Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Picnic of the Season

I love summer. For many, many reasons, not the least of which is Hollywood Bowl and picnic season. It's such a true joy to see somethings wonderful at the Hollywood Bowl. We've seen everything from John Fogerty to John Williams; from Brian Wilson to Eric Idle. Each show has been more fun than the last - never a dull moment in the bunch! This past Friday night, we went to our first show of the season at the Hollywood Bowl. Billed for the evening was this ...Sing along? Boy, did we ever ... and so did everyone else there. We had a blast!!

Naturally, the first HB show of the season also equals the first picnic of the season! Kevin and I took the responsibility to bring the provisions this time around. I love creating picnic menus. There are so many wonderful choices that sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the possibilities. Sometimes. But not this time!

Friday Night's Menu
Grilled Corn Salad - with cucumbers, red onions, Roma tomatoes, fresh basil and cider vinaigrette
Avocado & Endive Salad - with green onions, fresh parsley, and lemon juice
Bowtie Pasta with Sundried Tomato Pesto
Ginger Sesame Marinated Grilled Flank Steak
Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies with Vanilla Ice Cream


Making everything took longer than I thought it would -- of course, when doesn't it, right? But it was fun. And everything was absolutely delicious! Here's a little peak at the Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies in process: Great fun, great company and great food - what more could one ask for??

(Next week: an Old Fashioned 4th of July picnic! Fried chicken, potato salad, grilled corn on the cob, fresh watermelon ... MMMM!)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Vintage Cotton Pillowcases

Shortly before Kevin and I got married, I happened to spy a pair of the sweetest vintage cotton pillowcases on ebay. Though the cases themselves were white, the crocheted lace and embroidery were that luscious shade of green - jadeite, seaglass, aqua (choose your favorite description) - and, unbelievably, they were monogramed with Kevin's initials, so I couldn't resist!

As much as I loved those pillowcase, I packed them away. Why? Because, though I love that color, we didn't have anything really in the old house that went with it. But I kept them figuring that, one day, I'd find just the right spot for them.

Flash forward to last summer. You may recall the photos I posted of our new house ... and it's white and green (jadeite, seaglass, aqua...) bathroom. Hey ... that bathroom also had a vintage hotel towel rack. Hmmmm. You know, when folded, those pillowcases look an awful lot like vintage cotton guest towels. Hmmmm. FINALLY! I finally found a home for those fabulous green-and-white-vintage-cotton-pillowcases-with-Kevin's-initials!

Yesterday, for the first time since I bought them nine years ago, I washed them; this morning, I ironed them. What a joy! I'm not sure why they're so different, but there is just something about vintage cotton that is delightful. When washed, it is sooo soft that you just want to wrap yourself up in it. And ironing it was so much fun! Taking wrinkled cotton and smoothing it perfectly with a hot iron - it's almost like magic!

I think I need to revisit eBay ... and look for a whole set of vintage cotton sheets. What a treat that would be!

Latest Obsession

Have you ever read Taste of Home magazine? I hadn't either ... until recently. I saw a copy while I was standing in line at the grocery store. The cover was appealing - summery/picnic foods- so I picked it up and thumbed through it. I admit it - I was hooked. It's chocked full of wonderful, every day recipes. Things that are simple to make that contain ingredients that we've all heard of and that are well within our budgets. What a concept! This is definitely a magazine I'd be interested in, I thought. I decided not to buy the issue though - it was whopping $3.99!

Okay, okay ... so the next time I went to the grocery store, I gave in and picked it up. Yes it was pricey - however, there was a subscription card inside to test out a free issue of the magazine and subscribe for just $10.00 for the year. Not bad! Especially when you consider that a single issue is nearly half of that.

So ... I subscribed to the magazine - you knew that was coming, didn't you? But did you see this coming?? Not only did I subscribe, I hunted down back issues of it on eBay. I found one seller who had from 1999 through 2003 and another seller who picked up in 2003 where the other lot left off and went through 2009. How cool is that?! Each seller had 25 magazines in their lot. With shipping, I got all 50 issues for just $41.00. YAY!

Let's review what I got: 50 back issues of a wonderful cooking magazine that suits our needs, our tastes and our budget; a free issue, plus a subscription for one year; hours and hours and hours of entertainment poring over each magazine cover to cover; ideas for lots of wonderful new recipes.

I don't know about you, but this sounds like quite a deal in my book!