Potting Bench from Pallets

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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!

 

 

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Potted Succulents

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Potted Succulents

 

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.

Mak & Jill at The Abode – San Clemente

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IMG_0796One 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

:: Our Bungalow Wins + Features From Around The Web! ::

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Congrats to our friends at Hobie and Tuvalu for the beach bungalow win! Love their San Clemente beach style.

Tuvalu Home

Feature Friday

tuvalu-hobie-cabana-4 The Hobie and Tuvalu bungalow is voted the favorite! All of the invited guests voted between the five bungalows designed by Billabong, Fox Head Inc., The Sleepy Hollow Group, gorjana & griffin and, yours truly, Hobie and Tuvalu. We absolutely loved how our bungalow came out and are very pleased that Pacific Edge Hotel’s guests get to enjoy it! We owe it all to our designers Laurie Alter and Wendy Grand Pre who did an amazing job reviving the bungalow and giving it new life!

If you haven’t had a chance to see our bungalow project, you can see more here! Also check out some features from around the web on the bungalows! Click on any of the pictures below to read more! Happy Friday!
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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Goat Cheese Dipping Sauce

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IMG_0657I 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.

Ingredients

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 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)

Preparation

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 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

Spring Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts & Chicken, & Pear Mustard Dressing

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ImageYou know some of us bloggers – you hear nothing for weeks then boom! Blogger frenzy! I’m just in a salad/low calorie/lose a few pounds mode, so I am making a lot of soups and salads. Spring always provides some good fresh ingredients, like pears! When you buy what’s in season, you sometimes end up with a 10 pound bag of whatever from Costco, and that’s exactly what I had, along with a huge container of fresh baby spinach. I used a similar recipe from Whole Foods, but made some subs and changed it up a bit. ENJOY!

Spring Spinach Salad with Pears, Walnuts, Feta and Cucumber

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 Anjou pears
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon deli-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 pound spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 4 ounces low fat feta cheese
  • 1/2 large english cucumber, sliced
  • Optional: shredded rôtisserie chicken
Chop 1 pear and slice the remaining two. Put chopped pear, oil, vinegar, mustard and honey into a blender and purée. If needed, stir in 1- 2 tablespoons water to thin for a pourable dressing. Put spinach, onion, walnuts, feta, sliced pears, cucumber and dressing into a large bowl and toss gently to coat. Plate and top with a toasted walnuts and handful of shredded chicken. Serve immediately.

White House Kale Salad

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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

6 servings
MAKE AHEAD: The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Whisk to recombine before serving.

Ingredients:

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
  • Salt
  • 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)

Directions:

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.

Serve immediately.

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.

Stacked Crassulas!

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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!

La Casa Verde!

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Repurposed – Grampa’s Old Toolbox

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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.IMG_0433 IMG_0432