Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This and That

 

 

 

There have been workers at my house for the past week, so my routine is a little out of normal, but we do have something pretty to show for it. I'm giving you a sneak peek of our master bath remodel and the tile and new shower head now installed. We will be waiting a few weeks for the custom glass door before we can use it, but in the meantime, I will be starting to paint both the walls and the cabinets. Since we are doing this for resale, everything with be kept very neutral. I think when everything is done (paint, lighting, faucets and shower) it's going to look really good and will be a nice selling point when the house goes on the market.

 

 

I have been in a reading slump lately, but have high hopes for the book I started yesterday. The reviews are very good and I am enjoying the main character's (a pastry chef) view of small town life in Vermont. The desserts she creates for her job at a local inn are described in mouth watering detail and I'm interested to see where the story will go.

 

Our tailgate group has been sending lots of emails and our menu is set for Friday's MSU football game. We are grilling burgers and brats and my contribution will be Loaded Potato Skins, 7 Layer Mexican Dip and Oreo Brownies. The weather is going to be perfect (75 and sunny) and I can't wait to be sitting in my chair enjoying my first cocktail.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Tailgate Season

 

 

For us, this week is like Christmas and Birthdays all rolled up in one. It's the start of college football season and as season ticket holders for Michigan State we will be spending a lot of time on campus in the next few months. We have a big tailgate group and I'm sure by tomorrow there will be an email going around detailing what everyone with be bringing. I will need to go through my tailgating supplies and also purchase more MSU paper products to get us through the weeks ahead.

Also, I like to look through Pinterest and find a few new recipes to try. There will be early morning tailgates that will call for breakfast items, as well the later game times that will need some savory treats. I pinned a few of both and look forward to serving these to our group. We always have quite a spread and I can't wait.

 

Bacon Cheesburger Meatballs

 

Easy Potato Skins

 

Bacon Brown Sugar Smokies

 

French Toast Roll Ups

 

Maple Bacon Pancake Bites

 

Happy Monday!

 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summer Plum Bars

 

 

 

There have been some ripe, juicy plums in my fruit bowl for a few days just crying out for use in baking. I just love using fresh summer fruit to bake something sweet. It was also a rainy day, another one of my triggers for getting in the kitchen. Is there anything more cozy, as summer winds down, than an afternoon in the kitchen, with dark skies, rain falling outside and something delicious in the oven?

These bars are so easy to put together; just the basic ingredients, but the tartness of the plums make the flavor something special. I think the slices of the plums and their vibrant color make these bars look so pretty on a plate and a simple dusting of powdered sugar adds that final special touch. I must admit, I couldn't wait to enjoy one with an afternoon cup of tea.

 

Summer Plum Bars


2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar (I used Truvia equivilent)

3/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup vegatable oil

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 small or 1 large plum, sliced

Powdered sugar


Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Whisk flour and baking soda together in a small bowl. In a large bowl use a mixer to beat eggs and sugar on medium high speed until pale and fluffy (3 minutes). Add oil and vanilla and beat on medium high another 2 minutes. Add flour mixture in 2 stages and mix on low until just combined. Fold in sliced plums and spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely then sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Happy Thursday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Rainy Night at the Ballpark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a very fun, as well as rainy night at the ballpark on Saturday watching the Tigers play in Detroit at Comerica Park. It worked out that both of my daughters and their boyfriends could go and we weren't going to let a little (a lot) of rain stop us. There were 2 1/2 hours of rain relays in all, but we just found a covered bar in the stadium and waited out the raindrops with patience and a few drinks.

To maximize our time downtown, we started out the night by heading to the ballpark a few hours before game time and went to a fun bar right next to the stadium (Cheli's Chili Bar) and had dinner. It was packed with Tigers fans and the atmosphere was lively, the food was good and we had a great time there.

We walked to the stadium in the rain, but held out hope that the rain would eventually stop. Luckily it did and we were able to enjoy 5 innings, before the heavens opened again and we decided to head home and catch the end of the game on television.

You plan these things and the weather doesn't always cooperate, but with the right attitude, raincoats and good company, it can still be a wonderful time.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

My Side of 50

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Roasted Summer Squash

 

 

 

It's the time of year that a plate of fresh summer vegatables make a delicious dinner. This kind of meal is easy to put together and I never miss having a protein when the servings are plentiful. What a great way to go meatless every now and then.

I keep things simple when I prepare roasted veggies, but you really can add any kind of seasoning and fresh herbs that you like. With some vegatables like asparagus, a squeeze of lemon juice can be the perfect finish too. Roasting any root vegetable in the oven at high heat, gives it a delicious flavor if you wait until the veggies are slightly browned before removing from the oven.

To prepare: Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with foil. Cut 3 medium summer squash into chunks. Toss with a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until squash begins to brown. Enjoy!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Monday, August 15, 2016

Calm Before The Storm

 

 

 

 

 

The weekend was quiet for us and it was just what I needed. Some long walks with my puppy and a lot of Olympic watching were on my agenda. It's starting to feel like the end of summer and I'm not sure how I feel about that. But, I'm extending that calm into my Monday morning by starting my day early with coffee and some homemade banana bread that I baked first thing. It's a great way to start the week.

I am taking advantage of these quiet days, because I know very soon, we will be very busy again. Our bathroom remodel is on a slight holding pattern while we wait for tile to come in. There are other jobs on my list that need to be checked off as we ready the house for putting it on the market and I am doing a little at a time. This week I hope to get some plumbing work done and begin to stage the upstairs bedrooms.

I'm very glad that we are able to take our time and get things ready at our own pace. I know things will get stressful the closer we get to moving, but for this Monday morning, I will put away the to do list and take the day as it comes.

 

Friday, August 12, 2016

Individual Caprese Stack

 

 

 

We had a beautiful night for our birthday barbeque to celebrate Melissa turning 23. (I forgot to take a picture of the birthday girl - darn) It was perfect timing before the hot and humid weather hit and we were able to sit outside until late in the evening, enjoying a lovely dinner, dessert and champagne (Melissa's favorite). Sometimes the best nights are the most simple and just involve family around the table on a perfect summer night.

One of the things I prepared was simple in its perfection too and oh so delicious. It's the perfect way to serve the farm fresh tomatoes available at their peak right now. Rather than make a Caprese Salad like I usually would, I decided to make Individual Caprese Stacks and they were so pretty on the small white plates I have in my dish stash. I think an individual serving can make a simple recipe, even more special.

 

 

To put together, slice a perfectly ripe tomato so you have two slices per serving. Slice mozerella in 1/2 inch slices. Layer cheese and tomatoes on small plate with tomato on bottom and top. Drizzle with good quality olive oil. Lightly drizzle with a balsamic reduction. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Garnish with ribbons of fresh basil. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend :-)

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Monday, August 8, 2016

Birthday Dinner Preparation

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter Melissa! She turns 23 today and I am thrilled that we will be able to celebrate with her tonight. It is not often that you are able to celebrate with older children on their actual birthday and it is wonderful that it worked out this year. The plans were hers to choose and she chose to come to our house, with her boyfriend, for a casual backyard barbeque.

She chose the menu too; barbeque chicken, lots of grilled veggies and caprese salad. She didn't want a cake, but asked for brownie sundaes that I will make a little more special by the addition of fresh raspberries. There are candles ready to blow out, presents and a bottle of champagne chilling.

I look forward to celebrating her and wishing her a beautiful year to come.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Peach Streusel Bread

 

 

 

My trip to the Farmer's Market last Saturday yielded a bag of fresh, juicy peaches and before they could be all used up, I wanted to bake something delicious with a few of them. I decided to make this quick and easy recipe for Peach Struesel Bread and it definately was a good choice. It is full of peach goodness and moist on the inside, with a crunchy and sweet oatmeal streusel topping. It's absolutely perfect for breakfast or a snack on a summer day. I found this recipe does not use very much sugar at all, letting the natural sweetness of the fruit shine through, but to lighten things up even more, I used Splenda brown sugar.

There is something magical about summer baking when it starts with a trip to the Farmer's Market for in season, freshly picked fruit and ends with something delicious right from your kitchen.

 

Peach Streusel Bread


1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2/3 cup low fat milk

1 large egg ( beaten)

3 T vegatable oil

6 T brown sugar ( I used Splenda)

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup diced fresh peaches

Struesel topping: 1/4 cup oats, 3 T brown sugar (Splenda), 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 2 T chilled butter


Coat loaf pan with baking spray. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center of mixture. In another bowl combine milk, egg, oil, brown sugar and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in peaches. Pour into prepared loaf pan.

For streusel topping: In a small bowl whisk together oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut butter in small chunks and cut into oat mixture until it forms coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool and remove from pan. Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Book, Favorite Author

 

 

 

I discovered Liane Moriarty's books several years ago and after reading one, immediately found all her others and read those too. She has a certain style of writing that I enjoy; mixing dark emotions and events with humor. It's a style and tone hard to write well, but she accomplishes it. Her new book, Truly Madly Guilty has been on my summer reading list and I eagerly awaited its publication date. When I went to download it, I was surprised to see that the Amazon reviews were not the best. Not bad, but most said this book was not one of her best.

After reading this book I have to say, I disagree with those reviews. I found myself caught up in the story and quickly turning the pages to find out what was happening. It's in a similar style to her other books with the premise that something (possibly bad) has happened, but the reader doesn't know what. The story jumps between different points of view, as well as before, during and after the event, creating tension and curiosity. There are clues throughout, but it's only at the end, that the true story of the event is revealed.

"This is a story that begins at a barbeque" - the first words of the first chapter and my attention was caught immediately and kept me reading until the end. For me, the sign of a good book.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Rainy Day at the Farmer's Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn't ideal weather on Saturday for a trip to the Farmer's Market, but I knew this time of year, it would be bursting with fresh fruits and veggies. So, Melissa and I put on our raincoats, grabbed an umbrella and off we went. When we arrived, I could see we weren't the only ones to brave the raindrops, as the parking lot was full and the market was teaming with its usual big crowd.

We didn't linger like usual, but headed right to our favorite stalls for green beans, yellow squash, peaches, flowers and homemade bread. The prices are really reasonable and the fresh from the farm goodness is definately worth the trip. Even if we did have to dodge a few raindrops.

 

 

 

But, no worries for us. There was a new restaurant to try for brunch and getting out of the rain with a mimosa (Mi.Mosa - is a play on Michigan and mimosa) seemed like a really good idea. The outside tables were empty of course, but it was cozy inside and my Eggs Benedict was perfection. A great way to spend a Saturday morning.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

My Side of 50

 

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