Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mosaic Monday ~Summer Colors

Amazing what a difference a week and a little sun makes in the garden.

New blooms opening up like this astrantia.

Pink spirea fully open now

Spiderwort and lady's mantle both blooming

And these pretty red lilies

The geraniums are going wild this year..they must have liked the rain we had. That's a pink Maltese Cross in the front (Lychnis chalcedonica)

This mountain laurel is hiding behind some other plants, which is sad since its so showy. I'll have to remedy that next year.

I'm so thrilled that the daylilies are starting to the pinks and reds

More geraniums gone wild

This one is called Patricia

Hydrangeas are slowly opening. I love them at this stage. I think I'd like to paint a couple of rooms these same colors..pale yellow and the lightest blue.

Lobelia and saxifrage bloom pretty together

Behind my the "woods" are some wild geranium, commonly known as Herb Robert. Legend has it that fairies live where Herb Robert grows and its bad luck to destroy it. Shhhh...lets not tell the fairies I normally pull it out. It grows happily out back though and I won't bother it.

There are going to be loads and loads of blackberries in a couple of months.

In the front I have some summer color too. This pretty frilly pink clematis is later than my others and still looks fresh and new.

One of our hanging baskets

And the pot that sits below it.

Around back again, another new bloom this week, this cute little potentilla growing amongst this blue geranium variety..maybe Johnson's Blue...then again maybe not!

Hyperion is still blooming and looks stunning against the purple backdrop of clematis 'Etoile Violette '

Under it is growing this little double feverfew that I love.

This Queen Elizabeth rose is beginning the bloom and the flowers are huge!

The birds have been really active the past few weeks. We bought a new finch feeder to hold thistle to replace our sock feeder which was losing seed, but the one below isn't it. The one we bought originally was kind of cheap...all plastic. Well this week Randy noticed the thistle went almost completely down in a day or so, went to fill it and found that someone had cracked and chewed the plastic around the feedholes in a couple of places so that that thistle was free to run out. We still aren't sure what did it...chipmunks maybe? Anyways we bought a new feeder to replace it. Lets see if those little bandits can break this one.

Speaking of birds, we have had a second robin brood hatched in the same nest at the side of our house under our bedroom window in the honeysuckle vine. Today two of the babies flew the nest or were pushed out!! lol

This one landed on the bird bath and sat here for probably a half hour. Funny thing was he was sitting right on the part of the fountain where the water comes out. A little bidet so to speak! We watched him finally get brave and fly a short way.

Then a while later we saw his brother land on the table near the fountain. He was still for a long time but eventually began hop-flying from one side to the other like he was practicing, then finally got the nerve to fly to the butterfly bush. The mother is still around feeding them worms...keeping an eye on them.

Unfortunately for me I've had to keep my outdoor exposure to a minimum this weekend due to the weed/grass pollen which is high. I had a severe hayfever attack yesterday and Randy said I looked like I had gone a couple of rounds with Mike eyes were so swollen and red! So I stayed indoors more the kitchen.

I made this wonderful coffee cake for a late morning treat. It's from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters...I just love that book. I will love munching on this on the way to work this week. The little plate is one I found not too long ago at one of my favorite charity thrift shops, Granny's Attic.

Mary Williams' Coffee Cake with Streusel
from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters

For streusel:

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Place brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl. Work in butter with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add pecans and combine.

For cake:

1 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 egg, beater
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 pan with foil, shiny side up. Coat with butter or vegetable spray.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into dry ingredients. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and combine. Place half of batter in pan. Sprinkle half of streusel on top of batter. Add rest of batter to pan and top with remaining streusel.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until tester inserted into cake comes out clean. Cool on rack completely before cutting into squares.

Lunch was homemade hummus...I even tried my hand at Tahini. That part was pretty much a failure since I couldn't get a good grind on the sesame seeds, but overall it was a success. I'd make it again. I ate it with Jalapeno flavored Kettle Lays.

From Fine Cooking

1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 15-1/2-oz. cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 Tbs. tahini (see below)

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed

Combine the 1/3 cup oil with the garlic and cumin in a small saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and cook until the garlic softens, about 3 minutes from when you can hear the garlic bubbling quickly. Don’t let the garlic brown. Take the pan off the heat and let cool completely.

Put the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, and salt in a food processor. Use a fork to fish the softened garlic out of the oil and transfer it to the processor (reserve the oil). Turn the machine on, let it run for about 20 seconds, and then start slowly pouring the cumin oil through the machine’s feed tube. Be sure to scrape the pan with a rubber spatula to get all of the cumin and oil. Pour 1/4 cup cool water down the tube. Stop the machine, scrape the sides of the bowl, and continue processing until the hummus is creamy and almost smooth. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice, if you like. For best results, let the hummus sit at room temperature for an hour or two before serving so the flavors can meld. Or better yet, make it a day ahead, refrigerate it and return it to room temperature and adjust the seasonings before serving. To serve, spread hummus in a shallow dish and drizzle with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil.


2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup tepid water


Place sesame seeds in a blender or food processor and grind until smooth. Add sesame oil and salt. Process until combined. With the motor running, add the water in a very slow, steady stream and blend until smooth.

Yield: about 1/2 cup

Dinner was shish kabobs! Inspired by the shish kabob insert in Food Magazine this month - 50 kabob ideas. My beef was marinated in soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, Tony Chachere's seasoning, onions and garlic salt. I added cooked potatoes, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and pineapples.

And Cauliflower Au Gratin which wasn't half bad for a light dish.

Cauliflower Au Gratin
from Eating Well Jan/Feb 2008 by way of Terra Organics weekly newsletter.

4 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets

1 1/2 cups nonfat milk, divided

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Bring cauliflower, 1 1/4 cups milk and salt to a boil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup cheese and oil in a small bowl. Whisk flour and the remaining 1/4 cup milk in another small bowl until smooth; stir the mixture into the pan and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup cheese, chives, mustard and pepper. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil until the top is crispy and beginning to brown, 1-2 minutes.

Overall it was a good and colorful weekend :-) I'm joining in on these events:

Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House. Check out all of the beautiful mosaics HERE.

Thrifty Treasures Party over at Southern Hospitality for my little white plate. Check out all of the treasures HERE.

Join me in the fun! I'd love for you to participate in this event with me. Bring your ice cream related posts...anything goes! Tablescapes, recipes, memories, and favorite products will all be welcome. Or anything else you come up with. See you at the parlor!


Jeanne Selep said...

Wow. Your blog post must take hours. Lots of beautiful photos!

Click here to visit my post.

Jeanette said...

Your photos are lovely and coffee cake looks great. I just love all the beautiful flowers.
I have a give away this week that you might enjoy would love it if you stopped in.

The Gathering Place said...

What beautiful flowers! We live in a dessert (Utah) and are more limited in what will grow, so I love your flowers!

eileeninmd said...

Your yard looks beautiful with all the lovely flowers and colors. I love the mountain laurel, very pretty. Your recipes sound delicious especially the streusel

Regina said...

All are gorgeous and yummy.
Happy MM Suzy.
enjoey a wonderful week!
" Regina "

Joyce said...

I hope you are feeling better today from all the pollen in your pretty garden. I love the pineapple bird bath. I would love one of those in my yard. All the food looks wonderful especially the cake. Thanks for sharing all the recipes.

Debbie said...

I enjoyed taking a walk with you this morning and seeing all of your wonderful flowers...just beautiful.
The food section made me hungry...yum.
Have a great day.

Cathy said...

Your post is wonderful, Suzy. Your photos of flowers are gorgeous and I want to try all the recipes you've shared with us starting with the hummus. I love the little finches who come to visit my bird feeder.

Ebie said...

Suzy, who have a very gorgeous garden, the flowers with their corresponding names! I love the astransia, I dont think I have seen it before!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week!

Meri said...

Great find in plates to show off your coffee cake. It looks yummy, but the plate is gorgeous. Your garden must be a wonderful place. And you've reminded me to refill my bird feeders. They ran out while I was gone.

Dishesdone said...

Wow, you were very busy! and ambitious, hummus and tahini? It looks amazing! Love the idea of having it with jalapeno chips! The Brass Sisters is a great book! They have another one, too, Heirloom Cooking!

The flowers are all gorgeous!

Vee said...

First of all, I'm jotting down flower names directly. I believe that your pretty red lily is a Bolero lily since I have some and they look the same. I've never seen it! The mountain laurel is beautiful as well. Such a wonderful assortment of flowers you have. Thank you for the invitation to the ice cream social. I have added it to my sidebar. We certainly have a "thing" for ice cream around here.

bj said...

Thanks so much for these delicious sounding recipes. I LOVE coffee cake and will make this one in the morning..
Thanks, too, for stopping by..
I am your newest follower..:)
xo bj

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Everything looks so good! Thanks for sharing the recipes. Your flowers are beautiful! Nice post.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Wonderful post! I love your pretty flowers and all the recipes all sound delightful! I never tried making hummus from scratch before sounds doable.
Hope your allergys are better this week!

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Beautiful pictures!! I will be trying that cauliflower recipe it sounds so good.

KarenHarveyCox said...

Your photographs are beautiful, making your mosaic stunning. I love the arbor. I so enjoyed browsing such lovely photographs of some beautiful flowers. Thank you for the recipes.

Amy said...

what an amazing garden! the recipes all sound so yummy!

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

Oh what beautiful flowers! So many different kinds and different colors! Just lovely. and that pineapple birdbath is so cute! Love it.

EG Wow said...

I'm thinking your gardens must be amazing! You have many gorgeous blossoms!

Kathy said...

Hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment! I just love your post and your flowers - most of mine like yours have already gone! Are the Patricia flowers Cranesbills! Love them - and the name - my mom's!
Oh and your recipes - if I wasn't trying to lose weight for my daughter's wedding....yum!
I have posted more information on my upcoming Victoria Blog Party
Hope you stop by,
God Bless,

LDH said...

Beautiful summer color everywhere on your lovely blog! Gorgeous photos and delicious recipes. Such fun stopping by!

Kindly, ldh

Kathleen said...

The flowers look beautiful, and I think they are Johnson Blue. I had some but one winter they decided not to come back!
The food looks wonderful too!

Debbie said...

Suzy, a little bidet for the birdie! Glad he got brave and was able to fly. I hope you are feeling better, but you still had plenty of energy in the kitchen!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Cute cute plate, and great recipes!! Thanks so much for the visit to my blog! :)

Mimi said...

Your flowers are gorgeous, Suzy!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

More gorgeous garden shots, Suzy! I love coffee cake but haven't made it in ages - thanks for reminding me!

Hummus is a favorite of mine too but I've never attempted making my own Tahini - I'm impressed :)

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