Sunday, June 29, 2008

Summer recipe swap!

Are you all ready to swap some easy summer recipes that will get us out of the kitchen quickly on these busy, fun summer days? Mr. Linky looked unnecessarily complex so lets do it this way. Leave a comment with your blog address and whats cooking at your house and I'll make a link myself in this post. I'll be checking it all day so don't worry about coming late to the party. We all need a new recipe ! I tried out a new one last night just so I could share it.
Grilled Pesto Chicken Packets are super easy and could be made ahead and just thrown on the grill. The whole family loved them:>) Just start out with:
4 small zucchini (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
8 Roma tomatoes (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
1 vidalia sweet onion (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 1/4 lbs. total)
and 1/2 cup of basil pesto.

I sprayed the foil for the packets with Pam and then layered the chicken and veggies, topped with 2 Tbsp. of pesto.

Fold foil by double or triple folding down the middle and then double fold the ends...Put on a medium grill for 20-25 minutes. Earl did this with the chicken side down.
25 minutes later a perfectly cooked main course and veggies. Healthy, only 330 calories, 20 grams fat (I don't know where that much came from but that's what the recipe says) and 7 grams carbs. Everyone loved it and clean up was so easy!
Now I can't wait to try some of your easy favorites! Check out these great recipes:>)
Jan at Jan and Tom's Place for Antipasto kabobs, grilled potato salad ,Mango-Raspberry frozen dessert and Banana Split Cake (!) She has also addded a wonderful home made mac & cheese recipe for those cool summer evenings:>)
Fitty at Fittys Pinky Rose Cottage for fried rice with salted fish and broccoli chicken stir fry.
sweet sis Karen at Blue Barn Bulletin for Greek Isles Pasta, Iced mocha, Beef and broccoli slaw wraps, and strawberry pie
Bev at How Sweet the Sound has a recipe for Snapper with Roasted Grape Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil
Karen at A Scrapbook of Inspiration is inspiring us with Asparagus Oven Frittata, Watermelon Salad and Pumpkin Muffins
Heidi Ann at Foxgloves Fabric and Folly tempts us with Frozen Key Lime Pie, Orange Pound Cake and Blueberry-Orange Tart..Oh my!
Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor makes a mean Luscious Lemon Creme Cake
Alice at Inspired Tokens delights with the Easiest Cobbler ever!
Teresa atPlumWater Cottage sends us a recipe for Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches and Layered Bruschetta Salad
Connie at Living Beautifully sends us a recipe for Cooked Cucumbers...come on, try something new!
Schotzy at Wings of Eagles has a 5 minute Artichoke Salad, how's that for fast and easy?
Laurie at Stone- Belle has a recipe for a cool Blackberry delight, she also has a link to 37 more recipes in her side-bar. Go check it out!
BJ at Sweet Nothings has recipes for Asian Turkey Lettuce wraps, cheesy stuffed potato skins and Asian Slaw,
Lorrie at Fabric, Paper, Thread has a Cold Avacado soup recipe that looks easy, quick and delicious.
Theresa at Take A Sentimental Journey has an English Toffee Chocolate Trifle Cake recipe
Jennifer at My Chaotic Peace has 3 recipes! Macaroni Salad (her grandmothers recipe), Cabbage stir fry and Jello Mould Chicken Sandwich
Sue at Life At Home shares Phyllis Hoffmans Fried Chicken recipe

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Give-away alert!

Even though it muddies my chances even further, I am sending out an alert. You can win this cute tote (Or another of your choosing) if you go here. Check it out, who wouldn't want this?

Friday, June 27, 2008

I can't believe that it has been Sunday since I posted. Earl had this week off and gets my time on those weeks:>) We went to some garage sales again this week and found some great deals on old linens.
The table cloth is one my mom was getting rid of. I love the bright sunny colors. Earl found the old dish towels and a lot of old emroidered linens for 50 cents each at one of the sales and grabbed them for me. I cant get new ones for that price and I LOVE the old ones. As a cost cutting measure (I am off work for the summer, love that, hate going without a paycheck!) I am hanging more laundry on the line and trying to pinch pennies any way I can. It isn't so bad. I kind of like the sunshine and fresh air in my clothes and love it when I hang the linens out. See the clothespin bag I whipped up out of grandma's feedsacks? No pattern, just did what I could and I think it turned out pretty cute.
Hey, won't that table cloth look great covered in all the new recipes we will be sharing on Monday!? I can't wait. Don't forget. I'll try to find a Mr. Linky so you can all add your links (any suggestions where I can find it?) I have a few etsy projects in the works and can't wait to share them. I'll see you all soon!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Deal Du Jour

Yesterday morning, Earl and I went out for a little Garage Sale therapy. Not much out there, my GS mojo was gone and I was getting a zinger of a headache. I said lets go home and we agreed we were done...but there is always that last sale you are driving past on the way home and that is where we found these. Two sad, forlorn little wicker chairs that had seen better days.
Being the chair freak that I am, I was just drawn to them. They are a little different, they needed love and I have plenty of that. So I asked how much? $2 each was the reply. My heart beat a little faster, I gave them a dubious look, it was Saturday afternoon after all. "you can have them both for $3 she said. SOLD!
A little white paint, a new seat cushion, and I think this one looks pretty cute on the front porch. The fabric came from my leftovers stash, years old and lined with double thick plastic so if it gets wet only the outside fabric will need to dry. I haven't done the other yet but I'll show you when it's finished, right now there is a storm blowing up so I finished this one in the nick of time:>)
I also wanted to ask you to head over to my sister-in-laws new blog Blue Barn Bulletin. She is a home maker extrordinaire. She cooks, bakes her own bread, homeschools, and serves her church. She also grills great pizza:>) She can do it all, which is why the header I designed for her is a bit of a joke. Won't you stop over and welcome her to blogging?
Another place to stop is at Daylily Lane where you have a chance to get a cute pink Flea Market survival pack to commemorate her 100th post. Hurry, she only has two more posts before the drawing! Thanks for all the comments on the changes, I kind of like it for now, it's fun to change things and do something new. Have a restful Sunday!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Finally! A chance to create some fun things again. These are in my etsy shop right now with more to come. I have so many ideas to get going on over the summer. It sure feels good to have time that is my own again. It rained here all week with high temps in the 60's some days, pretty strange for mid-June. But today, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it's 77 degrees. Possible thunderstorms again tonigh *sigh*, but we have sunshine now and I am loving it! Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Just playing with new looks...don't be surprised if it changes right in front of your eyes!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Recipes anyone?

With summer almost upon us (official first day of summer is Saturday!) and a HUGE list of things I want to accomplish while I am away from my school job, the last thing I want to do is cook. Yes, Earl cooks a lot of the time, but what about when he isnt home? What to do then? I don't know about you but I have a small collection of family pleasing recipes that I have just about cooked. to. death. Tired of the same old same old so I thought we could have a recipe swap:>) The sandwiches above were inspired by a tube of pesto and a recipe I found online. Grilled chicken and pesto on ciabatta bread with some cream cheese, roasted red pepper, and onion. Simple, quick, a little bit special. What about you? What Easy summer recipes have become staples that give you plenty of time to play in the sunshine and accomplish all those important things that we all have going? How about a day to swap some ideas and get some new recipes so our families don't look at their plates and whine "this again?" I will be hosting a recipe swap on June 30th. Lets make them easy, and light. Something that beats the heat and gets us out of our kitchens fast! Anyone want to play?

Please feel free to use this button to show you are part of the fun.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Layered Mocha Cheesecake

Ahhhh, school is out, and I am enjoying my first Monday morning of the summer with no work. How sweet it is. So, now is the time to share something else sweet. The recipe for the Mocha cheesecake bites that sweet hubby made for our open house. I can honestly tell you I saw peoples knees buckle when they bit into these. Yeah, seriously. I can't say I'm surprised, he's made my knees buckle for years, but I digress...
The recipe for this little beauty can be found here. The only difference is, for the bites, Earl made the recipe in a jelly roll pan.(I just spoke to him and he said to tell you he boosted the recipe by 20% or it wouldn't have filled the jelly roll pan) Layering the chocolate crumb crust, and then the chocolate cheesecake layer, topped by the mocha cheesecake layer. Smooth it all out. You may notice he lined the pan with wax paper so it would be easier to get the little squares out at the end.
When it is done baking, he cuts perfect little 1" squares using a large metal ruler that he uses only for this. (I don't have the patience to do this, I would freehand it, but he gets a better looking result). You get almost 200 squares out this recipe! Then he freezes the squares until they are very firm and then dunks the little squares in melted chocolate. He used semisweet chocolate with a bit of 60% dark chocolate mixed in (sorry Mrs.G). The dark chocolate flavor goes well with the mocha. Really, really well.

Then, he puts them on a foil lined sheet and sticks them back in the freezer. I am not sure this is a necessity, but we were dealing with a 90 degree day and didn't want them to be too squishy. I thought they were great frozen! I also thought they were great warm, Ok, I just thought they were great. I would have eaten them unbaked with a straw, but that's just me. People were still talking about these at the open house we attended last weekend. But no more cheesecake for me for a while, its back to the diet. I did some major damage the past week and its time to get serious. I'm off to clean my house and do a myriad of other things that I hope will enable me to get back to creating some fun things for etsy. Oh how good it is to be home!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to my sweet husband. A man who loves his daughters, and me, without reserve.
I never had a close relationship with my own dad. He just wasn't around. Which is what makes the love that Earl has for our daughters all the more sweet and special and wonderful to me.I love you sweetheart. God gave us all a special gift when he gave us you!

Now if you would just stop doing the crazy eyes when I take your picture :>)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

BJ tagged me for a meme so here goes.
Two names I go by:
Kathy and Mom
Two things I'm wearing right now:
Black polo and denim skort
Two of my favorite things today:
garage saleing and my garden
Two things I want very badly at the moment:
Breakfast and some sunshine
Two favorite pets I have had:
Solace my cat, and my pet lamb Candy when I was little
Two people I hope will fill this out:
Beverly (The pink fuschia is for your pink Saturday:>)
and Connie
Two things I did last night:
Watched a movie with my family and returned home from freshman orientation for my daughter!
Two things you ate last night:
A grilled chicken salad and strawberries
Two people you last talked to:
My daughters
Two things you are doing tomorrow:
Church and celebrating Fathers Day with my family
Two farthest trips you have taken in the last 5 years:
Florida and Boston
Two favorite holidays:
Christmas (of course!) and Easter
Two favorite beverages:
Ice water and Iced Tea
More open houses to go to today. We have one every weekend this month! But the rest I can relax at:>) I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. School ended this week so I am free as a bird! I have so many thngs I want to do, starting with restocking my etsy shop. At the end of the month I will begin a pottery class. Can't wait. It is going to be a busy summer, but it looks like a good one. Now I'm off and running!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Have you been to visit Karen Harvey Cox at A Scrapbook of Inspiration? If you haven't, run right over there and take a look! She has a fabulous blog and makes and sells beautiful original art. I came home from work a couple days ago, weary and hot and found a beautiful package waiting for me with an order from Karen. I love her notecards and always get compliments on them when I use them so I ordered some of her pink ribbons and roses notecards to restock.
They are gorgeous! Everything was wrapped so wonderfully, with tassels and silk ribbon and tissue.
Also inside the package was this beautiful summer garden print. I just love it! It is printed on canvas and I can't wait to find just the perfect frame. What a lovely package to come home to after a long day.
Thank you Karen! If you are looking for a wonderful place to find some original art at reasonable prices, check out Karens etsy shop. There is so much talent for beautiful things here in blogland, it is one of the reasons I never get tired of visiting all of you! :>)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Open House

Yay! We have power! And now I can tell you all about the party. It was a smash! We went to church for first service and then raced home to set up, decorate the tables, put some tents over the food prep area and get things ready.
Salads went on the table in the dining room. People came in the front door to get salads and desserts and exited the back door to the tent and main course. It flowed pretty well.
Desserts were set up on the kitchen counter. See the little chocolate squares on a couple of the plates? Those were hubbys mocha cheesecake squares that were dipped in chocolate. I never could get a picture of the plates when they were full, people kept snitching them! Along with those we had a variety of home made cookies and, of course a cake for the graduate. CArrot cake with apricot filling from Costco, have you ever tried it? It is fabulous!
The tent in the backyard. This was set up the night before by a wonderful team of men from the church, and when it was over they took it all down and hauled it away. We have a great church family!

The main course? Grilled pizza! A big hit at our first daughters open house and catered by my dear sister and brother in law and their family! What a gift! Sister Penny helped out too. Here is how it goes....
Karen and Penny roll out the dough into personal size rounds.....
Clarence grills one side of the crust, flips it over so the cooked side is on top, and he and lovely Allison (his daughter, my niece) supervise as people write their name on the bottom of a paper plate and choose their toppings....
Then the pizzas go to this beautiful girl, niece Julianne, who grilles the last side and then hands it back to her sister to deliver to the person who made it at the table!
These are just a few of the pizzas people topped. Yum!
We had 175 to 200 people in the four hours we held the open house. Quite a crowd and what fun to get all our friends and family together in one place for a joyous celebration:>) As you can see, for the four hours of the party we had sunshine and blue skies. The temps were in the low 90's but we had a beautiful steady breeze that really made it pleasant.

We had everything packed up by the time the storm hit and the party was over! I had awakened at about 3 am that morning to heavy thunderstorms and prayed that God would give us good weather for the party. He did! We were without power until 4 am this morning and I feel so lucky to have it back. There are still thousands of homes that dont have power in our county. I will share Earl's Mocha cheesecake recipe later this week. It was big hit, even among people who proclaimed that they didnt like coffee. Now I need to go catch up on my visits to all of you. Thanks for sharing in the fun:>)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hi everyone! The party was great and I cant wait to tell you about it, but right now I am logged on at the library. Victorias party ended at 5p.m. Sunday and at 5:03 we were hit with a massive storm and power outage throughout our county. About 25,000 people are without power including us. Fortunately one of the guest who had left called and warned us about the storm headed our way and we just got the tent and tables and chairs and everything else taken care of and under cover when the rain and wind hit and the power went out. We still don't have any power, and I dont know how long this will last! Ugh! But at least everything went well for her open house. I am going through computer withdrawal! See you all soon (I hope!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Oh how they grow.....

This is what all the fuss is about. My baby graduates tonight. The years have flown by. It doesn't seem that long ago that she and her sister were playing dress up in my garden.
Or a ballerina princess in dirty tennis shoes :>)
Learning how to use a sander with Daddy. My girls and power's a combination that makes my hair turn grey just thinking about it.
I think she was aptly named Victoria. I see a theme here as I go through her pictures. Lots of crowns.
And tonight she takes another big step into adulthood. Victoria graduates with honors and next week we head out for freshman orientation at her University. I think it is going to be an all too short summer. Congratulations baby girl. I love you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

More red...and a garden

Still playing the red game.. an egg scale from my brother and sister (in-law, but I never think of that suffix) for my birthday. It looks exactly like the one my grandmother had, just not as well used. I love it. I have wanted one forever. Karen & Clarence, you are the best!

And a dark salmon columbine that seeded itself next to my brick red garden shed. It seems very shy with its eyes always on the ground. I love it when God adds to my garden:>)
I am far enough north and east of most of you that I am coming very late to the garden game, but I finally have some things blooming. I noticed they are almost all shades of blue and purple. I have pink and cream roses and other flowers too, but they just aren't out yet. Another wild columbine. I did not plant these and the funny thing is that the columbine that I have planted over the years have not survived! I dont know where these came from but aren't they lovely?

My favorite blue sberian iris. I love how tiny these are, and they bloom profusely.

Spiderwort, not a favorite because it is so invasive. I have tried to eradicate this from the garden to no avail. Sometimes you just have to give in and learn to love it.
Now this one is a favorite, a snowball bush. I love the fluffy white balls of flowers these get and how they "snow" as the petals drop off. I have it planted next to the chives and roses.
Ignore the soaker hose, I havent had a chance to mulch yet, but I just finished planting these jelly bean petunias. Soft shades of blue, pink, salmon, yellow and purple. They should look wonderful when they have filled in.
I am pretty much done with the real work of preparing for the party. A few little odds and ends to do and a silly fiasco that I may be able to bring myself to tell you about some day (I am SUCH a dork sometimes!) Tomorrow we begin the baking of desserts and treats. Along with our own open house we help other people in the church who are going through this. They bring a dish to ours, we bring a dish to theirs, it is good fellowship and we "bear each others burdens". Earl is making cheesecake bites for our party...covered in chocolate. Oh, of course I will show you! And the cookies, and the decorations when they are up and all the good things . You have been with me through the worst of it, now I can't wait to share the fun:>) Thanks for being there. I love you all.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I see Red!

Sara at Sadie Olive is hosting an "I saw red" blog party and I couldn't resist just a quick post. Red is my favorite color. A few quick snaps around the house and garden and I have it. There is much more red than this in my home, and if I have time I'll add to it. Right now I am trying to psych myself into doing the rest of the cleaning before the party (yes still !) It is cool and rainy and I really just feel like putting my feet up. Ah well, plenty of time for that after Sunday. The show must go on. Enjoy the red, and I'll keep you updated on the preparations!

Monday, June 2, 2008

6 Days.....

Ok, I'm calmer. Reality check. The trim on the shed is not going to get painted this week. It looks "rustic". Besides, you all say nobody will notice and I'm taking your word for it. Thunderstorm chances for Sunday are only 30% now, I can gamble with that and the forecast may get better as the week progresses (Please God!) I decided a fun project was in order for yesterday so I made this fun banner for the pergola. It actually says Congratulations, but I can't ge the whole thing in the picture, too long. The tent will be set up outside the back door and Victoria has chosen a color scheme of blue and green. Not her school colors, but she doesn't like to be boxed in on things like colors. She is a lot like her dad, but there is some of me in her too:>)
My sister in law came over Saturday and helped me make the pizza dough for the grilled pizzas and our Sunday School class has signed up for everything from cookies and salads to helping set up and take down the tent and tables, and manning the kitchen so I can mingle with our guests. There is still plenty to do this week, but I think it is manageable. I've unpacked my bags and decided against running away from home:>) Thanks for the perspective. It's all going to be all right.
(Darn it, will you look at the mildew on that pergola? On second thought, don't look! I'm going to have to add that to the list. Sheesh!)