Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sarasota Bayfront Park - Island Park

We always enjoy going to Island Park near downtown Sarasota. We usually go on Sundays and can bring our dog with us and even if we stop to eat at O'leary's for breakfast or lunch it's okay to bring the dog. They added a Tikibar so it's fun to go later in the evening and listen to some island music.
There are fountains and a playground for younger kids. I used to take Maranda there when she was little. She would run all through the water without getting her face wet!

On the bay front her in February the have The Sarasota Season of Sculpture is a series of sculptures assembled in the park on the Bay front in downtown Sarasota, FL
They are usually on display in the winter high tourist season. Some of them are pretty far out there and some are very interesting.
The 26-foot sculpture, "Unconditional Surrender' is better known as the 'The Kiss,' based on the famous photo of a soldier returning from World War II kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square.

The artwork was first on display in 2005 and is back in the same location at U.S. Highway 41 and Ringling Causeway.
There are many people who want to see it stay, so much so there was a private buyer who stated he would buy it if it would stay at that bay front location. Then there is the other side who don't consider it art. I think the city still has to vote on it. We have to wait to see if it will stay.

When my sister is in town it seems this fountain is never working, so I always get a photo of it just for her. I think we have one on Mother's Day too. Tucker doesn't want to be in the photo, Wade is too far away taking the picture. He wants to be by him!

Marina Jack's in the background. There is a nice restaurant overlooking the Bay and and open deck grille and bar with a huge teak deck.

Always fun with dogs and water. We take him to the dog beach in Venice and Island Park, and
I think the other beaches that allow dogs are City Island down from Mote Marine, and Bird Key where we sometimes jet ski. Tucker is not good around jet skis, he just barks the whole time. I think he is trying to herd them!

The Ringling Causeway Bridge, another city controversy when it was built. Whether to replace the old draw bridge or put up this taller one that many boats can get under it.

O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill where you can also rent jet skis and paddle boats. This is also where the dingys land that go out to all the moored sailboats in the bay.

On the other side of the park they have the marina and you can rent the fishing boats, and deep sea fishing boats.
It's just part of Sarasota that we enjoy, if you are going to live this close to water you might as well enjoy it!
Hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Favorites

I am so, so picky when it comes to my lip balms. I love Mentholatum and have been using it for years. I have one by my side at all times (almost). I like the consistency of it on my lips. It's not too dry or too greasy, and the best part it has SPF 30. Often we forget to protect our lips from the sun. I have even used it on the tops of my ears if I'm caught out in the sun too long (I tend not to put sunscreen on my ear tops in a everyday routine). In a pinch this will work. It doesn't taste funny either and make my throat feel funny. (I told you I was picky) I won't leave home with out it.

My nighttime favorite is Aromaleigh lipbalm here is what the website says about their balm:

Our balms are all delicately fragranced with the best essential oils and absolutes. They are quite unlike traditional synthetically-scented and flavored lipbalms that you might be used to. Our balms don't actually taste like their namesakes, they are fragranced to smell like them... but your sense of smell and taste are very much entwined, so you might be fooled into thinking otherwise! Our balms are gently fragranced with their namesake essential oils and absolutes, so as not to overwhelm you, and to give you the most enjoyable aromatherapy experience possible!

It is a treat and I use it around my eyes and any where you need extra moisture and pampering. They come in so many fragrance you'll never get bored! I like the feel of this on my lips as well and don't feel right going to bed without it. That reminds me I need to order more, mine is running low, hummm what flavor should I try next?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Martha Mondays - Roasted Chicken and Plums

This week we made Roasted Chicken with Plumbs for our
Martha Monday challenge. I roast chicken often so this was right up my ally.

The directions were to salt the chicken and place 2 rosemary sprigs inside the chicken tie the legs and put in 450 degree oven for 20 minutes the remove chicken from the oven and toss the plums around the chicken and finish roasting the chicken until done and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile you were supposed to bake the rest of the plums with honey and top with butter and rosemary in a separate pan. I'm not that big on cooked fruit with my meat. The plums were okay, but the chicken turned out great. I really liked the flavor that the plums brought out in it, and it was very moist. My daughter had surgery on her mouth today, so I cut it up in bite size pieces and she wanted rice with it, so I made my mom's rice pilaf which looks a lot better in person. I will post that recipe another time.

I actually did make this on Monday, it was a nice meal to make for after the first crazy day at school with the kids, or I should say parents.
I would make this again and bake it with the plumbs, (I always use rosemary, it's something that I can grow and have it in my front and backyard) and just not eat the plums, like I don't eat the rosemary. I would make a nice garnish as well.
Maybe I'll work on a nice plum crumble for a dessert! The projects that we do are very simple, and it's fun to see how everyone elses turns out. If you are interested please join in. No pressure just do what you want. Check it out!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Himalayan ionic crystal salt table lamp

I bought this cool Himalayan Salt lamp to put in my office at work, it is suppose to purify the air and help to remove allergens. A friend who has some and is a massage therapist suggested I try it. I found one very reasonable at Marshall's and I like how it looks, and I think the kids at school will too. So I thought it was worth a shot. My eyes were always red and I was using allergy eye drops so much and toward the end of last school year I went to see a doctor who said it's not pink eye, but allergies and gave me some $50 eye drops. Geesh! So again I hope this works.

As you all are probably well aware of the students start back to school tomorrow. It is fairly new, building was open in 2001. First I thought it was all the glue that they used to put down the carpet or the new carpet itself. I was in the building. I am bothered enough by outdoor allergies in February when the Oak Pollen turns everything this sick yellow green color. It floats on top of the pool and you might as well forget about washing the car until its over. My doctor told me to try to avoid going outside around oak trees. Well , h-e-l-l-o we have 6 in our yard and the school has a ton, it's not going to happen. Okay I off track.

Here is a link for some more information on the Himalaya salt products there is a lot of info on it, but this is the company where mine came from. So I will let you know how it works for me. I am so sick of allergies! Have any of you used one before?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Favorites

Today is my first installment of Friday Favorites first introduced to me by Laura from Bouquet of Beauty . I have two favorites today, one for cooking the other a beauty favorite. First I have Bourjois Liner Clubbing .From: $16.00 . It's a little higher that I usually pay, but I think it's worth it.
It is waterproof and the consistency is smooth, not too thick and not too thin. Very easy to control if you want a very thin line or you can add more for a bolder look. The best part is that it stays on until you take it off. I love it.
My next new favorite is this Halen Mon Finishing Salt from The Meadow . I won it on twitter. It is a flake sea salt and is excellent on vegetables and more delicate dishes. I really want to try more of his salts. I was at the end of this taster size and had to get a picture of it before it was all gone. These salts are so interesting and so versatile. I am having fun discovering all the new flavors that they can enhance.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


I pushed back Wordless Wednesday, to get out the post of Martha Mondays. Ahh you can tell I'm back at school. Always have photos of Tucker!

Martha Mondays: Map Coasters

Welcome to Martha Mondays. If you aren’t familiar, this is an open project where every week, we’ll cook, craft or do a Martha project together and then post or comment about it. The Martha Mondays for this week was Map Coasters.

You need paper maps (and if you don’t have any you could print some online, or use any other decorated or patterned paper you have), cutting mat, round cork coasters, craft knife, foam paintbrush and ModPodge.

Okay so I had some cork coasters already and I know I have some ModPodge somewhere. I had moved my crafts drawers out to the garage. There are jet skis in front of it, I pushed them out of the way. Looked and looked, I know it's somewhere but couldn't find it. I did find my flexible cutting matt, and my cork coasters, and I always have my Exact-o knife handy (no problem there). So I grabbed my 40% off coupon and picked up some more ModPodge. I thought I'd get the matte version this time. I really didn't have to spend that much on this project.

I didn't have any good maps to cut up, but I always have decorative paper because I make a lot of cards and have stuff just in case I ever have the space and time to scrapbook.

I chose a nice summer print for my coasters, they'd look nice by the pool. I didn't trace the coaster because I can never stay on the line. So I cut around the cork coaster and it worked okay but it did flake off and had cork dust all around.

Adding the ModPodge was easy as long as you didn't touch anything (I got some on my camera). And I got some of the cork dust in it so I brushed it out. Had a cloth on hand to wipe my hands.

Slide the cut out circles on the cork and put a top coat of ModPodge and let it dry. It was a simple job, and it dried quicker that I thought it would in Florida humidity.

They are quick and easy and I think it would be a nice gift that you can really personalize. I would love to use kids drawings, or I bet fabric would work to make some nice coasters.

The most work was writing and posting about it. This week was busy getting ready at school for the kids to star on Monday and meet your teacher on Friday. Next week For the next Martha Mondays, let’s make Roasted Chicken and Plums, which is on page 162 of September Martha Stewart Living. Make sure you check out how everyone's coasters turned out. It's fun to see all the varieties, and what a good job they did.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pork Dumplings

Steamed Pork Dumplings

I had these wonton wrappers that had to be used up. I've made pot stickers before, but it's been awhile. I was thinking about ravioli, and had both eggplant and portabello mushrooms in the refrigerator, but both called for cooking them ahead before making them in the filling to stuff the ravioli, then I'd have to make a sauce to go on top. With Wade's work I never know when he's going to be home, so with all that prep work then sit and I wasn't going to do that. So I did make a trip to get some ground pork, Publix has the best if you are not going to grind it yourself. I always cut back on the amount because we have a small family.

This was the first time I used my bamboo steamer. My regular steamer pan I use practically everyday. I had cleaned out my cupboards so I can paint the inside and found way in the back a 10" skillet with 3" sides on it fits my bamboo steamer perfect. I went out in the back yard and cut a piece of my banana leaf to line it so the dumplings wouldn't stick. I should of used a little more banana leaf, and I'm keeping that pan handy where I can reach it. It's a really good pan too. I so need my kitchen redone. When that happens, I'll make sure you all see it as it goes.

I loved working with the wonton wrappers, but there was a lot of them in the package. This recipe made quite a few. I only had two layers on my steamer. I made them all up in separate batches and warmed them the next day in a saute pan and had post stickers. I might try freezing them next time, because we still had a lot of dumplings left. With the left over wonton wrappers I made ravioli (portabello & ricotta). I made Eggplant Parmesan with my eggplant.

100 (3.5 inch square) wonton wrappers
1 lb ground pork
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup finely shredded Chinese cabbage

1.In a large bowl, combine the pork, ginger, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, egg and cabbage. Stir until well mixed.
2.Place 1 heaping teaspoon of pork filling onto each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water and fold edges over to form a triangle shape. Roll edges slightly to seal in filling. Set dumplings aside on a lightly floured surface until ready to cook.
3.To Cook: Steam dumplings in a covered bamboo or metal steamer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

For the dipping sauce I used tamari sauce, toasted sesame oil, rice wine vinegar. Garnished with sliced green onions.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

While Waiting for my Zoya

With everyone talking about already getting their free Zoya it's hard to sit back and wait. I should be getting mine soon, like today or tomorrow (hopefully). So I went to Ulta and found some fun polish on clearance. Of course in Florida we tend to carry the summer season a little farther than in other places. I wear sandals to work, and colors are always bright.

This Piggy Polish came with a base coat and top coat. The color is Live with Purplish.

I love this! It was hard to get a good photo of it in the sun, but you can get an idea how the light plays off it. In indoor light it has a nice purple frosted-like look. With all that glitter, shimmer-ness it is very smooth to the touch, it feels no different than any other gloss polish. It's the Diamond Dust formulation, from their Designer Series by O.P.I. in Amethyst. I love this product! It has a large, flat, soft brush that lets the polish go on so smooth. The coverage is so complete and it dries super fast. I also got it in Chiffon and wish I would of also picked up the Platinum. Now we'll see how long it lasts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sarasota Sunsets...
Siesta Key Beach

Crescent beach

Crescent Beach

South of Venice Beach (dog beach) not in Sarasota, but still in Sarasota County

Siesta Beach

Monday, August 10, 2009

Martha Mondays - Grilled vanilla peaches

This is my first Martha Monday ,
The first assignment was Grilled vanilla peaches. I was not sure how much photo documenting I should do, but I can adjust as the weeks go on. I'm sure my photos will improve too. Grilling was not a problem, because we usually grill on Sunday nights, since Wade is home and we can all eat together. My problem was it was dark by the time we got back from sunset on the beach (another favorite activity we do on Sundays)

So here it goes.

I was lucky to get some nice Georgia peaches, an advantage living in Florida. I cut the recipe in half (which I often do) because we only have three people in our family. I didn't peel them first, it seemed easier to halve them and the pit came out easy. I thought it would hold up better to the grilling.

I couldn't find my ground cinnamon I keep my spices in stainless steel tins, keeps the light out, but it makes it difficult to see whats in them. I thought I had ground some more when I used it up on my monkey bread. So I got my spice grinder out and after I ground some more, I located a an unmarked tin to put the cinnamon in and when I opened it, cinnamon was inside! At least I wasn't loosing my mind. I added some vanilla bean pulp I had left from when I made the ice cream. Topped with some new course sea salt that I won from The Meadows on twitter.

I did quarter mine because I thought they would grill up quickly and I like thing cinnamon-y. It gave the brown sugar and cinnamon more area to cover. Yum!

It was a delightful dessert! Wade liked it and Maranda ate the peaches separate from the ice cream.

I didn't use my ice cream in the photo, it didn't set up well enough for the picture. I had some today too with a cup of good coffee. It was good cold too.

I hope I gave enough info and I know my time will be cut considerably when I got back to work at school. Please feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions.
I didn't have the magazine so I couldn't see how they were suppose to look!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ringling Museum and the Ca' d' Zan Mansion

Maranda and I have been playing tourist in our own town this week. I have one more week before I have to go back to work. Maranda's school starts after Labor Day on Sep 8 (lucky dog).
We started because the online makeup company that I love and met many of my online friends on is having a contest. Where in the world is my Aromaleigh? Read about it here .

So Maranda has been my helper, and we've taken Aromaleigh to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge where Wade usually goes jet skiing on Sundays. Tuesday we went to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Which is also where the Ca' d' Zan Mansion is also located. We have toured the mansion and the museum when family has been in town for a visit. So we just walked the grounds which were just as fascinating. It was a lot of fun and I think we will do it again. You can walk the grounds and visit the rose garden for no admission. The museum is free on Monday's. Students and Florida teachers get a special rate anytime. So come along and join us now.

In 1924, construction began on Cà d’Zan, which means “House of John” in Venetian dialect. The house was completed just before Christmas 1925, at a cost of $1.5 million.
John and Mable Ringling greatly admired the unique architectural style of the Danieli and the Bauer-Grunwald hotels in Venice, as well as the palaces that face the Venetian canals. This architectural style, called "Venetian Gothic," greatly influenced the Cà d'Zan's design, which architect Dwight James Baum and builder Owen Burns helped bring to Sarasota for the
Ringlings. (from the website) The view of the bay from the entertaining area of the Cà d’Zan.

This was taken on the terrace of Cà d’Zan, one of the photos for the challenge. This one she didn't use. She did use two others that I took here, you should check it out.

One of the windows from the terrace.
Throughout the Ca' d' Zan, the window panes are of Venetian glass,
tinted in shades of rose, amethyst, purple, green and straw. Tradition has
it that the seven arched bronze frames of the Gothic pointed windows opening
into the terrace were brought from Europe Mrs. Ringling. In any
case, they are richly ornamented with designs of various forms of marine
life, executed in low relief.
(from website)

Some of the sconces on the terrace.

The same Banyan tree which was swallowing the statue (Wordless Wednesday) photo.

Maranda and me.

Bamboo on the grounds, I didn't get a photo of the Rose garden because it just didn't do it justice.

Mosaic in the walkway in front of the Mansion. I have more photos, but you can take a virtual tour on the website. Hope you enjoyed it.