Friday, July 27, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Mirko Beet Salad

I tend to eat a lot more salads in the summer, and I am always on the lookout for creative ingredient combinations to try.  This salad is based on one I had at Mirko Pasta, a chain restaurant with two locations near us.  The original had goat cheese, but I am not fond of goat cheese so I substitute Mexican queso fresco.  Blue cheese would probably work as well.  I also use pickled beets sometimes instead of plain, and both taste great in this salad.  Toasting the walnuts would enhance the flavors as well.  If you don't care for honey mustard dressing, try something else -- balsamic vinaigrette is another option, especially if you use plain beets.  This salad really is quite versatile as well as tasty, and would make a nice accompaniment to a light dinner or the perfect lunch on a summer day.

Mirko Beet Salad

baby arugula, washed and dried
2 T. walnut pieces
2 whole plain or pickled beets, quartered
2 oz. queso fresco, crumbled
honey mustard dressing

Place the greens in a bowl.  Top with the next three ingredients.  Add the honey mustard dressing to taste.  Serves 1.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

This 'n That Thursdays: Pups in the Powder Room, and Beyond!

From Kat Chat

This repentant pup spends timeouts in his home's powder room.  I wonder if he would find these moments more enjoyable if surrounded by some canine companions?  A few unique wallpaper options may just make this rambunctious guy reluctant to leave his little retreat!

From The Semi-Designed Life

From Urban Source

From Sisters Unique

From Peppermint Bliss

The last two wallpaper patterns seem to be rather popular, showing up in rooms all through the house:

From The Barkitect

From Tangletree Interiors

From A Piece of Toast

And perhaps the next time this presently penitent pup ends up in the doghouse, it will be similar to this one (except minus the Scottie and the plaid interior?):

From Fabric Gallery and Interiors

It looks like leading a dog's life may not be so bad after all!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wish List Wednesdays: Pups on Pillows

From Double F Ranch Metal Art

While I am an ardent admirer of all animals, I have to admit that my main devotion is to dogs, with horses right on their heels (hence the name I use for blogging: CplusE = Canids + Equids).  I am always on the lookout for doggie design, and recently came across a few pillows plastered with pups that have been added to my wish list.

First up is the Naked Décor Super Dachshund Long Pillow:

It is indeed super, and reverses from a single large blue dog to many multicolored pups!

The Dogs 20" Pillow from CB2 has a quirky contemporary black and white canine print:

If you love lots of color and a modern take on country, then the Quilt of Dogs Pillow might just be for you:

How do I choose just one?  I may have to splurge on all three!  After all, my three couch potato canine companions are just as fond of sleeping on sofa pillows as this little cutie:

From justatibetanpup

Friday, July 20, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Blueberry-Peach Crisp

From Fine Cooking

Blueberry-Peach Crisp is one of my favorite summer desserts.  The combination of fresh fruits paired with sweet, nutty topping is delectable, and the addition of a small scoop of vanilla ice cream only enhances the flavors.  This dessert is so easy to make, and is the perfect ending to a warm-weather meal.  Since blueberries and peaches are in season right now, why not make it tonight?

Blueberry-Peach Crisp

6 peaches (or nectarines), cut into chunks
1 C. blueberries
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. rolled oats
1/2 C. chopped pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. butter, softened

Place fruits in the bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch square pan.  Combine the remaining ingredients with your hands until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the fruit.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until the fruit is soft and bubbly.  Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably with vanilla ice cream.  Serves 6.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This 'n That Thursdays: Unique Driftwood Décor

Driftwood Egg Treehouse

While the little driftwood treehouse shown above was built as a set for a commercial, driftwood has found its way into home design in real life as well.  Mirror and picture frames are common, but here are a few more unique ways to bring driftwood décor into the home:

Pixels of Driftwood in Relief Wall Tiles

Pixels of Driftwood Cuts Floor Tiles

Bath Stone Pixel Tub (driftwood siding)

Driftwood Bathroom Screen

Driftwood Sphere Floor Lamp

Driftwood Outdoor Canopy

Driftwood décor can be beautiful, and will enhance any home whether it is on the coast or inland.  I'm sure Driftwood Dave would approve!

Driftwood Dave in front of his driftwood cabin.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wish List Wednesdays: Driftwood Horse Sculptures

This has to be one of the most unique uses for driftwood that I have ever seen!  Sculptor Heather Jansch creates amazingly realistic horses out of pieces of driftwood, both life-size (above) and on a smaller scale (below).

I would love to own one of these extraordinary sculptures, but there is little likelihood of that ever happening (they are very expensive).  At least I can own some photos!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Dilled Vegetables

From Sara & Patrick

This is the time of year when summer produce is abundant, and sometimes overly so.  I was at our local feed store last week and the owners were practically begging people to take home their excess summer squash.  Who was I to refuse?  I happened to have some microwaveable bags of green beans as well as broccoli, and also had some leftover sliced green onions.  With very little effort, I cooked and combined all of them for a tasty side dish chock full of healthy goodness.  If you do not have the microwaveable vegetables, just toss sliced fresh green beans and broccoli florets with the squash in a big roasting pan with a little more oil and roast everything together (you may need to increase the cooking time a bit).  An added bonus -- the recipe made so much I was able to use about half as a substitute for the squash in my Yellow Squash Casserole recipe. I had this as a light lunch and it was delicious.  I just love summer produce!

Dilled Vegetables

2 each medium zucchini and yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 T. vegetable oil
salt to taste
2 T. butter
8 oz. green beans, cooked and sliced into thirds
12 oz. broccoli florets, cooked
4 green onions, sliced
1 tsp. dried dill, or to taste (fresh dill may be used instead)

Toss the squash with the oil and salt in a roasting pan.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the squash is soft.  Stir the butter and the remaining vegetables into the hot squash.  Season with dill.  Serves 8.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

This 'n That Thursdays: Comfy Chairs for the Home

Anyone my age probably remembers the hilarious Monty Python skit about the Spanish Inquisition, complete with comfy chair (and if that doesn't date me I don't know what does!).  Like the woman in the skit, I am also quite fond of a good comfy chair, and should it happen to be unique and even a little offbeat, so much the better!  One of my earliest posts featured a wonderful pool-blue club chair from CB2 which is unfortunately no longer available (there are other color options now but to me they are not as attractive).  A recent post of mine also mentioned an outrageously expensive but really cushy-looking chair done in an attractive elephant print.  I would have happily settled into either one of these, but since they are not really an option I found a few more that would work just as well.

I love the summery, masculine look of this Ralph Lauren Home Driftwood Wicker Chair:

The soothing blue color and fun sailboat pattern of the 725 Upholstered Chair by Braxton Culler would add a nicely nautical touch to any home:

This Belle wing chair covered in an outrageous peacock pattern makes a defiantly bold feminine statement:

For those who prefer a clean, contemporary look, the Pierre Paulin Pumpkin Armchair is an especially alluring choice:

While we may never achieve the pure bliss of the woman in the Monty Python comfy chair, any one of these other comfy chairs in the home will surely help us to come close!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wish List Wednesdays: Colorful Equipale Chairs

Even though we recently purchased our future retirement house in the eco-friendly community of Serenbe here in Georgia, I still dream of having a home in New Mexico, perhaps a little summer place to escape the oppressively hot and humid days of midsummer in the South.  If that ever happens, I hope our southwestern escape has a porch where I can put a couple of these brightly colored equipale chairs from Crow's Nest.  There are two color choices, pink or green:

Equipale Chairs

My preference is for the green, and I love how that orange pillow just glows on the green chair in the picture at the top of the page.  Fans of the pink chair may like the look of the navy blue option:

Orange Zia Pillow and Navy Zia Pillow

Just a few more items from the same catalog and my New Mexico porch would be complete:

Plains Geometry Rug

This one would work with the pink equipale chair:

Rio Arriba Rug

River Run End Table

Desert Trail Candle Cylinders

For now we are not planning a move to New Mexico, but one of these days I know I will have a place in the Land of Enchantment, and it will include a colorfully furnished porch!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

On the Homefront: May and June Flowers

So much has been going on in my life lately that I never got the chance to post my photos of the flowers blooming in our yard over the last two months.  Oh well, better late than never, right?  In addition to the beautiful magnolia blossom pictured above, daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) and chrysanthemums have flowered and gone:

These mums flowered unusually early this year, like a lot of our other perennials.

Our one and only butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) burst forth in all of its orange glory, and is still flowering:

Colorful lantana (Lantana camara 'Miss Huff') is in bloom as well:

Scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma) blossoms are attracting hummingbirds, as are trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) flowers:

The potted pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) on our deck, which flowered unusually early this year, is also attractive to hummingbirds:

This fragrant herb has just recently stopped flowering, probably due to the intense heat we are experiencing now, but will most likely bloom again in late summer, which is the normal time of year for this plant to bloom.

Potted catmint (Nepeta x faassenii 'Walker's Low'), a favorite with bees, continues to blossom:

Our butterfly bush (Buddleja sp.) is flowering vigorously, much to the delight of the local butterfly population:

A few morning glories (Ipomoea purpurea) have made an appearance already as well:

We also had an interesting visitor on our porch ceiling in May:

This unusual creature is a Pandora Sphinx Moth (Euphorma pandorus).  Females lay their eggs on the leaves of grapevines (Vitis spp.) or Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), both of which are abundant on our property.

A lot of our flowering plants will go dormant as the heat of midsummer descends upon us.  However, a few hardy species will continue to flourish in spite of the weather as long as they get a little water now and then, and I will continue to post their pictures as the season progresses.  Just like last year, a long, hot summer is predicted for our part of Georgia, but I'm hoping that we will at least get a little more rain this time.  Meanwhile, I will avoid the heat in the middle of the day and dream of cooler fall temperatures to come!