July 2020

July is starting out nice. We got a little rain yesterday and today the humidity seems to be out of the air.

Yesterday was a good day to be out and about between showers. A nice walk across the dam and a view of Mt Ascutney was fun.

This weekend is the 4th of July. With the virus, I don’t know how much fireworks that there will be around. Hopefully there will be something on the television for fireworks which is fun to watch.

A lot of people have camps that they can go to on the water. How fun to have a nice fire pit and summer fun. When I was a kid, my Dad always had friends that he worked with that had camps on the lake and he would rent a cottage for a week from a few of them when he was on vacation which was usually in July. So many fun memories.

So fun to make s’mores on the campfire. Happy campers everywhere and just plain fun. We didn’t have a boat, but neighbors did and we would go water skiing and just enjoy everything the lakes had to offer.

You know those scallops that are wrapped in bacon that are so scrumptious. Well how about a grilled scallop and bacon salad. Sounds good to me.

If we could get together, it would be fun to make Ina Gartens Flag cake for the weekend. Cream cheese frosting with raspberries and blueberries sounds really good. I pinned the recipe on my pinterest for future reference.

Also a stars and stripes pie sounds really nice. It looks really fancy and not that difficult to make.

I love the above idea for a table centerpiece for the 4th. The blue Hydrangea with the red carnations adding babies breath and a flag is just stunning in a blue jar.

It would be fun to go over to the coast and have some fried clams at a clam shack. No one is traveling right now, though. There is a highway that goes from Glouster, Massachusetts to Maine right along the ocean that is very scenic and just plain fun. Then there is Maine to have a lobster roll or a lobster dinner. Yum.

Hoping that next summer is better then this one. Although staying home isn’t all bad.

June Monday

I went on an early morning walk this morning and I saw a cute little baby fawn. A girl that was running around the track that I was walking around told me that she saw a fawn running around in the field. I didn’t see anything and then I saw in the distance the little fawn running along the fence. It stopped for a minute, and then ran back the other way away from me. Then to my surprise, the little fawn came back to where I was and stopped and looked at me long enough that I could take a photo of it. It was magical.

Along the path that I take to get to the track, was the above white flower bush. I thought that it was pretty and it was all along the path. I got out early and even so, the temperature was in the 80’s. We have been in the 90’s here for about 5 days in a row. A heat wave and I was glad to get back home and turn on the air conditioners.

In Chester where you can buy a produce box for $25.00 that is worth about $62.00 and has the freshest and nicest veggies and fruit ever, you can also put in an order for the above Peonies bouquet. It costs $20.00, but the bouquet includes a vase and if you bought that bouquet at a Florist, I’m sure that it would cost a lot more. I didn’t buy one, but if I could actually afford it, I would purchase that beautiful bouquet in a New York second.

This week they also have herbs that are organic from an awesome supplier that are 3 for $15.00. I put in an order for lavender, alpine strawberry plant and a thyme plant. They come in an organic pot except for the lavender which has a plastic pot. They have a number of slots and when that number of slots is full, you miss out on them. I ordered early and can pick them up on Saturday morning. I love it.

Up near Stowe, Vermont there is a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream plant. That’s where they make their ice cream and the waffle ice cream cones with awesome flavors of ice cream is a really fun place to visit. I would like one of those cones today, but it’s like 80 miles or so from where I am.

I have some frozen fruit in the freezer that I made a green smoothie with and I decided to put it in my popsicle molds. It was quite good, but I’ve made other popsicles that I have liked better. Just plain orange juice in the popsicle molds is really good. Anyways, the popsicles were very refreshing on these very hot and humid days.

I have a ton of lettuce that I have to use up. A really neat way to use the lettuce is to make a wrap for a Big Mac. The secret sauce is so easy to put together and I have some Boston lettuce that works perfect. Some grass fed hamburg, an heirloom sliced tomato, dill pickle and American cheese. Some parchment paper that is folded into a triangle and then folded around like you would a babies diaper and it works nice. A Big Mac without a lot of carbs.

I have some grilled chicken in my freezer and I think the above recipe sounds good to make a chicken salad. I have some baby greens that would be perfect for a base to put the salad on.

My son makes a curry chicken salad that has mayonnaise, maple syrup, onions, apples, raisins and of course curry powder. I like that idea also for to put in a wrap.

Well, it is now late and I need to call it a day.

June Saturday Morning

An early morning walk before the humidity got too much. I got home and put the air conditioners on.

I went over to Chester and got a huge produce box for $25.00. There are 5 kinds of lettuce and all kinds of salad veggies. Strawberries, Cantelope, Fresh Pineapple and more. So fun.

I made a huge tossed salad with garden fresh everything. Will be making a lot of salads for a few days.

I went over to Hemingways and browsed through their Greenhouses. That place always makes me smile. Beautiful selection of plants and flowers.

All kinds of rose bushes are scattered throughout the garden paths. So fun to see what they have new this year.

The above planter was fastened on the outside of one of their Greenhouses. I thought that it was so pretty.

I bought myself a flat of Marigolds that I saw at Hemingways. So colorful.

It’s a very hot day and I made some ice coffee from leftover coffee from this morning. So refreshing.

Even though there is a pandemic and you have wear a mask everywhere you go and use hand sanitizer and wash your hands constantly, you can still manage to find little joys here and there.

Summer Fashion

The above A-line, short sleeve dress is perfect for summer days. Just add a pair of sandals and you are good to go.

A T-shirt and a pair of cut off jeans is perfect for staying cool for working in your garden or just around the house.

I like T-shirt type dresses as they flatter any figure. Shorts are always good for riding bikes and an easy hairstyle is to just pull your hair back in a ponytail.

To go shopping, a more conservative outfit like the above is what you see a lot.

The big straw pocketbook is fun to take to the farmers market.

I like the look of a sundress with a jean jacket and a straw hat.

Leggings are easy to wear and comfortable if you are going away for a weekend.

Hairstyles for summer are casual and easy care.

And that’s my idea of summer style. In Vermont, it could be in the 90’s one day and in the 60’s the next. You turn around and the weather changes. Right now we are having a heat wave as it has been 90 degrees three days in a row.

Wednesday Morning Walk

It was a beautiful sunny morning to go out for a walk. I just walked around a track that is near where I live, 5 times. I saw the above clover and it just looked pretty to me.

You can see how blue the sky was and from a distance the white flower bush looked really pretty.

I like wildflowers and the Indian Paintbrushes were so colorful along the fence that goes around the track.

I like the above inspiration. I guess we all need a break now and then from some stuff that drains energy.

Nature is so colorful and has a way of lifting spirits.

Have a wonderful day!

Summer Salads

I saw a neat idea for a salad that was called “Roasted Salmon Detox Salad”. The 4 oz salmon was roasted in the preheated oven at 400 degrees for about 9 minutes. The dressing over the top of asparagus, watercress, avocado, cucumber and beets was 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, a 1/4 cup of lemon juice, a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a clove of garlic minced with added salt and pepper. Sounds good to me.

I like Suzanne Somers Taco Salad recipe. There are no carbs in it and it really is good. I have made this salad a lot.

I also like the Mini-Mac salad. It’s really like a Big Mic without the carbs from the bread.

The above Apple, Cranberry, Walnut Salad is one of my favorites. I just use Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing on it.

You can buy Pasta salads at the deli, but it’s easy to make and really tasty. It has fusili pasta, mozzarella balls, halved, salami quartered, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes halved, artichoke hearts that are chopped and pitted black olives. I just like my Newmans Olive oil and vinegar dressing on this. But there is a recipe for a dressing with this pasta salad that I have pinned on my salads board on my pinterest.

Spinach Salad with bacon and sauteed mushrooms is one of my favorites. I like Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing on that, also. The recipe calls for a warm bacon dressing and I have the recipe pinned on my Pinterest.

I have been to Hawaii once in my life and I remember having a salad like the one above served in a half of a pineapple. It was so refreshing and really tasty. I have the above recipe pinned on my Salads board on my Pinterest.

The fruits are pineapple chunks, papaya chunks, mango chunks, kiwi slices, and raspberries. The dressing is just 2 tablespoons of lime juice and a 1/4 cup of honey.

Another fun salad is the California Chopped Kale Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette. Add a glass of Champagne to have with it to make it even more fun. The salad has a cup of quinoa, de-stemmed kale, bell pepper, finely shredded carrots, edamame or chickpeas, sliced grapes, sweet corn, flaked unsweetened coconut, crushed pecans and fresh cilantro chopped. The Champagne Vinaigrette has filtered water, champagne vinegar or wine vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, chopped shallot, sea salt and black pepper.

Really a healthy salad and you can have some for dinner and the rest for lunch for a couple of days. The recipe is pinned on my Pinterest Salads board.

I really like Broccoli Salad. The salad has broccoli, red onion, cranberries, sunflower seeds and bacon bits. The dressing has cider vinegar, sugar, mayonnaise and salt and pepper.

So these are a few of my favorite salads. Everyone has different tastes, but these are some of the salads that I enjoy most.

Monday Musings

A neat idea for a salad is the Italian Sub Salad. It’s like the Chopped Salad that you can get at “The Subway”. I like to use uncured peppered salami that I chop up and added pepperoni is optional. Then I like chopped ice-burg lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion and black olives and chopped Cabot Cheddar Cheese. I like Newman’s Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. But everyone has different tastes and the idea of a Sub Salad sounds fun to me.

Lady Slipper flowers grow wild in this area of the country. The last that I knew, you can’t pick them as they are protected. I guess that there are not that many of them around. When I was a kid, we lived on a dirt road. I used to go for walks and there was a whole patch of Lady Slippers about a mile down from where we lived. So pretty. That road is paved now and I have driven by where that patch was and they don’t seem to be there anymore.

I love how hedges are used to section a garden and then a brick path between the hedges. I can see a patch of Marigolds and one of Lavender in the above. The photo is Barefoot Contessa’s garden aka Ina Garten’s. So beautiful. She changes the themes of her gardens every year from what I have read. I like the above year.

That’s a neat tip for when you boil eggs. I also read once that the egg peels easier when you start peeling from the wide end and then you roll the egg to break up the shell. And it peels better under running water.

When my Mom made Potato Salad, she would slice the hard boiled egg in half to decorate the salad. Then she would sprinkle Paprika over the salad. She also sometimes put pickle relish in the Potato Salad. I have some red potatoes that I have to use up and they would be perfect for Potato Salad.

Maple Creamee’s are one of my most favorite treats for cheat day. Some days I just say no diet food today. And just make up for it the rest of the week by being careful of the diet.

I’ve been trying to drink 8 glasses of water a day like they recommend. To make it more fun, I like to use the above mason jar container. I put lots of ice in it and sometimes I use Sparkling Lemon Water.

The above clock caught my eye on the Walmart Website. So cute to have in a sewing room. And a reasonable price, too.

I like to have simple little pleasures here and there to make days enjoyable. I never spend much money and can always account for why I need to buy a little something, something every now and then.

I like Inspirational messages. Have a wonderful day!

Vermont Summer

The Green Mountain state used to have a lot of farms. I don’t think that there are as many as there used to be back in the day, but there are still some beautiful farms. A lot of state regulations seem to have driven a lot of small farms out of business. The state of Vermont has been taken over by people from out of state. They ruined where they were and now have started in on any unspoiled area they can find in my humble opinion.

My Grandparents owned a 240 acre farm in the area that they call “The Northeast Kingdom” which is close to Canada. Many fond memories of summers spent visiting that farm. Gram loved her gardens and Grandpa was always up at 5:00 AM doing his chores. My two older brothers which my Dad always called “the boys” would spend some of the summer at that farm helping Grandpa hay the fields and help get the hay into the barn. My younger brother and I were called “the little kids” by my Dad. Sometimes there would be family reunions when we visited with all my Mom’s aunts and uncles and cousins getting together. They were usually held at a nearby lake with a picnic and Gram usually made her baked beans and everyone brought their special dishes. For example home made ice cream and all kinds of pies, potato salads and such. Some of which stand out in my mind.

That front farm porch with the laughter ringing out where my parents, grandparents and aunt gathered after supper always lingers on my mind. So beautiful.

The farm was sold by my aunt’s husband after she passed on. It was sold to a bunch of hippies and I just could not believe it. They are all college educated but not family like that farm was always owned by. Grafiti on the posts of the front porch. Junk on the lawn that my Gram always kept manicured. Nothing ever stays the same.

I love the wildflowers that you see everywhere this time of year. The daisies and buttercups are so Vermont.

Then the clover is the state flower and you see it everywhere. Four leaf clovers are easy to find, even though they are supposed to be a little rare.

I live in southern Vermont and there is a walking trail that I walk on sometimes. I didn’t take the above photo, but someone saw the above bear on that walking trail. I don’t think I will walk on the trail for awhile.

It’s strawberry season for local strawberries. Because of the virus this year, there is no Strawberry Festival at a local orchard. You have to wear a mask and use only the orchards containers if you want to pick your own strawberries.

I usually just buy a pint of strawberries that are all picked. But I know a lot of people pick their own and pick a ton of them. They must freeze most of them because strawberries have to be used up pretty fast.

Strawberry Shortcake with home made biscuits and whipped cream is a nice treat to make with the strawberries.

You can freeze them for Smoothies also.

The orchard where the strawberries are is also an apple orchard. Beautiful views there.

On weekends they make Cider Donuts that just are so fresh that they just melt in your mouth. Really a treat. They sell out fast, so you have to get there early to get them.

On Saturday mornings they have a Farmers Market and they are still doing the market this year, but with restrictions. No crafts, you have to wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and only a few people at a time. No gathering, just in and out.

I think that everyone is not very thrilled with the Covid-19 scare. Things are starting to open up a little at a time and praying that the virus enemy does not spike up or anything.

It’s definitely not normal times, but this time of year is still nice.

Saturday in June

On Saturday mornings the cook shows that are not re-runs are on the Food network on TV. The Pioneer Woman was on and she used the above pot holder on her show. I have that pot holder hanging up in my kitchen as I found it at the Walmart a few weeks ago. They came as a set of 2 and I love them.

I also have the placemats from the Pioneer Woman brand that I found at the Walmart. I got them the same day as I got the pot holders. I just love them and they were a reasonable price. I also love the Pioneer Woman jade color butter dish and the salt and pepper shakers that I previously got at the Walmart. It makes for a fun summer tablescape.

I saw a neat idea for a kitchen garden to put on a porch. You can put herbs and lettuce plants in pots and window boxes all together like a little garden that is close and comes in handy.

I keep a 3-ring binder with my favorite recipes in them. I have some blueberries so I dug out my mini blueberry muffin recipe. That’s my photo with the recipe. I have made that recipe when my son visited and also to have as a snack on car trips. That recipe comes in handy when you can get good blueberries this time of year.

I think that little bunny rabbits are cute. They always wiggle their nose and they like gardens.

Also Monarch Butterflies are super cute. You see a lot of them this time of year. I love how they have certain flowers that attract butterflies.

The above is a dream of a pantry. I think that I would use that little fridge as a wine cooler.

I had some cantelope that I had to use up and also some baby spinach. So I made a fun breakfast using organic eggs and shredded Cabot cheddar cheese for a Fritatta. Then I used Vermont bread multi-grain English muffins with Cabot butter spread on them that just melted in. I have fresh Parsley in a planter in my kitchen window and used a sprig of that to decorate the plate. Then I used my favorite Pioneer Woman coffee mug and I had some Starbucks Cafe Verona dark roast coffee in it. Plus I used my Pioneer Woman napkins that match the placemat. Now that is a fun breakfast that was enjoyable and even more fun then going out for breakfast. I made this a couple of times this week.

I have the above containers and they are fun to use to make up ahead and keep in the fridge for a quick and healthy lunch. I have a hummus that has that “everything bagel spice” in it. Then I have grilled chicken strips that I keep in the freezer and you just put them in the microwave for 3 minutes and they are delicious. I also use that chicken in stir fries as well as for over power greens in a salad.

And that’s my thoughts for this second Saturday in June.

Summer of 2020

This summer with the Corona virus and the Black Lives Matter riots and all, it’s not been normal times. To lift spirits and make each day as pleasant as possible, I like to have little simple pleasures here and there. I saw a 6-pack of colorful summer flowers for only $1.99 at a local Walmart. I had some cute planters at home that I dug out and these inexpensive flowers make me smile.

Then that very same day I was driving home on a country road that follows the Connecticut River and there was a farm stand that had herbs and flowers for sale by the road. I stopped and was going to buy a Marigold plant. It was self service and the sign said $3.00 for a 3″ pot. So I just picked up one Marigold and I only had a 5 dollar bill and was going to leave that and was headed for my car. The owners happened to be out there and the man said “can I help you?”. Then he said that he could give me more for the $5.00. He then proceeded to put together a ton of Marigolds and handed them to me. I was stunned and couldn’t stop smiling all the way home.

I like Nantucket style and somewhere I came across the above. The lipstick color is called “Sunset”. The bag is from L L Bean. I always wanted to get one like that with my initials monogrammed on it. Then the straw hat is so old fashioned and I love it. The striped nautical top is so summery and I love it as well as the skirt and blouse. The sweater is sold out on J Crew, but I love the style.

A farm porch with a swing is not what I can enjoy this summer, but it’s always in my thoughts.

The above Yankee Barn Cottage is one that caught my eye years and years ago. I still love it. The farm porch reminds me of my Grandparents farm porch. This one is a modular and goes up fast and even has open beams, a screened in porch on the back and a balcony from the second floor loft.

I asked Yankee Barn homes where the home in the photos was and they said that it is in Connecticut. Wouldn’t you know. But Yankee Barn homes office is in New Hampshire near Lake Sunapee. This one is my personal favorite home plan. They have all kinds of beautiful Yankee barn homes plans. Probably it will be awhile before they can build again. Just like everything.

Can’t go out to restaurants anymore lately so I’ve been having fun trying out recipes. I found a keeper recipe for Macaroni and Cheese. So easy to make and you can’t mess it up.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to make brick oven pizza in your own brick oven. Wowso!

I lost my Mom awhile back. The worst part is I never got to say good by to her. It hurt me worse then any hurt I ever went through. And I have been through some hard times in my life. I went to the grave where her and my Dad are and on my way home the radio came out with Martina McBride’s “In my Daughters Eyes”. Well my eyes sure filled up with tears.

My Mom and Gram always liked tea. I always wished that I could have had tea in the garden with a table like above at my place. I never had a place like that and time just goes by like a blink of the eye. You can’t go back in time.

My Mom loved butterflies and she would have loved the above tea set. I bought it recently from Macy’s on line. It was on sale and I couldn’t resist it. I guess that I am a lot like my Mom. She loved dish sets and clothes.

A few weeks ago the Vermont Green Mountain Boys flew their F35 jets over honoring front-line Covid-19 first responders and essential workers. So awesome.

King Arthur Flour had about 10 online baking classes with Gesine Prado Bullock and Jeffrey from King Arthur Flour. A lot of bread classes. Today at 2:00 PM they are showing how to make pretzels and a fancy dessert.

The Woodstock Inn has cooking classes on line for old fashioned recipes from the Billings Farm in Woodstock. They also had fitness exercise classes on line from their Fitness place because they were closed because of the virus.

And that has been the start of the summer of 2020.