Margaret Furlong Blog | Everyday Life & Porcelain Design Inspiration

OBSERVATIONS AND IDEAS ON BEAUTY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

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This last weekend I gardened at the beach. My main job was a deep watering for my new lavender field.

Last summer in August we replanted the lavender that I had originally planted in front of my beach house over ten years ago. I had not been diligent to trim the bushes every year and the old plants grew huge and leggy and lost their elegant forms.

It was a big project to remove the 60 plants, many of which had achieved a diameter of five or six feet and an accompanying root structure to match. After many weekends of work, the lavenders were pulled up and removed. We were ready to replant.

We spaded the beds before adding and working in the mixture of compost and top soil that I had trucked in and dumped.

Finally we planted sixty new Grosso Lavenders, each only a 4” potted plant. The smaller plants are so much easier to haul and plant.

I had purposely waited until late summer to replant because even though there is so much moisture in the air at the beach it does not rain much in the summer.

And now only a year later these lovely lavenders are so big and full of blooms. They love it at the beach and thrive in the dry summers once they are established. This last weekend was only the 2nd time I have watered them this summer.

In a few weeks I will be faithful to do my yearly trimming. I’ll trim each plant down to a tight mound. Lesson learned!

Margaret Furlong's Signing Event
Dear Friends,
I am excited about the store signings this year! We have scheduled new events this year so I will be looking for you to come and visit me and see the new angels.  If you have one angel or ornament at home, bring it to the signing and I will sign that piece for you too.  I will either be giving a FREE 2″ Joy Angel to the first 10 people in line who make a purchase or there will be a promotional give-away at the store. Check with your nearest location for details.

SIGNING SCHEDULE

  • October 6, 2012      11:00 – 12:30PM
    Borsheim’s
    120 Regency Park
    Omaha, NE 68114
    Phone: 402-391-0400
  • October 7, 2012     2:00 – 3:30PM
    Falls City Library & Arts Center
    Kathy Martin
    1400 Stone St
    Falls City, NE 68355
    Phone: 402-990-9876
  • November 3, 2012     1:00 – 2:30PM
    My Mother Knows
    1105 Linn Ave.
    Oregon City, OR 97045
    Phone: 503-518-1952
  • November 10, 2012     2:00 – 3:30PM
    Madrona Hills Ace Gift Shop
    706 Madrona Ave SE
    Salem, OR 97302
    Phone: 503-763-6323
    + Margaret will be doing a Christmas Mantle Decorating Workshop begins at 1:00pm
  • November 17, 2012         1:00 – 2:30PM
    Olivia’s
    315 Chemeketa St NE
    Salem, OR  97301
    Phone: 503-581-6953
  • December 1, 2012     10:00AM – 12:00 PM
    Made in Oregon Washington Square
    9589 SW Washington Sq. Rd
    Tigard, OR  97223
    Phone: 503-620-4670

I changed my favorite banana bread recipe after I returned home from a trip to New Zealand. It is so fun to experience food in another culture and bring new recipes home or use the experience to give your old recipes an update.

The food in New Zealand was really tasty and well prepared even in the little road side cafes when we were traveling. Their pastries were home made and banana muffins were a staple. They were a lighter version of our banana bread except for the addition of delicious chunks of dark chocolate.

Also when we had dinner at a friend’s house I was surprised that traditional banana bread was served like a cake and frosted with chocolate frosting – so good.

When I got home I added dark chocolate chunks to my banana bread along with doubling the amount of walnuts called for in my recipe. Well the result was not only reminiscent of my New Zealand eating experiences but mouth watering – just plain delicious!

This is a sweet twist on our American classic banana bread.

Banana Bread

Use your favorite recipe — double the walnuts and add 3/4 cup of dark chocolate chunks. I like the chunks better than chips, but dark chocolate chips work too.

It’s also quite lovely baked in a small angel food pan for a special occasion. No need for frosting this cake with the chocolate chunks inside.

Enjoy!

I visited my friend Galina’s garden and we picked beets, carrots, fennel, onion and snap peas. I decided to make soup with all these fresh picked ingredients.

I started with white beans, soaked and cooked in organic chicken broth with onion, one clove and a bay leaf. I later added chicken breast chunks, careful not to overcook them. I removed these to be added back in later and then added all the fresh garden vegetables. Again I was careful not to cook them too long, but just so they were tender and still retained their flavor and brilliant color.

What a delicious summer soup. The garden wrote the recipe and I enjoyed the results.

The lilies and dahlias are blooming together in the front yard.

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