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Storybook Woods

P O Box 288

Keyport, WA


Wren Bay reviews

Bernideens Tea Time

Tarnished and Tattered              Rosie's Ramblings

Sis Boom                                        Nanas House

Fox Tales                                        Frugal Luxuries

Homespun Living                        The Pleasures of Homemaking

Lazy Bee Farm                             Coffee, Tea, Books & Me

Lavender and Pearls                  Gracious Hospitality

The Blessed Hearth                    Life of the Unemployed

Life in Every Breath                    Cherished Hearts at Home

 Gumbo Lily                                  Sweet Felicity

Changed By Love                      Creekside Cottage

No-Mac, Cheese and Cauliflower

  No-Mac  Cheese and Cauliflower Storybook Woods

    This recipe all came about because I miss mac and cheese. I wanted a low carb version and tried several recipes, but honestly they were too much work, relied on a roux (I do not eat flour) and I was not happy with the results. In mac and cheese your cooking a pasta that absorbs the sauce, cauliflower does not absorb, so you need a different type of sauce. I learned a long time ago just thickened cream makes a simple sauce. Add some cheese, bake until thick and bubble and it is quite good, and easy :-)

    I have made at least 5 different versions of this with cook /frozen/riced/not and this is the version my family liked best. The second recipe is the one I like the best, because it is easier. I did not have to prepare and par-cook the cauliflower. They are both good though. The only kind of cauliflower I would not use is frozen florets. We all agreed it was too mushy. I do not know why the frozen riced cauliflower is not mushy, but it is not. Par-cooking the cauliflower florets gave a perfect textured with the finished dish. I like to serve this with a steak and salad on our weekends. If you hate cauliflower, make the second version, you will never know there is cauliflower in there, if you use strong flavored cheddar.

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No-Mac, Cheese and Cauliflower

makes a 5x10" pan


1 cup heavy cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups cauliflower, small flowerts, par-cooked *see my notes below

1 tsp. dried granulated garlic

½ tsp ground pepper

½ sea salt

Pre-heat oven 350°F

In a sauce pan mix all ingredients, except the cauliflower. On low heat stir cream/cheese until cheese is melted. You do NOT want to boil this, just melt the cheese. Pull sauce off heat and stir in cauliflower. Grease a 5x10" pan and pour cauliflower in prepared pan. Cover pan with heavy lid or foil. Bake 50 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crispy brown around the edges.4


Quicker version No-Mac, Cheese and Cauliflower

makes a 5x10" pan


I cup heavy cream

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

3 cups frozen, riced cauliflower

1 tsp. dried granulated garlic

½ tsp ground pepper

½ sea salt

Pre-heat oven 350°F

In a sauce pan mix all ingredients, except the cauliflower. On low heat stir cream/cheese until cheese is melted. You do NOT want to boil this, just melt the cheese. Pull sauce off heat and stir in cauliflower. Because the cauliflower is frozen the sauce with glop together, but do not worry it will bake fine. Grease a 5x20" pan and spread cauliflower in prepared pan. Cover pan with heavy lid or foil. Bake 50 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crispy brown around the edges.



1. Par-cooking cauliflower. Cut your fresh cauliflower into small florets, about the size of your thumb nail. In a small pan on your stove or in a microwave set on high, boil cauliflower about 3-4 minutes. Until it starts to become transparent in color but still firm. Run cauliflower under cold water and set aside. This can be done earlier in the day too. Just refrigerate until you make you no-mac, cheese and cauliflower.

2. If you want to keep it really fast and quick, make the second version but cook the sauce and riced cauliflower on the stove for about 5 minutes, until the frozen cauliflower is cooked. Then enjoy. I make this for my dinner on nights, when I am cooking something for my family I cannot eat. With a salad it is lovely. Not as lovely as the baked, crunchy version but still good.

3. Lastly, this dish is only as good as the cheese you use. Use a strong cheddar with lots of flavor!


Bloom-Making The Hard Choices



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     I get asked a lot what tricks I use to keep my weight off. A big one is stopping and really thinking about what I want to eat. How to have treats without going whole hog. I tend to have my treats on the weekend, so I so that cuts of a lot of the week. I will also try to plan it out. If I know I am going to have a really carby meal on Saturday let's say, I try to make sure I eat really good the day before and after to make-up for it. But I also look at what is being served, what I would really like and try to make it as healthy as I can, while still enjoying what I want. I will give you two examples.

    Example 1, last weekend we had hot dogs topped with bacon, guacamole and monterey jack cheese (which is a fab combo by the way). I served nacho chips in the side because my family loves them. I looked at that meal and thought what was the problems with it? First there is the hot dog buns, second the chips and third no veggies (I don't consider avocado's veggies  ;-). The buns were cheap ones and I did not want them, but the chips were calling to me. So this is what I did. I used a romaine lettuce leaf for a bun (do it all the time, I am fine with it) and took a FEW (& I mean like 4 chips each hot dog) and crushed them on the top. Added some raw veggies on the side and the dish ended up not being too bad. Also I did not feel cheated.

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     Example 2, hubby's birthday last month. He loves biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast. I have discovered how to make the gravy without flour and it is delish. Now I could have made mine with a gain-free biscuits but I did not have any on-hand. I decided I did not want a plain biscuit to be my treat, because I wanted the rosemary bread I was baking later to me my treat. So I just had gravy over eggs and thoroughly enjoyed my homemade bread later.

    So see? Stop, think about what you love? What can you give up? Try to pick just one indulgence and not go hog crazy with it. This has served me well and I hope it makes sense to you!! 

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Bloom. 3 Years Later


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    Celebrating my three year anniversary of not being pre-diabetic anymore and major lifestyle change. 3 years, wow!! I know some of you are having the same issues as me, so I thought I would share. In the past three years I have lost at least 54 pounds. The even better news is I am keeping it off! My number one goal has always been to maintain what I have lost. And to be able to maintain that weight loss, well ... that feels like the biggest success to me.

    My second goal was to drop under 200 and stay there. I can say I have been able to maintain that goal for 7 months now. I am not sure what my next goal is, but honestly I am just happy with what I have obtained so far. I still eat a very low-carb version of Paleo. I still struggle with eating enough veggies. My goal is to make 70% of my daily diet low-carb veggies. I do it, but still have lazy days. I exercise once a week for 1 ½ hours (hard) and "try" to work out another day for 40 minutes, but I do not beat myself up if it does not happen.

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Really I have only made 2 changes this past year.

1. I use to walk 3 miles. Now I work on strength training and build muscle, plus walking. When you lose so much weight you end up with lotsss of sagging skin. It's kind of scary :-O Plus I am not sure I had any muscles in my body to begin with ;-) I could barely workout with 2 ½ # weights for 3 minutes, 2 years ago. So building muscles and working on my core strength has been my focus and boy can I see a difference. I have slimmed my arms and stomach, been focusing on my gluts lately and am in a size 12 jeans (I was an 20 before). I still have a longggg ways to go. But it is amazing to be able to focus on a part of your body and know with hard work you can make changes.


2. I drink vinegar water and kombucha every day. I drink water all day and always add a TBL of raw apple cider vinegar to my water. I started off with less but got use to the taste and now can add more. Also now I drink glass of kombucha everyday too. Both really help regulate my blood sugar, help with my digestion and gut health. Gut health is everything. If you have not read Brain Maker I highly recommend it. Everyone should read it. Last Christmas I gained weight, this Christmas I did not gain any weight. I think the kombucha is helping my body to heal and therefore I am staying in my zone better, even though I did not work out and ate treats.


    So adding weight training and drinking kombucha is really the only changes I have made this year. If you are interested in reading about what I have been doing, read my Bloom series. Really I am just doing what I have been doing the past three years and it works for me. I have had people argue with me that eat fat is unhealthy and low-carb is a fad. All I can say after three years, my body would disagree with you. I listen to my body, it very clearly tells me what it needs and what is does not. So I would encourage you to do the same. Listen to your body, do what works for you and be positive. This is a lifestyle change, that means you will be spending the rest of your life taking care of yourself. That is a journey and journeys never end!


PS. The top photo I took at Bittersweet Apothecary in Liberty Missouri. A charming shop full off goodies!!



Copper Christmas Joy Bottle

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     Happy New Year! I hope it was a great ending. I know it was for me. Last year was a hard one, personally. I was stretched and challenged a LOT! In the end, it is all is good. A lot of change but change is good, right? ;-)  This is the first time I am really feeling that empty nest stuff. I did not think it would get to me so much, but I am finding my ways, slowly. A new chapter of my life.

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    I did want to share one last project from my Copper Christmas. As you know every Thanksgiving and Christmas, I make a small gift for each of my guests. Since I drink large amounts of Clear Mind Brew Dr Kombucha I decided to save the bottles. So all year I have been collecting bottles and corks from the sherry I cook with. Just add some copper paint and a simple word. Joy! We all need joy. I am happy with how these turned out and hopefully everyone can use an extra bottle for storage. 

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  The other thing I did was use copper pennies. After I choose copper for my theme, I looked around at what I had that was copper. Pennies! And I have lots of them. I simply cleaned them in a vinegar/salt mixture. I could have done a ton of stuff with them, but I simply lined a tray. I usually use rock salt (such a cheap and pretty item), but the pennies worked great!

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     A few more glimpes of my home. I am interested in seeing what 2017 will hold. I am not sure what will be coming, but I feel good about it all. I hope this is a year filled with joy for you xox

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Merry Christmas 2016

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours

I love this photos because I hardly see my girls anymore (they work so much). I love that we can still be silly and giggle. I will be back after the New Year and share a bit more of my Copper theme. I hope this is a blessed week for you xox

Copper Christmas Wreath

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    Well the one coppery thing I did do was a wreath. This was fun and pretty easy to do. Hubby welded the elbows on each corner. I cleaned up the copper with a mixture of 1 cup plain white vinegar and 1 TBL salt. Worked well.

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    My bow  is ribbon I have had for a good 30 years. The beautiful buckle in the center is from one of my favorites stores in Poulsbo, Red Plantation. It is perfect addition. This wreath is simple and open, but I like that. Air in decorating in needed, if that makes sense? 

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Copper Christmas Menu

Copper Christmas Menu Storybook Woods


    Good day, here is our Christmas menu. Christmas Eve potato bar was such a big hit last year, I am doing it again! I am sorry I do not have links to recipes to link. Either they are mine (and I need to write one) or I am not cooking it. Like the ice cream will be brought by my sister from Molly Moon in Seattle. I am hoping my Bacon, Chocolate Pecan pie is a hit. I will let you know. What are you making that your excited by?

Copper Christmas Champagne Bar

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  Two years ago we did a whiskey bar and last year we did a cocoa bar, so this year we thought a champagne bar would be perfect with our theme.

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    Plus these copper champagne glass, I got last year, were the whole reason I did a Copper Christmas!

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    We made champagne cocktails. You take a sugar cube and add a few drops of bitters onto your cube. Place sugar in your glass and fill with champagne. I used Scrappy's Bitters in both chocolate and lavender flavor. They were a big hit at my Christmas party.

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    I also had some raw sugar, that looked so pretty with the copper. Copper tinsel and copper wire lights filled in the small details. This bar turned so elegant. 

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Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar and dairy free

Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge sugar and dairy free, Storybook Woods

 I gave a shout out on FB/Instagram I was cutting up a batch of sugar-free Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge and several people requested a recipe so here you go ;-) 


Frangelico Hazelnut Fudge, sugar free, gain/paleo friendly

3 cups chopped dark chocolate, I use 70% chocolate

¾ cup coconut cream/milk or raw milk or regular whole milk

pinch of sea salt

4 TBL grass-fed butter or coconut oil

¼ cup Frangelico

½ cup  toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped. I like big pieces in my fudge


Put chocolate, milk, salt and butter in a small sauce pan and heat over low temp until all is melted. You do NOT want to boil, just melt. When chocolate is melted, pull pan off heat. Stir in Frangelico and hazelnuts. Pour fudge in a loaf pan. I like to use a silicone pan for this, because later I can easily pull the pan away from the fudge. Refrigerate your pan overnight. Then unmold the fudge and cut into small squares. Store fudge in fridge between parchment paper in a airtight container until ready to serve. This is a soft fudge, but firm enough to hold and enjoy.

Copper Christmas-Mirrors

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    Next I am sharing from my Copper Christmas, my wall of mirrors. I had teased on FB/Instagram I was running around my house collecting all my mirrors. 

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    I was really flummoxed how to fill this wall space. I change it out each season. Spring/floras, fall/homey works of art. I needed something I have a lot of and mirrors I do. I was luck this house came with 3 antique mirrors and the large center one belonged to my Grandmother Claire (who I was named after but never met). 

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    The mirrors have a reflexive feel and go with my theme. It also reflexes the lights from the tree and when the tree is gone, reflections of the water. 

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I added a few glitter do-da's and wha-la! Wall of mirrors! 

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Copper Christmas

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    Okay, my theme this year is a Copper Christmas!! BUT, I confess that I do not own a lot of copper things and cannot afford to just go buy a bunch a stuff (plus that is no fun). So I had to DIY and stretch my thinking a bit. I own a lot of silver, gold, mercury glass and hoped this would make the copper shine. So in a way you could call this more of a metallic Christmas, but in the end I think it came out very pretty. I am quite happy.

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   Today I am sharing my china cabinet. We took the back off and use this cabinet as a divider between the living and dinning space. This is a large, longggg room with 3 distinct spaces. The divide really helps with creating cozy space, like one would want in the winter, without closing off the room.

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    I needed to put something in the cabinet and can be admired from all sides. My white village and lots of pale, glittered trees worked well.

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    I purchased 2 white buildings and copper glittered the roof of one and painted the trim with copper metallic paint on the other. I also made little copper wire wreaths for each house.

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    I also made some more glue gun icicles but added copper glitter to them. They are so easy to make. I have to say at night, this cabinet just glows. I am thrilled with the results!

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Christmas Pantry 2016

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    Here is some glimpses of my kitchen and pantry. I used gray, red and white in my kitchen. As it picked up the colors of the tote holding greens on my kitchen door. 

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    I always do these kinds of garlands. Just layers of ribbons I have on-hand, in the colors I am using. So simple. Our vintage Santa collection from Davids family. 

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    For my pantry I decided to go with a French feel. I used my glittered Eiffel towers, pops of color and black/white to ground it all!

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Kitchen Christmas 2016

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    Happy December friends! I have been busy working on my Christmas theme this year, but I am not quite ready to share yet. So I welcome you into my house and kitchen. 

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    My little shoe room is a simple collection of shells, drift woods and other goodies I find when I hang out on the beach (or dropped in my yard by a bird. These brown bottles I have been saving for a Christmas project (share soon). Instead of a wreath I took this tote (that looks like wool but is recycled plastic bottles) and filled it with greens and holly from my property. Add some large pompoms from a past Christmas theme, and wha-la, simple!

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   I will be back with my pantry!! 

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Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce

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Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours xox

This is a post from FB I thought I would share with all of you! 

I was asked by my good friend (who I can never say no to) what my Thanksgiving menu is, so here we go.
Barbecued turkey, in a white wine, orange & lemon slices, fresh bay leaves brine
Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce
Sausage, dried sour cherry, chestnut bread stuffing
Cream cheese mash potatoes Store bought gravy (yes I buy my gravy ;-O )
Green beans with Dijon-made by my mom
Green salad with fresh persimmon, pomegranate, toasted pecan salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette
Dairy free pumpkin pie Pumpkin Cheesecake-made by Chloe
Grain-free Chocolate chip cookies-made by my mom
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Also I was requested the recipe for the Spiced Port Cranberry sauce. I will be honest and say I just wing it So feel free to not follow the amount for spices too much. I cook, taste, adjust and simmer 5 minutes longer, It always seems to turn out and is a yearly favorite!
Spiced Port Cranberry Sauce
makes a generous 2 cups
3 cups fresh cranberries
¾ cup port (I used sweet ruby port, but you can use dry too. You will just want to add more sugar. Also you can use red wine too, it is good)
⅓ cup sugar/sweetener (I used coconut sugar) If you like your sauce sweet, you will want more sugar. I like mine just barely sweet.
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece of candied ginger (or a slice of fresh ginger)
1 vanilla bean
Wrap the spices below in a piece of cheese cloth tied with some string. I makes it easier later to pull out the spices
1 whole anise
6 peppercorns
some whole cloves and allspice
Put all ingredients in pan and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. I mash the cranberries down a bit, but you do not have too. Taste if it is not sweet enough add more sugar, also if the sauce seems too dry add some more port and simmer 5 more minutes. Pull off heat, cover and let cool. Pull out spices. Put sauce in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Things I Love

  Fal16 Storybook Woods

Things I love. What I really love about this time of year? Is just that, this time of year, Autumn. Between now and Christmas is what I love the most. The nip in the air, the deep gold light, smoky smells from the wood stove, the pots of hot tea and snuggling. It does not get much better than that!

Paper tablecloth

Paper Table Cloth, love the look and simplicity of this for the holidays!


David Lebovitz French take of the Cheese Ball!!


DIY Lip Plumper, so easy and just a swipe in the center of my bottom lip works well!




Sharpie Mug, I am thinking of making this mug for Christmas gifts! Image 2 from


Cauliflower Popcorn, I am addicted to this stuff. It feel satisfy and fill that salty, snack need. The trick is to keep the pieces really small, do not over crowed the baking pan and roast the heck out of them! Be generous with your spices!


Bye Bye Red, let me start by saying I am not paid to say how much I LOVE this product. I am not paid to say that about anything I talk about on my blog. So having said that, I have to tell you how much I love Bye, Bye Red. Hitting 50 my skin is really starting to change and my old makeup routine was not working for me. I had heard so much about IT Cosmetics, especially for those who are over the age of 40. I decided to get a free make-over (I know Ulta and Sephora will let you try make-up for free) and was just shock how much I love their foundation, but what I mostly loved was this product. I do not have much rosacea, just some red on my nose, cheeks, some broken capillaries. Basically what you would expect with someone my age. I do not want to look like I am wearing make up. I want to look like I have healthy, dewy skin. And boy did this product do that. A small dot, blended with a small brush and my skin instantly evened out. Plus it last all day, it lasts through my 1 1/2 hour work-out (I get really red cheeks when I work out), and you use such a tiny amount. I am loving it, and it is rare for me to say make-up with worth the high price but in this case I think it is. If your interested, go in and try some. See for yourself.