Thursday, March 23, 2023

March So Far


March is going by very fast with visits from my daughters as highlights, but also a lot of day to day busyness. This weeks given me a bit of down time and I even snuck in a walk on the beach.  It is so wonderful to have Red Tide gone for now and the weather is picture perfect. The beach was very busy with spring breakers enjoying the sunshine, blue skies and turquoise water. Venice Beach is usually not a tourist hot spot, like Siesta Key, but the parking lot was full and I needed to park a block away.  The locals like me prefer things a bit quieter, but in a few weeks, it will be back to normal and quick in and out visits to the beach will be available again.  

The spring holidays are always fun and we went out to dinner for St. Patricks Day with some friends.  It was one of our favorite seafood restaurants, but to get in the holiday spirit, Shepard’s Pie and Corned Beef and Cabbage were on the menu.  I think I spotted green beer being served too, but I enjoyed a cucumber and mint martini that was also green.  Easter is so close as well, and we have plans to drive to my mother in law’s home just north of us and go out rather than cook.  I’m happy to keep it simple since it is just the three of us.

And, speaking of green, we are so excited for our Michigan State Spartans and their trip to the March Madness Sweet Sixteen.  They play Kansas State tonight in NYC and we will be gathering with about 25 other MSU friends to cheer them on.  It worked on Sunday and I think the good luck charm was the delicious chocolate Sparty cake my friend made.  We will be in the same location at a friend’s clubhouse and I plan to sit in the exact same seat, so I don’t disturb the mojo lol.  

Happy Thursday and Go Green!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Appletini (Green Cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day)


St. Patrick’s Day is tomorrow and we are an Irish house.  So, in addition to wearing green, it is also fun to try a green cocktail. I hosted a Euchre party at my house last night and I included a few festive green touches.

The cocktail I decided to serve was an old school martini that used to be on every drink menu, but you don’t see too often anymore.  I made a classic Sour Apple Appletini and its green color is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.  I made a pitcher in advance by using equivalent measurements, but here is the recipe for one cocktail.

2 ounces Apple Pucker liquor

1 ounce vodka (I used Tito’s)

3 ounces apple juice

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Add all ingredients to a ice filled martini shaker.  Shake well and strain into a pretty martini glass.  Enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A Visit and Red Tide


Megan, my older daughter came to visit last week and we had beautiful, warm sunshiny weather, so we used the pool a lot.  Unfortunately, we are dealing with Red Tide here on the gulf coast and it is the worst I have seen it.  It is usually a summertime event, but because of all the run off and overflow from Hurricane Ian it is affecting spring break.

If you don’t know about Red Tide, it is basically a respiratory irritant.  Sometimes you might feel a tickle in your throat, but when it is bad you cough and cough.  My daughter likes to walk the beaches, but there was no way that was happening this past weekend.  There is also a lot of dead fish, so the smell is unpleasant too.  It does come and go with each day depending on the wind direction, so north or east winds are what we hope for.

Inland is fine, so we were able to find things too do, just not our usual activities on the water.  When people come to visit, I like to take them to the places with pretty water views and tropical vibes, so I really had to think about a different style of restaurant with indoor dining.  

As usual, it was a much needed catch up and I loved having her here.  We walked a lot and even managed to sneak in some water shots despite the coughing.  Not the beach trip she had hoped for, but still lots of Florida sunshine.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Arizona Adventure


It was our 40th anniversary in November and after much discussion on taking a trip to celebrate, we decided on an active one.  Last week, we traveled to Scottsdale and Sedona and as you can see from the photos, it was everything we had hoped for and more.

We hiked in both the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale and the famous red rocks of Sedona. We drove a two person ATV through the Tonto National Forest and came away covered in mud. We stayed at a lovely resort just north of Scottsdale called The Boulders and loved our private casita with a fireplace.  Since the weather was chiller than expected, the warm fires were welcome and very cozy.  The resort was beautifully landscaped, had bars and restaurants on site and was a great base for our adventures.  The resort bar, complete with comfortable chairs in front of a fire, became our favorite spot at the end of the day.

I googled restaurants with the best views and found a lovely spot for dinner one night in Rio Verde.  We also had a great Mexican lunch in Sedona with perhaps the best margarita of the trip - and I do enjoy a margarita tour.

We have been to Scottsdale before, but on golf trips, so this was very different.  Also, after our tropical Florida life,  the landscape with cactus and mountains in our views was a big change and so fun.  

When you have been married for 40 years and together since college, you have a lot of good memories.  This trip is now added to that list.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Life Lately in Photos


February has been flying by and I have been quite busy as usual.  Coming up is some fun travel I can’t wait to share.  But, so far this month has included the excitement of coming close to a hole in one, dinner with friends sitting at a chef’s table for an eight course meal, and a quilt show of the only in Florida variety, with colorful quilts hanging from palm trees and gulf breezes making them move about.  The weather has been nothing short of lovely and winter in Florida is just the best.

On a sad note, all day yesterday, I still felt the shock and sadness of knowing that a place I love more than any other place was violated by senseless violence.  As CNN was mentioning all the places on campus that are so tied into my memories it was a lot to process.  But, the MSU community is strong and often described as a family.  It will take some time to heal and hopefully some good will come from such evil.  I have to believe that.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Simple Raspberry Margarita


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I used the Super Bowl as an excuse to make a new cocktail.  And, like all my recipes, simple is the key.  I tweaked it a bit from the original idea, but it turned out really good, light and refreshing.  I will keep this one in my repertoire for hot pool days, but give it a try on Valentine’s Day for a lovely and special pink drink.

To make: Rim a clear glass with lime juice and salt.  Add ice.  Add 6 ounces Raspberry Lemonade, 2 ounces good quality Tequila and a splash of Triple Sec. Add a squeeze of lime juice and stir.  Garnish with fresh or frozen raspberries.  

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

5 Books I Wish I Could Read Again For The First Time

I saw someone posted about this thought provoking list and it has been on my mind.  There are books in my long book loving history that have stayed with me and given me the love of the way a writer’s words can make you feel.  They have given me the gift of becoming immersed in a story that takes you places you would never experience in your real life.  They have given me the gift of beautiful words that have influenced my own love of writing.  At the time in my life when I read them, they were exactly what I needed to read.

It took some thought and it was hard to narrow it down to just five, but these five are a representation of books that I not only loved, but are like old friends that I can pick up and read again with the same enjoyment as the first time.  But, like the point of this post, oh how I would love to experience each one of them for the first time.  

There are many more I considered, (including the first Harry Potter book) but the true test for me is the reread and all of these are high in that number.  What are your five?

Friday, February 3, 2023

Making Pierogi


I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s house on Wednesday to learn how to make Pierogi.  And, I love Pierogi.  If I am at a restaurant and Pierogi are on the menu, that is what I will order every time. I am not Polish and did not grow up making any Polish dishes, but in the Detroit area, Polish food is very commonplace and have many friends and relatives who are great Polish cooks.  There was a Polish festival we attended often and there is an area of Detroit known for it’s Polish restaurants.  I’ve had delicious Pierogi in Pittsburgh where my daughter lives, as well.

So, Pierogi are basically a filled dumpling that is boiled, then sautéd with chopped onion.  It is traditionally served with sour cream.   The ones that I made and brought home are filled with sauerkraut, minced onions and sour cream and everyone’s favorite mashed potato, grated onion and cheese.

The hardest part is rolling out the dough and cutting the squares evenly, but after that you soon get the hang of filling and shaping them. We boiled the ones we made, put on cookie sheets and then placed the cookie sheets in the freezer.  After the Pierogi are frozen, you can put them in freezer bags to take out and sauté anytime you wish.  

My friend did cook up a few for us to try and they were so good.  I am now all set for meatless Fridays during Lent and have a new skill I can use again.

Happy Friday!

Monday, January 30, 2023

A Make Your Momma’s Recipe Party


We put an interesting twist on our MSU basketball watch party yesterday.  It was decided that the dish everyone would bring to share would be something our mothers made in the 60’s or 70’s.  It was a stroll down memory lane and the fun part was hearing everyone’s stories. We enjoyed sloppy joe’s, deviled eggs, homemade mac and cheese, strawberry pretzel jello salad, iceberg lettuce salad and three bean salad. Desserts were peanut butter cookies and a decadent chocolate cake.

I brought an appetizer that my mother always made at Christmas using the gold standard of the 70’s - Velvetta cheese.  It is a recipe I had forgotten about, but still delicious.  It was fun to go back in time with some of these classic dishes which may not fit into today’s healthier eating, but have that comfort food factor. When was the last time you had any kind of jello dish?  It’s been awhile for me, but reminded me so much of childhood pot lucks when there was always one or two on the table.  

The basketball game was a loss for MSU, but the party food theme was a win that everyone had fun with.

What would be the dish you would bring?

My Mother’s Party Browns

1 package party rye bread

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb hot sausage

3/4 lb velvetta cheese, cubed

2 T oregeno

2 T Worcestershire Sauce

Salt and Pepper

Brown ground beef and sausage.  Add cheese and seasonings.  Put bread on a cookie sheet and top with meat mixture.  Bake in 350 degree oven 12-14 minutes or until bread is slightly crispy.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Life Lately


Life is busy, but good busy.  I have been quite social with breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I have also been getting my hands dirty, which I love; both in my volunteer role and still working hard in my neighborhood to get things back to normal after the hurricane damage.  There has been a lot of mulch spread this past week, including in my role as a captain for Make A Difference Day in Venice.  

I ventured out to a park that is very close to me, but is known for having a lot of alligators since it is adjacent to a river.  It really is a nice, peaceful walk with old Florida ambience.  And, I am definitely much braver and more nonchalant about gators than when I first moved to Florida.  Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you.  But, the warning signs you see are just a little different here lol

Finally, I have been making a point to read more lately.  I finished The Henna Artist and it is exactly the kind of book that makes me appreciate being in a book club. I can’t say I would have picked if up on my own volition, but I throughly enjoyed it and found it is the kind of book that immerses you in the culture and characters so much, that when you are done it stays in your thoughts.  

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Michigan ➡️ Florida
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