Monday, February 25, 2013

Corn and Potato Frittata

For those of you that raise chickens with extra eggs on hand, we can all appreciate recipes that use up our eggs in delicious ways. This frittata recipe is easy, quick and makes a tasty supper. It's also a great way to use up leftover corn or potatoes.

This recipe comes from The Fresh Egg Cookbook: From Chicken to Kitchen, Recipes for Using Eggs from Farmers' Markets, Local Farms, and Your Own Backyard by Jennifer Trainer Thompson.

Corn and Potato Frittata


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions (green and white parts), chopped
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley

the green onions came from the tops of the onions growing in my garden


  • Position an oven rack 3 inches from the broiler and preheat.
  • Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic, scallions, potato, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. 

  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes, resisting the urge to stir. Remove the lid, flip the mixture so the other side can brown, and then cook for 5 minutes longer. Add the corn and cook for a few minutes longer, to heat through.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then add the cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper. Pour into the skillet, stirring just to mix with the potatoes. 

Cook without stirring (shaking occasionally to loosen it) until the bottom is golden but the top is still runny, 8 to 10 minutes. Finish the frittata by placing it under the broiler and cooking about 2 minutes until the top is golden and set. Slide onto a serving plate (or you can keep it in the skillet, like me!).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day Trip of the Month: Historic Salisbury

Salisbury, North Carolina is a feast for the eyes in all things historic. One of the older established towns in the state, Salisbury enjoyed prominence and growth during the Colonial era as a center of trade and later on in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries continued its prominence in the areas of business and manufacturing. I would highly recommend visiting one of Salisbury's local museums or historic sites if you visit this town (

Downtown Salisbury contains a whopping thirteen National Register historic districts, and its neighborhoods full of antebellum estates, graceful Victorians, Colonial Revival's, charming bungalows, and vernacular cottages are delightful to walk through. The downtown offers great shopping and dining, and you can't beat the amazing variation of architecture.

Here are a few photos I snapped while there:

Innes Street

Holmes Place

Rowan County Courthouse

Kress Plaza- in process of rehabilitation

corner of Main and 11th Streets

Salisbury also has one of the best custom brick manufacturers in the country--making bricks the old-fashioned way--by throwing them into wooden molds before the firing process. The Old Carolina Brick Company, producers of fine handmade brick, has a variety of brick colors and patterns but can also custom match the brick that you need. This is especially nice for rehabilitation or reconstruction projects.

Have any of you ever visited Salisbury or taken any day trips lately to somewhere interesting?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Starting Seeds Indoors & a DIY Grow Light Tutorial

It's time to start seeds indoors already! (At least here in NC it is). We started seeds for several varieties of vegetables a couple of weeks ago and they are coming up nicely. We have seeds planted for tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, cilantro, broccoli and kale. For those of you wanting to start your garden seeds indoors, do you know you can make your own grow light for a mere $20?

That's right--a cheap grow light made from PVC pipe, a fluorescent light, and metal hooks that can be taken apart or disassembled when not in use!

Here is what you will need:

- PVC pipe (three 1/2"x10')
- hand or chop saw
- 1/2" PVC corners (6)
- 1/2" PVC tees (2)
- 48" dual tube fluorescent light with included chains (runs about $12)
- appropriate fluorescent tubes (2)
- J hooks and nuts (2) for securing lamp into PVC piping
- drill and drill bits

For starting seeds:

- seed starting trays or pots
- soil
- pencil
- seeds
- towel
- water in spray bottle

Here is what you will need to do:

The stand can be assembled in two sections, the base and the hanger. The base is just a rectangle made with two 50" and four 12" lengths of 1/2" PVC pipe, assembled with four 1/2" corner connectors and two 1/2" tees. The long side of the rectangle must be slightly longer than the light fixture, so if you choose a different size light, scale this dimension appropriately.

The pipes should fit snugly into the connectors, so no glue is needed to hold the whole thing together.

The finished stand is shown below. The open hole of the tees should point up in order to receive the riser pipes.

The hanger is shown below. The risers (top and bottom of the picture) can be cut to whatever length needed to hang the light at the desired height. I chose 3 feet, but later cut some shorter risers so that the light can hang closer to the seedlings. One to two feet should be plenty for shallow seed trays. The cross bar (the part that supports the light fixture) should be the same length as the longer side of your base (50" in this case). Two corner connectors hold the whole hanger together.

You can hang the light on the cross bar however you prefer, but J hooks were cheap and keep the fixture securely in place. Simply measure the distance between where the chains connect to your light fixture and drill two vertical holes (slightly larger than the diameter of the bolt portion of the J hook) centered that distance apart in the cross bar. Throw a nut on each J hook and you're ready to assemble everything.

Push the ends of the riser into the open holes of the tees in the base, and then hang the light fixture by the included chains. That's it! Should take 30 minutes or less. The nice thing about this setup is that it can be easily customized to your particular needs. With two more tees added to the base, another hanger can be added to accommodate a second fixture. Since you didn't have to glue it together, the whole thing can be disassembled and stored under a bed or in a closet at the end of the growing season.

To start the seeds, use high quality potting soil or organic compost with soil and place in seed starting trays (we used the Jiffy trays with the plastic tops and recycle them each year).

I use a pencil eraser to push a little indention into each seed container, then drop a seed or two in each one. Make sure and keep a list or diagram handy to write down what seeds you have placed where. Cover seed holes back with soil and water well.

Place under grow light and monitor growth (we also kept a towel underneath our seed trays). Water every day so that soil doesn't dry out (or use a self-watering seed starting tray). We keep the grow light on the seedlings about 16 hours per day with the help of a three-prong light timer.

You may have to give it several days to germinate before you see growth, so be patient! Before too long we will have to transplant these to bigger pots, and then out to our cold frame, and then finally into the ground when it is warm enough.

Are any of your starting your seeds indoors this year?

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Valentine's Dinner

We hosted a Valentine's dinner for some of the couples from our small group at church today. I love hosting get-togethers and I actually really enjoy putting together the details of a nice meal. We had so much fun that I'm not sure I will ever want to go out for Valentine's Day again--this might have to be an annual tradition :)

On the menu included:

-Cheese fondue with bread, vegetables, and fruit for dipping
-Stuffed chicken breasts
-Roasted asparagus
-cheesy scalloped potatoes
-Chocolate souffle with caramel sauce
-Chocolate covered strawberries

I tried something a little unusual and used a vintage pink chenille bedspread for a tablecloth.

Wanting to keep things simple, I limited the decorations to candles in pewter candlesticks and baby's breath in small glass bottles. To dress things up, I used my good white china and crystal glasses.

For a simple favor I decided to place a handwritten love quote at each seat. All the quotes are verses from the Bible referencing love, and I made everyone read theirs aloud before we began our meal. I know, I'm sentimental.

I meant to get photos of the food and friends enjoying our dinner, and I completely forgot! I guess we were having to much fun :)

Wising you a very Happy Valentine's Day from my roost to yours!


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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Guest Room

I'm excited to show you our guest room today. It has been a challenge to decorate this room. We've been in this house for over  three years now and I'm just now getting this room put together.

Before it was a hodgepodge of stuff, with no color palette or feel defining the room. This room to me is difficult due to the projection in the middle of one wall where a fireplace used to be, and a recess along that same wall. It's one lonely window also makes it odd in my mind. One of the first changes that I made was to paint the room from a pastel yellow to more of a neutral cream color. In hindsight I wish now I had painted it stark white for a crisper look.

Next I decided I wanted to spray paint our white iron bed red for a bold look against the white bedding. I draped my husband BJ's great-grandmother's quilt overtop. The room morphed into sort of a farmhouse-y look.

I seem to act very impulsively when it comes to decorating.....does anyone else have this problem?

Over time this room seemed to morph into the "chicken" room. I had chicken paintings, prints, signs, and other memorabilia, chicken figurines......oh dear. This was NOT the look I was going for to give guests a relaxing, inviting room in which to stay. I decided I needed to get rid of our large, solid wood drafting table (a nice piece, but not functional for us anymore) and most of the chicken clutter. I moved a bookshelf with all of my antique books into this room instead.

 I painted the yard-sale dresser from its crusty (not pretty) white to a color with more pop. This subtle gray-blue worked well and is not unlike the color on the wooden filing cabinet used on the far side of the bed. I topped the dresser this with an antique ammunition box that has a wonderful patina; a vintage sewing kit completes the trio.

The next new piece introduced to the room was my cherry side table detailed in this post. It makes a wonderful bedside table and gives some rich color against the light walls. It may not stay in this room, but for now it works. I placed a jug for water and a glass on a tray along with some fresh lavender sprigs for guests staying the night.

This is the guest room shortly after we moved in:

Here is the room now:

A bamboo roman shade dresses up the lone window a bit. Then it was time to embellish the walls: an antique tobacco basket defines the bed, along with some prints, a breadboard made from an old bourbon barrel, and a mirror.

We also have a luggage rack tucked away for when guests come that we can pull out for their use. I like this one with its metal frame and thick burlap panels (a recent Christmas gift).

Now for the part of the room that doesn't quite fit and for me is too cluttered. I didn't want to show you this part, but that wouldn't really be fair now, would it?

Currently this room has to do double-duty and also function as a space for BJ's music-related items including his keyboard, guitars, music books, and other items. I wish it could function as solely a room for guests and their relaxation, but that is just not possible at this time. So, one wall and cubby is devoted to musical pursuits. BJ has been patiently waiting for his "man room" all to himself......maybe someday soon, honey :) 

The cool thing is that he was able to easily build shelving in this nook to accommodate his books, musical supplies, art, and other random items that were taking up precious closet space elsewhere. It may not match the rest of the room, but at least the space is being used. This shelving cost us about $12 to build, having the paint and tools on hand already. I hope to post a tutorial soon on building this shelving--as it was so easy to do!

So there you are! Our guest room.

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