Warm Weather Eats

August 24th, 2016

Just when I was sure Fall was knocking on the door-  summer came back with a vengeance.  Tropical temperatures for a few days, then the wind will shift and the hint of Fall will reappear-   In the meantime?   We have been eating salads since yesterday with more on the menu for the rest of this week.     It’s the great thing about the summer season, there are SO many wonderful delicious vegetables out there.   I spent a good portion of the day yesterday roasting vegetables, grating and peeling others and the fridge is stocked full of salad healthy salad toppings.    We have an assortment of greens, and since we’re doing Whole 30 we are forgoing the salad dressing fare and adding a bit of olive oil and the juice from the roasted tomatoes.  It’s so delicious and healthy on top of that.    You can’t go wrong with either.

Dessert has been fresh fruits-  all of which is a whole lot of delicious!

What is your favorite warm weather ‘go to’ meal?

 

 

Learning Something New

August 24th, 2016

My brother is in the process of building a new home, so I haven’t talked to him as often as I usually do. The other day I gave him a call, and while he was giving me an update he started talking about vapor mitigation and he lost me. I interrupted him in the midst of a technical explanation that sounded ‘Greek’ to me, so that I could have him explain it more in terms that his dear sister would understand. Granted, he laughed at the idea of me not having knowledge of something and him actually having to explain it to ‘big sis’, but he did explain it well enough that I got the gist of what he was trying to explain.

Since I’ve never built a home from the ground up- or had one built, I really didn’t know that sometimes you need to have things tested for specific sorts of toxic gases. I asked a lot of questions, some of which he had answers to and some he didn’t. When I could tell he was getting frustrated at my endless questions, I gave it a rest and asked him something much less time consuming to answer: What color scheme are you using in the house? He did send me some photos and I’ll admit it made me homesick and wishing I could be there to help when they get ready to move in, plus to help decorate and do little things that need to be done along the way. It’s one of the many things I miss out on by not living nearby. Thank goodness for technology which allows me not only to talk to my family and friends regularly, but also allows me to easily look up information about subjects that I have no knowledge about.

Summers Bounty- Roasted Tomatoes

August 19th, 2016

There is something about a good farmer’s market that brings me joy. Local fruits and vegetables, providing great produce to cook along with each season. Right now, tomatoes are in abundance & if you have never tried a fresh from the vine tomato, you’re missing out on something special. (Unless of course you hate tomatoes, then that’s a horse of an entirely different color.)

tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, healthy, seasonal cooking The only thing even better than a farm fresh summer tomato is roasted farm fresh tomatoes. They are SO easy to make and the depth of flavor that they add to pretty much everything is beyond comparison. They are great pureed in soups, eaten on salads, added to quiches or other dishes, or tossed on hot pasta. I keep mine in a glass jar in the fridge and we’ve been eating them on everything.

Plus the bonus is that tomatoes are extremely healthy, so you get a flavor win and a health win.   That’s something to celebrate!

Want to know how easy they are to make?    Want no more— Here I used various cherry & grape tomatoes, but you can use ANY tomato you wish.

 

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

  • 1 pound (or more) fresh tomatoes of any sort, or a mixed variety- washed
  • sea salt- to taste
  • pepper- to taste
  • garlic powder- to taste
  • italian herbs (optional) – to taste
  • regular olive oil or grapeseed oil  (I switch between the two- usually whichever I grab)  I often will add a little more of the ‘good stuff’ EVOO when they are done before I store them in the glass jar.     As far as amounts-  I  drizzle what looks good to me-  a few tablespoons to a 1/4 cup depending on how many tomatoes it is.

Preheat oven to 375-

  • Rinse tomatoes and add to baking dish
  • sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, fresh ground cracked black pepper (or whatever you prefer), italian herbs.
  • Stir with wooden spoon to incorporate everything evenly.
  • Put in middle of oven and bake until desired doneness.

As you can see I bake mine until they start to pop and then also begin to brown on top-   Depending on your oven that could be between 25-40 minutes.    I start checking mine at 20 and then again every 10 minutes after that.   I pull them from the oven when they are my personal desired doneness and then leave them on the counter to cool if I’m not using them for a specific dish at that moment.    Once cooled, I transfer them, juice and all to a glass container with an airtight lid.  They also freeze well for a quick pasta or soup dish.

 

If you make these tomatoes, I’d love to know how you used them.  I’m always looking for some new cooking inspiration.

 

Happy weekend!

Home Again

August 10th, 2016

After a few days of travel and adventure this week- Marcel and I landed safely at home again. I’m a little tired, but on the whole I feel rejuvenated and inspired from the time spent away. I feel more determined than ever to get some of the projects here in house completed, plus since we got home & I was able to get everything unpacked and put away- all the laundry done- the other household ‘fun’ done such as vacuuming and mopping- tomorrow I can have a day to myself to work on some scheduling and planning.

I was hoping to get the window completed tomorrow, but it looks like the weather isn’t going to be cooperating with that idea, so I’ll work on some projects inside. There isn’t a lack of things that need to be done, plus I need to get some meal prep written for our upcoming Whole 30 plan we’re going to be starting. This will be my second one, but Marcel’s first. I want to make sure that it’s a success for him.

Tonight- I’m planning on curling up and doing a little catch up on some of my favorite shows. I don’t know about you, but I can smell fall in the air. The daylight hours are getting shorter, but the air has that fall crispness to it that I adore.

Have you noticed?e

Fakebook, Who Knew?

August 10th, 2016

Have you ever heard a piece of live music before and had the thought- “I’ve heard this before”? I have, but I never really gave it a lot of thought, only that it was one of those elusive moments where something seems familiar but not. AS it turns out, there is a name for musicians who take basic sheets of music and kind of run with the rest- it’s called fakebook. I know- the name sounds something like a spin-off of our every so popular social media giant, but I can assure you it’s a real thing. As it turns out- you can now even buy legitimate copies of fakebooks which have tunes that may sound familiar to you. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself.

Let the Projects Begin

August 6th, 2016

Last year when a good friend of mine moved from the area- I bought a few of the things she was leaving behind in the move.    One of those ‘things’ was an old window frame, with the windows still fully intact.    I knew I would do something with it, but what ‘something’ would be remained to be seen at that time.

Fast-forward more than a year later and I’ve finally figured out where it’s going and what exactly I’m going to do with it.      I picked up some Annie Sloan chalk paint in the color Burgundy, which reminded me of a deep, cranberry red.  It’s a color that I love, plus it goes well with everything else in our living area.    We did some painting earlier this year, and when the guy finished, I decided not to hang any paintings back on the wall because I wanted to change things.   The window is part of that change.

Last week I started the prep-work for painting the window.  I sanded any rough areas, and cleaned everything really well.    Since then I’ve been waiting for the weather to be good enough to permit me to go further, and today was that day.    After a cake delivery this morning, and a breakfast of fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and coffee out on the veranda, I decided to get to work.

Since I have never worked with Annie Sloan chalk paint before, I decided to begin with the back of the window, the side that will be against the wall, so that I could get used to working with the paint.    I did two coats- and it dried fairly quick, but I wasn’t thrilled with the results of the brush I was using.  It was ‘ok’, but not as smooth as I was hoping.   I cleaned my brush, put everything away, then did some Googling to see if I should be using something different.   As it turns out, I was.    One quick trip to the hardware store and I am now armed with the right brush and ready to continue the journey tomorrow.

Since I’ll be doing some traveling next week, I’m hoping to get lucky with tomorrow’s weather and be able to get the painting finished and the waxing done tomorrow-   that way it can sit and cure while I’m gone and be ready for hanging when we return.

I’m SO curious to see the finished product.  Once that’s done, I’ll be moving on to the next thing on my Annie Sloan ‘to do’ list-  and that’s paint some shelves that are in the living room.

Have you ever used Annie Sloan chalk paint?  What was your experience with it?    I’ll make sure to share the photos when I’m done.

 

 

Simple Beauty

July 20th, 2016

IMG_6792 (1)One of the things on my ’49 Things to do in My 49th Year’ list was to plan monthly ‘themed’ photo excursions. I’ve had a love for photography long before the digital days & thought it would be a fun way to tap into learning some new techniques, but also inspire me to spend more time with my camera, be it my phone camera (which I tend to carry everywhere) or my faithful Nikon.

My first themed photo adventure was somewhat spontaneous and I didn’t think of grabbing my Nikon before we left. Luckily, I do always have my iPhone with me, plus I have a love for Macro shots and nature- so the historical garden we visited provided the perfect setting.

The thing that challenges me about using my phone when I’m out shooting on a sunny day is that for the most part- I’m not sure how my photos are going to turn out.   I find the subject matter that I like, focus in on it- and take multiple shots hoping that at least one turns out ‘ok’.   Sometimes they all turn out, sometimes none of them turn out, but most often there is at least one that is usable.

With this particular image, I took three shots with my iPhone.  It was windy, so despite feeling there was no way I was going to get a clear shot (despite snapping between wind gusts), I took the shots anyway knowing I could delete what didn’t work.

When I got home and was looking through everything-  I loved how this one ended up being framed, plus the bonus of the bug in the flowers, something I hadn’t noticed on location.  That was the bonus.

I had a good time and already looking forward to the next themed outing-  but I still have a few weeks left on this months theme, so I’ll keep focusing in on those.

What simple beauty brings you joy?

Finding Pokemon

July 18th, 2016

To know me is to know that when new ‘tech’ things hit the market that get a lot of buzz- then my curiosity get the better of me and I want to know what the buzz is all about. Such was the case when the Pokemon Go app hit the market and the world erupted in more movement and gathering in spots to catch critters on the ‘Poke trail’.

Now, some of you are familiar with the original Pokemon. I am not one of those people. I don’t live under a rock, so I had heard of it ‘back in the day’, but it wasn’t something that interested me. Still, I couldn’t help but download this Pokemon Go app to see what all the hype was about.

I didn’t read tutorials, I didn’t read ‘about’ the game, so I really had no clue what the objective was, although because I’m somewhat tech savvy- I did figure out quickly that you wander around- and Pokemons appear and you capture then by tossing balls at them- It’s silly, but it has a charm about it. Good, innocent fun- as far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong there.

I’ve seen A LOT of people talking about how ridiculous they think it is that when there are so many serious issues happening globally that Pokemon would get all this attention that people could be focusing on other more serious issues.

My thoughts on that- I think the world needs to stop being so focused on what’s wrong- and take some time to chill- and have a little fun. Everyone has an opinion about what everyone is doing wrong these days- but no one seems to be focused on what anyone is doing right- THAT makes me sad.

When I see people playing Pokemon- I see smiles and laughter. I ran into two strangers the other day- They were 30 somethings and I’m clearly a late 40 something- and when they saw that my phone screen was opened to Pokemon- they immediately started talking to me- laughing and sharing about their game experience.

I had the same with my neighbor- whom I adore anyway, but I ran into her on the street and I had my game open- to see what was in the area- and Marcel said- Oh No- she’s doing Pokemon too! We laughed, chatted about the game and she said where she used to take her dog on 15 minute walks- she’s now taking him on 30+ minute walks- simply because she wants to see what kind of Pokemons she can find.

I’ve seen parents with their children out searching- It’s bringing people together, it”s positive and it is encouraging people to move more.

In my book- bring on more Pokemon!

Oops speaking of which- I just spotted one of those worm ones on Mister M. Gotta catch em all! Later!

Happy “Almost” Weekend

July 14th, 2016

Birthday month continues to bring new days and new adventures. I had an amazing birthday with my favorite guy and the company of a few friends. Granted, the month isn’t over yet, and things continue to blossom.

I feel a good energized buzz from things happening around me, and today came up with a business idea that I can not wait to continue planning and see where it leads. I am excited!

Tomorrow night I’ll be kicking off the weekend at the beach with dinner and a great friend. In my book it doesn’t get better than dinner, beach, and good company. Celebration month rolls on! Saturday will bring a day out and about with my favorite guy- and hopefully some planning on some home projects we have going on.

What about you- How is your weekend shaping up?

I also created a list for 49 things I plan to do in my 49th year- If you are interested- check it out on Bliss to the Nth Degree.

Happy ‘almost’ weekend!

Is it Really July?

July 10th, 2016

When I logged in today, I couldn’t believe that I haven’t been here since last month and here we are in the midst of the 10th of July. One-third of the month of July is gone, although I’m not quite sure where it has gone.

The old addage that says- Time flies when you’re having fun definitely applies here, because I have been having a blast!

It is celebration month, which means I celebrate my birthday for the entire month. After all, why limit my fun to one day? Birthdays are made for celebrating!

I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking. After all, I’m quickly approaching version 4.9 of my life, and want to make the coming year in this last part of the ‘4.0’ decade is the best ever.

IMG_6304While spending the day and night with some great friends yesterday, one suggested I make a list of 49 things I want to accomplish in my 49th year. I absolutely LOVE the sound of that, so I’ll be working on a list- to publish on my 49th birthday- two days from now.

We had lunch at the beach, spent some time in a lovely little beach side town doing some shopping, went to my favorite locally owned garden center, and our original plans included going back to the beach, but Mother Nature had other plans when the rain showed up, so we made our way back home and had Tex-Mex food, plus cake.  This exact cake to be exact.

A LOT of fresh fruit-   blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries.   Vanilla bean cake, vanilla bean butter cream and fresh lemon curd.  All made from scratch by yours truly.

The great thing about spending time in the company of true friends is that you can laugh, enjoy each others company and know it’s a safe place to ‘be’.    Yesterday was all that and then some, but then every day I spend with people I love is like that.

Do I take it for granted?  I try not to, because I know how fleeting life can be- and how we only have this moment.  I try to treasure those moments and be fully present in each and every one of them.

 

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