What a great last few days we've had and I'll be honest, I'm so tired. I don't put myself up there with the 9-5'ers, but I'm on the go most of the day. I really should get a new pedometer, mine broke. The Husband and kids simply don't believe my lifestyle adds up to a whole lot of moving. Grrrr...
Emily and I hung out on Thursday. I found some cool 4th of July decorations at The Dollar Tree for my cookout and then a trip to Party City and Michael's garnered her some inspiration and items to decorate for Elsie's christening on Sunday. Em was designated Party Decorating Extraordinaire! And what a great job she did with everything I love the banner. She used cardboard pieces, attached scrapbook paper, some sparkly embellishments and strung them on twine to spell out "God Bless Elsie" I have to admit, I've always used fabric to make banners but these cardboard pieces did not fold or flip or blow in the wind. Just a tip.
Mary Clare had some lightweight white tablecloths and then Emily layered those with pastel plastic 'runners' Then she used inexpensive Baby's Breath in Dollar Tree vases (that she had), with clear pastel glass 'stones' to anchor the flowers in water. Some candles and bows here and there and it looked festive, and a little on the girly side.
We had a lot of fun at the after-party; great food, drinks and desserts. A fabulous celebration for our baby girl.
Of course there was the baptism beforehand! Just some family pictures here. We were the only baptism so it was lovely and so personal. Elsie was totally chill and never uttered a cry. She was content in trying to eat her dress. One of her endearing traits is trying to stuff everything and anything into her mouth! And the dress. Mary Clare found a fabulous seamstress/friend who fashioned a christening gown for Elsie out of a section of MC's wedding gown. Isn't this gorgeous? I've never seen anything so beautiful and the idea and sentiment is phenomenal.
The proud godparents. MC's older sister, Nora, and my son, Jeffrey. I'm in awe looking at Jeff holding Elsie, he has always said, "Nah" when offered. He's great with kids, fragile infants make him a bit nervous.
And we grandparents, The Husband, me and Peggy. Peggy lost her husband years back, and MC and her siblings their father as well. So we are a party of three. I hope all the loving and loved family members are looking down proud and happy.
Finally, my four kids and the new, very loved addition to our family. Wow, look at those smiles!
As if you didn't get enough gardening pictures last week, I thought I'd show you some daylily's in full bloom. And I have another area of these surrounding a big walnut tree that will bloom later as they are in the shade. What an easy, pretty and so loved plant.
I just submitted my July column for the lake newspaper. I really love writing it and I use my own pictures. I included my recipe for potato salad so now I'm sharing it with you. After all, it's finally Summertime.
Blondie's Potato Salad
I have to say something about tradition. Family recipes are sacred. One Christmas I decided to make a sweet potato soufflé instead of my regular sweet potatoes tossed with brown sugar and butter. You would have thought I tried to re-write the bible. People like tradition. And whether you are having a small group or a crowd, you just don't need Aunt Sally or Papa Joe rocking the boat because you changed one single thing. So where does that leave those of us who like creativity? Make small changes. Be subtle. But take advantage when you have company like you might have in the summer when there are a variety of dishes to choose from. If they don't like that you're adding red pepper to your pasta salad instead of green, they can skip it and go for another side dish. Most times they are totally happy and inspired by the 'new' way of doing the same old blah dish.
So here is my latest rendition of potato salad that came as an epiphany one morning at the lake as I was cleaning up a big breakfast that had included some thick sliced bacon. It was such a hit at our lunch on the patio with friends that day that I've made it many times since and it never fails to please. I've changed it around a bunch of times so feel free to do so yourself!
***Blondie's Potato Salad***
6 medium size Idaho potatoes*
1 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup diced shallots
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 to 1 1/2 cups mayo (no salad dressing!)
3 slices of thick bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
2 tablespoons of bacon drippings
3 tablespoons of potato skins**
2 tablespoons of chopped chives
One hard boiled egg, roughly chopped in small pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Scrub the potatoes and add to a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook until an inserted knife finds them firm all the way through. Do NOT overcook* or they will crumble when assembling the salad. Remove to a colander and let cool and dry.
Meanwhile, prepare your veggies and parsley. Place in a small bowl. Perhaps prepare your egg but keep it separate.
Once potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skin with a paring knife trying not to remove any flesh if possible. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the skin.** Chop into small pieces. Add this to a small skillet with the 2 tablespoons of drippings and gently fry until crisp. Bacon fat smokes and burns easily so watch the temp of the heat. Remove and drain on paper towels. Combine with bacon pieces and set aside.
Cut potatoes into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunks. Place in a large bowl and season with about a teaspoon of salt and pinch of pepper. Begin to fold in mayo by the 1/2 cup (very gently). How much creaminess you want is up to you so just keep adding slowly. Reserve about 1/2 cup and then add your celery and shallots and parsley. Fold in the rest of the mayo along with another pinch of salt.
Spoon the salad into a pretty bowl, top with the chopped egg, then the bacon/potato skin combo. Sprinkle the chives over and then chill for at least one hour before serving.
There are many variations of this recipe---think of all the ways you like potatoes. Fried potatoes with peppers and onion for breakfast? A little cheddar cheese on 'tater skins'? The toppings are wide open. Use any sort of herb...go Italian with chopped basil and oregano (dried is best). Dot with sour cream and chives. One last bit of advice, going back to the sweet potato debacle of 2012. Reserve a small bowl of your tried and true recipe for the purists. It's not going to be a happy meal if someone is grumbling. On the other hand, you'll have folks raving and asking for 'your' potato salad for years to come. It's just up to you to remember which version it was.
Sorry if the recipe seems loooong. Just Pin it and print it---it really is so good.
I'm off. We have serious tornado and storm warnings. Doesn't that seem to be the pattern these past few weeks? I wonder if the newer technology the weather people have in tracking storms and then the availability of new technology in keeping us informed plays a big role in keeping us ready, if not on edge? But safe. And in my case, worried sick. I have and always will have a fear of tornadoes. Growing up in the wide open country will do that to you. If you have warnings, can I just tell you what we do? I keep a candle lit in the kitchen which leads to the stairs to our basement, as well as a flashlight. I keep the same in our laundry room which is the most secure spot in our basement. We fully charge our cell phones as soon as we have a threat of bad weather. Bring your pets to a safe place with you and another good idea is to keep a few bottles of water in your secure place. Lastly, keep your doors unlocked in the event you have major damage to your home and God forbid, you are trapped. If you want to add to my 'amateurish' list, please do so in the comments.
See you towards the weekend. :)