Saturday, August 29, 2009

40th Wedding Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate our 40th Wedding Anniversary. WOW, what can I say but it seems like I have been married my whole life and I would spend another 40 years with this same wonderful, loving and caring man. I have been blessed.

We don't normally make too much of anniversaries but this year I wanted to give my husband something special to commemorate the celebration of so many years. Afterall I feel that this is truly a milestone. I have agonized for weeks about what to get him. Then one day while out shopping I came upon this lovely oil painting by a local artist.

It looked like someone had painted it from a photo of a field of sunflowers that we had at our weekend getaway in S GA. You see, my husband had planted this three acre field in sunflowers and we could sit on our rocking chair front porch and enjoy the view from across the road. The sunflower field was him doing something that he knew I would love.

We spent many weekends up at our farm enjoying the Sunflower Field and now the field is spent and has been harrowed under. When I saw this oil painting of this Sunflower Field I thought it would be a nice reminder of that beautiful field he had planted for me that we both enjoyed so very much. I will have it framed and hang it at our farm. It is a small painting done in oils but it truly does look like someone had taken a picture at our farm.

I hope he likes it as much as I do. I think he will. It just goes to show that when you least expect it that perfect gift pops up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil

It is Foodie Friday once again and today I am sharing a recipe that I saw a picture of in the most recent William Sonoma catalog. I was able to get the recipe from their website.

It is filled with the freshest ingredients, a lite one dish dinner and perfect for some of our hot summer days.

Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil

Enriched with two kinds of cheeses, this baked pasta showcases favorite summer vegetables at their seasonal best, including sweet corn, zucchini and fresh tomatoes.

• Kosher salt, to taste
• 1/2 lb. penne
• 6 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
• Kernels cut from 2 ears of corn
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 8 zucchini, about 2 lb. total, cut into half-moons
• 1/2 yellow onion, diced
• 4 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 1 Tbs. sliced garlic
• 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
• 1 Tbs. tomato paste
• 1/4 cup white wine
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
• 6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
• 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the corn, season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Working in batches, add the zucchini, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the corn. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Set the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced and the sauce is fairly thick, about 3 minutes more.

Add the pasta, tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine. Transfer to the fry pan and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 8.

I most always prep all of my ingredients.

You begin with a large pot of boiling water for your pasta which I always add a French Herbed Sea Salt which is a favorite of mine and a little olive oil.

You really taste the freshness of the corn in the dish.

The fresh zucchini is delightful.

After all the other ingredients are added you then place it back into the same pan and top with the Parmesan cheese before placing in the oven to bake. If you click onto the photo below you can enlarge the photo and there in the left hand corner is the Herbed Sea Salt I use so much. I always add it to pasta water for added flavor to my pasta.

When it has baked it comes out this beautiful golden color and it is a delicious Baked Pasta dish using the fresh summer corn and other vegetables. It truly is a "Good Thing".

If you try this dish you won't be disappointed and it IS a light one dish meal.

To see other wonderful recipes of participants of Foodie Friday click on here at Designs by Gollum.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Flowers in Your Home

I always have to have something blooming in my house. Whether it is a blooming Orchid or African Violet.

It adds so much to the decor of a home, in my opinion.

At times it could be flowers you have cut from your garden.

These happen to have been placed on my bedside table to brighten my day as I awoke. The container is a special piece of a porcelein pitcher that my grandmother painted. Bouquets in those kinds of containers are always "special".

Then there are those occassions when you have to put a flower arrangement together for a special occassion. I dearly love to do flower arrangements and when there is not enough flowers in the garden for the massive arrangements that I like to do then one must buy the flowers. This happens to be the arrangement that I put together to go on the table that displayed my daughters wedding gifts. She is an old fashioned kind of girl and wanted to display her gifts at home as I did when I got married.

Then there are those other occassions that always bring a smile to my face such as this photo placed at my entry during the Easter holidays.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for some pretty flowers to place on my kitchen island. I had a beautiful bouquet of roses in my hand when I spied this gorgeous pale pink shade of Stock. Believe it or not, it had a lovely cinnamon fragrance to it soooooooo I thought what better to go in an arrangement for my kitchen island. Not for a special occassion but to add warmth and cheer for me.

Can you smell the cinnamon fragrance?

If not, I will move a little closer.

Flowers in your home whether they are potted plants, grown in your garden or purchased flowers are a "Good Thing". They fill your home with warmth and cheer. This vase of Stock lasted for two weeks.

I hope you have a lovely remainder of the day and enjoy your weekend.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Comfort Food

I dearly love to prepare good food and entertain but sometimes when it's just my husband and myself we want comfort food. I am sharing with you today a recipe for Baked Ziti that has become a favorite of mine. Not only because it's good but it is a quick and easy dinner. The only thing you need to pare it with is a salad and crusty bread and maybe a good bottle of red wine. This is a recipe that was shared by a very dear message board friend and I would like to share it with you on this Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum. To see other participants of Foodie Friday click on the highlighted Designs by Gollum. You can also click onto any photo to enlarge.

I am a firm believer in using only the best ingredients in any recipe you are preparing. I have found Rao's marinara sauce to be an excellent jarred sauce. I prefer to make my own sauce but there are those times when time does not permit.

Baked Ziti

1 pound ziti or penne pasta
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 pound lean ground meat (I use sirloin or round)
2-26 ounce jars marinara sauce (I use Rao's)
6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced
1 1/2 cups sour cream
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. (I use a French Herbed Sea Salt) Add Ziti penne pasta and cook al dente, about 8 minutes, drain.

In a large skillet, brown onion until clear. Add garlic and saute for a minute and then add ground meat. Cook until browned on medium heat. Add spagheti sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.Layer as follows; 1/2 of the pasta, all the Provolone cheese and sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining pasta, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in the pre-heated oven or until cheeses are melted.

Note:This recipe also easily freezes well before baking and sometimes I place this recipe in two 8X8 containers and seal it. One to eat now and the other for the freezer.

Sauteing the onions and garlic.

Simmering the sauce.

It is so easy to put together.

For a quick, easy and delicious dinner try this Baked Ziti. If you like pasta as I do you won't be disappointed.

Have a lovely remainder of the day and don't forget to stop by Designs by Gollum to see some other wonderful dishes shared by those participating.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

With my vast collection of cookbooks, I find that sometimes I don't use them as I should. Last week I tried several new recipes that I had not prepared before but all came from cookbooks that I had had for a very long time.

The recipe I am sharing today is adapted from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins with Sarah Leah Chase. One of my favorite books and it was published in 1984 but I believe stands up to the test of time. It is a great book.

This is a recipe that was suggested to me by a dear message board friend and I am so glad she did. It will be in my permanent repertoire and I hope you will try it and enjoy it as much as I have. It is a great breakfast treat or even an afternoon tea yum yum and it is a beautiful muffin.

Raspberry Streusel Muffins


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 1/4 cups fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350* F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

To make the muffin batter, sift the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together into a medium-size mixing bowl and make a well in the center.

Place the egg, melted butter, and milk in the well. Stir with a wooden spoon just until ingredients are combined. Quickly stir in the raspberries and lemon zest. Fill each muffin cup three-fourths full with the batter.

To make the streusel topping, combine the pecans, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and stir to combine. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of each muffin.

Bake until nicely browned and firm, 20 to 25 minutes.

To make the glaze, mix the sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over the warm muffins with a spoon. Serve the muffins warm.

Makes one dozen muffins.

I hope you will try this delicious but easy muffin recipe.

You can click on to any photo to enlarge. Have a lovely day. Carolyn

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Great Smokey Mountains

It is Mosaic Monday again and I love joining in on this fun party hosted by Mary at Little Red House.

My mosaic is of a trip I made not long ago to North Carolina in the mountains of The Great Smokey Mountains. It is hot, humid and steamy where I live in North Florida and I long to go back to the mountains of North Carolina. It is such a beautiful state with it's panoramic views, cooler temperatures and a wealth of beauty.

You can click on to the Mosaic to enlarge it.

Thank you for visiting my blog and to see other interesting mosaics click here, Little Red House.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Wedding Mosaic

I am joining Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. You can enjoy other posts for Mosaic Monday by clicking here Little Red House. Thank you Mary for hosting this fun event.

Since I have so many photos from my daughters wedding I thought I would do another Wedding Mosaic. It was such a happy occasion and some of the details were so beautiful and I enjoy sharing them. The center photo is after the wedding of the newly married couple and if you click on the mosaic you can enlarge it. If you look closely at the brides bouquet you can see one of my most treasured things, my mother's gold and pearl brooch which I attached to the bouquet that I made. The flower girl is my oldest grand daughter who is three and the ring bearers are my twin grandsons and they are eight.

I included some of the reception details and most are self explanatory but there is a view upward of some orchids. The wedding reception and ceremony were both done in two different tents on a historical plantation in South Georgia. It was originally planned to be an outdoor wedding because the grounds are absolutely magnificent but mother nature did not exactly co-operate. The flowers that look like they are hanging from above of the white orchids was placed on the ceiling of the foyer of the reception tent. It looked like a chandelier as everyone entered the reception.

The Brides cake was Martha Stewart's Wedgwood Cake that sat on a Silver Repousse Cake Plateau. The sterling silver toasting goblets were also Repousse which I bought for the couple and the cake knife and cake server were their chosen Pattern, King Richard. The grooms cake was a Cow because the groom manages his family dairy. It seemed so appropriate and added a little whimsy to the festivities.

The last photo was of the happy couple leaving the reception in their Rolls to take them to their honeymoon night destination. They left the next afternoon for a week in Spain, four days in Barcelona and three days in Valencia.

Thank you for visiting my blog and enjoy your day. Don't forget to stop by Little Red House to see other mosaics.