Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November Nesting

 

 

I don't have the cold temperatures or the snow starting to fly like many of you, but there is still something about the month of November that gives me the urge to nest. To use these next few weeks to get myself and my house ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm not talking about decorating; that can wait. But, doing some extra cleaning, planning my Thanksgiving menu and table setting and enjoying the last bit of fall where shorter days force you inside a bit earlier, with candles lit and a warm drink to end the day.

I put together a few of my fall favorites; both decor and food, that might give you some inspiration for your Thanksgiving hosting plans. My table will only have four place settings this year, rather than fifteen, but the plans will still reflect the specialness of the holiday. We will still have all the usual favorites, including brunch with mimosas while we watch the parade, a special cocktail and appetizers while we watch football and a pretty table at dinnertime. From these ideas shown, I'm making the stuffing and the chutney (traditional and delicious) this year and also have a new idea for my table with a Florida twist. If it works, I will share.

 

No Sew Burlap Table Runner

 

Indian Corn Candle

 

My Mother's Stuffing

 

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette

 

Cranberry Apple Ginger Chutney

 

Simple Method to Preserve Fall Leaves

 

So Simple, So Sweet Place Setting

Happy Wednesday!

 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Apple Brownies

 

 

 

What's in a name? Apparently for me, a lot. Wanting to use a bowlful of apples on my kitchen counter, I started scrolling through Pinterest looking for a quick and easy apple recipe, maybe a cake or some type of bar. I happened upon a few recipes for Apple Brownies and I was intrigued. They really should be called Apple Blondies (no chocolate), but for me, Apple Brownies just seemed more fun.

They were easy to put together and I was happy to see they were loaded with chopped apples. As usual, I used Truvia sugar equivilents to make these a little more diabetic friendly. No other changes were made, but these would also be delicious with whole wheat flour. And, the scent when these were baking was heavenly. The original pin and recipe can be found here.

These brownies are delicious and have just enough sweetness to satisfy any sweet tooth. The thickness of the batter helps keep the apples from sinking to the bottom, so there were plenty of apples in every bite. Serving suggestion: Serve a warm apple brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Autumn on a plate!

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{ Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Monday, November 5, 2018

Christmas Can Wait

 

 

 

There has always been the tendency to rush one holiday season right to the next, when we move from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas. A lot of the blame can be attributed to the retail world and their rush to put out Christmas decor at the end of summer. But, it seems this year, once the calendar turned to November 1st, the whole world (especially the blogging and Instagram world) was talking about putting up their Christmas tree. I'm going to take a step back, slow down and enjoy the moment a bit more.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. By rushing to Christmas, we rush right past the quiet joys of Thanksgiving. The simple harvest decor, the traditional menu that doesn't require a lot of thought and the simple pleasure of spending the day with family.

You will never see a Christmas tree up in my house in early November. It honestly hurts my head to see pumpkins and Christmas decor mixed together. It just seems like a lot of unneeded pressure we put on ourselves, when there is still the whole month of December to enjoy everything Christmas. One whole month to listen to Christmas music, wonder at Christmas lights and eat your fill of Christmas cookies.

So my suggestion (if you can) is to wait and let Thanksgiving have its place. Don't drag the bins out until after Thanksgiving. Give yourself a break. There are no Christmas police that say your tree must be up by December 1st. Especially this year, when Thankgiving falls early and there is a whole week of grace. Holiday decorating doesn't have to be just a chore you need to finish.

Happy Monday!

 

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Halloweentime

 

 

 

 

It's Halloween and while the day doesn't have the same excitement that it held when my girls were young and it was a day filled with class parties and trick or treating, I still think it's fun. It's different though and much more simple - no costumes to sew or buy and no cookies or cupcakes to make and send to school. We don't even bother carving a pumpkin anymore.

 

 

Even the trick or treating is not quite the same. In our old neighborhood, we would easily have close to 200 trick or treaters. Here in Florida, I live in a new development, so last year, with a lot of construction on my street still happening, we had no children stop buy. This year, things are a little more finished and organized. There is a system set up where all the houses that are passing out candy have an orange ribbon on the lightpost. We are told to expect around 20 trick or treaters (it's Florida after all and while not a retirement community, we don't have very many kids in the neighborhood). But, it's going to be a beautiful night and I will be ready with my bowl of candy.

 

 

Through the years, I have always made a special cocktail on Halloween night, as well as passing out coffee with a Baily's shot or a beer to the dads on trick or treat duty. My cocktail choice this year is a Pumpkin Spice White Russian. Most fall cocktails are made with apple cider, which is hard to find in Florida, so this seemed a good choice. I made one last night to test it out and it is delicious.

To make: Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add 1 ounce vodka, 2 ounces kahlua and 2 ounces Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer. Stir together well and enjoy.

Happy Halloween!

 

Try these other cocktails from past Halloween nights:

Apple Cider Margarita

Caramel Apple Martini

Apple Cider and Buttershot Cocktail

 

{ Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Pineapple Salsa

 

 

 

In my last post, I promised to post the recipe for the yummy salsa I made to take to a football watch party. Now, this is not something I would have made to take tailgating on a chilly fall day in Michigan, but here in Florida; perfect. Or, if you just need a little sunshine and some tropical goodness to brighten your day.

The pineapple here in Florida is really good and fresh right now, but pineapple is a fruit that you can find year round, so no worries there. To save time chopping, I bought the red onions and peppers pre chopped, so this was really easy to put together. I did not add a jalapeƱo, but added a few drops of Tabasco instead. That way I could control the heat a little better. My dish was clean when I left the party, so that's a sign of successful recipe to me.

The original pin and recipe can be found here. I did not serve the salsa in the half pineapple, but how great does it look. Maybe next time :-)

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{ Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Lately

 

 

 

My daughter Melissa was in Orlando for business and was able to drive to see us this past weekend, after her work trip was done. It was a quick visit, but we had beautiful weather and she loves to get her beach and pool time in, so that is what we did. We went to Siesta Key beach one day and spent another day at our pool. We had some fun dinners at restaurants on the water and she had her fill of sun and pina coladas, before heading back to the colder temps in Michigan. It's always hard to say goodbye, but this time it wasn't so bad, since she will be back in one month for Thanksgiving.

 

 

On Saturday, we were sad to see our Spartans lose to Michigan, but still had fun watching the game with some friends and fellow MSU fans here in Florida. Melissa came to the party with us (she is a Spartan alum too) and also enjoyed spending half time by their pool. There were a lot of rivalry shenanigans both before, during and after the game and I can't wait to see what next year's game brings. The photo is what I took to the watch party - pineapple salsa in my favorite MSU dish. Recipe coming soon, since it was delicious.

 

 

Yesterday, I went with some friends to see A Star Is Born and I loved it. I don't see a lot of movies, but this was one I really wanted to see. I have fond memories of the Barbara Striesand version and was really looking forward to seeing Lady Gaga in the role. I thought she was mesmerizing on the big screen and more than held her own with Bradley Cooper (also great). As a pop star, she does a lot of semi weird things in my opinion, but in this stripped down, vulnerable version of herself, she became interesting and believable to me. She is a very talented singer, but now a legitimate actress as well.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Easiest Gumbo

 

 

 

Friday was National Gumbo Day and when I saw this recipe posted on Lisa's blog, I knew I had found my dish for a college football watching Saturday. We love gumbo, but I've never found a recipe that looked simple enough to bother making. And, while this recipe is not traditional Gumbo (no roux), it was very flavorful and had all the components I love. Okra is a favorite of mine, but it is not typically served in the Midwest where I grew up. I know there is a trick to cooking it well, but this recipe is very forgiving. Also, I enjoyed being able to add just the right amount of heat to this Gumbo. Too many times, when you order Gumbo in a restaurant, it's way too spicy.

I did make a few changes to the recipe. I used a can of Rotel rather than regular diced tomatoes for added flavor and heat. Also, I did not use all the chicken broth called for in the recipe to make the gumbo less soup like. Finally, instead of canned chicken (what?), I added 1 pound of chopped, uncooked chicken breast after the mixture came to a boil and then simmered everything for about 20 minutes.

This was a delicious dish and I am happy to have discovered it. You could easily use shrimp instead of chicken (or use both). The whole recipe took one hour to put together, including the chopping and did not need to cook for hours, like traditional gumbo. Serve with rice and a bottle of Tabasco on the side for those who like their Gumbo with even more heat. It really is the easiest Gumbo ever.

 

Circa 2013

And speaking of College football - my Spartans won over Penn State with a last second touchdown (so exciting) and that leads us into rivalry week in the state of Michigan. Michigan State vs. Michigan; where most families have some sort of interest in the game and the teams (and fans) don't really like each other. We are a house divided with 3 MSU alumni (me, my husband and our youngest daughter) and 2 U of M alumni (my older daughter and new son in law). It will be a fun week.

Happy Monday!

 

{ Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fall Decor - Florida Style

 

 

Last fall, my first fall in Florida, I really wasn't missing fall decor too much. I think my house was still new and I had worked so hard to get things just so, I was in no mood to add or change anything. This fall, I feel I bit different. I see photos of front porches with mums and pumpkins and I want it all. But, that just won't work and if added now, before we cool off, mums would wilt and die, no matter how much you water them.

So, I've been doing a little dreaming on Pinterest and pinning a few quite simple coastal fall decor ideas to my All Things Florida board. Here are some of my favorites and I may try to pull off a few before Thanksgiving. (I'll share if I do)

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

Pinterest

 

No orange tones, but neutrals, blues, natural elements and seashells - I like the subtle fall vibe.

Happy Weekend!

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Individual Autumn Apple French Toast {Recipe Redo}

 

 

 

Fall recipes should be comforting, rustic and full of seasonal flavor. This breakfast recipe from my 2016 archives is not one I have made again, but I'm not sure why. I love the chunks of apple throughout and it is a great way to use up those end of loaf, almost stale, bread slices. Yesterday, I made this with the multigrain bread I usually buy as well, and it tasted great. I did cut off the crusts and use a total of 3 smaller slices, rather than 2 larger slices.

I like that the only sweetener is sugar free brown sugar and because I don't care for things to taste too sweet, I enjoyed it without any additional toppings. However, you could add a drizzle of syrup or powdered sugar if you wanted. It's the perfect size, individual breakfast treat and definitely a delicious taste of fall.

Happy Tuesday!

 

{ Linking with these friends}

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

All About Fall - TBB Asks

 

 

TBB

 

1. How do you pick one? It's all about how they blend together to make the most perfect fall vista. Add blue sky and it's breathtaking.

 

Michigan in October

 

2. Cold and fresh from the cider mill, sitting at a picnic table outside. A warm cider doughnut covered in cinnamon and sugar must also be part of this fall deliciousness. Or when tailgating, this cocktail.

 

 

3. I'm not a big caramel apple fan, but I wouldn't say no to one. Remember candy apples? I haven't seen one in years, but those I loved!

 

Pinterest

 

4. Apple Cider Doughnuts are my favorite doughnuts (see number 2 lol). Unfortunately, I can't buy them here in Florida, or even make them, because it's very hard to find cider for sale and if you do, it's not fresh. This recipe for Apple Cider Doughnut Muffins is good though.

 

 

5. Definitely short (preppy, classic) cardigans. I have a uniform and it usually includes a classic button front cardigan, draped over my shoulder and knotted in the front. I have a drawer full of every color. Plus, I'm short and long cardigans look so much better when you are have those long legs.

 

 

6. Fall = football season to me and I love making tailgate style food. This is my favorite dip. Layer bean dip, taco seasoning, sour cream, green onions, tomatoes, black olives and cheese. People will eat this up.

 

 

7. I like a classic orange pumpkin, but again, pumpkins and hot Florida weather do not mix. Anything outside needs to be of the artifical kind.

8. Hayrides are fun, especially the spooky variety, but I love a fall bonfire. At our house in Michigan, we loved to build a fire in the fire pit on chilly nights ,wrap up in a blanket and enjoy that bonfire sound and scent.

9. As a diabetic, I limit my sweets, so if I do any baking, it's usually some kind of breakfast item. This Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal is pretty much a staple in the fall. The scent alone, when baking, is better than any apple spice candle you can buy.

 

 

10. Football season begins. We love college football and our Michigan State Spartans. Football Saturday's are the best.

 

Go Green Go White from two Spartan grads in Florida

 

Happy Tuesday!

 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Mr. and Mrs.

 

 

 

As promised, the photos from our photographer have come in and I am sharing them here for one last wedding post. There are many, many photos, so I tried to pick only my favorites.

We love that she captured the day in such a beautiful way and especially love the candid shots. There is so much emotion in these photos. They highlight the details, but also capture the love and joy. If you are planning a wedding, make sure you splurge a little on the photographer. It's worth every penny.

All photos by Carrie House Photography. Locations: J.W. Marriott Grand Rapids, Basilica of St. Adalberts, Blue Bridge, Grand Rapids Art Museum and Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

In case you missed it: My Daughter's Wedding Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

 

 

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Michigan ➡️ Florida
family, books, gardening, palm trees, the beach, golf, up north, msu football, detroit tigers, walking with my dog, trying new recipes, musicals, BBC, pedicures with my daughters, martinis, yoga

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