Welcome back from a busy weekend.
I hope you found yourself surrounded with loved ones, cheer and good grub — I know I did!
First, there was holiday decorating.
I had been saving some vintage red, white and blue streamers — and this weekend was the perfect time to pull them out.
The porch, the trees, and the bench weren’t the only one who got a little streamer love.
Bluebell did, too.
We caught up with old friends at a party — and made sure to bring our favorite mac and cheese with us.
I love making it (you can read my pointers here) and then warming it through in a number of old cast-iron skillets — and then bringing to the party just like that.
And yesterday we decided we’d like to take Bailey to Sauvie Island for a day picnic.
I told my crew that if they weren’t wearing something either red, white or blue there’d be no treats for them.
Me, I decided the Fourth of July was the perfect time to wear my heart on my sleeve — literally.
First we hit New Seasons for provisions.
I was so excited that they were giving out marionberry pie and ice cream samples.
We filled up the cart, and headed out to Kruger Farms, one of our favorite places on Sauvie.
We always head out to the giant old oak tree and set up camp on one of those enormous long picnic tables.
Because yesterday noon was kind of gloomy, it was very quiet on the farm.
We had this whole picnic area to ourselves, with just the odd family or two passing through after traversing the blueberry field.
I set up camp, starting with one of my favorite tablecloths.
I had brought so much of my favorite enamelware with me that there was no shortage of plating options.
I thought the table looked particularly festive.
We sat there for hours — nibbling, playing cards, watching Bailey romp through the fields and then picking the biggest, juiciest marionberries I’ve ever seen.
There’s something so beautiful about a leisurely meal enjoyed al fresco; you can nibble, push it aside, and then revisit an hour or so later when the mood strikes.
The Adelle cheese from Ancient Heritage Dairy is one of my favorites; I’ve talked about it before and I buy it every time I go to the PSU Farmers Market.
Back at home, I realized how much fruit I had— especially ripe berries– so I made sure that my evening cocktail incorporated some.
Voila — blackberries, Grey Goose, lemon juice, POM and tonic.
Last night we decided to forgo fireworks festivities so that we could stay home and comfort a fireworks-freaked dog and we treated ourselves to an amazing flank steak dinner with all the works.
At our meal we talked about what Independence Day really means, and the sacrifices it has taken to ensure our liberty over the years.
To cap it off, we watched Saving Private Ryan. What an amazing movie!
But now, the morning after, I’m struggling with fruit over-crowding in the fridge (first world problem, right?).
In particular, what to do with all those berries?
I started with more smoothies today.
And a little breakfast bruschetta to get the day off to a great start.
Oozy, crunchy, sweet, tart — this toast has it all.
So Happy Fourth, all.
I’m off to deal with the berry situation (suggestions, anyone?) and perhaps to make some Anzac biscuits.