The Shady Porch: 07.11


Tasty Cucumber Spread

We enjoyed the blessings of our garden again today. We've recently been harvesting cucumbers and we tried a new recipe called 'The Best Cucumber Spread." As a snack, we spread this true southern classic on Ritz Crackers and Captain's Wafers and dipped bread sticks in it. It really makes a refreshing appetizer.  It was tasty no matter how we it was served! It makes a great sandwich spread and it's a mouthwatering delicious treat on a toasty baguette too.
This spread makes a refreshing snack or appetizer and can be whipped up quickly using a food processor or an electric mixer.

Creamy Cucumber Spread  recipe garden harvest snack appetizer
Creamy Cucumber Spread - great with crackers
or as a sandwich spread!


How-To Make Feather Hair Clips

Feather and leather hair clips by The Shady Porch
Feather hair clip
"What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecc.1:9 NIV) This verse has come up multiple times lately, and I was reminded of it again tonight. If you have noticed the hair salons lately, they all have signs saying they have feathers! Feathers in the hair started last year (...THIS time around!) and the trend is still hot. I've read that the fly fishing suppliers are having trouble keeping feathers for the fishermen because teenage girls and salons are buying in bulk.

I remember Stevie Nicks' bohemian, gypsy-look from the 70's and the girls wearing feathers in their hair, clipped to their hats, purses, jeans and boots. I wonder how long it will be before the fringe fad kicks in, too?  Anyway, I thought I would show you how to make your own feather hair clips. Any local superstore with a craft section should have the feathers, cording, and beads, but you will most likely have to purchase the micro beads at a craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michael's.
NOTE- the feathers at the local superstore are more likely to be pastels rather than the rooster saddle hackles I've used here. I purchased mine online from a fishing supplier.

Feather Hair Clip Supplies
Suede cord
various beads (make sure they fit your cord)
2 - microbeads (used to lock on feathers)
6 - feathers 
alligator clip (you can substitute the alligator clip with a metal snap clip if you always wear it in your hair)
Step 1 - cut the cord the length that you want it. Keep in mind the feathers will add to the length.

Step 2 - Attach the cording to the alligator clip; lock it in by folding down the flaps with the pliers.

Step 3- Thread first set of beads onto the cord. Decorative beads first, then the micro bead.

Step 4- Thread the first 3 feathers into the micro bead and clamp it shut with pliers, locking the feathers in place.

Step 5- Pull the decorative beads down to rest on top of the micro bead.

Step 6 - Repeat the process of threading the last beads on near the bottom of the cord.
Step 7 - Thread the final 3 feathers into the micro bead and clamp them in with the pliers.

Step 8 - Pull the decorative beads down to rest on the micro bead. Now you are ready to Rock A Little...(for you who are too young, that is a Stevie Nicks song) with your new feather clip.


Refreshing Summertime Strawberry Smoothies

We love smoothies! A fruit smoothie is a quick snack that can both refresh in a snap or bring on brain freeze (pace is the key!) Our house smoothie is a no-measure, eyeball-it version that depends entirely on the stock on hand.
We usually have some fresh fruit in the fridge (strawberries, blueberries, peaches) and that pretty much dictates the other ingredients. 
NOTE - In the event you've never made (or ever had) a smoothie before, you will need a blender or a large food processor before proceeding.  

Strawberry Smoothies smoothie recipe strawberries

We had fresh strawberries tonight so we made Strawberry Smoothies.
Strawberry Smoothies #smoothie #recipe #strawberries

The ingredients we used:
  • Fresh strawberries - about 24, capped and washed
  • Plain yogurt -about 1 1/2 cups
  • Strawberry yogurt - 1 single-serving container
  • Greek Yogurt - 1 single-serving container
  • Honey - about 3 tablespoons (optional, but good!)
  • 2- Crystal Light Energy Wild Strawberry Drink Mix packets (the kind you add to bottled water- 0.11oz)
  • 4 cups ice (if the blender is very full at first, go ahead and blend what fits. The rest of the ice can be dropped in as things break down.)
We add the ingredients to the blender in the order given so the ice is on top and doesn't freeze into a solid block while we add the other ingredients. Blend until the ice is crushed and the ingredients are incorporated. It should be processed until it is pourable and you can drink need to use a spoon.

Strawberry Smoothie with Yogurt recipe strawberries
Mmmmm, good!
If it had been blueberries we'd had on hand, we would have used blueberry yogurt and a fruit punch Crystal Light, but the other ingredients pretty much stay the same.

Did you know strawberries have more vitamin C than citrus fruits? They're also loaded with antioxidants and health science research has shown that strawberries help regulate blood sugar.  So take a vitamin...have a smoothie!

Other recipes you might like....


Jalapeno Corn Bread...Gran told me it was good!

"South of the Border cornbread", as I've heard it called, is a family favorite that I'm just getting around to trying. I think my Gran liked the Jalapeno cornbread (actual recipe name) better than traditional least it sure seemed she fixed it more often. 

This was my first time making it - and eating it, mainly because I habitually shy away from anything that sounds like it might be hot or spicy.

As it turned out, I found no heat in it (maybe because I cleaned the seeds out of the pepper with a high degree of diligence). The Jalapeno pepper, the onions and cheese brought great flavors to the corn bread and, to be completely truthful, I think I would have liked some heat in it.

It was nice to make a family favorite and think of Nan making it all those times over the years. Not surprisingly - heat or no heat - we loved it, and look forward to making it again.

Jalapeno Cornbread bread spicy sidedish jalapeno recipe
Jalapeno Cornbread



Fresh Broccoli Salad

I know I've said it before, but there is nothing better than eating dishes that are prepared with fresh vegetables from your own garden. I get such a sense of accomplishment; I feel globally responsible, more frugal, and healthier, too! And last (but certainly not least) it tastes better than store-bought! 

Fresh Broccoli Salad garden harvest sidedish fresh recipe
Broccoli Salad - broccoli, cherry tomatoes, bacon bits, onion
& corn with a mayo dressing.

Today, the garden gave us fresh broccoli, so tonight we ate a great broccoli salad. It took just a few minutes to prepare, was pretty to look at and would be a great side dish, especially at a summer BBQ. It was delicious too!

This recipe is very flexible. I was  inspired by Paula Deen, but I had to change it up to suit our tastes, and I forgot to add the cheddar cheese her recipe calls for. The recipe below is as I prepared it tonight.

I think next time, I'm going to experiment and use a Buttermilk-Garlic dressing! Double Yum!!


Cooked Cabbage & Vegetables

This recipe made an excellent side dish to grilled smoked sausage and it is not only nutritious, but it tastes great, too.
When Mom taught me to cook, she was often ill, and was not supposed to have salt in her diet, so I rarely use salt even today (it is up to everyone to salt their own, as needed.)
The vegetable combination, on its own lacked seasoning, but we found that the saltiness of the smoked sausage was a perfect pairing with the cabbage-vegetable dish. It's what we called "good, down-home eatin'" when I was growing up. 
We had lots of leftovers that were easily re-heated and enjoyed at other meals over a weekend. This recipe easily makes 6-8 generous servings.

Cooked Cabbage & Vegetables #sidedish #cabbage #gardenharvest #recipe #potatoes
Cooked Cabbage & Vegetables, Zucchini Latkes with
grilled Smoked Sausage
This is the recipe as I made it:


Tomato Harvest Coming - Sun Dried or Smoke Dried?

Zinnia #flowers #garden
Had to share my zinnia' 'em!
This week has been blisteringly hot for everyone and we've all fought to stay cool.  However, in spite of the heat, it's a wonderful time of year with all of the flowers, fruits and vegetables blooming and ripening.


I believe it's due to the heat that our tomatoes have yet to turn red...but boy when they do, we will be in "Tomato-ville!" We planted Better Boys, Honey Bunch (cherry) and Romas this year and our plants are heavy laden!

Better Boy Tomatoes #garden #tomato @greentomatoes
Better Boy tomatoes
Smoke Dried Tomatoes
I hope to fix the usual favorites; salsa, and marinara sauce, but my new plan for this season is smoked-dried tomatoes. According to everything I've read, you can use smoke-dried tomatoes the same way you use the sun-dried; in sauces, soups, pizza, salads and pasta. Simply reconstitute them in olive oil and then you can use the flavor-infused oil in salad dressings, pesto, etc. Looking forward to Tomato-ville time!

I got my idea from Boggy Creek Farm.



Black Magic Cake aka really Chocolaty!

When I am looking for a new recipe online, I usually search using words like - delicious, awesome, yummy, and favorite. Yesterday, I was searching for a recipe and ran across one titled Best Ever Chocolate Cake. I read the ingredients and thought, "really? Best Ever?" So I made it, and I told my taste-testers the claim this recipe made and asked  if they agreed.

It was still warm out of the oven and they each had a cold glass of milk, so maybe the test was flawed. Nevertheless, it got rave reviews! I think they held off on best ever awards in hope of more taste testing in the future but this one is worthy of  your recipe box!

Black Magic Cake recipe chocolate
Black Magic Cake aka really Chocolaty!


Friendship Door Decoration

Since the 4th of July decorations have long since been removed, I've been thinking my front door looked rather uninviting. I wanted something that would be appropriate for any season (and really inexpensive). So, after digging through the craft bins, I found rub-ons with friendship sayings and scrolling embellishments and plenty of paper and Mod Podge. Using these simple articles as inspiration, I felt I was already half way to my new door decoration! It kinda makes me feel like MacGyver making something inviting out of odds and ends. :)


Here's the rest of the story...


Homemade Egg Rolls Sure Beat Takeout!

There is no reason to pay big $$ for take-out when you can make it better at home! Making your own egg rolls can be fun too! You can make an assembly party out of it with all the filling and rolling that must be done.

These egg rolls are crispy golden brown with a delicious filling of fresh cabbage and carrots and if you choose, you can also add, pork, chicken, or shrimp. Some folks won't even try Chinese food, however, if you can get them to eat an egg roll, they usually love 'em!
Homemade Egg Rolls #recipe #cabbage #dinner #chicken #pork #shrimp
Crispy delicious egg roll dinner!


Fresh Freezer Slaw

We had a big harvest of cabbage today...four heads. In our never ending quest to preserve, we found a wonderful recipe for freezer slaw. How great is that? You make the slaw and freeze it until you need it. The recipe says that the slaw stays crisp even after thawing too. This is a delicious slaw(...taste tested). It was almost like I planned it, the new food processor was ready for pickup today and it made short work of all of the chopped ingredients that the recipe calls for. Otherwise get ready for an arm work out with the grater. When we finished up we had 21 cups of freezer slaw. 
Garden Harvest Recipe - Freezer Slaw cabbage sidedish recipe
Taste tested...yummy...Freezer Slaw!


Zipper Pull - Cell Phone Charm

The other day a good friend of mine asked for ideas for favors for her Bible study group. Hopefully, something that would tie into the lesson. They're doing the Beth Moore Bible Study of the book of Daniel. The main goal of the Daniel study is to teach us to "develop alarms to Babylon's charms." So I thought what better way to remember the goal than to put a zipper pull charm on your Bible cover or handbag? You could use it for a cell phone charm too! 


Oh Joy, Joy, Joy!

We all derive joy from different of mine is cookbooks. I collect them and they serve as my inspiration in the kitchen. I feel like a chemist or scientist when trying a new recipe since I rarely follow the directions...exactly. 
Anyway, my hubby surprised me today with a new revised edition of, "What's Cooking in Kentucky!" It literally brought tears to my eyes. First, for sentimental Nan bought a copy for mom and me back in the 70's and I still use it today. The pages are stained, especially the Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet cake page and I have great memories of cooking with Nan and mom using that old cookbook.

Secondly, my hubby is the best! He stopped by the Jesse Stuart Foundation today; it's one of those places you see everyday but have never taken the time to visit...well, today he decided to stop in. And because he is attentive, he recognized when he ran across something that would be precious to me and he surprised me with it. What girl wouldn't love that? Thanks sweetheart!

The new version of "What's Cooking in Kentucky"(1994), has several new sections: Measurements, Conversions, Definitions and Equivalents; Appetizers, Beverages and Breads; and Menus For All Occasions. The old favorites are still included - Breads & Rolls, Main Dishes, Vegetables & Cheese Dishes, Salads & Dressings, Desserts & Pastries, Cakes & Frostings, Candies & Cookies, Pickling & Preserving.

Needless to say I love this cookbook and I really do recommend it!

It's good down home cookin'

Blueberry-Pecan Wontons

This is a recipe I created for a contest. I had never entered a recipe contest was both fun and frustrating.  I had some ideas that flopped (phyllo dough is hard to work with) but, I like this one, and so did my family. In the end, that is all that really matters anyway, right? This is a sweet and crunchy dessert. 
Blueberry Pecan Wontons #dessert #wontons #blueberry #recipe
Blueberry-Pecan Wontons


Homemade Croutons with Garlic Infused Olive Oil

Do you still have buns leftover from the holiday weekend? We did. In my never-ending quest to waste not, I decided to make homemade croutons using the leftover hot dog buns. It really is easy and homemade croutons add so much more to your salad than any store bought brand. I do buy croutons from time to time, but, as usual, nothing beats homemade!
Homemade Croutons #recipe #oliveoil #garlic #saladtopping
Croutons add great flavor to any salad.


Zucchini Pancakes or Latkes

This is great as a snack or a side dish! The traditional potato cake is high carb, and, since the potato is usually peeled first, it has little nutritional value. Zucchini, on the other hand, is low carb and nutritional! Zucchini, like potato, gets its flavor from the ingredients used with it. If your family likes potato cakes, they will like zucchini cakes, too.

Zucchini Pancakes or Latkes garden harvest recipe
Zucchini Pancakes aka Latkes


Simply Delicious...Cauliflower with Garlic & Onion Butter

With fresh veggies coming in from the garden everyday, I am motivated to find new ways to serve them. I had a big bag of cauliflower florets fresh from the garden and found a super easy recipe and it turned out to be huge hit in our house. This new dish now ranks among our other cauliflower favorites - cauliflower dipped in ranch dressing, and oven roasted cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan cheese.
Cauliflower with Garlic-Onion Butter  recipe sidedish cauliflower gardenharvest #garlic #onion #brownbutter
From the garden to the dinner table.

Turning A Picture Frame Into A Keepsake

Picture frames are under-appreciated. An inexpensive picture frame can become a keepsake that could last a lifetime. If you personalize it for yourself (or, better yet ,for someone else), not only will the picture be precious, but so will the frame.
Keepsake Picture Frame #decoupage #ModPodge #craft #giftidea


Summer Squash-Carrot Bread

It's Harvest Time!
We love zucchini bread, so we grow tons of it each year. We also plant a lot of summer squash and I just learned tonight that it, too, makes a very tasty bread! Of course, squash and zucchini are of the same family and there really is no difference when it comes to cooking besides the skin color. For some reason, I had it in my head that only zucchini would do for the bread...boy, was I wrong! The  squash-carrot bread I made tonight is spicy sweet and it beckons a cup of coffee or an ice cold glass of milk. This is the recipe I used to make 8 mini loaves.

Zucchini Carrot Bread bread recipes vegetables
 Summer Squash-Carrot Bread


German Chocolate Bundt Cake

When we were kids, German Chocolate cake was reserved for special events. Sometimes it was the requested birthday cake; other times it was the "company's coming" cake. It's been a very long time since I've made one because my hubby has no appreciation for coconut. However, when I ran across this EASY recipe for a German Chocolate bundt cake on, I knew I had to try it. Plus, it seemed like kismet since company's coming for the weekend!
In case you're wondering, it is great with coffee...therefore, to me, it is a coffee cake too!  

German Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe chocolate cake cakeicing