The Perfect Storm for Gazpacho

 I just love the summer months for many reasons but my absolute tip top reason of all is the yummy FRESH vegetables that are available. The perfect storm for making Gazpacho. This cold soup is so refreshing, ridiculously low in calories, and not forgetting to mention vitamin packed.

I like a little heat too and this recipe calls for one entire jalapeno pepper!

Here are the ingredients...

6 fresh tomatoes (Various varieties are great if you can get them.)
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno with the seeds removed and chopped
1/2 cup of low sodium vegetable or tomato juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
1 1/2 packages of Goya's Sazon  Natural and Complete seasoning
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
A little garlic powder if needed 
fresh cracked pepper and a little salt to taste
Scallions, cucumber, cilantro to garnish.

Take the tomatoes and remove the vine hub. Bring pot of water to a boil and carefully place the tomatoes in the pot and boil for about 5 minutes or until the skins of the tomatoes begins to peel. Remove with slotted spoon, let cool and then peel off the skins.

Add the ingredients to a blender placing the cooled tomatoes on the bottom since they are the juiciest. You can hold out one third of the chopped cucumber and pepper if you like a little bit of chunkiness in your gazpacho. Puree the vegetables until smooth and blended. Add in any remaining veggies and chill for 2-3 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, whisk the soup vigorously as the oil and the vegetable juices do somewhat separate. Garnish with scallions, cucumber and cilantro and maybe a little spritz of fresh lime juice.


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
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Beautiful Stenciled Bookcase Wall

As I have already shared with you, I am currently in the process of giving our living room an entirely NEW look. And this process most certainly includes adding a bit of drama and flare to the bookcases flanking our fireplace.

Here is what they looked like before.
(I am just showing you the one side because the other side hasn't been done yet.)

Yawn...pretty boring right?

Well here it is with the wall behind the bookcase stenciled in a bold color.  
(Plus a little rearranging of the bookcase shelves. Would you expect anything less?)

This process was one of trial and error. Before I stenciled I painted the wall white in a semi gloss finish. I liked the idea of having a little bit of shimmer on the wall. I proceeded to paint on the stencil using the same color as on the walls of the room, unfortunately it was way too light and you could barely see it. Then I decided to pick up a sample can of paint at Benjamin Moore in a color called Coventry Blue. (To be honest it is more of a greenish blue.) Yes...now you could see the stencil and it was dramatic! There were a few spots where the blue had bled onto the white. To correct the mistakes I used a small craft brush dipped in the white semi-gloss paint and ever so carefully painted over the blue. It's not perfect but that is OK...it's all about the overall look! 

I was very lucky in the fact that the shelves were removable. This made painting a snap. I also needed to apply two coats of paint so I sped up the drying process with the use of a blow dryer.

As you can see I chose a stencil pattern and a paint color similar to that of the sofa's throw pillows. (I picked up this stencil by Stencil Ease at A.C. Moore for $19.99...the pattern is called Fes)

I love the dramatic effect the stencil has on the entire wall. It looks so much more bright and interesting. Once the wall on the other side of the fireplace is done, I plan to start working on this gorgeous piece.

Hope you all are enjoying the beginning of this wonderful week!

Ciao for now!!

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Look at What Got Dropped Off at My House Today!

We just got home from spending a wonderful afternoon with family down in Pennsylvania, and shortly after we arrived my dear friend's husband pulled into the driveway with this beauty!

She needs a little lov'in but not too much. I want to put her in the living room so I was thinking about a fun funky color and maybe keeping her more on the chippy side.

I love all the pretty detail of the wood. She is in need of a few drawer and door pulls though.

And what gorgeous legs she has!!!
I am so excited to begin work on her I can hardly contain myself!

Thank you so much Colene for your donation to 21 Rosemary Lane's living room project.  

And you were right...she is a beautifully perfect fit!!



Fresh Blueberry and Sweet Basil Dressing

I shared this dressing with you a little over a year ago along with a wonderful red beet and cauliflower soup as part of a post I did on heart healthy and cancer preventing foods. Click here to see the soup recipe.Well now that summer is in full swing and we are smack dab in the middle of blueberry season, I thought I'd share this recipe with you again. It is so worth a second nod.

The dressing includes...

1/2 cup fresh blueberries 
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
2 tablespoons water
half a medium shallot chopped
one tablespoon basil chopped
 1/4 cup of olive oil 
and a pinch of Kosher salt.

Blend all the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender.

 I like to have this dressing with some greens, toasted sliced almonds and a little blue cheese or Gorgonzola. Just toss and you have this fabulous healthy salad with such a unique and delicious flavor

(A note from nurse Barbara...Blueberries are loaded with the antioxidant polyphenol that neutralizes free radicals in the body which can cause cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's Disease. Blueberries are rich in vitamin C too. Olive oil in the dressing along with the almonds in the salad are heart healthy foods. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E and a good source of high quality protein. Almonds can help lower LDL and lipids (fat). Olive oil helps to reduce cholesterol as well as the risk of certain cancers like breast, prostate, endometrial and cancers of the digestive track.)

So eat up those brightly colored foods mother nature has generously provided for us, they are packed with nutrients which can ward of diseases and help keep our immunity in tack.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!



Switching Things up in the Living Room

I'm not sure if it is all the time I have been spending down the shore helping my dear friend Donna paint and decorate her new home, or if it is just simply time to switch things up in our main living space, but I have begun to make a few changes in this room and I am really excited about them!

 I finally decided to paint over the Laura Ashley Sand #5 color which has been on our living room walls for over a decade. And while we always loved the color, it was, well, beginning to get dingy looking and I felt that the room needed to be brightened up a bit.

The color I chose for the walls is Benjamin Moore's Green Cast. Here's a pic of the color in a New Englander Fixer Upper.

I wanted a really fresh color which would also be a nice contrast to the brown slipcovers on our sofa and love seat.  Eventually I plan to replace them with new slipcovers, possibly in a wheat color. 

I like this look from Sure Fit and it is available in wheat.

In addition to painting the room I have begun the process of  dragging my current living room end tables out to the garage so I can strip, repaint and stain them.

I also plan to make over a couple of lamps I already have in the attic. 

As far as window treatments, well I am not really sure. I do love the color of the drop cloth drapes I hung in the guest bedroom, but am tossed up as to whether to go with drapes or something shorter. Or should I chuck the entire idea of curtains or drapes and put up some semi-private Roman shades. Hmmmm....something to think about.

Anyway as it typically goes whenever I am in the throws of working on a room, things can change from one minute to the next, so it is always a surprise for me!

Hope you are all enjoying a fabulous week!



Transformation of a 1970's Formica Countertop into a Granite Beauty

 As you all know I spent this week down at the seashore helping my dear friends Donna and Tom prepare their new beach home for its first set of vacationers. The house was built in 1979 and the harvest gold countertop (cringe) in the rather large kitchen was original to the home. 

And in need of some serious updating.

Donna and Tom love the look of granite but to replace the existing countertops with granite, or any other material for that matter, was way out of budget. As the result of some intense internet research, Donna found a product on line that you can use to paint your existing Formica countertops to look like granite. What did she have to lose...the kit was inexpensive enough and nothing could look any less appealing than the current color of the kitchen's counters. So Donna enlisted my help to see the project through.

After a thorough cleaning, no it was more like a complete scouring, along with some painstaking measures to tape off the perimeter of the counter tops including the faucet area, I rolled on the base coat primer which was in a pure black. Then it was off to the beach for a few hours with the kids!

Once the primer was allowed to dry for a full 8 hours, the top was wiped clean with a dry cloth and then it was ready for step two, the addition of the color minerals needed for the mottling inherent to the look of granite. This was done with a sponge and the three colors which came in the color kit Donna chose.

We decided to keep the counters relatively dark to contrast the pure white cabinets, so the bronze mineral paint was dabbed on in a random pattern and then flecks of the pearl white were added. I also went over the entire surface with the black onyx mineral paint.

After the paint had dried for 4 hours, the surface was sanded down using a sanding block with 600 grit sandpaper. This was to remove any rough peaks which may have formed while the paint dried. Again I wiped down the surface to remove any residual paint dust and then I rolled on a clear topcoat and the countertop was allowed to dry for another 4 hours. This step of rolling on the clear top coat was repeated. After the second application of the topcoat the blue painters tape was removed from the cabinets and back splash. The tape was scored around the sink and carefully removed so not to pull any of the new counter paint off with the tape.

I went ahead and gave the top a third application of the topcoat because Donna wanted a high gloss finish.

Here is the side by side.

I have to tell you how easy this product was to apply and the process is truly idiot proof. But to be honest I did have a few spots where the painter's tape was inadvertently placed over part of the laminate. This was an easy fix using a small crafting paint brush and some of the black onyx mineral paint to cover the unpainted surface. I also had an issue with some of the paint bleeding up from the counter's back splash onto the textured tile of the wall above, but that could have been due to poor tape to surface contact. All I did to fix the problem was to liberally paint over the areas where the black paint had bled with some of the paint Donna used to change the tile color, and then just wipe the excess paint off the back splash with a damp paper towel.

The name of the product Donna and I used is by

Click here for the link. The counter top kit Donna selected was Bombay Black and it retails for $79.95.

The result...Donna and Tom are just thrilled with their new granite countertops! In the next few weeks I will share with you their entire kitchen reno including some startling before photos. This reno, believe it or not, was done for just under $2000!!

Hope y'all are enjoying a wonderful weekend!


 My note: 
This post was not solicited by the Giani Company nor was I offered or did I receive any product in exchange for an endorsement. I just wanted to share this product with you because I really believe it does produce a beautiful faux granite countertop using a clearly fool proof process at an unbelievably reasonable price!



Heading Out For Awhile

Hi Everyone!

Today I am packing up the kids and heading for the beach for a few days to soak up some Jersey shore inspiration and to help my best gal pal Donna as she continues to work on her new beach bungalow.

But I did want to share with you something I have started to work on in our living room. The other day I posted my summer coffee table vignette and it really inspired me to make a few changes in the space. 

I decided to take the summer beach inspired look of the coffee table into the rest of the room. In an effort to do so, I have begun to edit out all of the red accents that have been in the space for the past almost 12 years. 

Then yesterday as I was rummaging around in the basement I found this picture which came with Mr. Rosemary Lane when we moved here in 2002.

It is actually a fairly large piece and fits over the fireplace mantel perfectly. I think it would be a rather dramatic focal point in the room.

Also yesterday I took a little liberty with an old floor lamp and some spray paint.

And she got a new shade to boot! 

I have a few more ides up my sleeve to give the room a freshened up feel and a little touch of a beachy vibe. So now it is off to "da Beach" for us and I will be back soon!

In the meantime I wish you all a wonderful week.



Simple Summer Coffee Table Vignette

For this vignette I wanted to keep things light and very simple because we really do use the living room in our home as the family room, so this road side find table gets A LOT of use. 

I brought in from the back patio two pretty wire candle holders I bought last summer at the Christmas Tree Shops, and paired them with the wine cork serving tray I made a couple years ago. (To read how the wine cork tray was made just click here.)

An inexpensive somewhat beachy looking faux arrangement was added to the tray along with a small coordinating starfish. I then placed a pretty piece of blue glass in the way of a small vase on top of a stack of summer issue decorating magazines. I love to peruse through them while enjoying a little kid and hubby free alone time.

I am really liking the soft blue in this space...I may have to shop my home for more blue to add to the rest of the living room!

Wishing you all a great start to your weekend plans!

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