In the Potting Shed: Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life


I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny!) Week.


Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Classic Children’s Tales

by Marta McDowell

 Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is the first book to explore the origins of Beatrix Potter’s love of gardening and plants and show how this passion came to be reflected in her work. The book begins with a gardener’s biography, highlighting the key moments and places throughout her life that helped define her, including her home Hill Top Farm in England’s Lake District. Next, the reader follows Beatrix Potter through a year in her garden, with a season-by-season overview of what is blooming that truly brings her gardens alive. The book culminates in a traveler’s guide, with information on how and where to visit Potter’s gardens today.


Richly illustrated and filled with quotations from her books, letters, and journals, it is essential reading for all who know and cherish Beatrix Potter’s classic tales.


I’ve been immersed in the charmed world

of Beatrix Potter, filled with flowers and gardens

and of course, Peter Rabbit!


I’m ready to break in a new pair of

gardening gloves & dig in the dirt!


So I took a day off from baking

to play in the Potting Shed. . .


It seemed fitting since my Potting Shed is as full

as Mr. McGregor’s fictional one with lots of places

for a bunny to hide . . .


” . . .a broom for sweeping, a spade for heavy digging, a trowel for transplanting. He has different sizes of flower pots: small ‘thimbles’ for starting seeds and ‘long toms’ for growing deep rooted seedlings.”




I filled a bunny planter for some spring blooms and to enjoy indoors until we’re past our freeze/frost date later this month, and can plant outdoors.


Purple Hyacinths and Muscari are blooming,

planted alongside violas, a bird nest,

and a few colored eggs.


 “Beatrix Potter was a late bloomer, gardening-wise. By the time she saw the first growing season progress through her garden at Hill Top she would be forty years old. In spite of a somewhat late start, the seeds of Potter’s gardening interests were planted early on.”

IMG_2331(Beatrix Potter at a garden gate about 1871)

Part one in Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life is her life as a gardener with chapters titled Germination, Offshoots, Flowering, Roots, Ripening, and Setting Seed.


Part two is a year in Beatrix Potter’s Gardens, divided by seasons, and part three is visiting Beatrix Potter’s Gardens.






Beatrix Potter’s Gardener’s Yearbook 

Illustrated with naturalist sketches and paintings from Beatrix Potter’s work, this beautiful journal contains charts, record-keeping pages, seasonal planting information, and gardening tips from Caroline Kennedy, an experienced garden designer.




I did a little tabletop gardening,

landscaping the counter & arranging flowers

with Portmeirion Botanic Garden. . .



 Planting flowers with dishes,

aka dish gardening :)


 Enjoying the Lily Flowered Azalea. . .


Lilacs. . .



 Narcissus. . .


And Hyacinths. . .




Along with blooming flatware . . .





“Every garden tells a story,

if you know how to read it.”

~Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life



I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 


Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter, Bunny & Gardening Inspiration.

You can also hop along :) on Pinterest 

and find all the recipes & bunny inspiration.


Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysTablescape Thursday

Home Sweet HomeBe Inspired Friday,

Feathered Nest FridaySeasonal Sundays


Cucumber and Strawberry Salad


I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny) Week!


 Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

hopped from the pages of

The Beatrix Potter Country Cooking Book


The Beatrix Potter Country Cooking Book

 by Sara Paston-Williams:

Inspired by the works of Beatrix Potter and her own love of traditional cookery, it is divided into 11 sections, each containing a wide variety of recipes: starters, fish, meat, poultry and game, eggs and cheese, salads and vegetables, puddings, cakes and bread, drinks and sweets and preserves. The author talked to professional cooks working in the region where Beatrix Potter lived and many residents who have memories of her.


I was skeptical at first about pairing cucumbers with strawberries, but was pleasantly surprised at the wonderful combination for a light and fresh salad for the spring or summer!

I made a little change substituting white balsamic vinegar for the dry white wine in the recipe, and arranged the strawberries and cucumber slices in rows and borders to be neatly razed and devastated by hungry and industrious bunnies. . .


Cucumber and Strawberry Salad

1 large cucumber (I used English/seedless, if using American use two)

Strawberries, 8 – 12 ounces

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Sprinkle of sugar (a couple of teaspoons)

3 – 4 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar

Sprinkling of chopped fresh herbs, mint, tarragon or basil (I used mint)

Violas for garnish


Peel cucumber if desired before thinly slicing. Slice strawberries, arrange in alternate circles in rows in shallow serving dish.


Season with salt, pepper, sugar. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the berries and cucumber and sprinkle with chopped herbs. Chill well. Garnish with violas, pansies, nasturtiums  or other edible flowers (pesticide and chemical free) before serving if desired.

You can find a printable recipe here.


I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .


Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter and Easter inspiration!

You can follow along on Pinterest and find all the  recipes and bunny inspiration, here.

Cucumber & Strawberry Salad

Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

Peter Rabbit’s Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Peter Rabbit's Carrot Zucchini Muffins

I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter (and Bunny!) Week.


I’m embracing my inner 5-year-old with Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales, beautifully reissued and the complete and unabridged collection of all 23 of Beatrix Potter’s Tales with all their original illustrations. It would make a wonderful baby shower gift or keepsake volume to share with your grandchildren!

If you need a refresher course like I did, the stories are arranged in the order in which they were first published so they may be read in their proper sequence. A special section at the end of this volume contains four additional works by Beatrix Potter that were not published during her lifetime.


Beatrix Potter’s tales were often connected with real places, people, or animals, so each story includes a brief introductory note about its history. The story of Peter Rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden first appeared in a picture letter Beatrix Potter wrote to the young son of her former governess in 1893. Encouraged by her success in having some greetings card designs published, Beatrix remembered the letter seven years later and expanded into a little picture book, with black and white illustrations. After being rejected by several publishers,  Beatrix had it printed herself to give to family and friends. Frederick Warne agreed to publish the tale if she agreed to supply color photos and the book appeared in 1903 and was an instant success.


For a little novel baking fun,

I adapted a recipe for Carrot-Zucchini Muffins,

sure to please everybunny with the addition

of carrot, zucchini, apple and coconut,

including naughty and hungry rabbits :)


And I found Peter Rabbit Cupcake Holders

with a little wheelbarrow for

muffin or cupcake toting fun :)


Peter Rabbit’s Carrot Zucchini Muffins,

adapted from Taste of Home

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min. + cooling MAKES: 18 muffins


2 cups shredded carrot

1 cup shredded zucchini

1 cup peeled shredded apple

3/4 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 teaspoons orange zest

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup canola oil (I used a combination of unsweetened apple sauce and canola oil to make 3/4 cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Gently toss together carrot, zucchini, apple, coconut, walnuts and orange zest; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be thick).

Fold in carrot mixture. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 375° for 20-22 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Yield: 18 standard size muffins.

These are wonderfully moist and a great muffin for breakfast!

You can find a printable recipe, here.


I’m joining The Novel Bakers

for Beatrix Potter Week. . .

Visit Jain and Michael Lee

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

Visit with us all week for more Beatrix Potter and Bunny & Gardening Inspiration.


You can also hop along :) on Pinterest and find all the recipes & bunny inspiration.


Thank you for your visit, also sharing at:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

Charleston Wine + Food Festival: Waffle House Smackdown


We attended the

Charleston Wine + Food Festival

with friends in March.

Waffle House Smack Down Charleston Wine + Food Festival 2014

Lest you think a wine & food festival is for wine & food snobs only, our favorite event was The Waffle House Smackdown, hosted by Bon Appetit Restaurant Editor Andrew Knowlton!


 Four chefs battled in a short-order showdown to produce Waffle House menu classics, after a brief training period at a local Waffle House.


They were then judged according to Waffle House’s signature plating methods and taste, as well as standards that include an 8-minute order-to-plate, no-color omelets, toast-framing-eggs, and hash browns, as opposed to hash blondes :)



Pictured left to right in this year’s smackdown:

Kevin Gillespie of Atlanta’s Gunshow and Fan Favorite Top Chef contestant; Mike Lata of Charleston’s FIG,  last year’s smackdown champion (and chef of our favorite Charleston restaurant BTW)Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen in Memphis; Chris Shepherd of Houston’s Underbelly.


The winner of the smackdown and Golden Frying Pan was Chris Shepherd, who then went on to compete against a 6 year Waffle House veteran. Even double-teaming with fellow competitor Kevin Gillespie, they quickly proved to be no match for a “Master Blaster,” the honorary title of Waffle House’s short-order chefs.


 My friends and family know I would rather have a stiff poke in the eye or be served hash browns that are smothered and not covered than have my photo taken, but The Post and Courier caught me red handed. If you’re so inclined, you can see me, with my friend Ginny and our Waffle House grits & Bloody Mary in hand :)

Thank you for your visit,

Enjoy this is a brief video that explains the smackdown!

Zucchini Noodles with Arugula-Pistachio Pesto


I’m sharing a veggie recipe,

Zucchini Noodles with Arugula-Pistachio Pesto,

in preparation and the return of

The Novel Bakers for Beatrix Potter Week

 starting Monday, April 7th!


I’ve been immersed in the charmed world

of Beatrix Potter, filled with flowers and gardens

and of course, Peter Rabbit!


While this recipe doesn’t have to do anything to do with Beatrix Potter other than possibly zucchini (or courgettes) growing in Mr. McGregor’s garden :) this is a delicious way to enjoy zucchini if you want to bookmark or pin the recipe for the summer months when it’s multiplying like bunnies in your garden!


I also found a new pesto recipe while eating veggies for Beatrix Potter/ Bunny week, Arugula-Pistachio Pesto. . . a great alternative for Basil Pesto until basil is in season with a more economical alternative to pine nuts~ pistachios!


Zucchini Noodles with Arugula-Pistachio Pesto

For Zucchini Noodles:

Run washed and dried zucchini over the large holes of a cheese grater. (It works best if cheese grater is flat on a cutting board rather than upright. Note: larger squash are easier to grate and safer.)

You could also use a mandoline or julienne peeler to cut your zucchini noodles, or if you have room in your kitchen pantry for another gadget, this spiralizer from Williams-Sonoma for cutting zucchini ‘noodles’ that looks like great fun :)


Salt your ‘noodles’ and place in a colander, allowing them to sit for about 20 minutes. Gently squeeze noodles or wrap in paper towels to drain and draw out excess moisture.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive in large skillet on medium high heat and then add noodles. Cook, stirring for 2 – 3 minutes to heat through, toss in pesto to taste, and add grape or heirloom tomatoes. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Arugula-Pistachio Pesto

Arugula-Pistachio Pesto


1 garlic clove, peeled

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted pistachios

2 cups (packed) arugula

1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon peel zest

1/2 cup olive oil


For Pesto:

Finely chop garlic in processor. Add pistachios and process until finely chopped. Add arugula, lemon juice, zest, cheese and oil and blend to coarse paste. Season pesto with salt and pepper to taste and more lemon juice, if desired. Transfer to bowl. Cover and chill up to 3 days.

Arugula-Pistachio was a delicious discovery and may come to be our new favorite pesto! It also stays nice and green and doesn’t oxidize like basil pesto does.


You can find a printable recipe, here.

Visit Jain, Michael Lee & Me :)

for more Bunny/Beatrix Potter fun. . .


Beginning Monday, April 7th:

 a quiet life

Rattlebridge Farm 

You can also hop along :) with us on Pinterest and find all the recipes & bunny inspiration for the week!

Zucchini Noodles with Arugula Pistachio Pesto

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

Marvelous Mondays,  Metamorphosis Monday,

The ScoopInspire Me Tuesday,

Wow Us WednesdaysFoodie FridayHome Sweet Home,

 Be Inspired FridaySeasonal Sundays

A Charleston Stroll, Part 2

Historic Charleston, South Carolina

We were invited to Charleston, SC for a weekend of food & fun with friends a couple of weekends ago.

I took a lot of photos so I broke them up into two parts of my stroll through Charleston, enjoying the view of stately homes, architecture, wrought iron gates.


You can find part one here, if you missed it.

Hope you enjoy!
























Charleston, SC Garden

Thank you for your visit!

I’m joining Wow Us Wednesdays

Singing the Blues & Yellows with Pfaltzgraff Madeline


I’m singing the blues and the yellows,

at the table with

 Pfaltzgraff Madeline Dinnerware!


Madeline Dinnerware by Pfaltzgraff adds a bright and cheery note to the table with its palette of vivid blues & yellows.

A diamond pattern created from a crisscrossing border lends a hand painted feeling and whimsy to the stoneware.


For a centerpiece, I filled an urn with

hydrangeas, alstroemeria, button mums

 and lemons, set on a natural seagrass tray.


I added lemons to the floral using bamboo skewers

for an additional pop of yellow and

since I like a serving of fruit with my flowers :)



Chargers are layered for texture and color~ a distressed scrolled white set provides a transition from the plates to textured woven set, to marry the tray.


A tablecloth with lemons and a patterned floral stripe

in blue, provides a cheery foundation for the table.


Forte flatware by International Silver

offers a teardrop shape and a gently ridged edge

for definition and a simple, clean design.





 To enjoy 20% off any Madeline item

through April 27th, visit here:

(some exclusions apply)



Pfaltzgraff Madeline Details:

*Dinnerware/ Madeline by Pfaltzgraff

 *Flatware/ International Silver Forte

Tablecloth, Goblets, Napkins, Woven Chargers / HomeGoods

Tray, Urn / Pottery Barn

White Chargers/ Pier 1


*Lifetime Brands’ products have been provided free of charge in exchange for promotional consideration.

Pfaltzgraff Madeline

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

 Metamorphosis Monday,

The Scoop,  Inspire Me Tuesday

Wow Us WednesdaysTablescape Thursday

 Home Sweet HomeBe Inspired Friday

 Feathered Nest FridaySeasonal Sundays