Sunday, August 31, 2014

Boiled Peanuts - A Southern Tradition

We were driving along Highway 231 headed north toward Interstate 10 on the way home from a Panama City Beach visit  when we spotted "boiled peanuts" for sale along the side of the road.  There were several customers lined up to make their purchases.  I was reminded it has been a long time since I made boiled peanuts and it was time to put them on my "to do" list.

    Then this weekend while driving along the highway
we spotted two more folks selling boiled peanuts.

  Those watermelons looked good too.
You can't let the Summer go by without having delicious, refreshing watermelon.

And, they were selling other Summer vegetables and fruit as well.   These peaches looked so delicious.  We were told these peaches were recently picked in the Fort Valley, Georgia area which is known as the Peach Capital of Georgia .

Driving on up the road on the same day we spotted someone else selling boiled peanuts.  
This person was located just before the Georgia line.

Noted on the sign in the below photo,  Fulford Farms is in 
Monticello, Florida which is a few short miles South of the Georgia line.

August, September and October is peanut harvesting time here in the South.  With football season beginning, what a treat it is to boil some peanuts for a tasty snack for everyone to enjoy while watching the games.

The next day I headed out to our local grocery store with peanuts on my grocery list.  If you notice the top left corner of the label on the package in the below photo you will see where it says "green peanuts."  You can only successfully boil green peanuts.  

All of us are familiar with roasted peanuts like the kind they sell at ballgames.  But, don't be confused and pick up the roasted peanuts in the grocery store.  For delicious boiled peanuts they must be the "green peanuts."

Put the peanuts in a pot large enough to completely cover them with water.  The peanuts will float to the top, but when they begin to boil the water will boil over them.

Cooking Boiled Peanuts

It is hard to tell you how much salt to add.  I started out adding 1/4 cup to the pot in the above photo.  Let the peanuts boil for about an hour, open and taste one to see if you need more salt.  Add more salt if needed and continue to boil for about another hour or until the peanuts are soft and tasty and not crunchy.

When the peanuts began to boil over I realized I needed a deeper pot 
to give them plenty of boiling room.

It worked so much better with this deeper pot seen in the below photo.  This pot gave them a lot more boiling room.

They need to cook at a rolling boil for about two hours uncovered.   Just stir them now and then and if the water level gets too low add enough water to keep them covered.

Boiled peanuts are best when served right from the hot water into a serving bowl 
and eaten while they are still warm from cooking.

If you have leftover peanuts drain them 
because if you don't they will sit in that salt water and become way too salty to enjoy.

If you have leftover peanuts they should be kept in the refrigerator to prevent them from spoiling which they will if they sit out for a day or so.  When ready for another peanut snack take them from the refrigerator, heat them in the microwave for about a minute.  And, it is just that simple!

Probably the best information of all is the fact that boiled peanuts 
have four times the antioxidants of roasted peanuts.

I gathered a few interesting facts from Mr. Google:  Peanuts can be grown in hardiness zones 8 through 12.  The best outside temperatures for planting and cultivating peanuts is about 86 degrees Fahrenheit.   That is why they are so widely grown in the South including the states of Virginia, North and South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico,  with Georgia leading the way in having the largest amount of peanut crops.  However, peanuts are also grown in Russia, Asia, Africa, Australia, India, Spain and South America. 

It is thought that peanut plants were first introduced into the United States when the slaves brought plants with them from Africa.

Back in 1903 George Washington Carver who was a talented botanist saw the value of growing peanuts and rotating the peanut crops with cotton crops.  Farmers in the Southeast listened to his advice and became very successful.  George Washington Carver is considered the father of the peanut industry in the United States.

As you know, it is Labor Day weekend, a good time to boil some peanuts, sit back and enjoy a football game.  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday wherever you may be.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Late Summer Visit to Panama City Beach, Florida

My husband's Collage Fraternity Brothers and their wives meet at Panama City Beach each year during the weekend before Labor Day.  It is so much fun getting together with these old friends who are all transported back in time when they all meet together.  

It is a totally charming, lighthearted weekend full of laughter and the sharing of old memories.  I just sit and watch the amazing treasures of friendships.

Of course I never miss an opportunity to take photos and try to capture some of the beauty of the world that the good Lord has given us to enjoy.   And, how could you find anything prettier than a clear,  calm,  and beautiful day at the beach.

The clear turquoise ocean as seen from the Condo balcony.
What a beautiful day!

 Mike's Oyster Bar and Cafe
17554 Front Beach Road
Panama City Beach, Florida

The group decided to meet for dinner at Mike's Oyster Bar and Cafe.  Our dinner could not have been any better anywhere.  I had Fried Shrimp with Green Beans and Cole Slaw, my husband had a delicious Oyster dinner, someone else had Seafood Casserole, another had Salmon, and then others ordered Steak ... Everything was delicious.

One side of this restaurant serves lunch and dinner,  and the cafe side serves breakfast.

As you can see the day was as clear and beautiful as a day can be.

 These cute and colorful beach houses were located just across from the ocean.

If you are ever in Panama City you do not want to miss a visit to Pier Park.  Pier Park has something for everyone ... There is an amusement park for the children, movie theatre, multiple restaurants, open-air shopping, clubs and entertainment.  You will also find Dillards, J.C. Penny, and Target.

Pier Park
600 Pier Park Drive
Panama City Beach, Florida

One of the streets through Pier Park.

Many restaurants in Pier Park have outdoor seating.

It was beautiful driving along Panama City Beach.

For a casual  drive around the beach there are all kinds of leisure vehicles for rent.

Leaving the beach and driving on into Panama City 
we spotted these beautiful old Spanish Moss draped Oak Trees.

 This sure does look like old Florida.

Driving by the Bay area we saw many sailboats resting at the dock.

It was a delightful weekend and so much fun trying to capture the beauty of the area with my camera.

I hope you had a very nice weekend also, and a nice beginning of your week wherever you may be.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Pretty Hotel

Each Summer my husband attends an annual meeting which is always held in a different city in Florida.  This year the brochure with the meeting information stated the meeting would be held at Grand Lakes in Orlando, Florida. 

Grand Lakes is a 500-acre resort consisting of two hotels which include The Ritz Carlton Hotel, and the JW Marriott Hotel.  Both hotels are within close proximity and both share a conference center,  golf course and lovely tropical landscaping.

As we approached the hotel we passed this very large panther fountain 
surrounded by very tropical looking Palm Trees.

I never knew Magnolia Trees grew as far South as Orlando.
They looked pretty mixed in with the Palm Trees.

How pretty everything was as we enter into the lobby of the hotel.

I asked permission to take photos within the hotel,
  and tried to snap pictures when there were not guests nearby in order to respect their privacy.

 This is a view of the check-in-desk of the hotel.

 Looking across from the check-in-desk we see this lovely,  spacious sitting-room in the below photo.

Another view of the beautiful setting-room.
What a pretty carpet in this room!

Looking out the window in the below photo you can see 
one of the three swimming pools at the hotel.

A closer look.

It was fun to take my camera and try to capture 
some of the beautiful artwork seen all over the hotel.

 All along the hallways there were lovely pieces of artwork and pretty coastal paintings.

 There was such a lovely view from the balcony.

Surrounding the lake you can see the golf course.
And, down below you can see a very inviting looking hammock just waiting for someone to enjoy.

 Driving to and from the hotel we could see these lovely, colorful Caladiums all along the way.

From what I can find out Caladiums are best grown in Hardiness Zone 10.  
They do well in full to partial shade and require a well drained soil.

As Joyce Kilmer stated in his poem Trees,
"Only God can make a tree," and I am sure he would add,  "And beautiful, colorful plants like this."

Continuing our drive, as we were leaving the hotel,  we enjoyed seeing the very
tropical looking landscaping as seen in the below photo.

 It was a special treat to visit this lovely hotel in the heart of the Orlando area.

There were many more pictures of this beautiful area waiting to be taken, but I did not always have my camera with me as we were coming and going.

Thank you for visiting and strolling along with us during our visit to this beautiful central Florida location.

Wishing you a happy rest of your Summertime wherever you may be.