July 29, 2011

In the garden.

Tomato Blossoms

 Tomato Blossoms Green Tomatoes

Peppers

Thyme

Kiddie Pool

Just a teensy bit longer, and we'll be eating tiny tomatoes every night. I can't wait!

Matt surprised me a few days ago by bringing home a kiddie pool. He must've read this post. We promptly filled it with water and soaked our feet with margaritas in hand. It wasn't  particularly warm that night, but who cares. I love this thing.

July 25, 2011

Over the weekend.

The weather was beautiful for my bridal shower on Saturday. The games were awesome, the food was delicious, and the kiddie pool was nice and refreshing. In fact, I might have to invest in a little kiddie pool for myself at home. It'd be nice to dip my feet when it's really hot outside.

Then yesterday, Matt and I packed up our blanket and sunglasses for Edgefield to see the Fleet Foxes perform. It was such a magical experience, and left both of us with goosebumps all over. I won't forget that concert anytime soon. I really look forward to seeing them again in the future.



Wristies

I've been laying all of my wedding-related crafts aside this week. Instead, I'm re-teaching myself how to knit, and finding small, stripey crochet projects to use up all of my leftover yarn. It's been a nice break, but I really should get back to all-things wedding. We've got just over a month to go!

July 21, 2011

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Matt brought home these sunflowers to make up for the lack of sun. I think they're beautiful. I really don't mind the clouds and rain today - perfect weather for crochet and reading.

July 19, 2011

Honey Oat Bread

Homemade Honey Oat

It really doesn't feel like summer right now in Portland, Oregon. It's cool and rainy, and it plans to stay that way for another day or two. Lucky for me, I've been on a huge sandwich kick, and the weather is perfect for baking bread.

I came across this particular bread recipe in one of my cookbooks. It used to be that whenever I needed a recipe, I'd do a quick online search and find whatever I needed. Nowadays, however, I find myself turning to my cookbooks for almost everything. This recipe is from Bon Appetit, but it's listed online here if you'd like to try it yourself.

I made a slight change in the ingredients, using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose. I also used a bread machine to knead my dough, but if you want the instructions to knead your dough by hand, visit the link:

Honey-Oat Bread
Makes two loaves.

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
3/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 or 5 cups whole wheat flour

1 large egg, beaten
Additional oats

Pour the water and the yeast into the bowl of your bread machine. Stir and wait five to ten minutes until the yeast has dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, and turn your machine to the dough setting. Let the machine run its cycle.

Oil two 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2-inch loaf pans. Remove the dough from the bread machine and divide into two equal portions. Shape the portions into two loaves, and place one loaf in each loaf pan. Cover and let sit in a warm place for another 30 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove the cover. Prepare an egg-wash by beating an egg. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg and sprinkle with oats. Bake in a 350°F oven for 40-45 minutes.

July 18, 2011

Cape Meares

Starfish

My friends and I drove out to the beach on Saturday. We went to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, and visited the Cape Meares Lighthouse and the famous Octopus Tree (which, sadly, you cannot climb). This is the third year in a row that we've driven to Cape Meares for a beach picnic, but it was the first time the tide was out far enough for us to climb the rocks and explore. There were sea anemones, starfish, and lots of different shallow water dwelling sea life. If the tide had been out just a little further, we could've explored the caves. Maybe next time.

I forgot to bring my camera, but I had my phone with me, so I passed it to my friend to take the photo of the starfish. I've seen lots of starfish, but this was probably the largest I've ever come across. It was the size of a serving plate, with a purple-red hue.

We were soaked from head to toe from the rain and the ocean's water before we were ready to head back, and when we returned home, Matt and I fell asleep almost immediately. I think we slept for a good 10 to 11 hours, and woke up wishing we were back at the beach.

July 15, 2011

Oven Baked Fries

Baked Fries

After my successful attempt with oven-baked onions rings, I decided I wanted to give baked fries a try. I used this super simple recipe for inspiration, and tweaked it by cutting mine a little slimmer and adding a pinch of rosemary. Delicious!

Matt always makes fun of me because I am the kind of person who must dip fries in some sort of condiment. My favorite is ketchup mixed with a grainy mustard, but I'll try all sorts of mixtures. I always snicker a little when he starts dipping his fries into my condiment concoctions. Once he starts, he can't stop.

Speaking of condiments, I made some homemade barbecue sauce for a post I wrote over at My Own Labels. I think I might never buy another barbecue sauce again. Seriously.

July 14, 2011

A few happy things.

Breakfast

Carnations

Carnation



Lobelia

White carnations.
Upcoming trips to the beach.
Harry Potter! With friends.
Bright red strawberry freezer jam for breakfast.
Coffee.
Lobelia.
Sleeping in 'til 10am.
You?

July 13, 2011

Wedding Wednesday

Paper Flowers

Paper Flowers

Paper Flowers

Paper Flowers

The weather was cool and rainy yesterday, so I had a friend over to help me make paper flowers. I recently posted about these as  DIY wedding inspiration, if you remember. Here's the tutorial from JDC if any of you are interested in making a little bouquet for yourself. They're so easy! And beautiful.

We spent all of our time cutting, rolling and gluing the tops, but we plan to get together again soon to make the leaves and stems. I want lots of these paper flower bouquets for the wedding. :)

July 11, 2011

Herb-Infused Vodka

Herb-Infused Vodka

Herb-Infused Vodka

Last Monday, I infused some vodka with rosemary and mint from our garden. I let them sit in the cupboard for a week, and removed all of the solids. I think I like the mint a little better than the rosemary.

I'm trying to think of what else to do with all this mint we've been growing. Mint chutney, mint-infused simple syrup, mint-infused whipped cream over chocolate cake...

July 8, 2011

The Garden

Pepper Blossoms

Tomato Blossoms
 

With all of the pleasant weather we've been having, our tomato and pepper plants are going crazy with blossoms. I know it's early, but I can't help but check for fruit. I'm very much looking forward to tomatoes.

Basil

Walnut and Basil Pesto

Matt and I broke down the other day and bought a basil plant from the store. The basil seeds we planted in the spring have sprouted, but they're growing slowly, and we're impatient. I picked some of the leaves today and made a walnut pesto for pizza tomorrow.

It's so nice to have pesto again. I think I ran out of my stock sometime in January.

July 7, 2011

Summer Hobby?

Despite this being the wrong season, and having a million other things to do, I find myself curling up on the couch every evening before bed to crochet. Most of my projects are gifts that I can't share here (yet), but I've also made a couple simple things for myself.

Golightly tote

Granny Square Pillow Cover

I'm definitely still a newbie to the art, but I'm getting better. Which is a good thing, because I find crochet extremely addictive. I may even try my hand at a crocheted garment soon... Y'know, after the wedding.

July 4, 2011

Oven Baked Onion Rings

Oven Baked Onion Rings

After experimenting around last night, I came up with a recipe for oven baked onion rings that is almost as satisfying as its deep-fried counterpart. And considering how much healthier these onion rings are, I'd say it's worth the effort to make them at home, and would be a great side for your 4th of July barbecue.

Oven Baked Onion Rings

1 large yellow onion
Flour
Milk or Buttermilk
1 box Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp Salt

Grease or line a cookie sheet, and preheat your oven to 400°F.

Oven Baked Onion Rings

Peel your onion, and hold it lengthwise to make slices 3/4" to 1"-inch apart. Separate the rings into a bowl or plastic zip lock bag, and dredge with flour until all of the rings are evenly coated.

Set up two more bowls. In the first bowl, add your milk or buttermilk until the liquid is about 1-inch deep. Fill the second bowl halfway with the breadcrumbs. Add the salt, and stir to combine.

Each flour-coated onion ring must first be dipped in the bowl with the milk/buttermilk, and then immediately dipped into the bowl with the Panko bread crumbs. Make sure that the insides and outsides of the onion ring are evenly coated with breadcrumbs, and then place on the cookie sheet. Repeat the process for all of the onion rings.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the onion rings are golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool for 5 minutes. Serve with your favorite condiments.

July 1, 2011

White Pizza

Homemade pizza.

Homemade pizza.

I've been making white pizza a lot lately. It's really simple. Drizzle your dough with olive oil, and spread a light coating of the following ingredients: Parmesan cheese,  freshly cracked pepper, pepper flakes, fresh herbs from the garden (I used rosemary and basil), prosciutto, chevre, mozzarella, and tomatoes.

So good.