Monday, March 10, 2014

Is it Spring yet?


Hello friends! Yes it's been awhile, that's for sure. Our winter has been way too long for my taste, but the last couple of weekends we've had some nice weather finally , and I can see Spring around the corner! It can't get here soon enough though. :)

 The best thing to do while waiting for the lush green grass and buds to sprout , is keep busy preparing for it...  That's exactly what I've been doing ;) Preparing. 


I've been busy in the mini kitchen baking up lots of sweets for a Bakery I'm working on for the Spring issue of Mini-ologie. And here's a little peek of some "fresh from the oven" cakes that will line the counters. 


I've also been working on a little kitchen with a laundry room. (ps: Thank you Diane Melcher!)


I've been trying my hand at a few new techniques also. Some of my mini cakes will be a smooth dense surface and others will be flaky , deep with delicious buttery moistness like below. I call it the Duncan Hines look ;) 


This is my little inspiration board for the Bakery below... It'll have some of the aspects of a favorite bakery of mine. Sweet Melissa's. Which closed it's doors in Brooklyn, but still has a website. I sure do miss walking in there! 


I've also been playing with air-dry clay (below) and Copic and Distress markers. It's been so much fun learning new ways to design miniature food! I love experimenting and playing scientist. I never want to stop learning because to me, that's half the fun. I'm not sure I'd switch over from polymer to air dry clay, but it's fun for certain items. 


                               Well the past month hasn't been all about minis. It's been about finding time to be good to myself and get as healthy for the new year as I can.  I've always appreciated good wholesome food , with little processed food in my diet. But now, I've taken it a step further by switching over to all organic , very plant based , much less meat, etc way of eating. I love my pies /sweets as most of you know, lol, but there is room for everything if cooked and baked with my health in mind. I've grown to love a daily green shake, fresh whole organic milk, and so many amazing new foods. So far my body has thanked me by shedding 20 pounds (that I've wanted off for years lol) and it's like my insides are much happier. :) Which btw, over the winter, I was sick so often with one thing or another, that I did this diet/lifestyle turn-around just to finally get well! So it was sort of by default, lol, but however I got here it was worth it and I've never felt better. 

As a miniature artist, a lot of time is spent on creating and sculpting and I'm afraid I wasn't balancing that with enough exercise throughout the day, so now my running shoes have a lot more worn out treads on them and that's been a great change for me. It's great to love working on miniatures, but I've got to remember to make myself a priority too! 

Be good to you!! ;) 


Here are a few photos of some delicious and healthy foods I've fallen in love with. I plan on starting a recipe collection and tips board on Pinterest, so stay tuned if you'd like some great ideas for meals, organic gardening, and easy life changing ideas. Who can refuse a chicken pot pie that is guilt free?! Or how great is it to learn that whole milk is allowed in a healthy diet? I was so used to skim milk, I actually didn't think I'd love "whole" again, or even want to drink it. I'm not even a big milk person, but it's just delicious! And of course, being a vintage style loving girl, who doesn't love an old fashioned milk bottle? ;) Honestly, milk tastes better by a mile when in glass! 


I spent a little time enjoying our local farm markets this weekend. I was actually out shopping for seeds for my garden this Spring, but I got very side tracked at a new farmers market on Long Island.  I loved that I didn't have to drive out east on the island to get there either,  it was practically right around the corner! 

Thank you Kerber's Farm , for having such a fabulous bakery filled with fresh baked beauties and the best apple crumb pie (and gluten free to boot) that I've ever eaten! (and that's including a regular flour based one!).

Here's a little tour... I can only imagine how great it'll be when your garden vegetable shop is filled , and the flowers are blooming! I'll be back often! 


They also sell wonderful kitchen accessories too!!



And of course, I can't wait till your cases are filled with fresh eggs daily. I hope they start over flowing soon, or I might have to start raising chickens myself  :).   I say that with a giggle , but honestly, I've been researching chickens a lot this week.  I found out my township allows up to 8 in our backyard, so I got all excited and I've been trying to convince Mr. Cottage that they will fit right in! If anyone has "raising chickens in suburbia"  tips or thoughts, I'd love to hear! 


I wanted to bring home this salvaged door from Kerbers with me, perfect as a kitchen island or coffee table! ;) 




I stocked up on some delicious Jams, homemade sweets , and just had such a nice time visiting this sweet little farm. 




After our visit, my girl gang (Mom and Melanie) and our driver (Mr. Cottage) were off to get what we came out for.... Garden goodies: Seeds, books, ideas, and fresh veggies from another local farm: Makinajian's. 

I love this place too! And being that we've only had pockets of 50+ degree days here and there, when it's nice out, you've got to keep going lol! 


I'm hoping when I'm all finished "preparing" for Spring/Summer, the end result will be something like this kitchen garden photo below. (Ellen Ecker Ogden- The Complete Kitchen Garden book


One of each below....and more inside   :) 


But for now, it's veggies from the market.... 



So while the snow keeps melting..... you'll find me reading garden books, researching backyard chickens, making miniatures and scenes for Spring Mini-ologie and .... last but not least..  Eating a tiny slice of healthy pie :) 


I hope the beginning of Spring is coming your way too!

Oops, I almost forgot... I also got rid of my non-stick cookware this winter. I've cooked with both iron and non stick for as long as I've been cooking, but now I've decided to go to all Iron. Food just tastes so much better cooked the old fashioned way, not to mention how much healthier cooking in 
Cast iron is! If you haven't tried it yet, I highly reccomend it! 


I couldn't resist a little lamb cookie cutter when I ordered my new pan set. :) 


                          I wish you all ...a beautiful , charming , and healthy week ahead! 


"Enjoy the simple things..... like the quiet time of day when the sun streams onto the kitchen counter, and the smell of Spring is in the morning air".

Hugs and love, 

Cynthia x0 


SusK said...

Hi Cynthia,

I'm with you on the eating healthy and organic. Hubby and I are trying to eat as healthy as possible and moving toward all organic but I'm concerned I won't be able to find what I want and need. How hard has it been for you? I'm especially worried because I'm not much of a gardener :-) Your slice of pie, by the way, was absolutely making my mouth water sitting here! LOL!


Peggy said...

Completely agree with you regarding what we put in our bodies! You probably already know this, but 100 Days of Real Food is an excellent FB page to follow, what a great inspiration and resource!
Feel better and keep creating!

Unknown said...

I just started eating all organic this past year. Since I moved to the Denver area it's not hard to locate produce. I still have to pick up the pace (exercise)! Looking forward to your tips!!!

rosethe-minima said...

L'agriculture biologique gagne du terrain en France (difficilement face aux logos des produits chimiques : pesticides, insecticides ...
"Bien manger et bouger"un excellent slogan.
Vos minis-gâteaux sont tellement beaux et appétissants !
A bientôt pour découvrir vos nouveaux projets et le premier n°
*Mini-Ologie* de 2014.
Amicalement ! rosethé

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Thank you so much girls!! And Susan, around here, all the grocery stores and big chains are luckily starting to carry organic foods now. If you make enough requests to carry them, and theirs a demand, the stores will comply. After a lot of research on my part, they say the most important thing to have organic is your dairy products, meats and then (if u look it up) certain veggies like avacodos don't really have to use pesticides (or thick skinned) and so they are ok. So if you didn't have access to organic, the dairy and meet are super important. And then the veggies are a long list of which ones should be. Google it by asking which ones and you'll see. I hope that helps! And hopefully your local store will start carrying a big variety! ❤️

Cynthia's Cottage Design said...

Sorry about the typos lol, I see my spell check had different ideas for a few words. 😜😊

sognatriceabordo said...

I liked your pics! :)

SusK said...

Hi Cynthia,

Thanks for responding! Gotta love spell check :-)


12Create said...

A fabulous post with wonderful pictures of mini and real food and great advice on eating healthy. Something I do need to put into practice. At the moment I'm still drooling over that picture of the delicious apple pie. I love your final statement of 'Enjoy the simple things'. I think sometimes we all need to stop, breath and be grateful. I am looking forward to the spring Mini-ologie.

Monica said...

Wow, Cynthia!...The truth that the simple things, the lifetime, never go out of style. This shop is very cozy, everything looks on the shelves look natural, exquisite ... are those stores where time stops or detenrlo want to spend hours and hours looking at every nook and enjoy it. Thanks for sharing these photographs so wonderful and adorable. A big kiss. Monica

Piikko said...

Cynthia, you considering to have chicken? My mum have had chicken at her cottage in three summers. Oh my..those girls were a lot of fun! :)
And their eggs...delicious!
Greetings! said...

Hi Cynthia,

I always love your blog posts...taking a peek into your miniature world is always so much fun. Glad to hear that you are eating healthier...the food tastes like it should when it is organic, and one feels so much better. I wish that I could join you on a weekend getaway to all of these fantastic spots.
Looking forward to seeing your new miniatures.
Happy Spring.


Just a little something from Judy said...

Thank goodness I ate dinner before visiting your blog this evening. The baked good look so good, especially that apple pie. As always, it is peaceful and full of beauty here, and I so enjoyed my visit. I especially liked the last picture and the sentiment with it. Thank you for blogging.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cynthia-I just came across your blog-beautiful! We live in the same neighborhood-I love Kerbers-Nick is doing a great job there. Makinajan is where I get my organic chicken feed. I encourage everyone to get chickens-they are fun and easy to care for and give you a tastey treat daily!

Passport Name Change said...

Thank you very much for such a lovely and informative post.

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Ufa88kh said...

Missing your fun posts - hope you're doing well. Sending hugs.