Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Mexican Polenta Dish

According to Jim, this was a homerun so I had to blog it! 
This was my first time trying to create something Mexican like with polenta and I must saw it was quite tasty!

First I whipped up a batch of polenta adding 1.5 cups of cornmeal to 5 cups of boiling water using a whisk while pouring to prevent clumps. If you have never made polenta before you simply stir it until the bottom of the pan is clear when you move the spoon over it. It can take approximately 15 minutes. I also added 1/2 teaspoon of the following: chili powder, salt and black pepper to spice it a little.

Then this is spooned into a 9" x 11" pan, smoothed out and left to cool. Then the oven was set to preheat at 350f.

For the topping I diced up the following:

1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 cups of frozen corn (thawed)
3 tomatoes
a bunch of jarred jalapenos (I bet fresh would be great too but the jarred are a staple in our house. The more you use the spicier the dish will be)

Then I tossed the veggies with with approximately 3 tablespoons of avocado oil along with 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: chili powder, cumin, salt and black pepper. Once the veggies were evenly coated they were spread onto the polenta.

Lastly I covered this with tons of shredded cheddar cheese. Then baked for 30 minutes (broiling the last 2 minutes or so to brown the cheese).

This is a fun one to play around with ingredients. No measuring required except for the polenta! I tossed black beans over the leftovers making a great addition.

Well I hope I have inspired you to try something new in the kitchen. Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Tattersall Farm Part 2

As a follow up to last week's post here is a bit of the nature trails to enjoy at Tattersall Farm in Haverhill, MA.
It starts in a field with mowed portions to walk through. It doesn't look like much but it is so peaceful. All you hear is birds!
It is a sea of buttercups and dandelions. Also these things:
Anyone know what those are?

Then there is the peaceful woods. The trail looks like this in parts.
Now I love trees. However this old oak is one of those creepy looking ones that looks like it will come alive!
There are streams.
And my favorite woodsy thing besides moss, ferns.
Coming back out of the woods to civilization behind the farmhouse.
I hope you enjoyed this New England nature walk!

Thank you for stopping by. ~Val


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Tattersall Farm Part 1

Tattersall Farm is one of the many peaceful places in our city. This 150 acre farm was donated to the city back in 1999 by the former owners and to be kept as conservation land to enjoy.  
Being a lover of old stuff I was intrigued the by various old farm equipment on display in their rusty weathered state.
Many of the pieces here were horse drawn back in the day.
It is like a farm museum. There are posts to explain how the pieces of equipment were used.
Here is an old hay wagon frame below.
Of course the place needs to show an old John Deere!
I love the seriously corroded horseshoes! 
The horse drawn hay rake is quite cool. Although I have no interest in old farm equipment I really enjoyed checking out these pieces.
Particularly with envisioning them being horse drawn with an uncomfortable farmer on the seat.
I hope you enjoyed my little vintage farming tour. 

I will be back next week with the trails this farm has to offer! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, June 4, 2016

House Update!

We had another big thing done to our house. This was the boring job of replacing some remaining old electrical wiring. Something great resulted unexpectedly. Sconces!
Before we had this hideous broken light fixture overhead on the front porch.
This was on old wiring and the electrician thought he would be able to replace the wiring. We purchased a new light to replace this one. However when he attempted to do so, he realized it was near impossible to get through some beams. 

Then he said he could do sconces are each side of the front door. This looks way classier and goes with the period of the house beautifully! 

Another thing that concerned us was electrical wires outside with tree branches sitting on them. If we lost power, I would be out of business! So we called the electric company and they sent out their tree service to clean it up. 
We did get left with the trees since their only job is clearing the lines.

Luckily they came out when they did because a problem of burnt wire was discovered due to the friction of the branches on the lines. So the same day the electric company came out and replaced all our wiring outside. This work was all free to us. Well not really free since we pay quite a bit for electricity each month! 

No more electrical worries inside or outside! 

We added flowers for some color. I'm so happy with the black and white porch!
Jim has been super busy with ceiling fans. A total of 5!

This is my office one. I'm not a huge fan of the exposed bulbs (kind of ugly and a dust magnet) but I need as much light as possible to come from the fixture.
Then for the bedrooms we chose to put the same one in each of them.
The brushed nickel goes perfectly with the radiators' finish combining antique with modern comfort.

I am impressed by everything we have done so far since we have only been here for 5 months. This includes the roof, chimney, electrical, ceiling fans and lots of little projects.

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a great week ahead. ~Val


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Marvelous Trees

There is a cemetery in the city that I drive by from time to time and had the urge to stop at to ogle at its old trees!

Feathered tree bark.
Twisted trees.
Whimsical hairy trees.
Strange pinecones (at least I find them odd).
The largest birch I have ever seen!
Of course there are breathtakingly tall trees too.
However creepy, I must share my favorite two sites too.
I find weathered stones to be really beautiful.
Ivy is a vine I have always adored.

I hope you enjoyed my stroll. I will definitely be back in the fall to the beautifully kept Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill, MA. 

Wishing you a great week ahead! ~Val

Saturday, May 21, 2016

An Upcycled Mirror

I was in need of an accessorizing mirror for the bedroom. This perfect size was found at Savers for $2.99. 

I had never been to a Savers before but there is 1 nearby conveniently on the way to Home Depot (a store we frequent these days). I was amazed by some of the fantastic second hand goodies and super low prices!
Since our bedroom is very white and beige I started by painting it white.
I still had no concept in mind but thought about using these materials.
These are grandma's old clip on earrings that I never got around to posting on eBay. This idea turned into a failure with the decorative metal pieces though since I think I was using the wrong adhesive!

Determined to not make a trip to the craft store to buy more stuff, I foraged around the house finding this natural rope used as a border.
Then I added the vintage earrings!

It is not perfect, but I love how it came out and that I was able to show off the old earrings rather than passing them on to a stranger. The bonus was it only cost me $2.99!

You can see our bedroom chandelier in the reflection which we will sadly be replacing with a ceiling fan light fixture soon. Unfortunately comfort is more important than beauty in my world!

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing you a beautiful week ahead. ~Val

Saturday, May 14, 2016

An Eggplant Dish

We have never tried cooking eggplant this way before, simply cooking it in halves. It got gobbled up quickly! 
First the eggplants are halved and placed flesh side down on cooking sheets. Salt can be sprinkled on the flesh side to reduce the liquid formed although I used no salt since there is plenty in red sauce. Then the skin is brushed with oil which is why they glisten!
Then broil them on high for 20 minutes. They will come out soft and slightly browned.
Then turn the oven to 400F. Add marinara sauce, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Then drizzle with olive oil followed by feta cheese crumbles. 

No measurements needed. If you love cheese, put lots on! If you are watching your calories, use less and maybe add tomato slices. The beauty of parmesan and feta is that a little goes a long way in flavor. Same goes for the breadcrumbs.

Bake at 400F until breadcrumbs are toasted. The feta may melt a little.
Then enjoy!

Thank you for stopping by. Let me know if you try this! ~Val

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Springtime Downtown

Last Saturday I took a stroll downtown in Haverhill, MA on a peaceful sunny morning to check out its flowers.
Flower boxes have been filled!
So much prettier than winter.
Even a trash receptacle is decorated for Spring.
I haven't been in Sweet Affair yet. From peeking in, it appears to be a retro candy and ice cream shop. Sounds yummy! 

These trees with dangling pink flowers decorate the sidewalks.

A lonely flower I spotted behind a bench.
Here is one of our favorite lunch joints, The Tap. They make an amazing roasted cauliflower and hummus wrap. 

I love how a dandelion worked its way into the flower box.
It's wonderful to see outside seating again at eateries!
The trees were blooming.
A tree by a shoe bench along the boardwalk. The seated part of the under the sea themed shoe faces the river.
I hope you enjoyed my Spring in the city stroll as much as I did.

Have a fabulous week ahead! ~Val