Comfy spaces.

Autumn is my favorite season and when I began decorating my front room, I envisioned a comfy space where I could curl up with a book and a cat and a cup of tea as the days got darker earlier.  Unfortunately, life is busy and I don’t get to relax as much as I would like to and my special little nook is used more often by the cats than by me.

Although we are still in the middle of summer, last evening was cool and rainy and it felt like autumn to me, so I decided to settle into my second favorite spot in the house (the first being the kitchen).  I lit some incense, plugged in the Christmas lights, and put my feet up.  Ox joined me for a little while too.  It was splendid!

Here’s a daytime shot from a couple of years ago, complete with our beloved kitty Aleister, who passed away in February.

Here’s a challenge for you, dear readers!  Would you snap a photo of your favorite comfy space in your dwelling and share it on your blog?  I am nosy and I would love to see where you relax!

Also, now that I am using Bloglovin’ to follow some of you, do you have any suggestions of blogs I should follow? My interests are cooking, cats, vegetarianisn/veganism, rummage sales, thrift shops, second hand shopping, music, entertaining, Halloween, making jewelery and collages, home decor, nature, reading, taking photos, walking, vodka with lime, and laughing.  Oh!  I also like you, my blog readers!

Have a great day everyone!  I will snap a photo of today’s outfit and put it up later on tonight or tomorrow.  Keep cooking!

Kitchen garden.

 

We got a later start on our garden that we wanted to, but we managed to get a lot of stuff planted.  We learned a lot from last year’s garden and decided to not plant some veggies that didn’t thrive as well as we had hoped they would.  We weren’t going to plant broccoli this year, but Mother Nature had an agenda and up popped a volunteer broccoli plant or two.  We also had some lettuce pop up from last year, as well as several tomato plants.

One thing I wanted to do last year was plant a kitchen garden.  We still have herbs in various parts of the garden, but I wanted the ones I used often, plus some edible flowers, in a little patch right off the kitchen.  Mark built the garden up for me and I went to work filling it with two types of basil, camomile, lavender, and nasturtium, to name a few.

It’s been so nice to take a few steps off the porch and be able to pluck the herbs I need for cooking.  I plan on drying the camomile and lavender.  I want to use the camomile for tea and I am going to attempt to make lavender simple syrup to replicate the lavender margarita that is served in our local Mexican restaurant.  I also want to make some sachets for my dresser drawers.

I managed to combine my kitchen garden and today’s outfit into one photo.  I think it’s funny that my dress matches the garden, the lawn, and the deck.

 

Outfit details:  vintage dress-gift from my awesome hair dresser, green tights-retail (and originally purchased for my lawn gnome costume a couple of years ago) and blue shoes-second hand shop.

Here’s a detail shot of the dress and the shoes.  I got these shoes from a shop that sells everything!  It’s kinda like an antique shop and a thrift shop rolled into one.  These shoes are from the 70’s and I have a pair in red as well.  They cost me a whopping 50 cents a pair!  Best bargain of the summer so far.  They were a little grimy from being in storage so long, but the cleaned up pretty well.

Back to cooking!  I am going to attempt to make vegetarian crab cakes again.  I made them before with tofu and they were okay, but they didn’t blow my mind or anything.  While out at dinner last night, I had a flash of inspiration on how to make a different version of them.  If they turn out well, expect them on the blog!

Have a great night everyone!

Smooth move, Ex Lax

Did you say that when you were a kid? Anyway, I have been always breakfast challenged. Even in kindergarten, I remember my mom forgoing traditional breakfast foods in order to get me to eat breakfast. She would make me cheese sandwiches instead.

I’m 35 and I still struggle with getting breakfast in my belly. I love late breakfasts or brunch on weekends. I even like breakfast for dinner, which was a tradition started by maternal grandparents.

One of the big problems I have with breakfast is that a lot of breakfast foods are sweet. I am all about the savory. Mind you, I won’t turn down a good piece of chocolate or a delicious cupcake, but for the most part, I am not crazy about sweet things. But, one semi sweet thing I can handle in the morning is green smoothies.

For breakfast this morning I made a strawberry and kale smoothie. This smoothie isn’t really as green as it could be, but it was great! If it’s too green, I have trouble with the consistency and it makes me gag and really, who wants to put up with that nonsense so early in the morning?

For someone who writes a cooking blog, I am pretty terrible when it comes to measuring out ingredients. For this smoothie, I combined about a couple of ice cubes, a half a cup of hazelnut milk (but any kind of milk, soy, almond, rice, will do), five (local)strawberries (in the winter I use frozen ones which eliminates the need for ice cubes), and two kale (local) leaves, and whirred it up in my 1970’s avocado green blender. Some folks have fancy blenders, but this one, with three buttons (off, low, high) suits me just fine. I swear I could blend a car battery in this thing! I have an immersion blender too, but I use that more for blending hot soups.

Also, because I said I would be sharing some of my outfits on the blog, here’s today’s outfit:

Details:

Black ruffled cardigan-consignment shop

Vintage polyester dress with Siam print-gift from Dad

White fishnets with crazy design-clearance retail

Sanitas-online (I wanted to wear heels with this, but I am about to leave to go out to dinner and a comedy show with friends and I wanted comfy, not break my neck shoes)

Black and silver ring-retail

Black headband-dollar store

Black plastic beads-yard sale

I hope you are all having a wonderful day.  Keep cooking!

Bull’s eye!

A couple of Saturday’s ago, I walked by a vendor at the Farmer’s Market and I spotted these beauties:

 

Round zucchinis! The lady called them “Bull’s Eye” zucchini but I have also seen them refered to as orb zucchini.

When  I was little my mom grew these, but her’s were always green.  Last year, my friend grew them a gave me a couple. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to eat the second one in time, but it made a great Jack ‘O Lantern.

I saved the seeds but we didn’t plant them this year. I did give some to a co worker who I hope has good luck growing them.

My mom used to hollow these zuchinni out and stuff them with ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  I did something similar with mine:

 

I sliced off the top of the zucchini and scraped out the inside, seeds and all.  I chopped up the inside flesh of the zucchini and set it aside.  Next, I sauteed some red onions and garlic from  my garden in a little olive oil, adding a pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper.  When the onions and garlic were translucent, I mixed in some pasta sauce.  Now, I normally don’t buy pasta sauce for two reasons:  1) Most red sauces upset my tummy. 2) I like to make my sauce from scratch when I actually use it.  However, last time I was at at the grocery store, I spotted this Newman’s Own pasta sauce and I am in love! Anyway, I mixed about a cup of the sauce into the frying pan full of zucchini, onions, and garlic. I added a couple of chopped sprigs of basil from my garden as well. I only cooked this for a bit, just enough to mix everything together and let the flavors meld.

I stuffed the hollowed out zucchinis with the mixture and baked them in the oven on a baking sheet at 300 degrees, for about 20 minutes, or until the zucchinis were fork tender.

I topped the zucchini with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and served it with a salad with greens from my garden and Vidalia onion dressing, a couple of slices of butter Vienna loaf, and a white wine spritzer. What a perfect summer meal!

For the record, zucchinis are my favorite vegetable. During the course of writing this blog, I have spelled zucchini in a different wrong way every time I have typed it. I also have terrible luck growing zucchini and have not been able to grow it in the last two years of gardens. Peppers however, I do an excellent job with!

Have a great day everyone and keep cooking!