Lakeside Picnic

Sunday, I had a surprise picnic planned! I was so excited to take hubby and Colette to this location, wasn't open to the public (unexpectedly) that day. So we scrambled to come up with an alternative location, and we chose the grassy beach area at Lake Sunapee. It was a very pleasing alternative!

- Picnic Menu -

cold, roasted chicken
garden picked grape tomatoes
country sourdough bread from The Forge Bakery (MA)
Jarslberg cheese
refrigerator pickles (recipe here)
Pimm's Cups (recipe here)
individual summer berries cobbler

The older I get, the less inclined I am to use paper plates, plastic or styrofoam. I want to drink from a real glass! I'm not sure why this has suddenly become important to me, but maybe it's an attitude of "life is short...use the good stuff." So, I packed dishes, and crystal glasses for the Pimm's Cups, and some of my growing collection of vintage picnic flatware. Worth every bit of time it took to pack and clean!

The mini cobblers proved to be a great little picnic dessert. Just wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transport flat to prevent spillage.

Twins Come for a Visit

Look what came for a visit to our yard this summer! (Please ignore the dying grass due to the drought conditions in our state.) Aren't they cute?

Mama was nearby watching over her little ones.

This one was eyeing my garden. I was feeling mighty grateful for that deer fencing!


Last year, while staying on Nantucket, I bought a mirror for the formal dining room. (Colette was sweet enough to carry it!)

It was just the right size to hang between the two windows in that room. But most importantly, it did exactly what I wanted it to do! It reflects the view of the woods behind me, since I sit with my back to the view.

Nantucket for the win!

Raspberry Picking with the Little Ones

Last week, Hubby and I met Felicity and the little ones for a hot morning of raspberry picking. Despite the heat, the grandkids were focused and cheerful and great little pickers!

And later, after lunches and naps, they came over for dinner...with vanilla ice cream with raspberries for dessert!

How to Make a Pimm's Cup

One of my goals this year was to learn how to make half a dozen cocktails well. Eight months into this year, and I've finally begun...with a Pimm's Cup. It is the quintessential British summer cocktail, a staple at Wimbledon and at British and American polo matches, and it is refreshing and delicious!

As with anything, I'm always a bit curious about the history behind it all. With some online research, I discovered that the base for the drink, Pimm's No. 1 Cup, was created by James Pimm, a British fishmonger, who opened an oyster bar in London in the 1840's. It was marketed as an aperitif and sold in a small tankard called a No. 1 cup, hence the name. An aperitif, by definition, is an aid to digestion and was typically served before a meal. ("Drinks before dinner? What would Carson say?" - Lady Mary) The exact composition of this liqueur, a mixture of "herbal and floral nuances", is said to be known by only six people.

I'm sort of an alcohol wimp, preferring about 1/3 of a glass of wine to a full glass. So, the Pimm's Cup is a great cocktail for someone who likes just a taste

The ingredients are really very simple. All you need besides what you see here is: ice.

Pimm's Cup

1 1/2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
3 oz. lemonade (I made my own, using a recipe found here)
cocktail straw

Fill an 8 oz. glass full with ice. Add Pimm's and lemonade. Finish filling the glass with Sprite. Garnish with orange, cucumber, and mint. (You can add the garnishes to the glass if desired.) Insert a cocktail straw. Enjoy!

Super Easy Dill Refrigerator Pickles

Although I've made many jars of pickles in the past, I've never tried my hand at refrigerator pickles. SO easy! And SO delicious! I should've been making them for years. Gather the ingredients from your local farmers' market, and spend just a few minutes to make a jar for your family!

Super Easy Dill Refrigerator Pickles

-Makes 1 quart jar-

5 (3-4") pickling cucumbers
2 c. water
1 c. white vinegar
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 t. sugar
1 t. pickling spice
big bunch of fresh dill
3 large cloves garlic, peeled
10-20 peppercorn kernels
1 small onion, coarsely sliced
1/2 of a small green bell pepper, coarsely sliced

- Slice cucumbers into spears, OR cut them into bite-size circles. (I used a crinkle-cutter to give mine a wavy edge, which is kind of fun!) Set aside.

- In a heavy, stainless steel saucepan, combine: water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and pickling spice. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Remove and cool to room temperature.

- Layer cucumbers, sprigs of dill, garlic, peppercorns, onions slices, and bell pepper slices into a clean quart canning jar. Pour cooled liquid over all. Seal with a canning jar lid and place in refrigerator; allow to sit for 48 hours before tasting.

- Will last for at least a month!

Antiques, Cookies, and Lobsters

Thursday was the U.S.Coast Guard's 226th birthday! Congratulations to the Coasties! Since Colette had the day off work, the two of us decided to take some cookies to Max and the whole crew to help them celebrate!

Max had to work most of the day, so we took our sweet time getting there. We made a stop at the L.L. Bean flagship store, with its famous giant Bean boot, and explored its multiple buildings of tempting merchandise.

Then we found a small town in which to antique shop, bopping in and out of each beautifully styled shop all along the town's main street.

This sign made us laugh! One point for hilarity, and one point for proper punctuation!

Ah! SO wonderful to hug him!

I ordered Jenny Steffens Hobick's nautical cookie cutters for my first real attempt at making classic decorated cookies. What fun! I love her blog! Click here to check it out. I also found her advice on colors really great, although I will definitely have to practice more with proportions. Click here to read her posting on The Icing Color Wheel. And I used Tessa from Nine and Sixteen's sugar cookie recipe and thought it was the way it gives you a cleanly defined edge! Click here for her recipe.

Once he was finished with work for the day, we all went to the Maine Lobster Festival, a real summertime Maine treat! It is held harborside, and features live entertainment, carnival rides, and of course...lobsters.

All too soon we had to say goodbye and head for home. Before the sun set, however, I had to pull over and snap this picture of the gorgeous Maine scenery.

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