Green Cleaning Part II

I have to admit that my natural housekeeping wasn't going so well until I found this book at the library:
organic housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

The best thing about this book is the assumption is made right off the bat that housekeeping is not fun, even if the results are nice (and necessary to good health).  The second best thing is that the author goes into the science behind cleaning methods, which is reassuring.  Sometimes when I read "green cleaning" blogs I wonder if the writers have any clue about what they are actually recommending.  In particular I have found the kitchen, bathroom and laundry sections of this book helpful.  The most unexpected thing I've learned is that wooden cutting boards are actually preferable to plastic ones:
Cliver and Ak...found that all the wooden cutting boards killed bacteria, while all the plastic ones encouraged bacterial growth.  Wood fibers absorb and kill bacteria...While new, unscarred plastic boards can be successfully cleaned with hot water and detergent...used plastic boards cannot be successfully cleaned.  Vigorous scrubbing...does not remove or kill the bacteria that have lodged in knife scars on plastic boards; running contaminated plastic cutting boards though a dishwasher simply spread bacteria around...  (p. 119
My father, a horticulturalist, confirms that trees have antimicrobial properties.  Who knew?  This whole time I was avoiding using wooden spoons when cooking meat.  I think I'll be investing in some wooden cutting boards before too long.

Farmer's Market Bounty

Farmers' Markets are in full-swing here in Cville.  One of our favorite Saturday morning activities is to head  to the City Market, walk the aisles, have some amazing Mexican food (don't judge, it is tasty, even at 7:30am),and stock up on produce and other treats for the week.

Last week, we picked up some kohlrabi, mini green squash, and striped beets (how gorgeous are these?).  All were delicious sliced up, tossed with OO, salt, and pepper, and grilled outside. 

Modern Gargoyle

When we were walking around Savannah I had to stop when I saw this at the end of a down spout:

While doing research to try and find a name for this, I learned that gargoyles were the original roof gutters, used to divert rain water away from a building.  How did I not know that?  Anyway, I thought this was a fantastic decorative touch, especially in an urban setting.


I think I see about two movies per year in the theater, and this one was WELL worth it.  Bridesmaids was hilarious (although about 20 minutes too long); the entire theater population was laughing out loud nonstop.

Having been bridesmaids 15+ times ourselves, some of the situations were all too familiar....

Savannah Wedding

This past weekend I went to Savannah for the first time.  The wedding was on Isle of Hope, which is a lovely place full of lowcountry architecture.

The reception was at a private club in Savannah and I have to say the food was amazing.  It was hard to get to the shrimp and grits and roast beef on a biscuit, but I could have been happy for the rest of the night once I found the gorgonzola mousse- DELICIOUS.  I really need to find a recipe for it- light as air and a bit milder than I would have expected.  Of course I left with pictures of the cake and flowers.

Savannah has wonderful trees that keep the squares shaded and cool.  We had a great time wandering around looking at the restored houses.  There is also a definite New Orleans feel down by the river, and I now understand how they have the largest St. Patrick's Day party in the world!  We stayed at the River Street Inn, which looks right over the water- very fun!

Mercer-Williams House, made famous by Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Pimm's...Jello Shots?

We're big fans of Pimm's Cups, especially when you throw in all the fruit and cucumbers!

Bon Appetit's recent article about the transformation of this typically English drink into Jello Shots had me giggling.  I am not above trying it out this summer...

Spring Signature Cocktail

How pretty would this Grapefruit Margarita be as a signature cocktail at a Springtime wedding? Perhaps served from a Mason jar?

Whip one up!

1 qt ruby red grapefruit juice
10 fresh mint leaves , torn in small pieces
2 shots orange liqueur
8 shots tequila

Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher, and stir to combine. Rim your glasses with a turbinado sugar/salt mixture. Pour over ice and serve.

Perfect Bloody Mary

Keeping with the theme of the month...

Not traditionally a huge Bloody Mary fan (some are too bland, some are too watery, etc), we've found the perfect version at our local brunch haunt. It can be ordered spicy (!!) or mild and comes topped with pickled green beans that can't be beat!  The perfect hair of the dog....


Happy Cinco de Mayo!  Coincidentally, this is my favorite holiday -- no pressure to visit family, no sporting events on TV, no stressing over gifts, and I LOVE the food (and drinks).

Right now, I'm craving a Brown Sugar Margarita from our favorite local watering hole.  They are not a Mexican establishment, but they've perfected the margarita, and their nachos aren't bad either.


Spring in New York

Prior to dating my husband I had never been to New York unless you count driving through it on the way to Maine.  When people think of New York, they think of the city and for good reason- around eight million of its 20 million residents live in New York City (if Wiki can be trusted).  Close to another million people live directly north of the city in Westchester County.  Although not nearly as "New England-y" as Connecticut, Westchester is in many ways worlds apart from Manhattan.  Last month I shared an experience I had on the western side of the county.  This week I am going to focus a bit on the eastern side, next to the Long Island Sound.

What surprised me most about the village where I live now is that it has the small town feel that I previously associated with the south (unfortunately the rural south seems to be losing the battle with suburban sprawl, another issue altogether).  There are lots of porches.  Fewer than 10,000 people live in the village itself, which is 1.1 square miles.  People can walk everywhere.  Crime is nearly nonexistent.  Residents are working hard to keep small businesses alive.  Of course there are problems too.  The cost of real estate is exorbitant.  Traffic is worse than expected.  There is a 35 minute commute into the city every day for most professional residents.  Many older houses in the greater area are being knocked down to be replaced by BIG houses.

Regardless of the pros and cons, this is a wonderful place to be when flowers start to bloom and the promise of being on the water is right around the corner.  This week I took advantage of the nice weather and photographed some of my favorite houses and sites (click on pictures to enlarge).

A dog waits for its master at the library.

An eccentric planter...

in front of a very large house.

Most houses are Victorian, but I think this may be antebellum.

Big porch!

My husband's favorite dream house.

My favorite dream house.  (Can't you picture a captain's wife looking out over the water?)

The harbor- my husband's grandfather used to ice skate across here to go to church.

Another creative planter (what sailor's do with old boats).

Side porches make me think of Charleston, but there are some up here too.  These are my two favorites.

Law School Reunion

While Farrell was enjoying nice weather at Foxfield, I was braving my husband's law school reunion.  Just kidding, it was fun.  Here are some pictures from the Saturday evening dinner- someone enjoyed putting together these creative tables:

We're Back

Apologies for our hiatus!  Things have  been busy:  trips, Easter, work, Foxfield Races, Law School reunions, the list goes on...

But we're back now, and apparently it is May.  As we creep towards warmer months, I wanted to share a recipe I made on Easter that could serve as a side for many a Spring dinners.  This Minted Pea Puree, made with fresh peas, mint, and Greek yogurt was the perfect sub for traditional mint jelly with our herb-crusted rack of lamb on Easter.  Plus, it looked SO pretty on the plate and was super easy.  I would highly recommend it!