Month: January 2016

Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Living Lately: The Circle of Life

I met Barbara years ago. It didn’t take long to figure out that she was one of my favorite people. She never had any children, and at that time I hadn’t either. Something else we had in common? Scrabble. And so it started. Every week we would meet at one of our houses for a game of Scrabble. Eventually our meetings turned into visits with my baby, babies, children, lunches and dinners; and of course whenever we could make it work, a game of Scrabble. She was fascinating. We would have long conversations about things like the mill her family owned when she was a child, and how she loved the bread they would make with the flour. Barbara shared how long it took her to grow up after her mother died in a car accident, after a visit from her parents, when she was a sophomore in college. And she confided that she always wished she would have stayed in school after that and finished her degree. Barbara told me about when she was hired to accompany Herbert Hoover’s wife’s secretary on a drive across the country to California because she didn’t want to drive alone. And we often discussed how things had changed since she was born in 1918. Our bond was deep and our relationship was strong. I loved her greatly and I am going to miss her terribly.

I said goodbye to Barbara and not 24 hours later, I had to pull it together and put on my happy face to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. She was so excited for the day to finally be here. First thing in the morning, she opened a makeup kit with her dad and brothers (and mom) before they left for work and school. We face-timed grandma and grandpa, who are away in Florida, while she opened the art set they gifted her. Thankfully we had planned to have a princess luncheon at my sister’s house in the afternoon. She picked out the dress she wanted to wear for the day and we all got ready to go. My mother and sister had a lovely Disney Princess table set for the first round of celebration. Naturally we would have dinner when dad was home from work at the restaurant of her choice, which happened to be Taco Bell. (Yes, I am aware that there is not 1 organic thing on their menu. To be honest, I don’t want to know their food products. I’m not in the mood.) I have to say it turned out to be one of my favorite parties. It was completely laid back and unpretentious. I actually found myself looking around at our group of about 30 people and laughing about taking up over half of the dining space. I was surrounded by people who love me and my children. We were creating wonderful memories for Naomi and nurturing the building blocks for her life ahead.

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Life is an amazing thing. Such a beautiful gift we get to share with each other. It’s hard to believe that Naomi is five! It seems like just yesterday the doctor said “It’s a girl!” and shortly thereafter, right in the delivery room, I called Barbara to let her know.

 

And I Quote…

A week or two ago I came across this little gem of a quote. So when Krista at From Food Stamps to a Future challenged me to a 3 day Quote Challenge, I knew right away that this would be something I would share. There really isn’t much to elaborate on with the quote. It’s just overall how I want to be and how I want to raise my children. Thank you Krista for inviting me to participate!

Rules for the challenge:

Thank the blogger that nominated you.
Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything.
On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on with the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My second day Quote Challenges are to the following:

Roberta at Chorizo & Thyme

Natascha at Natascha’s Palace

Claudia at OldCountryGirl

 

Coffee and a Quote

It’s a lesser known (or not) fact that I have wanted to be a barista for quite some time. I am really impressed the art of it all. And of course I enjoy a good cup of coffee as much as the next gal, or guy… who enjoys a cup of coffee.

A while back a blogging friend of mine posted a recipe for a Caramel Macchiato. (FYI, I enjoy caramel too.) I notified her that I was going to try the recipe on that particular day, and then I had an impromptu visit from some guests that changed my plans all together. So I had to contact her later, knowing she wanted to know what I thought, with the disappointing news that I had not come through with my intentions. Alas! That is until now. On a snowy afternoon it was a lovely warm and sweet treat. And you can find the recipe at Quirky and Wonderful as well as many other recipes and writings.

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Krista is a new blog friend over at From Food Stamps to a Future as well as the creator of Krista Kemp Designs on Etsy. Recently she nominated me for the 3 Day Quote Challenge. And not one to easily back down from a challenge, I accepted. (Actually it’s just a fun participation type of thing.) Thank you Krista!

Rules for the challenge:

Thank the blogger that nominated you.
Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anywhere, anyone, or anything.
On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on with the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My first day Quote Challenges are to the following:

Katie at Quirky and Wonderful

Anna at Life Bellissima

Lynn at Lynz Real Cooking

The Differences Between France and Here

Some of you probably already know my love of France: the language, the bicycle baskets with baguettes sticking out, the scarves… It started at an early age, with a very influential teacher who loved the language and the country. In elementary school she would teach us the French words for colors, numbers and simple greetings. It culminated in high school when I had a fantastic educator who loved the French culture, and not only taught the language but the history, artists, literature, and architecture. And it continued in college when I decided it was what I knew and loved best… (But please don’t ask me to speak, I’m very rusty.)

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The Louvre with my girls…

 

Recently a friend of mine (seen above… all the way to the right), who accompanied me on one of my trips to France, sent me a link to demonstrate the differences between every day occurrences in the U.S. and France. I thought it was humorous (and in a particular circumstance, very true to my own experience when asking for directions). Amusez-vous bien! Enjoy!

French Girls vs. American Girls (You need to click on the video 😉)

Please note as portrayed in my “Featured Image” about to lunch in Paris with my college BFF, Maria, I can eat well anywhere I am.

Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Lately: Take Out

Enough said, right? Because if I had time to write this post, I’d have time to make dinner.

Life Bellissima’s Peanut Butter Fudge

I’ve only attempted fudge a few times in my life- and not very successfully. It seems like it should just be something in one’s repertoire. Like every homemaker makes fudge, at least in my mind. Once I even tried making a sugar-free fudge for my diabetic grandmother, which was a disaster. I live hours away from Mackinac Island, where they produce world famous and delicious fudge. It’s just like one of those things that has been a part of my life all of my life. Making good fudge is important! Is it a Michigan thing? Is any of this making sense?

Then came Anna of Life Bellissima. She shared a Peanut Butter Fudge recipe that was special to her, because it’s the same recipe her dad used to make. And I thought to myself, “I’m going to try again.” And I can now feel comfortable saying that I do make fudge- good fudge, successfully (at least one kind of it). I have my own family recipe! My husband and kids loved it, and my kids had fun helping me make it.

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My favorite tip was that Anna said to pour it onto a plate! My first reaction was no way, it’s going to go everywhere and make a hot mess! But, mind you, I’ve never been successful at fudge making. And I thought about the times I’ve tried to dig it out of a baking dish… or try to prep a dish with wax paper. And I trust Anna, and if she said that’s how she does it, then by golly that’s how I’ll do it! I dumped that hot peanut butter fudge right onto a large (buttered) dinner plate, and it worked!


Without further ado, straight from Life Bellissima:

Sue’s Easy 15-Minute Peanut Butter Fudge

*I prefer to use organic ingredients

-In medium saucepan, combine:

1 cup raw cane sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

-Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to softly boil. Cook to 240 degrees. (For some reason, mine tends to heat fairly quickly, and I take it off of the burner at 230 degrees.)

-Remove from heat, and add:

1 cup mini marshmallows (or homemade marshmallow recipe here)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

-Mix with a wooden spoon for several minutes. Candy will become creamy, thicken and start to lose it’s gloss.

-Spread onto a buttered dish (Dad and I always used a large dinner plate.)

-This recipe can easily be doubled.

Thank you Anna for a great new recipe!

And I’ve had a request for Life Bellissima’s Homemade Marshmallow recipe too. Which she got from www.kitchenfrau.com, who got the no-fail recipe from her mother-in-law, Mabel’s cookbook. Don’t you just love modern conveniences? She includes some great step-by-step photos too. (Just click on the website above!)

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like a lemon poppy seed muffin. They’re like light little yellow cakes, beautifully polk-a-dotted with tiny black beads. Like little cake pieces of art, that you can eat- that taste like lemon. They are great for luncheons, brunches, and breakfast… nice with coffee or tea. Lemon poppy seed muffins are perfect to serve alone or along side a salad. And they are great in all sizes from jumbo to mini-muffins. I just love ’em.

Makes 12 medium muffins

As organic as possible:

1/2 cup Butter (1 stick), softened

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups Flour

1 tsp Baking soda

2 Tbsp Poppy seeds

zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Milk

Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp)

1 tsp Vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a standard 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with a hand held mixer (or a spoon and determination), until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, trying to keep a creamy consistency but not over-beating. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, poppy seeds, zest and salt. Thirdly, in a liquid measuring cup, stir milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Alternate adding and mixing the “dry” ingredients (flour mixture) and the “wet” ingredients (milk mixture) to the creamy butter mixture- just until incorporated. When all ingredients are combined, scoop batter into prepared muffin pan about 3/4 full. (Side note: I like to use an ice-cream scoop to keep an even amount in each cup. It helps them bake evenly.)

Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown and cake is light and spongy. Insert a clean toothpick into center muffin to test. If it comes out clean, they’re ready!

 

 

 

Owen’s Jalapeño Cheese Roll

My husband likes to get creative in the kitchen- usually that means raiding the spice cabinet. This is one of his best creations. It’s a lot like those cheesy stuffed jalapeños or poppers, except it’s baked, not fried. (Which means it’s practically health food.) I have eaten a large portion as a meal, but my favorite way is to cut it into strips and serve it like an appetizer. The cheese really does give a nice balance and contrast to the heat of the jalapeño. I like things spicy… remember it’s a jalapeño roll. You know what you’re getting into.

As organic as possible:

4 oz. can or jar diced Jalapeños (do not drain)

8 0z. Cream cheese at room temperature

1 prepared or ready made Pizza crust, about 14 oz give or take

1-2 tsp Garlic Salt, plus more for sprinkling

2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp Butter at room temperature, divided, plus more for pan

2 Tbsp flour, plus more for pan

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet. Set aside.

Sprinkle flour on hard surface and roll out dough in a rectangle, approximately 12 x 9 inches. Cut the dough in half, so you have two 6 x 9 pieces.

In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, garlic (start with 1 tsp and taste for preference… you can always add more), 2 tablespoons of butter and jalapeños (including juice). Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated and creamy. Divide cheesy jalapeño mixture into 2 equal parts. Using half of the mixture, cover 2/3 of the prepared dough. Use the remaining half of the mixture and do the same on the other prepared dough sheet. Roll up 1/3 of the Flatten dough starting on the side where the cheese is on (cheese on top of cheese). Make sure the cheese is now all covered, bring the remaining 1/3 over the top. Gently pull the bottom sides out, fold over to the top, and pinch to seal in the cheese. Repeat with second roll.

On each roll, use 1 teaspoon of butter and rub on top of roll. Sprinkle with garlic salt (a light even covering). Place the rolls onto the prepared baking sheet, and put it into the oven. Cook until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and cut into 1 1/2″-2″ x 5″ slices. Serve as an appetizer or to accompany a meal. Please note these are spicy! And it pairs well with a side of Ranch dressing. 😉

 

Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Lately: The Doors

I have a fascination with doors. Actually doors, windows and benches. But today I’m focusing on doors. They can be ornate, simple, freshly painted, tattered… I love to think about the stories that go along with them. The people that live behind them.

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As a little girl I remember seeing a door on the side of a mound covered with grass. A root cellar maybe? More likely a hobbit who wants to be left alone…

I think about a small rectangular door I saw on the top of a home. I never thought about it being a window. I only questioned how in the world does the person who lives there get in?

I like to think I’m much more practical with the stories I associate with doors now. A billionaire, an artist…

I find that I am particularly drawn to doors with flowers around. Because clearly that means someone lives there and takes care of there home.

And what about the other point of view? The doors that lead out, more than leading in?

I really could go on and on.

And I have to note that I cannot take credit for any of these photos. But if you are interested in finding more information about them you can find them on Pinterest @sadiesnest under “The Doors”.

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Okay, that’s it. Goodbye. (I’m shutting the door)

Pizza Bagels

This is proof that food can be fun. I have some cherished childhood memories of my dad making pizza bagels. It’s the kind of food he’d make for us while mom was away at a baby shower or something. It seemed exciting because, well for one, we were cooking with dad. Second, it was all things we were familiar with and knew we liked. Pizza! For another, it really seemed like we were getting creative. Taking something made for one thing and turning it into something completely different. Kids eat that kind of stuff up! (Figuratively and literally… and so do adults.) It really doesn’t get much easier!

As organic as possible:

Makes 8 servings

4 plain or everything Bagels, cut in half

1 – 14.5 oz jar or can of favorite prepared or homemade pizza sauce

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 oz Pepperoni

*Any other topping you like (my kids pretty much stop right there)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Place bagel halves, open faced, on a baking sheet. Spoon on desired amount of sauce on each bagel. (Side note: This is a lot of fun for kids (big and small). And everyone can adjust the toppings to their preferences.) Place a handful of shredded mozzarella on top of the sauce. Sporadically or methodically place pepperonis on top of the cheese (keeping in mind they will shrink in size when they cook).

Place the pizza works of art into the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Leave it until it starts to brown if you prefer. This is your show. But do allow them to cool slightly before you bite into them, because the sauce will be surprisingly hot, and if you burn your tongue on the first bite, you will ruin the rest of your dinner. …And tasty pizza bagels are too tasty and fun to not enjoy!