Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What Is So Rare As A Day In . . . August?

We've been very fortunate to have the most beautiful summer in New England. I can't even remember when it rained last - until now. For the past few days we've had a "Summer N'or Easter," (thankfully it's not snow!) and it's been lovely. It's been so relaxing to sleep at night with the sound of the rain, it's like a glass of wine!

Below are some photos of one of my favorite spots, Pine Point, it's in Scarborough, Maine.

They remind me of a poem;

Celia Thaxter. .

Across the lonely beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I,
And fast I gather, bit by bit,

The scattered drift-wood, bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,

The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Farmer's Market

Here are some photos from a trip I made to a Farmer's Market . . . I hope you enjoy the bounty!

Can you feel the cherry tomato's popping in your mouth as you bite down on them, yum!

Sunflower's make me happy! How about you?

Can you taste the tart plums? Hmm, good for baking . . .

Grilled corn on the cob with butter, sea salt & fresh ground pepper - nothing like it!

Salsa anyone?

Maybe a fresh peach pie, with blueberries of course!

Don't forget your veggies!

Have a happy day, and make the most of it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My Cottage Larder

1. A place, such as a pantry
or cellar, where food is stored.
2. A supply of food.

How often to you hear this word?
What made me want to post about it? Well, it started when I finally cleaned the food shelves in the cottage! You see, I don't have any
cupboards in the kitchen, it's in "renovation status," I'll talk more about that later! After it was cleaned and organized, tea, sugar, flour, salt & pepper on the top shelf, spices, oils and other seasonings on one shelf, baking goods on another shelf, and finally everyday items etc. on the bottom shelf.

After I had finished scrubbing the shelves, the phrase "my cottage larder" popped into my head! So I though I would share some photos of my cottage larder with you!

This is what I use to store my teabags in! I absolutely love this "tea jar" - Once upon a time I think it had a life as a cookie jar! I picked it up at a charity auction about 20 years ago!

Renovation Status . . . hmm, lets discuss! We've been renovating this little seaside cottage for many years, roof, plumbing, heating, electrical, windows, cedar shakes . . . well you get the picture. We've been focusing on the outside and with all the renovations, comes movement of windows, so my kitchen is ugly as sin! Thankfully I have a basic counter, sink, nice stove, and a decent refrigerator. Some day I hope to have nice white shaker style cabinets, open top shelves, farmer sink, tile back-splash and to be decided counter-tops! I have plenty of "before" photos, however I simply can't publish them until I have "after" photos . . . it's too much on the heart! I'm sure you understand . . . don't you?

Enjoy and have a happy day!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Company's Coming!

I was never so delighted to have summer company as I was this past Monday afternoon! My long time friend (since we were teenagers) came for a visit to our weekend home in Maine! Mind you it only took her 17 years! The good news, I think she's coming back with her ruggedly handsome husband next Thursday! It's always nice to have company that you really enjoy! We started our visit with what I call "Lupper" that is a combination lunch & supper! Then we went to visit several lighthouses, the lighthouse to your right is Portland Head Light, it is in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. This beautiful and most photographed lighthouse was commissioned by President George Washington! It is also said that poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow use to walk from his home in Portland to this Lighthouse, and it's thought to be the place where he penned his famous poem -

"The Lighthouse"
"Sail on!" it says: "sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse.
Be yours to bring man neared unto man.

We also went on to visit Spring Point Ledge Light in So. Portland, Maine. Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse was constructed to mark a dangerous ledge which is now covered by the breakwater. Finally on May 24, 1897 the lighthouse was complete and lit!

This lighthouse sits on what was once a beautiful fort that used to protect Casco Bay. Currently this is now Southern Maine Community College - How lucky are the students that attend this college and have this for their campus!

The magical thing about these two lighthouses is that you can walk right up to them and touch them! I'm told that touching a lighthouse is good luck - so I pressed my body against them! LOL!!!

Have a safe and happy day!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Muffins, why yes, they are blueberry!

Did you know that Native Americans were the first to use the tiny blue berries, both fresh and dried, for their flavor, their nutrition and their healing qualities and it was not until the 1840’s that wild blueberries were first harvested commercially.

This morning I baked 4 dozen blueberry muffins! Oh, the aroma

in the cottage was to die for! Even my husband who was making repairs to the front porch said it made working out there so pleasant! Hmm, I guess if I want more home improvements done I'll have to keep baking!!!

LOL, wouldn't that be funny. Let's see, the cottage does need a new kitchen!!! If you'd like to make these delicious muffins see the post below, they whip up in minutes!

I know I mentioned that I baked 4 dozen muffins, and what are two people going to do with 4 dozen muffins? Well, I did share, I gave four to my neighbor Anne, my brother Patrick, and 24 went to my niece Caitlin for her cookout today! I kept 16 for the two of us, and most of those will go in the freezer, these muffins freeze beautifully! Oh, yes, Ron, Patrick and I did have some with our coffee!

I'm very thankful to my coastal neighbor who schleps 40 pounds of blueberries from Hancock County Maine to my door step every year. When the berries arrive I put them in freezer bags and stuff my freezer for the season! Then in November I begin baking pies for Thanksgiving and assorted gatherings with family and friends.

Finally, did you know that blueberries are ranked #1 in antioxidant activity compared with other fruits and veggies! What does that mean for us? Well, a single serving of blueberries may have more of the antioxidant power you need to fight aging, and who doesn't want to look their best? Cancer, and heart disease, who doesn't want to be healthy? So, the next time you think about blueberries, you should know that blueberries are a "Super Food" - why do I picture a blueberry with a cape and a big "B" on it's chest!!!

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bursting with Blueberries

This is my all time favorite blueberry muffin recipe! I've been baking these muffins since I got married - 17 years ago!

This is the Williams-Somoma recipe that I mentioned that I would post, don't know if I can do this or not, but I've given them credit!

These sweet, buttery muffins are delicately spiced, with a cakelike texture. Fresh blueberries are best, but if you have only frozen berries, stir them into the batter without thawing, or their dark juice will turn the muffins purple.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup blueberries
Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Butter 16 standard muffin cups.

In a bowl, stir and toss together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, butter and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Add the blueberries and stir just until evenly incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each one about three-fourths full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan. Makes about 16 standard muffins.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Muffins & Quick Breads, by John Phillip Carroll (Time-Life Books, 1993).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ahh August

I love August! It's my favorite month! I had originally wanted to get married in August, but because of a variety of reasons we chose the other "A" month - April! I love the coolness in the night air at the ocean and the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs in the country. Sadly, it's a reminder of the warm weather coming to an end, and the "unmentionable" season is lurking around the corner! But there is beauty in that season also! But for the next 31 days I'll focus on AUGUST!!!!