Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sweet Tomatoes' Broccoli Salad

According to my blog stats, one of the most frequent searches that lead people to my blog is the  Sweet Tomatoes’ broccoli salad recipe I posted right before Memorial Day two years ago  so I thought I would post the recipe again and participate in the Home May’d Recipe party going on over at Southern Hospitality.

In the past year, I have made this recipe many times.  It’s quick, easy and it always gets rave reviews. 

Here’s my original post from May 2009…

I have a delicious recipe to share with you this week.  If you are going to, or hosting,  a Memorial Day get-together this weekend, it would make a wonderful side dish to add to the menu!

First, a little history about this recipe …

Here in Florida, we have a restaurant chain called Sweet Tomatoes.  These restaurants  are also in approximately 14 other states so some of you may have eaten at one.  (You can go  here and type in your zip code to see if there is one close to you. )

For those of you who have never been to a  Sweet Tomatoes restaurant, it is an all-you-can-eat salad buffet featuring fresh vegetables, salads, made-from-scratch soups, muffins and breads, and hot pastas.

One of my favorite salads is their broccoli salad, which I am told is called “Joan’s Broccoli Madness,” so recently  I went searching the web for a copycat recipe.

The list of ingredients is fairly simple:  fresh uncooked  broccoli, red onion, bacon, cashews, raisins, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and sugar.

IMG_1877 broccoli salad #1

Because it was more economical than buying a box of raisins and a can of cashews, I elected to use a pre-mixed Trail Mix instead.  It contained the cashews and raisins  the recipe called for but there was also a variety other nuts and seeds in it, which I liked.  When I make this salad in the future, I will definitely use the Trail Mix again but I also want to add some golden raisins. 

Chopped broccoli, red onions, crispy crumbled bacon and the trail mix…

IMG_1889 broccoli salad #2

Mix in the dressing, chill and enjoy. 


IMG_1895 broccoli salad #3

At first, I thought this recipe might be rather labor intensive with all the chopping.  However,  I had everything all chopped up in minutes…even before my bacon was done cooking in the microwave.   It truly took minimal effort to make this broccoli salad and it was just as yummy as what Sweet Tomatoes serves.  It has definitely earned a spot in my file of favorite recipes!

I’ll be making it this weekend.    Be sure to let me know if you try it!


Serves 6 to 8


1 bunch fresh, raw broccoli, washed and cut into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup (4 to 5 strips) cooked bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup dry roasted cashews **

1/3 cup raisins **

1/4 cup fresh red onion, finely chopped


1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place the salad ingredients into a large bowl and gently toss till mixed.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth. 

Add dressing to salad, mix well, and chill. 

**Note:  in place of  cashews and raisins, I substituted  about 1/2 package of “Nuts, Seeds & Raisins”  Trail Mix by Planters.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Resuscitation of an Ancient Ironing Board

Even though I’ve still got  painting,  furniture arranging and accessorizing to do, pictures to hang, a partially done front porch,  another bathroom that needs remodeling, and more than a couple boxes to unpack from the move to the house in Hooterville, I recently decided to take a break from all those bigger projects do a little makeover on my ironing board.

I got married eons ago…waaaaay back in 1972 when avocado green, harvest gold  and burnt orange were the popular colors.  One of the wedding presents I received was an ironing board with orange legs.  

Over the years, I’ve changed the cover several times but it was in dire need of being replaced again.   (Tell me, how does the cover manage to get scorched but not the fabric that’s being ironed???)  In fact, with scratched legs, and 2 missing rubber caps on the feet, the whole ironing board was actually looking more than a bit  rough and ragged. 

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For quite a while, I’ve been thinking about  buying a  whole new ironing board…one with pretty white legs…but after all these years, the frame of this one is, believe it or not, still structurally sturdy and stable  so my penny-pinching thrifty self just hadn’t parted with the money yet.

While browsing in  TJMaxx recently, an ironing board cover jumped right into my shopping cart.   It’s  predominately shades of aqua, teal and hot pink. 

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As soon as I put the  new cover on the old frame, it became immediately apparent how badly those orange legs clashed with the cover.  Now in reality, nobody sees my ironing board but me  and I guess it’s not the end of the world if the colors of your ironing board frame and cover don’t compliment each other  but I wasn’t willing to look at those ugly orange legs another day.  Thirty-eight + years was more than enough for me!  ;)

I turned to the ultimate, CHEAP  fix-all…spray paint…in a lovely shade of pink called “Watermelon.”



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This was a quick, easy, fun, and inexpensive  little project.  For the nominal cost of the cover, 4 new rubber feet and some spray paint, I’ve now got an ironing board that is both pretty AND basically good as new.  It should last me another 38 years… give or take  a few. 

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I’m probably going to be away from the computer for the rest  of the month.  Next week the “pink and girly” guest room is having its first guest…a very special guest!  She arrives Tuesday and will be visiting me for a week.    We’re going to have so much fun!  After that, my hubby is taking a couple weeks off from work so we can accomplish some of the projects that still need to be done around the house and barns.

See you soon!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Sometimes It Pays To Be Indecisive

Earlier this week, while I was checking out the HomeGoods store closest to the house in Hooterville,  I spotted a cute wooden bench.  I’m still working on decorating our bedroom and I’ve actually been considering putting  a small scaled bench on  the  short wall next to one side of the bed.


The price tag was $149.99…not a bad price by any means, but still a little more than I wanted to pay, particularly since the dark wood finish was going to require painting to fit in with the light and airy beachy look I’m going for in the bedroom.   The  finish on the bench also had some cosmetic “boo-boos,” which didn’t concern me in the least because  I was planning to paint it anyway, but inasmuch as it wasn’t perfect,  I considered asking if they could do any better on the price.  At best, I just assumed they would probably only knock 5 or 10% off the price so I didn’t even bother to ask.  I just decided to pass on it.

Well, as I’ve so often done when there is something I am indecisive about, once I was home I continued to think about the bench and how perfect it would be for where I want to use it, so yesterday I decided to make a trip back to HomeGoods.  I had made up my mind I definitely wanted it and was prepared to pay full price for it… if it was still there. 

I made a beeline straight for the spot where it had been sitting a couple days before and my heart sank when it wasn’t there.   I scanned the furniture area and spotted it several aisles over.   As I got closer, I realized it now had a big red CLEARANCE tag on it…


SOLD…to me!

Sometimes I get so aggravated with myself when I can’t make a quick decision but hey, I’m a Virgo…through and through to my very core.  Before a Virgo plunges into anything and makes a decision, they need to take their time to analyze, analyze and REanalyze all the facts, know all the details,  consider all the pros and cons.   As a rule, we Virgos are NOT impulsive people.  Fortunately for me, this is one time this frustrating Virgo trait  really paid off,  saving me $50.00!

IMG_3103 (C&E)

The bench really is  the “purfect” size for where I wanted to use it and it will be the “purfect” place to toss the decorative bed pillows at night.  (I don’t like  throwing them on the floor.)    Interestingly, Bitty, our calico kitty,  didn’t have any problems deciding she liked it.  She has given it her seal of approval!

IMG_3105 (C&E)

Now that I’ve made the decision to buy the bench,  I just need to make a decision on  what color I want to paint it. 

Bitty suggested lime green…like her eyes.

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