29 July 2009

Lazy Days of Summer #6

Mini trips!

Not week long vacations, but those little out of town trips where you go and do something fun with your families or friends! Branson is a place I like to go on a mini trip. We usually spend a long weekend together. Branson has shopping, fishing, swimming, shows, antiquing, strolling, and The Ducks.

What about you? Where do you like to go in the summer? Any favorite places that you need to go to or you feel like you've missed something??

27 July 2009

Mosaic Monday!


These photos are from the plane...and one right before we packed Ashley and Eric into the car... going to Las Vegas!

26 July 2009

Sunday Garden update

It has been awhile since I updated our garden pictures because we lost so much of it to Japanese beetles. However, a few things (barely) survived and here are some of the plants in their very sad, but productive, state!

Brussel Sprouts


Cherry Tomatoes

A very sad but soon to be eaten, cabbage.

The herb garden looks as fantastic as the vegetable garden looks sad. Next week or two, pictures on the herb garden!

25 July 2009

A new Christmas Blog


I have decided to write a Christmas blog! It is being launched today, July 25, six months before Christmas!

This blog is open to the public so be sure to share it with your other Christmas loving friends! I have done my best to keep it more private, I am not releasing my name and Bob is lovingly referred to as Mr. CTL.

Please visit at www.christmastreelane.blogspot.com

24 July 2009

Foodie Friday


Bob loves to cook and he especially loves to cook things fresh from the garden. This dish was made with purchases from the Columbia Farmer's Market.

First he sauteed zucchini, summer squash and this unusual mushroom (texture of a scallop)(sorry, don't remember the name of it) together with garlic and olive oil, all purchases of the CFM. Then he cooked up some homemade pasta (from the CFM) and seasoned it with flat leaf parsley from our own herb garden. The top has homemade goat cheese (yummy!). It was so good. He served it with cottage bread.

I know, I am one lucky girl.

23 July 2009

A Posy Pedicure


I don't know why I don't do this more often... but this time I was influenced by my friend Ashley who had this darling pedicure. She shared with me where she got it and I had one done yesterday. Perfect for my upcoming trip!

22 July 2009

Lazy Days of Summer #5

The summer wouldn't seem quite the same if I didn't go to an auction or two!

I always look for the estate sales. I like to see what people collected over the course of their lives. I am sure I could write a dissertation on this alone. I also love to get a good deal or two. I especially like looking for dishes and furniture, just like every other woman in Missouri, it seems.

Do you include an auction or two in your summer plans? Bob and I used to do a lot more when we needed more things. Now we are going just for the sheer fun of being with other people. Sometimes we don't even stay for the auction.

In the country there are food stands and homemade lemonade. Sometimes we go just to get a homemade hot dog and homemade lemonade, with big, floating whole lemons in it. Yummo!

21 July 2009

Dinner at Red Lobster


Bob and I are huge fans of the TV series The Next Food Network Star. Last night was the Miami episode and the winner was to have his/her entree on the menu at Red Lobster. Last night Jeffery Saad's entree won and so Bob and I headed out last night to our local Red Lobster to try his dish. Wood grilled tilapia in a spicy soy broth with shrimp and scallops. It was wonderful. The dish was spicy but not too much and the broth was so good I used the biscuits to soak it up. I eventually asked for a spoon!

The recipe is available at the Red Lobster site but here it is for a quick preview:

Wood-Grilled Tilapia in a Spicy Soy Broth
Serves 4


4 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup chopped shrimp with tails, plus 4 whole, peeled and deveined
1 cup chopped scallops, plus 4 whole
4 shallots, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
16 ounces water
1 1/4 cups chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 carrot, chopped
1 teaspoon hot chile sauce (recommended: Sriracha)
1 tablespoon wasabi powder
4 (6-ounce) fillets tilapia
1 ounce red bell pepper (optional)
2 ounces fresh asparagus (optional)


In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons sesame oil over medium heat. To pan, add the chopped shrimp, scallops, shallots and garlic. Cook until lightly golden. Add the mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar and simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in the water and 1 cup cilantro and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the broth until reduced by 1/3, about 20 minutes. Strain liquid and discard solids. Reserve the liquid. Preheat grill or grill pan. Combine the remaining cilantro, the basil, green onions and carrot in a bowl. Set aside. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Grill until tender and flakes easily. Set aside.

Meanwhile, toss the whole shrimp in wasabi and season with salt and pepper. In a medium saute pan, heat remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium heat. Cook the whole shrimp and scallops until golden on both sides. Set aside.
Place a teaspoon of the chile sauce in the bottom of each soup bowl. Ladle some of the broth into each bowl. Stir to gently mix the broth and the chile sauce. Lay 1 fillet of fish into the broth, then surround the fish with 1 shrimp and 1 scallop. Garnish with chopped cilantro, basil, green onions and carrot. Serve immediately.

20 July 2009

Mosaic Monday


I love using Picasa for mosaics! It doesn't matter how many photos you use and you can write on them!

I am still following Vee's lead about naming what is in the mosaic. Upper left and across: homemade lemonade, homemade pea salad, the Cooksey kids on the hammock, a table runner from my aunt Patsy that I used to decorate the table, cupcakes that were labeled "perfect" by the kids, the Cooksey family-Lee, lime hamburgers ready to grill, Bob grilling lime hamburgers and another hammock scene!

17 July 2009

Foodie Friday-Panzanella


Summer is such a great time to cook! Anyone can be a good cook when so much fresh produce abounds!

One of the best things to make is Panzanella. It is a bread and tomato salad doing what great cooks do... using garden fresh produce and leftovers. Fresh basil from the herb garden and ripe cherry tomatoes from the vegetable garden. Life is good.

You can find the full recipe here Panzanella Salad.

16 July 2009

Breakfast never tasted so good!


As you know, I am at the Lake at a workshop this week. Since it is a work week, I have dedicated myself to getting things done for school so I have not spent any time eating out or anything decadent like that...

...until this morning. I had read a review recently in Southern Living magazine (my all time favorite magazine) about On the Rise Bistro here at the Lake and since it is on my way to the workshop, I promised myself I would try it for breakfast once while I was here.

The food was amazing. It was hard to decide what to get, but I ended up with this:
breakfast flatbread with scrambled eggs and basil sausage and fontina and aged cheddar cheeses with a dijon mustard sauce served with country potatoes and fresh fruit. Top this off with Godiva hot chocolate and it is easy to see why I was in heaven.

And, because the portion was large, I ended up saving half for lunch and got to experience it all over again! If you are at the Lake anytime soon, try this place out. I am dying to get there for lunch: they have lobster pot pie!

15 July 2009

Lazy Days of Summer #4


Baseball is an American institution!

And, I am not talking about pro baseball, either, even though I do love my Cardinals. I think adding the word "pro" takes the fun out of the game. I am talking about street games or American Legion ball or Babe Ruth baseball. Girls softball or even Parks and Rec teams. Bob and I played on a couple softball team all through our 30s. We loved being with our friends. When we left Columbia to move to Jefferson City, this is one of the things that we gave up. Our team was called Bored of Ed. Darling, isn't it.

How does baseball fit into your summer? Do you play pick up games or go to pro games or have a son or daughter who play? Tell us about your baseball teams here! Ashley played softball for three summers and had a fabulous coach. She eventually decided that skating was more her style and we would travel to St. Louis to find an open ice skating rink in the summer. Amazing what we will do to nuture a dream, isn't it!

14 July 2009

At the Lake


I am at the Lake for a week long conference on reading. Although I love to learn, it is hard to give up even one day in my July vacation to work! I compensated for it by having dinner at Panera Bread where I could read my book and look at the Lake. I love the water!

13 July 2009

Mosaic Monday

A good time was had by all!

Happy Birthday, MOM!

I am going to list the photos as suggested by Vee: starting with the upper left: Mom and Aunt Patsy, me, my HS friend Carrie and Tammi, my mom and her Rock On sign!, a cute sign at our hotel, Ashley and me at Lamberts Restaurant, another cute sign at our hotel, Ashley and Nathan, Ashley, mom and Patsy by one of Elvis' cars, Tammi, Patsy, Ashley and mom outside of Spaghetti Warehouse, the guitar shaped pool at our hotel and mom and Nathan!

11 July 2009

Memphis Madness!

Several years ago I got it in my head that I needed to take my mom to Memphis to see all the Elvis stuff. She is a huge Elvis fan (having graduated in the 50s from HS). Then my dad got sick and my mom was his caretaker for five years while he suffered with cancer. He passed away two years ago in March. Somehow I remembered about the Memphis trip and talked to my sister and Ashley about going. They were very enthusiastic. So we approached my mom about going and she said YES. We were worried that she wouldn't go. Then my aunt Patsy was asked to go and she said yes, too! So an all girls trip to Memphis was planned!

Ashley has done a fabulous job of chronicaling (is that a word?) our trip at http://www.ashleyanderic.blogspot.com so you can go there to see our day-to-day agenda and the fun we had.

There are some photos that I want to share with you here, though and I think this photo says it all:

My mom giving the ROCK ON sign!

or maybe this one:

My mom and her nephew, Nathan.

We had an awesome time and on the way home starting planning our trip for next year!

08 July 2009

Lazy Days of Summer #3


It wouldn't be the summer without swimming. As a child I would walk to the local pool and spend the whole day there. I learned to swim, dive, jump, snorkle and generally survive the water at that pool. Bob doesn't like to swim so it has gone by the wayside for me but to this day I love the water.

Do you spend time at the pool? What pools do you go to? Walt Disney Pool, where I spent all my time, is a public pool still in operation today in Marceline. I don't think many people send their kids to public pools anymore.

Outdoor Wednesday!

Roses and Coneflowers...
Striped Zinnias...

Rose of Sharon....

More striped zinnias....
and even more zinnias!
and lovely yellow daylilies!

Although we are in Memphis right now, I didn't want you to miss out on what is blooming at the Steffes house! Enjoy! Thanks to Susan for sponsoring our event!

06 July 2009

Mosaic Monday


I am thinking this will be my one and only post this week... I am taking my 70 year old mother, my nearly 70 year old aunt, my sister and her friend, Ashley and myself to Memphis to do all the Elvis stuff! It's a girls only trip! My cousin Nathan is a Broadway dancer who happens to be performing in Wicked while we are there so we will be seeing him as well!

Enjoy this mosaic of a small town Fourth of July celebration!

04 July 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Remembering those who gave us their lives so that we can
celebrate these freedoms we have. Have a blessed and safe
Fourth of July!

03 July 2009

Kansas City Royals!

Bob and I head to Kansas City to see the Royals play ball against the Chicago White Sox. We stopped and shopped at World Market where we got such good deals on wine, Italian sodas, cheeses, dishes and more! I am sure you will be seeing some our purchases on other posts!

We love baseball and although the Cardinals are our team, we enjoyed seeing the renovations at the field. The fountains are so much fun!

You can sorta see the fountains in the background. Love our Pinto blue? These are my school colors so we wore them to the game since we don't own anything from the Royals!

Can you imagine? Bob wanted a dirt sundae, complete with gummy worms!

The stadium.... lots of things for kids to do, a Hall of Fame museum, lots of restaurants and of course, the fountains!!

We are heading away for the weekend. I'll see you Monday with another post for Mosaic Monday. Hope all of you have a fabulous Fourth of July!!