKLING CASSIS!!!  The latest fragrance from Nest has arrived--and I think you're going to love it! The sparkling essence of pink champagne is infused with hints of crème de cassis, frosted cranberry, and wild fig.  Watch the short video below from Laura Slatkin, founder of Nest, for her thoughts on creating this rich new fragrance.


Not only is this a wonderful scent, but the packaging is also divine.  The candle container is very detailed, and enhances the glow of the candle enormously... This will definitely be the perfect gift for fall and certainly will play a role in Thanksgiving as well.  Absolutely the perfect hostess gift!  


Undoubtedly fall is in the air, the nights are certainly cooler and it's definitely getting dark so much earlier.  We need an extra blanket on the bed, and hot tea suddenly sounds good again.  "And all at once summer collapsed into fall" ~Oscar Wilde

I hope yours is a glorious one......



 


June 10, 2018

Janet Hill--A Favorite Thing...


People often ask me what my favorite things are at Clever Girl, and Janet Hill's marvelous art work is always at the top of my list.  We have custom framed prints, greeting cards, and her delightful book, Miss Moon: Wise words from a Dog Governess from this talented Canadian artist, and I LOVE THEM ALL!


Her women are strong, elegant and of a slightly different era, all whilst remaining very fresh and vibrant.  They're the kind of girls you know you'd have an adventure with...and drink champagne while doing so. You know we like our animals around here, and Janet absolutely captures them too, whether it's a pink poodle, exotic chicken or a sweet kitty.  

We have a revolving selection of these lovely 8 X 10 prints in gold gilded frames, in addition to a selection of greeting cards. For the children (or dog-lovers) in your life, the delightful book, Miss Moon: Wise Words from A Dog Governess, is utterly charming.  
Miss Moon imparts twenty important lessons to her furry brood. Some are practical, some are playful, one or two are a little unusual, but all are necessary for the raising of happy, healthy and well-mannered dogs (and humans).


 And, coming in early 2019, Miss Mink: Life Lessons for a Cat Countess.   Miss Marcella Mink and sixty-seven of her favorite feline friends live happily in her big house by the sea. Collected here are Miss Mink's twenty cat-approved lessons, from the benefits of a good grooming and an afternoon nap to valuable advice on friendship and diet.

Be sure and look for these delightful items in the stationary department the next time you're in.  I think you'll agree they are all just darling!



June 1, 2018

"Fruits" of Summer

Spring has turned into summer, and the berries are here!  Hurrah!  
Make a note:  The Western Springs Farmer's Market has started...every Sunday from 9-1.  We have a few juicy fruits ourselves...
I have no idea how one would set out to bake this adorable strawberry roll cake (if you know, please tell me) but we do have the super cute berry lunch tote and the straws, which are incredibly sweet...

Stonewall Kitchen never disappoints with their signature, world famous, Wild Maine Blueberry Jam.  We sell a frightening number of cases of this blue magic in a jar.  Weekend brunch calls out for the sweet tang of this fruity jam.  Delicious on good old vanilla ice cream, I might add...



As you turn thought to vacation, BBQ's and trips to the lake house, remember that we have lots of lovely, thoughtful gifts that will be remembered long after the party is over.  We're so happy to wrap everything for you and get you off to the party even faster!!!!
Here's to a smashing summer!!!

May 25, 2018

The Weekend Called....

Memorial Day has popped up out of nowhere on the calendar, and it's officially OK to break out the white jeans, strappy sandals and the sunscreen.  Let's face it--it's probably time for a fresh summer tote, too.  We've got just the ticket!  French Blue and white stripes give our jumbo carryall a chic and breezy style that will look great wherever your summer travels take you.  





We will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.  Thank you to all those who have served, and our active duty military personnel.  We are proud of you and our country!  





May 19, 2018

A Royal Good Time was had by all...























What a weekend! Did you get up early and watch?  In case you didn't here's the recap in 10 pictures...It was as perfect as could be.  I especially thought the special references to Princess Diana were a loving and fitting tribute on such a special day.  


Diana's sister Lady Jane Fellowes delivered the only reading of the ceremony about the eternal power of love, and the hymn 'Guide Me, O Thy Great Redeemer' which featured in the wedding was also played at the much loved Princess' funeral. Diana's favorite flowers, white peonies and white garden roses, also adorned an elaborate archway over the organ loft and entryway as guests entered. Harry also used two diamonds from his mother's personal collection in the engagement ring he had custom made for the proposal.  How thoughtful and respectful of Meghan to include Harry's mother in her special day.

A few fancy friends showed up right on time....



Meghan and her Mother arrive at the church....




Out of the car, and ready for the grand entrance...




The flower girl and Co. did a marvelous job...




One and a half billion people watched the vows being exchanged--GULP!!!





















The happy couple departed by carriage to their wedding luncheon...




Where cake was served....




A quick change, and it was off to the next party...




The happy couple sped off on a classic Jaguar...




A side note: If you look closely, the Queen was seen being driven in her Range Rover the day before the wedding with Meghan's Beagle, Guy, in the back seat with her......




A happy, happy time was had by all.  Watch BBC America all weekend if you, like me, can't get enough!


Cheers Clever Girls.....

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