Panzanella, Potluck Picnic, Picture Frames

We're really enjoying all the perks of summer this week. Do you know what the best part of summer is? Farm fresh tomatoes! Can't be beat. I never loved summer like I love summer with still warm from the sun, big as your head, tomatoes. We make a panzanella or caprese salad and forget all other foods exist. I love The Berry Patch in Stephentown, NY. They also sell their produce at the Troy Farmer's Market.

Then, today we went to a potluck picnic in the Washington Park. It is always difficult to know what to bring. I discovered that we had almost a whole thing of sour cream in our fridge because the strawberry cake I made only required about a tablespoon out of the whole container I bought just for that. I had seen on Shutterbean a sour cream bundt cake, but I thought I would look through a bunch of cookbooks before I decided. Then, I noticed in my Joy the Baker cookbook a very similar recipe that required even more sour cream (bonus!). I made that and people went nuts for it. My friend's husband is one of the most enthusiastic fans of my cooking (see the apple fritters last fall), and he was eating it like he couldn't believe it. I think the story at the front of the recipe said something like "Cake mix if it didn't taste like cake mix" - and that is totally what it tastes like - what you would imagine cake mix would taste like if it was actually completely delicious! Check it out (I added maraschino cherries for aesthetic reasons).

We had a great time at the picnic! Washington Park is so beautiful. I was telling everyone how I asked my friends in Michigan if they experience this whole Albany thing where you invite 20 people over your house and a substantial number of them already know each other in separate ways you knew nothing about, and they said no that does not happen in Michigan.  One of these days I'm going to have to stop being so surprised that everyone in this town already knows each other in all different ways than I know them.

Also, I have been totally obsessed with pictured frames since we got some anniversary photos taken. Christmas Tree shop has crazy cheap frames. Pottery Barn ones are very nice but expensive. You can print your photos on canvas from The possibilities are almost endless. It is maddening. I got to thinking about the Martha-Stewartzing (or Pinteresting if you would rather) of America. I got to thinking about how there is the way you really are, and then the way you imagine yourself in an ideal way. I really enjoyed the book This Is Where We Live by Janelle Brown, and it has really stuck with me. They think they are this super hip couple on the verge of stratospheric success in the arts when really they are ok at what they do, not very grown up, and can't afford their house. What are you trying to express when you choose decorations? That you are hip? That you have impeccable taste? That your home is stable, comfortable, or has some long, historic significance? Are you a cool young couple or just people with a nice house? It really shouldn't be that hard. Anyways, here's some ideas. Hobby Lobby turned out to have some great ones that were reasonably priced. That yellow one in the lower left corner is one of my new ones. It has an old fashioned shape but cool color, yes?

Here are a couple similar ones waiting for their photos.

I also bought the bottom white one because it looked like the one above it that I got from Pottery Barn. That's our wedding invitation.

Now, any more ideas as to what I can do with the following walls? Proves things are going pretty well for me if my biggest concerns are tomatoes, what the hell to bring to the potluck, and how to make my walls look cool!


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