Monday, June 30, 2008

Goodbye Border, Hello Beach!

We've been in our "new" house for almost two years. It was built in the early 70's. We knew there was going to be some work done in order to bring it up to date. It is not a badly done house, it still looks tasteful. But, it's just not where I want it to be. When we first moved in we were all gung ho about changing the kitchen around ....which you can see the before and after here. Since we knocked out the "walls" surrounding the kitchen we had to go forward with changing the look of the family room since it had opened up the two separated spaces and had become one room.

Well, since then we really haven't done much of anything to the house except paint the upstairs guest bathroom. But, now, a can of Home Depot "oops" paint and we are motivated once again! Yes, we bought our paint for 1.00. It was close to the color I wanted so... what the heck. You can always paint over it. We are re-decorating the downstairs half bath/laundry room. At first I thought it was kind of funky having a combination bathroom and laundry room but I solved the problem by getting a folding screen. (Yard sale find, 4.00.) When we have company the folding screen goes up in front of the laundry side so you can't see it. This appeases me for now.

See the lovely, handpainted "Flower Power" border? Couldn't wait to have that painted over. There was an even lovelier retro flower lighting fixture that we quickly took down and sold on ebay!

Dear Hubby is doing all of the work by the way. He's on the move!

The new "theme" will be the beach. I miss living at the beach, going to the beach, and walking the boardwalk, so I wanted to bring the ocean to me. We decided to take off the old yellow toned counter top and replace it with a newer, sand colored, faux granite countertop...(which we found on clearance at Lowes I think for 10.00.) The cabinets will no longer be dark. (We keep painting over all of these custom made cabinets....yikes!) We are adding wainscoting along the lower portion of the white to match the soon to be paint on the cabinets.

Hopefully it will be done soon and I can show you the after photos. But, I may just be on my trip and the project will have to be finished later. Either way I will be back to blog about the results of either one!

Friday, June 27, 2008

That Darn Cat

For anyone who has pets, you know each one has a unique personality, whether you like cats or dogs. We happen to have cats, three of them. Two were mine before I married my Dear Hubby and one was his (or should I say she was acquired for his three kids when they were least that's what he claims!)
Recently I've found them in the darndest places around the house:
This is Miss Minnie. She was the first cat I've had on my own, since "leaving the nest." She was 12 years old this year. I suppose this gives her some sort of special rights... like sitting on the very edge of the couch because she knows not to sleep up there. I think it is too cute how she uses the arm rest.

This is Sissy Miss. She's my other cat....and about half the age of Minnie. She's just started this habit of jumping up on the chair when I am eating at the counter.... hoping I am going to set a place for her, I think.
Here she is about to try a "no-no." We don't need cats on the counter.


And this is Love, my Dear Hubby' step-children's cat. I found her sacked out on my favorite travel bag in our bedroom. I have the bag out ready to go so I can pack soon...(will post about my upcoming trip later) but she's obviously too big to go in it! She must have been really tired and wouldn't BUDGE. I walked past her about 10 times before I even saw her there.

Love tries to keep her distance from the other two... poor thing. Since she came from a different household the cats just can't seem to all get along. My two kind of gang up on her, even though it has been more than four years since Dear Hubby and I were married. Who can blame her for trying to get a little peace and quiet?

She just might have the best idea yet.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ice Cream Potato Salad

Over the weekend we went to our church picnic. Love those! It's a great time for getting together with other families and of course, to sample all of their favorite family recipes. My Dear Hubby and I made my Mother in Law's macaroni salad. Turned out very good and he was pleased to see there was hardly any of it left.

While the macaroni salad was delicious, I began to miss my family's potato salad. So, today, I decided to make it, even though I have a ton of other things on my list to work on. The above photo represents the basic ingredients I use, but not all of them.

First you have to get through the worst part, which is the peeling. I peeled almost the whole 5 lb bag... saving two of the largest potatoes for dinner on the grill one night this week. (I don't forsee much of the potato salad remaining 'til then.) Then I cut them up into smaller pieces to cut down on the cooking time. I use whatever kind of potato we have in the house, although I tend to lean toward the baking potatoes. Probably because they are bigger and you have less potatoes to peel. I know, this doesn't make sense. A five pound bag is a five pound bag.

There are going to be a few odd things we do that you might not see in other recipes. Just bear with me. Here is one of them. We add the eggs right in with the potatoes for boiling. Why dirty another pan? An old roommate I had used to put a small onion in with the water, which I have tried but this time I did not. (If you do this, toss the water logged onion as you are draining potatoes.)

Another key point when making this potato salad is to get all of the other ingredients "ready to go" because you only have a small window of opportunity to mix everything together after draining out the water. The key here is to add the ingredients while the potatoes are still WARM. They will soak up the mayo "sauce" like a sponge. The mayo mixture is simple. Hellman's mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and one other ingredient I have added over the years that my Mother did not. (Just a smidge of spicy brown mustard, not too much!) I use half a jar to a whole jar of mayo (about 15 - 30 oz.) depending on how many potatoes, and I keep adding generous tablespoons of vinegar until the mayo looks more like a "sauce" and less like thick mayonnaise. It's all really a matter of taste.

It is also time to chop the onions. I LOVE LOVE LOVE using my Pampered Chef Zyliss chopper. It is my opinion that crying should not be a part of cooking. I don't like a lot of onions but if you go with a sweeter variety like vidalia, you can chop a little more. My Mother always used yellow onions. I never seem to have yellow onions in the house because Dear Hubby likes the vidalia.

Now, this is all being done while the potatoes were boiling with the eggs. You will remove the eggs before the potatoes are done. About 10 t0 15 minutes should be enough time to hard boil them. The potatoes should be soft enough for a fork to go through them and then they are ready to drain.

See the steam rising from the potatoes? The clock is ticking. You've got to hurry. Peel the eggs! (I boiled six.) Save one nice looking egg for slicing on the top.

Mix the potatoes (slice into smaller chunks), salt, pepper, onions, chopped eggs, mayo sauce until coated well. There is another ingredient that we use you won't find in many other recipes. Instead of celery, we use celery seed. Yep, celery seed. Freaks my Dear Hubby out because he thinks actual celery should be chopped up and mixed in there. But, this is my family's recipe and this is how we make it. He gets the macaroni salad.

And here it all of it's glory. And I'll bet you are wondering why I called it "Ice Cream Potato Salad." It is because my Father thought it tasted so good, it was like eating ice cream! And luckily, my Dear Hubby agrees! But, don't try and order this at your favorite ice cream stand. LOL!

And also to note today...the giveaway package is now on it's way to the final destination. To Jen's house, home of Lipstick and Laundry. Since it is going priority it should get there within 2 - 3 days. I mailed it out yesterday with these other packages so it only has a day or two to go!

Hope she enjoys the goodies. I can't wait til the package arrives. Sometimes it is just as fun for the giver as it is for the receiver. I guess this is why we do these giveaways!

I also hope you enjoyed my potato salad post. I guess I really had a lot to say about it! Summer is my absolute favorite time of year! Feel free to share your favorite family summer recipe... I enjoy reading about them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Frying Peppers ~ Memories of Home

Last week I went to our local farmer's market with a friend of mine. I had been to the same farmer's market with my Dear Hubby before, but couldn't find this certain kind of pepper we used to fry up at home in New Jersey. My Father grew them in our garden (they are actually called cubanelle's) and my Mom would slice a whole bag of them, fry them down with onions and we would put them on hoagie rolls. Mmmmmmmmm. Delicious!

Well, I had been discouraged thinking these peppers were going to be hard to come by in our area. But I did find them as shown a couple of posts ago. I brought them home and of course, insisted my Dear Hubs try out these sandwiches.

And here is what I did with them the other night...oh the memories it brought back. And they were just as delicous as I remembered, they have a nice, light, sweet flavor. (I love them with ketchup, don't laugh!) As for my hubby, he enjoyed them but since they didn't bring back any memories for him, it was just another fried pepper. And he kept saying it would be better if he had cooked some sausage to go with them. Next time, honey! They are also delicious on a steak sandwhich. Or even a hamburger. I'm also thrilled to see my grape tomato plant is doing very well. Pretty soon I'll have luscious snacks anytime I want! I love eating them right off the vine!

And of course, what better way to enjoy a memorable meal than on the back deck in the summertime. Bliss! I love this time of year.

What's your favorite meal in the dog days of summer? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Winner of "Jillian Posts 100" Giveaway

And now for the drawing to see who won my 100th post giveaway...

I started out with a screen of comments....actually it was like 5 pages...

Then I took this cute summer straw hat....

Filled it with names....

And Dear Hubbby pulled this one out!

The winner of a box full of vintage goodies is....... Jen of Lipstick and Laundry! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I'll need to get some more information from you to mail this package out. I really hope you like all the goodies I've handpicked for the giveaway!

I'd like to give a big hug and THANK YOU to all of the gals who participated in my 100th post giveaway. It was a lot of fun and I really appreciated all of the wonderful things you had to say! I hope you enjoyed it too. I look forward to many more posts, friends, and new things to learn by reading all of your blogs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Off to Market We Go & Another SNEAK PEEK!

Today was a gorgeous day to get outside and visit our local farmer's market. Freshness all around! But it was crowded. Wall to wall cars and people. My friend and I decided maybe next time we go we'll get up earlier before the crowds, if that is possible.

Here she is picking out apples. She's a great baker, cook, you name it, and I'll bet she's thinking apple pie here!

And near us in the parking lot, a different kind of vehicle...

Oh I was tempted by what was prepared in all of these jars...but I knew what I had on my list and I didn't stray...probably next time I'll try a little something from this stand. They even had homemade soap for sale.

The colors of the fresh produce just burst off the table. I couldn't resist the light green frying peppers in the baskets in the middle. Oh I think I know what we are having for dinner tonight...

And these normally call my name EVERY TIME I go to market but today I decided to just take their picture and save the whoopie pie for the next trip.


And now for another sneak peek into the "Jillian Posts 100" Giveaway Box:

Something for scrapbooking....

Oooh la la...a little something French in this oui little tube...

And something that needs polishing...(I promise I'll get to that before I ship the package!)

There's still time to enter the giveaway...just leave a comment anywhere on my blog from now until midnight on Thursday, June 19th. Only one entry counts! And if you advertise on your blog (please let me know about it) you'll receive an additional entry!

I've enjoyed all of your comments. . . and I look forward to many more.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sneak Peek + MeMe Tag + Beach Trip

Ahhhhhh. Everyone deserves a little time away from the regular old, well, regular. And I took an opportunity to see one of my FAVORITE places to go. The beach and boardwalk along the east coast. There is nothing like it! The fresh ocean air, the sounds, the sun. The FOOD.

The boardwalk stretches out pretty far and it makes a nice afternoon walking, stopping to gaze out over the ocean, stopping for an occasional cream. I actually used to live in the upstairs apartments above the building on the left. Oh the good 'ol days...I would wash my dishes at the sink and my view out the kitchen window was the ocean. Quite memorable! Why I ever moved I have no idea. Oh yeah, it was for a job. I'll get to that further down.

This is the best place to get pizza. I'm serious.

Love this vintage and I mean, vintage, salt water taffy store. They actually make it in the back and you can see through a glass window while they are working. I'm glad I had a chance to get away...this particular day there was a wedding on the beach and we got there in time to see the photography session. They bridesmaids wore the cutest ocean blue cocktail dresses, carrying coral colored flowers. Gorgeous against the sand, sun, and water. A neat moment and of course, I didn't get a picture.

But I am back now and there is so much to write about today. I promised a sneak peek at the "Jillian Posts 100" giveaway prizes and I've also been tagged by Ms. Daisy of The Daisy Chain for a "meme." First, without further ado, the sneak peek:

This is a partial picture of the box the winner will receive in the mail! Full 'o fun vintage stuff!

(Domestic U.S. box is subject to change depending on the outcome of the drawing...the winner may live overseas!)

Some linens...

Something porcelain...

And a little something blingy...

Stay tuned for the next installment of "Jillian Posts 100" ....another sneak peek at her giveaway! You still have a chance to enter. Leave me a comment between now and this Thursday, June 19th. One winner will be chosen at random and the name will be announced on my blog, Friday, June 2oth.

And now for the answers to a tag ...."What I was doing 10 years ago, etc" each in five short answers, to get to know me a little better:

What was I doing 10 years ago:

* I was working at an NBC TV station as a promotion producer. I wrote, produced, edited station "promos" to let you know what was coming up soon on TV. Fun job!

* My antique biz hadn't happened yet. But, I was still a fanatic antique store shopper.

* I was RENTING and had a roommate who is one of my best friends still to this day.

* I only had one cat. . . (Minnie, pictured on my sidebar.) Now we have 3.

* Having way too much fun!

Five Snacks I enjoy: (This is so much easier to answer than the above question!)

* Ice Cream

* Chocolate (Is that considered a snack?)

* Cheese n crackers

* Chips n Salsa

* Cookies

(Note, none of these were very healthy!)

Five Things on My To Do List:

* Get this posted on my blog today!

* Celebrate Father's Day w/ Dear Hubby

* Finish a project that is almost done.

* Straighten house. Why this is a never ending chore, I dunno.

It just IS.

* Get items photographed to list in my online antique store. Link to it on my sidebar if you'd like.

If I Suddenly Became a Billionaire, I would:

* Travel

* Buy new car

* Pay for my Mother's House

* Give my step children money to pay for all of their college tuition

* Pay someone to finish remodeling our house...and soon! Or, what the heck, just buy the house of my dreams, already done!

Five Jobs I've Had:

* Department store cosmetics sales girl

* Bank Teller

* Waitress

* Television Writer/Producer

* Local TV Commercial "Actress"

Five Things You May Not Know About Me:

* When I was in middle school I wanted to "grow up" and become a chef. Then later my dream was to become a NYC Rockette, and then finally in high school I decided on the communications field. Kind of bizarre series of dreams! I would still love to dance with the rockettes. Just once.

* I have a bachelor of Arts degree in Radio/TV/ and Film

* I moved around the country for my TV jobs, "moving up the ladder" until I was too tired to move anymore and then I bought a house.

* (Prayed a lot!) And asked God to help me find the right companion...he led me to dear hubby...and guess where we met? On the internet. (Another story for another post.)

* Dear Hubby and I honeymooned in Paris. (God is good!)

What would your answers to some of these questions be? Some of them are easier than others. I am going to pass this one on to some new gals I've met and would like to get to know them Rue, of Rue's Peanut Butter and Jelly Life, and Heidi of Vacumming in High Heels and Pearls, you've been tagged. I hope you don't mind!