Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Feeling Nostalgic

 

 

 

Halloween always makes me a little nostalgic for the days of pumpkin carving, class parties and trick or treating. Of dusting off my sewing skills and putting together the perfect costumes for my daughters. Of that sweet moment when they arrived back home with their big bucket of candy; usually tired and cold, but so excited to spill it all out and sort through their haul.

 

 

We always had a wonderful Halloween night in our neighborhood, where the moms stayed home to pass out candy and the dads; in a big group of friends, took the kids from house to house. It was so fun to have kids and dads I knew well, ring the doorbell and shout trick or treat. I always made a fuss over their costumes and treated the dads to a nip of something spiked to keep them warm. Once our neighborhood was done, they would pile in a car and trick or treat at a few houses of friends in other neighborhoods too. It was the perfect suburban Halloween and I'm glad my girls were able to experience it.

 

 

 

I'm not sure how many trick or treaters I will have tonight, since we live in a gated community and there are very few children here. But there are some, so I will have a bowl of candy ready, the porch lights on and look forward to seeing all the cute costumes. And, I will actually be able to see the costumes without the addition of a winter parka, hats and mittins, like Halloween night in Michigan traditionally requires ;-)

Happy Halloween!

 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Snippets

 

 

 

I'm loving discovering new to me plants and hoping that this hibiscus makes it through the cooler weather we are starting to have here in Florida. It's all trial and error to this Midwest girl, but it's fun figuring it out. I'm learning that these tropical plants love the heat and humidity, but do not love a lot of water, unless they are in the direct sunlight all day.

 

 

Speaking of cooler temperatures - we were able to open the door wall and windows this week, with nighttime lows in the high 50's/low 60's and sunny days in the mid to upper 70's. It will be back in the 80's, but the 90's and humidity are gone for now. I think I'm really going to enjoy my first late fall/winter in Florida.

 

 

 

We have made a few changes to our house as time goes on. First, the oars I painted and hung on the dining room ship lap wall needed a little something more, so I added some rope accents and I love the texture and coastal vibe it brings. Also, we ended up changing the handles on the kitchen cabinets (before) and they definately give a more modern feel to the space. In the next few weeks, I will be posting the remaining rooms of my Florida home tour - just waiting for a few finishing touches.

 

 

 

 

I don't watch a lot of television, but Outlander, Poldark and Grey's Anatomy are all living up to my expectations and then some. Outlander has been wonderful in Season 3 and is based on my favorite book in the series, Voyager. Seeing it brought to life is amazing and emotional for me and really my only quibble is the inevitable changes from the book. But, I feel that way about every book adaptation. Poldark lost me a little last season, but season 3 has been really good and Ross is back to being the anti hero we love. Grey's Anatomy continues to amaze me that after 14 seasons the writers and the actors all continue to bring the drama to Seattle Grace (Grey Sloan Memorial) and continue to surprise me. Last night's episode with flashbacks to Riggs's and Megan's backstory during the war in Iraq was so good! I didn't mention This Is Us and that was deliberate. I'm still watching, but there is something missing for me so far this season.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

 

 

When I talk on the phone to one of my daughters, and they are upset about something, all I really want is to give them a hug and sit them down in my kitchen and cook them some comfort food. But, when you are separated by hundreds of miles, it just isn't something you can easily do.

When I was in Michigan last week, Melissa had been traveling for work the week before, and all she really wanted was a night in, with a home cooked meal (made by her mom) and some relaxation in front of the television. Since in was a blustery day, we decided on soup, some good bread from the bakery and wine. I improvised on my usual Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe, since it was late in the day and I think this version was even more delicious. From start to finish, it took about 1 hour - not bad for home made soup on a Sunday night.

 

Broccoli Cheese Soup


3 small broccoli heads, cut in 1 inch pieces (about 3-4 cups)

4 grated carrots

1 stick butter

1 small onion, diced

1/3 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups 1/2 and 1/2

Salt and pepper to taste

3 cups grated sharp cheddar


Melt butter in large soup pot. Add onions and cook until softened, 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top and stir until light brown, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, chicken broth and half and half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add broccoli and carrots. Cover the pot, reduce heat to low and simmer 20-30 minutes until broccoli and carrots are tender. Stir in cheese until melted. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

 

{ Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Saying Yes To The Dress

 

 

 

 

 

It was a whirlwind few days in Michigan and though the weather wasn't as picture perfect fall as I had hoped, it really didn't matter, since spending time with my daughters was really the important part of the weekend.

On Saturday, we (Megan, Melissa - the maid of honor, Megan's future mother in law and me) had two appointments at bridal salons and had high hopes that Megan would find her wedding dress. Our first appointment was everything we had hoped it would be and we all were in tears when she tried on the perfect dress and the stylist put a veil on her. Since we had another appointment, we didn't place an order, but when the second bridal salon was a bust and Megan could not stop thinking about the dress from the morning appointment, we called and ordered it before they closed for the day. We drank champagne to celebrate and talked about a lot of wedding details that need to be finalized soon. It was just a lovely and emotional experience and I'm so glad I was able to be there.

Sunday was a blustery and chilly day, perfect for brunch followed by a visit to the a local cider mill. It's a quintessential Michigan thing to do in the fall so, we drank hot cider and ate fresh doughnuts, all the while, just a little sad that the weekend was coming to a close and Megan would have to head back to Pittsburgh.

Now, I'm back in Florida, missing my daughters, but looking forward to all the exciting things ahead as we move towards the wedding day in August.

Happy Thursday!

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall In Florida

 

 

 

 

So, this is what Fall looks like in Florida.

Rather than my usual posts of walking through the woods as the pretty leaves swirl around, my fall days have become some of the best beach days we've experienced so far. With all the kids back in school, vacationers here, but few and snowbirds not yet arrived, even the most popular beaches are less crowded. The weather is still beautifully warm and the best part is knowing that back in Michigan, the weather was a rainy, 52 degree day. We feel incredibly lucky, blessed and know moving to Florida was the right decision for us.

Yes, there are days I miss a chilly and crisp autumn morning, with the scent of falling leaves in the air. But, I had that all my life and change and getting out of your comfort zone with new experiences can be good. I feel like I am experiencing something new every day and the best part is that if I really crave a Midwestern fall, I can fly there very easily.

In fact, I will be heading to Michigan this weekend for wedding dress shopping (so excited) and plan to get my fill of pretty trees, comfy sweaters and maybe a visit to the apple orchard for cider and doughnuts. Then, it's back to palm trees, endless sunshine and fall beach days.

Happy Thursday!

 

Friday, October 6, 2017

3 Things

 

 

 

So, I went to a new book club last night at my neighborhood's clubhouse. I didn't have high hopes that it could even be close to the same experience I am used to with my former book club, but I was hoping for the best. It was fine, just very different. Everyone was very welcoming and I'm sure over time I will get to know these ladies better and that will help. Since it meets in the clubhouse, it feels completely different than being at someone's home (even though our clubhouse is extremely nice). It was definately more about the book discussion, rather than socializing and if you can believe this - there was no wine! I'm going to have to see if I can change that :-)

 

 

I went to a garden center to replace some plants that I lost during Irma, and was really surprised to see all the mums. It seems like it would be way too hot here in Florida, but since they were very inexpensive, I decided to buy one and give it a try. So far, so good, since it's in the shade on my porch and I've been generous with the water. It's a little hard to get in the fall spirit here, but I do love a pretty mum in October.

 

 

This photo is circa 2011 and it really makes me feel nostalgic seeing my then college and high school aged daughters in our old home. But, it's a favorite and since it's rivalry week in Michigan, it's worth another post. The University of Michigan (Megan and her fiance's alma mater) is playing Michigan State (alma mater for me, my hubby and Melissa) on Saturday night, under the lights in a nationally televised game. The hatred is real between the two fan bases, but in our family, we have fun with it and all rivalry comments are done with love.

Have a wonderful weekend and Go Green! (Sorry Meg!)

 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Dinner

 

 

 

 

With everything that is happening in our world; all the chaos, turmoil and pain people are going through, I think we all are clinging a little tighter to the comfort of home. For me, that means staying in touch with loved ones, as well as keeping to my daily routine. My daughter leaves for Las Vegas on a week long work trip this Friday, and needless to say, that doesn't do much to calm the nerves.

I have always used cooking as a love language, making many dozens of cookies for my husband when we were dating. Any time I make what I consider comfort food, it falls into that love language. What is more comforting than a Pot Roast Dinner on a Sunday afternoon?

This recipe is probably the most successful pot roast dinner I have ever made. When I prepare pot roast in the oven, it tends to be dry, no matter what method I use. I'm not sure why I have never used a slow cooker for this classic dish, but I guess old habits die hard. My mother always made pot roast in the oven, so that's what I did too. This recipe had wonderful flavor, the beef is fall apart, tender and the juice made a delicious gravy. I think the surprising addition of two chopped tomatoes was the secret. If you could use some comfort food too, give this recipe a try.

 

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Dinner


2 T olive oil

2-3 lb. rump roast

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 cup beef broth

1 T balsamic vinegar

6 large to medium potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into thirds, then halved

1 large onion, cut into chunks

2 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks

4 cloves minced garlic

1 T dried basil

1 T dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup water


1. Heat olive oil in skillet. Combine sugar, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the roast on all sides with the seasoning mixture. Place roast in skillet and sear all sides.

2. Pour beef broth and balsamic in a slow cooker and stir together. Add roast and surround with potatoes, onions and carrots.

3. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper and water. Pour over the top of the other ingredients in the slow cooker.

4. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours, then turn to low for last 2 hours.

5. Remove to a serving platter and if desired, transfer juices to a pan and make gravy by bringing juices to a boil adding a mixture of flour and water and whisking until smooth and thickened.

 

{ Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

Have a Daily Cup

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

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