Friday, July 29, 2011

Recent Purchases

There's only one thing I love just as much as I love going to the beach...and that is going shopping! Over the past few weeks I have shopped til I dropped...literally...(I acutally had to rush my mom to the ER because I exhausted her so much...amongst other things...sorry Ma). I thought I'd share some of my fabulous finds...and also some cool gifts I've received.
Old Navy Dress
Amy's Flea Market Finds. My mother-in-law and I share a love of old, rustic antiques. On one of her trips up to Vermont this summer, she took time to scavenge local flea markets and tag sales, to pick up some neat items she knew I'd love....and who could not love them...
Blue tinted mason jars
And a clamming basket that I am using as a magazine holder

It's become somewhat of a weekly outing for my children and I to walk down to our local bookstore, Book Barn and devulge ourselves into magical fantasies and faraway know, Seasme Street, Steve and Blue's house, a glimpse into a bathroom where a toddler tells us the steps of using the potty over and over again. And of course, I always take a second to look for myself...and low and behold, I found my summer read...
A true classic that never gets old.
And a small anniversary gift for Chris, although it hasn't moved off the bookshelf since the day I bought it. Hmmm.
Fedora, from where else, but Grace
Never been a true fan of coffee until about two weeks ago. One mug turned into two...and well, the rest is history. I thought I'd give the Chai Latte K cups a try and I'm hooked.
$11.99 Target
Chris and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary on July 15. Because he's a true romantic at heart (he'd kill me if he read this), he stuck with tradition and got me something considered to be silverware. It's a cute little pill box that I keep my rings in at night. love love love.
Tiffanys- and I'm not going to look up the can lol.
Still on my wish list...the perfect dough bowl for my dining room table...
Like this one from Miss Mustard Seed's blog
And a framed chalk board to display the dinner menu...
What have you purchased recently? I'd love to hear....

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Simple, Sweet, Cold, Treat for a Hot Summer's Night!

My children love ice cream sandwiches, and on a hot summer's night there is nothing better than a yummy cold treat like this!

They are very simple to make. First, start out by making your favorite Chocolate Chip cookie.

Next, top the inside with a scoop of ice cream.

Finally, squish another cookie on top, and Voila! A simple, yummy, treat. Suitable for a hot summer's night...



Friday, July 22, 2011

Cedar Plank Salmon

During the hot summer months, I tend to have to be a bit more creative in my cooking because I can't stand using the oven. This means that the grill gets alot of use.....on the days when we don't get take out. I still TRY ("TRY" being the operative word)  to be health-conscious most of the time....and fish is the best way to do so on the grill.

Tonight's Appetizer: Steamed Clams (or some call them Steamers)

We steamed these on the side burner on our grill while the maincourse was cooking.  (they are alot more delicious than they look. lol)

Tonight's Dinner: Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar planks are specifically sold to use for cooking fish on the grill. You can find them in most kitchen supply stores for very inexpensive. Follow the directions on the packaging. The most important thing to remember is to submerse the planks in water and let soak for at least 90 minutes before putting on the grill.

Once the planks have soaked, place the raw fish (in this case, salmon) on them. Marinade or spice as desired. I used fresh dill, lemon, and a tad of olive-oil based butter.

Place planks right on grill top and follow cooking instructions. It's very important to slow cook to prevent the cedar from flaming up.

You may see some smoke....but that's good, since you are trying to acheive that smokey taste. Cook as long as desired....I prefer very well done fish, so I cook a bit longer than most.

I threw together a quick side to also cook on the grill. I used what I had on hand....and it came out really yummy!

I chopped up a head of cauliflower and a few sweet potatoes (skin on), drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper, and sauteed them on the grill using a wire pan specificially designed to do so. (A Father's Day gift for my hubby) Voila! Completely grilled meal! And healthy to boot!

No wine reviews was a beer kind of night!


Hope you're having a fun-filled, cool summer!?


Friday, July 15, 2011

Cape Cod Homes

Growing up, I spent many summers in Cape Cod. It's one of those places where the hectic life stops and the simple one begins. Not much has changed in the Cape since I can remember, only that I do not visit nearly as much as I would like...  

I remember biking down dirt roads for a day at the beach. Going out for ice cream each night. Catching the sunset at First Encounter Beach. As well as nightime bonfires on the beach.

There is one aspect though, that I never noticed as much when I was young as I do now...
How beautifully simple and unique the cottages are in the Cape. Each one whether big or small tells its own story...

 The tiny little cottages always catch my attention...

 I love the high pitch roofs of these cottages.
 I love their little imperfections too.
Screened in porches.
Beautiful color choices.
Even the garages are unique...
I love this blue door!
 The newer homes are just as pretty.
On the grander scale, this Chatham home takes the cake!
I'm in love with all the hydrandgeas!
(photo courtesy of Mimi and Jack blog)

Now what to do with all this inspiration...



Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Veggie Primavera

I've recently been asked by a few friends if I'd ever used this new product that just came out in any of my cooking endeavors....Philadelphia Cooking Creme....made from the creators of the infamous cream cheese. Although not a product I'd use often because it's not the healthiest of options, I have cooked with it a time or two. It was a big hit each time with my family. We usually have a "pasta night" each week where I make the classic standby of spaghetti or penne with either meatballs or sausage. This week, I changed it up, and created Summer Veggie Primavera with Chicken using Philadelphia's Italian Cheese and Herb flavored Cooking Creme.

I used:

~1 lb Chicken Breast (optional)
~1/2 bushel of green onions (chopped)
~1 lrg zucchini (sliced and halved)
~2 small yellow squashed (sliced)
~6 oz of baby spinach
~1 head of broccoli (chopped)
~1 lrg red pepper (julienned)
~1 tub of Philadelphia Cooking Creme (Italian Cheese and Herb flavor)
~1 lb whole wheat penne pasta

First cook pasta al dente, drain, and set aside. Then slice or cube chicken breast and cook thoroughly in lightly oiled large saute pan. Next add all raw veggies and cook for 5 minutes (veggies should still be crisp). Add Cooking Creme and Stir together. Add cooked pasta and again stir until pasta is coated in creme sauce. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread. Mmm, Mmmm, Good!! (Have to admit, I stole that line from Campbells. lol)

Soooooo easy....and the stove top won't be on for long in this summer heat!

Delicious....especially paired with a glass of Relax Riesling.

One of my fav summer wines.....and who wouldn't love a wine with the name "Relax" on it? Not me!

Relax Riesling
Germany/Mosel Valley
fruit and floral aromas of apples and pears
sweet and refreshingly crisp
Pairs well with light salads, poultry dishes, seafood, blue cheese, or on it's own!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Outdoor Showers

Whether it be used for rinsing off your little ones sandy feet after a day at the beach, or relaxing with a cool shower on a warm summer evening, an outdoor shower is a cottage must-have.

Chris cooling down in a mid-day shower at my husbands families' beach house this past July 4th.
Love this old school shower head.
I've had a slight obsession with outdoor showers for as long as I can remember. Therefore, it didn't come as a major surprise to my whole family, when all I wanted for my 26th birthday from my husband was an outdoor shower. We've had it for 2 full summers so far and I love it more and more each year.
Here's a peak at it...
View from the outside
Here were some of my inspiration pics...prepare to be jealous...
Although I do love the extravagant showers, the simple ones really catch my eye.
Some of my favorites...
Happy Showers!