Pallets! They really are are everywhere, just looking for a home! These nice pieces of wood usually end up in the trash, then on to landfills. But once you get looking for them, they are easy to find. My local appliance store usually has a heap of them near the trash every week. Make sure you check the markings to make sure they are safe to reuse. Also, you can look for freebies on Craigslist or Freecycle.org where you are sure to find them. I had several given to me and stashed on the side of the house, while contemplating how to make them into a succulent garden.
One morning this summer, Tom disappeared for a couple hours, then proudly led me to HIS creation! (I’m thinking maybe he was tired of seeing me hunched over in my garden, hunched over planting pots, then hunched over the rest of the day.) He partially dismantled a couple of pallets to make a usable, wide and deep potting bench. We topped it with a piece of purchased plywood for a total cost of $18. Anyway, here’s a bit of inspiration to re-purposing the ever-available wood pallet!
Tom converting pallets
Lots of storage underneath
New working pallet potting bench
Already loaded with projects
Mix and match succulent creation
- Pallet Ideas (diyconfessions.com)
- Potting Bench (onecarwood.wordpress.com)
- Pallet to Park Bench… (mostlymadeup.wordpress.com)
- How to Make Your Own Furniture from Pallets (ways2gogreenblog.com)
- A Look At Pallet Recycling (larrydkeen.com)
Time to give a refresh to potted succulents past their prime. With the exception of the pink Speedwell ‘First Love’ perennials, all the other plants are cuttings or replants from other areas of the yard. The two-colored aeoium or Saucer Plant is an especially easy to grow succulent from cuttings – old plants make new plants. Cut and dip in rooting hormone (I use Miracle-Gro Fast Root) but don’t often wait for the stem to callus over. Also seen here, an aloe which had outgrown it’s pot. Adding some summer interest like flowers can be a little tricky, as they might require more water than the succulents. Have fun planting! Send us your weekend re-pot.
One of my new favorite places in town is a store called Mak & Jill at the Abode. Formerly Humble Abode, it’s located in a charming Spanish cottage right in the heart of downtown San Clemente. Each room is filled with unique finds, ocean-inspired art, antiques and painted furniture. The backyard is a succulent-lovers paradise with chalk-painted beach chairs, arranged containers, and nautical accents.
The two owners, Mak and Jill, have been friends since childhood, and merged their creative take on interior design and love for everything re-purposed. The place has been transforming week by week into a haven for beach-goers and shoppers looking for items that are unique and non-traditional. They are also stockists of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and offer workshops in furniture painting.
With reasonable prices and tons of inventory, we are wishing them tons of success this summer. If you are planning on coming to San Clemente, this is a great stop. With plenty of restaurants, boutiques, farmers market (Sunday 9am – 1pm) and art show the first Sunday of the month, you can get a lot of beach fun packed in to a few hours.
MaK & JiLL at The Abode
Store Hours: Mon – Sat 10 – 6, Sun 10 – 5
228 Avenida Del Mar,
San Clemente, CA 92672
For more info, you can call the store at 949-303-5460
The new Abode
A sofa full of succulents
Great little finds displayed in the yard
Letters – design your own
Lots of succulents in unique containers
Monthly classes in furniture painting
Great chalk-painted sand chairs
I love Bon Appetit magazine – it helps me to think outside the box and cook things with a little more flair and elegance. Cooking boxed mac and cheese for ten years can really shut you down. While thumbing through a recent issue, it was the photo of the whole cauliflower that caught my eye, not so much the recipe. Here was a whole roasted cauliflower prepared like I had never seen before. Because I am on a lighter diet, I changed it up, left out the sugar, and really modified the goat cheese dip, but it was such a treat! I served it with blackened tilapia and a green salad, a simple dinner but so amazing. You gotta try this!
Here’s my variation, but all the credit goes to Bon Appetit.
- 2 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes1 bay leaf
- 1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed
Goat Cheese Dip
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 4 – 6 tablespoons non-fat greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup non fat milk
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- Coarse sea salt (for serving)
Preheat oven to 475°. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
Using 2 slotted spoons or a mesh spider, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.
Goat Cheese Dip Assembly
While cauliflower is roasting, blend goat cheese, yogurt, milk, and oil in a small bowl until smooth; season with sea salt. Transfer cheese mixture to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil.
Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with goat cheese sauce.
DO AHEAD: Whipped goat cheese can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2013/05/whole-roasted-cauliflower-with-whipped-goat-cheese#ixzz2TJP8eJv1
My garden is overflowing with kale – I’m not complaining! It just gave me more incentive to try a new version of kale salad. This recipe was served at the White House to the Obama’s on Thanksgiving and was written up in the Washington Post. I made it a couple nights ago (it’s perfect for spring time) and it was BOMB! We had some leftovers, which made an amazing lunch the next day – not too soggy and the flavor maybe even better. Having not been acquainted with fennel, it was really a nice addition and not too overpowering. And don’t leave out the fresh jalapenos! I also used regular toasted almonds spiced with cumin and smoked paprika, since marcona almonds are not available at my local market.
White House Kale Salad
MAKE AHEAD: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Whisk to recombine before serving.
For the dressing
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- Juice of 2 medium lemons (about 6 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
- 2 bunches young kale, washed and spun dry, stacked and cut into thin slices
- 1 bulb fennel (fronds, stems and outer layer removed or reserved for another use), cored and thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 scallion, white and light-green parts, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or cut into slivers
- 4 ounces spiced marcona almonds (one cup; see NOTE)
For the dressing: Combine the shallot, lemon juice and vinegar in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad: Place the kale in a large serving bowl. About 10 minutes before serving, add the dressing to taste and toss to coat evenly. (You might not use all the dressing.)
Add the fennel, radishes, jalapenos, scallion, cheese and almonds, tossing to incorporate.
NOTE: Spiced marcona almonds might be hard to find in a store, but you can make your own. Whisk an egg white in a medium bowl, add 1 cup of marcona almonds and toss to coat. Combine 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of smoked paprika in a separate medium bowl. Add the almonds and toss to coat. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes, watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Cool before using.
One of my favorite succulents is called Stacked Crassula. My sister-in-law, Ruth, gave me a one a few weeks ago, and I just repotted it. Stacked Crassula are very hardy and require very little care, and make a great companion to other potted succulents because of their pyramid like appearance. I like how some stand straight and others meander over the side of the pot. Here they are combined with Flapjack or Kalanchoe luciae and blue senechio in an old fashion tin french flower pot. This cost me NOTHING! The gift combined with other slips from the yard – done!
You’ve seen them at yard sales…old tool boxes in all sizes and colors. I love that rusty tin! I had Tom drill a couple holes in the bottom for good drainage, added regular potting soil, and snipped some succulents from the yard. I dipped them in a bit of rooting hormone (I like MiracleGro FastRoot from Lowes) and then plugged them in to damp soil. Don’t be afraid to crowd things in. Looks great in that little corner of the yard or on the patio table.