Happy July 4th To You!!


Slim Paley photos

Happy 4th of July weekend to everyone here in the U.S.A.!!


This 4th of July holds a little extra personal meaning for our family this year as my British born and raised, 79 year old father decided he was going to become an American Citizen.
He sent away for all the forms and study material, drove to downtown L.A. early one morning and passed the exam with flying colours (“Jolly good” he said, “They couldn’t wait to adopt me”)  Since his swearing in ceremony last month a small but highly prized American flag sits proudly waving upon his desk- right beside the scrolling screen-saver images of the English countryside. I suspect a mail box flag any day now. A rather amusing tip of the Bowler hat, shall we say, to American Independence!  What possessed him after 15 years of residing here, and many years before that in Canada?  Not sure really, but he’s the first on my side of the family eligible to vote… not to mention participate in jury duty.  And who knows…perhaps if my husband has his way with me (which has been known to happen at least a couple of times 🙂 ) I, too, will be waiving the Stars & Stripes soon!



In the meantime, here’s what my American boys, friends and family will be enjoying along with their burgers, hot dogs and wings;

I found this fun, healthy and unusual salad in Better Homes & Gardens magazine last month.  It’s a perfect summer accompaniment to any picnic or barbeque and can be made ahead.  The burst of blueberries is a delicious surprise!



Corn & Blueberry Salad

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husked

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 small cucumber, sliced

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp honey

½ tsp ground cumin

Cook corn in a pot of salted water till tender, about 5-8 min.

Once cool enough to handle cut the corn from the cobs.

In a serving bowl combine the corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno.

For the dressing, in a screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin and ½ tsp salt. Cover and shake well to combine. Add to the salad and mix well. Let the salad refrigerate overnight up to 24 hours before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

(Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens magazine)




Photo from MAC

What I’ll be wearing tomorrow




What I’ll be drinking…

Mint Tonic

If you love mint (I adore it) it’s the easiest thing in the world to grow in your garden or window box and this is one fabulous and delicious way to get your summer mint fix;

To Make Mint Juice; blend 2 cups of freshly washed mint leaves with 1/2 cup of fresh lime or lemon juice and 1/2 cup of castor sugar (or the equivalent amount in Agave Syrup- not sure how much that would be) in a small blender.

Simply mix mint juice, grapefruit juice (fresh if possible) and tonic water according to taste (Vodka or gin may be added if desperate measures are called for) Add ice.

Note 1) The drink will not be as clear or pretty as the one above as the blended mint floats around in it.

Note 2) Tiny bits of mint can stick to the teeth not unlike it’s leafy brother the spinach particle.

Note 3) Bits tend to stick more if vodka or gin is added but you won’t care as much.



Martha eat your heart out

If your 4th of July festivities find you at the beach tomorrow and someone just happens to step in a spot of tar- no worries! I discovered a magical tar-removing technique a couple of weekends ago when my son came home with a map of India on the sole of his foot (to scale).  I’d  heard that cooking oil was a good option, but I happened to have just cooked up some bacon and had a jar full of left-over fat.  I whipped up the warm fat in a bowl with a little bit of Dawn dish detergent and voila- clean as a whistle in a few seconds!  Just keep the family dog away from the feet for awhile and make sure you label it before putting it back in the fridge.  God- I know Martha is so jealous of me right now.



.Slim Paley photo



Photos from Williams-Sonoma catalogue

Zoku Quick Pop Maker click here

I haven’t tried this machine yet, but I found it calling to me from the Williams-Sonoma catalogue upon our return home. (yes, believe it or not, I’ve had time to glance at a couple of catalogues-who rushes to unpack on a holiday weekend?) It looks fun and easy doesn’t it? Has anyone bought one yet, or am I to be the designated Popsicle Guinea Pig?!



I will be trying this recipe for the adults;

Peach & Prosecco Icepops

3 cups unsweetened white grape juice

1 cup Prosecco (or ginger beer for non-alcoholics version 🙂 )

3 TBLS fresh lemon juice

6 beautiful peaches, sliced

Combine grape juice, Prosecco and lemon juice in a container with a pour spout.  Place 1 or 2 peach slices in each ice pop mold.

Gently pour liquid over peaches to cover.  Secure Popsicle sticks, and freeze for at least 12 hours (if using a normal ice pop maker, less of course if you are using the Zoku! Hence popping $49 for the non-electric popsicle maker)




While we are at the adult table;


Fill a nice tall chilled soda or large champagne flute with small scoops of your favourite lemon or orange sorbet and top with icy-cold sparkling wine. I would garnish it with a small sprig of mint or a thin slice of orange. Everything should be super cold or you will lose too much when it froths up. Add a straw or parfait spoon and serve immediately.  Lemonade may be substituted for the wine at the children’s table.







What could possibly be more old-school Americana than the drive-in movie theatre?

West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-In

Lastly, the BIG news in our small town is after over 19 years of sitting desolate and forlorn out by the local airport (despite my husband’s oft repeated sweet dream when we’d drive by that he would buy it someday!) the drive-in is up and running again! At least for the summer. They are showing Toy Story III right now and we plan on going this weekend. Very exciting.  Sending a big request out to all fellow Santa Barbarians to support this fun new thing to do with the kids.  I think it’s a wonderful idea-Don’t you have such fond memories of going to the drive-In in your footie jammies, car stuffed with pillows and blankets, playing on the swings til it got dark, spying on the teenagers making out in other cars.. Dad driving away with the speaker still attached.

and you just know I will be bringing my own truffle salt 🙂



Wishing you plenty of love and fun and sun this weekend!

And A MILLION THANK YOUS to all the awesome American troops for making this weekend possible for all of us.



  1. Hi Slim
    I wonder how your eye is going after your laser surgery a few months back. I bought a couple of magazines today and remembered you saying you could read mags without reading glasses now which sounds wonderful to me. I’ve gone from being able to read the paper without glasses three years ago to not being able to read anything without my glasses. I find glasses pesky and inconvenient even though they can look cool in a sexy librarian kinda way. I’m entertaining the idea of laser surgery but I hear such mixed reports- mostly that it doesn’t last long term.
    Any thoughts you’d like to share on the subject would be welcome.

    • Hi Chris- I did stop and get some magazines on the way home from the surgery- you are right, but my surgery was actually for distance- in fact, I traded in my perfect near vision in order to improve my distance vision. I was tired of working the sexy librarian look at night, in restaurants, or at a formal event where I would be dressed up but have to wear glasses. I couldn’t find my way back to a table without them. I chose to do mono vision so I just had one eye done. Overall I am happy with it for sure, although if I’m going to be reading (or on the computer) for an extended period of time, I do have a very very low prescription pair of reading glasses to wear now. Inquire about the mono- I figure why not start with just the one? It’s less scary and half the price!

      Happy 4th to you!

  2. Congrats to your Dad; the only person I know with “three citizenships”!! 🙂

    The blueberry & corn salad looks super. Will whip it up next weekend. It’s similar to one I make which has organic black beans and red pepper but no honey or blueberries. I throw in extra cumin and jalepeno.

    The WS in our city was offering samples made from the popsicle maker. They were good but we didn’t see the logic in a machine that only cranks out three popsicles at a time.

    If Martha is reading this, she’s going to be v. envious of your tar removal solution.

    Happy Fourth of July!

    • Oh- she’s reading Slim P. She’s just too shy to comment 🙂

      PS. I tried to sign up for Martha’s cooking classes when she was still married and doing them from her home kitchen at Turkey Hill or whatever it was called- 25 years ago. Sold out! Even then.

  3. Wow – Never thought I would be the featured subject of one of your blogs – but thanks. Why did I decide to become a citizen?????? I think I could go back about 70 years to the time I used to pass an American Army camp on my way to school in Manchester, and the Yanks would hand out sticks of gum and talk with funny accents. I remember listening to a sergeant on parade, calling out names for those with mail – at the time I thought it odd that many of the names were Italian or German or Polish or any number of others I was too young to recognize – but all of them were super friendly. Looking back, I know now that the vast majority must have been just 19 or 20 years old – but at the time I did not think about that – they just looked like soldiers. But I never forgot the experience, and it was most likely the initiation of my interest in everything American.
    In subsequent years I was equally proud to become a Canadian citizen (Canadians too did more than their fair share in WWII – I just didn’t meet any as a boy). So some might judge me as fickle – I now have British, Canadian and American Citizenship. Don’t know about any of your readers, but I cannot think of any nationalities to top those three! As for my recent ceremony, I was proud to pledge my Oath of Allegiance. But, I admit to crossing my fingers when I agreed to bear arms to defend the country – I don’t want to be drafted into the Marines, and Afghanistan has never been on my bucket list!

  4. Thanks for the great 4th of July post…..And thank you Mr. Slim for sharing your reasons for becoming a citizen. I’m tempted to use your recipes–but I’m up early to do my joyful Patriotic duty: homemade blueberry pies and double (maybe triple) rich brownies to share with my ever-increasing brood. I love the 4th of July for so many reason. We are blessed to be Americans–and in our amazing diversity, we need to be more committed than ever to be a conscious and active part of the governing process. That is our Constitutional right and consequent responsibility.

  5. Slim & Granddad

    Congratulations on your new found citizenship. My mother was born and raised in a small town outside of York and until her death would not relinquish her English citizenship (is it called that?) Anyway, she remained faithful to the U.S., even volunteered for the Republican Party every election even though she couldn’t vote. And she didnt have to raise arms as she was married to my father, a highly decorated Navy captain.

    We lost her last year at the tender age of 76 and your story just brought back some really wonderful conversations we would have regarding citizenship. Enjoy your newfound status as an American but I know you will always consider jolly old England as home.


  6. Hi Grand-Slim-Dad,
    Welcome and thank you for your story! Wave that flag!!!!
    Happy 4th of July!

  7. I am a Canadian from British Columbia with roots back in England and Ireland….it’s interesting that it takes years for some to decide to become citizens. My English girlfriend from Kent who has lived over 35 years here only got her papers a year ago!
    The drive in looks like so much fun…we had one here when I was a teenager but it closed and now there sits a shopping mall. You are fortunate that the space was left untouched and it could be reopened.
    Your blog is quite lovely. I especially love your bouquet of roses…I am a gardener and rose lover too!

  8. I found your blog last week and spent quite some time reading the archives. Is there any way you could post twice a day? Your blog is definitely my new favorite. Your travel pics are making me want to go everywhere NOW.

    Congratulations to Grandad. I’m so glad that he’s here, and I love his story.

    Happy 4th of July!

    • Thank you Woodsie!
      I’m so happy you found my blog
      I would love to post more if I could… it’s great fun.

      Welcome and a Happy 4th to you!

  9. The Drive-In….I’m in! As one of four and as little ones we would set up sleeping bags in front of the car to watch the movies. My dad would honk the horn at the scary part.

  10. hi slim,

    congratulations to your dad!

    i have everything on hand to make the BH&G salad. if i have time today i’ll make it and let you know how it comes out.

    happy 4th to you & yours,


    • Thanks Janet,
      I hope you have a great 4th as well,
      And thank you for reminding me of the white gazpacho- we are having it tonight!


  11. Slim-

    What a wonderful post on the 4th.
    I can tell where you got your sense of humor (fingers crossed, LOL) ! Glad to have your Dad as a fellow citizen, I enjoyed his comment.


  12. Well the roses, exquisite. Hard to express how proud we are of our troops out there defending our quality of life, -and how their parents must miss their every smile.
    Lovely memories of the drive-in movies. Have had that salad- one of the most delicious combinations of ingredients.
    Last but not least ‘Way to go Granpa” You are indeed a man true to his bucket list.
    Happy 4th of July everybody.
    Until next time xo

  13. Congratulations Slim-Dad, now you can really “party it up” on the fourth of July…today!
    I’m proud of you for carrying out your decision to become an American citizen, I’ve heard it can be a very long and arduous process, it must have meant a lot to you.
    I can clearly picture your American flag sitting on your desk right beside your scrolling images of the English countryside 🙂

    Great post Slim, if it wasn’t so bloody cold here in Vancouver I’d wander over to Williams-Sonoma and buy a Zoku and start whipping up some Peach & Prosecco Icepops right now, they look delicious!

    love “note 3″….so true!

  14. Congrats to Grandpa!

    We are also going to check out Toy Story III at the drive-in with the kids. We just got a new SUV and can put all the seats down in the back and make it all cozy with pillows and blankets. I won’t have to tell my daughter to “be quiet” constantly like I did when I took her to the real movie theater. And she will have no other option but to stay in her seat. I am looking forward to being able to finish a movie!

    That salad looks delicious! I will have to try it. Just got done boiling 2 dozen eggs to make a tray of deviled eggs for the bbq we are going to. I am trying a variation of the traditional deviled egg recipe that includes jalapeño peppers. Going to try and spice them up a bit!

    Happy 4th to you and your family!

  15. Congratulations to your Dad!
    You guys do days like today and Thanksgiving so well, I just wish we had such special days to bring friends and family together in the UK and Germany too.

    Yes, you MUST buy a Zoku! A friend brought one over from NY recently and it’s been in constant use ever since. The trick is to get lots of extra sticks and freeze a whole load of pops in advance and put the Zoku straight back in the freezer to speed up the process.
    Sweet beetroot and joghurt has been an unexpected success and your delicious prosecco pop is next on my list to try.

    I just love how your blog reaches across the globe and touches so many lives. It must feel great to be responsible for an awful lot of better photos, tougher nails, glossier hair and lots of happy smiles.

    Happy 4th of July!

  16. Happy 4th of July to you and your family Slim. Congrats to Grandad, and wish him a happy first 4th as one of your newest citizens. Thanks for the great recipes, definitely going to try the salad. Great post, beautiful flowers.



  18. Congratulations Slimdad. Can we call him a “triple threat” now. Happy 4th to all of you.


  19. Congrats Grandad, looks like lots of yummy food on the menu, wish I was there, it’s freezing up here in Vancouver. I love the strawberries – even if I’m not American. I have Canadian and Irish Citizenship but would like to get American just to live in the nice warm climate of California.

  20. As a first generation American, and daughter of immigrants, I heard my dad exclaim “God Bless America” almost every day of his life. Congratulations, Granddad on your new citizenship. My dad is sorely missed today, the first 4th without him. If he were here he would be calling you up to congratulate you! Happy Independence Day to all. Xox

  21. Another post that’s a hit out of the all American ballpark!!

    THANK YOU for such fun recipes…..can’t wait to try them ALL! xo

    Congratulations to your darling father….any chance for pictures?

    Drive -ins!!! Let’s bring them all back….such fun memories similar to yours.

    I’m addicted to black truffle salt…..sometimes I just pick up the little shot glass
    I keep it in and smell it. ; )

  22. Along with your dad, my mom became an American citizen about 6 months ago, after moving to the states in 1960!! She’s raised three American children, but for nearly 50 years had no inclination to become a citizen herself. So, I raise a glass to your dad and my mom, who it seems also both grew up in or near Manchester, she in Rochdale. (My mother just turned 80, so maybe they were classmates!) Her citizenship may by American, but her heart is still very British.

  23. Please tell us the secret of your truffle salt. I searched the web and the one most easily available in the UK seems to be white truffle salt by Steenbergs. Which one do you use?

    • Hi Andrea
      I like the Dean & Delucca truffle salt which I stock up on when I’m in NY, although I’m sure they probably sell it online.
      Some truffle salts taste great at first, but then have a yucky long lingering after-taste.
      I believe it’s because they use “truffle ESSENCE” instead of real truffles.

  24. I loved the mint drink idea. Mint is a great plant to plant as a decorative nice smelling plant on urban terraces also. I remember my first movie ever as a wee child is a drive in with the 10 commandments.
    Sitting in the back of the station wagon with the back down. The water going up fascinated me my whole life, watched it every year just for that shot. Now days, its so silly looking but it worked magic then.

  25. this is my favorite of ALL your blogs!!!! I absolutely LOVE those cupcakes. Memorial Day, here we come. And the sandwich. Oh and the strawberries!!! LOVE em, LOVE em, LOVE em!!! Congrats to your dad Slim!

  26. Dear Slim
    I keep accidentally typing “Babe” by mistake. I tagged you for a blog answer thing- feel free to ignore it. Please post Wallis’s gloves asap so I can have a good long look. I am fascinated by Old Wally. I have all the books and love the jewels, the way she kept so slim, how she decorated and the typed up lists of what David would do each day. Makes me sad to think of her so out of it and lonely towards the end though xx

Would love to hear from you!