Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Tale of Two Cities / Inspired by travel 07.11.13

“London is a riddle. Paris is an explanation.”
― G. K. Chesterson

Next week my husband, teenage daughter and I head for London and Paris for two weeks. This is our first trip abroad as a family and it is one that we have been looking forward to for some time. During this time I will not be adding any posts (though I may not be able to resist a photo or two) but look for an overview of our experience upon our return at the end of July.

God’s peace, Amy

My Favorite Ways to Celebrate Summer Holidays Southern-style

Summer-time. Long days…relaxing weekends…fresh produce…family and friends….

The Fourth of July holiday combines all of these great things.

Flags Flying Freely

Flags Flying Freely / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

This year we celebrated July 4th the way we have for years. We enjoyed a great meal with a dear friend whose wife and three children were away. Afterwards we took a few pitchers of frozen drinks to our next door neighbor’s house and enjoyed fireworks and conversation with neighbors.

Fourth of July Dinner, blackberry peach cobbler

Fourth of July Dinner / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

We cooked New York strips on the grill–this was the first day that it had not rained in almost a week.

Hydrangeas and flags

Hydrangeas and flags / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Despite my poorly timed pruning this past fall, my hydrangea bushes produced enough flowers for our centerpiece.

vintage American flag

Dr. Billy’s flag / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

This flag once belonged to my stepfather and was flown for many years from the porch of his Charleston house. Given the age of the flag, we prefer to display it inside these days.

Garden & Gun, Charleston Magazine, Local Palete

Keeping current / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

With the fourth falling on a Thursday this year, we were able to stretch out the weekend which allowed me time to peruse three of my favorite magazines: Garden & Gun, Charleston Magazine and Palate.

Edisto tomato pie

Tomato pie / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

With a counter-top full of ripe, home-grown tomatoes, I could not resist making a tomato pie. If you want my recipe, click here.

Boiled peanuts, South Carolina, southern

Boiled peanuts / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

No Southern, summer gathering is complete without freshly boiled peanuts. I picked these up at Ruke’s Vegetable Stand on Mathis Ferry Road in Mt. Pleasant.


Watermelon / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

Watermelon. What else can I say?

Blackberry Peach Cobbler, recipe, Gourmet

Blackberry Peach Cobbler / Photo by Amy Watson Smith, 2013

We finished everything off with a delicious Blackberry Peach Cobbler using the fresh fruit I picked up at Boone Hall Farms vegetable stand. Below is the recipe I used.

Blackberry Peach Cobbler

Gourmet | September 2005
yield:Makes 12 servings
active time:25 min
total time:1 1/2 hr (includes cooling)


  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 lb blackberries (5 cups)
  • 2 lb peaches (6 medium), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole milk


Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Butter a 13- by 9- by 2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish (3-quart capacity).

Whisk together cornstarch and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl, then add blackberries and peaches and toss to combine well. Transfer to baking dish and bake until just bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes.

While fruit bakes, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in another large bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir just until a dough forms.

Drop dough onto hot fruit mixture in 12 mounds (about 1/3 cup each), then sprinkle dough with remaining teaspoon sugar. Bake cobbler until top is golden, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve warm.

Cooks’ note: Cobbler can be baked 6 hours ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Before serving, let stand at room temperature 1 hour, then reheat in a preheated 350°F oven until warm, about 20 minutes.

A cow, a tutu and chocolate milk / 1000 Gifts and Inspiration

Cow close up

#141. Inspired by the absurd

Sometimes you have to look for inspiration. And at other times, it just hits you.

Knowing that this week was a holiday week and that I wanted to spend time with my family and friends, I decided to combine my three weekly posts (1000 Gifts list, Reflection and Inspiration) into one single post. My plan was to write something reflective and inspirational about my gratitude for the freedom we have in our country–something for the Fourth of July. I just had to get inspired….

My  modus operandi when I develop an idea for a post to my blog is to go about my daily routine running errands, doing domestic duties, working, being with my family and friends, etc. but keeping my eyes open and my camera handy. I am constantly on the prowl for the subject of my next piece and never quite know where I am going to find it.

This week was no different. Several things caught my attention and I had a few ideas brewing in my head. One particular event over the weekend was simply full of possibilities…but, alas, I promised the folks involved that it would not end up on my blog (at least not yet).

And then suddenly there it was: inspiration. As I sat at a seemingly endless stoplight I looked to my left and saw it. The Coburg Cow. In a tutu.

If you live in Charleston, SC or are familiar with this portion of Savannah Highway (Highway 17 South), you already know what I am talking about and you have probably seen this icon dressed in all manner of attire. For the rest of you, here is a summary. The Coburg Cow is a three-dimensional rotating sign featuring a cow and a bottle of milk (sometimes chocolate or egg nog) that is situated at St. Andrews Shopping Center on Savannah Highway in West Ashley. The sign was erected for the Coburg Dairy in 1959 and has become a landmark in this city of many landmarks.

I grabbed my camera and managed to get a few shots before the light turned green. Even though the tutu was wet from the days of rain we have had, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the absurdity of the thing.

Later over lunch, my husband suggested that this just might be the inspiration I was looking for this week. We discussed the cow over nachos wondering how many people drove by her over the years? How long has she been wearing costumes? Was it a particular person’s job to dress her or did a team do this? And when? Had anyone ever seen her being costumed on the spot or did they come in the middle of the night? So many questions….Quite a bit of conversational mileage for a silly cow in a tutu.

Inspiration can come in many forms: in the beautiful, the heroic, the creative, the compassionate,…and sometimes in the absurd.