Friday, July 29, 2011

Fresh From The Garden Salad

     This is one of those "recipes" that I didn't have a recipe for. I just threw a few things together and it worked! It all started with some local sweet corn. I used 6 ears, plunged them for a couple of minutes into boiling water and let them cool.

     Remove the corn from the cob. I have tried several methods for this. Some suggest doing it over an angel food cake pan to catch the kernels. I have found that using a cookie sheet with an edge works best for me.

     A trip outside to our "garden" and I had a couple of peppers and some fresh basil. Chop them both into small pieces.

     At this point, add what you have in the house. I grabbed some celery and baby carrots and chopped them into small pieces. Grape tomatoes, olives, black beans, cucumber etc. would also be good in this salad.

     I made a simple dressing. I used 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 T. of Dijon Mustard and 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper.

     Wisk in 3 Tablespoons of good quality balsamic vinegar. Actually, any vinegar would work, but once you have tried a true aged balsamic vinegar (mine is from The Olive Mill) you will never want to use the stuff from the store again, this is so much thicker and richer. It is so good you could almost drink it!

This makes a very colorful and filling salad.
I served ours with a roasted pork loin.

I am joining Michael @ Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.
Please take time to stop and say hello.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What's To Love?

     People often ask us why we keep going back again and again to Michigan. Those that know us in real life, know that we have always loved places with palm trees and grits. About 6 years ago we decided to take a few days and go the opposite direction. We haven't given up the palm trees, but we do try to fit in a trip or two to Michigan every year now. I thought I'd share a few of the reasons why from our recent trip. 

     Pond Hill Farm is a working farm that we have watched grow over the years. They sell fresh produce, canned goods just like your grandma made and now have a winery and restaurant. It is located in Harbor Springs, MI.

Pond Hill Farm

Pond Hill Farm

     History is all around. Stafford's Perry Hotel in Petoskey was built in 1899 and has a wonderful view of Lake Michigan.

We love to look at all of the historic homes.

Cherries are found in everything. Cherry pie from
Jesperson's in Petoskey is well worth stopping for.

     Wineries are everywhere and they are all different. Some are elegant, some are rustic, some are commercial and all are very friendly with delicious wines.

Interesting small towns such as Elk Rapids where
 the water runs right through the middle of town.

Interesting pathways...

...this one leads to what was once called The Island House,
but is now a library.



And more shopping!

Ice cream that is so fresh... can see the dairy farm while eating your cone.

Of course the main reason we love Michigan is because
we think it is so beautiful.

I am joining Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday
Laura @ Decor to Adore for Wayfaring Wednesday
Kim @ Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays

Monday, July 25, 2011

This and That

     It is Monday, a day when many of us in Blogland join Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday. We show off our new projects, the changes we have made in our homes or wonderful things we have transformed from ugly to beautiful. Well, unless you want to see pictures of my refrigerator before and after I clean it, the wrinkled clothes before and after I iron them or the dust in the house before and after I attempt to get rid of it...I've got nothing to share. My husband told me to take a picture of the puddles on the deck because WE GOT RAIN yesterday afternoon. It wasn't much, but the sky got dark, the thunder rumbled and the temps dropped 19 degrees very quickly. Bliss! We are heading right back up to dry and dangerous by Wednesday, but it was wonderful!

     We made a final trip to my in-law's house on Saturday. The second auction is coming up this weekend. It will have the household items and the rest of the antiques that we didn't have time to sell at the first auction. This one is combined with another family at their home and we aren't stressing over it. We don't even have to be there (but we probably will go). We took a cutting from my in-law's lilac bush. It is sitting in a bucket of water and we have no idea how to transplant it at our house. Any suggestions? We would love to save it.

     Since we were in "the big city" to check the house, I finally got to a decent Farmer's Market. I was so hot that I can't say I even enjoyed being there. We practically jogged through the aisles, grabbing things as we went. I was complaining, melting and even managed to hug some dirty zucchini against my white t-shirt. However, I have rainbow kale, fresh peapods, beautiful orange beets, purple and white baby carrots and various other goodies to show for the effort.

     I also crossed over to the "dark side" since I had access to a "real" Verizon store and finally had the time to explore my options. I have been an iPhone holdout. I am definitely a gadget person. In fact, I had a hard time getting out of the store with only the phone. Those iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tablets were calling my name. I just hated adding the fee for the data package to my already loaded cell phone bill. I hated the $10 package that I was forced to add with my last phone. We have 3 phones on our package and I already pay enough! Our Verizon salesperson was great and he did some research on our usage habits and found that we were paying for minutes we didn't need. A few tweaks and our bill with the new phone will actually be a little less than it was before. I've been playing with my new toy since I got it and I love it! I'm having a little trouble adjusting to texting with this kind of keyboard, but hopefully it will get easier. I'm obsessed with all the apps available, if you have a favorite let me know!

     I'll leave you with a picture of a store display from our trip to Michigan. Maybe it will inspire you...I could certainly use a little decorative inspiration this summer. How was your weekend?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies

     When I saw this recipe in Semi-Homemade, I was intrigued. It was very simple, and we love cornbread at our house. The jury is still out on how I would rate them. We didn't agree here about these. My husband liked them, I didn't. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them but I expected a crisp cookie and they are a soft cookie. I tend to like my cookies with more calories. You know, chocolate chips, lots of nuts, cream cheese...something fattening added in for texture and flavor. My husband likes a soft cookie, doesn't like chocolate or cream cheese and loves cornbread.

1 box Jiffy Muffin Mix
1 large egg
1/4 cup whole milk (I used skim milk)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cup chopped pine nuts or pecans (I used pecans and it didn't take nearly as many)

The above is a single batch. I doubled the recipe.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. I was out of parchment so I lightly sprayed the cookie sheets. It worked, but not well.

In a medium bowl, combine muffin mix, egg, milk, sugar, flour and lemon zest. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 7 minutes until browned around the edges. Let cool on parchment paper on a wire rack for 2 minutes or until cookies can easily be removed. Remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

     I do love the hint of lemon and the slightly gritty texture from the cornmeal. They are not overly sweet which is another reason my husband liked them. I found them a little bit "blah" but certainly easy to pull together if you need something and don't have much in the pantry to work with.

I am joining Michael @ Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.
Please stop to visit and find lots of recipes better than this one!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tea Is Liquid Wisdom (author unknown)

     With the heat blanketing 40 states, I thought my tablescape this week should be light and airy. I decided to set the table for a simple tea with the girls. The vase is filled with herbs and flowers from my yard. I almost wilted while picking them. The house smells of fresh mint, perfect to add to a cup of tea.

     The tea set came home with me from our recent Michigan trip. It was in an upscale consignment shop and I was drawn to the black and white. I aslo couldn't help but think that I should be inviting bj @ sweet nothings for tea...I can't see black and white dishes without thinking of her.

     I love bright green as an accent color for black and white. I started this table with a black runner and napkins, round green placemats and charcoal flatware.

     Keeping things simple, we have a black dinner plate from Walmart as a charger under the dessert plates that match the tea set. I didn't look at the brand of dishes until I got them back to the hotel room (I must have really liked this set) and I was surprised to find that they are Marie by Giftcraft. I didn't know that Marie Osmond had a line of dishes. I paid $50 for the entire set and I found out that I did get a good deal!

I love the assorted tea bag holders.

     The teapot can be used alone as I am doing today, or it came with a very large handled cup that it can sit on for a single serve tea set. It was the butterfly perched on the top of the teapot and the sugar bowl that caught my eye.

The milk glass vase was my mother-in-law's.

I found the white china berry basket at Kohls.

I will share the cookie recipe tomorrow, it is odd.

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
for Tablescape Thursday.