September 6, 2012

Easy Peasy Garden Fresh Tomato Salad Recipe

Our dear neighbor decided a few years back that he would begin growing a vegetable garden.  He shared with me how he was inspired by the wonderful memories he had of his grandfather working on the family vegetable garden each summer.  Well, over the course of a few years and after many, many hours digging and planting and weeding, his garden has tripled in size and now includes just about any delicious vegetable, fruit, and herb you could think of.  He's even added some wonderful color this year by adding a beautiful border of flowers including ten foot tall sunflowers that follow the sun all day long.

Almost every other night, he either shows up at the door with a bag full of beans and lettuce or I come home to a treat on the doorstep of tomatoes and basil and peppers.  This past weekend, we were treated to an overfilled bag of the most delightful cherry tomatoes...red, orange, even purple.  Have you had a purple cherry tomato?  Please, please, please...if you see them at your local farmer's market, give them a try.  You're in for a real treat, a sweet treat, I might add.  

With so many tomatoes, along with a few bowls full of other items from his garden I'd yet to have a chance to eat, I threw together the tomato salad recipe below.  
I'm calling it, The Easy Peasy Fresh Tomato Salad.  It's quick and easy (hence the name) and a great addition to a meal or serve as an appetizer with pita chips like I did this weekend.

Here's what you'll need:
  • That favorite chopping knife
  • Your trusty cutting board 
  • Lots of yummy tomatoes
I used about one pint of red, one pint of yellow and one pint of purple cherry tomatoes

  • One large red onion
  • Three ears of corn
Grill the corn for a fire-roasted flavor
  •  Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella 
  •  A touch of Salt and Pepper to taste

 Here's a picture of the end result 

Give the recipe a try, add some peppers or herbs, skip the mozzarella, add some balsamic vinegar, what's so wonderful about a recipe like this is that you can make it with whatever you love. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading Sugar and Spice.  
I'd love to hear what you're thinking, please share your comments!

Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy,
xxoo Aly

August 24, 2012

Pixels - Moments of Time

I've recently become very intrigued with learning how to better use my camera, playing with the filter altering apps on my iPhone and photography in general.  I've become an Instagram and PicFrame addict.  I thought that I would start to consistently post some of the wonderful little tidbits I come across each week.  This week's posting of photos are mostly of my wanderings around the Cambridge area during my lunch hour the last few days.  Discoveries this week include a community garden I stumbled upon, a collection of doorways and beautiful architecture in the backstreet residential areas and a few totally off the wall images from out visit to the country fair with Abby.  
Enjoy!

 
 Collection from the Community Garden
Side Streets of Cambridge
 Wooden Barrels
 Fair Food
Hidden Garden 
Secret Garden
Morning Stillness in the Harbor
A lone surfer and a house on stilts
Treasured Entrance
Inviting Space
 time and balance
 Faith and Time
 Traveling through Time


Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy,
xxoo Aly





August 22, 2012

Hydrangea Harvest

One of my favorite flowers is the hydrangea...the variety of colors, the delicate petals, the full gorgeous bundle of beauty...I have no words, the pictures below tell their own story, please enjoy these beauties from my garden.
 

Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy
xxoo Aly




August 18, 2012

Peaches, cobbler and jam...Oh My!

Our family is lucky enough to have a beautiful fruit bearing peach tree right in our backyard, however, coming up with recipes and uses for all these peaches can be a little overwhelming.  What people sometime forget to realize, when you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees, all the delicious homegrown goodness, comes all at once!  It can get a bit tricky to utilize all of your harvest, but this year, we figured out a way to make it a sharing experience for Abby.  (Now that we've hit the toddler stage, we are really trying to make more experiences learning ones...Mike and I are still trying to get the hang of it ourselves, but we're learning too!)
So a week ago, I realized the peaches were ready for picking and I pulled out the old ladder, climbed as high as I could and picked all the peaches that I could reach.  Abby helped me to packed up her wagon and our basket with peaches, and we began our afternoon peach surprise delivery to our neighbors.  
It was really a lot of fun, the looks of our neighbors faces were priceless and my good friend across the street, born and raised from Tennessee, couldn't have been happier!  Her words, "I have so many recipes, I don't know where to start..."  Not 24 hours later, she had a piping hot Southern Style peach cobbler baked and delivered to our front porch.  
Can you say....De-lish!  Wow.  That cobbler was so darn good, I've included the recipe for you below.  Give it a shot and don't forget the french vanilla ice cream when you serve it.  As if the cobbler wasn't enough, a few days later, I came home to four beautiful mason jars filled with homemade peach jam.  
Heaven, simply, heaven.  

Share with others, be kind to your neighbors and remember...

Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy!
xxoo Aly



August 16, 2012

Skip the Chores and Feed the Ducks

This past week, I took a few days off of work and gave myself the treat with an extra long weekend.  I intended to get caught up on the housecleaning, groceries, laundry and possibly the chance to read few Parent magazines that were beginning to pile up.   Some of those things that were on my list got done, some didn't, but what I did do, which was the best decision of all, was to take full advantage of a few extra days with Abby and just have fun, play and be a big kid with her all weekend long.  You know what, Abby really doesn't care if I got all the laundry done, it doesn't matter to her that the mirrors in the bathroom don't have fingerprints on them...what matters most to Abby are the moments of learning and memories that we created and the laughs and the snuggles and the hugs we share.

Nelson Park:
Splash Park next to Plymouth Bay




 Island Grove Pond:
Quacking and Feeding the Duckies

Peaceful Meadows Dairy:
Checking out the cows and sharing our ice cream

The Playground:
Hanging with her best buddy, cousin Riley
Lighthouse Beach:
Hunting for hermit crabs and snails 
 


 

Time passes very quickly, quicker than we realize.  It's so important to be present and in the moment with your family and your friends, all the people who are important to you in your life.  Don't take time for granted, wake up each day and tell your family you love them, and say it again before going to sleep.  Take that extra few seconds to give a hug and always listen, not only with your ears, but with your eyes, and your whole self.   

Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy
xxoo, Aly


June 29, 2012

The Toys from my Youth

Parent's of a toddler out there, ever wonder what happened to some of the classic toys that we grew up with as you wonder up and down the toy aisle looking at all these fancy toys that are on the shelves today?  
I have to admit, I am huge fan of Melissa & Doug puzzles (Abby simply loves them) as well as a lot to the Leap Frog musical toys (again Abby is a big fan).  I truly do believe that many of these learning toys are having a positive impact on her speech, language and coordination...but all these bells and whistles, does anyone think it might be too much?!?  

Well, whatever your philosophy might be is up to you as a parent.  I'm not here to argue one point or another, instead, I thought just for fun, we could take a little stroll down memory lane.  Back to the late 1970's/early 1980's when toys weren't battery operated and didn't come with blueprints for instruction plans.  

Who remembers these...










Even though I am 30 plus years removed from these toys, it still feels like yesterday that I was playing with my Etch A Sketch or my ViewMaster...wow, time flies and now having a toddler of our own, Mike and I are reliving that childhood all over again, through Abby's eyes this time and loving every minute.  Stay Young Everyone, you're only as old as you feel in your heart.  

Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy
xxoo Aly

June 28, 2012

Scrumptious Summer Drink Recipes




I love the summertime...beach days, lazy nights on the patio, BBQ's and get-to-gethers, the fourth of July, my birthday (!) and what's so fun about all these different activities are the endless fun drink options and possibilities!!!!  I've pulled together a few of my current favorite "Adult Drink" concoctions for you to try out.  Share with me your favorites too! 

Coconut Ginger Ale



Purpletastic Potion



Watermelon Frosty



Hawaiian Blizzard



Vootbeer



Sour Apple and Pear Sparkling Sangria



Here are some really fun ideas that will brighten a picnic table, add some color to your pool side drink stand and add a hint of something different to your beverages that your guests will go ga-ga over...


Summertime Ice Cubes



Lemonade Deliciousness


Watermelon Lime Jello Shots




 Red White and Blue Cocktail Ideas for your Fourth of July Party



 Enjoy your summer fun, be creative, get a little silly and most importantly

Keep it Sweet and Keep it Spicy
xxoo Aly