September 30, 2011

Heirloom Tomatoes and Panzanella Salad

When I think about autumn, one of the first things that comes to mind is the multicolored mosaic of leaves that decorate the trees.  The way the sun glistens and highlights their colors.  The way they softly sway in the breeze.  And the way they gently float down to the earth, peppering the ground with their prettiness, delighting our eyes.

While I was out and about the other day, I came across these beautiful heirloom tomatoes in shades reminiscent of fall's leaves, and all their splendid colors, and thought they would be perfect for an autumn-inspired meal...Panzanella Salad.

I love the flavors of this salad, but I especially love all the bread!  Each time I make it, I gather up all my recipes, do a little comparing and then adjust things to my liking.  Here's my current version...

Panzanella Salad
  • 1 loaf dense rustic bread
  • olive oil for coating bread
  • 1 European seedless cucumber
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 10 to 16 ounces of small tomatoes such as cherry, grape and yellow pear
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • feta cheese
  • salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice bread and coat both sides with olive oil, cut slices into cubes and place on a baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for about 20 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Peel cucumber, halve it and cut into slices.  Dice seeded yellow pepper and red onion.  Halve tomatoes and chiffonade basil. Toss all together along with the olives.

To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil and garlic in a bowl.

Add the feta, bread and dressing to the vegetables and toss.  Let stand for about 15 minutes, serve at room temperature and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Hopefully, I explained everything properly. I should also say, I don't usually add all of the dressing to the salad since I don't like my salads too saturated. I just kind of eyeball it depending on how much bread there is...sometimes I tend to eat a lot of the cubes before they end up in the salad ;)

Well, my lovelies, that's all I have for today.  I hope you have a happy, sunshine-filled weekend.  The weather here is supposed to be gorgeous and I'm looking forward to that.

xo Tricia

September 27, 2011

Lavender Love

I'm always on the look out for pretty little bits and pieces to add to my ever growing collection of photo props.  Lately, I've been lucky, and a few things have caught my eye.

Item number one...a sweet-smelling bundle of lavender.  I got it a few weeks ago while I was out and about and made a stop a L'Occtaine.  Have you ever been there?  One  If you adore lavender and all things French, then that's the store for you.  In my mind, if you rolled L'Occtaine and Restoration Hardware into one, it would pretty much be paradise...I think I could live there :)

Anyway, I pulled a few sprigs from the bundle to put together a little collection of photos for today.  I already had the stamps, but I just found this crushed velvet ribbon in a violet hue and thought it would look nice paired with the lavender flowers.

The little tart tins were a recent find too.  Oh, what a moment of glee, when I spotted the fluted edges.  I have an awful memory for recalling prices, but I think I paid about $3.00 or so for the six of them.  There was another group of six and I'm thinking I should go back and get those too!  I don't know why I think I need's just because they're cute, I suppose.

Since I'm joining up with Texture Tuesday today, I used a few of Kim's creations to spruce up my shots, Aurora and Stained Linen.  I think they were a nice finishing touch.  The theme today is love and being I love all my new little finds, I figured they'd fit the mix :)

Hope you're having a good week thus far...catch ya later!

xo Tricia

September 22, 2011

At the Arboretum

Hello sweet people!  Well, here we are...the last official day of summer.  Boo hoo!  Knowing it's time to move on from the sights of summer towards thoughts of fall, I thought I'd put up a few photos that I took a couple of weeks ago at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  I went with my mom, sister and kids to capture a few final summer photos and have a little fun in the sun.  Really, I should say fun in the rain since it starting pouring the minute we got got better as the day went on though.

The Arboretum has more than 1,100 acres of pure prettiness, with plenty of walking trails to take it all in.  I would've have loved to have gotten more pictures, but my people sometimes get annoyed if I stop for photos.  I feel like I have to be sneaky about it...when they turn their heads or start walking away I quick move into position and snap a few shots.  I'm thinking that I need to go back ALONE!

Can you spot the butterfly in this one?

Okay, feast your eyes on this!  Is this vine structure cool or what?!  It's quite large.  You can walk inside of it and it's divided up into room-like areas with windows.  I really, really, wanted a photo of the flowers looking through one of the windows, but my daughter was getting crabby with a capital C.  Yet another reason to go alone :)

I can't believe this is the only post I've done this week and I'm so behind in my visiting too.  I've been really busy with a variety of things...we refinanced our house, my daughter started preschool, the kids started back with their church classes and a little of this and that.  Hopefully, life will feel a little more normal soon.

Have a great weekend!

xo Tricia

September 15, 2011

Simple Autumn Decorating

{LEM photo challenge}
When it comes to decorating for the seasons, I like to keep things very simple...favoring a look that's natural and organic with minimal pattern and lots of texture.  Since it's starting to look and feel like autumn outside, I figured I'd try to bring a little bit of natural goodness to the indoors.

Since there is more than enough acorns to feed the squirrel population at my parents' house, I decided it was okay to gather up a bowlful of those little brown beauties to display in an old wooden bowl.  Just as an aside, my dad said I shouldn't have any problems finding some acorns...there were so many that it's like you were walking on marbles.  I thought that was funny.  Anyway, back to my project...I didn't do anything too fancy with them, just paired the whole thing with a few little hydrangea blossoms and sat it atop some French ledger paper on a side chair in my living room.

Then, I cut a bunch of hydrangea blossoms, enough to fill that bucket I had in my living room, and set it up in front of the window.  A vintage book and a silk ribbon in some fall-like colors sit on the stool for a little something extra.

The more I kept looking at that bucket of flowers, I started to think about how good it would look on the dining room table.  So of course, I had to try it out in there too.

I just plopped a few pears next to it and called it done.

I really like the way it looks, especially since that pie safe has the same finish.  I'm thinking that I might have to rustle up another bucket somewhere so that I can have one in the living room and one in the dining room.  You can never have too much of a good thing...right?!

You know what else I'm thinking would look good in that bucket?  Pinecones.  I'll have to remember that for Christmas.  I really can't believe that thoughts of Christmas are entering my mind...sad.

Oh, since I'm on the topic of decorating, I recently won a giveaway from Courtney at French Country Cottage...a copy of Romantic Prairie Style, signed by Fifi herself!  That book is just full of decorating inspiration.  I would've taken a photo, but really, who hasn't seen it?!  Thanks, Courtney...I love it :)

Anyway, hope you have a good weekend!

xo Tricia

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September 13, 2011

Summer's Fade to Fall

Here in the Midwest, it seems that summer barely arrives and then, before we know it, it's gone, leaving us with a few freckles and some sunny day memories.  As much as I love fall and all of its beauty,  I think about the things I'm going to miss...wonderful things that will soon be left behind until summer returns once again.

There's the sweet scent of flowers gathered fresh from the garden, the delicious taste of fruit direct from the farmer's market and long days spent watching my children languish around in swimsuits and flip-flops enjoying the sun's warm rays.

The smell of freshly cut grass wafting through the air, feeling the breeze through open windows and days where the word jacket doesn't enter my vocabulary.  Jackets.  Ohhhh, I can barely stand the thought.

Yep, there's definitely a change in the air.  Yesterday was just about perfect, sunny and hot.  Summer's last hurrah, it appears, since some cool crisp weather is headed in our direction...nudging us along towards fall.

So I'll sadly bid summer adieu, put on a happy face and welcome all that autumn has to offer.  Readying myself for  all of its colorful splendor and cozy, sweater-filled days.  Hoping that it lasts as long as possible...delaying the entrance of winter.

xo Tricia

September 06, 2011

Flowers, Clothespins and Cards

Hello there.  Hope you had a nice long weekend.  Mine was good...just a little of this and a little of that.  My son starts back to school today, so I'm looking forward to having a routine and getting back into blogging a bit more.  I always feel like I'm going every which way during the summer, don't you?

Anyway, I thought I'd take some photos of a few odds and ends.  Nothing that really goes together, yet some how does, if you know what I mean.  I gathered up some old postcards, a tole letter holder, a grainsack and, of all things, clothespins.  Of course, I had to add some flowers too, hydrangeas, since I have an abundance of them...and just so ya know, I'm sure there will be more to come in another post or two :)

I'm joining up with Kathleen's White Wednesday and also Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday since I haven't linked up to a photo party in awhile.  I'd like to take part in more photo challenges to improve my photography and editing skills...there's so much to learn and not enough time.

All of these photos have three layers of Kim's cracker jack texture in hue, darken and soft light.  I also used the milk and honey action from Florabella.  I've never tried using hue to adjust a texture before, soft light is my usual mode, but I thought I'd mix it up a little today.  I like how everything came out with a nice crackly vintage look.  The first and last photos are my favorites.

Well, that's that.  I'll be back later this week, so until then...have a good one :)

xo Tricia

September 01, 2011

Lake Life

Hello, friends.  Well, here it is September already.  Can you believe it?  It seems like summer went by in the blink of an eye and I barely got a chance to take it all in. 

I did enjoy a few nice moments here and there though.  Remember when I went to the lake a few weeks ago to freshen things up and get the place all sparkly clean?  Well, while I was there, I managed to slip away from my chores, take a few photos and enjoy some of the last remaining days of summer and its wonderful weather.

My daughter isn't usually a very willing participant when it comes to taking her photo, but I had a lucky moment when she found this little butterfly and was instantly intrigued.  The day before that, she let me know that she was tired of taking pictures and was going home...and off she went.

I love the location of our cabin.  It's about four miles down a long, winding tree-covered road.  You can't see it, but it's nestled right there on the left amongst all those trees.  The setting is almost picture perfect.

I love how the shadows make me look so

My daughter loves the lake.  She'd hike up her skirt, wade in the water and look for fish...determined that she was going to catch one with her hands.  Thinking that might not work, she begged and begged me to get out her fishing pole so she could go fishing.  According to her, we could use leeches, which, by the way are "super cute and you can cut them up."  Ummm, yeah.  That argument didn't really sway me in her direction.

I'll stick with butterflies.

Oh, by the way, a quick little cabin cleaning report...yep, the tub was orange.  Nice.  It was dreamy though in comparison to the probably twenty loads of laundry that I did.  And, guess what?  I'm still not done.

Well, lovely people, that's all I have for today.  I hope you have a great weekend.

By the way, thank you for all your sweet thoughts about the loss of my kitty, Tucker.  Your kindness really touched my heart.

xo Tricia