Mother’s Day in the Garden

Mother’s Day in the Garden

Happy Mother’s Day


Gordon and Julie

Mother’s Day 2015


I wanted to include a few Mother’s Day holidays over the last couple of years in this post, see down below. 

But I did want to feature our wonderful Mother’s Day weekend that we had last year where we focused on our garden.  I love spring, flowers, butterfly’s, birds, and everything green that spring brings.

Our herb garden plays a big role in our lives.  It’s not only beautiful but it gives us health as we incorporate as many herbs as possible into our daily meals.

Mother’s Day isn’t about going out to eat at some expensive restaurant.  It’s about spending the day, or the weekend, with special people and doing the things that you love to do.

I hope you have a very special Mother’s Day and I hope you will enjoy reading about mine.



May 2015

Photos From Our Mother’s Day Weekend

What a great day!

I had an excellent Mother’s Day weekend.  Gordon and I started by putting our herb garden together on Saturday afternoon.  Actually this is mainly my project that I work on every year but because we have been so behind on projects for 2015, we have been helping each other to catch up.

I did all the prep work in advance so that all we had to do was to plant everything.  I even added some new herbs to our garden this year.  Shopping for everything is the fun part.

Planting All Our Goodies

I always like a mix of herbs and flowers.

Planting Purple Basil

Whew!  Is it ever HOT!!!

Our Finished Herb Garden for 2015

Click Here For:  Backyard

You Can See Our Progress


Mother’s Day Italian  Dinner

Next comes the delicious and HEALTHY part. 

Adding these lovely herbs to our food and drink.

Cocktail anyone?

Limoncello Cocktails

Limoncello is a lemon liqueur imported from Italy.  It can be a bit pricey but this was a special occasion…..

To create this cocktail we just chilled a bottle of Limoncello, (I do not have the bottle pictured here), then we added some lemon-lime sparkling water, and the last of our Italian volanic lemon juice (pictured above with a sprig of my lemon tree leaves from our backyard, coming out of it).   I sliced a few limes and lemons and added them to the pitcher, as well as some sprigs of our new lemon thyme herbs.

I like using the Italian Volcano 100% organic lemon juice because it has an excellent taste.  Made from the organic Sicilian lemons that grow near Mt. Etna Volcano in Italy.

Shh…….  That’s my secret ingredient.

Looks Very Pretty and Summery

Not to mention, refreshing.

I also added some basil to the drink.  Not just for decoration, be sure to eat it as well.


Mother’s Day Italian Dinner

This was a new recipe that we wanted to try and as usual we always change things around and gear it toward our health needs.

Zucchini Stuffed Pasta Shells

Topped with our new Purple Basil as well as our Green Basil

As usual with all of our food we pack it full of our herbs from our garden.  Above on the rustic whole wheat Italian bread I’ve added some fresh oregano and chives.  I also added some of our new lemon basil to the stuffed shells giving it a hint of a lemon taste to the dish.

The base of this dish is my homemade spaghetti sauce, or red sauce as they say in Italy.  Into my “red sauce” I add lots of herbs, mainly our own chives and Italian oregano.

Before and After

Although very hard to tell the difference in these two photos, I added my “magic ingredient” and it changed the color of my sauce from red, to orange.  So what is my magic ingredient in addition to my herbs, you may ask?


We put it in most everything because turmeric kills cancer cells, so eat up!

If you have an Indian grocery store near where you live then you can buy a huge bag for just a few dollars and it will last you a long time.

I added about a teaspoon full here.  It is a very bland spice and will not affect the taste of your food.  I also add it to simple things like chicken salad and egg salad.  It gives the salads a lovely golden color.  But here it brightened my red sauce into a beautiful orange.

NOTE:  It is good for women to eat two cooked tomato dishes per week, such as a spaghetti sauce or a bruschetta or some sort of stewed tomatoes.  Good for our breasts.

Our 2015 Mother’s Day Dinner

Italian food is beautiful and very healthy for you.  Usually tomato based.  In addition to our stuffed shells we also have an excellent artisan salad with sliced mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, roasted pine nuts and topped with shaved Parmesan cheese, and a healthy Italian dressing.


If you would like to recipes to our Mother’s Day meal above, as well as some other nice Italian foods:

Click Here For:  Gordon and Julie Italian


The Appetizers

I added some pretty vine tomatoes as decoration to the table as well as pretty grapes.

Olives with feta and stuffed red peppers with a spicy hot goat cheese.

Bruschettas with little Parmesan toasts that we made out of a stale whole wheat baguette, as well as store bought bread sticks that I placed in my Buca di Beppo souvenir glass.


And to think, it all started here, in our garden.

Chives and Italian Parsley

Lemon Thyme

Italian Oregano and well as regular Oregano

Basil Leaves

Purple Basil


Our Herb Garden is our Inspiration

The base of a healthy meal.

Gathering the Herbs

Wash the Herbs

Then you eat them!

You know, fresh herbs are cancer killers so why not incorporate more of them into your daily meals?  If I can do it, then so can you.

I was brought up to view food as medicine, because that is what it is.

You know when you were a little child and you got sick, your mother gave you this nasty tasting spoon full of medicine that you choked down and it tasted horrible but then later on you felt better?

Well, that is what food is.  I will sometimes eat something that I don’t like but I know that it is good for me and it will make me feel better later on.

It’s my medicine.

I want to have a good quality life and that starts with good health and healthy foods.  Problem is that we live in the age of cancer.  Well, there are things that we can do about it.

We’re mother’s so let’s educate our children and grandchildren on how they can be healthy too and survive in this age of unhealthy.


Mother’s Day Leftovers


Limoncello Gellato with Sugar Free Lemon Cake

Gellato is Italian ice cream.  It is superior to our American version of ice cream because ours has more air in it than theirs does.  Gellato is spectacular, for lack of a better word.

In the photos above I placed some limoncello gellato in an ice cream dish with some lemon cake and a slice of lemon as a garnish.  I also grated some fresh lime over it to give it that nice green flecked finish.

We also had a chocolate roll cake with some chocolate chip gellato.


My Gifts

To me the best gifts are those where someone does something for you.  I do love flowers and cards but I also love it when Veronica and Brodie would wash my car as my Mother’s Day gift.  Or give me a foot rub.  Or clean my bathroom.  I don’t like them spending their hard earned money on me.  I would rather they save it for their futures.

BUT, seeing as how I didn’t get a foot rub or my car washed, or my bathroom cleaned, they did buy me some lovely things.

I’m not complaining.



Mother’s Day Part II

Gordon  and Julie in the Backyard

(We’re obviously very proud of this little patch of our yard seeing as how we keep taking pictures here.)

Veronica took these photos of us on Sunday when she and Brian came over for dinner.  This year is our 30th. wedding anniversary, though not until June, it is hard to believe that we have achieved a milestone that not many people are able to make it to.

Trust me, it was not an easy ride!  But I think the secret to staying married is to genuinely like each other.  I think couples who laugh a lot stay together.

Gordon and I are very Goofy and proud of it!

Have a super-duper day!



May 2015

Flashback Friday Mother’s Day Edition

My mother emailed me last Saturday and told me to expect something heavy in the mail on Monday.  I figured that it would be something like this, a photo album full of my childhood pictures.  Although this album is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m from a family of photographers that snap away at anything that moves, and has ever since before I was born.

Me above, and me and my mother, below.

These photos were taken at my grandparents house.

I was thrilled to receive this album as I have been begging my mother for years to give me the photos.  She compromised by making me copies.  Hey, I’ll take it!

I did enjoy strolling back in time and looking at the photos.

Seeing photos of my mother pregnant with me.

Fun pictures of birthday’s past.

My mother was right!  I DID get an Easy Bake oven one year for Christmas.  To be perfectly honest, I couldn’t even remember it.  We moved around so much during my childhood that I don’t even know where we are living in that photo above.  Rome?  Atlanta?  Gainesville?

However, the next two photos I ‘DOO’ remember well.

The Beginning Obsession With My HAIR (DOO)

Hair Drying While Eating Ice Cream in  a Cup

You can just see the change in my mood when I like my hair.

Strolling Down Memory Lane

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever,


p.s.  I still like eating ice cream out of a cup.





It’s just not a celebratory holiday without a bottle of bubbly poured into something pretty and vintage.










Mother’s Day at the Beach

I’ve been asked what was the best advice my mother ever gave me? 

She once told me to “Stay away from charismatic people because they can get you to do anything.”

I agree,



My Mother’s Day Breakfast

Eggy in a Basket

We started the day off at the condo with one of our most favorite breakfasts, ‘eggy in a basket.’  It’s just an egg cooked in a pan in some butter in the center of a slice of bread that’s been hollowed out, on the stove.

We first learned of ‘eggy in a basket’ from the movie V for Vendetta.  Natalie Portman is served one by V.  It’s one of our most favorite movies.  So every November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, we have ‘eggy in a basket’.  This particular week is Brit Week, so this is our little homage to the British.  One thing though.  You have to say ‘eggy in a basket’ with a British accent, otherwise it’s just an egg in some bread.  Boring.


My Mother’s Day Cake and Ice Cream

(Luncheon Dessert)

my Mothers Day cake_small

Isn’t it beautiful?  Here is how I did it.


summer beach balls_small

Julie in the Condo Kitchen

making the coconut ice cream balls_small

Forming the ice cream into balls and rolling them in colored coconut.

ICB 2_small

Prior to this stage we had divided coconut into 3 different bowls and added food coloring to each one.  Yellow, pink and blue.

It was then easy to scoop out some vanilla ice cream and roll each ice cream ball into the colored coconut.  Sometimes I did need to pack the coconut around the ice cream.  Once you do that you very quickly put them into the freezer.

freeze them_small

Don’t they look great?

I heart vanilla_small

I Heart Vanilla

white hydrangeas_small

Beautiful white hydrangeas and some lovely vintage violet dessert plates that I found at Goodwill. 

A lovely setting.


My Mother’s Day Cake

 The white coconut cake in the center is a Pepperidge Farm cake that I bought frozen at the commissary.  This cake is a vintage memory to me.  My Grandmother loved this cake and I grew up with her always having one in her freezer.  So whenever I eat one I always think of her and how much she loved them.  The yellow, pink and blue balls above are the sugar free vanilla ice cream balls that I rolled in coconut and added food coloring to.  Don’t they look nice?  I also added some pink orchids and some of our mint from our garden.


Gordon on the Grill

We had the best dinner.  Grilled lobster with an herbed butter, grilled crab halves, grilled corn on the cob, grilled veggie kabobs, and grilled Japanese eggplant.  It’s longer and thinner than regular eggplant.

Corn on the Cob and Veggie Kabobs

Grilled crab and grilled lobster.  Can you believe that little portion of lobster above was $50.00?  The commissary was out of lobster so we visited the Asian supermarket.  Normally they are very reasonable but this was pretty expensive.  It is from Canada.  If we don’t know where seafood comes from then we don’t buy it.

Now a days we have to do our homework before we go shopping, until all those regulations are back in place where they belong and all our food is safe for consumption.

Looking for Driftwood

So while Gordon is grilling up a storm above I am in the back mangroves looking for driftwood along the intracoastal waterway.  I found some nice pieces too.

On the Beach at Sunset

Barefoot Champagne of Course

Beautiful Sunset

What a great ending to a great day! 

My Mother’s Day at the beach.


Julie md option garden 3_small

Happy Mother’s Day,



If you would like to check out our other Italian food posts…..

Julie’s Italian Appetizers and Edible Gifts


Gordon and Julie Italian Seconda Parte 2


Cool Refreshing Summer


Father’s Day Pizza Party


You Say Tomato


Edible Gifts:  Italian, Greek, and Irish


Pasta, Pasta, Pasta


Autumn Pasta


Italian Naan Pizza


Gordon and Julie Italian


Italianate Tre


Gordon and Julie