Friday, July 31, 2009

I Am Wilting In This Heat

but my flowers seem to thrive in it! It is 105 degrees right now in Walla Walla. We have had very hot weather since before 4th of July. Today the heat just kind of hit me and I'm feeling wilted and a bit drained. The only time you can work in the garden is very early in the morning or late in the evening (and then you can't see well enough). We really wanted a true four season climate when we retired here...but right about now I'm dreaming of that crunchy sound of snow under my boots while walking down the road.

But these beautiful creatures are loving all these hot days...
This is one of my cutting gardens. It was designed for the sole purpose of cutting flowers to bring inside the house and the cottage. There are sunflowers of all types and larkspur and cosmos, snapdragons, gladiolas and zinnias.
I have been working on my flower arranging skills and gathered a bunch of blooms and created these three arrangements. I brought one over to my friend's house and keep the other two to enjoy. Is there anything like fresh garden flowers to brighten up a home?

Hope you are keeping as cool as you can during these hot summer days. Iced tea anyone?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oatmeal Maple Scones

This morning my friend Diane and I went for a great walk about 6:30 a.m. When we returned we began preparing this wonderful recipe from Ina Garten's cookbook. For some reason, I was a bit intimated by baking scones. But, I have to tell you that they were not difficult and the end result was spectacular! I won't be afraid to try another scone recipe now.

These scones are delicious and beautiful to look at. Give them a try (they definitely give Starbuck's scones a run for their money at a fraction of the cost).

For more info on the Barefoot Contessa click here.

Here's the recipe:

Oatmeal Maple Scones from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

3 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup quick cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling

2 tablespoons baking

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

½ cup cold buttermilk

½ cup pure maple syrup

4 extra large eggs, lightly beaten

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash


1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar

½ cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea sized pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, and eggs and add quickly to the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough may be sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough ¾ to 1 inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into 3 inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 30 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.

The make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes, and drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of the glaze. Sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top for garnish. The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

If you try these, let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Colorful Harvest

I continue to be very excited about harvesting veggies from our property. The sqash is doing great and, better, yet, we have tomatoes ripening everywhere! No store bought tomatoes for several months I hope! Not only do we save money, but the taste of these just has any store bought tomatoes beat by a landslide.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Every Blog Needs....

A beautiful model like this one......

my son's gorgeous girlfriend Renee....Doesn't she just have the face of an angel? I am missing her today and wanted to share these gorgeous photos of her with you. Renee-you are as beautiful inside as you are outside.

And you want to know the best thing about her????? She loves my son soooo much and I am so happy he has her in his life. xoxoxo

Doing Some Flower Arranging

I should probably be doing a dozen other things right, laundry, weeding, paperworkd......BUT, I am induling one of my favorite passions and hobbies....flower arranging with beautiful flowers from my very own garden here at Starview Farm : )
One thing I know for is important to set aside a little time each day for your own creativity...whatever that means for you. I love exploring my creative side and what better medium than flowers?
My first arrangemnt with the glads! Threw in some perennial greenery and some purple flowers (not sure what these are) and a gorgeous red dahlia in the midde. This vase was a gift from my mother-in-law several years ago and one of my favorites.

A new asortment of sunflowers. I did have to fight off the bees to cut these this mroning. They don't like it when I mess around with "their" flowers! HA! I just tell them there's plenty left for them!

This piece of furntiure is one of my favorites. We found this at Patit Creek Winery in April when Vesna was visitng. It is made of Pecan and probalby about 100 years old. I just fell in love with the grain of the wood and the uniqueness of the piece. It sits in our gallery and became a great place to store Christmas linens (did someone say Christmas?). Just the thoguht of decorating for Christmas gets me excited..but, wait, it's almost 100 degress...too early for such thoughts. : )

"Enjoy the Journey".....Isn't that what we all should be doing? Well....I think I'm practicing what I preach today. I'm enjoying the moment and savoring these beautiful happy faces provided for us by really IS the simple things that bring us the most joy.

*I bought these flower cans at JoAnn's....took off the labels...painted them with my favorite Rustoleum Hertage White...taped off some rectangles and painted some chalboard paint on them. Now I can express myself in yet another way.

Garden Delights

These hot sunny days in Walla Walla are bringing beautiful blooms in our garden. Here are a variety of sunflowers that I put in these great little vases. These are those Starbuck's bottles with the Frappucino that I removed the labels and painted antique white. I found the letter decals at a great ittle scrapbooking store here in town.

Varying heights and hues of sunflowers...

and a little bit of California here in Washington....I started these tropical hue poppies from seed in the spring and now they are blooming profusely and bringing me such much joy...

I have always loved I have them growing in my garden! This is the first peek of the colorful blooms....can't wait to cut some and bring them inside.

Another first for me-DAHLIAS! Thanks to a suggestion from my dear friend Vesna. Aren't they pretty?

and a few vasefulls of the tall chocolate brown sunflowers....

I am finding that growing my own cutting flowers is very rewarding. Time to go do some more weeding : )

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Mother's Heart....

I am trying to keep myself busy today. Last night my son Logan, his girlfriend Renee and their good friends Jason and Brianna headed back to California. They have been here since Saturday. The only way I can explain the feeling that I have is "heartsick". I miss him so badly, it hurts.

One of my dear childhood friends, Barbara Hoeffler made this comment on my Facebook page last night -- "I know how you feel. I miss my kids being kids again!! I didn't know that just having them grow up and be independent was going to hurt so much!!! I think our kids are just pieces of our hearts walking around. . ."

How profound and how very true! With three children, one almost 20, one 10 and one 8, I know all to well how fast the years fly by and how much it hurts to let them go. It is so difficult being far away from Logan. We had a wonderful visit and hopefully they will be back for Christmas.

So....I will just keep busy and not take the little moments with Allison and Jackson for granted. I know it won't be long before they are going off to college and the same feeling I have today will be there again.

Logan and Renee--I love you both so much. I love having you here and enjoy watching you with the kids. This will always be your home away from home...and, maybe, just maybe, it will someday be your HOME.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Girls of Summer....

My cutting garden on the side of the garage is coming along nicely. I just love these chocolate color gian sunflowers in the back--so unusual and beautiful. Does anything say summer quite like the happy faces of these beautiful sunflowers?

Summer Flag Football

Both Allison and Jackson are playing summer flag football. They had their first games last night. It is fun to sit on the grass on these balmy summer nights and watch them play.
Allison and her friend Sara (above) are the only two girls on the team. They are both athletic and "no fear" girls on the field.
They are both learning the basics of football and I have a feeling they will both want to watch the games as the NFL season begins...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fresh Cherry Muffins

My friend Jessica gave me a big bag of delicious fresh cherries. I wasn't sure that we could eat them all while they were still fresh. So....I made thes wonderful muffins. I made several dozen and put most of them in freezer bags. They are so good. Now I can just take one or two out and defrost them in the microwave and have fresh cherries long after the season has past.

Fresh Cherry Muffins

6 TB of unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 tsp almond extract
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 cup whole mile
3 ounces fresh bing cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup sliced almonds, raw

Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Spray 2 muffin tins with nonstick spray or line with paper lines. Beat the butter, sugar,and salt until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and almond extract. Beat to combine.

Whisk the flour, baking poweder and baking soda until combined. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in the bowl in two batches, alternating with the milk . Mix just until combined. Do not overmix.

Stir in the cherries and the toasted almonds. Use a small ice cream scoop to measure batter into the tins. Sprinkle the tops with the raw almonds. Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer comes out clean --about 20-25 minutes.

Cool muffins in tins for 30 minutes on a cooling rack. Muffins will keep well up to 2 days or frozen up to 3 weeks.

TIP: to pit cherries, place them in a plastic bag and squeeze ou the pits. This makes the job less messy.

I didn't add the almonds because my kids don't care for them, but I'm sure they are a wonderful addition.

What a great way to enjoy this wonderful fruit past it's season...ENJOY!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It May Seem Silly.....

but I had to take a few photos of my first baby carrot harvest..... These babies made their way into our salads tonight and tasted wonderful!!! Excuse me for gushing over these little gems, but I am a first-time vegetable gardener (except tomatoes) and these just excite me to no end! Completely organic and from Starview Farm : )

Aren't they just beautiful? Tri-color carrots- some traditional and some round....and oh so deliciously healthy!