Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flashback and Foodie Friday ~Christmas in July

In the words of my father...I need to "Think Cool". The Pacific Northwest is experiencing record high heat this week. 106° is hot enough when you live in the south and have the air running 24/7 & 365 days a year. But 106° in a house without air is just plain ridiculous!!!! Needless to say I haven't even gone near the stove or grill much less cooked anything. Even making a sandwich has me working up a sweat so there's been a lot of eating out and takeout going on in this household. So, this week I flashback to the days of winter (when I was whining about too much snow)and get in a chilly frame of mind! I know Jigs needs a reminder..he loves the snow! He turns into one big snowball too!

These days he's spending his days in front of the fan and getting misted under the sprinkler! Here he is savoring the crisp air.

I'm not so sure the birds appreciate it as much as Jigs does. But we keep them well fed so I don't think they suffer too much!

Even the hummy stuck around during all of the snow this winter.

My flowers aren't too happy right now..not sure they were any happier under this blanket :-) But ahhhh doesn't it look refreshing?

I love seeing all of the frosty tips

I'm not sure what's worse...getting in a car as hot as an oven and burning yourself on the seatbelt buckle...or facing the slick roads? Right now I'd take the roads...or stay at home and snuggle up on the couch!

Because if you get out in just have to come home again! Looks like more snow in the distance...

Falling allll night I would love that right now!

I could bake Christmas goodies all day and cook all night instead of visiting Jack in the Box!

I had thought of showing some wintry fare like soup or stew but the thought of it had me breaking out in hives, so I figured

no-cook was the way to go. There is some microwaving involved but if the microwave is heating up your house I'd suggest you go buy a new one and get tested for microwave't worry. I just made that up!

These are two recipes that make an easy tasty addition to your holiday gift plates. The hardest part is the dipping and thats not too hard!

Oreo Truffles
  1. Using a blender or hand held mixer, mix Oreos and cream cheese together.
  2. Roll into walnut size balls.
  3. Chill for an hour.
  4. Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark.
  5. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark.
  6. Allow to harden on wax paper.
  7. Takes about 15 min.
  8. While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark.
  9. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark.
  10. I just use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner to drizzle the almond bark.
Martha Washington Balls
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 (24 ounce) package sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1-2 packages chocolate bark
  1. Combine all ingredients except for chocolate bark.
  2. Refrigerate over night or until well chilled.
  3. Shape coconut mixture into walnut-size balls.
  4. Freeze until firm.
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave following package directions.
  6. Pierce balls with a tooth pick or wooden skewer, dip balls into chocolate.
  7. Lay on wax paper until set.
If it's warm whereever you are...take my Dad's advice (I'm trying to) and Think Coooooooooool!

If you have a flashback of any kind you'd like to share post your link below!

This is my Foodie Friday Contribution too! Go check out all of the foodie fun at Designs by Gollum!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flashback Friday ~Summer Reds

This week my flashback is floral only! I'll let them speak for themselves! Join me with your flashback, flowers, favorites..whatever you like! These are from last August, when its about as red hot as it gets in this air conditioned state.

Please add your link below if you want to join me this week!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Gazebo Garden Party

My good friend Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen is hosting a virtual Garden Party this weekend. Click HERE to see her post as well as links to all of the other beautiful, yummy posts. If you have a garden themed post please join in! This is the second year a group of us have had this event and I have to say, I have looked forward to this for quite some time. Jigs is here to lead you to the back where I'm waiting....

Stop and take a peak at this pretty rose I have growing up the's new and I hope next year it will make a better show.

The butterflies are flying all about..mainly because of this butterfly magnet!

I have plenty of daylilies blooming right now including this pretty soft pinkish apricot one.

The tall phlox is just starting to bloom. White 'David is the first..the brighter colored ones will soon follow.

The wedding arbor, under which we got married, is heavy in bloom right now, covered by a climbing form of "The Fairy".

The blooms are so tiny and sweet

The hydrangeas are blooming now too. I love this one that holds its reddish pink color.

Mostly the soil turns them blue..which I'm not complaining about! I adore them!

Can you stand another look at a rose? This time it's Abraham Darby

Here's one of my favorites at this time of the year...Cosmos.

So that's the little tour of the flower garden. This weekend a happy coincidence happened that has made my little Garden Party even more exciting. Our neighbors are moving and we had the opportunity to acquire their gazebo. As luck would have it, we were able to get it in place yesterday..just in time! I wasn't sure how it would look on our patio, but it seems to just fit. I hope that today will be just the first of many meals that I enjoy in the spot.

So come on in and see what I have set on the table for us!

After my ice cream extravaganza last weekend (and all this week as you might have imagined!) I felt the need to go "light" for the garden party. So I did an assortment of salads, all including ingredients either from my yard, the local farmer's market or my bi-weekly organic veggie/fruit delivery.

My table is kind of a mish mash of various dishes. You may recall my dragonflies and cabbages from last years party, but I've added the Desert Rose. I think they go together pretty good!

First up is what I would think of as an appetizer, Molded Gazpacho (no..that does not say Moldy). I think next time I might ramp this up with some jalapenos, but it was very cool and refreshing.

Molded Gazpacho Salad
From Salads: Food Writers' Favorites

3 cups tomato juice
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
3 tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup finely chopped cucumbers
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup mayonnaise

Pour tomato juice into a saucepan; stir in gelatin. Let stand 2 minutes. Bring tomato juice to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add vinegar, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce; mix well. Refrigerate until mixture begins to thicken slightly. Add tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, onion and celery to tomato juice mixture. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2 quart ring mold. Refrigerate until firm. Meanwhile combine sour cream and mayonnaise; refrigerate until time to serve salad. Unmold salad onto a plate. Serve sour cream dressing in the center of salad ring or on the side.

You could do individual servings like this as well.

Next up is a salad which I've tried a similar combination of and fell in love with (watermelon,basil, lime juice, feta). I think this one is just as good. Don't be scared about the unusual ingredients. If you like sweet and savory together you will enjoy this.

Awesome Summer Watermelon Salad

Found on Allrecipes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

3 cups 2-inch cubes watermelon
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 red onion, sliced very thin - partially from my garden!
coarsely ground black pepper to taste

Mix the vinegar and Dijon mustard in a bowl. Stir the garlic, salt, and pepper into the mixture. Slowly stream the olive oil into the dressing while whisking vigorously. Place the dressing in the refrigerator until ready to use. Combine the watermelon, feta cheese, and red onion in a large bowl; toss lightly to mix. Season with the coarsely ground black pepper. Pour about half the dressing over the salad; gently toss to coat. Refrigerate the salad at least 30 minutes. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad just before serving.

It's not the prettiest of salads, but it has a great flavor. If you love watermelon give it a try!

You won't be sorry!!!

The next dish is a remake of one that my mother has made for years. She would often bring it to work when they had little potlucks. If I was lucky there would be leftovers. It tastes better the 2nd day so make it ahead.

12 Layer Salad

This is more of an outline than a recipe. You can really do any combination you want. These were my layers starting at the bottom:

Buttercrunch lettuce
Yellow bell peppers
Green Onions (from my garden!)
Kidney Beans
Sliced boiled eggs
Mayonnaise, sprinkle lightly with 1/2 tsp sugar (make sure to seal the bottom with the icing)
Shredded cheddar blend
Bacon bits

The next dish is really light tasting and garden fresh! The herbs and peas are from my garden.

Dilled Peas and Potatoes Vinaigrette

From Southern Living Magazine May 2000


8 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 pound sugar snap peas (frozen can be used)

1/2 cup olive oil

6 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 green onions, chopped


Cook potatoes in a Dutch oven in boiling water to cover 25 to 30 minutes or until tender; drain. Thinly slice.

Cook snap peas in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge peas into ice water to stop cooking process; drain.

Whisk together oil and next four ingredients in a large bowl. Add sliced potato, snap peas and onions, tossing gently to coat. Chill 2 hours, or serve immediately.

I had intentions of baking bread to go with the meal, but its way to hot to heat up the house with the oven. I went to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning and picked up a great Herb Bread which is as good as homemade and I did blend up a yummy herb butter to go on it. Toooo good!

Herbed Butter Spread
Once Upon a Table, cookbook for the Women's Auxilary of the American Cancer Society

2 sticks butter, softened
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dill weed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp paprika

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Will keep refrigerated for weeks.

It was a great compliment to the meal!

Keeping with the "light" theme, dessert was simple and straight from my raspberry bush!

Berries & Brown Sugar Sour cream

Any kind of berries
1/2 cup sour cream
brown sugar to taste
Stir sour cream and brown sugar. Serve on top of prepared berries.

It made a very nice ending to a wonderful meal..not too filling!

My little dinner guest thought so too!

Hope you enjoyed the spread!

Now we can just sit back and enjoy the beautiful day. Its a great spot to watch the birds feeding.

And to listen to the sound of the bubbling rock

Don't forget to go look at all of the other beautiful posts linked at Susan's Savoring Time in the Kitchen.
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