Summer Sandwich for a Saturday or Sunday Afternoon



This could very well be the easiest and best tasting sandwich you have ever had. Think of it as a salad in really great bread. But there are a few things you must do to make this sandwich a success. Otherwise it will be an ordinary sandwich. And that's not what I'm striving for here.

First. You must get yourself to your local farm or farmer's market. They're everywhere this summer - The farmer's markets, that is! You'll find grocery store produce practically inedible once you get your veggies from the farm. This is how our tomatoes and lettuce and cucumbers and all the other deliciousness is supposed to taste!

After you've gotten all the veggies that your heart desires you'll need some really good bread. With the emphasis on really good. I am a bread snob. I make no apologies for this. Many local bakers sell their wonderful breads at farmer's markets. Really, farmer's markets are one stop shopping... you should be able to find everything you need from meat and fish, eggs, cheeses, breads, veggies, soups, and some of the best desserts ever.... But I digress... If you can't get a good bread at your farmer's market, then head to a bakery. But please please please do not go to the grocery store for this unless your grocery store sells local breads... and many of them do.

You'll want a fat, flat crusty bread like a ciabatta or eve a softer focaccia. Cut the bread in half through the middle and lay both halves on your work surface, crust sides down. On one half drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, infused or plain. Now start layering all your veggies... anything and everything you wish! We used mixed lettuces, thinly sliced fresh red tomatoes, thinly sliced fresh cucumbers, crushed and chopped Greek olives, thinly sliced pepadews and fresh mozzarella. We added some more olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper to taste. We placed the other half of the bread on top of the sandwich and pressed it down. You can use something heavy to hold it into place if you wish. When you're ready, cut the sandwich into as many pieces as you'd like. Serves 4-5 large sandwiches or more as mini sandwiches. You can add anything you would like - fresh basil, onions, peppers... The options are endless. Use an infused olive oil or add some pesto to the bread. Swap out the mozzarella for goat cheese or a spreadable herb cheese like Boursin.

Go ahead and make this. You'll thank me when you do!

XOXO,

Jessica

Decorating for The Holidays with Mother Nature


If you've been reading my blog for a while now you know that I love to bring the outside inside. I love to use nature as a tool and an inspiration to my decorating. It's beautiful and it is free!

A couple of years ago I made this centerpiece. I gathered pine cones in assorted sizes, as well as acorns and painted them gold, silver and white using regular poster paint. I then took a few really cheap plastic apple ornaments that frankly were quite ugly. (My mother is famous for giving me everything she wants to, but cannot toss!) I painted them lightly with a coat of the gold poster paint as well. And finally added a few of the smallest ball ornaments I could find lying around the ornament boxes in the basement.


A few pine cones have broken over the past few years but there were still plenty enough to create a new centerpiece!

If you want to recreate this at home you will need:

* One or two foam paint brushes. These are disposable. I don't want to ruin a good brush on the pine cones.
* A bucket filled with pine cones and acorns of assorted shapes and sizes
* Newspaper to work on
* Gold, silver, white or whatever color paint you desire

Paint your objects and let dry several hours on newspaper.

Find a pretty bowl, platter or large plate and arrange your items to your liking.

And, for my fabulous southern and coastal friends, fear not! I have a delightfully wonderful ornament for you!

This brilliant idea came from my friend Maya at Completely Coastal. I adore her blog and have to see what great things she has on there daily! Maya, in turn, got the idea from The Stories of A to Z... a new discovery for me... I'll be back for more!



I just love this ornament! I have some small pieces of sea glass that my 8 year old collected in Maine last summer. This will be his project for certain!

In order to make this ornament you will need a plain glass ornament, some sand, some shells or beach glass and a funnel to use to pour the sand in to the ornament. It doesn't get easier or prettier than that! (I'm thinking a pretty pink or lavender bow to tie on to the tree!)

Now I am waiting for Maya to come back to me with a creative way to use my 30+ oversized clam shells the kids collected in Newport this past summer! No pressure Maya... I'll wait... and wait and wait and wait! ;)

Don't forget to enter my Holiday Giveaway in the post below!

My Little Valentine!


We love Valentine's Day! We start celebrating early. Rebecca has started making her cards, Christopher has started writing his --He prefers his bought -- and Alexander has started a few projects that we will be sharing here and on my food blog for you all to do with your kids and for your friends. We started our celebration at lunchtime yesterday. A simple pb&j was cut out with 2 heart-shaped cookie cutters. I also hulled a few strawberries to look like hearts. Alexander thought this was the greatest lunch ever! If you have nut allergies you can achieve the same result with cream cheese and jelly!
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