Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I want to wish everyone a VERY Happy and Healthy New Year! It is a beautiful day here in Northern Michigan; it is 45 degrees and the snow is melting, and the yard is getting bare! :)I know we will get more snow, but for now, I am enjoying these warmer temps! It reminds me of spring weather, hint, hint, to Mother Nature! A little early to be wishing for spring, but hey, you never know until you try! :) I love my new china "Old Country Roses". I say 'new', but I have had it a couple of years now , and haven't used it much so it still seems like new to me.

Take care everyone and have a safe New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Napkins

My SIL made these napkins for me and I think they are soooo cute. I just had to show them off on my blog! What a neat napkin pattern. She is such a talented sewer and does so much for their church and of course their family. My brother also brought me a bottle of his special homemade blueberry wine and I can't wait to try it...what a great holiday treat!
Below is the napkin open and there is stitching in all the creases so when it is washed and re-folded, it will be quite easy to press it into a tree shape.

Don't you just love special gifts!? Wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and BLESSINGS in the NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Tasty Fruitcake

I don't like fruitcakes that have all that citron fruit in them so I have been looking for some time for a recipe that I would like to try. I was browsing through some of my cookbooks and saw this recipe in this book by Julee Rosso. Another Michigander!! :) The ingredients sounded very good......and NO citron! Today I made it and was very pleased; I loved it! The texture of this fruitcake is just like the store-bought cakes, nice and moist. I have bought some though that are dry..and of course have that citron in them. Can you tell I am not a fan of that? LOL
I was happy it made four of the small pans so I could put mine back in action again! I have eaten half of one of the pans already, but seriously, look how small they are!

The recipe says to wrap it well and store it in a tin for a couple of weeks so that is why I wanted to make it today so it would be ready for Christmas, but I had to try it (just thinking of my guests, of course). Since I ate half a pan already, you know it doesn't need two weeks to develope least not for me! :) I wrapped up the other three and now have to look for something to store them in, maybe a tupperware container as I don't have a tin to hold them all. I thought I would share the recipe in case anyone else wants fruitcake...without the citron. Happy Baking!
Cherry-Walnut Fruitcake
2 cups dried cherries
2 cups chopped, pitted dates
1 cup cream sherry
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 egg
2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly spray or wipe four 3x6x2- inch loaf pans with vegetable oil. In large bowl , combine the cherries, dates, 1/2 cup of the sherry;set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In separate large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add nuts. Add the egg and egg whites, and mix well. Stir the flour mixture into the fruit mixture. Place 1 cup of batter into each pan. Bake for one hour, or until golden brown and tests done. Remove from oven and immediately pour the remaining half cup of sherry over the loaves. Keep in a tin, well wrapped with plastic wrap for up to two weeks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Creamy Chicken & Cranberry-Pecan Wild Rice

Take a simple chicken-and-rice meal to the next level by jazzing up the rice and rounding it out with a deliciously creamy sauce. With this wine to accompany the chicken, it was a very tasty meal! The glass grapes on the wine bottle are actually napkin holders but I found they look nice on the wine bottle too! They were on sale at our local Peebles store for $1.25 each so I got 4 of this color and 4 light colored ones. I'll show them in a future post. I have a bottle of red and light wine sitting on the counter with the grapes on them which looks very cute. Some raffia could also be added.

Creamy Chicken & Cranberry-Pecan Wild Rice
2 tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. each dried thyme leaves and black pepper
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 tbs. oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecan pcs., toasted
6 green onions, sliced, divided
1 pkg. (6oz.) long grain & wild rice side dish, prepared as directed on pkg.
1 cup fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth
6oz. cream cheese, cubed
Mix flour, thyme and pepper; coat chicken with flour mixture. Heat oil in skillet, cook 5 - 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Stir cranberries, pecans and 1/3 cup of the onions into cooked rice; spoon onto serving platter. Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in skillet. Place chicken over rice mixture; cover to keep warm. Add broth to skillet; stir to break up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add cream cheese, cook 2 to 3 minutes or until cream cheese is melted and sauce starts to thicken, stirring constantly with wire whisk. Spoon some of the sauce over chicken; sprinkle with remaining onions. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fresh Broccoli Mandarin Salad

For my dinner tonight I had a bowl of potato soup, a dinner roll and this salad. I had seen this recipe in a small booklet I had purchased not too long ago and decided to try it. (yes, still buying recipe books!) It was very good. I didn't put in the mushrooms as I really don't like them to eat, although I do like to add them to baked dishes such as chicken beef, etc. I just pick them out! LOL! Fresh Broccoli Mandarin Salad.........

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 cup tarragon wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons butter, softened
4 cups fresh broccoli flowerets
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can (11ozs.) mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup raisens
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 large red onion, sliced
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar, cornstarch, and dry mustard. Combine vinegar and water. Slowly pour into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; stir in mayonnaise and butter. Chill.
To serve, toss dressing with salad ingredients.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Small Touch of Fall

Where are the days flying to? It won't be too much longer and we will all be thinking of Thanksgiving settings and deciding what recipes to use. I was in JoAnn Fabric's the other day and on the sale table were these fall sprays for $1 each, so I purchased 4 of them with the intent on using them for the blog. The centerpiece was only $3 and I found the napkins at Kohls for $1.50 each. I bought three different designs in the fall colors for that price! I love sales!! I had the maple leaf dishes last year and bought them at Walmart for $1 each. I also have them in green.

I think the pumpkin sprays are really cute and to dress them up more.... a wired ribbon could be tied on the stem...just pick the color you want to use. And yes, I am keeping an eye on the candle as I am taking pictures...don't want a repeat of the "white table"! LOL!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How Do You Know That Summer Is Over?

I found out when I went to the beach and there was no one in sight! :) After those hot summer days when the beach was buzzing with activity, it is back to being quiet and serene again. It is a nice area to just take a walk.

I had the whole beach to myself............

I didn't even see that many bugs! :)

I went to an art fair over the weekend and bought this sign, it is soooo true! I plan to put it on the front porch. It was a chilly weekend with rain but still couldn't dampen my shopping plans!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!

Hope everyone is having a great 4th.! It has been super warm here this past week, but since we had cool weather a week ago, I am NOT complaining! :) I have been busy getting ready for my garage sale next weekend, but decided to take the afternoon off and meet some friends for dinner at our local Applebee's. I had the Fiesta Lime Chicken. (one of my favorites) I should have taken a picture of it but was concentrating more on my drink and my dessert! :) I love this drink...Bahama Mama. I think my housework would go faster if I had several of these to sip during the day! It would at least be more enjoyable!!
Triple Chocolate Meltdown...all I can say is YUMMY!! "A magnificently moist chocolate cake topped with both dark and white chocolate. It's fudgy-filled center will erupt upon first bite." Their words, not mine....but.....oh, so true!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I admit it, I am a cookbook 'aholic' and truly need help!! BUT...look at these goodies.....who can possibly resist???

We have all had this offer of sending for the book and trying the recipes for thirty days...blah, blah, blah.......yeah right...who are they kidding, they now have you right where they want you...hooked.........again!! :)

Of course by now you all know that I am keeping the book! I have to say , there are a lot of tempting recipes to try. Now, all I need is a live-in chef to make it all happen! LOL!
And...... just to entice everyone else,(what can I say, I am an enabler) here is one of the recipes.
Carole's Best Brownies ( pictured above)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 ozs. unsweetened chocolate, preferably Nestle, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups superfine sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
2 cups coarselychopped walnuts
Position rack in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Invert the baking pan, then tear an 18x16 inch sheet of heavy duty aluminium foil and center it over the top, smooth the surface, then press it down the sides. Carefully remove the foil shell, turn pan over and place the foil shell in the pan, shaping it smoothly across the bottom and snugly against the sides. Thoroughly butter the foil, taking care not to tear it.
Place the butter in a medium bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. When almost melted, add the chocolate. After 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat. Let stand until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring occasionally.
In large bowl, whisk the eggs lightly, then stir in the sugar in a steady stream. Add the warm butter-chocolate mixture, and stir with the whisk to blend, taking care not to aerate. Mix in the vanilla and salt.
Strain the flour over the chocolate mixture in three additions, folding gently each time with the whisk just until blended. Fold in the nuts with an oversize rubber spatula or large wooden spoon. Immediately empty the batter into the pan, then spread evenly with bottom of large spoon. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly moist. A few particles of the brownie should stick to the toothpick. Do not overbake. Set the pan of brownies on a wire rack. Let stand at least 4 hours before cutting (are they kidding?)
Store in airtight container

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Mother's Day Tribute To My Mom


"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER"
A word that means the world to me. I am not sure just when this picture was taken, but I am thinking when she was in her late twenties. She was a retired school teacher for grades k-6. She loved teaching kindergarten and also taught remedial reading to students that needed the extra help. I posted before how she rode a horse to her first teaching position. To this day, I am amazed at her doing that! LOL! She was a breast cancer survivor (single mastectomy) and also survived cancer on the tongue, for which she had surgery to remove a small piece of the tongue. She was a non-smoker but still had the misfortune to get that. She came through that also with flying colors and by doing her word practice everyday, you couldn't even tell she had the surgery. So important to get our tongues checked at each dental checkup! Through both of these very trying ordeals, she kept a positive attitude, which in turn, made her family stay strong and positive! There were five of us! :) She passed away at the age of 96 in 2006. A strong lady! We miss you Mom!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just Playin' Around.....

with my new dishes!! I just love the color of these and even though they are plastic, by pairing them with the Pinzon chargers for these photo's, it really brings them up a few notches! I found them at Walmart the other day and they were on sale for $1.50 each for the plates and the salad plates were $1.00 each I will be using them quite a lot over the summer as I like to eat out on the patio whenever I can. They had small bowls to match but I didn't purchase them............yet!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another Good Chicken Recipe

1 egg
1 tablespoon of water
1/2 cup of walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
4 boneless-skinless chicken breast halves(5 ozs. each)
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon honey
2 tsp. minced crystallized ginger
6 cups mesclun or mixed greens

1. Preheat oven to 425. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Whisk the egg with the water in a shallow dish. Combine the walnuts, bread crumbs, and the salt in another shallow dish. Dip the chicken into the egg and then the nut mixture. Place on the prepared sheet and coat with cooking spray.
3. Bake, turning once, for 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 165 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice the breasts.
4. Meanwhile, bring the pomegranate juice, honey, and ginger to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes or until reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. Arrange the mesclun on 4 plates. Place the chicken on top and drizzle with the pomegranate juice.

Pomegranates are a great source of antioxidants......and they taste wonderful. Be sure to get a brand that is 100 percent fruit juice. Enjoy!

I have been on a search for new recipes to try (to add to the pile I already have..) and found this one which I liked. The pomegranate juice is pricey, but good! I'm sure it would take me several years to try all the recipes I have saved...and that's only if I stayed in the kitchen 24/7!! Sooo, at the rate I'm going, it could take forever......literally! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Potato Soup Day

While surfing the net one day, I came across this recipe for 'Slow Cooker Potato Chowder' on the GardenWeb site. It sounded so good that I just had to make it! It turned out as good as it sounded, although I did cut the ingredients in half so it wouldn't make as much. If you like potato soup then you have to try this recipe. Another plus is using the slow cooker...which I love! I didn't have any fresh parsley for garnish so just added some fresh ground pepper and a little cheese.


10 cups raw potatoes, cubed
1 large onion,chopped
2 - 3 carrots, chopped
Couple handfuls frozen corn (or any veg. you want. I used cauliflower, it was very good)
3- 14 oz. cans of fat-free, reduced sodium , chicken broth
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp. black pepper
8 oz. fat-free cream cheese

In a 5 or 6 qt. slow cooker, mix potatoes, all vegetables, broth, soup, and pepper. Cook 8 to 10 hours on low.
Add cream cheese and cook another 20 minutes, stir occasionally.

Top with chopped scallions, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wearin' of the Green

May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire..
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I did manage to take a couple of pictures before I ate the whole bag of kisses! But in my defense, it was a VERY small bag! I hope everyone has a fantastic Valentines Day!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Little Look At Old Man Winter...

Went down to the docks today as it was a nice day and took a few pictures. The first picture is of the boats all nestled down for the winter and I can only imagine they are anticipating spring when they will once again be able to go out on the high seas! Ok...I got a little carried away with the high sea stuff! :) sun bathers?! Brrrrr!

This is a picture of the Ice Tree that the city has every year.

This was taken a little later in the day and I like how the shadow makes it look sort of erie.