Monday, November 20, 2017

My Thanksgiving Menu - Florida Style




This will be quite a different Thanksgiving this year. I usually am preparing for a big crowd of extended family with my table already set at this point, and preparations well underway. We will be celebrating our very first holiday at our new home in Florida and as I write this, one daughter is asleep in the guest room and another daughter and her fiancé will arrive tomorrow morning. It's really all I need to make it a wonderful day.

My menu will include all the traditional favorites and my daughters were very clear on keeping the menu that way. The amounts cooked will definately be smaller, but still enough, for plenty of leftovers. I usually try something new every year and it's usually the salad, since we have no traditional favorite. Everything else is tried and true; especially my mother's stuffing recipe. My menu is below, with links to some favorite and new recipes.


Egg Souffle


Mimosa Bar


Hot Chili Cheese Dip

Procuitto Wrapped Aspargus


Veggies and Spinach Dip

Spicy Garlic Shrimp



My Mother's Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes/Gravy

Green Bean Casserole

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

Cranberry Apple and Ginger Chutney



Pumpkin Pie

Key Lime Pie

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!


Wednesday, November 15, 2017





Exploring: A Sunday afternoon lunch date exploring downtown Sarasota, then a short drive to Lido Beach with the top down on the car. Beautiful fall day in southwest Florida.






Festivals: There are festivals in this area, of some sort, nearly every weekend. This past weekend was the Venice Chalk Festival and everyone told us we shouldn't miss it. We found it really interesting and many of the chalk artwork was very high quality, with artists from as far away as Italy and Germany. The downside for me was the location. It took place at the airport and while there was plenty of space for the artists, the atmosphere was lacking.



Reading: This book was on my Summer Reading List and I just got around to reading it a few weeks ago. It reintroduces an interesting character from The Widow and is the best book I have read in some time. Lots of twists and turns at the end, and I couldn't stop reading.



Golf: Really enjoying the cooler temperatures (no more 90's), especially for golf. I haven't been golfing as much as I like in the past few years, but now that year round golf is possible, I plan to change that.

Happy Wednesday!


Friday, November 10, 2017

Florida Decor - Living Room




My house in Michigan was a mixture of warm colors and dark wood, which fit the style of the house and the wooded lot. I knew when we moved to Florida, I wanted to go lighter, brighter and primarily a neutral, coastal feel, with pops of color. We found a great furniture store (Pamaro Shop in Sarasota) that had exactly what we were looking for. I didn't want tropical, but I wanted it to feel like a Florida house the minute you walked in. There is a seashell pattern on the chairs, but it's subtle. The two paintings are something we have owned for years (since Memphis), but I think they work really well in this room.










Some of my favorites are the tv stand with its weathered finish and tourquoise accents, the starfish base lamps (also subtle) and the brightly colored rug (Wayfair) that picks up all the various shades of blue and green.

It's way out of our comfort zone, but I love how it turned out.

See adjacent kitchen and dining area for a complete picture of the open concept space.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Unstuffed Cabbage Soup





It's not really soup weather here in Florida, but I think my body clock knows it's fall and that is what I have been craving, regardless of the temperature outside. This recipe is one I have wanted to try for a long time, since stuffed cabbage (Galumpki) is one of my husband's favorites. However, they are rather labor intensive, so I usually only make them on holidays or for a birthday treat.

As you can see from the photo, this soup is very hearty and contains all the traditional stuffed cabbage ingredients; ground beef, tomatoes, rice and cabbage. I was skeptical that the flavor would be there as well, but it really was. This recipe makes a lot, so the second day left overs were even better. It really is a great alternative to traditional stuffed cabbage and all the work required. Of course, there is nothing like the real thing, but as a shortcut, this will be in my recipe repertoire for good.


Unstuffed Cabbage Soup

1 1/2 cups minute rice, prepared as per package directions

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 lbs ground beef

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 ounce)

1 can tomato paste (6 ounce)

3 T Worcestershire sauce

32 ounces chicken broth plus 1 1/2 cups water

1 head cabbage, sliced into strips

Prepare rice and set aside. In a large soup pot, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Add salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth and water and bring to a simmer. Add the cabbage, stir and cook on medium low for about 45 - 50 minutes or until cabbage is soft. Add prepared rice and a bit more water if needed. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Enjoy!


Friday, November 3, 2017

Book Club Month Two




I am still feeling my new book club out and have decided at this point to take it for what it is. I won't be sharing pretty photos of table settings and lovely meals as before. It's just a different vibe and I'm hoping that it will evolve into something a little more social. I am the new kid on the block and don't feel right suggesting too many changes yet. But, give me a few months and I'll be bringing a bottle of wine to share and see how it goes.

It was a really good book discussion and what made it even better was that the author's mother lives in our neighborhood and joined us to give great insight into her daughter's writing. I really enjoyed the book (All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg) and the writing style, while some did not. Interestingly, it was just named to a list of books to read if you enjoy This Is Us, because of all the timeline jumps and twists that occur. It is a rather dark book and what I would describe as a literary novel, rather than mainstream fiction, but as always, a book club is a great way to go out of your reading comfort zone and discover an enjoyable book you may not have otherwise chosen.

Next month we are reading Lisa See's lastest book, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, so that should be more of a crowd pleaser.

Happy Reading and have a wonderful weekend!


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