Summer Holiday Tour 2017

Summer Holiday Tour 2017

Hello and welcome to Thistle Key Lane’s summer holiday tour! Summer is already here, so let’s get started freshening up the house to make the warm steamy days ahead more enjoyable.

A few weeks ago I made a red, white and blue bandana wreath for the front door, so I thought I would continue the July 4th theme indoors.

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Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July everyone! The air was very steamy this morning when my wheaten, Sandy and I set out for our walk. Before long I felt like my tongue was hanging out too, but we were quickly dazzled by many of our neighbor’s doors decorated for the 4th with flags waving.

Front porch on the 4th of July

Front porch on the 4th of July

I’m finally sharing how the stars and stripes letter, (I previously posted about in May) looks on my front door.  Continue reading

Backyard Tour

Hello again! I took a week off for travel and happy to see our yard looks so pretty upon my return.  You could say we had an unusual spring, considering the sun took a month-long vacation, we had cooler than normal temperatures and we survived the 100 year flood, again.  Happily our backyard plants are catching up to how they should look by the end of June.

Texas Lilac

Texas Lilac

My absolute favorite plant this year is the Texas lilac. Thick blooms are covering the new growth, in fact it has grown so much we can see it above the fence from the back yard.

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Curb Appeal at Thistle Key Lane

Last Saturday’s project was improving the curb appeal, focusing on the front door.  First I had to pick out the paint.  My imagination was in over drive looking at paint samples at Sherwin Williams.  However, the second I saw the paint sample of Iron Ore, my mind was made up.  The color reminded me of the big iron keys I have on my blog…need I say more.  The sophisticated softness of the color complements our house better than the black high gloss paint we had before.

 

 

The last time I painted, I had the front door open and I was terrorized by a ground hornet. Somehow I did a back flip with a half twist off the ladder ending up on the floor ducking  and covering my head. When I was brave enough to stand up, I realized I had swung the paint bucket in an arch getting black paint on the living room carpet, barely missing a chair.

I’m happy to report we do not have ground hornets this year, not yet anyway.  Don’t worry about the carpet, it was a latex base paint and came out after an hour of shampooing.

 

Lantern style light fixture

Lantern style light fixture

 

 

 

Once again, I painted with the front door open in order to get all the edges covered.  Then I took my step-ladder to the front porch and resumed painting the rest of the door and the surrounding wood work. I know the experts would take the door off the hinges but I have found that as long as you paint in the direction of the wood grain it will turn out perfect.

 

Plants add additional curb appeal to the freshly painted door

Plants add additional curb appeal to the freshly painted door

 

Next project will be adding new house numbers to the front door.  Please stop by again you are always welcome!

Cheers!

 

© 2015 Curb Appeal on Thistle Key Lane was first published on Thistle Key Lane blog.

Dessert or Salad You Decide

Some recipes are meant to be treasured. The Frozen Strawberry Salad recipe was given to me at a recipe shower, by my 4th grade teacher.   It’s no surprise it has been a favorite for years.

Silicone liners for Frozen Strawberry Salad

Silicone liners for Frozen Strawberry Salad

My suggestion is to use foil cupcake liners for easy single servings and  freezer storage, just in case you have left overs. (Foil liners are easier to remove than paper liners.) Even better are  silicone cupcake liners.  I found these at the grocery store.  Fun bright colors for summer!

I have faithfully followed the recipe below.  However some ingredients can be upgraded, such as real whipped cream instead of Cool Whip or fresh strawberries instead of frozen.

Serve on a plate or footed bowls

Serve on a plate or footed bowls

Frozen Strawberry Salad (or dessert)

  • 1 – 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 – 10 oz. pkg. frozen strawberries sliced
  • 1 –  8 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 2 bananas sliced
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 container Cool Whip

Combine all ingredients and fold the cool whip or whipped cream last.  Mix well and freeze.  The recipe will fill up 12 cupcake liners if you pile it high.

For this recipe I  used ½ pint whipping cream instead of the Cool Whip.

Frozen Strawberry Salad

Frozen Strawberry Salad

Before serving remove from freezer and let stand for about 30-40 minutes. I made this recipe a few days ago and by the time I got around to taking pictures they were half gone!  Someone likes them!

Enjoy!

Strawberry Orange Sangria

Just thinking about the recipe for Strawberry Orange Sangria is making me thirsty.  I could continue describing the taste but why waste words, just try it!

Strawberry Orange Sangria

Strawberry Orange Sangria

Strawberry Orange Sangria

  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 2 cups sparkling water
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 3 oz. Tequila
  • 3 oz. Grand  Marnier
  • 4 cups strawberries sliced
  • 1 large orange sliced
  • 2 limes sliced

Combine  white wine and sparkling water in a clear pitcher set aside.  Mix together agave nectar, tequila and Grand Marnier until the agave is well incorporated. Stir into pitcher then add the strawberry, orange and lime slices. Set pitcher in the fridge for about an hour.  Serve over ice.

Strawberry Orange Sangria

Strawberry Orange Sangria

Remember the longer it sits the more the fruit will infuse the wine. We had a few glasses last night and I served the sangria over frozen strawberries since we were sitting out on the patio. Our evening temperature was border line hot and I knew ice would melt too fast.

Cheers! 

Spicy Cinnamon Brownies

In the February 2015 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, magazine. I found a  recipe for Cinnamon Spice Chocolate Brownies.  It reminded me of the movie Chocolat.   The main character,  Vianne  (Juliette Binoch) added chili powder to hot chocolate for Armande (Judi Dench) and a friendship was created. I thought I would test out the recipe to see if I wanted to add it to my favorites.  It was good but not quite what I had imagined so I changed a few ingredients and my version is below.  This one is a keeper. The exotic taste will take you by surprise.

Spicy Cinnamon Brownies

Ingredients

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup  butter
  • 1 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup  cold water
  • 2   eggs
  • 3 tbs  canola oil
  • 1 tsp  Kahlúa
  • 1-1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp  baking powder
  • ¼ tsp  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp  salt
  • 1/8 tsp  cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp  ground cloves
  • 2 tbs  Hershey’s chocolate syrup
  • Optional – cinnamon and sugar

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8x2 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil up over edges of pan.  Lightly coat the foil with non-stick spray. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan melt butter: remove from heat.  Whisk in sugar and water. Whisk in eggs, oil, and vanilla until combined.  Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, salt and cayenne chili pepper.  Stir in chocolate syrup. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan by lifting up on the foil.

Cut into bars. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Makes 16 brownies. Obviously, I might be able to cut the brownies into 16 pieces, but I can’t cut them evenly to save my life, as seen in the photos.

(For the original recipe please refer to the February 2015 issue of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine.)

Enjoy with a cup of coffee or if you are feeling adventurous, a glass of wine!