Monday, March 31, 2014

Baked Green Bean Fries

 

 

 

I found an interesting and new appetizer to take to my Bunco group this past Friday and everyone loved it. When deciding on an appetizer for a Friday during lent, you have to keep in mind that people don't eat meat, so a vegetable was the perfect choice. These Baked Green Bean Fries may also be the perfect healthy snack - crispy, even though they are baked and not fried and just the slightest kick from the cayenne pepper.

We had a great time at Bunco, even though a little distracted by the two Michigan teams playing in the NCAA tournament that night. Unfortunately, even though both teams won on Friday, Sunday did not go as well. We were sad to see MSU lose to UConn and my daughter Megan was sad to see U of M lose to Kentucky. No final four trip this year, for either team.

But, today is opening day for the Detroit Tigers, an unofficial holiday in Detroit. The sun is shining, temperatures will reach the 50's and spring has finally arrived. And, a summer of baseball awaits.

Happy Monday!

 

Recipe for Baked Green Bean Fries


18 fresh green beans, rinsed

1/4 cup flour

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko, but you could use regular)

cayanne pepper to taste ( I used 3 shakes)

2 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp seasoned salt

1/8 tsp. cracked black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place flour in shallow bowl, egg in another shallow bowl and bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Add spices to bread crumbs and mix well. Prepare green beans by dipping each in flour, then egg, and finally bread crumb mixture. Place on a cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, until crispy. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping. Enjoy!

 

{Linking with these friends}

 

Sunny Simple Life (From The Farm)

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Mom's Test Kitchen

Between Naps on the Porch

Jennifer Rizzo

Savvy Southern Style

 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fashion Friday - Scarves

 

 

Now that the weather is warming up a bit, my wardrobe begins to change, especially the scarves I wear. I put away the heavier knit scarves and pull out the soft, light, flowery ones; not for warmth any longer, but for the pretty they bring. This pretty floral scarf was a gift, perfect to wear for this spring season.

I like to have a range of patterns and colors that I can pair with a simple, solid color top. My favorite scarf and a slimming black knit top, paired with skinny jeans and flats and my spring look is complete. The colorful scarf brightens my face, as well as my spirits.

To add to my scarf collection, I did a little shopping for all of us and put together this list of pretty, soft infinity scarves for spring. All are from Nordstrom and all are so pretty, I don't know how I will ever decide. I love the Sperry scarf with the anchors - so cute for spring and summer. Maybe I'll just have to order them all :-)

 


 


 


 

 

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

 

 

 

I did a little Easter and spring decorating at the end of last week, along with some spring cleaning. It feels good to freshen things up a little, sweep away the cobwebs and attack the dust. The spring sunshine streaming in my windows is very nice, but it also shows a little cleaning is in order, after the long winter. Soon, I will be able to open some windows and that will feel wonderful :-)

 

 

While I have been walking all winter, when the weather allowed, I can't say it has been my favorite activity. With all the snow, I haven't been able to walk the paths through the woods, but have been sticking to the streets in my neighborhood. I need a change of pace and a different view. Imagine my delight to see that the snow on the paths is beginning to melt and grass is visible on the sides. Soon, my puppy and I will be taking our old familiar routes though the woods, while nature changes from winter to spring all around.

 

 

This Sunday, a new season of Call The Midwife begins and I am looking forward to it so much. When we last left the midwives, the convent was closing and things were left unsettled. It is a wonderful show with well written characters and I think I enjoy it as much as I enjoy Downton Abbey.

 

Did anyone else receive the email from Amazon this week with news of a refund? It stems from a Kindle price fixing lawsuit against the publishing houses and the judgement went in favor of readers like us. I will happily enjoy my credit for Kindle books I order, as long as it lasts!

 

Happy Thursday!

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Nests and Burlap

 

 

 

It's funny how an idea for a DIY project occurs. Often for me, the inspiration comes from a different place than where I originally started. My plan was to make a new spring wreath and I went to Michaels for inspiration. I had a vague idea of pussy willows, but was disappointed in the quality of those offered.

Then, I spotted these sweet bird's nests. They were perfect for spring and I knew I could think of a way to use them, just not necessarily in a wreath. The idea came to make a door hanger by placing the nests in a row, on some burlap ribbon. So simple and an awesome way to achieve the natural look I wanted.

 

 

Simply take a length of wide burlap ribbon and cut the bottom into an inverted V shape. Fold over the top of the ribbon 2 inches, insert a length of twine and use a glue gun to secure in place. Tie a knot in the twine to form a hanger. Use the glue gun to place the nests on the ribbon, spacing them evenly and making sure they are secure.

This door hanging will be a sweet, natural addition to my spring decor. Not the original plan, but better :-)

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Diana Rambles

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Stonegable

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

3 Ingredient Scones - Pinterest Success {28}

 

 

 

 

I am always intrigued by recipes that sound too easy to be true. When I saw this recipe for 3 Ingredient Scones, I pinned it, thinking I would try it one day, just for fun. Waking up, in the mood to bake, today was the day!

As I gathered the three ingredients and started to measure the flour, I was skeptical that the dough would come together. Following the recipe was easy, but I felt that the result was a little sticky to work with, so I added about 1/4 cup flour to the mixture. This did the trick and the dough ball was the perfect consistency to turn onto a floured surface and form into balls.

 

 

These are simple scones, not sweet at all, but perfect with the addition of my Easy Freezer Blueberry Jam. A recipe may sound crazy, but, it's always fun to get in the kitchen and give it a try. Flour, cream and a can of soda, really can make a delicious scone :-)

 

{Linking with these friends}

 

Sunny Simple Life (From The Farm)

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Mom's Test Kitchen

Between Naps on the Porch

Jennifer Rizzo

Savvy Southern Style

 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Morning Reflections

 

 

 

It's Monday morning and I am in need of a large cup of coffee to get me going today. I definitely am on basketball overload, after a full weekend of the NCAA Tournament. The highlight was going out to a bar on Saturday night to watch my MSU Spartans play their 3rd round game, against Harvard. It was a fun atmosphere, but it ended up being a little closer than we would have hoped. There were cheers all around when the game was over and now it's on to the sweet sixteen at Madison Square Garden. We also got to spend some time with my sister and brother in law, which is always fun. My tournament bracket is limping along - the same as most people. It was a weekend of upsets, but my final four is still intact, so I'm happy about that :-)

 

 

My puppy turned three on Sunday and I can't believe how fast time has flown since we brought her home. She constantly makes us laugh, with her quirky personality and is the best walking buddy around.

 

 

After tryouts for the 2014 - 2015 MSU Pompon team over the weekend, my daughter Melissa begins her final year as a member of the team. She will be a senior and it will be her 4th year on the team. So many wonderful memories and experiences for her and many more to come in her senior year.

 

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Book Club

 

 

 

At my book club, we always start the evening gathered around the table as one, enjoying a lovely dinner prepared by our hostess. As the evening progresses, we move to the living room, taking our glass of wine and sit in a circle for book discussion. The circle includes everyone in the discussion and everyone is welcome to give their opinion. Sometimes it gets loud, as everyone begins to talk at once, but there is still respect for each other. Of course, we have a varied group, with differing views and our discussions take us to interesting places, that may have little to do with the book. But, that is the beauty of a group of strong women, with a long history of friendship. There is security in knowing that words will not be judged, everyone is heard and at the end of the night, we walk away as we started.

 

Our hostess served a yummy and simple dessert that I wanted to share. It was beautiful, light and perfect for the first day of spring. She simply placed two different scoops of pretty sherbet ice cream in a bowl, added fresh fruit and then drizzled creme de cassis (black currant liqueur) over it all. Served with a coconut macaroon, in a pretty bowl, it was a lovely, elegant dessert that is easy to put together when you are hosting company in your home.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday

 

 

 

Finally, the first day of spring has arrived! It seems forever since there has been a photo of flowers on this blog, so I thought today was a perfect occasion. I have been picking up these $4 bunches of tulips, at the grocery store, for the last few weeks and they really brighten my kitchen. Our snow is starting to melt and the rain we had yesterday helped the process along nicely. I have hope, that very soon, I will see my tulips starting to break through the ground. It seemed impossible to imagine that spring would ever happen when we were in the midst of yet another snow storm, but the calendar has changed, March will soon turn to April and the long winter will finally be over :-)

 

 

My 40 Bags in 40 Days Lenten challenge is off to a good start. My totals as of this this morning are 5 bags to donate (already dropped off at Goodwill), 2 bags of trash and 1 bag of books for the library. One of the spaces I now have emptied, is my main coat closet. It has an empty shelf, once full of books and school supplies, but now giving me extra storage space, as I need it. The books were all the classics my girls read for all their high school English classes, through the years. I did save a few, that I might like to read again, like the Jane Austen novels and Little Women, but the rest can be put to good use, at the library. And yes, we did purchase all those books, since my daughters attended private school.

 

Speaking of the classics, my book club meets tonight and for a change of pace we decided to read Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. It should be an interesting discussion as I'm sure we are all a little rusty in discussions involving literary themes, metaphors and symbols. If nothing else, we will use an ability long dormant from our college years. Hopefully, the wine will help :-)

 

I started watching the new season of The Real Housewives of New York and so far, so good. There seems to be a real friendship between some of the ladies and that makes it more interesting. Sure there will be drama, but hopefully it will be at a minimum and feel authentic. The accusation that Carole Radziwill used a ghost writer for What Remains did make my blood boil a little, since I loved that book and it is obvious it is written in her voice. Anyone watching?

 

Happy Thursday!

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

3d Spring Art

 

 

 

A pretty picture frame, a sweet bird's nest and a glue gun. Sometimes, the simplest ideas turn into the best kind of DIY projects. The inspiration for this 3d art came from two sources. First, I pinned this beautiful project with the vague idea that I could put my own spin on it, perhaps a little simpler. Second, I took a trip to Michaels, keeping in mind the basic elements of the artwork, as I wandered the aisles.

 

 

I saw a few styles and sizes of the bird's nest, but decided on a small size, with no embellishment. For the frame, I started out looking at simple frames that I could add some pretty scrapbook paper or even burlap to. Then I spotted this lovely wood frame with paper already inserted. The colors were perfect for my master bedroom and I knew the print would look really sweet and lovely with the simple bird's nest.

Doing the project this way, was a little more expensive than putting scrapbook paper in an inexpensive frame, but this was exactly the look I had envisioned, so I went with it. And, as far as instructions - simply use a glue gun to position the nest on the frame and your 3d art project is complete.

Sweet and simple for springtime.

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Diana Rambles

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Stonegable

 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cabbage Potato Soup in the Crockpot

 

 

 

 

Cabbage is one of those super foods that we should all eat more of. I like it, but to tell the truth, never think of eating it, beyond making coleslaw. It is inexpensive, low in fat, high in fiber and also low carb - the perfect vegetable for a diabetic or for anyone who wants to eat healthy.

 

When looking for something to make for St. Patrick's Day, this soup sounded really good, but I decided to adapt it to the crock pot and add diced potatoes to the recipe. It turned out to be a filling, delicious soup, perfect for the holiday and celebrating our Irish roots.

 

Crock Pot Cabbage Potato Soup


8 cups chopped cabbage

1 chopped onion

3 cloves chopped garlic

2 T butter

2 cups chopped potatoes ( with skins)

1 cup diced ham

8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste


Sauté onion and garlic in butter. Place in bottom of large crock pot. Add cabbage, potatoes and chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for 6 hours, adding diced ham for the last hour of cooking. Enjoy!


Happy Tuesday!

 

 

{Linking with these friends}

 

Sunny Simple Life (From The Farm)

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Mom's Test Kitchen

Between Naps on the Porch

Jennifer Rizzo

Savvy Southern Style


 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Weekend in Mid March





Spring comes this week according to the calendar, so I will give in to the spring fever that March always brings. There is still snow and there is not a lot that can be done outside, but the sunshine streaming through the windows this weekend felt like winter may finally be in its last days. I put away my mug with the snowflakes, that I have been using all winter and found this sweet robin's egg blue mug to help me celebrate the new season. A pretty, new mug makes me happy.


The sunshine also motivates me to put on my sunglasses and get out of the house, so I took a shopping trip to Michaels for some DIY inspiration. I have some ideas for spring front door decor, using the little bird's nests you see in the photo, as well as a project for my master bedroom.

Finally, the weekend ended on a happy note for my alma mater. MSU won the Big 10 Basketball Tournament and seems to be peaking at the right time in the long season. March Madness should be exciting, with many analysts picking my Spartans to make it to the Final Four. I think I am going to fill out a bracket to make watching the tournament even more fun.

Happy Monday and Erin Go Bragh!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Green Sangria - Pinterest Success {27}




In anticipation of spring and St. Patrick's Day next week, I was looking around Pinterest for a fun and easy green drink. This pin caught my eye because it looked so fresh and was low calorie. I love any drink made with club soda or sparkling water, because you are adding an ingredient with zero carbs. Also, sangria is a great way to use a bottle of left over wine and I knew I had some in my fridge.


This happened to be one of those annoying pins that have no recipe in the link - don't you hate those? But, I didn't let that keep me from making my own version of this sangria, using the photo as my inspiration.


Green Sangria


1 cup white wine ( I used Chardonnay, but Pinot Grigio would be good too)
1/2 cup club soda or sparkling water
1 green apple, sliced thin


Mix wine and club soda in a glass with ice. Add apple slices. Enjoy!


Note: a version of this drink can be made with any fruit giving it any color or flavor you choose :-)


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday




The winter that never will end gave us another 8 inches of snow yesterday, with almost 2 foot drifts in some places in my driveway. I think at this point, we are all just shell shocked. We know it can snow in Michigan in March and even sometimes into April, but a winter of record breaking snow can wear one down. I read a funny quote that I think sums it up nicely - "in Michigan we move the snow to make way for more snow".

I'm a little late to the House of Cards bandwagon, but my daughter convinced me I should watch it and I am so glad I listened. It fascinates me in every way and the perfectly evil power couple in Frank and Claire Underwood is delicious to watch. I love the Washington D.C. setting, Claire's wardrobe, the political coverups and the journalists working to uncover the truth. It is reminiscent of a modern day All The President's Men.


St. Patrick's Day is Monday and I always try to make something festive. I am not a big fan of corned beef and in fact, last year made St. Patrick's Day Vegetables in the crock pot - cabbage, potatoes and carrots. This pin for Irish Stew, served over Mashed Potatoes looks delicious and something I may try this year.

I think a trip to Michaels is in my future. The creative bug is starting to come around, after a long hiatus from doing any sort of DIY projects. I have some ideas in mind, but will wander the aisles for even more inspiration. I also have a new sewing machine that I haven't touched and want to give it a try. I'm thinking I might try some cute, seasonal pillows for the Easter season.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spring Reading List

 

 

Since we are in the middle of a blizzard this morning (annoying in March) it may not seem like spring, but luckily there are a few books, by some of my favorite authors, with release dates in the next few months before summer. I took some time to update my wish list on Amazon and added these books to my ever expanding list. I like to try new books, never knowing when I may stumble across a great read, but it is the author's books that I have a connection with, because I know either the writing style or the characters, that I look forward to reading the most.

 

Tempting Fate by Jane Green is a book by an author I have always enjoyed. This is chick lit at its best and would be a perfect book for spring trip to the beach.

 

This book by another of my favorite suspense authors, Lisa Scottoline is another thriller about a secret that will be exposed and the lengths people will go to to keep their lives intact. I enjoy the Philidelphia setting of her books, since she talks about many locations I am familiar with, from my time living there.

 

This is one of my favorite mystery series and is set in a series of national parks, where the heroine Anna Pigeon is a park ranger. This book is set in the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota.

 

Another mystery series, by Susan Witting Albert, should be the favorite of any gardener. The main character, China Bayles is the proprietor of a herbal shop, complete with a herb garden. Deadly plants and herbs often play a role in the murders China finds herself involved in investigating.

Have a great day! I will be shoveling snow later and hoping it will be for the last time this winter - but I'm not counting on it :-)

 

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