Thursday, August 8, 2013

Love and Toast Review

So I make a lot of my lotions and potions but it is always nice to support great earth friendly companies and treat yourself to something special. I have several indulgences of this sort and Love and Toast is a great one.
Not only do they make great products with pure and simple ingredients but they give back. Take a look at their mission statement.

Love and Toast has perfume, lotions, shampoo, chapstick, etc. I like the perfume well enough but it doesn't have great staying power. The chapstick I wouldn't splurge on but they do have great scents and taste. The products I love from this company are the lotions and butters. I have two right now.
Honey Nectar Lotion
The scent is not what I expected. It doesn't smell like that sweet honey that everyone is used to. Think the smell of raw honey versus the honey bear. At first this really disappointed me. I wanted that sweet milk and honey scent but this scent turns into a great base. After I wear it the smell almost turns into a vanilla. A gentle vanilla that blends really well with any perfume you choose.

Clementine Crush Lotion

Clementine Crush actually describes this scent really well. Fresh, light, and citrus.
I love these because a little bit goes a long way. Seriously, I used to much on one leg the first time I used it and it ended up being enough for my whole body. When I started to rub it in on my leg it was as though more magically started to appear. The smell is fresh and delicate. It absorbs really well into the skin and seems to hydrate for longer periods of time than a lot of other lotions.
One warning though. If you have animals they will lick this stuff off. I have heard of animals licking off lotion before but mine had never done it until Love and Toast. My mom's and sister's do the same thing.
One negative for me is the shape of the bottle. The packaging is cute and different but not so great for getting the last bit out of the bottle. You cant squeeze it like you can in a tube.
Check out their website love and toast.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I love reading and at first was not going to make that apart of my blog but I have had a few really good reads lately. One of which I was thoroughly surprised by. I bought Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society two years ago and started reading it but didn't get past the first few pages and moved onto another book. I just now got back to it and I am so glad that I did.
The first few letters were boring and I found reading them tedious. But I powered through and didn't give up on it like I did two years ago. Then slowly the letters started to have more and more substance and built off of one another. By page 40 or 50 I couldn't put it down; I just had to now what was going to happen next.
The main character is Juliet. An author and columnist that shot to fame during WWII for bringing news of the war to England in weekly columns. The news during this time was heavy and those living in London especially were in a constant state of fear ;so, Juliet did the best she could to write on the news but doing so in a manner that still was able to lift their spirits. Her columns were very popular and after the war were published into a book.
One day through what could only be fate Juliet received a letter from a man on Guernsey Island. (Guernsey is a channel island between France and England that was occupied during the war.) This man had ended up with a book by Charles Lamb that had belonged to her and was writing to let her know how much that book had meant to him during the war. This correspondence lead to her corresponding with him and his friends on Guernsey. This correspondence led to a whirlwind of exciting discoveries and adventures and stories both of the Occupation and after.
While reading I became involved with these characters and envisioned them on Guernsey. I feel as though I know Guernsey through this book, thanks to the vivid detail and research done by the author. I cant imagine many people after reading this book would not feel the same way. This book was full of imagination and joy all while dealing with the heavy topic of WWII and the Nazi Occupation. More than anything this book left me with a sense of hope that will stay with me long after the book has faded.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gluten Free Raspberry Peach Cobbler

Summer peach and berry season is here! So enjoy with a cobbler and ice cream:). The true southern way.

Cobbler Topping Ingredients:
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter (room temp)
1/8 cup water
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
pinch salt

Cobbler Filing Ingredients:
12 ounces raspberries
3 peaches pealed and sliced
1/2 cup sugar (this can vary depending on sweetness of the fruit)

Preheat oven to 350*F

You can cream butter and sugar but it is not necessary. You can throw all the topping ingredients in a large bowl and incorporate until well blended.

It will clump together and have little crumbles. Sort of how bread dough is before you kneed it.

Look how glorious these raspberries look!

And the yummy peaches:)

Place all the fruit in the bottom of your oven safe dish and then sprinkle the sugar on top.

Take the dough and kinda crumble on top.

Bake 45 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Favorite Places - Stanton Home Furnishings in Virginia Highlands Atlanta

You know that happy feeling of finding a store that just suits you. It fits your personality and style. It gives you that surge of inspiration. Well thats what happened to me when I walked into Stanton Home Furnishings in the Virginia Highlands neighborhood of Atlanta.

What is even more amazing is that my husband loved the store, too. Somehow that store and not some designer we had to pay thousands of dollars to merge our style. It was amazing. I took some pictures of the some items we really loved and want to recreate for cheap. Because lets just say this store was NOT reasonably priced.

There also were some pillows that looked very familiar. 

I loved this fabric in pillows and may consider making some but I think it will be too much with the ottoman.

Which I still need to finish the other pillows so the couch doesnt look so bare but of course the sewing machine is on the fritz and I am too lazy to hand sew all of them.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gluten Free Carob Brownies with Peanut Butter Chips and Honey

If you follow my MaeBird Lane Kitchen board on pinterest you have probably seen my recipe for gluten free carob brownies. This is just a little twist on that but that flavor does change quite a bit. My husband prefers these but for me it just depends what I am in the mood for. The basic has sugar and the carob comes through a little more but this recipe has no sugar and only honey. The honey is a front and center and goes wonderfully with the melted peanut butter pockets.
Preheat oven to 350*F bake time is 25 minutes
1 cup carob powder
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter chips
2 eggs
The eggs, honey, and butter should all be at room temperature.
Combine the honey and butter until smooth.
Add eggs.
Once the wet ingredients are well incorporated add the dry.
Then toss in the chips.
(TIP: Butter a 9x9 pan. Take the wrap from the butter and rub the pan with it.)

Bake 25 minutes.
Best when still warm:)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Greek Chicken Strips with Gluten Free Feta Cranberry CousCous

So easy and full of flavor. This entrée pleased many palates.
You need:
3/4 pound chicken strips
6 oz feta
2 bell peppers (one red, one orange)
Dried cranberries
2 lemons
3 green onions
1 Package gluten free couscous
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Chicken and Peppers:
Start with marinating the chicken with tsp salt, tsp pepper, about 1/4 cup olive oil, I used a spice mix from Whole Foods that has nutmeg, lemon, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. I used a tablespoon of it. (If you don't have a mix use about 1/2 tablespoon of oregano and 1/4 tablespoon of thyme and a pinch of nutmeg.) Zest one lemon and juice of half one lemon. Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Heat skillet to medium to medium high and coat with olive oil and small slice butter. Add chicken.
Turn when one side is golden brown. Takes about 5 minutes or less depending of thickness of strips.
Let other side brown.
Same pan cook sliced bell peppers until semi-translucent but still has a bite.
I found this at my local organic market. I followed package instructions. So easy!
I then added a handful of dried cranberries, chopped 3 green onions (just the green), salt and pepper, 4 ounces crumbled feta.
Pile up that couscous add chicken and peppers and sprinkle each plate with remaining feta.

Dresser turned TV and entertainment stand

Have you ever wanted to spice up your living room with one of a kind pieces and not matchy matchy or that it just came out of a box. Just a few simple steps and you can have a one of a kind TV stand.
I am constantly looking for free pieces that I can make new and different. I found a French design dresser for free on Craigslist. I had broken drawers, sharpie "art", and believe it or not green icing on top. From a distance it looked fine and overall was in great condition.

A quick couple of coats of paint (Valspar Churchhill Hotel Vanilla), knocking out the first two drawers, and drilling holes in the back for ventilation and you have a totally different looking piece.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Strawberry Balsamic Crumble Pie

I love crumbles. The sweet fruit with the buttery topping is so good, but I always miss a bottom. I don't know what it is but if its baking and fruit filling it has to have a top and bottom for me. So I made a "crumble pie".

So here's what you need.
Preheat oven to 350*F
2 cups strawberries
3 Tablespoons Demerara sugar
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
pinch cinnamon
1 Stick room temperature butter
3/4 Cup Gluten Free Flour (I used King Arthur's Multi-purpose Gluten Free)
1 Cup Gluten Free Oats (I used Bob's Red Mill -not quick cooking)
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
Right before I started dinner I put the filling ingredients in a bowl to macerate. That way they got happy while I was cooking.
While my dinner was in the oven I made the crumble. For the crumble I put all the ingredients in the bowl and used a spatula to start working the butter into the dry ingredients. When almost fully incorporated switch to your hands.
Add your favorite non-stick like butter or coconut oil to a 9x9 baking dish.
Drop in half of the crumble and spread on bottom. Bake for fifteen minutes.
Then add the filling and top with the rest of the crumble. Bake for 40-50 minutes.
I must warn you my husband and I almost finished the whole thing in one day. It is one of my new favorite desserts.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

New York Top Picks

I love New York. The architecture, the energy, the food, the museums, just about everything tantalizes the senses.
These are my top picks for spots to hit on your New York trip.


The Flatiron Building is one of New York's best know buildings. Located not far from the Empire State Building it is stunning. But I think the door around the side (seen in the picture below) is really remarkable.



Grand Central Terminal is loaded with history. We took a history tour and learned about hidden platforms, rockets on display, Jackie O, etc. Plus the building is breathtaking. This tour was one of my favorite things ever about New York.

The Whispering Gallery or Whispering Wall is located in front of the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. I have to admit that when I tried this out it made me giddy. It works! You can whisper in one corner and the person in the corner across from you can hear plain as day.


Look on Groupon or Living Social because I've heard every once in a while they have parties and special tours in the closed but beautiful Subway Station. It was closed because of the sharp turn. When trains became larger the passengers could not stand safely on the platform. If you cant find a way in no worries. Take the 6 train and stay on when it makes the loop around.


One thing you should know about me, I am a museum snob. I have been spoiled rotten after living in DC. Therefore I am insanely tough on museums.
I say that in preface to my review on the American Museum of Natural History. I know this is supposed to be my top picks but I feel this is such a big one for most people I should address it.
It is rather expensive at $19 a person for a basic ticket. The layout isn't brilliant. The flow doesn't work well and with as busy as it is it just doesn't work. I also enjoy more description and story for the exhibits and displays than they currently have.
That being said the views of Central Park are wonderful and well taken advantage of. The pieces are beautiful and you are hard pressed to see such a variety of rare pieces in one museum.
Now on to one of my real winners, the Brooklyn Museum! I absolutely rave about this museum. And like I said I am a museum snob so that is a big deal. I love the detailed history, stories, and descriptions for each exhibit. I love the layout. I love the way they have thought of viewing each piece from multiple angles. It is wonderful!

The instillations I saw were inventive and displayed inventively as well.
This was one of my favorite parts. The museum obviously cannot display everything that it has at all times, but this museum does give you teasers of the archives. They have a rotating archives exhibit.
The Egypt exhibit I saw was one of the best I have experienced. Because it was just that, an experience.


I am a bit of a foodie. I truly enjoy food and so for me Chelsea Market was spectacular! For me it is not a New York trip without a visit to Chelsea Market.

In Chelsea Market is one of my favorite restaurants. Friedman's Lunch. They make simple, local, and fresh food. They make bread daily - including gluten free breads. Their burger is insanely popular.Their brunch is not to be missed! They have my husbands favorite Rueben ever!

My favorite is the grilled cheese on fresh gluten free bread.