little paths so startled

living, decorating, and eating in hattiesburg, mississippi

Archive for March 2012

’tis the season: strawberry short(cup)cakes

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It's strawberry season!

Just one of the many delights of spring is the arrival of strawberry season, and what better way to celebrate than with strawberry shortcake?  I’ll be honest here: I actually like those super-processed and questionable shortcakes next to the strawberries at the grocery store, but I know I can do better.  This vegan recipe speaks to my love for strawberry shortcakes AND my love for cupcakes, and it’s delightfully easy.

The longer the strawberries chill in the powdered sugar, the better.

Wonderfully fluffy cupcakes: angel food redefined.

I also love whipped cream, and even if I could find vegan alternatives to buy here, I can’t say I would.  I gave this coconut whipped cream recipe a try and was pleasantly surprised.  No, it doesn’t taste like Cool Whip, but it doesn’t purport to.  The coconut flavor is rather nice with the strawberries – but then again, I think coconut goes with everything.

All this came together for the ultimate strawberry short(cup)cakes:


Written by Ann

March 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm

bathroom beautification, continued

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Here's to clean lines and more sunlight.

The beautification continues, one step at a time.  (See part one here.)  Our bathroom has one of the four windows (total) in our condo, and I love the way morning light floods the room.  But for some reason, the less-than-ideal window treatment we threw up during the moving process has remained in place for the nearly two years since.  And when I say less-than-ideal, I mean a cheap, bent, awkwardly placed curtain rod (it was here when we moved in!), and a cheap, unlined brown curtain (our fault – from an earlier housing situation):

In addition to being, well, ugly, the curtain was cumbersome to open and close, thanks to the bent rod, and it usually stayed closed.  I knew I wanted the replacement to be white, streamlined, and easy to open.  So, in what turned out to be an incredibly easy (and inexpensive) fix, I replaced the curtain and rod with this shade. So much better.

Our plant likes the new set-up, as do we.

Written by Ann

March 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm

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walnut-stuffed mushrooms

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It’s no secret we love mushrooms around here.  Just this week, we’ve had mushrooms cooked in soup, sautéed with spaghetti sauce (a healthy stand-in for pasta), raw, dipped in salsa, and, tonight, stuffed magnificently.  A friend told me his grandfather lived for several months on a carefully selected assortment of mushrooms that provided all the nutrients he needed, which I find wonderfully fascinating.  While I don’t pretend they’re our only source of nutrients, mushrooms have certainly become a staple in our diet.

So often, though, mushrooms play a supporting role, rather than the lead, and that’s why I was delighted to discover this recipe a few months ago.  Mushrooms take center stage and perform beautifully in this new favorite dish.

I tossed the mushrooms stems into the stuffing purée. Why waste them?

Because we’re also obsessed with tarragon, I used tarragon (instead of the sage called for) in the filling and as a garnish.  Also, I usually have filling left over, and it is marvelous dipped with crackers or spread over a piece of bread.  Bon appétit!

Written by Ann

March 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

garden goodness: kale and fresh garlic

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Are you a kale hater?  I was, too.  It’s the store bought stuff, you see, that’s no good.  As Daniel’s aunt, who is also a masterful gardener, opined, that stuff tastes like turpentine.  She gave us some of her homegrown kale this afternoon and told us how to cook it.  She also gave us some fresh garlic – I had not considered cooking with fresh garlic, rather than the dried kind from the store – and we went right home and cooked it all.  The result?  Absolutely delightful.

Fresh garlic. Think texture and intensity of onion, but garlic flavor. We chopped ours semi-coarsely.

Kale - shredded and stems removed. We put it in a bit of water to cook. Daniel added a dash of olive oil and pepper for extra flavor.

I sautéed the garlic in Earth Balance vegan butter (soy free! hydrogenated oil free! not scary like margarine!) till it was lightly browned.

Daniel cooked the kale about 8 minutes, lifting the lid frequently to keep the kale green (per his aunt's instructions), until tender.

We poured the garlic-butter sauce over the kale, et voilà.

I’m a believer, y’all.  And since Daniel’s new gardening project – in his truck bed! – will, we hope, yield lots of yummy produce, I’m looking forward to coming up with many more garden-to-table dishes this summer.

Written by Ann

March 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

bedroom switch

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Apparently I cannot leave my furniture alone for more than a few months: I realized this morning it’s been awhile since I rearranged furniture, and I knew what I needed to do.  When we rearranged furniture back in August (see here), I created a space between the bed and windows.  Just weeks later, I found an upcycled chest of drawers for the space, and eventually I also added a vintage trunk on loan from my parents.  But the proportions just didn’t seem quite right, so today I switched the tray table and the dresser.

The vintage chest found a new spot in the reading nook.

I like this better, I think.  But I’m still not completely sold.  It occurred to me that maybe we need two nightstands – if not matching, then at least the same height.  (I like this one in white, but I’m also floating the idea to Daniel of making our own.)  In that case, the chest of drawers should probably move back to the right side of the bed, closer to the window.  Today, however, everything will stay put.

Daniel likes this space open, but I would love to put a small chair there. It's the best light in the condo, especially for reading.

Written by Ann

March 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm