Friday, April 29, 2016

Lemon Lime Mint Margarita

 

 

 

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo next week, I created a unique and refreshing summertime margarita to add to my cocktail repertoire. We have been experiencing some really pretty days, as April turns to May; filled with sunshine and perfect for sitting on my patio with a fun drink. This margarita, made with lemonade, lime juice, fresh mint and tequila is as delicious as it is pretty and I look forward to using this recipe all summer long.

If you are a mojito fan, you will love this twist on a margarita and its delightful muddling of the fresh mint. I don't own a tool to muddle the mint in the glass, but a wooden spoon worked just fine. Grab some chips and salsa, make yourself one of these margaritas and have a mini fiesta right at home.

To prepare this cocktail: wet the rim of a cocktail glass, then dip in kosher salt. Add crushed ice, 1 ounce lime juice and 4 fresh mint leaves to the glass. Muddle the leaves until they are bruised. Add 1 ounce white tequila and 4 ounces lemonade to the glass. Mix with cocktail stirrer, garnish with additional mint leaves and enjoy.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

New House New Home

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday This and That

 

 

This week in flying by, because I know once May begins there will be a lot to do and I want to just enjoy some quiet early spring days until then. On my horizon is a garage sale that I have been preparing for as the final piece of my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. That challenge has stretched into going through every storage bin, closet, drawer and cupboard and I can safely say, we have cleared out the excess. I'm not looking forward to the actual sale day, but it really is the most efficient way to remove a large amount, including some furniture.

 

 

I read another good book last week by one of my favorite authors. At The Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier is reminiscent of many of her other novels (The Girl With A Pearl Earring, Virgin Blue) with interesting, though flawed characters. She portrays the hardships in life and how people choose to cope and survive. This book was especially interesting to me since in takes place in the 1800's, just across the border from Michigan, in northern Ohio and much of the landscape is very similar to what I see everyday. What I see now as beauty (trees and wetlands) made the early settlers lives a struggle when establishing farms.

 

 

 

My favorite television show at the moment is Call The Midwife and I always look forward to the next episode. The time period has moved into the 1960's and the ways society was changing at a rapid pace is at the forefront. There is a serious and heartbreaking story being told about the effect of Thalidomide and the poor, sweet babies born with deformities as a result of their mothers taking this medication. Women's healthcare is at the forefront and it's an important storyline to be explored.

 

 

And, if you have been reading here for long, you know my love of the Outlander series, so of course I have been watching. So far, I am happy with the adaptation of the second book (Dragonfly in Amber), especially how the new series started with a flashback. There has been some concernation from book readers about changes in the storyline, but I am able to separate the two and appreciate how the show is different, yet still faithful to the overall plot and characters. I find I am riveted to my television for that hour and appreciate how the details of my favorite books have come to life. The costumes alone would be enough for me to tune in.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Green and White Game

 

 

 

It seems like football season just finished, but Saturday found us back on MSU's campus for the Green and White spring game. It was a beautiful day to sit in the warmth of the sun, and enjoy a preview of what to expect in the upcoming season. Our season ticket order goes in next week!

 

 

 

 

We had lunch with my sister and brother in law before the game and after the game took a stroll back to the car along one of the prettier paths on campus. Spring is just starting to happen here in Michigan and while the trees are not too green yet, you can spot a flowering tree here and there, looking oh so pretty against the blue sky. All paths on campus seem to intersect the Red Cedar River at some point and it was looking especially sun dappled on this gorgeous spring day. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, April 22, 2016

April Book Club

 

 

 

 

What's not to love about the color pink and pretty flowers in abundance? There is a drink called the Pink Penguin that is featured in the book we read and our hostess took that color and brought it to the forefront for our April book club. Her first question to me when I walked in was "Would you like a Pink Penguin?" and of course I said yes. It was a delicious mixture of pomegranate juice, vodka, lime juice and a Greek liquor and in the book is served on a cruise ship sailing to Antartica.

Our dinner, served on pretty pink, paisley place mats, was a delicious buffet meal of pork tenderloin, salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, garlic green beans and a kale and cabbage salad. The dessert was a spectacular and rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting. Once again, we were so spoiled by our hostess.

 

 

Since I was the hostess last month, I picked the book and lead the discussion. I had read Where'd You Go Bernadette last year and thought my book club would love its quirky humor. We had a really fun discussion and everyone seemed to really enjoy the book; especially its unique format. As I read this book for the second time to prepare for book club, I was aware that it was going to be adapted to the big screen (staring Cate Blanchett) and I couldn't help but think how funny many of the scenes would be.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

Linking with Between Naps on the Porch, Rattlebridge Farm, 21 Rosemary Lane and Savvy Southern Style

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Strawberry Banana Oat Bars

 

 

 

Since I am a diabetic and still like a sweet treat every now and then, I am always on the look out for sugar free or healthy options. I do use alternatives like Truvia when I bake, but all natural options are something that I am looking for too. I have been buying Lara Bars lately, but they are a little pricey and the dates used as a heathy ingredient are not really my favorite.

I saw this recipe for Strawberry Banana Oat Bars with no added sugar and the use of homemade jam. I knew I had a jar of homemade sugar free Strawberry Jam in my freezer that would be delicious in this recipe. The bananas also add natural sweetness.

These were so easy to make and the texture was soft and chewy, just like a Lara Bar. You could use any flavor of jam ( I'm going to try peach next) and homemade is not necessary at all. Just use a good quality store brand. I love when I find a new snack that won't break my low carb diet.

 

Strawberry Banana Oat Bars


1 cup strawberry jam ( I used homemade suger free, using this easy recipe)

2 cups rolled oats, divided

1 tsp baking powder

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with non stick foil. Place 1 cup of rolled oats in a food processor and blend until they look like a fine flour. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining 1 cup of rolled oats and the baking powder. Add the mashed bananas, maple syrup and vanilla. Mix well. Spoon 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared baking dish, using your fingers to press down and spread evenly. Spoon jam over the top. Crumble remains oat mixture over the top and press down lightly. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is a light golden brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

21 Rosemary Lane

New House New Home

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Sunshine

 

 

 

This weekend brought two long walks with my puppy, many hours sitting on my patio with a book and a cold drink, open windows for the first time this year and a bit of sunburn on my shoulders. Also, I began the spring yard cleanup by picking up a few hundred sticks and branches that fell to the ground over the winter.

 

 

But, it was the sunshine and blue skies that were the star of the weekend - so welcome and so needed. After a strangely mild winter and cold and gloomy spring, there is nothing better than the feel of sunshine and warm breezes. It's too early for much green and the only flowers are forsythia, daffodils and my favorite hyacinths just ready to bloom, but this warmth will have everything budding and popping with color soon.

I am ready for that first trip to the garden center to buy some frost resistant pansies and to stroll the aisles to plan and dream about what flowers I will buy in late May. I am ready for afternoons spent outside, for golf season and for patio dining. The spring sunshine has arrived and it is very welcome.

Happy Monday!

 

Linking with Have a Daily Cup Garden Party

 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Fashion Friday - Dresses

 

 

There is a wedding on my calendar the first weekend in May and I have started thinking of dress possibilities. It may still be cool here, so the dress will be covered with a wrap at some points in the day, but I still want a springtime look, hopefully with color. I am going to stay away from the standard little black dress that I usually gravitate to. My style choices are usually simple and classic and hopefully a dress I can wear for other occasions. Since I am fairly short and also short waisted, I have to be mindful of shape and a classic sheath, a line or fit and flare without a defined waist, usually will look the best.

Just a quick look and I found some really pretty choices. My favorite is the the first one - the lovely green with pretty cut outs would be so perfect for a spring wedding. However, the other choices are very pretty too. Any favorites? I will update when I choose.

 

Laser Cut Fit and Flare

 

Boat Neck Lace Sheath

 

Floral Print Crepe de Chine Sheath

 

Appliqué Crepe A Line

 

Posie Fit and Flare Twirl Dress

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Linking with Fashion Should Be Fun - Style Over 40

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Two Good Books

 

 

Some of my favorite posts to write are about books I want to read or books I have read. It makes the inner book nerd in me happy to discuss reading and I could do it all day every day, to be honest. When I find a good book, I want to let you know and recently, I read two really good ones.

 

 

The Widow, by Fiona Barton (from my Spring reading list) is reviewed as a psychological thriller, but it's so much more than that. It has elements of all my favorite books, with points of view devoted to a policeman, a journalist and the protagonist. A crime has been committed, but until the very end you don't know how it happened, or who actually did it. The widow's point of view is interesting and little is given away, until the very end, about her role. This is a book I did not want to put down until I finished; always the sign of a good book.

 

 

Circling The Sun, by Paula McLain is a story rich in detail of colonial Kenya and an English girl who makes her mark there. There are glittering parties, safaris and a look into the world of high stakes horse racing and the early days of aviation. It is the story of Beryl Markam and how she became successful in two fields dominated by men. This book is written in the style of a biography, but the details and conversations are fictionalization, just like the author's other book, The Paris Wife. I really enjoy this style of writing and there are quite a few in this genre that I have read in the past. Of course, it's the author's perspective, but the details of a real life story are fleshed out and that is what I enjoy.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Sausage Spinach and White Bean Soup

 

 

 

I don't mean to keep talking about about the weather, but when I wake up to snow on a Sunday morning in nearly mid April, it is worth mentioning. I just wanted to burrow under the covers and stay that way until spring arrives for good. But, I decided to make the most of the day and headed to the grocery store for ingredients to make a cozy and delicious soup to warm us up. There is something about having a pot of soup cooking on the stove that makes a home seem warm and inviting, even on the dreariest of days outside.

This soup recipe was a new one and had wonderful flavor. The combination of the smoked sausage, beans and veggies gave it a hearty texture and we enjoyed it very much. It really was perfect for a chilly Sunday.

 

Sausage Spinach and White Bean Soup

 

1 package smoked sausage links, sliced thin

3 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 cups spinach

1/2 tsp oregano

5 cups chicken broth/2 cups water

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

 

Add all ingredients, except for spinach, to a large stockpot. Bring to boil and then turn down heat and simmer for about 90 minutes, or until vegatables are tender. Add spinach just before serving.

Note: This soup could be made in a crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

21 Rosemary Lane

New House New Home

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Friday, April 8, 2016

What Baseball Means To Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Day at Comerica Park in Detroit is today and the city will be alive with baseball fans celebrating the start of another season. I love baseball and especially the Tigers and it's been a lifelong love affair for me. Baseball to me means summer afternoons with the sound of the announcers calling the game over the radio. It brings sweet memories of other Tiger fans, like my grandfather. It means nights at the ballpark, under the lights, when the sun finally sets, a cold beer is in your hand and you feel the cool breeze of a Michigan summer night.

It means memories of how Detroit has changed over the years, but its love for the Tigers has remained. Baseball has always brought people into the city; to the games and to the bars and even helped unite the city after the riots in 1967. Detroit has a bad reputation nationally, but things are slowly changing and it will be evident with its vitality on Opening Day. New restaurants and bars are opening all the time, neighborhoods are being revitalized and there is so much hope for a beleaguered city.

Baseball will be the background music of my summer. There is a full schedule to watch, to listen to and even a game or two to attend. My favorite players to watch hit home runs or pitch that elusive no hitter. It's Opening Day in Detroit and I couldn't be happier.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Outlander Season 2

 

 

 

What have I been doing lately? Since I discovered that the first season of Outlander is free on Starz.com until April 9th, I have been binge watching in advance of season two. Last year, I watched the first season somewhat piecemeal; basically wherever I could find it. So, it has been nice to see it as a whole. The weather here has been rather unspringlike and I've been curling up under a blanket, drinking tea and enjoying myself immensely.

I am so looking forward to season two (based on Dragonfly in Amber) and the scenes in Paris. The costumes look amazing and the new cast members seem like excellent choices. We will see Versailles, King Louis XV and Bonnie Prince Charlie. There will be political intrigue and war. And, there will be twists and turns that non book readers will find shocking.

 

 

The Outlander books are very special to me and while the show will never be as good, it does an excellent job of staying true to the story and the characters. As always, it is tricky for a television show or movie to live up to the written word and my imagination, but I give this show high marks.

 

 

Jamie and Claire are back for thirteen more episodes and I can't wait.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sausage Cornbread Breakfast Casserole

 

 

 

A visit with my parents these days includes a few freezer meals, plus usually something to share while I am there. I always try to think of something different to take and since I was going on Sunday morning, I decided to try a breakfast casserole dish, that I could simply serve with some fruit. They are always very appreciative of whatever I bring, so I try to cook a mix of new recipes, old family recipes and especially dishes I know they would like, but probably won't make for themselves. At this point, it's basic fare that can be made in bulk and freezes well, but it does help them so much to have things to pull out of the freezer.

This Sausage Cornbread Breakfast Casserole is a little unique with its cornbread flavor; slightly sweet, but very delicious. It has green chilies added, but I didn't find it too spicy, for those who prefer a little less heat in the morning. I halved the recipe to make it in an 8x8 baking dish and there was plenty for three people, with some leftover to reheat and enjoy later. Brunch items are my favorite and this is a recipe I will keep. You can find the recipe here.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}


French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Eclectic Red Barn

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

DIY by Design

21 Rosemary Lane

New House New Home

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Friday, April 1, 2016

Rainy Day Yoga




When a rainy day comes along and I know there will be no walking, besides the walk to the mailbox, I get my exercise and stress relief with a yoga session, right at home.
It feels amazing to light a candle or two in a room made gloomy from the rain, spread out my yoga mat and begin the gentle stretches. The voice on the DVD I use is soothing, as well as the background music. I practice yoga for three benefits - flexibility, weight bearing exercise and stress busting. These are important to everyone, but especially for a fifty year old type 2 diabetic.
Yoga does not have to be intimidating. My Yoga Over 50 DVD has a variety of practices; both short and long. The yoga instructor gives easy to understand direction and corrections and lets you know how to adjust if you are feeling pain.
You will come away calm and your body will feel in alignment, especially your back. And, a rainy day can be the perfect day for doing something positive for yourself.
Have a wonderful weekend!

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style
Between Naps on the Porch
21 Rosemary Lane
Stonegable

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