Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Here is a healthy and easy summer appetizer my friend Pat shared with me recently! I took her word for it and prepared it myself ( photo above) and she was right...!  It is fast and easy as well as very tasty.

Dear Deb,
Here is one of my favorite summer recipes. The Hummus is a new recipe for me. I love Hummus and buy it every week at the store. I use it quite a bit for a snack with vegetables and crackers and as a condiment with sandwich wraps. I decided to try making a batch myself and I am so glad I did!

 Homemade Hummus is easy and delicious. The FRESH taste of summer is well worth the effort of opening up the blender. It was easier to make it than go to the store to buy it. I am sure this will become a regular at my house now.

 Lemon Hummus

1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans

¼ cup liquid from can of chickpeas

3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on taste)

1 ½ tablespoons Tahini ( sesame butter )

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add ¼ cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Place in a serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1-2  tablespoons of olive oil in the well). Garnish with parsley (optional).

I tossed in a Table Spoon of Pine Nuts and used them for a garnish too!
Sprinkle with Paprika or Turkish Spices...

* All of these ingredients are easy to find at your local market. Even the Tahini!
Just perfect for a summer get together round' the pool, beach or back yard BBQ. I find my best recipes are the ones I get from friends." 
~ Pat Smith

I agree! I love a good recipe from friends... It just makes it all the more yummy doesn't it?

Do you have a favorite EASY homemade summer appetizer?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

SUMMER ROMANCE~ family style

I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs recently and I just had to share Pattys' post over
Sewingseeds4u from  Lemon Avenue Cottage  with you! Those are her flowers BTW. Her blog is wonderful and her topic for Saturday Morning inspired me to write this post ( thank you Patty ) about the many ways we love, nourish, care for and create beauty in our homes for ourselves, and our families and what a blessing it is to truly make our homes a haven for those we love...

   We've been having a little Summer Romance... family style!

Our summer splurge this year was an Elegant Garden Gazebo ( that's what it said on the outside of the box ). We have a west facing deck and in high summer it's just too darned hot to be out there during the day and after sunset, it's too buggy... We've practically been living in our " screened porch " and if it was larger I think we'd set up some beds so we could sleep outside under the stars canopy.  It's the new breakfast hangout, lunch spot, juice pop break and yes, on occasion a lap top makes an appearance for some Blog surfing. We've even played cards by candlelight!



Whether you're a working mom or a full time homemaker working on your Master's in Domestic Art's like me, we can all use a little family romance now and then...I know, sometimes your just too tired to even think about making a meal " special  " ( with loving thoughts and hands ) It's easier to just throw something together, quick and get on with the next thing. We all do it! More often than not, we rush through our daily doin's as if we have a plane to catch. Some of us do!  Having the energy to come up with something truly creative on your own can seem like a stretch at times.

 One of the easiest ways I know to add romance to any occasion is with FOOD.  The simplest of meals, can often be the best!

This Saturday night's repast was my summer version of Mexi- night. We are still in the middle of a heat wave, so instead of hot re fried beans and Mexican rice ( an Autumn and Winter Favorite)  I served chilled canned peaches, and plenty of cool fresh chopped veggie fixin's for the Taco toppings. Black olives and home made guacamole are some of our favorites when it comes to Taco night!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

1/2 Tsp chili powder
1/4  Tsp crushed red chili pepper
dash of garlic powder
dash of onion powder
a sprinkle of oregano
a dash of cumin
 Ground black pepper and a pinch of fine ground
sea salt to taste...

*This amount is just right for a 1/2 - 3/4 pound ground beef  and can be adjusted for larger servings.

 For those who like their Taco's on the spicier side... add more Crushed Red Pepper!

Homemade Guacamole

2- 3  ripe avocado's mashed
2-3 green chillies chopped
1 Tomato chopped
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 1/2 Tsp lime juice  
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/2 Tsp fine ground sea salt

*combine ingredients and chill for half an hour before serving.

Serve with tortea chips and as a topping for Taco's, Tostada's and Taco Salad.

If you only have one smile in you, give it to the people you love.

~Maya Angelou

I'd love to know how you romance YOUR family?


Monday, July 19, 2010

The QUEEN of Wildflowers~

  Wild and Wonderful? Or just a weed?

I  love the wonderful weed known as Queen Anne's Lace.  

Recently, I've noticed it growing wild everywhere I look!

I've spotted it by the roadsides near my home and highway, in nearby fields, along walkways and on the shoulder of the road to our cottage.

Something about QUEEN ANNE'S LACE has captivated me!

Maybe it's the casual way it spills over a sidewalk that has me gawking as I drive by. Or the way it wraps itself around a telephone pole striking an elegant pose?


Or perhaps it's the way it beautifies an other wise UN attractive busy corner street giving us something pretty and graceful to appreciate while we are stopped in busy traffic?

The QUEEN looks just as happy in groups as she does playing solitaire.

I hit the jackpot when I found an entire field of it with the blue waters of Cape Cod Bay in the background. If I had more time I'm sure I could have found more fields of Queen Anne's Lace growing wild on a few of our local farms here in New England.  

Maybe it's just the way it looks simply perfect growing wild, right where they are?

If you're like me and have fallen in love with this old fashioned wildflower click here to learn more about where you can purchase seeds for your own garden! I've got a spot in mind...How about you?

What do you think? WILD and WONDERFUL? Or just a weed ?

 Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.
~A.A. Milne

* A note about the photos. All but the LAST one were taken by me in the heat and bright light of a high summer mid day! Picture me the amateur photographer whipping my car off to the side of the road so I could snap a quick pick of the QUEEN... The QUEEN in front of the light house was taken by my dearly beloved... He's got an eye for beauty don't ya think?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gardening is Good Medicine

Is there anything more Cape Cod in a New England garden than Hydrangea shrubs? I've got a few of these Endless Summer varieties sprinkled here and there and this year I tucked in an Oak Leaf Hydrangea in the back of the Summer Garden for some added fall color interest. I love all Hydrangeas but I think they really steal the show when they're planted in rows or large groupings.

I have a place saved along the north side of our house for a  white hydrangea  ( Annabelle' ) border but it'll have to wait until fall when the sun has cooled it's jets a bit! 

In the meantime, the Tiger Lillie's are putting on a wonderful show!

As are the Shasta Daisies, Black Eyed Susan's, Oriental Lillies, Daylillies,

White Lillie's, Lavender, Russian Sage, Orange Cone flower, Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Moon Beam Yarrow and Strawberry Yarrow. 

The Bird and Butterfly Garden is in it's third year and doing great. I've yet to capture the hummingbirds lighting on the Bee Balm with my camera. They are just too fast for me but oh how they love this plant.

This is the time of year in the garden when my heart sings! It's the proof in the pudding that  all my hours of spring DAYDREAMING and planning was time well spent... BUT, we Gardner's know that don't we? 

In last years garden this vintage pedestal sink was a bird bath... This year I decided to have a little fun and fill it to the brim with flowers! Annuals, Snow in Summer and Sweet Potato Vine are some of my favorites for pots and window boxes...

sink garden

July is HOTso I think I'll just sit back with a tall glass of lemonade, enjoy the garden at it's peak and watch the veggies grow...

Time to rest up for fall planting and a few other garden surprises too! 

from my SUMMER READING bookshelf ~

If you're looking for a bit of inspiration for your gardening pursuits don't miss  Montrose ~ life in a garden by Nancy Goodwin and A GARDEN LOVER'S CAPE COD by C.L. FORNARI 

Enjoy the rest of YOUR gardening season~

"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies." -- Gertrude Jekyll

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Sanctuary ~ Cottage Style

Have you ever been to a place where you lost track of the days and time?

Grab your flip flops and come with me to a simpler time, where the sound of a slamming screen door and happy children warms your heart, reminding you of a time when life moved a little slower, was full of wonder and memories were
made to last a life time, even generations.

 Summer is in full swing in our small beloved beach community. Last weekend kicked it off with the annual opening of the beach fundraiser and beach run. Both events raise money to help keep our beach safe and protected for our enjoyment and the generation’s to follow. After all, many of the folks who live in our community are second and third generation residents…

We look forward to annual summer traditions like the first community wood stove breakfast of the season. While we’re all still sleeping, one of our very generous and ambitious neighbor’s gets up before dawn and stokes up the old wood stove outside getting it ready for banana nut hotcakes, scrambled eggs, baked beans, hash, and when we're really living high on the hog, home fries! We bring a thermos of home brewed percolated coffee and a little something to add to the hot dishes and wait for our name to be called when our plate is ready.

We’ve been doing this so long that the cook knows what everyone likes. We like to rough it! I like to think of it as our equivalent to Mary Jane’s Outpost idea BEACH style. We use a clothes line which is located right next to our out door solar shower… There’s nothing like a nice cool shower after a long day of gardening, walking, fishing for crab and striper, or a boat ride around the island.

Did I mention we have no TV or Internet? Some people have upgraded their solar systems’ enough to invite technology into their beach life, but we're holding out! Instead, we encourage fun and games of the old fashioned sort. Remember croquet'? Badminton, paddle ball, blowing bubbles, and capture the flag? how about a whiffle ball game on the beach or a game of flag football?  With no electronics's to distract is, we get plenty of  R n R too! Reading and relaxing.  We  do use our cell phones but only if we have too! This is a remote area with no services and we like it that way! We do have one store which plays into another summer tradition. The Candy Store run by resident volunteers out of their cottage is open during the summer months. All  funds go to the beach association.  We try to help any way we can and it does my heart good to know I'm only a short walk away from my nearest chocolate fix!

Many of the residents grow a vegetable garden and share their harvests! It’s on my ever growing farmgirl to- do list to grow one too but it’ll have to wait until next spring along with a chicken coop.

Shh, don’t tell my sweet husband about that one yet! Imagine, fresh eggs right out your back door!

When you are 45 minutes from the nearest store, it’s nice to be able to grab a fresh ripe tomato right off the vine or some crisp lettuce and scallions for salad makin’s. If you do grow a garden a raised bed is the only way to go… The wild bunnies will nibble away at everything otherwise.

The cottages in our beach community come in all shapes and sizes and with a variety of amenities. Most are solar/ gas powered because we are located on a sand bar with no access to grid power. We share a common interest in conservation as individuals’ and as residents of our community. We are only the lucky stewards of our homes for a short time and it’s our turn now to teach our children the important lessons of
community, each other, and conservation.

Beach- style

Some folks still use a keeper for daily necessities (if you know what I mean) and we use collected gray water to flush our indoor potty via a solar pump. That’s our water tank with all those pretty pink lambs’ ears growing in front of it next to our cottage.

To say we are honored to have this little slice of heaven to escape to is hardly sufficient… What we are is blessed, ten times over. It’s been my husband’s home away from home during the summer months since before he was school age.  That will make our two children third generation when their turn comes!

Nope, it’s not a big old farmhouse where I feel most like a farmgirl. (Though I do dream of one and a horse or two to go with it  ) It’s in a tiny (just less than 500 square feet) rustic, one bedroom beach cottage on a big grassy lot surrounded by stone walls, and a wide open sky where this farmgirl feels right at home.

It's where we shed the worries of the world and re -connect with each other and mother nature.

( My oh my, that trim certainly needs painting doesn't it?)

              It's fourth of July and Summer’s here!

 Shout your patriotism from the roof tops! Say a prayer for our troops and their safe return home. We're forever grateful to them for all the wonderful freedom's and opportunities this great nation affords us as Americans.

Get out there and catch some fireflies, We're headed to the beach… see you soon!

Where do you UN- wind ? I would love to hear about your summer sanctuary!  
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