Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Style - Sun Room Mini Makeover

Sunday Morning

My sun room isn't really a sun room at all. It's the eat-in portion of my kitchen, but we've never used it that way. It's a great spot to hang out pre- or post-dinner and it gets lovely light from french doors and a sizable window. We've had a loveseat and 2 wicker chairs in there for awhile (and a dog kennel, but let's ignore that), but with the kitchen renovation around the corner, this little nook needs an update.

The wicker chairs are similar to these and they'll be staying. I bought the loveseat used, and it's time for it to go. I always wanted a window seat in this nook, but that would make it awkward to use as an eat-in area in the future. The long bench is a perfect compromise. It serves the same purpose and can be easily removed. One of my few houseplants loves this spot, so I'll need to invest in a tray so it can continue to live by the window. A couple of fun pillows and a rug will round out the area nicely.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Recipe - Chicken and Garlic Stew

Dutch ovens

During my visit last week, I accompanied my aunt to buy her first ever dutch oven. My mom and I assured her she would use it all the time. So, this week she tried it out. Unfortunately, it didn't come with any recipes, and she called for advice the other evening. I love my (several) dutch ovens and really do use them all the time, so I promised to send her some recipes. The husband particularly loves this one. So, if you are a lucky owner of your very own dutch oven, try this out one evening. It seems like a lot of garlic, but it really mellows after an hour and a half in the oven. For a complete meal, make a green salad, get some crusty bread to lather with the garlic, and drink the rest of the bottle of wine. This serves 2 heartily.

Day 279

5-6 chicken legs, skin and any fat removed*
1 head garlic, cloves separated but left unpeeled
1 cup white wine dry white wine
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
optional, one onion or potato, peeled and cut into large wedges

* Normally, I'm all for chicken skin and fat. However, the skin and fat don't brown in the dutch oven, they just liquefy and leave a layer of molten greasiness over everything.

Chicken and Garlic Stew

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all ingredients in a dutch oven, mixing well. Cover with lid and cook in oven for 1 1/2 hours. Enjoy!

Chicken and Garlic Stew

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday World Travel - The Delmarva Shore

image from Flickr member ClintJCL

I just got back from a brief visit to this area, so it's fresh in my mind how wonderful this particular strip of ocean and land is.

A versatile outfit is required at the beach as is a suit that will stay on through an accidental dunk by a large wave.

The morning is the best to spend some time on the beach before it gets too hot.


In the afternoon, shopping along Bethany Beach's main street and boardwalk is fun.

Bethany Beach

Chief Little Owl stands at the end of the main street. You can read about this sculpture here.

Crabbing is a great way to spend a few hours. All that's needed are some strong, some chicken pieces, and a net, and a Maryland blue crab feast could be possible.

image from Flickr member lostwave

He looks scary, but he is delicious. If crabs aren't possible, there's plenty other great food to be had.

Bethany food

Rita's water ice, DB Fries, Seaside Country Store Horseradish Cheese

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dress Up - Filigree rings

I'm a recent and lucky recipient of a lovely antique filigree ring. Wikipedia sums up filigree as 'a jewel work of a delicate kind made with twisted threads usually of gold or silver or stitching of the same curvy motif, to suggest lace.' I like it because it is so feminine, sweet, and old fashioned.


These pieces are all from Green Lake Jewelry


A quick Etsy search also turned up some pretty finds. Top left from JewelsbyNature, top right from Firefallstudio, bottom left from MorningGloryDesign, bottom right from SeaUnicorn.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Home Style - Graham and Brown Wallpaper

I've spent the last 3 days stripping old wallpaper, as documented here, here, and here. I was so caught up in removing the old paper, I didn't give much thought about what to do after the old wallpaper was gone. I'm debating between painting or wallpapering with a non-hideous wallpaper. I love Graham and Brown wallpapers, so I'm halfway considering the ones below. I'm out of town the next ten days, so I have plenty of time to make a decision before more action is required. :)

Graham and Brown wallpapers

images from Graham and Brown

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday World Travel - Acadia National Park, Maine

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Image from the National Parks Service

Acadia National Park is one of my personal favorite places in the world. The park encompasses a lot of what makes Maine so beautiful - the ocean, the mountains, the forest. You can easily spend an entire day or two at the park!

Since this is an outdoor travel day, it calls for a versatile outfit. A cardigan or jacket is a must, it gets breezy up on Cadillac Mountain. Sensible shoes are also a required, since there are such lovely spots to explore on foot, like the sandy beach below.

image from the National Parks Service

The drive up Cadillac Mountain is winding and steep, but the view from the top is worth the effort.

image from my own trip to Acadia, that's my grandma posing at the top of Cadillac Mountain.

image from Haydan Barry at Flickr

During the summer, these benches on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House are the best place for a rest and snack.

image from Lance and Erin at Flickr

Don't miss the Jordan Pond House Restaurant's famous popovers and strawberry jam.

Little ferries provide access to Baker Island, a great place to explore in the afternoon.

image from stormfa11 at Flickr

After a full day exploring the park, stop in at the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound. Feast on fresh Maine lobster outside on their picnic tables to end the day.

image from mandy whale at Flickr

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recipe - Stuffed Pork "Piccata"

Even though summer hasn't officially started, we've already had some very warm days here. On hot days, the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stovetop and cook something for dinner. So, though I wanted pork piccata for supper, I needed a new way to get the same flavors without the hassle of breading and frying chops. A quick stuffing and a half hour in the oven was just the answer. This recipe makes 2 servings, but the stuffing could easily be doubled or tripled.

Stuffed pork piccata filling

2 thick cut pork chops, fat removed
1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/2 a lemon should give you about that much
1 Tablespoon capers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
lemon wedges to serve

Preheat oven to 350. Cut a slit in each pork chop to make a pocket for the stuffing. To do this, lay the pork chop flat on your work surface and pierce the thin side of the pork chop about 3/4 of the way through. Be careful not to go all the way through the chop. Wiggle the knife carefully until you have made a pocket a few inches wide and deep for the stuffing.

Combine all other ingredients, except the lemon juice, and stuff each pork chop with the half of the mixture. The stuffing will compress in the pork chop, so you shouldn't need to close up the opening to the pocket. You can stick a toothpick through if you feel nervous the stuffing might leak out, though.

Place the chops on a foil lined rimmed cookie sheet. Brush each chop liberally with the lemon juice and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink inside.

Stuffed pork piccata

A simple green salad, rolls, and a fruity white wine would round this meal out perfectly. Enjoy!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dress Up - 10 summer dresses under $30

I love summer dresses. It gets hot here in the south, and a soft dress is the most comfortable thing to wear when the temp gets above 85. I've seen TONS of cute little dresses recently that are totally affordable. I picked out ten below that are less than $30 each. At that price, pick up several and get ready for the heat!

These 5 can be picked up at Forever 21. I think the blue one would be great for a summer wedding.

These three can be found at Old Navy.

These last 2 cute options can be picked up at Kmart!