Category Archives: Food

‘Just Peachy’ Crab Salad with Avocado!

Crab Salad with Peaches and Avocados

‘Just Peachy’ Crab Salad with Avocado is perfect for a summer appetizer or light dinner and pretty enough to serve company!

Summer peaches and creamy avocado are a delicious complement to fresh and naturally sweet crabmeat that has a touch of ocean saltiness!


I found this recipe in my search for a salad using summer peaches. I knew this was a keeper recipe when I saw it was from Chef Virginia Willis, a contributing editor for Southern Living Magazine!

‘Just Peachy’ Crab Salad with Avocado,

adapted from Southern Living

Yield: Makes 6 servings

The crab salad can be made ahead, but the avocado and peach layers are best prepared just before serving.

Peach and Avocado Crab Salad


1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat

2 tablespoons lemon zest

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/4 cup finely diced celery

2 green onions, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

5 to 6 medium peaches, unpeeled and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons honey

3 medium avocados, diced




Pick crabmeat, removing any bits of shell. Whisk together lemon zest, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Fold in jalapeño, celery, green onion, and crabmeat, gently, using a rubber spatula. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Stir together peaches and remaining 4 Tbsp. lemon juice. Reserve 3 cups peach mixture. Pulse honey and remaining peach mixture in a food processor until smooth. Season pureed peach mixture with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Spoon 1/4 cup pureed peach mixture onto a chilled plate. Place a 3 1/2-inch round cutter in center of peach mixture on plate.  (A clean, empty tuna can with both ends removed can be substituted for a cookie cutter if you don’t have the right size.) Spoon one-sixth of diced avocados and 1/2 cup reserved chopped peach mixture into cutter, packing each layer firmly and sprinkling with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Top with about 1/2 cup crab mixture. Carefully remove cutter from plate. Repeat procedure with remaining pureed peach mixture, avocado, chopped peach mixture, and crab mixture. Arrange desired amount of arugula around each layered salad; serve immediately.

You can find a printable recipe here.

Crab Salad with Peaches and Avocados

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May All Your Weeds *Bee* Wildflowers and Giveaway!


I’m a fan of Jars and *Bees* so I’m sharing

some Jar and Bee Love, rolled into one package,

with a wee summertime giveaway!


 I was buzzing around T. J. Maxx when I spied Quattro Stagioni Canning Jars a year ago, and again more recently a couple of weeks ago.


The bee skep design on the jars is ideal for a

just-picked bouquet from the garden!


Or for wildflowers.


I’ve used them at the table,

holding bouquets

at each place setting. . .


As well as for serving The Bee’s Knees,

 a botanically inspired cocktail

with a Provençal twist!

The Bee's Knees Lavender Lemonade Cocktail

Summertime sipping recipe for a

 Lavender Lemonade Cocktail, here.


 Queen Anne’s Lace is blooming

in my field of dreams. . .


And considered a noxious weed in some

areas because of its ability to spread so rapidly.

Queen Anne's Lace

 Passion Flower or vine, invasive and growing with abandon in the field next to my Potting Shed, is pushing its way up through the cracks in the porch.


I’ve tried to keep it at a bay and haven’t decided whether to pull this vine or attempt to train it and let it bloom :)



In celebration of Bee Season, Garden Bouquets and Summertime Sipping, I’m giving away 2 sets of 4 Quattro Stagioni Canning Jars!


For a chance to win a set of jars,

let me know by comment

how you would use them. . .


For canning, storing, sipping,

or serving up flowers?


Subscribers/followers automatically get a second entry.

Subscribe by email or follow on Facebook

and let me know by comment.


For a third entry, share this giveaway on Facebook

and leave an additional comment telling me so.


Giveaway is open to those living in the continental US only. 

The winners will be chosen August 8th!


May All Your Weeds

*Bee* Wildflowers!

Bee Skep Jar with Flowers


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On the Back Porch and Watermelon Gazpacho!

Watermelon Gazpacho

I’m on the Back Porch trying to beat the heat,

 and staying cool with Watermelon Gazpacho!


Refreshing, light, and flavorful for the summertime.

Best of all, no oven required and you can mix up a small batch of this gazpacho, altering the ingredients to your taste!


Watermelon Gazpacho,

adapted from Martha Stewart


*5 cups peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped watermelon, plus 1 cup finely chopped

*1/2 cup cranberry juice

1 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber (I used an English cucumber, no seeding or peeling needed)

1 cup diced celery (I used 1/2 cup)

3/4 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (I substituted white balsamic vinegar)

1 tablespoon jalapeno pepper, minced

* I added additional watermelon (chopped slightly larger) so the gazpacho had a little more texture, along with more cranberry juice until I had desired consistency for us.




Combine 5 cups watermelon and the cranberry juice in a blender or food processor, and puree until mixture is smooth. Pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl, discarding pulp to give you approximately 3 cups of strained liquid.


Add cucumber, celery, bell pepper, onion, herbs, lime juice, vinegar, jalapeno, and remaining chopped melon to watermelon liquid, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator until soup is well chilled, at least 1 hour. Serve, or store in refrigerator up to 1 day.

You can find a printable recipe, here.


I skewered blackberries and cubes of watermelon on bamboo knots picks (World Market) to garnish the jars for serving! Serve your gazpacho in glasses, jars, or even shot glasses for shooter/ appetizer servings if your fruit and veggies are a fine dice.


highly recommend adding some feta cheese crumbles to this watermelon gazpacho (and didn’t get a picture of). The creamy, salty cheese is the perfect partner to the sweet, juicy melon!


Porch Details:

Very Berry Tablecloth by Moda/ Amazon

Flatware/ Pottery Barn

Red Marble Enamelware, Crow Canyon Home/ Mast General Store

Jars by Ball :)


I hope you’re staying cool and

finding ways to beat the heat!

Anita Cedar Hill Farmhouse Porch

You can find me

On the Back Porch at

Cedar Hill Farmhouse today. . .

Cedar Hill Farmhouse Outdoor Dining

 I hope you’ll stop by for a visit!

Watermelon Gazpacho

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Hot Bacon Caprese Salad

Hot Bacon Caprese Salad

Everything is better with bacon, including

the classic Italian Caprese Salad

with the addition of a hot bacon dressing!


Fresh from the pages of the June issue of Southern Living Magazine, I was not-so-patiently waiting for the arrival of heirloom tomatoes at our Farmers Market!


Hot Bacon Caprese Salad,

recipe courtesy Southern Living


Assorted heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Fresh basil leaves

4  - 6 bacon slices, coarsely chopped

3 to 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar (I substituted 3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar)

2 tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper



Arrange tomatoes and cheese on a serving platter, placing basil leaves among the slices. Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper.


 Saute bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from heat, reserving bacon and 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Let stand 1 minute. Add vinegar and oil, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Drizzle warm bacon mixture over tomatoes and cheese.

Serve immediately.


Notes: I cooked the bacon, removed it from the pan, draining it on paper towels and then sprinkled it over the salad to get an even distribution of bacon. Then I made the dressing in the pan with the reserved drippings to drizzle over the salad.

You can find a printable recipe, here.


Now that we’ve sampled the hot bacon version,

it’s going to be hard to go back

to the classic Caprese Salad!


If your tomato cup runneth over and you need

some additional tomato inspiration,

click on the links below for a taste!

You Say Tomato,

Table and Centerpiece

Heirloom Tomato Pie

Heirloom Tomato Pie 


 Or a individual serving,

 Mini Tomato Pies/ Tarts

BLT Bruschetta

BLT Bruschetta

 Hot Bacon Caprese Salad

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Baby Rattle Cupcakes

Baby Rattle Cupcakes

Baby Rattle Cupcakes are an easy

and sweet ending for a baby shower!


I found the idea on Pinterest when I needed a dessert to send   with my husband for a baby shower at work. Cake decorating/frosting is not in my skill set, but there are lots of cute ways you could decorate and customize these rattles!


She is having a girl, can you tell? :)

The most time consuming part is

tying the bows on to the lollipop sticks,

 double-sided ribbon helps.


 Use a toothpick to make your hole in your cupcake and wrapper to help ease the lollipop stick in, likewise for the gum drop on the bottom of the “rattle”.


 I used a lemon cake mix I doctored for the cupcakes,

substituting buttermilk for the water,

4 eggs instead of 3, and the same amount of oil

called for in the mix.

 And tinted cream cheese frosting with food coloring.


Celebrate It 360° Grosgrain Ribbon (Michaels) for double-sided bows along with lollipop sticks (Wilton) and gumdrops from Dollar Tree, aka candy central.

Safari Animal Baby Shower

 For some additional

baby shower inspiration, click on the links

for recipes and ideas.

Animal Cracker Popcorn Crunch

Animal Cracker Popcorn Crunch

Cheddar Due Date Wafers

Cheddar ‘Due Date’ Wafers

Baby Ruth Cupcakes

Baby Ruth Cupcakes

Swaddled Chicken Salad Bites-001

Swaddled Chicken Salad Bites

Baby Rattle Cupcakes

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Wine A Bit: Grandfather Vineyard and Winery

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery

We spent a weekend in the NC mountains

recently to escape the heat, enjoying the scenery.


While we were there,

we took some time out

to wine a bit.


If you’re in the area, we recommend a visit to

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery

in Banner Elk!


The terraced mountain vineyard and winery

is nestled right on the Watauga River.



It’s true, you do feel better

if you wine a bit :)



There’s plenty of seating to

enjoy a glass outside. . .


Kick back and

listen to the water.




Pull up a chair and enjoy the lower humidity

and cooler mountain temperatures.




There are 4-legged ambassadors

at the winery to greet you. . .




A chair with a view, a dog and

a glass of wine is my recipe for relaxation and

guaranteed to lower your blood pressure :)






I hope you’re enjoying a getaway

this summer and staying cool!

Where are you planning to escape to this summer?


Thank you for your visit!

Setting Sail for Independence Day

Setting Sail for Independence Day

We’re setting sail for Independence Day

onto a sea (or lake :) of Red, White & Blue

for the holiday weekend!


Spending time with family. . .


Flying our Flags. . .


Boating. . .


And enjoying 

the fireworks!

Independence Day Berry-Lemon Sparklers!

Grab a cup and help yourself

to a Berry-Lemon Sparkler!


Paper sails were hoisted from

scrapbook paper with bamboo knot pick masts

for nautical rope napkin rings. . .


And can be used to

mark place settings. . .


Or decorate a regatta of

Red Velvet Cupcakes

for a sweet and patriotic bite!

Red Velvet Cupcake Sailboats

 If you want to set sail with some other

 patriotic table inspiration,

click on the links below:

A Star-Spangled Celebration

A Star-Spangled Celebration

Long May She Wave Patriotic Table

Long May She Wave

Celebrating the Red, White & Blue Patriotic Table

Banner Yet Wave:

Celebrating the Red, White & Blue!


Setting Sail Table Details:

Rope Cocktail Plates/ Pottery Barn

Salad & Dinner Plates/ Mikasa Jet Set Blue

Stemware/ Mikasa Swirl  

Flatware/ Towle Living Everyday Nautical

Sailboat, Chargers & Placemats/ HomeGoods

Rope Napkin Rings/ Bed, Bath & Beyond

Napkins/ World Market

Quilt/ Kohl’s


Wishing you a Safe & Happy Independence Day. . .

RWB potato salad_11

With Liberty & Potato Salad for All!

Setting Sail for Independence Day with a Regatta of Red Velvet Cupcakes!

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Freedom Fries: Guilt-Free Oven Crisp Egg White Fries!

Freedom Fries

 My name is Mary and I’m a French Fry-oholic.

I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a potato tooth.

Feel free to check out my board on Pinterest:

You Say Potato, I say Kryptonite :)


Freedom Fries were inspired from Food Network Magazine’s tip on Faking your Fries! Guilt-free fries, baked not fried, and dipped in egg whites and whisked with herbs or spices. The egg whites dry out in the oven and make the fries extra crisp, without excess oil.

A tip every French Fry-aholic needs!


I did a little experimenting, just in time for Hot Dog and Burger Season and the July 4th holiday!

One egg white per two medium potatoes seems to be a good ratio. Whisk the egg whites until frothy and add your seasoning. I used our favorite Garlic Pepper Seasoning Blend, a combination of sea salt, pepper, garlic, sugar and other spices.


In doing my French Fry research : ) I also read a tip to soak your cut fries in ice water for 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to baking, to rid some of the excess starch from the potatoes that causes overbrowning. I soaked them 2 hours.

Rinse your potatoes after soaking and pat dry with a towel before dunking them in your seasoned egg white mixture.


Spread your fries out on your baking sheet so they aren’t touching and they bake, instead of steam, for crispy fries. I lined my baking sheet with parchment for easier clean up. You can add some additional seasoning to your egg white-dipped fries if desired before baking them in the oven.


Bake at 425 degrees F, turning once or twice. Spritz fries with olive oil or canola cooking spray and add additional seasoning if needed when turning.

Cook until golden, about 30 minutes.

You can find a printable recipe, here.


Wishing you the Freedom to eat your Fries,

Guilt-Free. . .or not :)

Guilt-Free Oven Crisp Egg White Fries

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Independence Day Berry-Lemon Sparklers!

Independence Day Berry-Lemon Sparklers!

I have a Sparkling Cocktail for your

 Independence Day Celebration,

along with a quick & easy DIY Party Cup!


I found Party like it’s 1776 Americana cups at Pier 1 Imports. Fun for your Independence Day celebration, elevated with a Dollar Tree glass candleholder, as a July 4th cousin to the redneck wine glass or  stemmed solo cup  :)

Use Liquid Nails or a similar silicone adhesive like E6000 to adhere the cup to the candlestick. Liquid Nails says the cure time is 16 hours, I allowed 24 hours to be safe.


Independence Day Berry- Lemon Sparklers,

adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray

Makes: 8 servings

Prep: 10 mins


1 1/2 pints mixed berries, plus more for garnish

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 cups lemon juice (from 8 lemons)


Sparkling wine like Prosecco or Cava, chilled

(substitute seltzer for a non-alcoholic version)



In a medium bowl, mash 1 1/2 pints berries with the sugar; let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, then strain into a large pitcher, pressing with a spoon to extract any juice. Stir in the lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups more water. I used frozen, thawed berries for easier mashing.


Add ice to cups and fill half to three-quarter’s full with berry-lemon mixture. Top with sparkling wine and stir to combine. Garnish with berries and a sparkler on the side!

 A strawberry on the side of the cup holds the sparkler.


Light and serve!

You can find a printable recipe here.


Wishing you a

Sparking Independence Day Celebration!

DIY July 4th Party Cup

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Patriotic Peeps for Independence Day!

Patriotic Peeps

It’s not a holiday

without your Peeps!


 I found Patriotic Peeps Chicks,

speckled with red and blue sugar flecks,

proudly waving the flag on packages

 at Cracker Barrel.


It seemed like the perfect excuse to celebrate

with a flag formation of

Red, White & Blue candy for July 4th!


Or exercise your Freedom and Independence

and use them to top a brownie bite,

a swizzle stick, candy skewer. . .

Holiday Marshmallow Peeps!

or Red Velvet Cupcake!


Pull ‘n’ Peel Twizzlers

make a patriotic nest for

 Marshmallow Chick Peeps!


I found Patriotic Pull ‘n’ Peel

Twizzlers at Walmart.


Pull the strands apart and layer to build a nest

in cupcake liners for easy serving.


An easy Red, White & Blue treat for

kids or the young at heart for July 4th!


PEEPS® Fun Facts:

What took 27 hours in 1953 to create one

PEEPS® Marshmallow Chick,

 takes six minutes today thanks to technology.


Just Born produces enough

PEEPS® Brand Marshmallow Candies

in one year to circle the earth twice.


Yellow and white PEEPS® chicks and bunnies

came first, followed by pink, lavender,

blue, green and orange.


Wishing you a

Safe & Happy Independence Day

with your Peeps :)

Patriotic Peeps

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