Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Blooms, Birds and Bugs

The summer gardens are in bloom, some things for the first time, others growing like crazy.  I took a walk around the yard yesterday and was so surprised to see what came up.

This is the first time my hydrangeas bloomed since I planted them two years ago.  Unfortunately the deer ate the blooms off of my other one, these are so pretty.  The pink flowers are enormous Crepe Myrtle trees.  They don't really have a scent, but I do cut a bouquet and bring them into the house.
 This is how big they have gotten, they will have to be trimmed next year so the squirrels do not get on the roof.  They provide a nice border between the house and the creek.
 A Mimosa tree lines the front yard, they are also very pretty, but a little messy.
 We have alot of wild raspberries all over the property, the deer do eat them when they are not eating all of my flowers and bushes!  They are very prickly.
A large day lily garden was planted out front around a circle of trees. All colors and varieties, these are just three of them.
 A big Rose of Sharon tree and lots of ferns.
 Newly planted this year is Milkweed.  The bees and butterflies love this stuff.  Vibrant in color so it attracts them, as well as ladybugs, hummingbirds and other pollinators.
The lavender is in full swing.  I had a hard time growing this before, but I think I finally hit on the right spot for it.  There is a very large basil plant growing right behind it.  I have pruned that 4 times already this summer and it still keeps growing!
 Knockout roses are doing a knockout job!
 I moved this birdhouse and a house wren nested inside.  It's tucked in the back of a snowball viburnum bush.
This little pink/purple flower ground cover is called Tickseed.  It spreads quickly and covers hard to plant areas of ground.  My bird condo I found at a yard sale for $5. I am sure next year it will be fully rented.
The birds need to bathe so a birdbath is tucked among the Russian Sage, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Lilacs.  They feed on a number of bird feeders on the property, I should claim them as dependents for the amount of bird food they eat!
 And as I was done my walk and coming in the front door I saw this little guy, a grasshopper, on the door panel.  He is the first one I've seen this summer.  I am still waiting to see the praying mantises that always nest in these tall grasses that line the creek and the deck.  The cats go crazy when they see them. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blue Jeans Times Two

I have been a clothes hog since I had my first job in high school.  I would spend almost my whole paycheck on clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags.  I still love clothes, but try to get more out of my pieces with creative ways to wear them. I took a dark wash pair of skinny jeans and paired them two ways.  Check them out. 

Dark Skinny Jeans, Grey T- Shirt, Camel Leather Jacket, Red and Navy Flats, Red Bead and Metal Necklace and Red and Ivory Twisted Rope Bracelet.
 Dark Skinny Jeans - rolled up, Coral Lace Tank Top, Oatmeal Sweater, Iridescent Silver Bead Chain Necklace and Nude Ballerina Flats with Marcasite Studded Bow.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Angel and Rabe

While I was perusing the veggie aisle at my local grocery store for some interesting veggies to eat, I picked up a bunch of fresh broccoli rabe, also called rapi or rapini, and an acorn squash (more on the squash later).  I wanted to break out of my red sauce and pasta routine and make something new.  Rabe is a cruciferous vegetable much like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, you get the picture.  All the parts are edible, the buds look like small broccoli heads, it's also a great source for vitamins A, C, K, potassium, calcium and iron.  Grab a bunch of this healthy, green, leafy veggie today, there are alot of fantastic food dishes to make with it.  Add it to sauces, salads and sandwiches.  This is how I made mine -

My rabe, fresh from the grocery store, olive oil and garlic.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan.  Chop up 4-5 big cloves of garlic, add to the pan, saute until fragrant.
Clean the rabe, trim the stems, I don't like too many stems, but it if you do, eat them it's ok.  Chop the rabe, sprinkle with salt and pepper, add to the garlic with 1/4 cup of water and the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, cook until tender.
 While the rabe is cooking, start a pot of salted water and bring to a boil for the angel hair pasta.  Cook angel hair to your liking, drain, toss with another 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the rabe and parmesan cheese.
 I served my pasta with pesto and cheese bread for a delicious meal.
NOTE:  I used 1/2 lb of angel hair for four people and had leftovers

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I've Got The Blues

Ever since my kids were little, we have always tried to make a nice big breakfast on the weekends.  It was a nice change from having cereal, frozen waffles and frozen pancakes on busy weekday mornings, when I was trying to get them out the door to school.  They enjoyed smelling the bacon and sausage cooking and the pancakes, French toast or eggs grilling on the cook top.  They are now all grown, off on their own adventures, but when they are home on a weekend and not working, they still love to sit and have breakfast. 

I make pancakes the easy way, but add blueberries.  Blueberry pancakes are my favorite, and the blueberries are so good for you.  Follow the directions on the box for the amount you want to make, after mixing the batter fold in fresh blueberries.
 Drop by small ladle onto an oiled griddle, wait for the bubbles to appear and then flip to the other side.
 I love hearing the blueberries pop and sizzle as the the pancakes are cooking.
 Breakfast is served with bacon and orange juice.
 Look at those beautiful blues bursting with flavor!  See, it doesn't take long to make a delicious breakfast  for everyone to enjoy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

All I Want Is A Little Cornbread

All in life is good when you have a pan of warm cornbread.  My easy version only takes minutes to make, and I use a small cast iron frying pan to bake it in.  Put some butter on your slice when it comes right out of the oven and watch it melt into and over the edges of your slice of cornbread, it's awesome.  I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner because it's so delicious!

This short little recipe is easy when you start with a package of Betty Crocker Cornbread and Muffin Mix. It's around 49 cents at my grocery store, how cheap is that for something so good.  I follow the directions on the back, you need 1/3 cup of milk, 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 1 egg.  Then I add magic to mine in the form of 1/4 cup of sugar.  It makes it sweet and adds a little crunch to the top when it's baked.  I then pour it into a small, lightly oiled, cast iron frying pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes, depending on your oven, until golden brown.  Slice it up and serve warm with butter or drizzle honey over the top.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Laid - Back Saturday Afternoon

Took a break from all the hustle and bustle of life, was out for a long country ride, with my "Sunday driver" husband, and came across this beautiful single lane wood bridge. I could not resist taking a picture of it and it was more fun driving across it!
Picked my first red grape tomatoes on Saturday. YAY summer freshness!
 Could not figure out WHY my bell peppers were not growing, NOW I KNOW WHY!  This creepy fat green wormy, thingy with white eggs all over it, eeeeeew!  It destroyed all of my peppers.
 AND, I caught Rocky Raccoon in broad daylight, out at the bird feeder feasting on some birdseed.  Ahhhhh, gotta love suburban living with a country feel.