Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Brown Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce

 

 

 

In my ongoing quest for healthy eating, I decided to try something new to me; brown rice noodles. I am not a big fan of whole wheat pasta and to be honest, would rather avoid pasta all together than eat what tastes like cardboard to me. I am a big fan of Thai takeout food, so I was hoping this could be a simple dish I could create right at home.

If you love anything with peanut sauce, this dish is for you. The peanut taste comes through, with just the slightest bit of heat. In fact, when I make this again, I would defiantly add a little more Tabasco Sauce, but that can be up to you. The brown rice noodles were fine and I liked them much better than whole wheat pasta. They probably could have used a minute or two less cooking time as per the instructions on the box, rather than my usual noodle cooking method.

This quick noodle dish was flavorful, quick and fresh tasting with the green opinions sprinkled on the top. A great find for a easy lunch or dinner when takeout just won't do.

 

Brown Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce


1 package brown rice noodles

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

3 T soy sauce

1 tsp sugar

2 drops hot pepper sauce ( add more if you like a little heat)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup water

Chopped green onions


Cook brown rice noodles per package directions. While cooking, mix together in a small bowl, peanut butter, garlic, hot sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Thin mixture with a little water at a time until smooth and creamy. Drain noodles, return to hot pan and toss with prepared peanut sauce. Place in bowls to serve and sprinkle generously with chopped green onions. Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday!

 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Florida Decor - Dining Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were selling and donating furniture at our old house in preparation for the move, my dining room table and chairs were the only thing I had a little pang of sadness about letting go. But, we didn't have a formal dining room at the new house and even if we did, the formal style would have been wrong. I was ambivalent about the new dining space, mostly because I had forgotten how big it was and you really can't tell from photos.

When we moved in, it was apparent that my kitchen table (several years ago from Pottery Barn) would fit, even with the addition of the leaf, as well as my bakers rack. There is plenty of space to move around and it doesn't feel crowded at all. Since the space is right off the kitchen and living area, we decided to make the wall a focal point and contribute to the coastal feel with the addition of white, weathered ship lap and a couple of brightly colored oars.

The rest of the decor is about texture, pops of color and beachy elements that remind you that you are in Florida. The jar of shells is filling nicely from our many trips to the beach. One of my favorite elements is the light fixture, because it's an unexpected modern shape and ties in with the brushed nickel fixtures in the kitchen.

When my daughters were here, we christened the space with a family dinner and it felt like home.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Shrimp Boil in Foil Packets

 

 

 

Yum! I saw this recipe on a blog I follow and she raved so much about how good it was that I simply had to give it a try. Especially because now that we live in Florida, we eat a lot of shrimp and I would love some go to recipes for making it at home.

This recipe is very easy, fairly quick to put together and has really good flavor. There are instructions for cooking the ears of corn in the microwave, but I simply par boiled the corn and potatoes together in a big pot and that worked great. I didn't have lager, but used a citrus flavored beer that I had on hand, so I think most beer varieties would be fine. The main seasoning is Old Bay, but I think it could use a little more heat and would probably add some red paper flakes next time. Also, some good bread would be a great addition for sopping up some of the delicious juice.

I cooked the packets in the oven, since our grill is in the sun and it was very hot outside when I was making dinner. The flavor was still great, but the grill might give everything a little smokiness that would add to the flavor. .

This recipe (and cooking method) is going in meal rotation.

Happy Tuesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

Skip To My Lou

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ordinary Days

 

 

 

I'm definitely settling into a routine here, but still can't believe I live in such a beautiful place. Will I ever get used to all the palm trees everywhere I look? I hope not. When I knew we were moving, I knew I would be ok, because I am such a homebody and really can be content in my house, my neighborhood and my city. With that said, I did just travel to Pittsburgh to see Megan and already have a flight booked to Michigan later this month to see Melissa, my parents, my sister and my friends. I really do miss everyone and am very happy I will be seeing and hugging them soon.

Speaking of friends, it's been a slow process making new ones, but it's early days yet. There are some ladies at yoga that I have connected with and I think I will invite them over for a post yoga lunch sometime soon. There is a ladies wine night at our clubhouse next week that I might try also. We still have many houses being built on our street and many neighbors to still move in, so I'll just wait and see what happens. No one spends very much time outside at the moment due to the heat, but we are almost through the worst of it and I'm sure people will be out and about.

I have been going to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings and enjoy that. I'm considering volunteering there, because it would be a great way to meet people too. I love going to yoga on the beach and as soon as it cools off a bit, I will explore some new places to walk.

I make a point of sitting on the lanai every day at sunset and just taking in the beauty of sky, the reflection on the water and the quiet as night slowly falls. It's very peaceful and a great spot for a glass of wine.

Ordinary days in Florida are pretty good.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Too Far Away

 

 

 

 

One of life's hard things is being away from your adult child on their birthday. You want to wake up in the morning and make them pancakes. You want to plan their favorite meal for a special birthday dinner, watch them blow out their candles and open their presents. You want to give them a birthday hug.

So, when you are many states away, you do what you can from afar. You send little surprises that are guaranteed to make them smile. You go that extra mile to compensate for your presence and hope that their friends and coworkers will pick up the slack. You text, you call and you wish more than anything you could be there in person.

Happy 24th birthday to my pretty, smart and strong daughter Melissa!

 

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Quick Visit in Pittsburgh

 

 

When you need to see your daughter and she needs to see you and talking on the phone just won't do, you have to remind yourself that a visit can truly be a plane trip away. So that's what I did. I flew to Pittsburgh for some much needed time with Megan and we talked wedding details, drank some good wine, did a little shopping and more than anything, spent some one on one time together in the midst a whirlwind year.

We are still a year out from the wedding and the big decisions are made, but there are many details to pick and choose and we spent some time on Pinterest getting lots of ideas. Her vision is going to be beautiful, simple and elegant and perfect for the venue. The next time I see her will be for wedding dress shopping in the fall and I can't wait to make even more memories of this special time in our lives.

When we weren't talking about the wedding, we ventured out one morning for a visit to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in downtown Pittsburgh.

 

From the website:

 

A green oasis in the middle of Pittsburgh’s vibrant Oakland neighborhood, Phipps has provided a world-class garden experience to its visitors since 1893. Visit to discover breathtaking seasonal flower shows, stunning outdoor botanical gardens, free-with-admission activities for all ages, an award-winning on-site café, and some of the greenest buildings in the world.


It was stunningly beautiful and we happily spent time wandering through the various glass greenhouses, all with a different theme. There was a butterfly forest with thousands of brightly colored butterflies amidst the flowers, a tropical rainforest, a children's area with a maze and other interactive exhibits and amazing blown glass art interspersed throughout the entire conservatory. We also enjoyed a wonderful lunch at the cafe and both of us plan on trying to replicate the chick pea and olive bruschetta we shared.

Perhaps the best way to understand the breathtaking beauty of this magical and peaceful place is from a few of the many photos I took.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thursday!

 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Thursday Night Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were planning our move to Florida, it was a night like last night that I usually pictured in my mind. A night that we could easily head to the beach on a random Thursday, with two beach chairs and a cooler full of beer and wine. Last night, we put the top down on the convertible, crossed the drawbridge over the inter coastal waterway and were at the beach in minutes. I really have to keep pinching myself that we actually live here now.

Mostly we sit and sip our drinks, getting more and more relaxed as the sun begins to set. We might collect a few shells or maybe put our feet in the water. Every sunset is different and I'm becoming quite the expert on viewing one. I used to think the sun going down was the prettiest part, but I was wrong. It's the half hour or so after, when the sky lights up with those beautiful cotton candy colors, that is really the payoff.

I don't think it will ever get old.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Florida Decor - Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When designing the kitchen for our new home in Florida, I knew that I wanted an all white kitchen. Definitely white cabinets and white countertops (Corian). I wasn't sure about the direction to take the backsplash, but ultimately went with white tile and a neutral small square stone accent strip to add texture and interest.

We had to make many of the decisions in a hurry and went with simple, brushed nickel cabinet and drawer knobs, but may change to something more stylish later. We splurged on the pendant lights and love their modern style, shape and texture. The counter stools are the perfect color for the coastal, beachy feel of our home and I was thrilled to find them at a very good price. I'm still on the lookout for something really unique to sit on the island, but for now I have been enjoying the simplicity of fresh flowers in a pretty vase.

Other details I love are the crown molding, the tall cabinets (I need a step stool to reach the top shelves), the gas stove and oven and the big walk in pantry. It's simple, modern and bright and a perfect contrast to the colorful accent pieces in the adjoining open concept spaces. I love combining modern and casual; as well as neutrals with pops of color.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pineapple Coconut Baked Oatmeal

 

 

 

These flavors make you think of sunshine and beach days (pina coladas!) and I thought it was the perfect recipe to try on a beautiful, sunny Florida morning. Unfortunately, I woke to a thunderstorm rolling in, so it's a little dark and gloomy, but looking at the bright side; a perfect morning for baking.

I do love pineapple and coconut and don't really think of these flavors when thinking of oatmeal, but I have seen tropical French toast at brunch spots, so it really does work. I also used unsweetened vanilla almond milk to add to the flavor and you could also add sliced almonds for a delicious crunch.

I'm all about tropical, light flavors right now and while I'm sure when Fall comes, I'll be back to wanting apple and cinnamon in my oatmeal, for today, it's sunshiny flavors all the time.

 

Pineapple Coconut Baked Oatmeal

2 cups old fashioned oats

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

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup melted butter

1 small container Greek vanilla yogurt

2/3 cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

1 small can crushed pineapple

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray. In medium bowl combine all dry ingredients. Beat eggs, melted butter, milk, yogurt and vanilla together in a separate bowl with a fork. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined. Add in pineapple and coconut. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 35 minutes or until set. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Have a wonderful weekend!


{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

Skip To My Lou

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Florida Decor - Guest Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is the start of a series of posts that will show my new house in Florida. I decided to start with one of the guest rooms, because I think it gives a real feel for the style of my new home and its coastal decor.

I really had fun with this room and wanted it to be calm and inviting, with soft beachy colors and white bedding. My goal was for our guests to feel like they are on vacation and they are here to relax. My inspiration was this pin from Pinterest that I saved quite some time ago and I feel I came pretty close. The room is a mixture of things we already owned and new finds. The white quilts are new, the bedside table was purchased at a local furniture shop and the decor items were found at various places, including Home Goods. The shells in the jar are collected from our local beaches and we (or our guests) will fill it up over time.

We are looking for a special piece of wall art and I would like to add some soft throws on the ends of the beds, but otherwise, it's all ready for guests - and my daughters were the very first to use it :-)

Happy Tuesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

Skip To My Lou

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Friday, July 14, 2017

New Places to Walk

 

 

 

 

 

Walking is definitely different in Florida. I have needed to make some adjustments, but all in all, it has been fun discovering new places. Usually I walk in my neighborhood, because I like seeing all the houses, landscaping and seeing the new construction that changes daily. I'm hoping it is also a good way to meet new people. In Michigan, I usually tried to walk between 5 and 6 pm and it was rarely too hot at that time. Here, I need to wait until closer to 8 pm and it usually is quite comfortable. The sun sets earlier here, on the east coast of the USA, so that's pretty close to sunset and I'm always mindful of finishing my walk before dark to avoid any unwelcome surprises from alligators.

While I prefer to walk in the evening, rather than the morning (it's better for my blood sugar), today I drove to downtown Venice and took a lovely walk from downtown to the beach. There is a shaded path that runs through the middle of a boulevard and shade is definitely my friend here, even fairly early in the morning. The gulf was beautiful and even though dogs aren't allowed on the beach, my puppy and I sat on a bench in the pavilion for a few minutes and enjoyed the shade and the view.

There is another walking path I will try soon, but need to get there fairly early since it follows the intercostal waterway and there is no shade at all. I'm hoping to spot a few dolphins on that walk.

It's all very different than my former walking paths through the woods, but new sights are always interesting. As long as I have water, a hat and most importantly my favorite walking buddy, my walks will be part of my new life here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

What I'm Watching

 

 

The good news is that we now have cable in our new house. The bad news is that due to a construction error on our street, we went one month without cable and had only temporary, very slow internet. So, I'm very behind on some shows I wanted to watch.

I did catch up on two shows that I have been looking forward to this summer and they are both British shows on PBS.

 

 

First, Tennison: Prime Suspect is the prequel to Helen Mirren's portrayal of Jane Tennison in the original Prime Suspect series, of which I was a big fan. I read a lot of British police procedurals and both this new show and the original were very good at translating those genre of books to the screen. Gritty, true to life and detailed about solving a crime in a British police station.

 

 

This new series (only three episodes, so easy to catch up on) takes place in 1973 and the style, clothes and depiction of that decade are fabulous. Lots of facial hair on the men and no cell phones or computers to be found. I really enjoyed the characters, the look and feel, as well as the story.

 

 

Quite a different change of pace from a crime drama, but I always enjoy The Great British Baking Show for its sweet, calm pace. It's just a lovely look at lovely people, baking lovely things. This is the fourth showing here in the states, but we get a combination of older and newer series as shown on the BBC, in no particular order or timeline. I love everything about it, even though I get confused every time a cookie is called a biscuit :-)

Happy Tuesday!

 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Visit From My Daughters

 

 

It has been a wonderful week, a very special birthday and a fun 4th of July, so I know you will understand that instead of posting, I have been living life with my family. I pretty much put away my phone and iPad, so luckily the rest of my family did a really good job of taking photos of all the things we did. We really tried to show my daughters the area and as many of our favorite spots as possible. We have been to the pool and the beach numerous times and enjoyed our fair share of shrimp and fresh seafood. We have been drinking margaritas, pins coladas and mai tais. We did yoga on the beach to start my birthday and finished with a freshly caught seafood dinner, followed by drinks at a tiki bar. We shopped and restaurant hopped in St. Armands Circle and took a boat ride to a sand bar in the middle of the gulf for a beautiful sunset we will never forget. I was so happy to have my daughters here, in our new house and make so many new family memories together.

There are a lot of photos to show you, so I'll let them do the most of the talking today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Thursday!

 

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