Thursday, June 30, 2011

Back to the Beach

We just spent a long weekend at the beach, having traveled there for one of my husband's triathlon races. Instead of heading home after the event, we stayed an extra night so we could fully enjoy the beach and all its beauty. We took long walks, ate great seafood, and lounged by the pool. It was hard to say goodbye.








Saturday, June 25, 2011

On the Porch

Each year I create a planter for the front porch, combining four or five shade-loving plants. Here's this year's arrangement. I used pink fuchsia (on the left), asparagus fern and Sonic Red New Guinea Impatiens. 



And on the other side of the planter, a polka-dot plant and Cherokee Sunset coleus. 



We recently bought a small, round table so we can enjoy dining outdoors more comfortably (and not have to eat off our laps). Once we use it, I'll post some photos -- along with a recipe. Here's to more summer suppers on the porch!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Raspberry Buckle


One of my favorite summer desserts is this super-easy raspberry buckle, a recipe from 
Everyday Food.

Raspberry Buckle 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for baking dish
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (my addition to the recipe)
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 containers (1/2 pint each) fresh raspberries (2-3/4 cups)

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2-quart oval or square baking dish. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition to combine. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder; with mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture until incorporated. 

2) Spread batter in baking dish. Scatter raspberries over batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and top is golden brown, 45 to 5o minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.



Monday, June 13, 2011

Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives

This dish has been one of our very favorites for more than eight years, since I started getting Everyday Food magazine. It's my "go to" recipe when I'm short on time, and I usually have everything needed for it in the pantry (except maybe the grape tomatoes and fresh parsley, but dried parsley works fine). Here's a link to the recipe

You can use penne or shells; I find that whole wheat pasta stands up well to the flavors in this dish -- plus, it's healthier. Give it a try and enjoy with a good red wine. If you want to add meat, try tossing in some cooked shrimp at the end. Bon appétit!




Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Scenes from the Farmers' Market

Summer time, when the living is easy: barefoot-and-shorts weather, canoeing on the lake, afternoon breezes on the front porch, and Saturday mornings at the farmers' markets. With stand after stand of the freshest local fruits and veggies, tempting baked goods, homemade crafts, soaps, and other treats, the farmers' market is one of my favorite places to go on the weekends. 

On a recent trip to the farmers' market, I bought a couple of beautiful, large Boston ferns for the porch, some organic herb plants (chives, basil, parsley and Vietnamese coriander, which tastes like cilantro but tolerates the heat better), yellow cherry tomatoes, and some goat cheese and goat milk. My hubby bought homemade soaps that help repel mosquitoes and ticks -- a good alternative to sprays containing DEET. The soap is made of lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, pine and eucalyptus, and it works! Here are some photos from the market ... 








As you may have guessed by now, both my hubby and I are dog lovers. So when we met a couple with two beautiful Burmese Mountain dogs at the market, we just had to visit and snap a few photos! These boys (I think their names were Butch and Bo) had such sweet personalities -- and their owners were very friendly too!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Week at the Beach, Part Two

There's nothing quite as relaxing for us as a week at the beach. Maybe it's because we spend our days doing whatever we want, whenever we want.

We'll watch the sun go down ...


take long walks ...


comb the beach for sharks' teeth ...


sunbathe ...


play music ...

explore tidal pools ...


watch the clouds roll in ...


paddle ...


take naps in a hammock ...


ride bikes ...


snack on wine and cheese in the middle of the day ...


and watch the sun go down ... again.

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