Sunday, August 16, 2015

We Have A Winner

High praise to those of you who can make bread without having flour everywhere in the kitchen. A new cookbook arrived, and after thumbing through it, I decided to make the Grilled Flatbread with Rosemary and Garlic Oil. It was a Sunday morning, and we would get to enjoy veggie flatbread sandwiches for lunch.
I rarely buy cookbooks these days...there are so many wonderful recipes right here in Blogland. This cookbook is my style....good food....good life.  And I love the photos in the book, especially Curtis Stone, his wife and adorable children. 
The summer heat has returned, and this week it will be in the 90's. The mornings are lovely for breakfast on the deck, and the flowers are loving the rain we finally got.
The winner of the Voyage of Life giveaway is: Bev Sunderman. Bev found my blog several years ago when she was planning a funraising event and looking for tablesetting ideas. She doesn't blog but does email me on a regular basis. Congratulations Bev!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunflowers For The Birds

 of us.

We stopped at a local farm to get corn and enjoyed the field of happy sunflowers which are being grown for bird seed. I love this time of the summer, and Dunkin Donuts will have their pumpkin coffee on August 31. LOL, it's my favorite.
Sunflower plates were blooming at Wegman's several years ago and are paired with Courtly Check placemats from the MacKenzie-Child's barn sale. 
I am a sunflower junky, and every vase in my home is filled with cheery sunflowers during August and September.
I'll leave you with this very easy summer dessert. I'm starting to crave pumpkin desserts, but this is really nice. 

Crunchy Peanut Butter
 and Vanilla Ice Cream Brownies

Start with Vanilla ice cream. Store bought is fine. I swirled the ice cream with crunchy peanut butter and spread it on thin fudgy brownies. Top it with another brownie, and then freeze. 

To make the brownies, I used a boxed fudge brownie mix and followed the instructions on the box. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment, spray with Pam, and pour brownie mixture onto cookie sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes and let cool. Cut into 4" squares, and remove using a spatula. Spread your ice cream mixture onto a brownie square and top with another brownie. Repeat until all sandwiches are complete and freeze. (I used freezer wrap)

This is a nice dessert to have on hand for summer visitors.
I served with whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. You can sprinkle crushed peanuts on the whipped cream if desired.

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer on the Deck and a Giveaway

This past weekend I had a little cookout and snapped a few hurried pictures before we ate. The weather was so great this evening....perfect for dinner on the deck. I brought the docking station outdoors and turned up the music. Summers are short and blooms are plentiful. That adorable cake server was a gift from a friend, and the artist is Molly Hatch. I will use it often!
I've been making Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes since 2008. We typically serve it with steak, corn on the cob and a tossed salad or zucchini dish. We recently served it with venison and enjoyed it. 
It's still very much summer here but fall is just around the corner. I ordered the striped rug two months ago from Williams Sonoma and it just arrived last week. They agreed to deduct the shipping charge of $35 due to the delay.
I scored the burlap utensil holders at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. 
I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday, and Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday. Thanks so much for your visit!

Before you leave, anyone who leaves a comment with an email link on this post will be entered in my Voyage of Life giveaway. Winner of four photo cards and a surprise gift will be notified on August 14, 2015.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Tales of the Traveling Tote #2 and a Giveaway


We are having more fun with Tales of the Traveling Tote than I ever expected. Our next post will be September 15, and we are going to one of our local, state, national parks. We've had some lovely summer days here.  Sunflowers, daylilies and clematis are blooming their heads off. Miss Aurora has been enjoying our summer weather and is "feeling useful". 

Toted beach towels to our dock at camp (her favorite thing to do in summer)

Toted the snacks for our annual croquet game on Fourth of July weekend at camp

She strolled the meadow at Olana Historic Site (Hudson Valley)

Visited Cedar Grove (Thomas Cole Site)

Enjoyed her overnight stay at Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, NY

Helped pick out an oak tree at Zone 3 (Inlet, NY)

Made a quick visit to "hang" with the artsy moose at View (Old Forge, NY)

Fit right in at the Adirondack Renaissance Fantasy Festival (Inlet, NY)
We attended the first annual Adirondack Renaissance Fantasy Festival near our camp in Inlet, NY. Thimbleberry the Woodsprite and her bestest friend Foomp were a delight to young and old. We were entertained by the Paddy Nappers, Gypsies, Fairies, battling Knights and belly dancers.

Miss Aurora was welcomed at Woodsy Gifts (Old Forge, NY) 

Hung out on the chair while I was reading a book at camp

We really enjoyed our trip to Rhinebeck, a tree-lined village that is upstate from New York City. A place for adventure, celebration and resting your head at night at a cozy B& B or Inn.  If you take Amtrak, you can get off the train, grab a shuttle and walk to quite a few inns, many fine restaurants and shops.
Talking to the locals was one of our favorite things to do. The Hudson River came up in every conversation, and defines "this side of river" and their preferences on what to do and where to live in the Hudson Valley. Our agenda included dinner at the Liberty Public House, saw Love and Mercy at Upstate Films, fine dining at the Terrapin and The Local, shopped for gifts at the Paper Trail (my favorite store in Rhinebeck) and the Rhinebeck Department Store.

While in Rhinebeck, we went to Olana State Historic Site. Loved this place!
Today Olana is known as one of the most important surviving picturesque landscapes in the United States. Produced during the same period with the same aesthetic and ideological motivations, the landscape at Olana has been compared to Central Park. Olana was one of several grand artist's homes in the Hudson River valley, and was the magnificent estate of Frederic Church.  

Church began the physical landscape design at Olana by searching three years for the ideal property. Frederic had walked and sketched throughout much of New England and elsewhere by that time, but his formative two years studying with Thomas Cole in nearby Catskill, New York, brought him back to the Hudson Valley.
Before you leave, tell me if you enjoy picnics, where you picnic and what you bring. Everyone who leaves a comment with an email link will be entered in my Voyage of Life giveaway. Winner of four photo cards and a surprise gift will be notified on August 14, 2015.

Located in the heart of the Hudson River Valley, the Thomas Cole Site (Catskill, NY) and Frederic Church's Olana (Hudson, NY) are two miles apart directly across the Hudson River from each other, connected by the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.

While we were in Rhinebeck we visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, home to Thomas Cole (1801-1848) founder of Hudson River School of Art.

The Voyage of Life, painted by Thomas Cole in 1842, is a series of paintings that represent an allegory of the four stages of human life: childhood, youth, manhood, and old age. The paintings follow a voyager who travels in a boat on a river through the mid-19th-century American wilderness. In each painting, accompanied by a guardian angel, the voyager rides the boat on the River of Life. The landscape, corresponding to the seasons of the year, plays a major role in telling the story. In each picture, the boat's direction of travel is reversed from the previous picture. In childhood, the infant glides from a dark cave into a rich, green landscape. As a youth, the boy takes control of the boat and aims for a shining castle in the sky. In manhood, the adult relies on prayer and religious faith to sustain him through rough waters and a threatening landscape. Finally, the man becomes old and the angel guides him to heaven across the waters of eternity.
MacKenzie Joy is "traveling" to celebrate Colleen's grandson's birthday and toting S'more jars made for another birthday celebration. Her beautiful tote looks so cool, festive and inviting. (Excuse the issue I am having with fonts and spacing on this post. I copied and pasted from emails and it is not working out)
Miss MC la Mer does not have many vacation plans this summer but came to lunch.
Yummy salad and fruit in the new MacKenzie containers...nice day to sit outside under the shade at the picnic table.
Check out my Tote playmates:
Debbie (Miss Aurora) @  Mountain Breaths 
Linda and Miss Rosie @  More Fun Less Laundry
Patti and Miss Kenzie @  Pandoras Box
Sarah and Miss CC @  Hyacinths for the Soul
Welcome our newest playmates:
Rita with Miss Luna C  @  Panoply 
Samantha with Christabel @ Samantha Stone
Tote playmates that don't have a blog
Tami and Miss MC la Mer
Colleen and Miss MacKenzie Joy

If you are enjoying the Tales of the Traveling Tote, I hope you'll visit again in September when Miss Aurora shares her tales of picnicing in a famous park. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Blueberry-Nectarine Crisp

This is my all time favorite recipe using fresh picked blueberries. I found the recipe in a magazine in 1999, but don't recall the name of the publication.  I went blueberry picking on Saturday, and it's always a fun event. I heard some young man yelling out to his nephew -- no stems! I would have to agree since no one wants stems in their blueberry pie. 

Blueberry-Nectarine Crisp

1 1/2 lbs. nectarines, pitted and cut into eighths
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp, lemon juice
1 TB cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 375. Toss nectarines, berries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in large bowl. Spoon fruit mixture into 8 x 8 pan. In same bowl, mix flour and brown sugar. With fingertips, mix butter into flour mixture until crumbly. Sprinkle over top of fruit. Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, until bubbly and browned. 

I hope you'll try it. I'm joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.