Friday, August 29, 2014

Tailgating Season Begins

 

 

 

My favorite time of the year begins today. It's the start of college football season and that means tailgating begins. We have MSU season tickets for the first time in a long time, so instead of random tailgates here and there, I know we will be attending each and every home game. I can't wait be on campus this fall and enjoy those crisp and cool fall days surrounded by all the color and beauty.

I have all my MSU dishes ready to go and we look forward to a fantastic season of football. The first few games are usually rather hot, so the tailgating menu needs to be adjusted accordingly. We plan to grill hamburgers and hotdogs at the first game and take along enough food to feed all our students who will be stopping by to visit.

 

 

This layered Mexican Dip is a favorite of all and holds up well in the heat. In fact I call it the best tailgating dip ever. Find the recipe here.

 

 

I love grab and go items for the tailgating table and for the first game, I am making these Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus. It is also perfect for a hot day and can be served at room temperature. Find the recipe here.

 

 

Everyone loves a sweet treat on the tailgating table, especially the students stopping by. These Oreo Brownies are always a big hit. You can even use flavored Oreos to match your team's colors, if you choose. Find this easy recipe here.

Have a wonderful weekend and go green!

 

Linking with Savvy Southern Style and Kelly's Korner

 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Empty Nest Musings

 

 

 

It is the time of year when many will be experiencing an empty nest for the first time or after a summer of having your college age kids home, your nest is empty once again. You feel unbalanced and there is somewhat of a letdown after the flurry of college and dorm room preparations. And it seems very quiet. You want to call, but at the same time want to give your child their space.

This is where texting becomes your friend. When a phone call becomes too intrusive, but you need that daily contact, a simple text can make all the difference. I usually have some sort of text contact with my daughters daily. From a simple " how's your day?" to a full blown text discussion about our favorite tv show the night before. That simple contact, settles your mind and keeps your connection intact.

Most college students are busy with class, homework, jobs and life in general. A phone call usually catches them at a bad time and feels rushed, unless it is at their initiation. That's why texting can be so great for both the student and for you. Simple, daily contact that's not intrusive, but quick and even fun. It lets them know you are thinking of them.

Yes, it's great to hear their voice, but for day to day contact, texting will keep your child close at hand!

Happy Thursday!

 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Favorite Author, New Book

 

 

 

I like to go through lists of upcoming publishing dates for new books and add them to my Amazon wish list, so I am ready to download my favorites, as soon as they are available. This author, Liane Moriarty, a new favorite of mine, did not disappoint with her newest book, Big Little Lies.

All her books are written with humor, but have a quirky, dark undertone as well. She puts her characters in real life situations, like dealing with school politics, marriage and friendship woes and parenting struggles. The conflicts are taken a step further when she adds in situations like mental illness, domestic violence and even, murder.

This new book used foreshadowing very effectively and made it hard to stop reading until the very end. From the beginning pages, the reader knows a murder has taken place at a school fundraiser, but we don't know who died or how it happened. I was curious and tempted to read the last chapter, but glad I waited for the shocking ending. She brings the story to an amazing conclusion, that will surprise most.

I highly recommend this book, as well as all her others. And, I stumbled across some interesting news. Big Little Lies has been optioned by none other than Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon as a future movie, with starring roles for both actresses.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Strawberry Champagne Fizz

 

 

 

One last week of summer and one last summer cocktail. When we arrived in Pittsburgh, after a long car ride, my daughter Megan had this yummy and refreshing cocktail ready for us. It was perfect for toasting our arrival and celebrating our first visit to her new apartment.

This is a very simple, yet versatile cocktail. You could mix up a batch in a pretty pitcher for your guests as well as serving individually in a wine glass. It would even be perfect in a cut glass punch bowl for a bridal shower. The thing that makes this drink special, is that you can add as much or as little of the flavored water as you like and the flavor is still delicious. Enjoy!

 

Strawberry Champagne Fizz


For individual serving - fill wine glass 1/2 full with champagne or prosecco. Add a healthy splash of strawberry flavored sparkling water. Top with frozen strawberries.

For a pitcher - fill a large clear pitcher with 1 bottle champagne or prosecco. Add 2 cups of strawberry flavored sparkling water. Top with frozen strawberries. Serve in wine glasses adding more strawberries to each glass before pouring.


Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

My 1929 Charmer

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Mom's Test Kitchen


Made From Pinterest

Coffee With Us Three

Gooseberry Patch

Mostly Homeade Mom

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Favorites in Pittsburgh

 

 

 

Our Pittsburgh weekend trip can be described by the different neighborhoods we visited; all unique and all equally fun.

 

 

We started the morning on Saturday in the Shadyside neighborhood, located near the University of Pittsburgh campus. It was a vibrant, residential neighborhood with fun shopping and restaurants to explore.

 

 

My favorite meal of the day was at the Steel Cactus Mexican Restaurant, where we enjoyed post shopping appetizers, margaritas and mojitos on the sunny rooftop.

 

 

After riding the incline to the Mount Washington neighborhood and taking photos of the magnificent view, we took a break at the Shiloh Grill. It was here that I enjoyed my favorite cocktail of the day; a frozen cosmopolitan. What could be better than a yummy frozen drink, enjoyed with my daughters on another outdoor patio with sweeping views, located high above the city?

 

 

Later that night, after a walk around the riverfront and a quick change of clothes, we walked through the downtown Cultural District to find the restaurant Megan had chosen for our dinner. Her choice, Olive or Twist, described as Pittsburgh's premier martini bar, is small and intimate with brick walls and a definite inner city atmosphere.

I started off the evening with the Perfect Pear Martini, very light and delicious with flavors of pear and elderflower liqueur. Our appetizer of Truffle fries was another favorite of the weekend - so yummy! Then, to finish off our meal, we shared a Strawberry Shortcake Martini made with cake vodka, Rumchata, strawberry purée and vanilla cream. It was served with a graham cracker rim on the martini glass and it was so good, I plan to recreate it at home.

My daughters are so fun, love to try new things and it was just a lovely trip :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spiced Plum Overnight Oatmeal

 

 

 

Plums are so pretty and juicy right now and I love having them available in the fruit basket sitting on my kitchen island. But, they are not a fruit that I think of using in recipes. When I came across a recipe for overnight oatmeal, made with fresh plums, I knew it was one that I wanted to try. I love making this easy style of oatmeal the night before and having its creamy and yummy goodness ready to eat, the next morning.

I have made several varieties of overnight oatmeal including my favorite, Maple Blueberry. This Spiced Plum Overnight Oatmeal was a unique version and the addition of all the classic apple pie spices added a great flavor to the plums. Because this has stronger spices that need to be mixed in, the technique needs to be a little different than my other recipes, where the ingredients are simply layered, then stirred. I would recommend shaking this well, before placing in the fridge. This ensures the spices are evenly mixed throughout. Enjoy this delicious and healthy breakfast while summer lasts.

 

Spiced Plum Overnight Oatmeal


1 small plum or 1/2 large plum

1/2 oatmeal

1/2 cup low fat milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of ginger

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp sugar (or Splenda)

Pinch of salt


Dice plum in small pieces. Add oatmeal to mason jar. Add all spices on top of oatmeal. Place diced plums on top. Cover with milk. Put lid on jar and shake well. Place in refridgerator overnight. Enjoy the next morning.


{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

My 1929 Charmer

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Mom's Test Kitchen


Made From Pinterest

Coffee With Us Three

Gooseberry Patch

Mostly Homeade Mom

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Tour of Pittsburgh

 

 

 

My weekend was spent in Pittsburgh, with my daughter Megan as our tour guide. She did a fantastic job showing us her new city and we definitely packed a lot into one weekend. It was a girl's weekend that included a little sightseeing, some shopping, facials and great food and delicious cocktails. We visited many of the vibrant neighborhoods that Pittsburgh is known for and stayed in a fabulous downtown hotel with views of the riverfront and stadiums.

 

 

The highlight of the trip, was the ride up the Monongahela Incline to the Mt. Washington neighborhood, overlooking the city skyline and riverfront. We took in the views from an observation point on the side of the mountain and then relaxed for a few hours with cocktails on an outdoor patio. It was a lovely spot and a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

 

 

Another beautiful spot was just outside our hotel and a great area for a stroll along the river. Point State Park is a downtown green space that includes a fountain on the edge of the river and stunning views of the many bridges and mountain top homes. We were able to walk along the riverfront and see Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, as well as PNC Park, home of the Pirates. The city planners knew what they were doing in putting these stadiums along the riverfront, ensuring the vibrancy of the area.

We had beautiful blue skies and mild temperatures all day; perfect for exploring this architecturally stunning city. And of course, the best part - spending the weekend together :-)

Later this week - more details on my favorite Pittsburgh dining experiences. All unique and all representative of the neighborhood in which it was located.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, August 15, 2014

My 2014 Gardening Successes

 

 

 

As my perennial garden winds down for the summer and the last blooms; my Sweet Coneflowers, begin to open, I wanted to take a look at how I met the plans I made for 2014. In the early spring, when I am still waiting for the snow to melt, I usually write a post with my dreams for my garden and some new plants I would like to grow. Not elaborate plans; but the addition of color and flowers that make me happy.

Some things I wanted to try can be found here, and you can see I accomplished many of the things, but with a twist.

 

 

I successfully transplanted some Sweet Peas from my sisters's garden and even was rewarded with a few blooms. I will be training the vines to climb this trellis, come next spring and hopefully I will see even more of these pretty blooms.

 

 

I combined my planting of Zinnias and herbs into a large shallow pot and have been enjoying both the pretty blooms and using the herbs in cooking. My original idea of using an old ladder as a shelf for herb pots was put on hold, but I may try it next year.

 

 

Our biggest project was not in the perennial bed, but involved updating some tired landscaping in the front of the house. It made a big impact and we are so glad we did it. We had the old scrubs removed and the stumps ground down and that was money well spent. The planting and addition of the rocks was something we did on our own.

It was a wonderful growing season here, with ample rain. I hardly used my watering can and all the flowers look healthy and vibrant. I will enjoy the late summer blooms for the next few weeks, then it will be time to plant those fall bulbs and look towards the next season of plants.

"Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow" and of course, there is always next year to add something new to your garden.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Linking with Between Naps on the Porch and Savvy Southern Style

 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Outlander Viewing Party

 

 

 

My friend hosted an Outlander viewing party a few nights ago, complete with decorations and popcorn, popped at the ready. I always tell her that she should be the one to have a blog, because her attention to detail is perfect and her creativity in setting up a drink buffet or transforming a simple frame with a string of lights, just shines. She always makes her friends feel special and that's the mark of a good hostess.

 

 

As we began to watch Outlander, even those who had not read the books, were quickly caught up with the story, scenery and acting. My initial thoughts on the first episode, are that the creators have done a wonderful job, bringing this beloved book to life; not an easy feat. I am especially drawn to the portrayal of Claire. The actress gets her toughness, as well as her softer side, completely right. Her confusion and displacement in the 1700's is shown with just the right about of bravado and even humor. Also, her narration of the story is brilliant and so critical to understanding her point of view.

The consensus of the group was that we wanted to see more and arranged to get together every few weeks to watch a couple episodes. I love Outlander and watching it with all my friends, will make it even better.

Happy Thursday!

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Under the Full Moon

 

 

 

Saturday night's full moon; or super moon as it was being called, was the backdrop for a beautiful evening, spent with friends, on the Detroit River.

We enjoyed cocktails in these lovely adirondack chairs early in the evening, watching the sailboats leave for their sunset sail and enjoying the view of the river from the yacht club deck. The sight of Canada, just across the river is always lovely to see and amazingly close.

 

 

As the sun began to set on the river, the view of the Detroit skyline in the distance became softer in focus and the sky started to glow with the light early evening brings. The problems in Detroit are many and varied, but all is forgotten on a night like this.

As we moved to the table for dinner, so close to the water, we could almost touch it, the full moon made an appearance. It was a almost magical, shining bright on the water and on us; friends sharing stories, good food and good wine on a lovely summer night.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Celebrating a Birthday

 

 

 

Celebrating a birthday for a young adult is definitely different than it used to be. When the young adult is no longer living with you, there are ways to make it special for them, but it usually involves long distance phone calls, group texts and deliveries. You celebrate when and how you can, even if it is before or after their actual birthday.

Long gone are the days of themed slumber parties, special breakfasts to wake up to and birthday dinners at home, where the meal is the birthday girl's favorite recipe.

 

 

Melissa had a great 21st birthday, spent both in Cape Cod and then back in East Lansing with all her best friends, both from high school and college. At this age, it is the friends who take over and make the day special. And, of course, you worry a little, since this particular birthday was a right of passage similar to prom night. You want it to be fun, but safe.

I was able to see her on Sunday and hear all the exciting details of her trip and celebration. We ate outside on a patio; enjoyed burgers and craft beer, blueberry beer for me, Michigan cherry beer for her.

One of the fun things I like to do for my girls, is to find a fun alcohol flavored recipe to use for their birthday cake, and to add a little bit of pizazz to the celebration. Melissa loved the Pink Champagne Cupcakes I took for her and her roommates to enjoy and I have to admit I tried one. They had just a hint of pink champagne flavor and the strawberry frosting was the perfect pairing. Wouldn't they be a great cupcake for a bridal shower too?

 

Pink Champagne Cupcakes


1 box white cake mix

3 egg whites

1 1/4 cups pink champagne

1/3 cup oil

3 - 4 drops red food coloring

Strawberry frosting


Mix all indredients together in a large bowl, with a mixer. Beat for two minutes. Using an ice cream scoop, place mix in individual cupcake liners and bake according to cake mix instructions. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!


Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

My 1929 Charmer

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Mom's Test Kitchen


Made From Pinterest

Coffee With Us Three

Gooseberry Patch

Mostly Homeade Mom

Friday, August 8, 2014

All Grown Up - Twenty One

 

 

 

Happy Birthday today to my beautiful, smart and thoughtful daughter, Melissa. My baby, my youngest is now 21 and she is living life to its fullest.

 

 

This week she is in Cape Cod, with her MSU Pompon team, having fun in the sun and doing extreme workouts to get ready for the upcoming season.

 

 

She traveled to California and the Rose Bowl this year, on a once in a lifetime trip with just her and her dad.

 

 

Her future shines bright in this year of becoming an adult; the year she will graduate from college. She is such a hard worker and balances class, Pom practice, a job and an internship with ease. She has spent the summer working hard for the Admissions Department at MSU, welcoming potential students to campus and planning large scale events. In the fall, she continues on with an internship, she started in the spring, which will give her even more experience in communications and event planning. All her hard work, will result in her big dreams coming true.

Here's to a wonderful day for her and a wonderful weekend for all!

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

family, books, gardening, simple DIY projects, golf, up north, msu football, football saturday tailgates, detroit tigers, walking with my dog, trying new recipes, musicals, BBC, pedicures with my daughters, martinis, pinterest, yoga

Search This Blog

Sent to your inbox

about me (1) BBC (17) blog (24) books (127) christmas (62) cocktails (34) Diabetes (57) DIY (95) downsizing (17) empty nest (80) entertaining (50) faith (20) family (105) florida (28) florida house tour (4) food (217) friends (107) gardening (71) health and beauty (8) home (133) life (402) movies (9) my daughters (141) nature (48) pinterest (95) pinterest success (48) puppy (27) reality tv (36) recipe redo (8) repurpose (2) sewing (4) shopping (22) sports (59) tv and movies (72) walking (42) wedding (5) yoga (7)

 

 
Designed by Munchkin Land Designs • Copyright 2012 • All Rights Reserved