Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Let’s Cook Together 2

How is the cooking going?  I have decided that we are at the point where dinner and a cocktail are the highlight of the day, so I might as well keep some variety going.  We are barbecuing a bit, I’m making some tried and true favorites and even tried Hello Fresh for the first time.  I thought it would be a good way to get fresh food in the house, without going to the grocery store.  At some point, I will write a post on my thoughts, but I will say now that I have enjoyed the cooking process and every meal I ordered has been full of flavor.

My recipe choice to share as a cook along is a hearty soup made with ingredients most have in their pantry, fridge and freezer.  Its comfort food that can be made either in the crock pot or on the stove top and the ingredients can be adapted to what you have on hand.

Its hot here in Florida, but for the rest of you dealing with rainy, spring days, this is the perfect simple meal with some bread as an accompaniment.  First published January 15, 2015.

Let’s cook together and then tell me what you think.  Stay safe!

Farmhouse Hamburger Soup

Monday, March 30, 2020

How I Quarantine

I am a social person, but I am also a homebody.  After too much time out and about, I crave time alone at home.  I have always loved days during the week when a day comes up with nothing on the calendar.

But, this is different.  I am able to be happy at home, and don't really get bored, but I miss people.  I feel very far away from my daughters.  I feel sad about all the fun times my snowbird friends and I are missing, before they leave to head north (if they can leave).

 Thats why I am so thankful for the Zoom and Face Time interactions we had this past week.  FaceTime  happy hour with other couple friends.  FaceTime with my daughters, making us all feel a little more normal.  And the most fun, was a Zoom meeting with my Michigan Book Club.  I keep telling them they are never getting rid of me, even though I can’t attend.  But, I’m always there in spirit and through technology, there in the hardest of times when we all needed a connection.

So thankful also, to know you all are out there living this crazy quarantine life right beside me.  It makes our big world seem connected in a way I have never felt before.  Love and best wishes from Florida.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Let’s Cook Together

I don’t know about you, but it’s the on line interaction with family, friends and the world at large, that is keeping me positive.  Thank goodness for face time, zoom, blogs and all the social media sites, but especially Instagram stories.

I have really enjoyed all the recipe cook alongs people have been doing and it gave me an idea, since we are all cooking a lot more.  My blog is approaching its 9th year, so I have built quite an archive of recipes.  Starting today I’m going to dust a few of the oldies, but goodies off and repost one or two at a time, at least once a week.

To start, here is a perfect, comfort food meal that shines in the crock pot.  It’s a little different with the addition of tomatoes, but really, really flavorful.  First published October 4th, 2017.

Let’s virtually make it together and if you do, I would love to hear about it. Happy Thursday!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Dinner

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Thoughts and Questions

Doesn’t it seem like things changed in an instant?   A random virus none of us really worried about as it began to close things in Europe, suddenly changed life in our country, our states and our hometowns in a matter of days.  What I find the most unsettling, is that every morning here in Florida, I wake up, the sun is shining, my street looks exactly the same, yet everything is different.

After the initial panic buying, the stores are restocking, so I’m not worried about food.  The restaurants still have takeout too.  It’s the uncertainty and the unknown end to all of this that is the most frustrating and frankly, scary. How do we make any kind of plans, beyond the day to day?   I have a lovely home, with a pool and beautiful outdoor space, so I am luckier then many, but how long is staying in your house, without social interaction, a viable option to our mental health?

I do go out and walk my neighborhood, the beach and other walking paths around my city. My husband and I may take our bikes to ride a bike trail tomorrow. But, because I am diabetic, I am being extra careful to stay a distance from other people.  It's funny, but also not, the side eye everyone is giving each other in passing.  Will we get back to the point of natural interaction, including hugs and handshakes?

So many questions, so much unknown still.  As my late father in law used to say, “Keep the Faith”.

Sometimes that is all you can do.

Keep safe everybody!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Recipe Redo - Grasshopper Martini

Since it looks like we will all be staying in for St. Patrick’s Day, here is a fun martini recipe to celebrate the wearing (and drinking) of the green right at home.  This recipe for a  Grasshopper Martini was first published on this blog in 2015 and like I said then, will take you back to seeing your mother and friends enjoying a Grasshopper cocktail with their teased hair and seventies mini dresses.

It’s minty, it’s green and it’s delicious.

Enjoy and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m also making Cabbage Potato Soup in the Crockpot since we are not a fan of corned beef and cabbage. Provided my grocery store has cabbage and potatoes this morning - the new normal for a while I guess.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Boca Grande Bike Adventure

Because of some balance issues that I have dealt with for years, riding a bike didn’t seem like the best idea. But, when you live in Florida, there are just so many lovely spots and trails to ride on, I decided to get a bike and give it a try.  I’m not ready to bike on any main roads, but as long as I concentrate on what I’m doing, I do just fine on neighborhood streets or bike paths.

On Monday, we joined some friends for a perfect weather day of biking on Gasparilla Island and the charming Old Florida town of Boca Grande.  There are cars, but the primary mode of transportation is golf carts, so it’s relatively safe for bikers.  We headed towards the southern end of the island on a paved bike trail stopping at a light house, a quirky marina, a historic inn and ended at a beach front restaurant for lunch (blackened grouper tacos for me) and a libation.

Riding back to town was great exercise after lunch and we then put the bikes back on the cars and walked to a bar for one more drink before heading home.  There is so much more to explore on the island, that we are already planning our next trip back.  It’s only 45 minutes south of us, but the vibe makes it seem much farther away and it’s the perfect spot to get away from the spring break crowds.

Another Florida adventure in the books.

Happy Friday!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Tis the Season

My title of this post may be confusing, except for those of us who live in southwest Florida.  Season means our population doubles this time of year with both snowbirds ( seasonal residents) and visitors to our beautiful area.  For many of us full time residents, that means a steady stream of company and I for one, couldn’t be happier.  I love seeing my Michigan friends and family and taking them to all the tropical places.

We started March with round two of visitors and we has so much fun.  We are lucky to be close to and enjoy the company of Megan’s in laws and have been telling them to come and visit for ages.  It finally worked out and we really enjoyed showing them our new life in Florida.  We took them to some of Megan and Adam’s favorite spots, got in a round of golf, a beach walk and even some pool time.

We are lucky to have this relationship with them and realize it is not the norm, but it sure makes life easier and more fun when we all get along.  From the minute we started spending time together when Megan and Adam got engaged, we knew we were going to be not just friends, but family.  Hopefully the next time they visit, Adam and Megan can join us to make it even more special.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Life Lately in Photos

We are back from a trip to Michigan for my mother’s funeral and it’s still a strange new reality.

There have been fun and much needed visits from friends happening, in between making funeral arrangements from a far.  I’m not sure if being busy when you are still adjusting to the passing of a loved one is a good distraction or if it is keeping me from taking care of myself.  It’s all about living a new normal and I know I will get there once I have a chance to get back in my routine.

The photos of my life lately include a good memory of my mom, her grandchildren at the funeral, Michigan friends in Florida, a visit from my daughter, a Gulf sunset near St. Pete and my therapy; (besides writing this blog) planting flowers.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, February 14, 2020

Another Sad Goodbye

I have been a little quiet on the blog this past week; neither writing nor commenting.  My mother, who has lived with Alzheimer’s for ten years, passed away suddenly and coming less than five months after my father’s quick passing, I am feeling a little shell shocked.  Our family is forever changed and I have needed time to think and reset.

Anyone who has a parent with Alzheimer’s,  knows what a long and difficult road it is.  I’m surprised it has hit me this hard, because it’s been a long time since I have been able to pick up the phone and call my Mom or even hear her say my name.  I have really been grieving for years.

We have many wonderful family memories that will give us comfort as we say goodbye to our sweet, gentle and beautiful mother of three and grandmother of seven.  She will be missed, but has joined her husband of 60 years, so we choose to look at it as the blessing it is.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Let’s be honest.  If a recipe is usually fried, the baked version is probably not going to be as good.  But, I don’t own an air fryer, don’t like frying on the stovetop because of the mess and really wanted to make my daughter Coconut Shrimp since it was too cold on her recent visit to order some sitting outside over looking the water.

This recipe has been saved, but not tried, for quite some time and I think it may be a keeper.  Like I said, not as good as a fried version, but perfectly good to enjoy at home for a Florida style appetizer.

I followed the recipe with one change that I would not do again. I used already peeled and cooked shrimp and I think it needs the raw shrimp for the corn starch to adhere to better.  The coconut did brown up nicely in the oven, so no worries there.

If you need a little tropical sunshine in the middle of winter, give this recipe a try.  Best served with a pina colada pool side :-)

Happy Friday!

Friday, January 31, 2020


I think Kobe Bryant’s death hit most people hard in its suddenness and the fact that his young daughter was with him, compounded the tragedy.  Also, it is well documented that he had an amazing and supportive relationship with this oldest daughter and they were in fact going to her basketball
practice, which he was involved in coaching.

We have two daughters and from the minute they were born, my husband has shown that he too is an amazing girl dad.  There was no wishing for a boy or gender roles being played out.  They were just as likely to be serving him tea at a tea party, as playing basketball in the driveway or hockey at the back yard pond. They went water and snow skiing together, took crazy rides on our jet ski and threw the football around in the yard.

He attended every sporting event and while they didn’t participate in the most macho of sports, he cheered them on in gymnastics, diving and pompon with enthusiasm and support.  Golf is something our whole family shares and he was so proud when Megan shot her best score at her high school state golf tournament.  He coached CYO basketball for Melissa at one point and while it was clear it wasn’t her thing, she was proud to have her Dad as the coach.

It’s so important for girls and their confidence to have a strong father and to feel that unconditional love.  At Megan’s wedding, in my husband’s father of the bride speech, he shared how every night before the girls went to sleep, he told them “ you’re pretty, you’re strong and you’re smart and I love you with all my heart”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2020


In Michigan, I lived in a tight knit community with many opportunities to volunteer.  It was the norm and I even have a good friend who started a non profit when she saw a need.  I was involved in my daughter’s parochial school activities from room parent to brownie leader.  I designed and sewed costumes for school musicals and served on boards and committees from elementary to high school level.  Even my last job had a element of volunteerism in recruiting and scheduling workers for a city wide festival.

Now in Florida, I feel like I haven’t missed a beat.  I live in a new development with an active HOA and I have gotten very involved.  But it is landscaping related, which I am passionate about, so I do enjoy it.  The city I live in is somewhat small and by also volunteering for a hard working landscape group, I have met great people and feel really connected to the area, even after living here only a short time.

After retirement (early for us) there is a period of finding your way in a new normal.  You do need time for yourself, but there are a lot of hours in the week to fill and as long as I get my golf and yoga in, there is time available.  Volunteering is rewarding and really there is something out there for everyone.  Communities need volunteers and I find those who get involved to be the best kind of people.

My husband told me the other day that I was working way too hard on a volunteer job.  But, isn’t there a saying - do what you love and it’s not work.  That’s me right now.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Empty the Fridge Fried Rice

I love fried rice, but I have never attempted to make it myself.  There was some leftover rice in my refrigerator from the gumbo I made over the weekend (make my recipe - it’s delicious) and I decided now was the time to try.  This recipe can be modified based on what you have and I had containers of chopped green onions and tomatoes, so that’s what I used.  Next time, I would not use tomatoes, but probably add broccoli and carrots and some type of onion,  all of which I usually keep on hand.  Also, I prefer brown rice.

The method remains the same, no matter what you use and I love something quick and easy like this for lunch rather than a boring sandwich.  I also usually have frozen shrimp on hand and if you wanted protein, how easy would that be.


Heat 2 T olive oil in a large skillet.  Add 2 cups leftover rice, 1/2 cup chopped veggies (any variety and mixture). Heat through and add about 3 T soy sauce.  Make a well in center and add 2 eggs, beaten.  Scramble eggs within the well, and then mix them together with rice and veggies.  Add more soy sauce if desired.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

The start of January has been so, so busy and I’m ready for things to slow down and spend some time by my new pool. Here’s how I have been

 (Thanks to Christina at A Colorful Life for the idea)

Exercising - getting back into my walking and yoga routine and enjoying the cooler temperatures and low humidity for both.  I went to yoga at the beach on Monday, and every time I go, I ask myself why I don’t go more.  I enjoy it so much.  The setting sun, the sounds of the surf and the seagulls, along with the fresh gulf breezes, are perfection.

Volunteering - it’s been a busy week of volunteering.  I’m now the HOA Landscape Committee Chair
for my community and I’ve been emailing, making spreadsheets and problem solving.  I enjoy it or I
wouldn’t take it on and if you know me, you know that I am particular about weeds, so I’m the perfect person for the job!  Also, this morning I’ll be at my other volunteer job for the city, landscaping related as well, but hands on.  It’s dirty and sweaty, but very rewarding and I love it too.

Celebrating - we went out on New Year’s Eve and it was just as we like it.  I’m perfectly happy to stay home and just relax after the busy holidays, but I can be persuaded to ring in the new year with friends, a lovely setting for dinner and a martini or two.

Reading - no matter how busy, I always find time to read and I did read a good book this past week.  The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda was a nice surprise.  The format was clever with both the
past and present narrative leaving a trail of breadcrumbs leading to a surprise conclusion.  There was even one final surprise after the main plot point was revealed.

Entertaining -  preparing to host some Michigan friends in my neighborhood for a Euchre night on
Friday.  (Euchre is a Michigan/Midwest card game).  Just need to make a few appetizers, dessert and organize drinks, so not too much, but still have some to do lists to get through.

Watching - MSU Basketball!  We have high hopes for our alma mater this season and having the number one player in the country is exciting and amazing to watch.  I watched the team beat our rival (University of Michigan ) with fifteen other Spartan fans at a watch party on Sunday and we were loud.

Planning - there is something about a new year that brings out the planner in me.  No word of the year or resolutions, but a positive movement forward with goals on how I want to live life.  I did see a quote that has stuck with me though.  “ less things and more experiences”.  So many fun times ahead this year with family and friends.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey Meatballs

I still use Pinterest quite a bit;  mostly as a recipe file.  I don’t get nearly the page views anymore  from recipes I post and don’t feel like it’s the great blogging tool it used to be.  But, it’s still fun. If you like to try new recipes like I do, there is always something new that sounds delicious.  Sometimes I go back and look at my boards and think, why have I not made this or that recipe.  This meatball recipe is one of those.

Saucy meatballs are really not a favorite and if you want to serve something on a platter, this is a great recipe for that.  I did not make my own meatballs like the recipe calls for, but used a good quality frozen brand and they were just fine.  The star of this recipe is the glaze.  It coats the meatballs with a sweet, vinegary flavor and if you bring this to a party, get ready for the compliments.

To serve, I lined the glazed meatballs up on a platter and stuck a cocktail toothpick in each one.  To keep warm, you could easily place in a microwave over the course of the party, but room temperature is also fine. They look very festive and your guests can easily grab and go.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Top 3 Recipes in 2019

When I was blogging more often each week, I posted a lot more recipes than I do now.  But, my life changed since I started this blog in 2012 and the blogging world changed too.  I’ll never stop trying new recipes and even coming up with a few of my own; it’s just a different season of my life right now.  A lot simpler in every aspect.

The top three viewed recipes in 2019 were two savory and one sweet.  I find it interesting that a sheet pan dinner was the number one viewed recipe, because I have been saving and pinning quite a few of this simple type of cooking to try.  And, I love any three or four ingredient recipe and you have always responded well to those type of recipes too.  The shrimp recipe just fits our casual Florida lifestyle.   Maybe we are on to something?  Simple, quick, casual, but delicious cooking and baking.

Happy 2020!

Greek Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner 

Old Bay Shrimp

Four Ingredient Peach Cobbler

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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, martinis, yoga, lilly

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