15 Reasons Not to Visit the Florida Keys {humor}

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Ah, the Florida Keys… Carefree days filled with fun, sun and fancy umbrella drinks, right? Well, not exactly. I’ve learned that living in The Florida Keys isn’t quite what it seems.

So before you pack your polka dot bikini and fly south for the winter, check out the everyday reality of Life in the Florida Keys:

1. Hold onto to your floppy hat! That cool tropical breeze is actually a Category Five hurricane making its way from Africa, heading directly for Key Largo.

2. Spectacular sunsets feature massive mosquitoes, sucking enough blood from us to buzz all the way back to Miami.

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3. (Cue Jaws soundtrack) Diving excursions turn you into instant shark bait.

4. Those “authentic” Florida Keys conch shells are plastered with Made in China stickers.

5. Modern-day pirates set up souvenir shops to pillage and plunder. “Interested in buying a crappy, overpriced Key West T-shirt, matey?”

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6. Ernest Hemingway’s famous Key West cats are really stuck-up (or maybe they’re just hung over).

7. One visit to the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet blows your chances of squeezing into that teeny weeny bikini.

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8. That fishing trip won’t be so exciting once you realize you’re on the hook for $199 per hour. (Oh, and the fish that got away was not “THAT BIG!”)

9. After basking in the blazing sun all day, you’ll begin to resemble patients in hospital burn units.

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10. Our beach buddy is a twelve-foot alligator, just waiting to join us for a swim.

11. (Cue the Pina Colada song) You’d better really like piña coladas because each frozen concoction is fourteen bucks at the tiki bar!

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12. With the sweltering heat and 99-percent humidity, you’ll probably be stuck inside that “ocean-view” dump you booked online. Although the room reeks of rotten fish and stale smoke, at least it has air conditioning.

13. Coco-Loco! People actually die from falling coconuts (because they aren’t smart enough to realize that coconuts are harder than their heads!)

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14. Observing Key West’s Fantasy Fest makes Girls Gone Wild videos look like Disney flicks.

15. So, “Welcome to The Florida Keys: Come on vacation. Leave on probation.”

Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Have you ever had a dream vacation turn into a disappointment? Please share!

Winter into Spring: A Gardener’s Dream

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“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” – Victor Hugo

Snow, rain, ice and sleet. The days are dark and dreary. No flowers blooming. No organic veggies in my garden. No signs of life. My dogs are miserable. Even my homemade Kombucha needs a heating pad just to keep warm!

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These boots were made for walking…in my garden!

“In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner things happen, the resurge of nature.” – Edna O’Brien

But today as the snow slowly melted, I spotted a beautiful robin perched in my tree! I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. Ecstatic, I rushed towards the singing bird only to scare him away like a big ole scarecrow. So, sadly, the red red robin went bop bop boppin’ along!

Could it be that my fine feathered friend was chirping to say that Spring is just around the corner? Oh Spring, where art thou?? I miss you so. I’ve got The Gardener’s Blues!

My garden is frozen.

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Gives a new meaning to “frozen peas”

 “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Anne Bradstreet

No partridge (or pears) in my pear tree.

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Winter: Just grin and pear it!

“The color of springtime is in the flowers;

the color of winter is in the imagination.”

– Terri Guillemets

When will my magnificent magnolias replace the frosty snow?

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I’d prefer frozen Margaritas over frozen Magnolias!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland

With every bird’s sweet song and each sunbeam peering through the wintry clouds, I am filled with anticipation and excitement of Spring’s arrival. When I dream about Spring, I’m as hopeful as Tony in West Side Story, (cue music) … (Click on link to sing along)

(Something’s Coming)

“Could it be? Yes it could.

Something’s coming, something good, if I can wait.

Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is but it is gonna be great!”

Soon my seeds will begin to sprout and hopefully I will be blessed with a bountiful harvest. My flowers will bloom in every color of the rainbow, attracting buzzing bees and fluttering butterflies. Then I will blissfully watch my dogs chase the butterflies.

Yes, it will be Spring, indeed.

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Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!” – Robin Williams

The air is hummin’ and something great is comin’! Like Spring, my birthday is just around the corner. Although I’m not exactly a Spring chicken, this garden girl can receive no better gift than the joy of Springtime. What a way to celebrate!

Perhaps the Rockin’ Robin will sing Happy Birthday to me? Hoppin’ and a- boppin’ and singing my song! I may, however, need a strong Autumn breeze to blow out all the candles on my birthday cake!

Are you ready for Spring? What about Spring excites you?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Thank you for featuring this blog post on:

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Shared with Fiesta Friday, Natural Family Friday, Farm Hop, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Simple Saturdays, Motivation Monday, The Clever Chicks, Busy Monday, Creative Mondays, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It, Tasty Tuesday, Mix It Up Monday

Me, Myself and Thai {recipe}

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Smoke quickly filled the kitchen. Although deafened by the earsplitting noise blaring from the smoke detector, I could still hear my dogs howling frantically. I impersonated Michael Jordan jumping to fan the smoke away from the detector with my Grandma’s tattered oven mitt. I threw open the window to clear the room only to be blasted by the arctic air. It was now snowing IN my kitchen!

I knew I should have grilled these darn wings… but obviously grilling was out of the question…

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My BBQ grill. “Honey I don’t think the food is defrosted yet.”

I was all cooped up in my mountain home. Mother Nature blanketed the town in white. Our cooking club was almost canceled because some ladies were unable to maneuver their steep driveways and icy roads.

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Brrrrr… It’s cold!

I was the new girl in the cooking club: the rookie, the freshman. This was my big chance to meet more friends in my new town while improving my culinary skills. Two things I love: people and food. It’s a win-win! Our cookbook assignment was Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin. The recipe I chose was Lemongrass Chicken Wings.

I planned on getting dressed while the wings were in the oven. How to dress for my first meeting? Not too city-slickery. Not too “Little House on the Prairie.” Wear just enough makeup but not so much to celebrate Halloween. Let’s see… I will take a shower while I pre-heat the oven. Then as the wings are starting to cook I will get dressed. Then flip the wings, flip my 1980’s hair and I’m off…

Okay, who forget to turn the oven knob to BROIL? Time was ticking and the oven was still cold! I panicked! I can’t poison my new friends with salmonella-packed, undercooked chicken! HmmmMicrowave? Boil? Chicken Soup?? No way!! Determined, I cranked the oven and perhaps placed the delicate wing tips a bit too close to the blazing broiler. Uh oh!!

Miraculously I was able to salvage my culinary delight and the wings were cooked perfectly! Once the soot cleared and I was finally able to breathe again, I inhaled the intoxicating fragrant aroma of lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Yum!  I actually think the charring enhanced the Thai flavors. Ha! This was truly The Winged Victory.

With no time left to fix my hair (think Phyllis Diller), and smelling like a smoked BBQ brisket, I could still just make it to cooking club which thankfully was only few blocks away. Armed with wings and a prayer, I ran to my car.

Are you kidding??…

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I tossed my scrumptious creation into the front seat and grabbed the shovel and ice scraper. I worked faster than a Nascar pit crew! Now with black mascara running down my cheek and frizzy clown hair, I finally hopped into the car. My hands were numb and frozen as I steered down the mountain. Scared they were heading to my house, I ducked as the fire engine passed me.

I walked thru the doors of my cooking club and smiled. “Hi! I’m Lisa! I made you some Lemongrass Chicken Wings. Enjoy!”

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Lemongrass Chicken Wings

From Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin

Sweet, tangy, salty and infused with exotic Thai spices. Double or triple the recipe for a crowd.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds chicken wings

2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Marinade

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced galangal or fresh ginger

2 tablespoons lemongrass, minced

1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar

3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons oil

Preparation

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place chicken wings in a large resealable food storage bag. Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken wings. Refrigerate for 2-12 hours. (I refrigerated overnight.)

Pre-heat a broiler. Arrange the wings, top down, on a broiler. Broil the wings for 10-11 minutes, turn over and broil for another 1-11 minutes until golden brown.

Garnish with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander leaves. Serve immediately.

***

 

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fresh lemongrass

Do you have leftover lemongrass?  Try my lemongrass ice cream for dessert!

Have you had any similar disasters in your kitchen? Please share your story.

Original photos by SeedyLawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with:  Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Great Idea Thursday, Natural Family Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Farm Hop, Flashback Friday, Motivation Monday, Busy Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Share Your Cup Thursday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Creative Mondays

 

The Stranger and The Snowflake

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  “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”

Anthony J. D’Angelo

It was only 6AM and I was already miserable. My pants were uncomfortably snug from overindulging on South Florida cuisine. Dressed for the Florida heat, I knew I was going to freeze my butt off once I landed in North Carolina.

Tired and crabby, I rushed to the airport in the wee hours of the morning. The security check was backed-up. People were pushing. One jerk even PASSED ME in the security line as I was going thru the scanner. (I secretly wished he’d develop motion sickness on his flight!)

Finally boarding my flight, I prayed to be far from screaming kids. No one should dare bother The Grouch. A lady then crawled over me to the window seat. “Don’t worry I won’t bother you,” she said. Jeez, did I look that agitated?  There was just something about her aura that was so inviting. Sure enough, I instantly started up a friendly conversation with the blonde woman sitting next to me.

“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”

Fydor Dostoevsky

By coincidence (or not?), she lives just one block from me in Miami, has rescue dogs, and vacations close to me in The Florida Keys. She was also traveling to her Carolina getaway. With great ease, we giggled, chatted up a storm and found so much in common. Close in age and looks, the mysterious stranger could have easily been the sister I’ve always wanted.

“I do desire we be better strangers.”

William Shakespeare

I couldn’t help but notice her dancing blue eyes and pure spirit. Filled with calmness and confidence, she spoke joyously. Caught up in our conversation, I was no longer drained and bothered. The splendid spirit of this passenger rubbed off on me, plastering a huge smile on my makeup-less face.

“Stranger, if you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?”

Walt Whitman

Somewhere in between our discussions about crafting, men, and fabulous food, she serenely mentioned “her surgery.” Oh, you had surgery, for what, may I ask?”

“Brain surgery. I have brain cancer.” She so calmly replied.

What a fool I was for complaining all morning about my tight pants and Miami traffic! How dare I be bothered by other passengers trying to make their flights? Was I actually cursing at my carryon bag for being too heavy? 

I was sitting next to a living angel: a mother of two, facing the unimaginable. Filled with grace, she smiled as she spoke. What a true example. I am so thankful just to know this person. We eventually talked about everything two girls can chat about. We exchanged contact info and hugged as our flight landed.

“There are no strangers here;

only friends you haven’t yet met.”

William Butler Yeats

I was blessed to have met my new friend. Her kind spirit filled me with joy and peace. I floated to my car, and grinned during the entire drive home.

Once home, I skipped into the yard, playing with my dogs. Still in my South Florida clothing, I had somehow forgotten how cold it was. The sun shined down and brightened my face. As I turned towards the sky, I gently closed my eyes and smiled. I paused and listened to my calm breath. This was a great moment indeed.

Suddenly, a strong breeze almost knocked me over. Icy droplets caressed my face. I opened my eyes to big, beautiful, flawless snowflakes! It was snowing! Gigantic snowflakes danced in slow-motion. White butterflies whirling in the wind. The tiny falling stars reminded me of my new friend: Beautiful. Magical. Joyful.

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I joyfully threw up my arms and arched my back. Like a little girl, I opened my mouth to catch the falling white gold.

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Life is good. Life is a flawless-magical-huge-dancing-snowflake kind of good!

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  “A snowflake is one of nature’s most fragile creations but look at what they can do when they stick together!”

– Author Unknown

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Shared with Fiesta Friday, Flashback Friday, Foodie Friday, Simple Saturdays, Natural Family Friday, Motivation Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, Busy Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Simply Natural Saturdays

Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer and Pascal Gaudette, Julie FalkChris Dodson and Gen Thul

All rights reserved.

Bravo, Avocado! {raw recipe}

Homegrown Florida Avocados

My avocado-loving Dad always wanted his own tree. So a few years ago he hired a landscaper to plant a big, bad avocado tree in his South Florida yard. Like an impatient kid, my Dad waited for his new budding, guacamole-producing tree. He was soon to be the envy of all the neighbors!

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My Dad loves avocados!

The garden guy brought a huge back hoe (fancy, huh? – yeah, so was his bill!).  He and his crew dug a hole in my Pop’s yard big enough to land a Lear Jet. Oh, just the thought of endless avocados

The time came for the unveiling of the terrific tree. Filled with bursting anticipation, Dad skipped into his backyard. There it was… All three feet of it. The Charlie Brown Christmas Avocado Tree: A sad, lifeless, twig with one brown leaf. Heartbroken, my poor Dad hung his head in disbelief. Good Grief, Charlie Brown Dad. Sadly, at 80 years old, my father knew he would never pick his own avocados.

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Oh, but Darling Mother Nature must have had a crush on my adorable Dad. Just a few guacamole-less football seasons later, things began to change…

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Bloom, baby, bloom!

Voila! May I present my father’s tree featuring ginormous avocados! Ta-da! 

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Pop is so proud of his green goodies! If the Miami Dolphins ever run out of footballs, maybe they can use one of these! Oh, yeah, baby!

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Known to my Miami friends as La Avocado Abogada*, I quickly got my hands on some of Dad’s treasures!

(*Translation: The Avocado Attorney)

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One of Dad’s avocados (Persea americana) even had a huge root wrapped around the pit. I planted it and now my tree is bigger than Dad’s original tree! Ha!

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Avocado Tree I grew from Dad’s Avocado pit!

I love raw food recipes. Years ago, I bought Carol Alt’s Raw Food book. A recipe for a raw Chocolate Banana Shake made with avocado seemed too good to be true. A delicious (milkless) milkshake that’s actually good for you? Get out! No way! So I had to try it for myself…

OMG!! Move over Haagen-Dazs! This shake is:

Thick

Rich

Oh so Creamy

Chocolatey

Mouth-watering

A bit Banana-y

Frozen goodness

A blenderful of bliss

This fake shake is so darn good that I tricked all my friends and family into thinking it’s the calorie-packed, sinful, get-your-butt-to-the-gym, ice-cream shop real deal. I challenge you to do the same!

The results will make you yell,Bravo, Avocado!”

 

Raw Chocolate Banana Shake

Adapted from The Raw 50 by Carol Alt

Ingredients:

¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for about 2 hours, drained

¼ to ½ ripe pitted and peeled avocado

2 ripe bananas, sliced (preferably frozen)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

1 tablespoon raw agave nectar or raw honey

2 tablespoons raw cacao

½ cup non-dairy milk (I used chocolate almond milk; can use regular almond milk, flax milk, etc)

2 cup crushed ice

Preparation:

Blend first 7 ingredients in blender for 60 seconds.  Add ice and blend until reaching a thick milkshake-like consistency.  Add enough milk to reach desired consistency.  Blend.  Pour into glass and enjoy!

***

 

A nutrient-packed raw milkshake without the guilt! Cheers!

What is your favorite Avocado recipe?

I am sharing my ripe avocados with:  Green Idea Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Green Thumb Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Fiesta Friday, Home Acre Blog Hop, Real Food Fridays, Farm Girl Friday, Simple Meals Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Simple Saturdays Blog Hop, Savoring Saturdays, Strut Your Stuff, The Party Brunch, Link Party Palooza, Little House Friday DIY Linky, Weekend Bites, Creative Style, Motivation Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday

Charlie Brown Photo by Charles Schultz Courtesy of  Anthony Peoples

Original photos by The Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Blackberry Bourbon Blast [cocktail recipe]

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Blackberry Bourbon Blast

Like Little Red Riding Hood, I skipped along the NC mountains. Carrying my little white pail, I searched for the juiciest blackberries. The only problem was that my big brothers were in search of ME! You see, my mom sent us out every summer day to harvest the wild berries. When we returned home, we had time to play.

So of course my brothers quickly figured out a short cut: Steal their little sister’s blackberries! Oblivious to the Big Brother Bad Wolves, my pigtails and I would bounce down the mountain, happily plucking berries for Mom’s jam.

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Picking Blackberries in NC with my brother.

But once I filled my bucket, I would be pounced on, trampled and left in a puddle of mountain mud. No, it wasn’t a black bear. Worse, it was my Brat Brothers! Defeated, I would stomp back home covered in red clay, with thorns sticking out of my pigtails. I itched all over from being tossed into Poison Ivy. Every day!

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I may have been little, but Boy, was I tough! Never a quitter, I tried outsmarting my Stealing Siblings. I took off every morning just after the rooster’s first crow. I carved out secret mountain paths and hid behind huge trees. But they would ALWAYS find me AND my blackberries! I couldn’t escape the Blackberry Thieves. So I vowed to one day grow my own blackberries!

(Fast forward a few decades) Upon my return to NC, I bought a blackberry plant at the Farmer’s Market.  I held onto my new plant like a mother cradles her newborn.

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Me and my Blackberry Plant at The Farmers Market.

Planting my baby blackberry bush in my garden, I smiled, and waited…

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 And waited….

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Wait for it..

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Almost there…

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Alas!

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My very first blackberry!

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Harvest time! With my hair in a braid (I outgrew pigtails a few years ago), and equipped with my little white pail, I carefully picked my juicy gems. If only my brothers could see me now! Ha!

It was the perfect Summer day, cooled by the mountain breeze with the sun spot-lighting my blackberries.  In slow motion, berry-by-perfect-berry, I proudly filled my small bucket. My lips turned purple from kissing each sweet, succulent berry.

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Then suddenly I heard footsteps! Fast, galloping footsteps, coming closer and closer! No way! Not again! Impossible that my Berry-thief Brothers found me! My heart stopped, I dropped my bucket and frantically turned around…

It was only my rescue Lab chasing a butterfly behind me.  Phew! I exhaled, chuckled, and celebrated MY beautiful blackberries with a well-deserved drink:

BLACKBERRY BOURBON BLAST!

My cocktail is:

Remarkably Refreshing

Tastes like Summer!

Sangria-like (You get to eat all the fruit afterwards!)

A tad spicy

Sexier than a Chris Isaak music video

Crisp and sparkling

Tickles your throat

Full of health benefits!

Earthy with bits of fresh basil

Subtly sweet from mountain honey and the sugared rim

Smooooothh!

A drink I will not be sharing with my brothers! LOL

Worthy of George Thorogood

Berri-licious! 

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Blackberry Bourbon Blast

Blackberry Bourbon Blast

Serves 1

Adapted from Self Magazine

Ginger Beer adds a spicy kick. Dark honey sweetens tart blackberries. Basil adds a floral and earthy flavor and texture. And the bourbon, well… Bam!

Ingredients:

6 fresh basil leaves, plus a sprig for garnish

12 fresh blackberries, divided

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon dark honey or pure maple syrup

¼ cup ginger beer, chilled (non-alcoholic, available in supermarkets or health food stores)

2 Tablespoons Bourbon (optional – yeah, right!)

Raw sugar for rim

Ice

Preparation:

Lightly wet the rim of a rocks glass and dip into raw sugar to coat rim. In glass, gentle muddle basil and 9 blackberries with lemon juice and honey.  Fill glass with ice.  Add bourbon, stir. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with basil and remaining blackberries. Serve immediately. Cheers!

***

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One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” – George Thorogood (Click on link for song)

I am bringing my concoction over to the party at Fiesta Friday #33.

Do you have Summer vacation memories? What’s your favorite Blackberry recipe?

All original Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

“I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill” [recipe]

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Wild Blueberry Bread

My friend and I really ripped up Western North Carolina. We could have written our own tour book!  We hooted and hollered at the County Fair. (See: Hoedown at Haywood County Fair.)  We pretended to be culinary experts at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival and Rhubarb’s Sunday Supper. We hit the local Farmer’s Market and chomped down NC Apples at Barber’s Orchard. Then we hiked (okay, walked slowly) on The Blue Ridge Parkway….

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Summer on The Blue Ridge Parkway

And we hiked…..(a little bit slower)

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Top Of Devil’s Courthouse, Blue Ridge Parkway

Boy, did we hike!! (crawled)

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Highest Elevation, Blue Ridge Parkway

Besides burning some calories (thank goodness!!), we hit the jackpot on our winding trails:  Wild Blueberries! 

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Blueberries as far as the eye can see!  Armed with our gallon ziplocks (the allowable limit) we picked…

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“I found my thrill on blueberry hill!

And we picked…

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Boy, did we pick!

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What to do with these gorgeous plump, juicy gems? (Well, with those beautiful berries that didn’t accidentally fall into our mouths!) Something simple, yet special…Aha! Fresh-baked Wild Blueberry Bread!

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This treat is jam-packed with two cups of fresh blueberries. Lemon and Blueberries go great together! I added both vanilla and lemon extracts to really accent the flavor of the blueberries.

My Wild Blueberry Bread is:

One Giant Blueberry Muffin!

BURSTING with blueberries!

Cake-like

Light and fluffy

Very moist

Tart AND sweet

A little lemony

Slices beautifully; not crumbly (or crummy!)

Crunchy crust yet soft inside

Smells amazing!

Berry, berry good!

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BLUEberry RIDGE PARKWAY BREAD

Adapted from PBS.org

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour, plus one teaspoon

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 teaspoons lemon zest

½ cup plain yogurt, regular or lowfat (I used vanilla flavored yogurt)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon lemon extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place blueberries in a small baggie with 1Tablespoon of flour. Toss well to coat berries.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt. Add the blueberries and lemon zest and gently toss to combine being careful not to crush the blueberries.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yogurt then the dry ingredients, mixing only until incorporated, again, being careful not to crush the blueberries.
  5. Scoop batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until golden brown. (*Check with toothpick if done after one hour. My loaf was perfect after an hour.)
  6. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting gently onto a plate.

“If you want to add an extra sweet addition to this bread, you can make a simple lemon glaze for the top using a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with enough powdered sugar to make a runny glaze. Pour the glaze over top when the bread comes out of the oven and voila!

Store the bread at room temperature covered with plastic wrap.

***

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I’m bringing a fresh-baked loaf to the party at Fiesta Friday #32.

Do you experiment with wild berries? What’s your favorite blueberry recipe?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

Hoedown at Haywood County Fair

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“County fair, county fair,

Everybody in town’ll be there

So come on,

Hey we’re goin’ down there.”

County Fair, Bruce Springsteen

What do you get when two city slicker lawyers visit the County Fair?  A whole lot of fun! My friend and I hit the Haywood County Fair this past weekend. We loved it!

In between stuffing our faces with fair food, (Hint: eat AFTER the rides!) we cheered on the contestants in the tractor pull. “Full pull, full pull!” We never won a cake in the Cake Walk, but burned fair food calories trying. The humongous cabbage that took home the winning Blue Ribbon was bigger than my entire garden!

After impersonating Dr. Doolittle at the viewing zoo, we decided to mosey on over to the Country Hoe Down. Hee-Haw!! (I took some clogging lessons at the Stompin’ Ground during summer vacation in NC, but I have never seen such spectacular dancing as this!) (Check out the video below!)

My cotton-candy fingers kept getting stuck to the camera, but I managed to get a few snapshots of our fair adventure.

Fair Food

Candy Apples


And more food

CornDog


Kids of all ages


Old Tractors

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And modern tractors

Tractors


Prize-winning produce

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“The Cabbage Patch”


Viewing Zoo

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“Talk to the Animals.” – Dr. Doolittle


Hoedown: Clogging!

Clogging

(Clogging video link)

***

If a County Fair is coming to your town, be sure to go! Be there. The Fair.

Do you have fun memories of your local fair?

“In fact, my heart would break should you not take me to the fair.”

Take Me to the Fair, Camelot

 

Original Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

 

The Beauty of Dogs and Daylilies

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“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson

I find great joy and beauty in nature’s wonders: flowers in bloom, rainbows, my garden, bees and butterflies, and my dogs, to name a few.

Each morning, I watch my dogs joyfully chase bees and butterflies that visit my flawless flowers. Our daily ritual is like heaven to me.  The beauty of the moment lasts throughout the day.

“Joyful, joyful, joyful, as only dogs know how to be, happy with only the autonomy of their shameless spirit.”

Pablo Neruda

Huggy (left) with his brothers.

Huggy (left) with his brothers.

After a long day of playing, my schipperke, “Huggy” began acting very strange and lethargic. Although smallest of my dogs, he is the alpha dog and was always full of energy. I frantically rushed him to the emergency vet in the middle of the night. After being treated for hours, Huggy became stable and was sent home with me.

However in the early morning, Huggy took a terrible turn for the worse. I knew this was the end for my dog. I called my folks who couldn’t make sense of my words through my screaming sobs. As Huggy rapidly faded away, I put the phone to his small black ears so that “Grandma and Grandpa” could tell him them loved him and say goodbye forever.

Huggy, in better days

Huggy, in better days

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.

Will Rogers

While desperately waiting until our vet’s office opened, I brought Huggy into the yard to be with his brothers for a final farewell. I hoped that perhaps he would miraculously snap out of it.  He did not.

My sick puppy crawled next to the daylilies. Like every morning, the gorgeous flowers put on a spectacular parade. But in complete despair, I could no longer appreciate beauty. Through my tears, the colorful flowers turned into a blurred rainbow. I hopelessly threw myself onto the wet ground next to my frail dog. Holding his tiny paw, I prayed. Where flowers bloom so does hope.

I finally rushed Huggy to the vet where they immediately administered IV’s and tests. I kissed my little one goodbye on his furry forehead. With a heavy heart, I dragged myself home and curled into a lifeless ball.

Hours later, the phone rang. My heart stopped. It was the vet’s office….

Huggy was ALIVE! It was a miracle!! My best friend, although needing much care, was going to survive! My tears of sorrow quickly turned to tears of joy! My parents rejoiced upon hearing the amazing news!

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Me and “Huggy”

 “Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun.”

– Kahlil Gibran

When Huggy finally came home, he was quickly reunited with his brothers in the yard. Like a flower, I turned my face to the sun.  I was able to smile again.

The dogs frolicked together again by the brilliant daylilies.  The flowers seemed more beautiful than ever. I am so grateful for the restored ability to see beauty.

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Butterfly kisses.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Confucius

Claude Monet could easily have been referring to daylilies when he said, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”  The daylily (Hermerocallis) is derived from two Greek words meaning “beauty” and “day”, which is bittersweet.  True to its name, the flower only lasts for one day. Beauty for a day.

Named the perfect perennial,  daylilies are quite economical and very easy to grow in many climates. (Believe me, if I can grow daylilies, anyone can!) These gorgeous blossoms come in many shapes, sizes and colors. I am fortunate to have many different varieties of daylilies in my flower bed.

With each morning sun, a new bloom bursts with color, as if the sky hand-painted a picture just for me.  Take a look at my Beauties, if only for today:

Heaven must be missing an angel.

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Flame Thrower.

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Blonde Bombshell.

yelloworangedaylily_seedylawyerRed, red wine.

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Glowing Ginger.

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Lovely Lavender.

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Sunset Orange.

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Blushing bride.

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You are my sunshine.

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Pretty in Pink.

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Sugar Plum.

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“When you only have two pennies left in the world,

buy a loaf of bread with one,

and a lily with the other.”

Chinese Proverb

I am bringing my beautiful bouquet to the Fiesta Friday (#27) party!

Do you have pets that play in the garden? What is your favorite flower?

All original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Rock on, America!

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday, America!  To show what America means to me, here are some of my favorite personal photos, with a rock and roll twist.

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 Saturday in the park

I think it was the Fourth of July

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Saturday in the park

I think it was the Fourth of July

Saturday in the Park, Chicago


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My folks.

Ain’t that America

For you and me

Ain’t that America

 Something to see, baby

  Little Pink Houses, John Mellencamp


 

GirlwithflagMiamiFL_LisaLesperance

Well, she was an American girl

Raised on promises

– An American Girl, Tom Petty


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My rescue dog, Dingo

You ain’t nothin

But a Hound Dog

– Hound Dog, Elvis Presley 


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The Lamons Family celebrates Independence Day

Living in America

Hand in hand, across the nation

Living in America

Got to have a celebration

– Living in America, James Brown


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Parade on Main Street, USA

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.

Yeah, Yeah!

Rockin’ in the U.S.A.

-R.O.C.K in the U.S.A,

John Mellancamp 


PatrioticGirl_seedylawyerPatrioticGirlLesperance PatrioticGirl_seedylawyer

Some folks are born made to wave the flag

Ooh, they’re red, white and blue

Fortunate Son,

Creedence Clearwater Revival


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We’re An American Band

We’re An American Band

We’re comin’ to your town

We’ll help you party it down

We’re an American band

-We’re An American Band,

Grand Funk Railroad

 

Hoping your Fourth of July weekend rocks!

How are you celebrating this holiday weekend? What song says “America” to you?

Another reason to celebrate: It’s Fiesta Friday #23!

Original Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.