In the summer, in the city

Our little flat on Magnolia Avenue isn't exactly overflowing with green space.  While we are fortunate enough to live on a street lined with giant, old, shady trees, our front yard is completely sloped and the space out back is completely paved.  This means that a would-be green thumb like me has to make do with a few potted plants, and shoving growing things into every nook and cranny that she can.


This year I have a total of 14 (eek!) containers of multiple shapes and sizes, full of as many different kinds of flowers as I could manage.  I hung three large planters over the side of our deck.  The flowers have been struggling a bit due to the severe heat we were having, but this week's cooler temperatures have allowed them to green right up.  And yes, I have a garden gnome.  A garden needs whimsy, okay?  A garden needs joy and laughter.  A garden does not need stupid lawn ornaments, but a garden does need one small gnome named Mungo Boffin of Needlehole.


I also dug up some over-grown hostas along the side of our building to insert some color in the shade.  No one really sees this space but us, but we have to make the best of what little we have.


While this century-old brick patio may not look like a haven to you, it certainly is to us!  It is also a huge chore to keep looking nice.  Well, er, sort of nice.  Have you ever tried to manage the weeds in a century old brick patio?  Trust me, it could be a full-time job.  I do my best.  We have some plants and a fire pit.   It's nice enough for now.


Watson and I sat for several hours on the front stoop tonight.  We've never done that before.  It was really nice out and we got to see the neighborhood pass us by.  Watson is a very active member of the neighborhood watch association.



Whitaker Music Festival

Kyle and I packed a picnic and headed over to the Missouri Botanical Gardens, just down the street from our house.  We met up with some of my classmates and their men to partake in the free concerts that happen every Wednesday night at the Bo.Gs, as I like to call them.



It was the most beautiful night of the summer, so far.  The temperature was perfect, no humidity, full moon, fireflies galore.  It was a super sweet little picnic with my man and my friends.

Plus, I finally got to use my picnic basket.  We got it as a wedding gift, and after nearly 5 years, we finally got to show it off.  It received many oohs and aaahs.  Thanks to whomever purchased it for us.  I can't remember who you are anymore.  I should've taken a picture, it was so pretty.  Next time! Hopefully not five more years...


If we get more nice weather, I would love to go back and do this again.  It was free and full of happy people and it was awesome to enjoy the beautiful, fragrant gardens.  Oh yeah, and some band played, too, but we couldn't hear them.  It didn't matter.  The company was too good.



Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

I cannot believe I have never posted this recipe.  It is a staple in the Bass household, and my absolute favorite fish recipe of all time.  Please make it this week.  We keep tilapia in our freezer at all times.  It's super cheap and easy.  Oh, and fish is actually good for you.  Did you know that? The American Heart Association recommends eating it twice a week.

So, on to the big show. From my own kitchen, here is Broiled Tilapia Parmesan:

1/2 C Parmesan cheese
3 T mayonnaise
2 T lemon juice
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper (optional)
1/8 tsp celery salt (optional)
2 lbs tilapia fillets (4-6 pieces)


1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Lightly grease a broiling pan. *Be sure to use a broiling pan, not an aluminum baking pan!*

2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Spoon cheese mixture over fillets generously. Place in oven and broil for 8-10 minutes or until fish is white and flakey and topping has browned.


Makes 4 servings. That is, if you can bring yourself to only eat one piece. ;)


You and your family are going to love this!