Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Southern Watermelon Benedict

Beautiful, isn't it?

This is a perfectly refreshing summertime addition to your breakfast or brunch that will pleasantly surprise your guests!  We ate this at the Azalea Inn whenever we stayed there on our recent Savannah trip.  Every night at the Inn, they put up on a pretty chalkboard what was for breakfast the next morning, and whenever we read "watermelon benedict" we were kind of perplexed--curious for what we were going to be served.  Of course usually when you see some benedict, it's usually eggs.  (So I thought umm....eggs and watermelon?!!)  Our interest was peaked and we were pleasantly surprised by what was presented to us as the "first course".  A colorful dish that consists of sliced watermelon and kiwi on granola with a thick drizzle of yogurt.  Lovely on the eyes and yummy on the tummy! :)

Here's a picture of the original watermelon benedict we fell in love with at The Azalea Inn & Gardens.

This is a very easy recipe that looks much more elegant and difficult than it really is!   My husband is the one who made these for breakfast this morning, and he did a fabulous job!  He had the bright idea of how to do the granola.  We have chewy white chocolate chip granola bars from Cascadian Farms.  First, he flattened them out with his hand, then he split them in half and put them side by side and molded them together to make one square.  Next, he used a biscuit cutter to make the perfectly round shape each one of them has.  The sweet white chocolate in the granola was a subtle complement to the fruit!  I wish that we had taken picture of assembling this, but we didn't. All this takes is basically some cutting and easy!  We used Greek yogurt because we like that the best, and it has a lot of protein in it.  

So here is a simple recipe for Watermelon Benedict!  Please try this refreshing dish out for yourself and just imagine being out on a veranda in Savannah enjoying every bite!

Watermelon Benedict

2 white chocolate chip chewy granola bars

 fresh seedless watermelon

1 kiwi

1 small carton Greek yogurt

1 tsp. honey

mint sprigs for garnish

As I mentioned before, take each granola bar and cut it in half.  Place both halves side by side and press together to form a square-like shape that is big enough to cut a round shape.  Do this to both granola bars so there are 2 squares.

Using a 2 1/2 to 3 in. biscuit cutter, make a circle from both granola squares.  Set the granola circles to the side.

Using the same or one size down (what we did) biscuit cutter, make circles from 1/2 inch slices of watermelon.  You will need 4 circles.  Set watermelon circles aside.

In a small bowl, mix together yogurt and honey.

On the plates, start to assemble the benedict.  First place the granola circles, then stack 2 watermelon circles, and lastly 2 slices of kiwi.  Next drizzle a generous portion of yogurt on the top.  Enough to spill over the sides.
Garnish with a freshly washed mint sprig.  

Serves 2.

(Completely enjoyed this first bite!)

I"m linking up with:


Monday, June 27, 2011

(Remix!) Toasted Coconut covered Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are a remix of the delicious Sea Salt Double Chocolate Chip Cookies I posted about a couple of months ago!  

We hosted an ice cream social at our house last Friday night, and I had to have some cookies to go along with the ice cream.  So I thought I'd make some yummy chocolate chip cookies but instead of just baking them off as normal, I rolled the dough in coconut for a tropical twist--they were so good!  The coconut toasts up in the oven and gets a little crispy around the soft cookie as it bakes.  This is just a fun way to spruce up your cookies!  Originally I really wanted to dip half the cookie in melted white chocolate and then in toasted coconut (after baked and cooled), but because I was running behind on the time I just decided to roll them in the sweetened coconut before baking them off golden brown!  Well, I'll just have to try my other idea another time.

You can be so creative with a simple cookie recipe.  There are so many ways to remix your favorite cookie, depending on the add in, what you drizzle over, or roll it in.  I love this part of baking--the creative part--almost as much as the eating part!  Try these if you want something slightly different while keeping the good ole familiar taste of a gooey chocolate chip cookie.

I'm linking up with:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Cozy Little Patio!

Yes, so I know that I'm not a home decorating blog (by any means!) but I wanted to participate with Savvy Southern Style in the "Blog Party" and showcase a bit of my outdoor space!

Unfortunately it was quite cloudy yesterday when I took these pictures.  Storms were rolling in all around, but I decided to go ahead and do the photo shoot anyways!  So, whenever you see the sky just imagine it being a beautiful robin's egg blue instead of dismal gray!
So today I am giving you a nickel tour of our back patio.  We just love being out here!!  Coming from apartments our entire married life, to a house with our own outdoor space has been amazing!

This is the table and chairs we'll eat lunch or dinner on occasionally, or drink the morning's coffee.  The patio is facing East, so it provides a pretty sunrise!

I apologize for not having a more homemade dessert out here, but I though this fruit looked absolutely mouthwatering and oh so summery!  What's better than melon and strawberries?

We live in the country, and have a beautiful view of the surrounding fields.
I've always appreciated the simplicity of country living-- even the new hay bales are pretty to enjoy in June!

Notice our terra cotta chimnea that we love using on cool nights!  They make wonderful toasted marshmallows for s'mores!

This year, Mr. Cozy and I decided to spruce our bare patio up with splashes of color with plants and flowers.  We are so happy with the way things look!
I  love being able to go outside in the mornings to water my flowers and see the new blooms!

Yes, I enjoy the small things in life.

Mom gave me these feminine, peach mini roses.  I heart them.

I love the vivid colors in this arrangement.  You can't even see them all from this photo. The colors remind me of the checked napkins on the table!

I love bunnies, so my Grandmother found this sweet lantern with a bunny on it.  How cute is this??!  It provides a nice glow come dusk.

We like mixing grasses and flowers together for a lush arrangement.  I found this pot on sale at Lowes for next to nothing!  Actually, most all of these pots were either given to me or a sale find!

This is a window box that we used here.  We wanted different heights and shapes for our flowers!

For the pictures, I thought I'd dress up our deck box with Mr. Cozy's Great-Grandmother's handmade quilt.  It looks lovely for the summer!

She stitched it with love. :)
But she was really known for her good cookin'!

These look so dainty and delicate right after the rain shower.

This was taken a couple of weeks ago on a sunnier day, and  I can see that my plants have grown so much since then!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing a small piece of what we call "home".  We love where we live!  Waking up and stepping outside on these warm mornings to see my happy pets and pretty flowers make me very happy! 
I like decorating with color and having pretty things, but I think that what makes our home so inviting is all the love that is here.  :)

God Bless!

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Pretty as a Peach Preserves

I love the different seasons!  As much as I enjoy traveling to places like Cali or the beautiful coastal beaches,  I don't think I'd ever want to live there, because I would miss the change of the seasons too much.  I enjoy watching the trees go from bare to beautifully green, from the winter wonderlands to the lightening bug - glowing fields, the cozy hot chocolates and fireplace to the iced sweet tea and patio.  I enjoy it all!!!  I like to change my decor with the seasons and holidays and I'm the same way with my food.  As you all probably have picked up on already, I'm a very seasonal cook.  I love to prepare meals and desserts with ingredients that are fresh and in season right now!  Sure...I will do an occasional stew in the summer or indoor grilling in the winter, but for the most part I stay true to the season!  (Oh, and chocolate is always in season if you didn't already know!! ;)


They just sing summertime!!!  Soft, ripe peaches that are so juicy they drip down your chin!  Yes....those are the best.  I'll never forget whenever I was growing up, one summer we lived in Florida.  There were fruit and vegetable stands almost everyday where we lived. So after leaving the pool or beach, Mom would stop and buy a few peaches for us to eat on the way home in the van. She would lay out beach towels on us to act as like a bib/napkin, and we'd eat those Georgia peaches like little piggies!  Mmm!!!  Those were the days...

This is was my first time to make peach preserves. Last year I made Strawberry Jam and everybody LOVED it!  (Apparently I didn't make nearly enough.) So I though I'd try out to my hand at peach this time.

Uh, yum!!!

This is a basic recipe that's simply delicious.  It will take you back to a farmhouse breakfast, like the kind like when you were a child.   
The color of the preserves is vibrant and  pretty, and it has just enough bits of fresh peaches.  I have eaten it with toast and biscuits already, but I can't wait to warm it up and pour it over some French toast or pound cake with whipped cream!

I encourage you to try making some jam or preserves this year with your favorite fruits.  If peaches are one of them, this is an easy recipe that I'm sure you'll love!

Pretty as a Peach Preserves

3 lb. peaches; mine were Georgia, (4 c. diced)

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

5 1/2 c. sugar

1 box Sure-gell

First off, you must prepare your jars and lids by sanitizing them.  I put them in the dishwasher in the "sanitize" setting. Or you can just wash them in hot water and dry them.
Bring a boiling water canner half full of water to simmer.
Pour boiling water over flat lids in a saucepan off the heat.  Let them stand in hot water until ready to use. 

Rinse off the peaches.  Place a few at a time in a in a large pot of boiling water for only 45 seconds.

Quickly take from the boiling water and place in a large bowl filled with ice water.
This allows the skin to peal off very easily.
Repeat with the rest of the peaches.

Using a small paring knife or your fingers, peel off the loosened skin.

Dice the 4 cups of peaches into a fine dice.  
I think I may have even diced them a bit smaller after taking this picture.
(Look at the pretty orange rainbow of colors!)

In a large dutch oven, dump in the peaches and stir in the lemon juice.  

Stir in box of pectin into fruit.  Add 1/4 tsp. butter, if desired, to reduce foam.  (I did this.)

Bring to a full rolling boil on high heat, while stirring constantly.

Stir in sugar quickly, and return to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute exactly, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Ladle quickly into jars, filling up to 1/8 in. from the top.


Wipe jars lids and threads.  Cover with two piece lids and screw bands.  Carefully place jars in canner.  Water must cover jars 1 to 2 inches.  Add boiling water if needed.  Bring water to a gentle boil.  Process for 10 minutes.  Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.

Wait for the lids to "pop!" signifying that your preserves have been properly sealed!!  I get so excited to here them pop, because I know I've done everything right!

If one doesn't though, you can refrigerate it for up to 3 wks.

Makes 7 cups.
(It made 5- 1 pints and 5- 1/2 pints for me.)

I love the sweet, country fabric I found to dress them up in!  The ribbon polishes them up for gifts!

I'm linking up with: