Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 2015

July 2015

We always kick off the summer with our annual Friday before the 4th of July party at the fireworks.  The rest of the month of July pretty much follows that.  There's a party every Friday night in town at the Summer Concerts.  Everyone wants to be an Arts Commissioner this month because we get up close to all of the action.

I love locally grown flowers in the summer especially sun flowers.

My birthday is the 4th of July.  It's a good birthday to have because everyone is in a party mood!  One of my favorite birthday cards I received this year is this panda.  All of the birthday greetings inside are in Chinese.  I asked Chris if he could read it yet and he was able to translate a little.  I guess that course is paying off.

So welcome to some of the highlights of July!  

Get ready because this is another foodie blog.  I can't seem to get around it and all the pinning I do on Pinterest isn't helping!  I blogged about my birthday drink before so this is a little reminder of the ingredients in this refreshing cocktail in case you're tempted to make one!

Fresh Mint
Fresh Ginger

Smoosh it all up in a mortar and pestle and sit on your deck, close your eyes and make believe you're in Maui on vacation!  

I have to share this recipe of my mom's because it's so good and screams summer.  Tomato bread salad.  There are a lot of variations on this salad.  Everyone puts something different in theirs but my mom's is very simple and delicious.  Fresh native tomatoes are they key ingredient.  Here in CT we have a very limited growing season so there aren't a lot of tomatoes out yet but I have my ways.  There are no measurements.  It doesn't matter if you use 1 tomato or 10.  Slice the tomatoes, add lots of fresh basil and thinly sliced vidalia or red onions.  Mix them together with freshly cracked black pepper and some good quality olive oil.  Let this sit for a little while.  Just before you're ready to serve it (like when you put the steaks on the grill) add chunks of chopped biscotti.  By the way just in case you're wondering which kind of biscotti it's the dried bread not the cookie.  Add more olive oil and toss.  The reason I wait on the bread is because it'll get soggy and soak up all the oil if you add it too early.   Vegetables aren't on my family's list of favorite foods but no matter how much of this salad I make there's never anything left over.  P.S. the bowl was another birthday present from Sur La Table.  Love it!

We'll skip the main course because anyone can grill!  A few weeks ago I wanted to bake a white cake.  I have hundreds of recipes but I didn't have a favorite one for just a plain good old white cake.  I came across this one and it's a keeper!  

Simple White Cake -

Simple White Cake Recipe


Original recipe makes 12 cupcakes or 1- 9x9 inch pan

  • PREP
    20 mins
  • COOK
    30 mins
    50 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x9 inch pan or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven. For cupcakes, bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.
So this cake rose so high I was able to cut it in half.  We were very lucky to have a jar of Julie's homemade Strawberry jam in the fridge.  It was the perfect spreading consistency.  When the cake cooled I spread it on one side.

Then I put on the top layer.  At that point I decided not to frost it.  Instead I took a chance and covered the whole cake with Cool Whip spreading it just like a frosting and garnished it with fresh sliced strawberries.

Yes!  This cake is a total winner!!  It's moist, tender and delicious.  It made the perfect strawberry shortcake.  Julie's jam tasted so fresh and the whole pieces of strawberry in it really complimented the sliced strawberries on top.  I suppose any kind of regular store bought jam would do but that jam really made this cake special.  I have a jar of blueberry jam in the fridge that I've been safe keeping to make something special and it's going to be this same cake for sure only in a blueberry version!!!

Speaking of sweet things.  I finally lucked out!  This was the most amazing present I could have ever imagined!  Everyone in my family has a painting of a slice of something.  There's a plain slice of cherry pie, a slice of carrot cake, etc. etc. but I didn't have one.  I mentioned this to Kristen at least a dozen times.  I wanted a slice of pie too.  After all I'm MOM and I deserved one!  That didn't go over very well because I waited the longest for my slice of the pie.  But as that old saying goes "save the best for last" really did come true for me. Here's my slice of the pie and it's the best one yet!!!  It's oil on canvas and it's drying right now.  I may have to wait as long as a month but you can imagine how excited I am to display it!  I look forward to holidays so much because I'm blessed to be given such amazing treasures.  This photo doesn't even do it justice.

These are a few of the other awesome unique gifts I got this year.  It's difficult to buy someone who has just about everything a present but my family managed to do just that.  This is an eyeglass holder.  I love it.  I haven't lost my glasses once since I got it!

I love going to the opera.  I've told just about everyone in my family I have to buy myself a pair of opera glasses.  Well I got them!

Whenever we go to a book or novelty store it seems someone buys an adult coloring book.  I've always wanted one but couldn't bring myself to buy one.  That's strange because I have no problem buying myself anything.  Everyone must have been thinking the same thing because I got 3 fantastic coloring books and lots of colored pencils.  I am soooo excited.  Now I just need some more time to play!!!  On top of just coloring in the pages, these books are great for tracing embroidery, red work, appliqueing and just about any embellishment I can think of.

I had a little quality time on a few days off recently and finished the top of my Civil War quilt.  I've been working on it for over a year.  I think when it's finished I'm going to give it to someone special.  I'll keep you posted.  

Before I close this is a really good tip. I used to have to hold the pages of a book open with some heavy objects while trying to read a pattern or directions. Now when I buy a new book I take it to Staples and have it spiral bound.  It's inexpensive and so useful.

I'm worried!  I've talked too much!  

I'll end now.  I can't believe the next time we visit will be in August.  This summer is flying bye.

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon!

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