Friday, August 26, 2011

Food Pick Friday :-)

Thank you to everyone who participated in the food pick drawing.  Once again I used to select today's winner:

UPDATE 9/8/2011: Well, the winner never claimed her prize so I'm going to do the drawing again today.
Today's winner of the Bunny food picks is:

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 25

Amanda please shoot me an email and I'll send you some cute pink bunnies:-)

I'll leave you guys with a few photos of our beach vacation in La Jolla, CA this summer. 

Dinner on the beach with some of our dearest friends.

My boy

My boy with his best buddy since birth!

My girl

My girl with her best buddy since the age of 3 months!

My awesome nephew that helped me win a writing contest this summer.

4th of July fireworks from our spot on La Jolla beach

Happy Friday!
~The Lemonista

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Disco Bunny & Dancing Panda Bento + A Bento Giveaway!

School is back in session and I've already made a few fun new Bento lunches.

Disco Bunny Bento

This first sandwich is quick and easy to make.  I simply cut a sandwich in quarters, decorated each quarter with hand cut carrot flowers (instructions below) and then stabbed each carrot with a dancing bunny food pick. The resulting sandwich reminded me of a a 70's disco tech, so I named it Disco Bunny Bento.

To make the carrot flowers, cut long "V" shaped groves down a peeled carrot with a sharp knife.

Continue to cut the groves all the way around the circumference of the carrot.

Until your carrot looks like a flower.  The fatter the carrot the more petals you can have on your flower.

Then slice your carrot into coins until you have your desired amount of flowers.

Since carrots will keep for several days in an air tight bag, you can save the rest of your unsliced carrot for future Bento making.

I must be on a dancin' critter kick, because here's the Bento I made this morning:

Dancing Panda Bento

This an oatmeal cookie cut in have, two silicon baking cups filled with fresh blueberries and edamame, and then decorated with dancing panda food picks and panda food dividers.  You can search for these items as "Bento panda food picks" and "Bento panda food dividers" on ebay. 

A cute matching cheese sandwich completes this lunch.

Time for a giveaway!  Yay!

If you love the darling dancing disco bunny food picks from Japan that I've pictured in this blog post, you are in luck.  I picked up an extra pack for my followers.  Just leave a comment on this post and I will do a drawing Friday 8/26/2011.

Good Luck!

~The Lemonista

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And the blueberry jam goes too...

I love peonies. *sighs*  I came across my new happy blog background this morning and I knew it needed to come live with me.  Speaking of things that make me happy, check out this lil' guy's picture I took at the Clark County Fair in Washington. Isn't he cute? I feel like he's sayin', "Sup?"

I've got a TON more farm photos to post. Once I get them all downloaded, I'll put together a fun post.

On to the blueberry jam giveaway. *smiles* 
The winner of today's random drawing is comment number

True Random Number Generator

Powered by RANDOM.ORG

So Ms. Marnely Rodriguez, please send me your address and I will ship you some blueberry jam.

I've got another fun giveaway planned for this week so please check back.
Thanks everyone.

~The Lemonista

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fresh Handpicked Blueberries, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake & A Blueberry Jam Giveaway!

August is blueberry season and the two states that grow the most blueberries are Washington and Michigan. Each summer when I visit my parent in the Pacific Northwest, I practically skip out of my rental car into Mossyrock Farm's fruit stand for some handpicked blueberries.
Farm Stand, Mossyrock
This year I purchased 20 lbs of blueberries and some yummy blueberry products made right on the farm.


*If you are a follower of my blog, leave a comment on this blog post and I'll do a drawing Sunday 8/21 for a 7oz jar of blueberry jam from Mossyrock Farm.*

What do I do with all of those blueberries you ask?  Well, I have several great blueberry recipes but this favorite cheesecake is one of the first things I make. Cool and creamy, sweet yet tart, this blueberry dessert will have you smacking your lips :-)

To make this Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, you will need the following ingredients:

In an 8"x8" or 9"X9" square baking dish, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. 

Stir in melted butter with a fork until all graham cracker crumbs are moistened.

Gently press crust into the bottom of the pan using the back of a cup.

Place your finished crust in the refrigerator.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.

Whip until smooth.

Blend in  fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Pour filling over chilled crust.

Place cheese cake back in the refrigerator while you make the blueberry topping.

In a saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch.

Add water and lemon juice.  Next, add fresh blueberries.

Cook over medium to med-high heat until the blueberry sauce boils, reduce heat and simmer for three minute until the filling is thick and clear.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour over cheesecake and spread evenly.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares and serve!

Allow me to feed you a bite.

Mmm, so good. You know you've got a winner when your man walks in the door with a boyish grin and says, "Hey, got any more of that cheesecake?"
Music to my ears. *sighs*

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons melted butter

1 8oz package cream cheese
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh blueberries

Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in an 8"x8" or 9"x9" square baking pan. Add melted butter and stir with a fork to moisten all of the cracker crumbs. Gently press into the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate.

Combine softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  Whip with a mixer until smooth.  Add lemon juice and vanilla extract. Blend until combined.  Pour over crust.  Refrigerate.

Stir cornstarch and sugar together in a medium sauce pan.  Add water, lemon juice and blueberries. Cook over medium to med-high heat until the blueberry sauce boils, reduce heat and simmer for three minute until the filling is thick and clear. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then pour over cheesecake.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.  Cut into squares and serve.


The Lemonista

Friday, August 12, 2011

The History Of A Chair

I've always been fascinated with the back story of just about anything.  I love antiques, historic homes and old photographs because of the stories they have to tell.  Every renovation we've tackled in our home has revealed some type of hidden treasure from the past and I delight in those discoveries. As the receiver of many family heirlooms, I'd like to think of myself as a respectful keeper.  I'm mindful to take good care of the items I've been so generously given, but I don't just store stuff to collect dust.  I use it.  Which brings us to my story today. 


My husband's grandparents (the great-grandparent's of my children) bought a pair of pea green club chairs while living in Bristol, Rhode Island in the late 1950's or early 1960's. A full Colonel in the U.S Army since WWII, Mike's Grandfather went back on active duty in 1969 and moved to Hampton,Virginia.
 Green chair 1

The photo above shows my husband's parents (in his grandparent's Virginia home) after they got engaged in front of one of the very same club chairs, Christmas 1969/ New Years 1970. 
 Green chair 2
And here's a photo of my father in law sitting in one of the club chairs after graduating West Point.

Fast forward twenty four years to 1994.

Two starving college students decided to get married. Mike and I were not only dirt poor, we didn't own a salt & pepper shaker between the two of us, let alone a stitch of furniture to furnish our first apartment. Mike's family was kind enough to give us the pair of club chairs and his aunt Linda and uncle Bob paid to recover them from pea green to a stately plaid as our wedding gift. Tufting wasn't really en vogue in the early 90's, so the chair backs were left smooth.

*Here I am on my wedding day, sitting in the club chair that has been recovered in dark plaid fabric.

The chairs remained plaid until the year 2000 when Mike and I began major renovations on our home. Wanting to lighten things up, I ordering slip covers for both chairs in a neutral beachy floral. In an effort to bring the style of the chairs into the 21st century, I raised the skirt line.

In 2004 Mike and I brought our new baby girl home from the hospital.  My Nephew held our sweet arrival while sitting in one of the old slip covered club chairs.

My son was born in 2006 and one of the club chairs made it's way into another family photo.

In 2009 our now five year old daughter poses in the very same club chair in her Matilda Jane party dress.

Although I still love the look of the slip covers, after eleven years (two kids and numerous pets), holes began to appear in the fabric.  So the infamous club chairs went through yet another transformation in 2011.  This time I decided to forgo new slip covers and reupholster the chairs all together.  I thought it only fitting to return the original tufting to the back of the chairs and lose the skirts entirely (since cute wooden legs have been hiding under those skirts the last 60 years!)
 club chair 2011 001

The tufting is subtle but if you look closely you can see it. *grin*
 club chair 2011 001

By The Yard in Tempe, AZ did the work and the chairs turned out so great.   Seriously, I'm in awe of these chairs and I love the family history I'm reminded of every time I look at them.  They will always be a part of our home and who knows...maybe a part of our children's home one day as well.

I hope you enjoyed viewing this post as much as I did putting it together.

~The Lemonista

In response to Casey's question below: Not related :-) Although I'm often told that I look like my husband's family.