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!


 

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!

 

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!

 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tropical Gardening

 

 

It's been a bit of a learning curve, figuring out what to plant and keeping alive what I have planted. There were some annuals that I recognized at the plant store, but I had no idea how they would do in the heat. I did plant some salvia, because I know it can take the sun and also some New Guinea Impatiens in a shady spot on the porch. I have been watering them every day, but just keeping the soil moist, rather than soaked.

I'm having better luck and less to worry about with the tropical plants. They definately can take the heat and also can stand a heavy rain shower without becoming saturated. My favorite is the hibiscus and I definitely want to get a few more. And, I planted a palm tree in a big pot which was a little surreal for this Michigan girl. The landscaping is coming in nicely and we plan on adding a palm tree to the front of the house. Every Florida house should have a tall palm tree with its fronds gently waving in the breeze, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's all getting there and starting to feel like home. Melissa flew in last night, Megan flies in today and tomorrow is my birthday. It's going to be a great one!

P.S. A bit of blog housekeeping this morning - I changed my domain to lifeinmyemptynest.com and if you have been so kind to list my blog on your sidebar as a favorite, you will need to update the url in your list in order to receive new posts. It's easy - just delete the old url lifeinmyemptynest@blogspot.com and then add lifeinmyemptynest.com. Thanks so much!

Happy Thursday!

 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Yoga on the Beach

 

 

 

 

One of the things I was most excited about when we chose where we wanted to live in Florida was that every morning at sunrise and every evening at sunset, our new city had a free yoga class on the beach. But, the idea of being able to wake up and head to the beach and practice yoga whenever I felt like it seemed very far away and slightly unreal, especially during all those cold winter days as we prepared to move.

Yesterday, I was up and out of the house, early for me, but excited to finally take another step toward the lifestyle I had dreamed of. When I arrived at Venice Beach, there was a yoga instructor inside a circle of seashells with about 100 people of all ages circled around her. You spread your towel or mat on the sand and could either face the instructor or face the water. The sun was warm, the surf sounds were relaxing and it really was a beautiful spot for yoga.

It wasn't the most challenging practice, but a good workout is not really the reason I will go. It's about being outside, feeling the sun on my face, the gulf breeze behind me and experiencing and being present in the fact that I am very lucky and blessed that I can start my mornings this way.

Namaste and Happy Tuesday!

 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer Reading List

 

 

It's always a difficult choice. Do I love to read in the summer when on the beach or at the pool? Or do I really prefer winter reading, with a cozy blanket and a cup of tea. Both have their charms and since I am now living in Florida with nice weather all the time, I need to have a book list that will be perfect pool side reading all year long. My summer reading list is filled with some new authors, but many are some of my favorites as well. There is a new book by Lisa See, a follow up to an author who's first book I enjoyed (The Widow), historical fiction (My Name Is Resolute) and several new crime series offerings ( Sue Grafton!) with characters who are old friends at this point.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

DC Maeve Kerrigan Series

 

PI Sharon McCone Series

 

PI Kinsey Milhone Series

 

Police Chief Kate Burkholder Series

 

British Special Agent Maggie Hope Series

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Technical Difficulties

 

 

Yes, my blog looks a little different today! It looks like the host my blog designer uses to store her designs is having some kind of issue that has replaced all my headers. I'm trying to get in touch with her, but I don't think she is designing blogs at this point, so who knows. Any recommendations for a good blog designer?

 

 

Update: Fixed by My Fairy Blogmother

Monday, June 19, 2017

A Sunny Saturday Morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun was out, the top was down on the car and in order to beat the heat, we headed out early Saturday morning for a little exploring. Our first stop was for breakfast at a place that will probably become our regular breakfast spot. I love going out for breakfast, so I am happy to have found a place that compares to my favorite in Michigan. For the second time, I ordered their special plate of sautéed red skin potatoes and veggies topped with eggs. So good.

After breakfast we headed to downtown Venice for the Farmer's Market on one street and a small craft fair on another street. We were looking for some sort of metal art piece to hang on the wall of our lanai and found exactly was we were looking for; colorful and perfect for Florida. If you have been here, you know there are gecko lizards in abundance.

Because it was so beautiful and still early, we drove to Venice's South Jetty and took a stroll down the rocks to feel the gulf breezes and watch the fisherman. The water is so beautifully blue here. What a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.

Happy Monday! I'm off to try the yoga class at our clubhouse and hopefully meet some more neighbors :-)

 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Asparagus {Pinterest Success 45}

 

 

 

It has been so long since I posted a recipe, but not having your own kitchen really does not inspire any kind of culinary creativity. For the first meal I cooked in our new house, I really wanted something fresh and with a Florida twist. The grocery store had some amazing, fresh Florida pink shrimp that I knew would make this recipe something special. We really enjoyed the garlic flavor of this dish, along with the fresh seafood and the slightly crunchy perfectly cooked asparagus. It took me no time at all to put this together (once I peeled the shrimp) and it's basically a one pan dish. The only change I made, was the addition of about 1/2 cup of white wine at the very end. The original pin and recipe can be found here.

 

 

P.S. This was my after dinner view tonight following a late evening thunderstorm. I am getting used to living in paradise :-)

Happy Thursday!

 

{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

 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Best of the Weekend

 

 

 

I'm still working on the house, but trying to also get out and do some fun things and try to start to feel like life is getting back to normal. Friday afternoon, after hanging some art on the walls, I packed up my bag and walked to the pool for a couple of hours. It was a perfect day; sunny and a little breezy, but great for jumping in the pool to cool off. I'm trying to pace myself in the sun and always wear sunscreen and a hat, because this light skinned girl will get burned very easily in the hot Florida sun. Later, I even cooked dinner for the first time in my new kitchen and I'll share the recipe this week.

 

 

 

Saturday, the weather was very rainy, but we had dinner plans with friends in town from Michigan and we just grabbed an umbrella and made the best of it. We had to eat inside, but still had a great time catching up. We anticipate quite a few friends calling us to make plans when they visit Florida. St. Armands Circle on Longboat Key is a great place to enjoy a night out.

 

 

There was more heavy rain on Sunday, which delayed my flower planting plans, but I went shopping instead and found some pillows and other things I still need to pull everything together. It will be a process and you will get a peek every now and then until I can show you a complete room.

Happy Monday!

 

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