Sunday, June 29, 2014

COLORFUL PANZANELLA with SUMMER VEGETABLES SALAD

Hope you all had a great weekend! Hubby worked in my pantry this weekend extending shelving. We had plenty of depth to work with so he actually tripled the storage for me! It looks fantastic. I'll be sharing the results in a future blog. Until then....how about a tasty salad made with tons of veggies for that picnic this weekend?

There's nothing more delicious than fresh homegrown produce. We are so lucky to have several farmer's markets near us to choose from and local farm stands too. I kind of feel a little spoiled because they are all within minutes of our house. Pretty convenient!

While my daughter was in town we made a delicious summer salad, Panzanella with Summer Vegetables. It's a beautiful salad full of fresh veggies like tomatoes, green beans, cucumber, roasted red peppers. The dressing is simple and after marinating.......a really delicious, light salad. It makes a great dish to pass for a picnic or a nice summer salad for lunch or dinner.

Basic idea of how easy this recipe is--

1. Prepare all veggies as directed and combine in a bowl.
2. Broil the 1-inch pieces of bread (we used whole wheat pita)
3. Toss with dressing, cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes.

RECIPE MAY BE FOUND HERE--
http://www.midwestliving.com/recipe/panzanella-bread-salad-with-summer-vegetables/



FINISHED SALAD--





Now hurry to your farm stand or farmer's market and pick up enough fresh veggies for dinner tonight and of course some for that "dish to pass" request at your upcoming picnic over the 4th of July weekend!

ENJOY!

Kathleen

***Thanks so much for stopping by. Don't forget to stop by Wednesday for our  SUMMER PATIO TOUR.




Thursday, June 26, 2014

FOODIE FRIDAY--DELICIOUS STRAWBERRY PIE

WELCOME TO FOODIE FRIDAY!

When I was growing up we lived in the country and always had a big garden. My Dad and Mom would plant all kinds of delicious veggies. We even had Raspberry bushes, and Strawberry plants. I never realized how lucky we were at the time. Today what I wouldn't give for one of those gardens.  Fresh everything......yum!

Speaking of fresh-----it's Strawberry season here in NJ. Did you know that strawberries are full of antioxidants and contain malic acid which helps whiten your teeth? Now that's a great couple of reasons to enjoy them even more.

This year I came across a Strawberry Pie recipe that came with rave reviews from Chelsea at Two Twenty One. It's not only delicious, but it makes a beautiful presentation for almost any occasion. From picnics to family dinners, this pie will be the hit of the event.

Very simple ingredients below....you can make the crust yourself if you prefer. Bake crust prior to filling.


                 Cornstarch/water mixture.                                      Adding jello to the mixture.

Finished pie---My husband ended up eating 2 pieces!! He hardly ever eats dessert so you now know, this is truly a WINNER recipe!






 Recipe may be found at--http://www.twotwentyone.net/2012/06/strawberry-pie/


Hurry, grab your strawberries and make this for your family or maybe just yourself! It is truly delightful! You may add a dollop of your fav whipped cream to top it off if you like.


ENJOY!


Kathleen

***Have a wonderful weekend! See you on Monday.....Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DIY--GRILL CART FOR FOOD PREP & STORAGE

We always have so much fun with the girls when they come home. I must admit, selfishly, we enjoy the one-on-one time with each of them. That's the time when we really get to catch up on their life at a much deeper level. Dad stays up at night chatting (because he is a night owl like they are) and I enjoy the day hours with them. It works out quite well.

I saved my trip to the thrift store so that my daughter could come along. She's always up for treasure hunting! In fact, I think all of the girls inherited that gene! 

 It was quite a successful trip. We found a beautiful white small soup tureen, a white platter, and what I really wanted.......a utility cart.

My daughter was such a trooper. She pushed the shopping cart through aisles and aisles of treasures......all while the utility cart stuck out of the side of the shopping cart. There were many,"excuse me moments" as we perused the store, but what a wonderfully fun day! Laughing, making friends in the aisles and of course the "score" of my cart for $12.00!

I wanted a small utility type cart that I could keep as a food prep area next to our grill. This little IKEA number was perfect!

Here it is BEFORE, DURING  and AFTER my DIY job! I used Valspar Outdoor Gloss Red Queen..... to change the color, and I love the red...it's perfect! I had to apply 3 generous coats, drying each coat before applying the next.


I left the top area for food prep and am using the bottom two shelves for sundries like; condiments, grilling tools, plates and glasses. The handle on the right side is great for hanging a towel for those unexpected spills.



I love the way the Grilling Cart turned out. It will certainly get a lot of use when the hubby is grilling. :) I can't wait for that!

Here is what the entire grilling area looks like--



Now everything is neat and orderly and ready for all of those upcoming cookouts!

I hope you enjoyed the blog today. Do you have a prep area by your grill? 

Have a wonderful Wednesday and we'll see you on FOODIE FRIDAY for the most delicious dessert, perfect for SUMMER!

Kathleen

***Thanks so much for stopping by. It's always great to see you LIKE our pages!










COME JOIN ME FOR COFFEE IN THE SUNROOM

A sunny summer Good Morning to you my friends!

There is nothing like waking up to a beautiful summer day. Weather predictions are sunny and warm today....can't beat that. 

Yesterday I spent the day cleaning the sunroom including the dreadful  wall of windows.....inside and out. I kept procrastinating doing it, but decided since Summer arrived on Saturday I had better get it cleaned and settled so that we can enjoy it!

Here's a sampling of our sweet and simple sunroom. Our little piece of paradise that overlooks our patios and backyard with all of our little wildlife critters.








My husband loves to feed the birds and this is his latest feeder. Another one of our purchases at the COUNTRY LIVING FAIR in Rhinebeck.


Hope you enjoyed sitting in our sunroom and enjoying the view! See you tomorrow with a great DIY you won't want to miss!!

Wishing you a sunny day!

Kathleen

***Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

LIGHT, BRIGHT & CHEERY!

After attending my first COUNTRY LIVING FAIR I couldn't wait to get home and unload my goodies that I had purchased. Today I'm sharing with you one of my most beautiful purchases from Betsy Olmsted of Print & Repeat Design. (www.betsyolmsted.com)

I was like a kid in a candy shop. I wanted to buy everything that Betsy had displayed but settled on a Vintage Dresser Scarf. At the time I had a million places to display it, however, because it is so beautiful I wanted to display it where everyone could admire it too.

I decided the sofa table needed a new look. Starting with Betsy's work I added a soft flowing fern in my soup tureen. I had a dark brown wooden candlestick nearby that caught my eye and the golden candle in it that blended nicely with the golds in her design. Finally, some colorful books with a great red spine and an artichoke filled with wine corks that ironically had stained ends that were a burgundy color. The corks added a nice texture without taking away from the beautiful dresser scarf.

Here are my results-
















Thanks for joining me today....it's amazing how one small change of something bright and light can bring such cheer to a room. I hope I have inspired you to look around to see what you can add to do the same in your home.....think, light, bright (like sunshine in the Summer) and cheery!

HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!

Kathleen

***Thanks for stopping by. See you on  WEDNESDAY! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

DIY--HERB BRUSHES FOR TASTY GRILLING!


WELCOME TO FOODIE FRIDAY FRIENDS!

I'm always searching for new ideas for the blog to share with all of you. Finding unique ways to create great food, decorate homes, or create a DIY project is exciting! Today's blog is just that.....unique, easy.....and is in the "great food" category.

Have you ever heard of an Herb Brush? They are unique ways to add flavor to grilled items....both meat and veggies. The herb flavor intensifies as they char.


This was my first attempt to use an Herb Brush and I was so excited to get the grill started!


You will need:

  1. Wooden spoons
  2. Herbs of choice
  3. Twine ( cut & tied around herbs making a bundle)



Tied bundle of herbs.



      4. Melt butter in pan and dip herb brush.





5. Brush veggies with herb butter brush. You may char the
  herbs a bit to enhance the flavor. Bits may break off and stick to food.


Finished grilled veggies.

This was such an easy way to add flavor to grilled veggies. I would recommend charring the herbs a bit for more added flavor. By the end of Summer you will have the Herb Brush mastered.....wowing your friends with your grilling skills!

HAVE FUN THIS WEEKEND AND HAPPY GRILLING!


Kathleen


****Many thanks for stopping by for a visit. WELCOME NEW friends too! I'm so pleased to meet all of you. See you on Monday with something quite beautiful. You won't be disappointed!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MY MOST FAVORITE PRACTICAL GIFT

Hope your week is going well. I am having a ball because our middle daughter is spending some time with us this week. It's always such a treat when the girls are home. This daughter has been quite busy balancing a full-time job and grad school....so we are lucky to steal her away for a week!

In today's blog I want to share something with you that has become one of my most favorite practical gifts ever. 

While our family was in Napa our daughters bought us a beautiful lazy susan. Not your run of the mill lazy susan, but one made from an oak wine barrel from V. Sattui Winery. It has a beautiful finish and blends well with our kitchen table....almost like it was made for it.

Since it is usually just the two of us for meals, my simple fix to both protect the table and jazz up our place setting is to use placemats. I have tons of colors, fabrics, and shapes....you could say I am a collector of placemats! Anyway, with the addition of our beautiful lazy susan, I no longer need a placemat in the center of the table. And instead of passing the dishes of food, we swirl the lazy susan around. It's truly the greatest!



I know it's the little things that tickle me.......but why not consider a lazy susan for your table? Some of you much craftier than myself could probably make one just as beautiful.

Well, back to my daughter and our day of fun! 

Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!


Kathleen

***** Thanks for stopping by to visit. Remember to stop back on Foodie Friday!

Monday, June 16, 2014

WELCOME TO DIY MONDAY-- EASY & BEAUTIFUL NAPKIN/SILVERWARE CADDY

Good Morning Monday! 

I hope you all had a great weekend and those of you celebrating Father's Day, like us, had some wonderful family time together. My husband was lucky this year, at least one of our daughter's was able to be home. We had a cookout with his favorite request.....pork chops! Yes, he LOVES them.

In preparation for Father's Day I made a DIY project that actually was quite simple. We used it on our table and it worked beautifully.

DIRECTIONS TO  MAKE THE DIY SILVERWARE/NAPKIN CADDY

1.  Purchase a can of spray paint, and a 10-inch square unfinished wood tray. I found mine at Michaels. Spray 4 clean 15.5 oz. tin cans. Overspray the edge so that the color of the paint overlaps leaving no silver to be seen.  I chose a new Olive gloss paint color that I thought would coordinate with many of the tablecloth and table setting colors that I already have.
2.  Dry well.
3.  Using double sided tape--wrap around perimeter of the top of the can. I dropped mine down from the edge because I used a wide ribbon. If yours is more narrow adjust accordingly and press into place. This allows you to change the ribbon in the future if you decide to use other table colors.
4. Cut ribbon to perimeter size of can and allow for about 1/2 inch overlap and PRESS down tightly.



5. Glue cans together at top.
6.  Place on tray and measure exactly where you want the cans to be as you will be gluing the bottom of each of them. This measurement depends on how many napkins you will be placing in between the cans.
7.  Glue bottom of cans and place where you have measured and marked on the tray and PRESS on to tray. Let dry.


I love the way this caddy turned out.






This was such an easy and rewarding DIY. It took more time to dry than to complete.
I hope you decide to make this fun and easy project!

Wishing you a wonderful Monday!


Kathleen

*****As always I appreciate you stopping by and look forward to seeing you on Wednesday because I have created something beautiful for you!





Friday, June 13, 2014

GARDEN LUNCH TABLESCAPE & FOODIE FRIDAY DIP RECIPE

I hope your week went well. We haven't had the greatest weather; in fact most days were rainy. I don't mind when it rains because it's so good for the plants and trees, but when you are planning a luncheon on an open patio and the sky looks ominous......well let's just say I'm glad I was able to sneak it in BEFORE the rain came!

Today's blog was inspired by a beautiful bouquet of flowers I spied at the grocery store. Who doesn't LOVE sunflowers mixed with purple status, and daisies? 

Here's the bouquet that started it all----Can you see why I couldn't walk away without bringing it home?



Of course a table setting was necessary.



When creating the theme, I knew I wanted a relaxed feel. Not like a picnic relaxing but like a "Garden Lunch with the Girls," relaxing. 

I chose a purple and white gingham fabric from JoAnn Fabric. It took about 2 yards of approx. 46" wide fabric stitched together to fit my table. I finish stitched the entire hemline also. And there you have it....my new tablecloth.

After a successful trip to the Dollar Tree I brought home the purple placemats, the lime green charger plates, 2 lime green towels and the seed packets that I placed at each place setting.

I cut the towels in half and hemmed them making them into napkins,  and then tied them with purple ribbon from Michaels. I also purchased the pink vase bottles from Michaels on sale. The rest of the place setting items and the white urn are from my personal collection.










I couldn't resist adding a bit of a Foodie Friday recipe for you too! This Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip came to mind because it's so light and delish with veggies. It just so happens it matches my tablescape....hmmm......maybe that was a conscious decision!


Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip

1- cucumber
1 1/2 cups fat-free Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 head cabbage, optional

Grate unpeeled cucumber; chop. Drain on paper towels; squeeze dry. Combine chopped cucumber with yogurt, sour cream, dill, mint, zest, garlic, salt and pepper.

CABBAGE BOWL



Transfer dip to cabbage or serving bowl. Serve with veggies and/or pita chips or wedges. 

MAKES 12 servings
***Recipe from-Celebrate with Woman's World-Summer Keepsake Issue pg. 7

I hope you enjoyed my "GARDEN LUNCH WITH THE GIRLS" tablescape and recipe today. Have a wonderful Father's Day weekend!

CHEERS TO ALL THE DAD'S!

Katheen



****Thanks for stopping by and sharing your day with me. Stop by on Monday to see a very cool DIY project!



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CELEBRATING THE LAVENDER BOUQUET'S FIRST YEAR & VISIT TO THE NY COUNTRY LIVING FAIR

I hope you are all having a great week! I've been busy playing catch up after taking last week off. 

A few weeks ago I had been browsing the pages of Country Living magazine and came across an ad for the Country Living Fair being held in Rhinebeck, NY.  We used to live in an area not far from Rhinebeck so we were pretty familiar with the region. I asked my husband if he was up for a trip and we ventured to NYS.



As we entered the gates the cutest mini trailers were set up. I must admit I am by no means a country decor aficionado, however, we had a really great day exploring all of the booths and buildings. We loved the "glamping" area. These trailers were all decorated so beautifully, a far cry from when my family went camping years ago. There was no crystal in our trailer! 
Vendors set up their booths arranging them with beautiful vignettes to sell their wares. My husband and I reminisced more than once after seeing something from our childhood. I fell in love with that glider below.....seems like I remember someone we knew as a child that had one of those. My brother remembers everything......I bet he could tell me who it was.

My husband had to photograph me at my first Country Living Fair. (below) In the photo on the right, is artist Betsy Olmsted. (seated right) 
Her work caught my eye initially because I love watercolor painting. As I walked closer into her vignette my heart skipped a beat. I saw the detail on the whimsy like florals, with squirrels, and hummingbirds to name a few. Her smile is contagious and her sweet demeanor carries through into her work. Please drop by to check out Betsy's beautiful work. Of course I took a piece home!!     http://www.betsyolmsted.com/about.html
               More of the beautiful items for sale at the fair.

Ironstone is so hot right now.This display was too beautiful to pass up.

Most of you know of the Fabulous Beekman Boys from the Cooking Channel. What a delightful couple. Two guys from NYC who bought a farm and we all know the rest is history!  Check them out here...... http://beekman1802.com/whois1802/us/

I am always up for a little chocolate, especially meticulously crafted chocolate. FRUITION CHOCOLATE's maker, Bryan Graham is as delightful as his chocolate. He was voted one of the TOP TEN CHOCOLATIERS in North America in 2013! He crafts small batches of his chocolates with slowly roasted and stone ground cocoa beans. Of course we sampled and purchased....Crystallized Ginger with Matcha Couverture, and a Toasted White Chocolate bar.  For more information on where to purchase this delicious chocolate......http://www.tastefruition.com/
  




AND FINALLY IN HONOR OF OUR ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY WHICH SLIPPED BY ME LAST WEEK, JUNE 3, 2014, I would like to THANK all of you for your support and constant reminder of why I love writing this blog.  

To my family and friends that have encouraged me from day one to move forward with something they knew would help me flourish. And those new friends that give me a reason to explore, and push myself into a whole new world....CHEERS as we move full speed ahead into year two!


                                            Kathleen



****Thank you so much for stopping by. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

EXPLORING THE NYC BOTANICAL GARDENS

Over the weekend my husband and I hopped on the train to New York's Penn Station, walked to Grand Central Station and hopped another train to the NYC Botanical Gardens. The 250 acres of beautiful grounds are located in the Bronx. They are truly a tranquil piece of paradise in the middle of the city.

 I really wanted to explore the "Groundbreakers" exhibit comprised of the works of women that were famous garden designers and garden photographers. The exhibit is open from May 17- September 7th.
These women were leading in their fields. The work they did helped elevate the quality of life for many  others across America through landscapes, their photos and writing. They are inspirations to us all.

We were a bit late to see the beautiful Azalea Gardens as they were nearly over their blooming stage, however, we were able to see the gorgeous orchid display inside the Thekla E. Johnson Orchid Rotunda.

Here are some of the photos we took as we toured the grounds.







If you have a chance to visit the NYC Botanical Gardens, and I highly recommend it, plan on spending the better part of day walking the grounds. You may stroll on your own or take one of the daily tours. There is also a tram that will take you through the acres and acres of beauty!

Wishing you a beautiful Day!

Kathleen