Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spiced Apple Breakfast Bars

 

 

 

A cool fall morning, apples from the cider mill and some early baking has produced a delicious treat to go with my coffee. My kitchen smells of fall and my day is starting out just right on this last day of September. The bowl of freshly picked Honey Crisp apples sitting on my counter has been crying out to be turned into a fall, apple flavored dessert, of some sort and what could be better than breakfast bars. The spices; cinnamon and nutmeg, are evocative of autumn and go hand in hand with the flavor of apples. If you have a shiny red bowl of apples, these breakfast bars are quick to put together and bursting with flavor.

As always when I bake, I substituted Truvia for the white sugar and Splenda brown sugar in place of regular brown sugar. This recipe is very adaptable to other ingredients and would be delicious with walnuts or raisins. Enjoy!

 

Spiced Apple Breakfast Bars

 

2 cups Honey Crisp Apples ( peeled and chopped)

1/3 cup brown sugar ( I used Splenda for baking)

1/3 cup white sugar ( I used Truvia equivilent )

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup vegatable oil

2 T butter, melted

 

Combine apples, sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl. Mix well and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the egg, vanilla, oil and butter. Mix well, then add the apple mixture. Stir well, until there is brownie batter consistency. Place in a 8x8 baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar if desired.

 

{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, September 28, 2015

First Weekend of Fall

 

 

 

It was the little things all adding up that made this such a great first weekend of the fall season. The weather cooperated all weekend and gave us blue skies and mild temperatures. The full moon was a beautiful sight every night and on Friday when I walked to my Bunco group in my neighborhood it was shining so bright on my way, the house lights up and down the street paled in comparison. It was one of those moments when you step outside yourself and notice the beauty of what is around you. Fall is a season for noticing the beauty whether it is a whole woods that glows with red, orange and gold, or the sight of a perfect, lone maple leaf sitting so perfectly on a pot of mums. We soak up the beauty and color of these days while they last and enjoy what the autumn season so vividly brings to the outdoors.

 

 

 

 

It was also a perfect fall Saturday for another football tailgate and another win for my Spartans. We were at our tailgate spot bright and early; still waiting for the sun to rise and bring us some warmth. We had a "make your own" Bloody Mary bar set up, to keep our spirits bright and lots of good food for breakfast. I made the egg casserole dish from my Tailgate! Pinterest board and post and it was a big hit with the crowd. Because the day was so beautiful, we even tailgated after the game and grilled hot dogs to go with our victory beers. We always make each tailgate a little different, with everyone pitching in to do their part and that makes it even more fun.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, September 25, 2015

We Are Back At Book Club

 

 

 

A fall night, a beautifully set table and the welcoming chatter of friends all signify the start of another season of my wonderful book club. Summers are a busy time for everyone and while I see some of these ladies now and then, it will be so nice to start see everyone on a regular basis. We had so much to talk about; big things like weddings, trips to Paris, moving to a new house and everyday things too.

 

 

As usual, our dinner was fabulous and in fact when I arrived, our hostess was grilling perfectly cooked salmon. Served with salad, asparagus risotto and a pesto topping it was a light and delicious meal. We sat around the table talking and drinking wine, had dessert (apple crisp - yum) and still had not started on our book discussion. We tried a few times, but got sidetracked with other conversations as we are prone to do when we haven't seen one another for a while.

 

 

As the evening grew late, we did begin to discuss the wonderful book, Orphan Train. I had read it previously, over a year ago (review here) and read it a second time to refresh my memory. I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, with the second reading and I think that makes for a good recommendation. My other book club members really loved this book too. It was good to be back, good to hear everyone's thoughts and most importantly, good to sit around the table with friends.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Guest Bathroom Update - Inspiration

 

 

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I am finally ready to start the update of my guest bathroom. It is a small half bath that desperately needs some basic renovation and I will be doing it on a small budget. The flooring and cabinet will remain, but I hope to work some design magic with paint, new lighting, faucets (I want a waterfall style) and color.

My color palette will be blue, grey and white, though I have not decided on the exact shades. For inspiration, I have been pinning a few photos to a Pinterest board and am deciding between a dark or lighter grey for the cabinet and a deep or light blue for the walls. I will be making use of white trim for the existing mirror and possibly adding some molding to the walls.

 

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As always with renovation, there is a fine line with how much value can be achieved from an update. We are empty nesters with a home we will be looking to put on the market in a few years. I think with these design details, a lot of sellable value can be achieved. It's time to strip the final room of its wallpaper and bring some new pretty in.

 

{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, September 21, 2015

A Different Kind of Tailgate

 

 

 

For our tailgate this weekend, since we were a smaller group, we decided to make a tour of some of the great places that East Lansing has to offer. Thankfully though, we were able to end the day with a traditional victory margarita at our favorite spot, El Azteco. The weather cleared and we were able to sit on the rooftop; a perfect ending to the day.

 

 

But before the win, our day started much earlier, at a new to us restaurant called The Soup Spoon Cafe. I have been wanting to try it, because Melissa had such good things to say about it and its farm to table ingredients.

 

 

My favorite way to start the morning on game day is always with a Bloody Mary and this one was fabulous. It was perfectly spicy and you could tell it was made to order. There were also two versions; the vegatable and the meat version. Yum!

 

 

I was a very happy girl when the waitress brought my Eggs Benedict to the table. All fresh ingredients and the eggs were perfectly poached. There is not much I enjoy more for breakfast than a Bloody Mary accompanied by Eggs Benedict. And, with the rain falling outside, we were also happy to be inside and dry, rather than huddled under a tent.

 

 

As we were walking across campus to the stadium, the sun came out and we decided to make a stop at the business school tailgate (my husband's college) and grab a drink and a cookie or two. These kinds of tailgates are set up all around camps for alumni and it makes game day special for those who don't want to set up their own.

We had a great day; it's always fun to be on campus and to try new things. Next week, once again, we will be back to setting up our own tents and entertaining, but this was a good change on a rainy morning. Another win and a number two national ranking has Spartan Nation in good spirits and frankly not knowing what to think. There have been a lot of years of being that other college in Michigan and we like our underdog persona. But, we will take all the love from the national press as they discover what we've always known - MSU is the best place there is.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Changing, Thinking, Reading

 

 

 

 

 

I am starting the change over to fall in my garden. The last of the summer blooms were cut and put in a vase, the first of the season's mums have been purchased and placed in pots here and there and there are even a few of the first maple leaves starting to turn, so brilliantly. So much pretty color already and more to look forward to.

 

 

Sometimes when reading a blog post, it really strikes a nerve and makes me think. My blog friend Mo, from Mocadeaux wrote a post this week about an anniversary at her children's preschool. I started to remember my daughter's co-op preschool and my board position there and then all the years and all the jobs I took on in order to be involved in my girl's lives. Brownie leader (twice), playground parent and room mother in elementary school. Auction committees, PTO board positions, costume director ( many late nights sewing) for middle school musicals, youth group and field trip chaperone. Gymnastics meet awards committee, swim team co-president and pompon team vice-president. Plus, many other jobs I can't really remember. All done with love, but looking back, I wonder how did I ever have the energy?!

 

 

 

I have been reading two new female detective series and loving them. Both have strong female characters and great supporting ones as well and are set in my favorite location; London. I am a new fan of both Maeve Kerrigan and Lacey Flint and so glad I found these books. Now I wait impatiently for the newest books in the series.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Italian Three Bean Salad - Pinterest Success {38}

 

 

 

I like to eat interesting, flavorful meals for lunch, with as much variety as possible. A step up from a boring sandwich is always a welcome addition to my daily menu. When I saw this recipe for Italian Three Bean Salad, I knew it was something I wanted to try. Beans are a healthy carb for me, as long as I practice portion control ( about 1 1/2 cups for a meal size portion) and by making this myself, I could substitute Truvia for the sugar and make it sugar free.

It was so filling and tasty and the Italian seasoning, roasted red peppers and garbanzo beans were a delicious flavor addition to the traditional three bean salad. I recommend making this the day before you want to eat it, so the flavors can incorporate. It's a healthy lunchtime salad that I will definitely make again and again. The recipe and original pin can be found here.

 

{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, September 14, 2015

Selfies and Other Shots

 

 

 

 

 

What a great day and night we had on Saturday! Of course everything was made even more special by the fact that the Spartans won their big game against Oregon. The stadium was rocking for the entire game and it was one of those memories we will never forget, as the win put MSU in a great position for a playoff run.

 

 

 

 

 

But, before the game, there was even more fun with a tailgate that included grilling, yummy desserts and even a birthday celebration. The tents were everywhere, the weather was a little colder than anticipated and spirits were high all around. We were visited by our students and their friends in large groups and we were more than happy to feed them. Our first tailgate of the 2015 football season was a success both on and off the field.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Game Day Memories

 

 

 

Tomorrow is a big day on the MSU campus as the home games begin with an important game against the Oregon Ducks. ESPN College Gameday will be there, hotels are full for miles around and tailgating will be the order of the day. We have many great memories of our game day fun over the last few years and in honor of the birthday (today) of the biggest Spartan fan around; my husband, it seemed a good day to reminisce and also look forward to many more good times on campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There will be lots of yummy food, the fight song sung too many times to count and cool, crip autumn weather. There will be tents filled with proud alumni and students. And, most importantly, there will be a football game played. As the announcer always says at the beginning of every home game at Spartan Stadium - "It's a beautiful day for football!"

Have a wonderful weekend and Go Green!

 

Linking with The Queen In Between

 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bloody Mary Tomato Salad




When we were at our friend's cabin this weekend, one of the things we like to do is cook some simple, yet amazing dinners at the end of the day. We usually eat rather late and sit and enjoy good food, good conversation and good wine, before heading outside for a late night campfire. One night, we enjoyed perfectly cooked steaks from the grill, baked potatoes and this delicious Bloody Mary Tomato Salad that I brought to contribute to the meal. It was the perfect accompaniment to a steak dinner.
This salad is very easy to put together and the dressing is the star. The ingredients mimic the flavors of a Bloody Mary and all its garnishes. I used celery and olives this time, but you could also add a pickled flavor with a pickled vegetable such as green beans or okra. The dressing had just the right amount of spice, but you could easily add more or less spice by the amount of hot sauce.

Bloody Mary Tomato Salad

1 bag chopped romaine lettuce
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup diagonal sliced celery
sliced green olives for garnish

In a large salad bowl, toss lettuce, tomatoes and celery with Bloody Mary Vinagrette. Garnish with green olives.

Bloody Mary Vinagrette

1/2 cup spicy Bloody Mary Mix
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T lemon juice
1 T prepared horseradish
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
3/4 tsp celery salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well.

Enjoy!

{Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life
Savvy Southern Style
The Charm of Home
Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson
Gooseberry Patch
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

The Queen In Between

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Back at the River

 

 

 

 

It was so wonderful to be back in northern Michigan at our friend's cabin on the north branch of the Au Sable River. It is a peaceful, beautiful place, deep in the woods and time just seems to stand still. There is internet, but when you are surrounded by this kind of natural beauty, there is no need to be connected and for the most part, my phone was put away.

 

 

 

 

There was a lot of time spent contemplating the flow of the river from the deck. There was a lot of good conversation, with two really good friends. There were glasses of wine, beer and Bloody Mary's to add to the relaxation. But, mostly we stayed put and cooked some great meals; only venturing into civilization for breakfast or a drink at a local bar, right on the river, during one of our canoe trips.

 

 

 

But, it always goes back to the flow of the river there. Whether watching it or following its current in a canoe, you mimic its movement and slow down. There is something to be said for a slower pace and we were lucky enough to find it this weekend.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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