Friday, August 22, 2014

My Favorites in Pittsburgh




Our Pittsburgh weekend trip can be described by the different neighborhoods we visited; all unique and all equally fun.



We started the morning on Saturday in the Shadyside neighborhood, located near the University of Pittsburgh campus. It was a vibrant, residential neighborhood with fun shopping and restaurants to explore.



My favorite meal of the day was at the Steel Cactus Mexican Restaurant, where we enjoyed post shopping appetizers, margaritas and mojitos on the sunny rooftop.



After riding the incline to the Mount Washington neighborhood and taking photos of the magnificent view, we took a break at the Shiloh Grill. It was here that I enjoyed my favorite cocktail of the day; a frozen cosmopolitan. What could be better than a yummy frozen drink, enjoyed with my daughters on another outdoor patio with sweeping views, located high above the city?



Later that night, after a walk around the riverfront and a quick change of clothes, we walked through the downtown Cultural District to find the restaurant Megan had chosen for our dinner. Her choice, Olive or Twist, described as Pittsburgh's premier martini bar, is small and intimate with brick walls and a definite inner city atmosphere.

I started off the evening with the Perfect Pear Martini, very light and delicious with flavors of pear and elderflower liqueur. Our appetizer of Truffle fries was another favorite of the weekend - so yummy! Then, to finish off our meal, we shared a Strawberry Shortcake Martini made with cake vodka, Rumchata, strawberry purée and vanilla cream. It was served with a graham cracker rim on the martini glass and it was so good, I plan to recreate it at home.

My daughters are so fun, love to try new things and it was just a lovely trip :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Spiced Plum Overnight Oatmeal




Plums are so pretty and juicy right now and I love having them available in the fruit basket sitting on my kitchen island. But, they are not a fruit that I think of using in recipes. When I came across a recipe for overnight oatmeal, made with fresh plums, I knew it was one that I wanted to try. I love making this easy style of oatmeal the night before and having its creamy and yummy goodness ready to eat, the next morning.

I have made several varieties of overnight oatmeal including my favorite, Maple Blueberry. This Spiced Plum Overnight Oatmeal was a unique version and the addition of all the classic apple pie spices added a great flavor to the plums. Because this has stronger spices that need to be mixed in, the technique needs to be a little different than my other recipes, where the ingredients are simply layered, then stirred. I would recommend shaking this well, before placing in the fridge. This ensures the spices are evenly mixed throughout. Enjoy this delicious and healthy breakfast while summer lasts.


Spiced Plum Overnight Oatmeal

1 small plum or 1/2 large plum

1/2 oatmeal

1/2 cup low fat milk

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of ginger

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp sugar (or Splenda)

Pinch of salt

Dice plum in small pieces. Add oatmeal to mason jar. Add all spices on top of oatmeal. Place diced plums on top. Cover with milk. Put lid on jar and shake well. Place in refridgerator overnight. Enjoy the next morning.

{Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

My 1929 Charmer

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Between Naps on the Porch

Cozy Little House

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm


Rattlebridge Farm

Mom's Test Kitchen

Made From Pinterest

Coffee With Us Three

Gooseberry Patch

Mostly Homeade Mom


Monday, August 18, 2014

A Tour of Pittsburgh




My weekend was spent in Pittsburgh, with my daughter Megan as our tour guide. She did a fantastic job showing us her new city and we definitely packed a lot into one weekend. It was a girl's weekend that included a little sightseeing, some shopping, facials and great food and delicious cocktails. We visited many of the vibrant neighborhoods that Pittsburgh is known for and stayed in a fabulous downtown hotel with views of the riverfront and stadiums.



The highlight of the trip, was the ride up the Monongahela Incline to the Mt. Washington neighborhood, overlooking the city skyline and riverfront. We took in the views from an observation point on the side of the mountain and then relaxed for a few hours with cocktails on an outdoor patio. It was a lovely spot and a lovely way to spend the afternoon.



Another beautiful spot was just outside our hotel and a great area for a stroll along the river. Point State Park is a downtown green space that includes a fountain on the edge of the river and stunning views of the many bridges and mountain top homes. We were able to walk along the riverfront and see Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, as well as PNC Park, home of the Pirates. The city planners knew what they were doing in putting these stadiums along the riverfront, ensuring the vibrancy of the area.

We had beautiful blue skies and mild temperatures all day; perfect for exploring this architecturally stunning city. And of course, the best part - spending the weekend together :-)

Later this week - more details on my favorite Pittsburgh dining experiences. All unique and all representative of the neighborhood in which it was located.

Happy Monday!


Friday, August 15, 2014

My 2014 Gardening Successes




As my perennial garden winds down for the summer and the last blooms; my Sweet Coneflowers, begin to open, I wanted to take a look at how I met the plans I made for 2014. In the early spring, when I am still waiting for the snow to melt, I usually write a post with my dreams for my garden and some new plants I would like to grow. Not elaborate plans; but the addition of color and flowers that make me happy.

Some things I wanted to try can be found here, and you can see I accomplished many of the things, but with a twist.



I successfully transplanted some Sweet Peas from my sisters's garden and even was rewarded with a few blooms. I will be training the vines to climb this trellis, come next spring and hopefully I will see even more of these pretty blooms.



I combined my planting of Zinnias and herbs into a large shallow pot and have been enjoying both the pretty blooms and using the herbs in cooking. My original idea of using an old ladder as a shelf for herb pots was put on hold, but I may try it next year.



Our biggest project was not in the perennial bed, but involved updating some tired landscaping in the front of the house. It made a big impact and we are so glad we did it. We had the old scrubs removed and the stumps ground down and that was money well spent. The planting and addition of the rocks was something we did on our own.

It was a wonderful growing season here, with ample rain. I hardly used my watering can and all the flowers look healthy and vibrant. I will enjoy the late summer blooms for the next few weeks, then it will be time to plant those fall bulbs and look towards the next season of plants.

"Gardening is a way of showing that you believe in tomorrow" and of course, there is always next year to add something new to your garden.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Linking with Between Naps on the Porch and Savvy Southern Style


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