Friday, January 29, 2016

Valentine's Day {Pink}

 

 

With January winding down (Yay!) and Valentine's Day fast approaching, my thoughts are turning to all things red and pink. It's such a sweet holiday and while I don't go all out with decor, I do like a few touches here and there. I also like to make a sweet treat or two to get us into the Valentine's spirit.

 

 

These Chewy Strawberry Cookies are such a sweet Valentine's Day treat and are delicious too. You will be very surprised when you read the recipe and the ingredient list. It's kind of wacky, but it works. The texture and taste are very similar to the expensive macarons I bought from the bakery at Christmas time, so they are really something special.

 

 

What could be sweeter than a mini Button and Burlap Valentine's Banner with touches of red and pink. This is something I made several years ago, but it is the first thing I grab out of the Valentine's storage box. It is so easy to make; any heart shaped buttons will work. Over the years it has hung from my fireplace mantel, my kitchen baker's rack and a dining room hanging shelf. Where will I hang it this year?

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

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

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Sautéed Garlic Green Beans

 

 

 

It may be winter and the Farmer's Market long closed for the season, but I still like the freshness and color of healthy vegetables on my plate. Most grocery stores these days are bursting with color in their produce departments, especially in the organic section. When shopping last week, I found these lovely French green beans that would pair perfectly with the comfort food dinner of meatloaf and baked potatoes I would be serving that night.

I wanted to keep them as fresh as possible, so decided to give them a quick sauté with a bit of olive oil, garlic and spices. They retained their crunch and were a bit of summer on the plate. My mother always cooked green beans southern style; with bacon (I use turkey bacon now if I cook them this way) and not nearly as healthy as they could be. Yes, things taste better with bacon, but now, I like to keep the vegatables I serve as light as possible without sacrificing flavor. This method will be a new favorite way to achieve that goal.

 

Sautéed Garlic Green Beans


2 T olive oil

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1.5 pounds French green beans, washed and patted dry

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 T water


Heat olive oil in large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and stir to coat flakes in oil. Add the green beans and cook 5 minutes stirring often until beans are starting to brown. Add garlic and salt and cook stirring constantly about 30 seconds. Add water, cover and cook another 2 - 3 minutes.

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

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

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Walking in All Seasons

 

 


 

I am in the midst of winter walking at the moment, but as I was out the other day, I was thinking how walking in all the different seasons does keep things interesting. I envy those who can walk on the beach, but otherwise, I am perfectly content and appreciative of my walking paths that go through the woods in my neighborhood. In all kinds of weather and in all seasons, I can walk out the door and in minutes am in touch with nature and can see first hand what is happening outside.

 

 

 

Winter walking is so peaceful, especially if I am lucky enough to time my walk to coincide with lightly falling snow. The low light of winter gives everything a hazy quality and the only sound you hear is the crunch of snow under your boots. Plus, a hot drink always tastes better after being out in the cold.

 

 

The snowy paths now will soon change to the welcome sight of green grass coming up and flowers appearing on the trees and bushes in the spring.

 

 

 

Summer is filled with sunlight and green canopies of trees. There are wildflowers that carpet the woods and bloom in a continuous wave throughout the season.

 

 

 

Fall brings a welcome coolness to the air and stunning color above. The sound of leaves crunching under my feet is one of my favorite sounds.

Happy walking and Happy Monday!

 

Friday, January 22, 2016

January Book Club

 

 

 

It was so very nice to be back at book club last night and even though it was difficult to motivate myself to go out in the bitter cold, this sight greeted us as we walked to the door and it was just lovely. What could be prettier than simple white pillar candles stuck in the snow and lining a path to the front door?

 

 

 

Because it was so cold, our hostess served a delicious warm mulled red wine with the flavors of spice and orange. There were candles everywhere and we enjoyed the ambience as we caught up with each other.

 

 

 

As always, our dinner menu was made with care and perfect for a January night. We were served a lovely salad, a Moroccan chicken stew over couscous and naan bread. Dessert was an almond cake with hints of orange. Our dinner discussion was lively as usual. One topic which brought out a lot of opinion, was the idea of letting our hair go gray, rather than keeping up with our color year after year. For the most part, we are all in our early to mid fifties and most agreed the time is not now. Interesting thought and discussion though.

 

 

The book we talked about was one I had read many years ago, but read again, so I could participate fully in the discussion. The Weird Sisters is a novel about three sisters, their differing personalities and the impact of the return to their hometown to care for their sick mother. There are many literary undertones and Shakespearean references, metaphors and quotes which made for interesting reading.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

3 Ingredient Banana Pancakes

 

 

 

Pancakes for breakfast are my absolute favorite thing and I have made a lot of them over the years. When I saw the many recipes and methods for making these low carb pancakes, it was something I was really interested in trying. How great would it be to have this low carb option in my morning bag of tricks?

First, I tried the 2 ingredient recipe with just banana and egg. It may work for you, but mine were way too soft in texture to flip easily. The 3 ingredient option, with a small amount of flour, was much easier to work with and a lot more like regular pancake batter.

To make: mix 1 egg and 1 mashed very ripe banana in a medium bowl. Stir in 3 T flour. ( I added a handfull of frozen blueberries at this point.) Melt 1 T butter in a medium, non stick skillet and divide batter to make 3 small pancakes. Cook on both sides as you would a regular pancake.

I thought these were delicious and the texture, while soft, was not off putting at all. With a little sugar free syrup, I was able to enjoy a flavorful and decadent breakfast with negligible carbs. Healthy can be delicious!

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

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

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

Northern Nesting

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Winter Weekend

 

 

 

It was a very cold winter weekend here in Michigan, so we did all kinds of cozy winter things both indoors and even outside for a bit. There was no new snow to make things pretty, beyond a light dusting, but we did see the sunshine on Sunday, so that was a welcome change to our gloomy gray skies.

Saturday seemed a perfect day to see a movie in the afternoon and we went to see 13 Hours. We both liked it very much, but the political undertones were both disturbing and thought provoking. If you are aware of politics and what has happened with the Bengazi investigations so far, you will walk away somewhat infuriated, but with a better understanding of what occurred on that fateful night and of the heroes who defended their fellow Americans against terrible odds.

 

 

Sunday morning seemed a good morning for pancakes (isn't every morning?) and I tried a low carb recipe that I will share soon. These three pancakes only have three tablespoons of flour, but are still delicious.

 

 

I couldn't resist the sunshine in the afternoon and bundled up for a quick walk through the woods. As you can see, we still have a little snow, but the paths are all ice and quite treacherous when walking. I stuck to the sides and made it safely, but we could use some fresh snow to make things a little safer. My cheeks were definately rosy when I came inside, since in was only 8 degrees when I set out.

 

 

It felt cozy to turn on the fire and make some hot tea in anticipation of watching Downton Abbey. Last night's episode was a feel good episode all around and I had tears in my eyes by the end. And, don't you just love seeing a happy and strong Edith? Right now, I would rather have her life than Lady Mary's.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Movies and Television 2016

 

 

I am enjoying the last season of Downton Abbey and have always loved that it started in January, giving me something to look forward to in my least favorite month. Looking ahead in 2016, some of my favorite shows are returning (thank you, BBC and PBS) and there are also two books I have read coming out in movie adaptations that I look forward to. It's rare that a movie surpasses a favorite book in my eyes, but you never know.

Me Before You - Movie Release Date June 3rd

 

The Girl On The Train - Movie Release Date October 7th

 

There is a pattern to how the new seasons of my favorite British dramas roll out each year on PBS. After Downton Abbey and all the sadness that will come with the finale, there is still much to look forward to.

 

Call The Midwife - March 29th

 

Last Tango In Halifax - Early Summer

 

Poldark - Late Summer

 

Home Fires - Fall

 

Both Poldark and Home Fires premiered in 2015, so it would be easy to catch up if you missed them and I recommend both very highly. Also, I have been waiting patiently for two of my all time favorite series to return.

 

House of Cards - March 4

 

Outlander - Spring

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hot Cocoa with Whipped Cream Vodka

 

 

 

The snow and cold weather has finally arrived in Michigan; typical for January, but late coming in this unusually mild winter. I try to walk with my puppy throughout the winter months, but some days, when the temperature is only in the teens, it might be pushing things a bit. I arrive home with frozen cheeks and it takes a while to warm up. Usually a hot drink does the trick and yesterday I got a bit adventurous and made my hot cocoa into a delicious adult version that warmed me right up.

To make this hot, creamy drink, simply make your favorite version of hot cocoa to start. Sometimes I make it from scratch, using milk and cocoa powder, but k cups in my Keurig work fine too. Add a shot of whipped cream flavored vodka and top with a generous amount of whipped cream. It's so rich and delicious - the very best grown up version of hot cocoa you will ever have and perfect for a cold winter night (or day).

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

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

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

Northern Nesting

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Monday, January 11, 2016

Golden Globe Dresses I Liked

 

 

 

My daughter Megan and I watch the awards shows together, long distance, every year. She sends me a ballot to fill out and we tweet back and forth during the show. This year, there weren't a lot of tweets, beyond a few saying " this is terrible"! For me, the show was dissapointing and rather awkward. It seemed very disjointed and every speech was rushed and even defiant towards the time limit, which seemed childish to me.

The fashions are something I look forward to and there is usually a star who gets everything right, from dress, to hair to makeup. I can't say there was any look that I loved, but did find a few that I liked. There were many more that I thought were awful. If you have the pick of any dress in the world, I wonder about the choices that are made.

 

Helen Mirren at 70 was stunning.

 

 

 

 

The bold and jewel tone colors were striking on the red carpet and always better than washed out pastels or boring black.

 

I always think a little sparkle is appropriate for the occasion and these gold dresses were glamorous and fun.

 

I could have more easily done a list of those I didn't like, but that just seems mean, so I'm hoping the Oscars has more fashion wins than misses. And, my ballot - after a lot of guessing and picking from my heart (Outlander), I only got three picks right.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Winter Reading List

 

Pinterest

 

I am an avid reader all year long, but there is something special about curling up with a book on a cold winter day. Especially if the snow is falling, the fireplace is burning and a warm drink is within reach. It's all part of the coziness of the winter months and I plan on taking full advantage of any down time I have. My calendar for January is not full at all and after the business of the holiday season, reading time is my priority.

There are a few books in particular that I have been wanting to read, mostly based on recommendations and reviews from other blogs and Amazon. I really need a good book to choose as my pick for an upcoming book club and I am hoping that one of these will fit my criteria. A list of new books, from new to me authors, is so exciting and like a gift just waiting to be opened. You never know what surprises are inside.

 

 

 

"A psychological thriller being compared to Girl on the Train."

 

 

" A book written by a bookworm for other bookworms"

 

“In Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, Jonathan Odell uses an unlikely friendship between two women--one white and one black--to explore the roots of the civil rights movement in the South. With its deftly drawn characters, delicious dialog, and deeply satisfying and hopeful ending, this fine novel deserves to win the hearts of readers everywhere."

Happy Reading!

 

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

Search This Blog

Sent to your inbox

BBC (16) blog (23) books (122) christmas (62) cocktails (34) Diabetes (57) DIY (95) downsizing (17) empty nest (75) entertaining (50) faith (20) family (105) florida (17) florida house tour (3) food (213) friends (106) gardening (69) health and beauty (8) home (131) life (390) movies (9) my daughters (137) nature (48) pinterest (95) pinterest success (48) puppy (26) reality tv (36) recipe redo (8) repurpose (2) sewing (4) shopping (22) sports (59) tv and movies (70) walking (42) wedding (3) yoga (6)

 

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