Monday, May 30, 2016

Home of The Brave

 

 

 

It's been a busy few days in my yard and garden, but I just have a few things left to do. The American flag takes prominence on this Memorial Day morning, right next to my newly planted geraniums. It is a day to reflect on the sacrifices that have made this county the land of the free and the home of the brave.

My plan for the morning includes a second cup of coffee, followed by some yoga to stretch out all my gardening aches and pains. No hard work today - I'll leave the rest for tomorrow. We may barbeque something or we may go find a restsurant with an outdoor patio later, but no definate plans as of yet. Just a day to enjoy beautiful summer weather, filled with sunshine, family and the bright blue, wide open skies of America.

Happy Memorial Day!

 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Summer Readiness

 

 

 

Memorial Day weekend in Michigan is the official start to summer like everywhere else in the country, but it's also planting weekend. I was always taught that you could safely plant flowers and not have to worry about frost, if you waited until Memorial weekend. So, I always set aside my long holiday weekend for trips to the garden center and planting. By the time Monday comes, all my wood chips will be refreshed, all my flower beds will be edged and flowers will be planted in pots. Later today, I will make my first trip to the garden center and as any gardener knows, it's a happy day.

 

 

I will start getting my patio ready for summer afternoons and evenings. My patio set and other comfy chairs that surround the fire pit will be getting a paint touch up and all the cushions will get hosed off and plumped; ready for a new season.

 

 

I will also be mixing up my favorite summer cocktails like this Simple Cranberry Margarita. It's one of my favorite summertime things to do; sit outside, relax and enjoy the sunshine with a fun cocktail and a good book.

 

 

From now until fall, I will be cutting flowers for simple bouquets, usually in mason jars, that I love to scatter around my house. Right now, the spirea is blooming, but soon it will be my late blooming lilacs, phlox growing wild in the woods, daisies and zinnias.

There will also be barbecuing, outdoor dining, trips to the lake, Saturday farmers' markets and weekends away. So much summer goodness to look forward to.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ranchero Omelette In A Mug

 

 

 

Last week, I went to see my endocrinologist for a six month check up and one of the things we discussed regarding my diabetes management was adjusting the balance of protein and carbs I eat in the morning. I can easily add an egg or egg whites to my usual whole wheat toast or english muffin on many mornings and started to look for ways to bring a little protein variety to my diet.

This omelette in a mug sounded like a great, quick cooking concept and the possibilities for adding ingredients were endless. In the mood for a little bit of spice, I decided to use the basic recipe, but add salsa and cheese. You could add any kind of veggies or meat; whatever you have on hand or are in the mood for. I'm thinking mushrooms and cheese next?

To make this Ranchero Omelette In A Mug

1. Coat a large mug with cooking spray

2. Add 2 eggs to the mug and whisk with a fork

3. Add 2T salsa, 2 T shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk into eggs.

4. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Break up any large chunks of egg and microwave another 45 seconds or until eggs are set. Top with additional cheese.

Enjoy!

 

{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

 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Downsizing - Tales from My Garage Sale

 

 

 

Downsizing is a lot of work. That said, it really is a wonderful feeling to walk down the stairs to my basement or open a closet and see more and more empty space. There is still more to do and more decisions to make on what will be kept and what will go, but we are going about it with purpose and intention and it will happen.

 

 

The first big step was the garage sale we held at our home over three days last week. The last time I held a garage sale was at least ten years ago and I swore at the time, never again. But, it really is one of the best ways to recycle a large amount of household items and I was willing to give it a try. I decided to not sell clothes this time, but donate (6 large bags) and that made things much easier to set up.

I advertised on Craig's List and a few other on line local sites, put up signs and scheduled my dates to coincide with a subdivision wide sale, hoping for as many shoppers as possible. The biggest job was organizing like items and pricing, but I gave myself plenty of time and used preprinted stickers to help things move along fairly quickly.

On sale days, I pulled a lot out of the garage to catch the eye of those passing by and also reduced prices as the days went by, especially on items that were not generating interest.

How did we do? There was a steady stream of shoppers, especially on Saturday and a ton of unwanted items have left my home. People were friendly, complimentary of our prices and we even made an amount of money that made the process worthwhile. There is very little left to donate and I should be able to remove most of it by making a couple of trips to a nearby Goodwill and also schedule a pick up for the few pieces of furniture left.

It may have been a lot of work and I'm still recovering from being on my feet for three straight days, but it's a good feeling to know that all that unwanted stuff will be in use, rather than thrown in the landfill.

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

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

New House New Home

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Baked Coconut Doughnuts - Pinterest Success {42}

 

 

 

If you are a coconut fan like I am, then these doughnuts are for you. When Megan was visiting last weekend, I asked her to pick a recipe from my Doughnuts! Pinterest board and she thought these would be both fun to make and delicious. She is the one who got me a doughnut pan for a Christmas gift, so it was serendipity that we were able to use it and do some baking together.

I highly recommend a doughnut pan for making healthier doughnuts at home. There are many delicious recipes to choose from and it's easy to make sugar free versions of most. This particular recipe does have sugar in both the glaze and the coconut, but I did use Truvia in the batter. But, every little bit helps and a baked doughnut is much healthier than a traditional fried one from the doughnut shop. The original pin and recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

 

{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

 

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

When your grown up daughter comes to visit, it is indeed a happy weekend. There was a lot of catching up involved, some conversations over wine and much laughter.

We started out the weekend at the opening day of a local Farmer's Market and while the weather did not cooperate and we would have preferred sun, rather than 43 degrees and clouds, we still enjoyed a stroll through the different offerings. We walked across the street to a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed some lunchtime margaritas to warm us up from the cold. Later that night, we ordered in food, got cozy in front of the fire and watched a movie together.

On Sunday, to celebrate a late Mother's Day, since she couldn't be here last weekend, we went to a really fun restaurant for a delicious brunch. Two weekends in a row having mimosas is not something I am going to complain about!

The rest of Sunday was spent moving all my bins full of garage sale items, as well as some furniture, from the basement to the garage. Megan was such a big help and made an insurmountable job, fun. Before she leaves to go back to Pittsburgh on Monday, we are going to fit in some mother, daughter yoga and a little baking. I will miss her.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, May 13, 2016

My Reading List

 

 

Having a current reading list makes me happy. Knowing that after I finish a book, the next one awaits is one of life's little pleasures for me. In fact it has been one of my favorite things about using my iPad and the Kindle app for reading. I find new books in a lot of places; news articles, other blog recommendations, friend's recommendations and suggestions from Amazon. I read reviews and am usually a pretty good judge of what I like and very rarely download a book that I am unable to enjoy. Of course, some are better than others, but finding that hidden gem or a new series that draws me in to a new character is so satisfying to me.

There are a few books on my reading list right now that I an looking forward to digging into in the next few weeks. Some are by new authors to me and I look forward to discovering each one's writing style. So many books to enjoy and you will find me spending these rainy spring days happily reading my newest book.

 

Set in London, during WWII and written by the author of The Little Bee

 

Another Gone Girl successor, set in prohibition era New York City

 

A thriller with a shocking twist

 

The reviews say this is a novel that will cure your Downton Abbey withdrawal

 

Happy reading and happy weekend!

 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake Coffee Cake

 

 

 

It's a little gloomy and lightly raining this morning, so baking something sweet for breakfast, to enjoy with my coffee, seemed like a wonderful idea. It's not strawberry season yet, but the strawberries I have been finding in the grocery store have been looking and tasting a lot better lately. I even found some organic strawberries last week, that looked and tasted like they were freshly picked.

This recipe was very easy and used a generous amount of berries. As always, to keep things a little healthier, I used Truvia as a substitute for the sugar in the recipe. The flavors in this cake are bright and fresh and made an ordinary Wednesday morning a little more special. Strawberry Shortcake for breakfast - I say yes please :-)

 

Strawberry Shortcake Coffee Cake

 

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar (I used Truvia equivilent)

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 T melted butter

2 cups sliced strawberries

For topping: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar (Truvia equivilent), 1/4 cup cold butter

 

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another medium mixing bowl add egg, milk and melted butter. Stir until well blended. Add dry ingredients to this mixture. Stir until moist. Pour into a 8 inch baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Place sliced strawberries on top. Mix topping ingredients until crumbly, then sprinkle over the strawberries. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

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Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

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Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

New House New Home

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm


Momfessionals

 

 

 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day In Photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A series of photos can tell a story; a lovely story of a day full of sunshine and love from a family. My family made sure my day was extra special and was filled with all my favorite things. A nice and relaxing morning, an early morning text from Megan sending love from Pittsburgh, thoughtful gifts and flowers, a late breakfast at my favorite spot, mimosas made for me by Melissa, followed by an afternoon trip to the movie theatre.

Of course I was missing Megan. Mother's Day isn't complete when your empty nest isn't quite full, but she will be home for a visit next weekend and that makes me extremely happy. I have more plans than can fit into the weekend, but it will mostly be about catching up on all the hugs I have missed.

So many wonderful Mother's Day celebrations over the years, so many memories and so many reasons to feel loved.

Happy Monday!

 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mother's Day Brunch Worthy

 

 

On Mother's Day, you want any recipe you prepare to be just a little more special than the everyday. I am not cooking this year (we are going out to my favorite breakfast spot - yay!), but if I was, these favorite recipes would be on my buffet table. I always love a sweet option for brunch, but have also included a couple of savory choices to make your table well rounded. And, don't forget the mimosas by setting up a mimosa bar with a delicious and pretty variety of juices. Your guests can serve themselves and will have fun picking their favorite mimosa combination. In my opinion, a brunch buffet with both savory and sweet dishes is one of the prettiest things around and would make any mom smile.

 

Baked French Toast with Strusel Topping

 

Sugar Free Blueberry Coffee Cake

 

Blueberry Crossaint Puff

 

Egg Souffle

 

Sausage Cornbread Breakfast Casserole

 

Mimosa Bar

 

Happy Mother's Day to all and have a wonderful spring 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

Monday, May 2, 2016

Freezer Meals and Visits to Aging Parents

 

 

 

Sometimes in life, you do the best you can. When it comes to aging parents, you visit as much as you can, but at some point, it doesn't seem to be enough. You try to plug the dam of need, by cooking some meals to put in the freezer and hopefully making life a little easier. You try to convince them that asking for help is ok and even succeed a little with the addition of a cleaning lady in the last few months and a handyman for some much needed maintenance. In other words, everyone makes the best of the inevitable changes that come with aging.

In order to bring some variety to the meals I bring them, I started a Freezer Meals board on Pinterest. A lot of the meals are similar in type casserole dishes, because choice is limited when you are making something that will freeze and then reheat well. Sometimes, I even bake the meal and transfer it to a plastic container that they can easily thaw and then just warm in the microwave.

 

 

I did find a delicious and different dish that I prepared for our dinner one night last week and froze the second portion for two meals for my parents. This easy to prepare Taco Casserole is a hearty blend of ground beef, tomatoes, corn and black beans layered over rice. The original pin and recipe can be found here. I used white rice, but it would be just as good, if you wanted to make it healthier, by substituting brown rice. We liked it a lot and hopefully my parents will too.

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

 

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