Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Our garden is overflowing with these beauties.  They are threatening to take over...
I don't mind.  They're quite delicious!

I've made salads, three batches of pickles, sliced them for snacks and had almost ran out of ideas for them.  Then I stumbled across this recipe.  To make this refreshing soup you will need:

4-5 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream or plain yogurt
1 green onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill

Place the cucumbers in a colander over a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Discard the liquid from the bowl.  Rinse the cucumbers under cold water, drain, and pat dry.

Chop your herbs and garlic.

Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor.  Cover and process until smooth.

Serve immediately.  Garnish with the dill and onions.

This soup is best served as an appetizer.  It is delightful on a hot day and has a wonderful, fresh taste.
When I made this soup, I substituted chives for the green onions.  It still tasted great!

I hope you're all enjoying these last days of summer!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Parks Used to Be Better, Right?

Is it just me or were parks more fun when we were little?

We had things like super fast metal slides that shot you off like a rocket at the bottom.

We had merry-go-rounds that made you completely dizzy.

We had jungle gyms to climb and hang upside-down from.

We had these things:

I don't know what to call them, but they're fantastic.  I loved them as a child and my boys loved them, too!  What's not to love about an animal on top of a spring that you can rock back and forth really fast?

There aren't many parks left around where we live that have "old school" things like this.

So often we'll go to parks and we'll look at the things to play on and wonder, "What on earth do you do with that?" or "Why would you want to sit and play tic-tac-toe at a park?"  Isn't the point to run around and burn off some energy?

Now, if I could only get them on an actual jungle gym and a merry-go-round...
They would love it and so would I!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thanks Very Much, Martha!

Hello Friends!  A happy Thursday to you all!

I was searching the Martha Stewart Website the other day and found these beauties.  I found them in the clip art section of the website.  They are bookplates that you can print yourself.  Simply print them out on your favorite color of card stock, cut out, and place in your favorite books with a little bit of glue.  I chose to put mine in my cookbooks, which are some of my most favorite things to read.  I'm not sure why these bookplates make me so happy, but they do!

Thanks for the book plates, Martha!  They make opening my cookbooks even more enjoyable than before!  Plus, now people will know that they're mine! 

Joy of all joys, tomorrow is Friday!  I hope you all have a wonderful start to your weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Little Window Fix


Jason has been working hard in the basement on our wine cellar/storage room.  He has almost everything finished in the room and we'll reveal what it looks like soon.  Today I'm going to show you a quick and easy way we fixed up a basement window.  We can't afford new windows right now but as you can see, we need them badly!  This is what one of our basement windows looked like before.  Pretty much a hot mess.

We live in a city on a small lot, which means that we have neighbors only a few short feet away from our house.  We didn't want any peeping Toms looking in our windows for any reason.  We also didn't think we wanted to put up any window treatments over the windows because natural light isn't exactly in abundance in a basement.  Can you spot our pretty little air conditioner outside the window?

We hoped to solve our problem by using Rust-oleum's Frosted Glass.  The directions said to make sure the surface to be painted was clean and dry.  Jason washed the window and let it dry thoroughly outside.  Then he sprayed three coats of the Frosted Glass over the glass.  He then painted the rest of the window the same white color he used in other areas of the room.

I happen to think it turned out great!  The Frosted Glass gives much needed privacy without sacrificing any natural light.  We have plans to paint the hardware as well, but are enjoying our "like new" window.  We will give the same treatment to the remainder of our basement windows as well.

I hope you all had a wonderful day!  Blessings on the remainder of your week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pretty Little White Tray

Hello!  Happy Tuesday to you all!

This tray was a Goodwill purchase from last fall.  I believe I spent $3.00 on it.  It was actually my first time going to a Goodwill store here in the city where we live.  I wasn't sure if I would find anything...  Then I saw this tray.  Apparently it was intended to showcase embroidery or needlepoint back in the day and protected it under glass, hence the matte and glass inside of the tray.  I don't do embroidery or needlepoint, (although I wish I did) but I knew that this tray would be lovely all gussied up in my dining room.  I brought it home and spray painted it white. 

I tried to make the matte work, but I didn't like how it looked.  So I ditched the matte and put a place mat from World Market inside.  The place mat matches my table runner on the dining room table.  I love this tray because of the glass that protects the fabric.  It is wiped clean easily and I don't have to worry about staining the fabric.

For now, the tray sits on my little gray table I painted this past winter.  I am planning on changing out the fabric inside of the tray this fall when I incorporate a new color into the dining room.

Trays seem to be all the rage these days.  I'm glad to join in finally, even if I'm a little behind...  Have you ever made over a tray?  I would love to hear about it!  Please feel free to leave a comment or a link to your blog.  Comments make my day brighter and I love checking out new blogs, especially "new to the blog world" ones like mine.

Night, all!  

I'm linking up to:

(who, takes the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen.  I'm not lying.  When I can take pictures like that, my life will be complete!  No joke).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Favorite Summer Salad

Happy Monday to you all!

I'm here with a scrumptious summer salad for you that will use up those wonderful tomatoes and the basil you have growing in your gardens.  It doesn't require that many ingredients but the flavor is amazing.  I hope that you try it!
Here's what you will need:

Tomato Basil Pasta Salad

1 pound of pasta, preferably corkscrew, Gemelli, or Fusilli
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
salt, pepper to taste
1/2 cup basil, chopped or torn
1 1/4 cups mozzarella, cubed

First, bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add the pasta and cook until al dente.  Before draining, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water for future use.  Do not rinse your pasta!

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the onion in the olive oil until tender.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper.  You will want the tomatoes to cook until they are soft and make a sauce.  They should still be somewhat "chunky."  Add the noodles to the tomatoes and stir until they are moistened.  Here is where you will add anywhere from a 1/2 up to 1 cup of the reserved pasta water. 

Transfer your pasta to a serving bowl and add the mozzarella and basil, stirring until combined.

This salad is wonderful served with bruscetta, garlic bread, or a nice crusty loaf of Italian bread and makes a nice lunch or light dinner.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our Flower and Vegetable Gardens

Good Wednesday morning to you all! 

I'm here with the post about our flowers and garden I promised you all yesterday.  Get excited.  :)

I'll be the first one to admit that some of my flowers this year are disappointing to me.  Particularly my Salvia (the annual kind).  I always plant purple.  This year when I bought a flat of them, they had no flower buds on them.  The only thing I had to go on were the tags stuck inside the plants.  The tags on the plants said they were purple, folks.  However, when they started to get blooms on them, there was no sign of my pretty purple.  Oh no, I only saw white.  So what's the big deal, you say?  Well, I already have white impatiens and Dusty Miller, which is gray.  So there wouldn't be much color in my window boxes or front flower bed OR my back flower bed.  Bummer.  Here is a picture of the purple Salvia in my flower beds and pots last year.

I guess we'll just call this year my "monochromatic" year.  Here is the front flower bed.

Here are the lovely window boxes my husband made for me.

This picture is one side of our house.  Since we live on a tiny lot in the city, you can also see our neighbor's flower pots and his sidewalk.  He's going with red again this year!  So much for privacy, eh?

Here is the full front shot.  Things have filled out again and bloomed even more since this picture was taken about a week ago...

Here is the other side of our house.

Here's what we have going on in the back.


In our garden this year we have planted Roma tomatoes, Big Boy tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green peppers, bush beans, and pole beans.  That's a whole 'lotta stuff in a very small space!

Phew!  That's all she wrote.  I hope you enjoyed the "tour" of our yard this year.  I'm off to clean and bake in between taking care of my sweet boys before our company arrives tomorrow.  Yikes!

God's richest blessings on your day!