May 31, 2012

Getting Ready for Ocean Waves

A day at the beach conjures images of gleaming, white sand, shimmering under a golden sun and a blue sky. The sound of ocean waves lapping at the shore is a steady, rhythmic thrumming. Overhead, gulls cry and from the water and the sand comes the happy sound of children playing. But the grandchildren are not the only ones looking to have fun at the beach. 

 In August, we will be joining two families for the wedding of Greg and Jenn! Close friends and family will enjoy playing under the sun, which means we are paying closer attention to those daily calories we are consuming. I think this healthy and delicious summer salad will help satisfy our sweet tooth and keep our hands from reaching for that piece of chocolate! This delightful treat is also on the shower menu Estelle's is hosting for this lovely couple in a few weeks. Ya'll need to try will always have a winning recipe when created by The Barefoot Contessa......I promise!

Fruit Salad with Limoncello
7 ounces Greek yogurt
1/3 cup good bottled lemon curd
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries 
1 cup blueberries 
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons limoncello liqueur
1 banana, sliced
Fresh mint springs

For the lemon yogurt topping, whisk together the yogurt, lemon curd, honey, and vanilla and set aside at room temperature.

For the fruit salad, carefully toss together the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, sugar, and limoncello. Allow them to stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes to let the berries macerate with the sugar and liqueur. Gently fold the banana into the mixture.

Serve bowls of fruit with a dollop of lemon yogurt on top. Top each with a sprig of fresh mint.

May 30, 2012

Summer Tilapia Tacos!

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
~Sam Keen

"This recipe is ABSOLUTELY amazing!! All the guests visiting Estelle's LOVE it.. We will definately be making it again VERY soon.. This one is a must try! "

Estelle's Tilapia Poblano Tacos
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound tilapia fillets
2 cups diced poblano peppers (about 2 large)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen (thawed)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 avocado, cubed
3/4 cup prepared salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tilapia and cook until opaque in the center, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and flake with two forks.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Add poblanos, onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in corn, lime juice, cumin, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring often, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the fish and any accumulated juice from the plate.

Wrap tortillas in paper towels and heat in the microwave on High until warm and pliable, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Fill each tortilla with about 1/3 cup of the tilapia mixture and top with avocado, salsa and cilantro.

May 29, 2012

Please Come To Boston

One of the most beautiful trips we experienced while living in Maine, was our trip to Boston last May. The sights and sounds of this bustling city are sometimes overwhelming, but oh my goodness...the history found here is incredible!

The Swan Boats in Boston Commons

Greg and Jenn were making their first visit to us shortly after we moved up to Maine. It was THE most beautiful spring of our entire living experience up in New England. We packed a lot of sightseeing into that week and decided to include Boston for a few days before they headed back to Texas. It was a really good decision to do so. 

This rather fashionable sweetheart was resting in front of the Old South Church

The Old South Church of Boston-Huge and Architecturally Beautiful

A small Italian grocery in the North End of Little Italy. A bird had flown into the grocery and was currently being shooed out the front door

I thought you might enjoy just seeing the ordinary sights and what it would be like to live in Boston. We all agreed that the way to see Boston, as there is so much ground to cover, is to research and plan your trip before your arrival.

The Boston Harbor Hotel..How Grand! We had champagne brunch here out by the harbor view!

We were sitting right up there under the umbrellas. A small portion of the hotel is in this view.

This is a private residence Brownstone. Want to live in one? This particular one is in the Beacon Hill area and they are normally priced at 1 million and up!

This was a view of the Charles River taken from one of the trolley tours. We preferred the trolley tour from one of the Duck Tours as you are able to see more traveling through the city. The Duck tours will take you half of the time through Boston and the second half floating down the Charles River. Boston is so big there are certain areas of the city you will tour on each trolley.

Yes we took many pictures of some of the famous places, such as the Old North Church, Paul Revere's house, etc., but I love seeing just everyday living sometimes!

I simply could not get enough of the magnificent brownstones. Can you imagine living in one?

May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend!

 Diamond Cove Island in Maine

As most of us will be enjoying our holiday weekend out of doors, honoring those who have served and are currently serving our great United States of America, many families have get togethers and enjoy grilling good food and sipping ice cold beverages. Summer has arrived. I discovered this amazing barbecue sauce with a fabulous new item that I had to share with you..Tiger Sauce!

This is a must try which I think you will enjoy with seafood, steaks and chicken!

I just marinated the chicken in Italian dressing overnight before grilling. We serve this BBQ on the side! DELISH!!

Estelle's Amazing Barbecue Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. honey
2 T. Tiger sauce
1 jar of apricot preserves
1 tsp ginger
1 t. garlic powder
2 t. black pepper
1 T. onion powder

Simmer all ingredients for 30 minutes. Ready to serve!

May 25, 2012

Texas Brisket....The One and Only Rub You Will Ever Need!

Memorial Day is generally associated with the start of the summer season and it has become a common tradition to inaugurate the outdoor cooking season on Memorial Day with a family barbecue!

This is THE "best of the best" Brisket rubs. You will not even use a knife, it comes out so tender! This recipe is from the "Cook em' Horns" cookbook! Now, I know, we must keep this a secret.... that those Texas Longhorns can actually cook up a good brisket. We thought the Aggies had that market cornered, didn't we! Your kitchen will call all those little darlings into dinner, as you will smell the most incredible barbecue aroma all day!

Best Texas Brisket
1 (4 to 5 pound) brisket
2 t. meat tenderizer
1 (4- ounce bottle) of Liquid Smoke
1 t. celery salt
1 t. paprika
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. onion salt
1 T. Brown Sugar

Sprinkle the brisket with  meat tenderizer. Cover with the Liquid Smoke. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, sprinkle brisket with the mixture of dry ingredients and rub into the meat. Place the brisket, fat side up, in a baking pan, cover tightly with foil, and bake for two hours at 300 degrees F. Loosen the foil a bit, then continue baking for five hours at 200 degrees F. Remove meat from pan, and set aside for one hour before slicing, keeping the brisket loosely covered with the foil. Slice very thinly across the grain. Serve with the barbecue sauce of your choice!

May 24, 2012

A Breezy Taste of Summer

Can you taste it? Summer is almost here!

With Memorial Day fast approaching, it's time to play outdoors! I have a few more plants to buy and plan out how to position them around the garden and pool area. Now this is the fun part of unpacking!

We also need to remember to bring some greenery inside, as we welcome family and friends into our new home. I adore this idea using earthy colors of pottery and adorning them with olive and berry branches. It's an amazing and dramatic look. Who would have thought to tuck in a few vintage books to complete this vignette? The colors represent that beautiful Tuscan look don't they?

I am also inspired to string garden lights in the trees that surround the pool. This makes an amazing atmosphere to have little white lights in your greenery that are close to your deck, patio or outdoor area. These little mercury lights are a must have! You will want to entertain in the evenings when you have created that midsummer nights ambiance!

When your guests arrive to enjoy a summer's evening outdoors, welcome them with an ice cold glass of lemonade! You could add some rum or vodka for the adults and strawberries for the kiddos! I have a wicker serving tray similar to this one and these colorful tumblers are on my list to purchase this weekend! Placing real lemons on your serving tray adds such a beautiful touch!

Now that we have our inspiration to decorate for summer months, let's enjoy our family and entertain with style! I am sharing this delicious summer pie that I have made for my family for years! This pie is refreshing and you will be the "hostest with the mostest" when serving this heavenly taste of summer!

Summer's Banana Breeze Pie
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup Corn Flake Crumbs

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 medium ripe bananas
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter, sugar and cinnamon over low heat; stirring constantly until bubbles form around edges of pan. Remove from heat. Add cereal. Mix well. Press mixture evenly and firmly in bottom and on side of 9-inch pie pan to form crust. Chill.

 In medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, mixing thoroughly. Add the 1/3 cup lemon juice and vanilla, stirring until thickened. Slice 3 bananas. Line crust with banana slices. Turn filling into crust. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.  Cut remaining 2 bananas into thin slices. Dip in the 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Garnish top of pie with banana slices. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve!

May 23, 2012

Summer in York

Word has quickly spread among our new neighbors that we are the couple who lived in Maine! People often ask us, "What was it like to live in Maine?" Our first response is always, "It's the BEST place we have ever lived!" I would often have to pinch myself when we took day trips on the weekends to remind myself we actually LIVED here.....we were not just visiting for a summer vacation.

Nubble Light House in York, Maine

This was a summer day when we motored over to York and spent the day just walking around and taking in the sights. I often marveled at the homes and the gardens of the residents. The beauty of the ocean views were breathtaking. Normally, there were park benches all around, where you could often just sit for spell and gaze out at the sailboats moored along the bay and become lost in your thoughts.

The above home was a private residence which faced the ocean. Maine gardens thrived in summer which was amazing to me compared to summers in Texas. You could begin planting after Memorial Day, and within a few weeks, you were enjoying beautiful and colorful blooms which would last until fall. However, it was difficult to become adjusted to such a short growing season. Can't you just imagine yourself sitting on this porch with a cold glass of tea?

I believe it is a common thread that binds us together....loving the sound of the waters movement and the calming effect it has on our minds. This is why we take time to just pick out a spot and have "quiet time" looking out over the ocean. I can look at this picture and actually FEEL the cool air coming in from the bay and SMELL the freshness of this particular summer's day.

This little gem is a cottage beach home that you can rent for a week or the entire summer. The hanging baskets throughout all of the small New England towns were always this bountiful and opulent.

Now this gorgeous cape home took my breath away. Especially when I saw that they were flying the Ohio State flag. My Daddy graduated from Medical School at Ohio State so we are huge Buckeye fans! He would have loved this! Just look at how beautiful those planted whiskey barrels look in front of the porch!

I envy this homeowner. I would probably not accomplish many household chores during the summer, as I would spend hours sitting in one of their Adirondacks!

These homeowners had built a huge firepit in the yard and surrounded this area with their celedon green Adirondacks. These type of garden chairs came in many colors and were absolutely beautiful in the gardens. Darling and I chose light lemon yellow and seaside blue for ours. Isn't this the most perfect little gathering area for those twilight summer evenings as you sit and discuss your day with a glass of Chardonnay?

Yes, it was THE BEST place we ever lived!

May 22, 2012

Beach House Decorating

Can you imagine yourself entertaining and welcoming friends to your 100-year-old vacation house in New England? This retreat is located in Massachusetts with stunning ocean views from every window. The homeowner invites her friends to spend the weekend,  who are a chummy band of women who've coached one another through everything from child rearing to retirement. By the carload, the ladies arrive at the five-bedroom retreat, clad in Capri pants, with their paraphernalia, pocketbooks, and knitting bags!  Plus wine. Now, THAT sounds like a marvelous weekend! 

I love the Bluestone pavers and Shasta daisies lead to the front door. Using the daisies seemed to keep the feel of being easy, breezy and relaxing! 

There is a casual approach to decorating.
 A beachy, barefoot quality by incorporating a braided rag rug,
  mismatched seats, and a pair of oars leaning in one corner.
This seems to help define the breakfast area.

 This lucky homeowner used a  theme of sun, sea, sand, and  painted furniture!  She envisioned lobster-red Adirondack chairs, gray-blue nightstands, and a melon-bright coffee table, but choosing the right shades proved difficult. The interior designer recommended white wall tiles and celadon cabinets. 

The kitchen's slate apron-front sink incorporates local icons:
a windmill, whale, lighthouse, and the word riptide.
Wood-Mode cabinetry stores the homeowners collection of Fiestaware.

The Reading Nook is my absolute favorite room in this home.

In the master bedroom's sitting area, a pair of chairs covered in cotton matelassé swivel to face the harbor. A model sailboat from sits atop a reclaimed-wood table. The walls are painted in the shade called "Icy Morn" by Benjamin Moore.

Imagine waking up to this view each morning! 

Out on the patio, guests are invited to relax in colorful Adirondack chairs. I am totally in love with this oceanside theme!  What a magnificient coastal home! OK! Now I think I have the inspiration I need to decorate our new media room. I hope you were also inspired.....ok, girls...ready, set...decorate!

May 21, 2012

The Best Salmon You Will Ever Eat!

Darling and I are missing Maine! Our weekends while living in New England were nomally spent touring the states of Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire and savoring the sights and sounds of the oceanviews. We have been so very busy settling into the Texas house, we have not had time to think much about what we left behind. However this past weekend, we were fondly remembering some of our favorite places.


Bailey Island

Clay Hill Farm

Summer on the beach in York

Lucknow Castle in New Hampshire

After our trip down memory lane, we were in the mood for seafood. This is one of our  most requested seafood recipes, which was an original from our friend Carl Reihnard.

Estelle's Grilled Salmon
1/2 pound butter
4 T. Soy Sauce
2 T. mustard
3 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 pounds of fresh side of salmon, bones removed and cut into two halves

In a small saucepan, whisk together the butter, soy sauce, mustard and Worcestershire, ketchup and garlic. Cook over medium heat until nearly boiling and well blended. Set aside half of the sauce to serve with the cooked salmon.

Heat the grill (gas of charcoal) to medium to medium high heat. Baste one side of the salmon and place on the grill sauce side down. Grill for about 5-6 minutes. Base the top and turn the salmon over. Repeat basting over the top side and cook for about 5 minutes. This depends of the thickness of the fish. Remove from the grill and place on a warm plate.

If you prefer to roast your salmon inside, simply roast in a 350 degree F. oven for about 30 minutes. This is incredibly good!

May 20, 2012

A Prize Winning Bread

Miss Helen, my mother, was chosen as Cook of the Month in Jackson, Mississippi in June of 1970. One of her prize winning recipes was this homemade bread. She often made this to serve at her church circle meetings or the travel RV club they belonged to. So of course, this became one of my favorite recipes also. I have passed this one down to my daughter, who I am  proud to say, treasures those family beat goes on! I think the richness of the taste comes from the evaporated milk. Now who can resist the aroma of homemade bread baking? I hope ya'll enjoy this prize winning recipe! It is marvelous with those home grown garden tomatoes!!!

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup shortening, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
6 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the evaporated milk, 1/4 cup water, shortening, honey, salt and 2 cups flour. Stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Roll out each half and roll into loaf shapes, sealing seams by pinching. Place in buttered 9' x 5" inch bread pans. Butter the tops of each loaf with melted butter; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm area until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Place a small pan of hot water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover loaves and bake until tops are golden brown, about 25 to 35 minutes. Brush butter onto crusts while warm. Slice when cool.

May 17, 2012

Setting the Mood for Summer

Summer plans are underway as we anticipate lazy, relaxing days spent on our favorite beach. Everyone is busy making their lists and exchanging emails, as we become inspired with vintage and blissful images of Santa Rosa. Whatever your favorite oceanside destination is, these ideas will hopefully be useful to you, as your family plans their own seashore getaway! Beach style can be fun, fashionable and simply delicious!

Perfect for a crockpot meal! The aroma of a barbecued pork roast will make hungry beach babies anticipate an easy and scrumptious oceanview supper!

Barbecue Pork Roast
1 4 lb. pork loin roast
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup barbecue sauce

In a small bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, celery seed, pepper, and garlic. Place pork loin roast in a large plastic re-sealable bag and pour marinade over pork loin. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). Remove roast from the bag, place in a roasting pan, and discard marinade. Roast pork loin at 325°F for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, or to an internal temperature of 160 – 170°F. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Summer afternoons at the beach are that much more pleasant
dozing in a hammock surrounded by the sea breeze.
Plush pillows and a gauzy linen blanket are perfect for a comfortable nap.

Comfortable sundresses are a favorite attire for
sunny days and balmy summer evenings.
These pretty cotton and linen dresses are flowing and stylish for
 fun days at the beach or relaxed afternoons on the patio.

These roomy tote bags from Saffron Trading Company are ideal for transporting poolside must-haves: sunscreen, a towel, sunglasses,
a water bottle, and the latest best-selling novel.
The totes are fashionable enough to do double duty as a
stylish summer handbag.

This decanter from Match is formal enough to be left out on the
 dining room sideboard at all times.
The pewter collar adds a rustic touch, which makes it
equally suitable for an outdoor picnic.

These Jonathan Wright vintage-inspired note cards and tags
bring a bit of the beach to wherever they are enjoyed.
Use a pretty seashell-motif tag as a bookmark to remind you of
lazy days spent at the shore,
 or treat someone far away to a bright,
summery hello awaiting in their mailbox.

May 16, 2012

A Summer Salad

Now that we are able to spend a lot of time outdoors, we plan to have evening dinners on the patio. Isn't that the most wonderful thing about warmer weather, when there is a cool breeze in the night air and you are able to just relax and enjoy the last hours of the day? This salad sounded so good and fresh and looked amazing, so this is on the menu for Saturday night, after we spend the day sprucing up the new yard and finally, planting new flowers. I am so looking forward to our trip to the nursery. Speaking of the yard, I noticed Mae was rather excitedly looking out the window yesterday morning.....

Then I was able to spot little Benjamin Bunny outside the living room window! Later that afternoon, he must have hopped around to the back patio and I was able to snap a few pictures of him! How adorable is he? I know, I know, you are thinking that rabbits will eat all of the flowers, BUT, call me Mother Nature....I adore bunny rabbits!!!!

I think an ice cold watermelon may be just the perfect item to serve with this fresh and colorful salad!

Southwestern Avocado and Black Bean Salad
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
 3 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 avocados, peeled and diced
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
About 3/4 cup (3-ounces) grated pepper jack cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the cilantro, oil, lime juice and hot sauce. In a large serving bowl, add the lettuce, avocado, corn, beans, tomatoes, and cheese. Add the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve. Recipe courtesy of Miss Paula's handsome son, Jamie Deen.