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Easy Recipe of BBQ Shrimp

May 25, 2021 12:30:32 AM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

This week has been one of those that just socks you in the gut. It’s made me sit back and think about my life, and what I am able to do and not do as a woman. It is so much different for me than it was for the women that came before me. During my lifetime, the tables started to become a little more even, due to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s relentless pursuit of equal rights for all! When I say by all, that means all humankind, not just women, but for each human being on this planet. She wasn’t a big lady in stature, but she was a giant in my eyes.

Both of my grandmothers were petite, but both were mighty to me, just like Ruth. I’ve been thinking back to recall who they were, their identities, and I distinctly remember some things that bother me. When Grandma Pearl would send me a check for anything, the name on it was Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gozart, and she signed it as such. Like she was just an extension of grandpa, and not her own person. She worked, she earned money, why did the check not have her name on it too? Grandma, her sister, and my dad all worked at the Grays Harbor Veneer plant. Did the women earn less for the same jobs being done by men? I know when grandma Pearl went to get that job at the veneer plant, she had her interview with a man she had grown up with. He told her he was petrified of her as a kid, I told you she was fierce! She was the oldest of three girls who had serious challenges growing up during the depression. She had to look after her younger sisters. I know I am just like her in this way, always standing up to protect my kid brother due to his disability. Even in this day and age, you cannot believe the ways he is still discriminated against. Ways that make me rage for him in so many circumstances.

Did my grandma Ivys have to have grandpa co-sign for her beauty salon, even though it was her business? Yes, because she was a woman!

I can still hear my own dad, and a comment he made when I was in high school. (you know sometimes things are said that are seared in your brain forever) When we were talking about what came after high school and college, he said it would just be a waste of money to pay for me, I was just going to get married and have babies anyway. Only one generation before mine, my own father, didn’t see my worth because I was a girl. How wrong was he?!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped my brother without knowing him. She fought for him to have the same rights as I do with my two good working legs, to have access to public transportation, public spaces, and job opportunities! She will forever be my superhero because of her lifelong work for us, the people. For my disabled brother. For me to be able to have a mortgage, a car, and a credit card in my own name, not Mrs. Tim Groody, but me Kim. RIP Ruth, I have a voice, and I will continue to use it, so yours will never be forgotten!

Today's recipe is not difficult, perfect for a busy work night meal, and it sure uses some beautiful pottery! I’m so happy to show you these useful, everyday pieces of Polish Stoneware that brighten up any meal. A True Blue colander at 20% off and available for $88.99, with a matching dinner plate for $51.99.

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available to you. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

Everyone stay safe, stay healthy!

From my heart to yours! Smacznego!

Kim’s Easy BBQ Shrimp

6-7 large shrimp per person
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Juice and zest of one lemon
3-4 garlic cloves chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients and let sit for 30-40 minutes. Any longer and the shrimp will get rubbery.
Place on skewers for easy serving.
Cook on medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes per side or until the shrimp are bright pink.
Remove and serve immediately.
Perfect dish for a light meal, part of a surf and turf, add to a salad, or a shrimp taco! The possibilities are endless!

Posted By Twila Abrams

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

John Reid Johnson was my children’s great grandfather on their dad's side of the family. He and my papa Joe shared the same birthday. He was an incredible human being that I was so lucky to know. There are very few real characters in this world and grandpa Johnson was one of them! We called him GP, short for grandpa. I first met him I was 19 years old, and from those first moments, though he was fabulous. He was an old man then, but what a life he led. GP was an ironworker, moving from town to town, hauling a trailer and his family with him across the country in his working years. Not an easy life for sure, but so many of the bridges he helped build, are still standing, a testament to his hard work. He and Granny Wilma finally settled on a 5-acre piece of property in Felida Washington, and that’s where they lived when I met them. He had a huge shop out back and could make just about anything. There was a great big garden area and fruit trees on the property, so he was always sending us home with something. He even grew to popcorn and loved making a big kettle of it on the stove for Saturday night wrestling on TV. He hauled his rototiller to our house to help put in my first garden, giving me his gardening wisdom that is still priceless to this day. He had a cat named Drut, it was backward for turd.

From the moment I met him, he had that twinkle in his eye, you know, the fun mischievous kind. One Saturday afternoon, we went over for a visit, and as we are coming down the street we can see something odd in his front yard, and it’s moving! There on the front lawn is a full-size oil well! It’s pumping up and down, and there are black spurts of oil shooting up. What the heck? We go inside and GP is busy in the kitchen, we ask what’s going on? He said he was bored and thought it would be fun to mess with the neighbors! He was such a hoot!

He was an accomplished musician too. Playing the guitar, fiddle, and harmonica like a pro. We are very lucky to have his music recordings to treasure. They sound like an episode of Ken Burns Country music.

I am fortunate to have several of his and Granny’s things still in my home, and in my life. I use them almost daily. GP and Granny both had passed away when I divorced their grandson, but, I am so very honored that I was able to keep some of the things that were given to me during that marriage. Their flour and sugar canisters were bought with S & H Green Stamps, their pressure cooker and a bunch of canning jars, and Granny’s teacup collection. The best part I got to keep though is the vivid memories and my relationships with their daughters, my ex-mother-in-law Karen, and auntie Corliss. Karen and I get along better now than we ever did when her son and I were married. It’s a joy to get to spend time with them. A lot of people don’t get it, and it’s ok, I divorced him, but they are still my children’s grandparents and aunt, and I still love them dearly! Extra special bonus, they love and adore my husband Tim!

Today’s recipe is GP’s. Granny was already disabled when I met them, so GP did all the cooking. Whenever we had this cake, it had to be served with homemade ice cream! It’s not like any other cake I have ever had. It may be more common in Missouri where they started out from. I added the toffee sauce years later when I had some leftover from a trifle I had made. I know GP would love my addition to his recipe. The cake is being served on dessert dishes in the Heavenly pattern. It is so different than any other pattern I have seen, it just POPS out at you! The darling Toffee sauce pitcher in Strawberry Butterfly is the perfect accompaniment to Butterfly Merrymaking. I love the all blue flowers! Regularly $49.99 and on sale 20% off for $39.99, the ladle comes in multiple patterns and sale prices run from $15.99-$23.99. I hope you enjoy this special recipe!

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

GP’s Oatmeal Cake with Toffee Sauce

Batter
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Two eggs
1/2 cup butter room temperature
1 1/2 cups boiling water

Top layer
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons melted butter
one heaping cup of coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the batter, cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Add all the rest of the ingredients and pour into a greased and floured baking dish. (I use cake release as mentioned in previous posts)
Combine all top layer ingredients in a separate bowl, and drop by small spoonfuls evenly onto the uncooked batter.
Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. I start checking with a toothpick at 45 minutes.

Toffee Sauce
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

In a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium heat, stir brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, corn syrup, and lemon juice until sugar is dissolved and mixture is foamy about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and cook 1 minute longer. Whisk in 1 1/2 cups whipping cream and keep stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Makes 2 cups.

Posted By Twila Abrams

Delicious Raisin Pumpernickel Bread

May 23, 2021 11:54:45 PM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

Act 1
Scene 1

Fade in to a brightly decorated kitchen on a rainy Saturday morning. The lights are all on, and the sound of raindrops can be heard coming through the open kitchen window. Big band music is playing quietly from the living room. There is flour, measuring cups, and a ginormous bowl sitting on the counter next to the kitchen aid mixer. A large orange and white cat is sleeping under the Polish pottery stool on the floor waiting for a number to fall, or a chin scratch. Entering from the hallway is the official Kim’s Recipe Box taste tester.

Tim
Sniff sniff ... what are you making?
Kim
Auntie Diane’s pumpernickel bread.
Tim
Ohhh yum! You know that’s my favorite.
Kim
Yes, sweetheart, I do. It’s why I make it all the time.

Kim smiles at Tim and the scene fades to black.

This is how so many of my Saturday mornings go here in McCleary. You can find me in the kitchen doing something, usually baking. I like to bake first thing in the mornings, it’s quiet and the house is still. I let my mind wander as I take out the tools I will need to use. When I’m done I can have a late breakfast or go out and have the rest of my day to do whatever. I enjoy still being in my robe or sweats, with that first cup of coffee all hot and ready to keep me company. I do a lot of cooking, but I truly love to make bread. There is something so very satisfying about kneading bread and feeling the dough texture change as you work it, smelling the yeast and watching the dough rise. The first yeast bread I made was my grandma Pearls 90 minute dinner rolls. It’s the only one I can make for Thanksgiving, it’s keeping her with for that holiday.

My dream bake would be, in Britain, in The Tent, with Paul Hollywood holding his hand out to shake mine, Mary Berry by his side telling me my bread was Scrummy! Yes! That would be perfect!

I have some incredible bakers in my family, but hands down, I think my Auntie Diane is the bread queen. She is always trying new kinds and combinations. I love going to her house for the sheer delight of seeing what she has made. Also an avid Polish Stoneware collector, it’s always beautifully presented. There is no kinder, sweeter woman in this world than my Auntie Diane. She makes me strive to be a better person by her example. Love you!

Today’s recipe is hers. As mentioned, it is my husbands favorite bread. I am posting the recipe exactly how she wrote it, and there are pictures for the steps. If you have never attempted making yeast bread before, I hope you try it, it is a truly spectacular one!

It is being presented on a handled tray in the Butterfly Merrymaking pattern with a matching butter bell. I use this butter bell all summer to keep my butter out of the fridge, soft and fresh. I just change out the water each night when I fill the coffee maker. It’s also large, orange and white kitty proof, with no lick marks in it in the morning! The handled tray has so many uses, serving piece, tea tray, dinner plate even! They come in all patterns and prices range according to pattern. The butter bell is so useful and is on sale for $69.99 this week, and as always, you can use with your friends and family discount of 20% off.

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Auntie Diane’s Raisin Pumpernickel Bread with a Secret

3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 Tablespoons active dry yeast
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons instant coffee crystals
3 Tablespoons good quality pure cocoa powder
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
2 1/2 cups rye flour, preferably dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil, such as corn oil
1 Tablespoon salt
5 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour

In a large glass bowl, combine the lukewarm water, yeast and brown sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Then whisk in the coffee crystals, cocoa powder, and molasses. Add the rye and whole-wheat flours, and beat hard 100 strokes, using a wooden spoon. The dough should be the consistency of thick mud. Stir in the raisins and chocolate chips, cover with a clean cloth, and go take a hike.

After your hike (or 60 minutes later) return to the dough and stir in the oil and salt. When these have been thoroughly incorporated, begin kneading in the white flour. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes or until it is somewhat elastic. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and let rise, covered with a clean cloth, until doubled in bulk, 40 to 60 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into quarters. Form each quarter into a large flattened ball. Place on baking sheet(s) and let rise, covered until doubled again (30 to 45 minutes). Toward the end of the rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake until fragrant, for exactly 38 minutes, assuming your oven is accurate.
(Kim’s note... mine takes 41)

Note: The recipe says most people bake their bread too long so they emphasize to only cook it 38 minutes. Makes four loaves. (I don't have coffee in my kitchen, so I use Pero. It tastes the same but w/o the caffeine).
I love, love, love this recipe. It always turns out moist and soft and full of flavor. I haven't yet been able to find dark rye flour, but just use the regular rye flour. I also love the fact that it makes four loaves. We usually share a loaf with the neighbor and still have a loaf or two to freeze.
Enjoy!
Diane

Posted By Twila Abrams

Kim’s Pumpkin Spice Shortbread

May 23, 2021 11:37:58 PM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

Whitney, Prince, Michael Jackson, George Michael, and now Eddie Van Halen. "Where have all the good times gone". My musical history book is losing its authors. Cruising the Gut, music blaring, singing along to every song. Dancing at the Spectrum for hours on end? How many times as a teenager did we stand in line for tickets? Yes, you younger peeps, that’s how we used to have buy tickets! Camped in the cold, rain, with your friends, your kid brother, in front of the Memorial Coliseum, or GI Joes. The ticket prices were around $30.00, and the shows were amazing!
My first concert was The Commodores in 1982. We were left side of the stage, a few rows back, we were mighty, letting it all hang out!

The second concert, Journey. The real Journey, the Steve Perry Journey, the only Journey in my book! Ohhh please let us be close enough to the stage that Steve Perry can see me, fall instantly in love with me, and we can live happily ever after! Yea that didn’t happen, but he wore his red tuxedo jacket and he’s still the only man I would leave my husband for. HAHA
There were so many after that... a musical tour through the ’80s. Huey Lewis and the News, The B52’s, Adam Ant, The Bangles, Foreigner. Then quite possibly the best show I ever saw, Prince and the Revolution, it was 1985, The Purple Rain tour. When girls from white bread Suburbia go to Tacoma, in our Levi’s, polo shirts, and topsiders, and see women walking around in their underwear and high heels. We were not in Kansas anymore! Prince was spellbinding. We were about as far away from the stage as you could be, but it’s like he could see me way back there, pulling me along through The Purple Rain, until it was time for us to Let’s Go Crazy, Let’s Get Nuts!

Van Halen, the band I never got to see. There used to be a thing on MTV called Friday night Fights. Pitting one video against another. (MTV played music 24 hours a day then) the Jump video was finally retired by MTV because nothing could beat it. I can still see Eddie smiling right into the camera, what a cutie! I had tickets for the 1984 hour but broke up with my boyfriend before we got to go. He kept the tickets. Flash forward a hundred years later... I meet my husband Tim, he loves Van Halen. He has videos and introduces my kids to them. My kids raid my record collection taking all the Van Halen’s. The artists may be gone but the music always lives on. Pieces of my childhood now being mastered by my children playing guitar hero, being sung due to a video game. As long as they know it, I’m ok! It’s a wonderful thing that connects one generation to the next. My kids know my music, I know my mom's and my grandma’s too. The soundtrack of our lives weaving all of us together!
Today’s recipe does that too. Taking a recipe from our culinary past, bringing it forward to the next generation. Adding our own spin to them.

That’s what I have done with this simple shortbread recipe. I have mixed flavors into this basic dough for years now and it’s wonderful to work with. Using the embossing pins with your children, or grandchildren is just another way of joining one generation to the next. Having fun in the kitchen is a must for me. I loved to bake with my kids, one day, maybe grandchildren too. This dough is great for rolling and cutting. You could even use a nice ganache or buttercream frosting on top. The embossing rolling pins come in so many amazing patterns, it’s really hard to choose! All are available by following the link https://mailchi.mp/potteryavenue.com/haloween2020. Regularly $54.99 and on sale special this week for $43.99 for the 10-inch pin.

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Kim’s Pumpkin Spice Shortbread

1 cup butter room temperature
3 1/4 cups Flour
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
3 teaspoons pumpkin spice

Prep your pan by oiling it with a pastry brush and vegetable oil. Let sit while making dough.

Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg. Add pumpkin spice to flour and mix, add flour mixture to butter mixture 1/3 at a time. Mixing till just incorporated each time.
Pour dough out on a board, and knead gently until it holds together.
Split the dough into two balls and roll each one out with a regular rolling pin, between two pieces of waxed paper until 1/4 inch thick.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Remove dough and carefully remove the top piece of waxed paper. Using your embossing pin, roll over dough pressing down firmly.
ONLY GO OVER ONCE!

Place the dough back in the fridge for 15 minutes before cutting out with cookie cutters.
Gently put cut cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking at 375 degrees. I sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of each cookie before baking. Smaller cookies bake 8-9 minutes till the edges just start to turn brown, larger cookies 9-10 minutes.

Scrap together dough scraps, reroll, and cut again until you have used up all of your dough.

Posted By Twila Abrams

Grandma Ivys’s Fried Salmon

May 22, 2021 12:30:58 AM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

There are just those particular moments when I miss my grandparents so much. This week had one of those moments.
It’s fall and the leaves are turning, there are asters and chrysanthemums blooming everywhere and it so reminds me of grandma Ivy's house. She had a beautiful border of mum’s around the back of the house that she diligently worked on all year. When I see these flowers I can almost feel the crisp fall air and the smell of the ocean wafting about. It makes me long to get in the car and drive to her house, even though she’s gone, seeing it makes my heart feel soothed. I want to pull into the driveway and hear the crunching of the gravel as I walk to the back sliding glass door. What I would give to catch a glimpse of her putting in her greenhouse. Ohh how I miss her!

When I was a child we used to head from Seattle to Ocean Shores to spend the weekend with my mom's folks, but we would stop and see my dad's parents on the way. A fish fry was always standard Friday night dinner. Grandma could make this meal with her eyes closed. If I close to mine I can still see and smell her kitchen. A very old pressure cooker on the stove full of heating oil, the salmon cut up and sitting in its batter. Potatoes cut into French fries laying on a towel, waiting to be dropped into the hot oil and then smothered in salt and homemade tarter sauce. I can see her, all 4 foot 10 of her, bustling around, her yellow highball glass with a Hamm's beer in it on the white Formica countertop.

I told this story when I was in St. George with Twila during her LIVE show. After the show, Twila said we had to make fish and chips with salmon because she had never heard of such a thing, and we did! We invited some friends, sat around Twila’s beautiful table and we ate, laughed, debated and danced!

The pure joy grandma would have, seeing all of us enjoying what to her, was just an everyday meal, but for us was a special evening. It makes my heart burst with happiness! Grandma would have loved seeing this meal presented on colorful Polish Stoneware, with all the colors of her garden shining through. I know she is smiling down on me, knowing what she taught me, was being shared with the people I hold dear. It lets her continue to give of herself, the way she did when she was still here. Fish and Chips are hands down one of my all-time favorite meals. Grandma used to make her fish batter with Krusteaz pancake mix, that is the only thing I have changed in all these years. I like to use Pride of the West batter mix, mixed with a beer.

I am presenting this delicious fish fry in a lovely Fish dish in the Color Me Love pattern. Regularly $107.99 it is on sale 20% off for $85.99. I adore this piece, it makes serving a meal special! The small scallop bowl is also on sale 20% off for $39.99. What a perfect way to present this meal!

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Grandma Ivys’s Fried Salmon

1/2 lb salmon per person you are serving. Skin and bones removed and cut up into 11/2 inch pieces
Beer
Pride of the West batter mix
Vegetable oil

Heat oil in a heavy deep pot to 375 degrees. I use my enamel cast iron Dutch oven.
Mix 1 cup pride of the west mix with 2 cups beer. Add more beer if needed. The consistency should be almost like pancake mix, not too thick and heavy. Place prepared fish into the batter to coat.
With a fork, carefully drop about 10 pieces of fish. Move them around so they don’t stick together. Cooking approximately 3 to 4 minutes until a nice golden brown. Try to keep your oil consistently at 375 and not too hot, so the fish cooks all the way through. Remove fish from oil and place on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt, and place in a 170-degree oven while you cook the rest of your fish.
I make my own fries and serve them with coleslaw, crusty French rolls, and wedges of fresh lemon.

Posted By Twila Abrams

Mouthwatering Laura’s Gingerbread

May 22, 2021 12:04:59 AM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

Kim
Dad, will you make me a balloon out of a pig?
Dad
No, we don’t have a pig.
Kim
Can you play a fiddle?
Dad
No, but I can play the saxophone.

My dad wasn’t like Laura’s Pa at all.
Growing up I have gifted the entire works of Laura Ingalls Wilder for my birthdays and Christmas’s. What a lifelong gift those turned out to be! I must have read them cover to cover 100 times. I could get lost in the stories of her pioneer life and wished I could be there with her, wading in creeks, collecting beads the native Americans had left, sewing by a nice warm fire, and hunting for eggs the chickens had laid.

Laura died in 1957 at the age of 90. What incredible things she was able to see in her lifetime! From traveling in covered wagons to airplanes flying overhead, it must have seemed unbelievable to her.

I always thought that she and I were connected in so many ways. Maybe I am her reincarnated?
We both hated doing chores, she would rather be fishing, I would rather be off playing than weeding.
We both have a sibling with a disability, Mary went blind, my brother has muscular dystrophy.
We both protected our younger siblings any way we could. Laura rocked that school seat so hard, thump, thump for Carrie, I stood up for my brother when others were not kind, or discriminated against him.

Our firstborn children were both born on December fifth. I was going to name my baby Laura Elizabeth, but, I had a boy, so that didn’t happen.
We both started writing by publishing articles in a local newspaper, and then for others to read about our childhoods later in our lives. It’s kind of spooky, and I could go on and on.

When I moved to Olympia 20 years ago, I met a woman here, who spoke at schools and gave lectures on Laura’s writings and life. She even gave me a branch from one of the trees that Pa planted on the homestead in De Smet, South Dakota. It was a joy talking to her and learning more about Laura. On my bucket list is a road trip to all of Laura’s homes. I know, super nerdy, but I’m going to do it at some point.
I have multiple books on her life after the Little House series ended, and even a cookbook I found at a library sale. Her life was filled with a lot of sorrows too. It certainly wasn’t easy for her. It’s like I know her in some weird way from her writing about her memories. In the same way, I hope you see who I am each week by writing my little stories for you.
During one of our conversations, she shared Laura’s gingerbread cake recipe with me. I make this cake a lot, and I love it with just a big dollop of sweetened whipped cream, but it’s also delicious with some Nutella warmed and drizzled over it.
This is supposed to be baked in a 9x9 pan, but I like making it in a quiche dish. Today's bake was made in the Butterfly Merrymaking pattern, regularly $135.99 and on sale 20% off for $108.99. https://potteryavenue.com/polish-pottery-butterfly-merry... Baking a cake in a quiche dish makes your cake look fancy with its beautiful scalloped edges. I also used my large pizza stone to serve it on since it’s wider than most cake stands! I adore an extra use for a piece of Polish stoneware I already have!

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Laura’s Gingerbread

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lard or another shortening
1 cup molasses
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (see note)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup boiling water
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Raisins or candy fruit may be added and a chocolate frosting adds to the goodness.

Mix brown sugar and shortening together until fluffy.
Add well-beaten eggs and oil, and mix.
Add in molasses, and mix.
Add boiling water, and mix.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and spices and add to the mixture until combined. Do not over-mix. This will make the cake dry and dense.
Add fruit if you wish.

Grease a 9x9 dish and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let sit and cool in the dish for approximately 15 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack.

Serve with a warmed-up drizzled Nutella or cover in chocolate frosting, or sweetened whip cream.

NOTE:
I placed a picture of the recipe as I received it.
I did make a few changes, I use cake flour instead of regular flour.
I also added 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the recipe so that it’s moister, and
I also moved the sequence around because the results were better this way.

Posted By Twila Abrams

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

I had an utterly new experience this week. I know I’m not the first, nor the last mom to feel this way, but this pandemic has kept us all apart for so long. I honestly didn’t even understand how to process what I was feeling.

My middle son Matthew only lives 25 minutes away from us. I have seen him periodically during this crisis, but not for safety's sake not for any real length of time. He came and stayed over Wednesday night for Thanksgiving. The way I felt knowing he was here, under our roof again, brought such peace over me, I really didn’t know what was going on inside myself.
In January Matthew was hit by a truck while he was walking across the street. He had the right of way, with 16 seconds left still on the crosswalk signal when it happened. I had gone to an afternoon movie with my youngest son Jonathan and we both totally had forgotten to turn our phones back on after the show. When we walked through the front door at home, Tim was frantically wanting to know why I hadn’t answered his calls. The sheer terror of hearing the words Matthew was run over by a truck still makes me sick when I think about it. Matthew was extremely lucky and I thank God that he has recovered almost fully. Nothing was “broken” but his body went through a terrible trauma. He had a huge gash in his head, with neck, back, and pain in his legs. It’s taken a long 10 months to get him back to a somewhat healthy place. Thursday, as I bowed my head to say grace, taking his hand in mine, I thanked all my angels above that this funny, wonderful young man is still here with me. It was truly an overwhelming experience.

I will never take for granted the simple pleasures of an average day with my kids ever again. There was nothing spectacular that occurred on Thursday. I got up, made coffee, baked pies. I heard my kids laughing while playing video games. We sang, watched the parade, and the dog show. We ate and did dishes altogether. We watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while eating pie and drinking tea. We packed a care package of leftovers. We hugged and kissed and said I love you! Oh wait, it really was a spectacular day!

This year has not been like any other, this Thanksgiving was not like any other, but I am grateful for all that I do have, and not for what was missing.
As we go into a holiday season that will definitely be different than others we have experienced, take those regular moments and see how very precious they are!

Today’s recipes are not anything out of this world, they are simple pleasures of a happy meal. Incorporating each other’s family traditions into one another’s lives is one of the things I love most about our Pottery Avenue Family. Serving them in works of art is another!

A large handled bowl is such a versatile piece in your kitchen. I bake in mine all the time. Enchanted is one of those patterns that just catches my eye no matter what else is around it. It is all stamp work, but there is so much of it, and it’s just so pleasing to look at! It is available on sale for $105.99. Wishful is whimsical to me... make a wish, what could be served in this bowl? Regularly $81.99 use your friends and family code PAF for $20% off!
All of the Polish stoneware pictured today is available for purchase at The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Kim’s Fancy Brussel Sprouts

2 lbs Brussels sprouts
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 slices pancetta or bacon
1/2 cup dries cranberries
1/2 cup chicken stock

Clean and trim your Brussel sprouts and place them in a steamer for 7- 10 minutes till you can just run a knife through them.
While they are steaming, cut your bacon into small pieces and start frying it up in a large frying pan. Add the steamed Brussel sprouts to the frying pan and over med-high heat add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. They just need to get a little color on them, so I cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken stock, garlic, and cranberries to the pan. Simmer till stock has dissipated. Serve immediately. My favorite vegetable hands down!

Kim’s Easy Acorn Squash

2 acorn squashes
Butter
Brown sugar
Chopped pecans

Go to the farmers market, buy 2 acorn squash plants. Have husband till garden area. Plant, and water. Harvest squash in the fall, or just go to the market and buy a couple.
Cut in half remove seeds. Prick flesh with a fork. Add 2 tablespoons butter to each half of squash, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and a heaping tablespoon of chopped pecans. Place in a baking dish and add 2 cups of water. This allows the squash to steam. Cover with foil, and place in oven. I put this into a cold oven and then set it to 350 for an hour. It all warms up together this way.
When done cooking removes squash onto each plate and mix all together inside the skin of the squash. So easy, and delicious!

Posted By Twila Abrams

Breakfast Potato Bake

May 21, 2021 12:45:21 AM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

All Hallows’ Eve is upon us, but if you ask me it has been nothing short of an entire year of Tricks & Treats! As I got up this morning my room was flooded with the light of the full moon shining through the bedroom window. It made an ominous glow in the room and made me just stare at the beauty and quiet of the morning. Sometimes just the simplest of things make me happy. Yesterday afternoon had that too, a little piece of simple and “normal”.

Our little town has a tradition of the businesses giving out candy to the kids on the Friday before Halloween. Every business gets involved, including the post office, police station, and library. In the daylight from 4-6 pm, there is a parade of kids and parents out and it’s just so joyful. It’s great fun seeing the kids in their costumes and enjoying themselves. With the way things have been this year, we didn’t think this would be allowed, but low and behold, our Halloween parade went on! Parents in costumes and masks, the kids getting to see their friends, and having candy dropped into their buckets and bags. As my husband and waited in line at the post office we saw the cutest little scarecrow, Wendy from the Adams Family, Spider-Man, and a large inflatable unicorn! Everyone was greeting one another and just having a wonderful afternoon. It was the first time, in a very long time, it just felt like we were back to ourselves. With Halloween being on the weekend this year, and getting to be home for the entire day, I’m not sure how I’m going to spend it, but I do know there will be our traditional pot of chili, The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and Hocus Pocus later tonight! I am hoping that we get a few knocks on the door this evening, and some cutie pies dressed up saying Trick or Treat! Otherwise, I may have to eat all of these full-size candy bars myself!

Beginning this morning off with a big breakfast seems like an ideal way to start the day. I decided to play with my original Tater Tot Casserole recipe and disguise it. It is now in full costume as Halloween Breakfast Potato Bake! It turned out great! I will definitely be making this again. It was prepared and served in this beautiful 12 x 5-inch cover baker in the Celebrate pattern. It feels like that’s what I’m doing today. Celebrating the simple joys of our Halloween traditions! Regularly $154.99 and on sale 20% off with your friends and family discount for $123.99. Tap the link to purchase. https://potteryavenue.com/12-5-celebrate-covered... I enjoy this pattern so much, it’s another of life’s simple pleasures. Using this Polish Stoneware makes each day feel special and Celebratory.

I am curious... how do you all spend Halloween? Any lifelong traditions in your families?

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart to yours, Smacznego!

Kim’s Halloween Breakfast Potato Bake

1 bag tater tots
1 small onion chopped fine
3/4 cup chopped orange bell pepper
1 lb. breakfast sausage browned and grease drained
1-pint sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

In a large frying pan, brown breakfast sausage, and drain grease.
Add chopped onion and pepper and sauté until softened.
In a large mixing bowl combine sour cream, mushroom soup, salt, pepper, and the bag of tater tots.
Add sausage mixture into tater tots and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared baker and cover with shredded cheese. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the cheese.
Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Posted By Twila Abrams

Yummy Scalloped Potatoes

May 20, 2021 12:44:37 AM

Courtesy of Pottery Avenue where we believe the kitchen is the heart of the home and your table serves more than food. To purchase pieces seen here, visit www.PotteryAvenue.com or call 360-627-7489 for assistance. One of our helpful stylists will take the time to help you find and select your next dish.

30 years ago at this exact time, I was in labor with my first child. He’s 30 today! Wow, where did the years go? How could that itty bitty little baby become 30 already? It is truly overwhelming the feeling of love that exudes from you after you have given birth. This tiny little being, the one that made me lose 28 pounds the first three months of pregnancy because I couldn’t hold anything down, that sat on my sciatica so I couldn’t walk, that gave me gestational diabetes, and massive heartburn was finally here, and all of the discomforts were gone. Seeing those bright blue eyes staring up at me, with his little fist clamped around my finger, and kissing his little coned head after 36 hours of labor were all worth it.

When he was born, he became the first name, of the next generation on our family tree. Therefore there are hundreds of photos, and hours of video of Mitch just laying there, doing nothing, just being a baby. My dad purchased our first video camera and had to document everything. It was also nice that after he arrived my mom got used to the fact she was going to be called grandma!

I think back over all the years, all the birthday cakes and gifts that were so carefully planned and picked out. The requests to Santa that had to be under the tree on Christmas morning, the ballgames, fishing, hundreds of legos and hot wheels that I stepped on, boxes of baseball cards.... and the drums! All of my boys have been musical, but Mitchell was a natural-born drummer. He was always tapping on something. It was a joy to see him play, it was loud listening to him practice, but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

I always waited to decorate for Christmas till after his birthday. I wanted his day not to be overshadowed by the Christmas craziness. With two baby kitties, and a one-year-old cat in the house this year, I won’t be doing much more decorating. They have already eaten the lights off the bottom of the tree this week, and we have had one decapitated nutcracker! Good thing I love them so much! It’s like having young children in the house again. If they aren’t careful, Santa will be putting coal in their stockings! It’s like childproofing all over again.

The one thing I will still be doing this season is baking, and cooking for the holidays.
Probably not like I usually do, but I have to do some. The cookie box has to reach Mitch in time, so he has a little bit of his mom with him for the holidays. Do we ever stop thinking about the little boys that grow into men and become fathers to their own children as anything but joyful little boys running amok?

Our Christmas dinner has changed over the years. When grandma Pearl was still alive we would have turkey on Thanksgiving and Christmas. After she passed, my mom and I have changed it up, we now have either ham or prime rib. It’s a whole lot less fuss on a very busy day. It’s nice to not have to be in the kitchen for hours, and instead, play games and enjoy the day more. One of our go-to dishes with either ham or prime rib is my mom's scallop potatoes. Somewhat easy, and can be prepped ahead of time, so not much to do but put it in the oven. It’s gorgeous in this fancy rimmed baker in Bellisima! Perfect for your holiday table in festive reds and greens! It’s truly a show stopper! Measuring at 11.8" x 3" x 8.3" it holds 8 to 9 cups of cheesy potato deliciousness! Regularly $209.99 it is on sale 20% for $167.99, your table will shine with this on it!

To purchase any of the pieces shown, please visit The Pottery Avenue by Pangaea website at www.potteryavenue.com. Use the search button and type in the pattern name or shape and it will bring up all of the pieces available. Can’t find what you are looking for? Just send a message and Twila and her team will be happy to help you. Use discount code Twila or PAF for your 20% discount.

From my heart or yours, Smacznego!

Cheryl’s Scalloped Potatoes

4 large russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Dried minced onion
Bread crumbs
Butter

In a large pot filled with water parboil potatoes till fork tender. Cool completely or overnight. Peel and slice thin. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk while whisking, so no clumps form. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of your baker, add some salt and pepper, a light sprinkle of onion, cheese, and drizzle some of the sauce over the top. Repeat till you have filled your baker. On the last layer sprinkle the cheese on last. Add some breadcrumbs and dot with butter.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, or until bubbly and browned. If preparing ahead of time, take it out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before placing it in a cold oven and preheating to 350.

Enjoy!

Posted By Twila Abrams

Recipe of Almond Roca

May 20, 2021 12:28:24 AM

Thanksgiving weekend was always fun as a child. We would go to Ocean Shores on Wednesday and Thursday and be with my mom's parents, and then I would go to grandma’s Ivy's on Friday and get to spend the next three days working in her beauty shop and painting ceramics for Christmas gifts.

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Posted By Twila Abrams

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