Monday, October 8, 2018

The Farmers' Market in Early October

It's October, and it is beginning to look like autumn, but it sure doesn't feel like it! We're still having highs in the mid-80s. Paul and I went to our favorite -- and very charming -- farmers' market on Saturday and I took lots of photos. Pumpkins were everywhere, making it look like fall. But it's still hot and humid and feels like summer. I think I'm finally ready for cooler temperatures.

We bought some okra, which I've come to love over the past year. Paul cuts it into rounds, tosses it with avocado oil, salt and pepper, and roasts it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (the time depends on the size of the okra). Delicious!

There are always LOTS of dogs at the farmers' market, which I love. This little guy named Jimmy stole my heart. His owner adopted him from a shelter in our region, but he was originally found in Kentucky. I love scruffy little dogs like Jimmy. He gave kisses, too.

I love the pattern of the porch railing on this historic home. Along the picket fence is a climbing plant with vibrant red flowers. See a close-up below.

This Golden named Levi had the right idea. He took cover from the sun under a table where ice was melting. Smart dog. What's the weather like where you live?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Zucchini-Banana Muffins

I found this recipe for zucchini-banana muffins on the Cup4Cup website and thought they sounded yummy. I used my new Wholesome Flour by Cup4Cup instead of their regular gluten-free flour, to give the muffins a more "whole wheat" flavor. This was my first time using the Wholesome Flour, and I am very pleased. The muffins turned out very nicely! If you follow a gluten-free diet, give these a try. I swear by Cup4Cup GF flour. I can substitute it for all-purpose flour in any baked goods recipe and the results are reliably very good.

Zucchini-Banana Muffins

1-3/4 cups Cup4Cup brand Wholesome Flour gluten-free flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
3/4 cup milk (I used 1% milk)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. 

2) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

3) In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, vanilla, mashed banana and grated zucchini. Add to the flour mixture and stir until combined.

4) Using a small ice cream scoop, spoon batter into muffin cups, dividing equally. Bake for 30 minutes or until muffins spring back when pressed. Cool in muffin pan on a wire rack.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Peach Crumble

It's still summer and I'm holding on to every last minute of it! I am sad to see it end, but I know I'll embrace fall once it's here. I'm starting to see pumpkins for sale, and the thought of making hearty soups and chowders, and of doing more baking, is very appealing.

Over the Labor Day weekend, I made this peach crumble recipe, and it was delicious! The recipe actually called for using plums, but the plums I bought were all bad when I cut into them. I never seem to have luck with plums. So off to the store I went and bought organic peaches instead. They made a delicious, summery fruit crumble. This recipe has a bottom crust which got nice and crisp. The addition of almond extract beautifully complemented the peaches. I will definitely make this dessert again next summer.

Peach Crumble

1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, separated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour substitute, such as Cup4Cup
1/2 cup chilled, unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into small cubes
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 pounds peaches, pitted and cut into eighths (I left the peel on)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch shallow baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar with the salt and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside half the mixture. To the remaining half, add cinnamon, baking powder and 1 egg. Mix until well blended. Press into the bottom of greased baking dish. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 15 minutes. 

2) While the crust is baking, in a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, remaining egg, cream, and the almond and vanilla extracts; set aside.

3) Remove crust from oven and top with peach slices. I laid them in one direction, slightly overlapping. Pour the cream mixture over the peaches. Sprinkle with reserved butter-flour mixture. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until topping is golden brown and peaches are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Give this one a try when peaches are in season. I think you'll love it. We did!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Antiquing -- with the Dogs!

Happy Labor Day, friends! Yesterday, Paul and I took the dogs to an awesome antiques mall that we first visited in July 2016, which I wrote about here. During that visit we discovered the store is dog friendly, so this time we brought Henry and Ella along. They were perfectly behaved! They didn't pull, didn't break anything (phew!) and they were perfectly well mannered with everyone they met. Be sure to visit me on Instagram for some video clips (@claudiabungalow).

There was a long line of people at the checkout when we arrived, and I hadn't expected it to be that busy. I wasn't sure how people would react to the dogs. I didn't want them to get in anyone's way. But they did great, mostly walking in a straight line up and down every aisle. Henry came into a few booths with me and he was very careful, sniffing bowls that he hoped would have food in them. We walked around the mall for probably two-and-a-half hours! It was great exercise for the dogs, and they appreciated the air-conditioned environment.

Both Ella and Henry received attention and petting (even a few kisses) along the way. One lady we talked to said a Great Dane and an Australian shepherd had visited the store earlier that day. I can't imagine taking a Great Dane into a crowded antiques store -- even if it's extremely well behaved!

I saw lots of great things, but avoided buying most of them. We just don't have any more space in our house for display. I did buy a vintage planter for $6.95 and a goat skin rug for our bedroom for $49 (photos below). Other than that, having the dogs along meant more window shopping than actual shopping. And they kept us moving along, too. If we stopped too long to look at a particular booth, Henry would get a little antsy so mostly we kept moving. All in all, it was a very fun way to spend the afternoon with our pups.

Here are some photos of booths and vignettes that caught my eye. I love vintage planters, so when I saw the little white rectangular one on the table below, I had to take a look. It's in great condition and was only $6.95, so I nabbed it.

For now, I've placed it on an antique dresser in our guest bedroom. I have another planter like this one, but it's off-white. I use it in the bath to hold soaps. The two green planters below are vintage McCoy and the copper pot is one of two that my parents bought at a Paris flea market in 1967.

I didn't buy the McCoy vase below, but I sure wanted to! At $24, it was a decent price. It did have a chip on the rim, but not very noticeable. I really should have bought it, but I just don't have a place for it. My husband made a great point during the drive home: if we clean out the attic, we'd have space for a couple of plastic storage boxes where we could keep accessories and switch them out seasonally. A brilliant idea, and one that I never thought I'd hear him say (not about cleaning out the attic, but about storing extra accessories up there!). When the weather cools off, cleaning out the attic will be on our to-do list for sure.

Lastly, I want to show you the rug we bought. I placed it on top of an indoor-outdoor rug in our bedroom. I was hoping for a medium-sized cowhide rug like the one in our living room, but they only had huge cowhides. The prices are very reasonable. The large cowhides were $250 and the small goat hide rug was $49. Ella really likes laying on these hide rugs. I think she finds them cooler in the warm weather than sleeping on one of the dog beds, which we now have six of (two in our bedroom, two in the guest room, and two in the living room).

How did you spend your Labor Day weekend? Click "comment" below and let me know!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Orchid Love

If you've followed My Little Bungalow for any length of time, you probably know how much I love flowers, and two in particular: dahlias and orchids.

I took today off to have an extra-long Labor Day weekend. Early this morning I went for a swim (and forgot my towel -- that was fun). Then I went grocery shopping (which I love to do). Then I read a little (the novel Exit West by Mohsin Hamid). Then I went to my favorite home decor gift shop where I bought a Lucia candle. While I was there, I popped into the neighboring garden shop and greenhouse. Their orchids, which I featured in this post back in March, are spectacular. After that I visited an art museum. It was quite a wonderful day!

Do you have a favorite? I think it's hard to pick just one. They're all so pretty! I'm partial to the first two.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Scenes from a Late Summer Farmers Market

There were lots of great veggies and other wonderful things at the farmers market last weekend. I especially liked how one vendor displayed his eggplant and peppers.

Another vendor had baskets full of onions and numerous varieties of garlic. I bought one called Music, described as having a milder flavor and hint of sweetness. I used a couple of cloves that evening when I fixed one of my favorite go-to meals: bean and polenta pie (recipe here).

I also bought a jar of locally made red kraut and a jar of white kimchi. Fermented foods are good for gut health. The kimchi will be delicious on top of a bowl of mixed greens, quinoa, a fried egg and sauteed zucchini. I'm going to throw this together for a meal one night this week. We'll see how it turns out. 

As I headed to my car, loot in hand, I stopped to snap this photo of the pretty blue sky. It was the perfect weather for a trip to the outdoor market.

Be sure to check out my Instagram page: claudiabungalow

Saturday, August 25, 2018

More Flowers

A beautiful red dahlia from our garden. 
Pretty pink and white Dendrobium orchids that my husband gave me. 
Flowers make me happy.

Friday, August 10, 2018

August Dahlias

I am so happy that we finally have some pretty dahlias to cut from the garden. This year's dahlia garden has been pitiful. Some of my favorite plants from previous years -- like dinner plate-sized yellow ones and these dramatic red and white ones) didn't come up at all. But the apricot beauties (which have consistently produced flowers year after year) and the deep purple variety are producing some good specimens.

Hey, I'm now on Instagram. My handle is claudiabungalow (hope I'm using the correct terminology ... I'm still learning). Check it out! I'm a little late to the Instagram party, but I'm having fun with it.

How is your summer going?

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Thoughts on August and a Few Summer Essentials

I've come to realize why I always feel sad when August 1 rolls around. It's because August is the beginning of the end of summer. Even though the first day of autumn isn't until September 22, there is a general feeling that summer ends with Labor Day (Sept. 3 this year). Kids go back to school here in August, which is another unofficial sign of the "end of summer." Ever since summer has become my favorite season, I'm always sad to see it end. At least we have warm (sometimes very warm) weather through September and even sometimes into October. In 2016, my husband and I took advantage of some warm, sunny days in late October by going swimming in a nearby lake, as I detailed in this post. The water was chilly, for sure, but the sun was warm and wonderful.

Since June, I've intended to write a post about summer essentials. Summer's not over yet, so I'll share just a couple of my favorites here. The first essential is a good sunscreen -- actually, this is important year-round. A brand we like a lot is Aveeno. It goes on easily and stays on until you wash it off. It has a light, pleasant smell and doesn't leave you feeling sticky. And it's effective! We have all three SPFs: 30, 50 and 70, as well as 50 SPF for the face.

Another summer essential for me? Skorts. I have six of them and wear them all the time -- including to work on casual Fridays. I purchased my first two skorts from Title Nine many years ago and they are like new to this day! They are made of nylon/spandex and have two side pockets plus a zippered pocket on the thigh. One is light grey, the other is light khaki. I think when I bought them they were in the $50 range, which at the time I thought was pricey. But when I divide the price by the number of years I've owned them, they're a great value. Title Nine skorts can cost as much as $79 now. They come in lots of bright colors and prints. The Clamber skort below is the most similar fabric and style to what I have. Most of Title Nine's skorts are stretchy knits, which are great for outdoors activities like running or cycling.

I also have a black, stretchy athletic skort that I wear to the gym (the label says Moving Comfort), and three Eddie Bauer Horizon skorts, like the one below. I have one in black, one in dark smoke and one in charcoal grey with a light grey floral pattern.

Eddie Bauer has great sales, and an excellent satisfaction guarantee. My husband had at least six pairs of EB cargo shorts, all of which had faulty buttons that broke in the center. Over time, he replaced all of them with the spare buttons that came with the shorts. Then each of the spare buttons broke as well, sometimes soon after he sewed them on! For a guy who wears shorts every day of the year to work (including in 10 degree winter weather), the button issue became a crisis. He contact the store, and without hesitation or questions they encouraged him to return them for a store credit, giving him full-price value (we most certainly hadn't paid full price for them). He used the credit to buy new shorts, plus a few other items including a down vest for me (so sweet). So far, the new shorts have been problem-free.

In addition to my summer skorts, I love wearing sandals. My feet are happiest in the summer when I can wear sandals, both dressy and casual. I have two pairs of Eddie Bauer Kara wedge sandals. They are super comfy and give me an extra 2.25" of height (I'm 5'7"), which I like.

My Teva sandals are my favorite casual sandals. I can wear them with skorts, pants and even casual dresses. I don't think Teva makes this style any longer -- I wish I had bought two pairs back when I purchased these. I love how minimalist they are with their thin, simple, single-color straps. They're so comfy, I can even go for walks in these sandals.

Those are a few of my favorite summer essentials. What are some things you can't do without in the summer months?

This is not a sponsored post.
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