Monday, August 31, 2009

Maya's Having A Giveaway!

One of my absolutely favorite blogs is having a fabulous giveaway and I want you to be sure to get in on the fun.

Maya has two blogs: Completely Coastal and A Beach Lover's Place, if you haven't discovered her yet, you are in for a treat! Maya has been the inspiration for many of my posts; she can find the most wonderful beach photos. AND, if you're looking for the perfect beach decor, Completely Coastal should be your first stop. Maya surfs the web and discovers all those things I would love to have here at The Hut, so I wasn't surprised that her first giveaway would be something that would fit here perfectly.

BUT, better yet, you get your choice of the 4-inch pillar from Black & White that will fit your particular style.

Aren't these lobster pillars just fabulous? And they even send the matches! Plus, you won't believe the beautiful, reusable gift boxes they come in!

Here's the one I'm choosing if I should be the lucky winner. This is the Curls in Aqua pillar and it reminds me of splashing beach waves, I think it will look beautiful in a bowl with sand and some of my favorite shells.

So click here, or on the image in my sidebar. The winner will be announced on Thursday, so don't delay, surf on over to Maya's today!

My vintage post for this week will be up tomorrow and I think you'll enjoy it — we're going back to the 1960s to look at bathing suit styles and you'll also get to hear about my appearance (?) in one of the old beach movies. Trust me, you'll laugh at this story!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Farewell, Teddy

In Memory of Senator Edward M. Kennedy

God saw you getting tired
and a cure was not to be.

So He put His arms around you
and whispered “come to me.”

With tearful eyes we watched you,
and saw you pass away.
Although we loved you dearly,
we could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,
hard working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.

Irish funeral prayer

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vintage Friends

Normally on Mondays I post vintage photos relating to the beach, but today I've decided to do something a little different. Today I'm posting a few old(er) photos of some of my girlfriends from California. Why? Because today is the birthday of one of my dearest girlfriends and after having a long conversation with her the other night it made me homesick for all the fun times I had with my friends, I miss them so.

Happy Birthday Susie

I Love You!

We used to get Susie's friends and my friends together for Girl's Night over at her house a couple of times a year. That's me down in front in the all white outfit, Susie is behind in the pink top and to her left, trying to hide, is my girlfriend Marice. I've known them both for over thirty years and couldn't imagine not having them in my life. We've had our share of arguments, but we eventually get over it and it's like it never happened. All the way on the right of the photo is my girlfriend Charlene, we've been friends for forty-five years! We stay in touch, but nothing like I do with Susie and Marice. Marice and I talk every weekend, unless she's on one of her many trips.

Back to girl's night. You should know that there were a few rules:

No Make-up

Comfortable Clothes

There was also the standard menu:

Rhonda's Homemade
Spaghetti Sauce

Lots of Margaritas

More Margaritas

We had to come prepared with new jokes and stories about the men in our lives — basically it was a man-bashing session. I only dated musicians so mine ran something along the lines of:

Question: What do you call a musician without a girlfriend?
Answer: Homeless


Question: What the difference between a musician and a mutual fund?
Answer: One of them will eventually mature.

You get the picture. Anyway, Susie and I started the sauce in the morning and it simmered all day. We made tons, because Susie loved lots of leftovers to put in the freezer. The girls started showing up in the afternoon and we ate, drank and laughed a lot. Most spent the night, others had to have someone come and drive them home. Basically, a good time was had by all, until we woke up the next morning with a hangover. Oh well, like I said, we only did this a couple of times a year.

This next picture is a before and after of Susie and I on one of our great adventures. One year I had an argument with my boyfriend the night before New Year's Eve. I know, what a drag, huh? Susie called and insisted I come over. We were not going anywhere, so I just got in the car and went. Well, the next morning we decided we would drive up and spend the day shopping (always a good cure) in Ojai, this great town about an hour North of us. Very laid back community with the best shopping boutiques. Now remember, I had just jumped in the car in my sweats and headed to Sue's, so that's the same way we went to Ojai. We didn't care, we didn't know anyone there and that was just the mood we were in.

Did I say we didn't know anyone there? That's what I thought. We're walking down the street, without a care in the world, when all of a sudden I hear someone yelling my name and I mean yelling! "Rhonda, hey Rhonda!" I look around and much to my surprise is my friend Eddie who it turns out was in town with his band to play a New Year's gig at Wheeler Hot Springs, a fancy resort in the area. We all go for coffee and Eddie invites us to the gig as guests of the band. Men! I try explaining that what we have on is it, we were only there for the day. No problem he responds, the stores are open for another hour. Again, Men! But then I thought about it and look at Susie and said, "Let's do it!"

You have to understand that there are not many women who can power shop like Susie and I can. One hour? No problem. We needed everything from makeup to pantyhose, shoes and dresses, shampoo and soap, oh, don't forget the perfume. One hour? No problem.

The lady at the dress shop called the lady at the shoe store and told her to hold the door open, she was sending two women who knew how to shop! We got our shoes in no time and I added the hat for good measure.

Now there are no department stores in Ojai, strictly boutiques, gift shops and drug stores, so finding suitable makeup and hair junk was a little challenging, but this is the result and I think we did pretty well in an hour:

Before and After in Ojai

Just to show you that when we have more time we can really clean up nice, I'm including the following picture. This one is from the year Susie was nominated for an Emmy and her hubby graciously gave up his seat for me. Did I mention that Susie is a hairdresser for the studios? Yep, she is, big screen and little. I know some of you read about my Texas adventure while visiting Susie on the set of John Travolta's movie Urban Cowboy for ten days, well this is the gal who made that happen.

The Emmy Awards

The studio sent a limo for us and we had an amazing time at the Emmy Awards. Susie didn't win, but hey, it was an honor being nominated, and we partied afterward like it was 1999 (and it was way before 1999). We went to the party at Spago's in Hollywood and finished up the night at Le Cafe in the Valley listening to some great jazz. Our limo driver was the best!

We survived all those wild days and have settled into a more sedate lifestyle these days, but I'll bet you anything we still find the time and energy for a few more before we call it a day!

Have you ever had any had any crazy adventures with your friends? Let me know, I promise not to tell.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Strawberries

I have a confession to make, but promise to keep it a secret and I'll tell you what it is.


Okay then, I know I can trust you.

I'm addicted to magazines. There, I've said it. If I had all the money I've spent on magazine over the years, I could retire and live in the little beach cottage of my dreams.

The problem is I had a hard time getting rid of them. They piled up worse than the dust bunnies. I just never knew when I'd want to go back and find a particular recipe or make that needlepoint Christmas stocking I fell in love with, so I kept them all.

About twenty years ago or so, I knew I had to do something. They were taking over the house and it would have taken me months to find the one that I was looking for that had that cute applique wall hanging in it, so I went out and bought about twenty three-ring binders and about a gazillion sheet protectors and starting organizing what I wanted to keep for future reference. They were all neatly organized and categorized. I pulled out my very favorites and recycled what remained of the magazines.

Now I'm in the process of going through them and purging
things that I look at and ask myself why I ever kept that particular article for in the first place. My tastes and trends have changed and honestly, I don't think I'll ever get around to making that quilt with family photos that I've kept the directions to for at least ten years. There just isn't enough hours in the day.

Going through the recipes I have those that are my favorites, the ones I've made many times over. I'm in the process now of digitizing them and my children will be so glad not to have to deal with all these notebooks when I'm gone. I'm tossing the ones I never got around to trying, after all, if I feel a need to try something new, all I have to do is wander around all your blogs on Foodie Friday. Then again, I can just look in the Foodie Friday file on my computer of all those things you've shared that were just irresistible.

While I was perusing all these old notebooks I ran across one of those tried and true recipes that has become a favorite. I don't know what magazine this came out of, but it is dated May 1996. I scanned in the photo from the article, because it is what caught my eye in the first place. So, I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I have over the years.

Buttermilk Cake with Fresh Strawberries


Buttermilk Cake

2 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups unsifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Orange-mascarpone Filling
2 cups nonfat vanilla yogurt, drained overnight
in a cheesecloth-lined sieve in the refrigerator
1/4 cup mascarpone (Italian cream cheese)
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

Orange Syrup & Strawberry Layers
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 cup red currant jelly, melted

To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan or coat it with nonstick cooking spray. Add breadcrumbs, tilting the pan to evenly coat the inside. Tap out excess.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter turns a nutty brown, about 30 seconds. Pour the butter into a small bowl. Whisk in oil, then buttermilk; set aside. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick and pale and falls in a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Sift half of the reserved dry ingredients over the egg mixture; fold in with a rubber spatula until blended. Fold in half of the reserved buttermilk mixture. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pan and place right-side up on the rack to cool completely.
To make filling and syrup and assemble cake:
  1. In a bowl, whisk drained yogurt, mascarpone, confectioners' sugar and orange zest until smooth.
  2. In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in orange juice and liqueur.
  3. With a long serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 2 layers using a gentle sawing motion. With a pastry brush, brush all of the syrup on the cut sides of the cake. Place the bottom layer on a cake plate, cut-side up. Spread half of the orange-mascarpone filling over the bottom layer. Arrange about one-third of the sliced strawberries in an even layer on top. Spread with the remaining filling. Place the second cake layer on top, cut-side down.
  4. Brush the top of the cake lightly with about 2 tablespoons of the melted jelly. Arrange the remaining sliced strawberries in straight rows on top. Overlap the slices and reverse the direction of the slices in each row. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour.
  5. Just before serving, remelt the remaining currant jelly and brush it over the strawberries on top of the cake.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and if anyone wants any old magazines, you know who to call. Now get on over to Michaels at Designs By Gollum for some more fantastic Foodie Friday links.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday and Waterside Wednesday - Meranova Guest Inn

I am very excited about today's posting, because I get to tell you about one of my favorite places here in Florida. If you've every thought about vacationing on the Gulf Coast, you must come to Dunedin. AND, if you come to Dunedin , you must stay at the Meranova Guest Inn!

Built in 1907, the Meranova is a fully-restored Victorian Saltbox and Carriage House that now is the most fabulous bed and breakfast on the planet.

The Meranova Guest Inn

Courtyard Side of the Inn

Looking towards the back of the Inn

The California Mission-style Cottage
(this is where we stayed)

The Enchanting Gazebo

David sets the table

Ready For Breakfast?

Breakfast Is Served
Scrambled Eggs with Summer Salsa

Shirred Eggs with Putanesca Sauce

Seating under the shade tree
(look to your right)

Stepping Stone Path

The Marble Tree

The Glass Garden in Daylight

The Glass Garden at Night

Just a few of the garden's delights

Our wonderful hosts Frank and David
with my girlfriend Liz on the Orchid Patio

How cute is this mailbox?

Back of the mailbox shows the pool
and upstairs balcony

The Meranova Guest Inn has a five-star rating on both and This is the review I posted on after my first visit to The Meranova in June 2007. (This was a girlfriends weekend with my friend Liz, who had moved with her husband to Pennsylvania recently and she was in need of a Florida Fix):

Upon arrival I was greeted by Frank, who escorted me to my California Mission-style cottage where brandy had been poured and a chocolate truffle waited to be devoured. As Frank gave me the tour, my friend Liz arrived and we were amazed at how beautiful our "home away from home" was.

The Meranova far exceeded our expectations in charm and elegance. Every detail had been addressed and our cottage was immaculate! Coffee was ready to be brewed at the touch of a button, filtered water chilled in the fridge, homemade brownies were calling my name, city maps and local brochures waited to be perused, the pool was warmed to 87 degrees, and the gardens beckoned with their beauty.

I instantly felt the tension in my overworked body subside as I happily drifted into the world of Meranova. Feeling no great urgency to leave this fabulous environment, we left the unpacking for later and explored just outside our door. From our private patio we hesitated just long enough to figure out which way to venture to take in the splendor of the gardens, the draw of the gazebo made it easy. The gazebo is enchanting, as is the seating under a huge shade tree. The landscaping invites you to turn every corner and explore every nook and cranny to see what surprises are awaiting discovery. David has created a masterpiece that rivals most botanical gardens!

Breakfast is served each morning where you desire – your room, your patio, the orchid garden, the big Southern-style front porch or the gazebo. We chose the gazebo and were not disappointed. Frank and David went out of their way to fulfill our request for one vegetarian and one vegan meal. Each morning started with perfectly brewed coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, soy yogurt, fresh fruit and an assortment of delicious grain breads. As the vegetarian, I found the Scrambled Eggs with Summer Salsa delicious and the Putanesca with Shirred Eggs was scrumptious!

We decided to call this our "First Annual…, then decided on bi-annual, but even that's too far away! This is heaven!

You can tell that I fell in love with the Meranova, as well as, Frank and David. You should know that the inn is not a family getaway spot. This spot is perfect for honeymoons, romantic getaways and girlfriend vacations. Sorry, if this offends those with children, but I loved being able to relax without the sounds of children running outside my door and playing (screaming) in the pool. There are plenty of places to take the kiddies and we need somewhere to relax and unwind.

The Meranova has been featured in both Southern Living and Coastal Living magazines and was awarded "Best Walking Town" by The Walking Magazine and came in #1 for "America's Most Walkable Cities" in the Small Communities (population less than 50,000).

"Do you ever walk to the local bookstore or ice cream shop on a whim? Could you? There was a time, not too long ago, when it was easy for most people to get to a corner store for a quick-fix of Chaucer or cappuccino chip. Homes were close to "Mom & Pop" stores, and traffic moved at a gentle pace over quiet streets. But over the years it's become more and more challenging to get around on foot."

Top 5 Small Communities (population less than 50,000)

"1. Dunedin 
Florida. The Pinellas Trail bike bath bisects the compact town center of Dunedin - the oldest city on Florida's south coast. Pocket parks, colorful and climate-appropriate landscaping, traditional streetlights and interesting architecture add to the town's beauty, while clearly-demarcated pedestrian crossings and 15 mile per hour speed limits make walking safe."
—Run The Planet

There is plenty to do in Dunedin! Honeymoon Island and the Dunedin Causeway are only minutes away from downtown shopping and dining. Accessible only by boat or ferry from Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island was named America's No. 2 beach in 2006 and 2007; in 2008, it received top billing. A state recreation area suited for swimming, shelling, fishing, picnics and nature study. Like Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island is one of the state's pristine barrier islands. Dunedin is a people friendly community full of parks and recreation, offering an abundance of outdoor fun and excitement for everyone.

The 34-mile long Pinellas Trail runs through downtown and Main Street ends at the marina and adjacent waterfront walkway, just five short blocks from the Meranova. Note that the waterfront in not a beach, you must make the short drive to Honeymoon Island to hit the sand. Clearwater Beach is only about 10 minutes away in the other direction.

Entering downtown Dunedin

Honeymoon Island

Caledesi Island

So, if your looking for a place to escape the cold this winter, make a reservation at the inn. Oh, and be sure to tell the guys I said hello! You may just see me tooling around town, after all, Dunedin is only a short drive from my house and one of my closest friends lives just off the trail. Hope to see you there!

BTW, last Friday I posted my version of Shirred Eggs with Puttanesca for Foodie Friday.

Now before you pack your bags and head to the airport, be sure to stop by Susan's at A Southern Daydreamer for links to more Outdoor Wednesday posts and Barbara's at The Book Blog for links to more Waterside Wednesday posts. Check out her book Waterside Cottages while your there!

Update: I just dropped in to see what a fellow Floridian and blogger had posted and was pleased to see it was on Honeymoon Island! Jane lives very close to Dunedin, even closer than myself, so to see some great photos and meet her dog, Rowdy, visit her lovely blog Artfully Graced.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vintage Beach - 1930s Beach Pajamas

(click any images to enlarge)

In History of 20th Century Fashion, by Elizabeth Ewing she states, "Beach pyjamas, with flaring legs, had been anticipated by slim lounging pyjamas, which Chanel was making in the early 'twenties and which were soon being worn by the fashionable. The beach ones, however, had a life all their own and were worn exclusively on beaches everywhere, usually with backless sun-tops or sleeveless blouses....It was the beginning of a new category of clothes, the start of the 'casuals' which were to have a great vogue in future years."

In weeks past, we've looked at the bathing suits of the late 1800s and early 1900s. I don't believe any of us were asking ourselves where we could run out and purchase one. Made of wool and way too much material, they were not something we wanted to bring back into fashion. Personally, I find this week's selection of vintage photos, postcards and patterns to have just the opposite effect. I have fallen in love with beach pajamas! This could be because the name of my little studio is Pajama Graphics. (I chose this name because I work at home and practically live in my own pajamas.) Obviously, I love pajamas and you all know I love the beach, so what could possibly be better than beach pajamas?

1929 McCall Pattern — 1930 Simplicity Pattern

Wide TrousersColor And Contrast
Style Sources Magazine 1929

Wide Trousers
Are the Newest Flair in Beach Pajamas

The beach pajamas at the left are copied from a Paton model, sponsoring the capucine shades for the trimming on the jumper and for the print of the coat. The trousers are of wood brown flat crepe and the jumper is of beige. An interesting treatment is accorded the wide trousers in a group of inverted pleats on the side of each leg. (Violet Siems(?), Inc.)

Two fashion trends are incorporated in a pajama ensemble which combines an eggshell silk crepe sunback jumper with a green and eggshell gingham-checked coat. The wide trousers of imperial green flat crepe are slit to the knees. (Dan Friedlander, Inc.) A chartreuse satin coat tops a maize senia (?) pajama in a three-piece ensemble which is distinguished by fabric buttons of orange satin.
A two-piece ensemble of white silk pique exploits the favorite sailor costume details in a collar trimmed with navy blue braid, a tie, and an emblem on the pocket. (Two from A. Miller & Co., Inc.)
Geranium red and white are effectively combined in a flat crepe ensemble which adapts white trousers and jumper trimmed with red silk stitched on in a stripe effect, and a red coat lined with white. (Japanese Silk Garmens, Co.)

Color And Contrast
Lend a Vivid Quality to the Beach Ensemble

The contrast of black and white is illustrated in a jersey beach ensemble illustrated on the left, with sunback top, yoked trunks and knee-length matching coat. (Calvaire, Inc.) The adjoining costume matches a scarf print silk umbrella to a beach coat which combines monosome linen with the same silk scarf print. (Bearinson & Cede, Inc.)
The third figure presents an ensemble in printed crepe and solid color jersey, the skirt being in tunic type. (Herbert Kohn, Inc.) On the right, a beach ensemble is developed in rubberized terry cloth, consisting of bag, cap and coat. The coat combines rubberized silk with the terry. (I. B. Kleiners Rubber Co.)

Society Girls — Bolero Beach Pajamas

Society Girls Exhibit the 1929
Beach Costume at Benefit Bridge

A RESORT fashion show, arranged by Lord & Taylor, in which Junior League girls acted as mannequins, was part of the program of a recent benefit bridge party given at the Ritz Carlton. At the right, a three-piece ensemble of jersey is worn by Miss Dorothea Chard. The tuck-in shorts and mannish (?) are accompanied by a long coat, elaborated with varied colored bands of jersey, and lined with white terry cloth.

Below, at the left, Miss Jassine Chase wears a beach pajama costume, with miliary striped trousers. In the center, Miss Dorothea Chard shows the costume described above, and at right, Miss Alice Walker exhibits a (?) beach costume, the cardigan jacket topped by a matching handkerchief scarf. The full-brimmed straw hat and variety in clog footwear, contribute to the effectiveness of these costumes.
From Style Sources Magazine 1929 Issue.

On the right is another pattern from McCall of a bolero-style beach pajamas.

The illustration on the left appeared in the the Ladies Home Companion in 1929.

A most interesting find was the image on the left from the Idaho State University Special Collection. Title: Female Figure in Multicolored Beach Pajamas and Large Hat for Kiss Me Again (working title: Mlle. Modiste). Lower right corner of the image reads: "Mlle Modiste" "Beach Pajama" (underlined) in pencil, "HBW" (initials for Movie producer Hal B. Wallis) in pencil. #1 Sport Costume in pencil. Signed by Stevenson.

On the right is a pattern image that appeared in Pictorial Review Quarterly in the Fall of 1930.

You never know what you'll find when you start out researching something of interest, so imagine my delight when I came across a blogger who sews vintage clothing! I was in google images when I spotted this photo on the right and recognized it as beach pajamas from a pattern I already had in my file. Her blog Wearing History is just wonderful and her Etsy store is simply divine!

Now you know the French were right there when it came to the new trends in beach attire, so I was not surprised to find these vintage French postcards of beach pajamas. Want to know something even better? There's an entire blog dedicated to vintage French pajamas, with tons of pics. Visit La Mode Pyjama, but if you don't speak or read French, be prepared to just look at the pretty pictures.

As I said at the beginning of this post, I just fell in love with beach pajamas. They remind me of the old movies from the 1940s — glamorous and ultra-feminine. I used to have a few vintage lounging pajamas to wear around the house when I lived in Hollywood, one was a pale pink satin dress-style, the zipper was so large and heavy and ran all the way down the front. I never heard of or had beach pajamas though, I hope it's not too late!

So, what did you think of this weeks beach fashions? Would you wear them today?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Foodie Friday — Shirred Eggs with Puttanesca

One of my favorite places for a weekend getaway is only about ten miles or so from my house. Located in the lovely town of Dunedin, Florida, the Meranova Guest Inn is the best bed and breakfast I have ever had the pleasure of staying at. I will be doing a full post about this place in the next week or two, but today I want to share one of my favorite recipes that resulted from my first visit to the Inn.

One morning at the Inn I was treated to Frank's Shirred Eggs with Puttanesca Sauce under the gazebo at the Meronova. The whole meal was beautiful and delicious and I was determined to make this at home for family and friends. The picture above was taken under the Inn's gazebo and will give you just a hint of what is in store for you should you decide to come to Florida this winter when your temperatures hit freezing!

Here is the recipe I use now after several attempts and many adjustments to suit my taste buds. Frank's recipe was perfection and having it served to me under the gazebo is far better than anything I could ever do at home!

Shirred Eggs

2 large or extra-large eggs - cracked into two small individual ramekins
1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1 tablespoon cream

1 slice sourdough or whole-grain toast

  1. Place an individual-sized, shallow, oven-proof dish over moderate heat and add the butter. I use little oval baking dishes for this, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen as long as they are small and shallow.
  2. After the butter has melted, pour the eggs into the dish simultaneously (this ensures they will end up evenly distributed with the yolks towards the center of the dish) and cook for approximately 30 seconds until a layer of white has set in the bottom of the dish.
  3. Remove from heat and tilt the dish so that the butter can baste the egg.
  4. Add the cream on top of the eggs.
  5. Place the dish about an inch under a hot broiler for about one minute. The white should be set and the yolk filmed and just starting to set.
  6. Remove from oven and gently slide on top of toast.
  7. Top with Puttanesca Sauce and serve immediately.
Yield: 1 serving Alternatively you can melt the butter, pour into your baking dishes, pour in the eggs, top with cream and then bake in a preheated 325° F oven until whites are completely set and yolks are beginning to set, about 12 to 18 minutes, depending on number of servings being baked. This method works very well if you're having guests and you want to be able to have everything ready at the same time.

Puttanesca Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons capers, drained

4 anchovies, minced

18–24 Calamata olives, halved

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon oregano or basil, crushed or 1 tablespoon fresh basil from the garden

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 or 6 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and sauté for another minute or two.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, capers. anchovies, and olives.
  5. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until sauce is slightly thick.
  6. Add pepper flakes, salt, and oregano or basil and simmer for just another minute.
Makes enough for about 6–8 servings of shirred eggs, about four cups. You can also toss this sauce with pasta. Yummy!

Be sure to visit our lovely hostess Michael @ Designs By Gollum for even more links to Fabulous Foodie Friday Participants!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Florida Botanical Gardens Revisited

Today is a good day! After being off blogging for the last week, except for a quick post on Monday, I can once again spend a lovely morning posting and visiting. Funny how you can come to miss spending time with friends you've never met face-to-face, but enjoy so much. Working an average of sixteen hours a day for the last week, I found myself wondering who was posting what and what was I missing?

Outdoor Wednesday is a perfect day to reemerge from the darkness and into the light. On Sunday I was so over looking at my computer and coming out of the studio only for meals and other essentials that I just grabbed my camera and headed over to the Florida Botanical Gardens. I needed to walk, to move, to breathe in some fresh air! I only had an hour or so to spare, so the gardens was the perfect place to unwind and refocus.

Since everyone seemed to enjoy last week's post of some of the more unusual flowers we can grow here, I thought I would share a few more of what you can find at one of my favorite places to visit. For the most part, it's just too hot to enjoy the beach, so the shade at the gardens beckons. This doesn't mean it wasn't hot, I came home dripping wet, it just means the sun wasn't beating down on me.
I left my house frazzled and returned rejuvenated!

Pink Powder Puff Calliandra emarginata

Seven Golden Candlesticks cassia alata
reclassified as senna alata
Thanks Florida Sue for naming this plant!

Glory Bower Vine Pandora jasminoides

Princess Flower Bush Tibouchina urvilleana

White Water Lily Nymphaea odorata

Water Lily Nymphaea Dao Fah

Calico Flower Vine Aristolochia elegans

The last unusual flower, the Calico, is so stunning. The first photo comes from, so that you could see the leaves of the vine it grows on. I came across one flower on a huge vine, but it was so intertwined in the weeds on the ground that I couldn't get a shot with the flower and the leaves together without destroying it's natural beauty. I did flip it over gently, so you could see the "Dutchman's Pipe" shape underneath. To truly appreciate this blossom, you should know that it is larger than my face. The Calico got it's name because the purplish pattern is reminiscent of calico fabric. This unusual vine is native to Brazil, but will grow here in Zones 8–10. Because it is an important larval food source, this unusual vine is planted in our Butterfly Garden. reports that it has been assigned a new name Aristolochia littoralis and is classified as a Category II invasive, so if you're thinking about adding this to your yard, I would suggest growing it in a large hanging pot.

So there you have it, more beautiful flowers to enjoy on this wonderful day. There is one thing I know for sure, if you visit Susan over at A Southern Daydreamer, you'll find links to even more outdoor wonders from all those who are sharing their beautiful world with us.

I love the beach and everything that goes with it! I love the waves lapping at my feet. I love the feel of the sand between my toes. I love the roar of the Pacific and the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Let's talk about beaches around the world, bonfires, building sandcastles, swaying palm trees, flamingos, clambakes, sunrises and sunsets. If it's tropical, it fits this blog!


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