Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Preparation and a Cocktail

 

 

 

Without little ones at home any longer, my Halloween preparations are not nearly as hectic. No class parties to prepare and no trips to the store for just the right costume. I will go out and buy my candy for the trick or treaters today, since we will have quite a few, even if it is raining. Our pumpkin is carved and will welcome the trick or treaters with its spooky light, as well as the creepy witch that hangs on my front door.

A tradition the past few years has been to celebrate Halloween night with a fun cocktail as I pass out the candy. Last year I really enjoyed my Caramel Apple Martini. This year I have come up with a yummy Apple Cider Margarita. I gave it a try last night and will be making it again on Halloween night. It's a great seasonal cocktail; perfect for an autumn night by the fire.

Apple Cider Margarita: wet the rim of a glass with apple cider and dip in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Add a generous amount of ice to the glass and add 3/4 cup apple cider, 1 shot tequila, 1 shot triple sec and a generous splash of lime juice. Stir, garnish with an apple slice and enjoy.

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Halloween!

 

Linking with Between Naps on the Porch

 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Walking in the Leaves

 

 

 

 

Am I ever happy I took a long walk earlier this week, since we are now dealing with the remnants of the southern tropical storm. I am always amazed that the wind and rain we receive sometimes has its roots from so far away and can reach this far north, but such is nature. We are just past our peak of color, with leaves starting to fall like crazy, but it is still very pretty. The wind and rain will scatter and bring down much of what is left on the trees and all this fall beauty will be just a memory.

 

 

 

 

As you know, I try to walk every day that I can. It is a good routine to have and it gets me out, so even on days I may not feel like it, I am always very glad I did, once out walking. As I walk along the paths; and especially this time of year, with so much beauty to see, any worries melt away and the sound of leaves crunching under my feet becomes the only thing I am aware of. It's almost meditative and exactly what I need on many days.

 

 

Cooper, my favorite walking buddy, is always happy to go as far as I want to and on this walk, we experienced every bit of autumn beauty that we could find. We go where the paths take us and enjoy the feeling of being far away from civilization, even though we are in the middle of a neighborhood. It's all about perspective and being in tune with what is around you. The sights, the smells and the constant way that nature changes. It's good for the soul.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Linking with Savvy Southern Style

 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin - Pinterest Success {39}

 

 

 

I had a busy day last week and knew I would feel much better walking back into my house at the end of the day with a yummy main dish cooking away in the crock pot. I checked my Crock Pot Pinterest board and found a pin for a delicious sounding version of pork tenderloin. I think pork tenderloin is a great cut of meat to cook in the crock pot and can really stand up to the long, slow cooking process.

The original pin and recipe for this amazing Brown Sugar and Balsamic Pork Tenderloin can be found here and it was definitely a Pinterest success. The marinade had a distinctive balsamic, yet sweet flavor and the sage was the perfect spice to use with the pork. Served with some creamy mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, it was a wonderful and comforting week night dinner. Note: I doubled the recipe, cooked this on low in my crock pot and it was done in 7 hours rather than the 8 called for by the recipe.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Early Morning Light

 

 

 

As autumn settles in, my morning routine changes too. If I wake up early, just as the sun starts to rise, I go through the house turning on lamps and plugging in seasonal lights that give a cozy glow to the morning. Sometimes, if I have extra time, I might even light a few candles on my mantel to enjoy while I sit and enjoy an early morning cup of coffee.


 

It's quiet in the house, no distractions from the sound of the television or sounds from the neighboring houses. There is time to wake up slowly and think about the day ahead. I am not what you would consider a morning person, but this kind of quiet reflection can be a great way to start the day. No rushing around, but letting the natural rythym of the morning light dictate how the day will begin.

 

 

The day ahead may be filled with busy things and my to do list may be long, but in the early mornings, just for a few moments, those worries can be held at bay. These autumn mornings already feel fleeting, as we head towards November, but I will savor the early morning light as long as I can.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

Linking with Savvy Southern Style

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Three Pumpkin Recipes

 

 

After shopping at Trader Joe's yesterday and seeing all the delicious foods made with pumpkin; both savory and sweet, it made me think of some of the seasonal pumpkin recipes I have made over the past few years. Here are three that will put you in an autumn frame of mind.

 

 

First, a delicious Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze that is perfect for a Sunday morning treat. It's very moist and the crunchy topping and brown sugar glaze make it extra special. The glaze is poured over the hot cake, right out of the oven. This is a recipe you will want to make every fall - it's that good.

 

 

Even our pets deserve a yummy pumpkin treat and my dog loved these Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. They are easy to make - you roll out the dough as you would for cookies and the ingredients are healthy and natural.

 

 

If you want your kitchen to smell like Autumn, with the scents of your holiday pumpkin pie, make this quick and easy Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal. I love to bake a batch of this healthy breakfast treat and eat it all week long by reheating a portion each morning.

The next time I am at the grocery store, I will be buying pumpkin purée and stocking my pantry for these seasonal recipes and some new ones too. It's pumpkin season in the kitchen!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Monday, October 19, 2015

One Crazy Ending

 

 

 

 

For us, the weekend was about one thing and one thing only. The big football game between MSU and UofM; a rivalry both in the state and in our family. My daughters were at the game in Ann Arbor, while we were nervously watching from home. If you saw the crazy ending and the MSU win, you will know exactly what I am talking about. When MSU recovered a fumble in the final ten seconds and scored it was as if I couldn't believe what I was seeing on my television screen. Honestly, I was jumping and screaming so much, I scared my dog right out of the room.

And, post game, we spent time relaxing and enjoying a quiet family day. I love having both of my daughters at home, hearing their laughter and sisterly conversation, as they enjoy a day on the couch with unlimited food from my pantry and fridge.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Adding Fall Color

 

 

 

The trees do make quite a show here and since I live on the edge of the woods, we have an abundance of leaves flying everywhere. I still like to add some fall color outside to add to nature's display and this year was no different. Waiting until October means my mums will last and all the decor will carry through until Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

The corner table on my front porch was made very simple this season; only the addition of some chevron patterned burlap ribbon on a grapevine wreath and a natural looking pumpkin. And, isn't this tri colored mum pretty? It will be the focal point when it blooms.

 

 

A new orange, square wreath made from wooden rosettes makes a big statement on my front door. I think it is a bit unexpected and I love the square shape.

 

 

Mini pumpkins in a white lantern add a splash of fall color to my patio table. I'm hoping for a few more nice days to sit and enjoy a fall cocktail.

 

 

 

The fall touches I add to the back, must blend in with all the leaves, while adding a rustic charm.

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Honey Crisp Apple Sangria

 

 

 

Around here, we take advantage of beautiful fall days whenever we have the chance. That is why I was sitting on my patio earlier this week enjoying a delicious fall cocktail before dinner. Melissa joined me after she arrived home from work and it was just a lovely hour spent with my daughter. We both enjoyed the Honeycrisp Apple Sangria I adapted from a Pinterest recipe.

The original recipe and pin can be found here, but will make a whole pitcher. I like to make individual drinks when I'm not entertaining, so I took equivilent amounts of the ingredients and made a drink for one. It was really good and will be something I will make again during this fall season. The addition of a cinnamon stick gave it that perfect hint of spice and the sweet apple flavor was really delicious. Enjoy!

 

Honey Crisp Apple Sangria

 

In a wine glass, mix together the following ingredients: 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup apple cider, 1/4 cup brandy, 1/4 cup orange juice, a splash of lemon juice and a splash of club soda. Garnish with chopped apples and a cinnamon stick.

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just a Fall Weekend

 

 

 

The leaves are just starting to turn and fall as we enter mid October, here in Michigan. We had a beautiful Indian Summer type weekend, with clear blue skies and temperatures warm enough to be spent outside. It was the first weekend we have not had a football game to attend in a while and as much as I enjoy my football Saturdays, it was nice to have some free time both days.

 

 

What did I do on a lovely fall weekend? Lots of walks to enjoy the changing of the season, including one with my parents on Sunday. A baby shower in my neighborhood on Saturday night that was more of a party than a traditional shower, with husbands there too. It was very nice to catch up with all my wonderful neighbors and hear how everyone was doing. The mother to be is my girl's former babysitter and oh how time flies! There was a football game to watch and thankfully a win, as we head into rivalry week and the MSU versus UofM game in Ann Arbor. Megan ( our UofM grad ) is coming to visit this weekend and that makes me very happy too.

Just a simple fall weekend, but definitely full of happy things.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, October 9, 2015

More BBC Love

 

 

I have written of my love for television shows from the BBC, which I can watch on my local PBS station. In the past week, I have discovered two wonderful shows; one a a World War II period drama, set in a rural village and one a baking competition.

 

 

Home Fires premiered last Sunday night and I will look forward to watching for the next few weeks. It begins at the start of the war and village life is just beginning to experience the changes that will come. The main characters are the women of the village and it is easy to see that they will be the ones who hold things together as the men are called to fight in the war. Their village branch of a Women's Institute plays a key role in keeping them together and as usually the case with a group of strong women, there are power struggles to deal with. It's a lovely show so far, with beautiful countryside scenery and pretty period dresses.

 

 

The Great British Baking Show has been around for awhile in England, but the 2nd season is currently being shown on PBS. Looking for something to watch on Netflix, I watched the entire first season and then quickly got caught up on the current one. The format is wonderful and it is very different in tone from cooking shows here in the States. The contestants are humble and will actually help each other out in the challenges. The baked goods they must produce range from simple to extremely difficult and it's fun to see the process, as well as the sometimes disastrous and sometimes stunning results. Mostly, my mouth is watering seeing all the delicious cakes, pies and pastries.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Apple Cider Waffles

 

 

 

I just love a recipe that comes together just as you envisioned it would. I had the idea to use some of the apple cider in my refridgerator to flavor my regular Belgian waffle mix. With the addition of some fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, I thought it would make a delicious seasonal waffle, just perfect for a cool, but sunny fall morning.

The cider worked perfectly as a substitution for the water called for by the mix and the texture before putting into the waffle iron was just as it needed to be. The scent when cooking was just lovely too. This is not an in your face flavor, but a delicate one, with the nutmeg coming through perfectly. This recipe couldn't be any easier to put together and would be perfect for something a little special, even on a busy morning. And, since I am cooking for one, I store the extra waffles in my refrigerator, put them in the toaster oven to warm and they are just as good the next morning.

 

Apple Cider Waffles

 

1 1/2 cups Belgian waffle mix ( I used Krusteaz brand)

1 egg

3 T oil

2/3 cup apple cider

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

 

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Heat waffle iron and spay with cooking spray. Place desired amount per your waffle iron instructions in waffle iron and cook until brown and slightly crisp. Serve with warm maple syrup. Makes 3-4 large waffles. Enjoy!

 

{Linking with these friends}


A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Sunny Simple Life

Live Laugh Rowe

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

No Minimalist Here

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Surprise Meeting

 

 

 

Another football Saturday on MSU's campus, but this one came with a wonderful surprise meeting of my college roommate. It's been several years since we have seen each other, besides the annual Christmas card photo and I had no idea she would even be on campus. The surprise and delight in running into her while walking down the street made my day and I think it will be the beginning of a reconnection for both of us. Just seeing her brought back so many wonderful memories and I would love to catch up even more in the future. Sometimes we have to go where fate leads us.

 

 

 

 

Since it was homecoming, we started the morning at the Alumni Association Green and White breakfast with delicious food, the band, the cheerleaders and a speech from Coach Dantonio.

 

 

 

We walked to the Sparty statue to watch the team make its traditional walk to the stadium and that is where we met my roommate. Since the weather was quite chilly and threatening rain, we headed to our regular tailgate spot, where we knew there was a tent and even a heater to keep us warm, until game time. The weather turned even more miserable during the game, with a cold rain and wind gusts. The game seemed well in hand and we made the decision to go to one of our favorite bars and watch the final minutes in comfort. Things got a little dicey, the score became close and we, along with all the other bar patrons, loudly cheered the Spartans on to a close victory. A little wet and a little cold, but another day on campus to remember.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fall Reading List

 

 

There is something about the cool weather of fall and a new book that go hand in hand. I love the thought of snuggling under a warm blanket, sipping on something hot and watching the leaves swirl in the wind. Nights when the lights are turned on, just a little earlier, are perfect nights to relax with a book. As always my reading tastes are varied and my wish list on Amazon is filled with authors and characters that are like old friends to me. If you are looking for me on these upcoming fall nights, leading up to a busy holiday season, you will find me losing myself in the pages of one of these books.

 

 

Another Maggie Hope mystery is always one I look forward to. She is a spunky heroine and the World War Two spy plot is detailed and fascinating.

 

 

A new set of characters awaits, by the author of The Shoemaker's Wife series of books. Her books are rich in family and tradition and always a good read.

 

 

Since this is the author of one of my favorite books, The Language of Flowers, it is highly anticipated.

 

 

Another author of one of my favorites, The Paris Wife, has written a new novel set in colonial Kenya.

 

 

Doctor Kay Scarpetta is back in another psychological thriller and I always enjoy getting caught up in the latest crime in her world of Cambridge, Massachusetts. All the characters in these books are intelligent, flawed in many ways, but extremely interesting.

 

 

 

I am looking forward to being back in London and the world of Scotland Yard detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers. It is their working relationship that makes these books special.

Happy Reading!

 

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