Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Texas Potato Salad

With Labor Day right around the corner, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite potato salads. It is perfect for picnics because there is no mayo, so you don't have to worry about leaving it out if it is hot. Speaking of hot, the secret ingredient to this delicious potato salad is...wait for it...pickled jalapeños.
This recipe and many more tasty dishes can be found in The Peach Tree Famliy Cookbook by Cynthia Collins Pedregon. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Captivated by Sunburst Mirrors

I've been obsessed with sunburst mirrors for a while now. In my opinion, nothing gives you a better focal point to a room than this dramatic statement piece. Let the drooling begin...

 {Images via decorpad}

Friday, August 26, 2011

There's Words in them there Clouds

A word cloud takes words that you use in your blog or text that you plug in and creates a visual design. Usually, the more a word is commonly used, the more prominently it will be displayed in your word cloud. To design your own world cloud, visit Wordle.

Rambling Wren Word Cloud

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

They're Baaaack

It that time of year when Warblers start migrating through Texas. If you are lucky and have a water source, you might be able to spot one or two. Here are a couple of Warblers I spotted at my fountain.
Common Yellowthroat Warbler

Nashville Warblers

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grains of Goodness

Quinoa is an ancient grain that has gone retro. You've probably heard about it or seen it, but if you were like me, maybe a little hesitant to try it. Once I found a way to prepare it that I liked, I was hooked. You can feel good about eating it since it packs a punch of protein and is rich in magnesium and iron. 

Quinoa Tabbouleh is my favorite way to enjoy this great grain.

 To get the recipe click here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top Chef in TX

When I heard that one of my favorite shows Top Chef 
was filming at my favorite local grocery store Whole Foods,  I could not believe it. It was as if two of my favorite things had merged to become one.

There are not many shows I watch, but this is one of them. Bravo, the cable channel that airs Top Chef, had the originality to put this type of show on TV before it became a completely overused format. Top Chef  features actual cooking and not just personalities like some other shows that will remain nameless. 

Can't wait to see what they cook up in the Lone Star state.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Peace Out

This gorgeous plant is called a Spathiphyllum. Commonly it is referred to as a Peace lily. Since the weather this summer has been brutal, I decided to bring my love of gardening indoors. I've always loved houseplants, but never had enough light to grow them. Luckily, our new home has lots of natural light. I have to control myself from adding too many so my living room does not turn into a jungle. 

 Houseplants add a natural element to any room and they also help filter the air you breath indoors.

To read about the best houseplants to filter the air according to NASA click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Liven up a Lentil Salad

I'm continuing on my summer salad theme with a Lentil salad. Lentils are very versatile. You can serve them warm by adding them to soups or serving them under a nice piece of fish like Halibut. They can also make a great side dish or just a meal in themselves. They are high in iron, folate and fiber. 

The key to this likable legume is not to over cook it. You want the texture to be al dente. 

I like to add fresh herbs, like parsley and dill to my salad. I also toss in some raw radishes, black olives, green onion and a bell pepper. The dressing is easy... It is a simple balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette.

You can learn more about lentils here.

Lentil Salad Recipe:

1 cup Lentils, washed and cooked according to the directions on the package 
1/2 cup radishes, chopped
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted or 1/4 cup capers
1 bell pepper (red or green), chopped
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cook lentils and let them cool. Combine lentils with remaining ingredients. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grilled Zucchini Salad

What do you do with all that zucchini from the garden? How about make a grilled zucchini salad. This recipe was adapted from the executive chef's recipe at the Lake Austin Spa Resort. I attended Terry Conlan's cooking class at Central Market and was inspired to make my own version of the grilled salad. 

I started with fresh oregano, black olives and feta cheese.  

I then grilled my zucchini and made my cooked vinaigrette dressing which consisted of Dijon mustard, olive oil and finely chopped onion or shallots. Just combine all the ingredients and you have a great summer salad. 

Not your homogeneous hummus

I was inspired at Central Market today by all the fresh herbs. I normally make my hummus the same way, but today I thought I would mix it up with some fresh rosemary and punch it up with some Meyer lemon juice. The flavor was light and reminiscent of a cannellini bean dip. The new twist on average hummus was perfect for summer. How do you mix it up when it comes to making hummus?

Your Love is like a Heat Wave

Yes, this is my first post ever!! In Texas we are having ourselves a good old fashion heat wave. The temperatures in the triple digits have been 35 days and counting this summer. Even the animals and insects are having a difficult time. Thank goodness I have a water fountain. I have enjoyed watching all the little creatures getting a much needed drink. Hope we get some rain soon.