Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day



To those who serve, to those who gave all and to the families of both. Thank you for making our lives better and safe. You are remembered always. 



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Friday Favorites from the Candid Appetite, Our Table of Seven, Hooked on Houses and More

Good morning and a very happy weekend! For many it is a three day weekend and I am sure that there are barbecue's, beaches and lots of down time on the schedule. My weekend will include much of the same for the unofficial start of Summer. 

This weekend to me is all about fun and food, especially burgers. I know I post a lot of sweet treats here but if I had to name my all time favorite food it is burgers, and then pizza a close second. May 28th is Natioonal Burger Day( yes there is a day for everything) and I will be celebrating with a burger. To be precise this Bacon Cheddar Burger from one of my favorite blogs The Candid Appetite, if this burger does not suit your taste check out my burger board on Pinterst to find many, many others that might appeal to you. 


Chocolate & Caramel Fluff Brownies

I will be making these Chocolate & Caramel Marshmallow Brownies from Table for Seven to take to a friends this weekend. Don't they look scrumptious?




Image from Gimme Some Oven

As for a cocktail to start summer how about a glass of Strawberry Sangria from Gimme Some Oven?


Image Hooked On Houses


I love lake houses, and I think this one featured on Hooked on Houses would be perfect for a summer getaway!


Image from Design Chic


Although this is not a lake house I am in love with Brookhaven Cottage a stunning house that Kristy and Beth featured on Design Chic this week.  




Are you looking for a few books to read this summer? Check out this list and you may find a few interesting ones to take to the beach!



Did you read anything interesting or see anything this weekend to share with us? Please share your movies, books, recipes or anything else that you found interesting. I hope that you have a fabulous, fun and safe holiday weekend.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just Curious...What is on Your Summer Wish List

Good morning! How is your week? Mine has been great but I will be honest I am counting the hours to the weekend! I cannot wait for a three day weekend, I want to eat some bbq, swim in the ocean and hopefully see a little sun. That has me thinking about Summer and what is on my wish list for the season. 





I am curious, what is on your summer wish/bucket list? Or for those of you who are getting ready for Winter to set in what is on your winter wish list?

Here are a just a few things that I want to do:

Watch the 3rd of July fireworks in Milwaukee with my family. 

Go for a picnic with my niece

Go camping 

Get out on the water every sunny day on my paddle board

Go stargazing

Go on a road trip

Take a few long bike rides

Learn at least 5 new recipes

Make ice cream with my entices and nephews. 

Create memories. 


Of course there are many more things on my list for the summer but these are my top ten. What about you, summer is so sort and time is precious, so make a list of things to do with your family, friends or just yourself. Get out and enjoy life!

I hope you have a great week!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sugar Cookies





Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was busy. I guess there is a silver lining to cold rainy weekends, you get to catch up on all of the things you put off during the week, like laundry, reading and organizing. I baked a few things too, no surprise there. I made some bread, a cake and these cookies. Sugar cookies are one of my favorites cookies and these are scrumptious. 


Sugar Cookies 

Ingredients

1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp/ almond extract
21/2 cups flour

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. 

Then add he egg yolk and mix well, then add the whole egg. Mix in the vanilla and almond. Add the flour and beat on low until combined. Do not over beat, the dough will be sticky.

Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. I usually refrigerate it overnight. 

When ready to bake allow the dough to come to room temperature, then knead the dough back to a smooth temperature. 

Preheat the oven to 375, Sprinkle your work surface with flour, and flour your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking. 

Roll the dough and cut into whatever shapes you like. Place on cookies sheets covered with parchment paper , sprinkle with sugar(optional) and then place in freezer for 10 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 

Frost with frosting if you like or just eat with the sprinkled sugar. 

Enjoy! 





I hope you have a fabulous week. 


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Friday Favorites from Cooking Classy, How Sweet it Is, Southern Living, Tobi Fairley, Henhurst and More

Good morning! I hope that you had a fabulous week. Have you any interesting plans for the weekend? I am planning on the farmers market and fingers cross some sun. I might need to start light therapy if we do not see some soon. 





I am always on the lookout for a new bar, or brownie recipe. This week I made four batches of these brownies  and they were scrumptious. You might want to put them on your list of things to make!



Image from Cooking Classy

You might not know this but although I love to bake and I am a good cook I really hate making dinner. Weird I know but that is the way it is so if I can find something fast and easy, not to mention delicious to whip together I love it. This week I discovered this Quick Chicken Tiki Masala from Cooking Classy and it fit the bill. If you are a fan of Indian food try it, I think you will like it. 


Mint Limeade from How Sweet It IS

Should I see a ray of sun this weekend I plan on sitting out to soak it up with a glass of this Mint Limeade from How Sweet It Is. Doesn't this look refreshing?


I might even read one of these interesting books suggested by Tobi Fairley one of my favorite designers. 



I love home tours, especially ones with fabulous interiors and gardens. This week Phyllis of Henhurst Interiors posted about the beautiful DuPont home Nemours

This is Glamorous posted about a beautifully restored house in England that you might like as well. 

I am pretty sure that the gardens of these two houses do not have any weeds, especially dandelions. Dandelions  are the bane of many garden lover but did you know that the Pilgrims brought them to America in 1600, learn about that bit of trivia and more in this article from Southern Living.


I hope that you have a great weekend. If you have a book, movie or recipe that you discovered this week let us know! 





Thursday, May 19, 2016

Just Curious...Who and What Influences You

Good morning! I hope that you are having a good week. I am, especially since I did not get any snow yesterday. I read that parts of Maine received up to 7 inches of snow, goodness we are having a crazy Spring.




My mother always taught me to never speak about politics or money and so I am not going to discuss either but what I am curious about is who or what influences your choices in fashion, politics, investing, etc.




The reason I am curious is because recently it was reported that the presidential candidates are "pulling out all the stops" with their friends in the entertainment industry in hopes of influencing peoples votes.

 I am not and have never been influenced whatsoever by an actor, musician, or singer in the way I vote, or what issues are important to me. Why do I care if a leading actor or musician is endorsing a candidate? And frankly why should I care? I can admire their acting ability but what do I know about their education, allegiance, and affiliations? And why does the fact that you make 20 million dollars a movie make you an expert on a candidate or issue(not that they are implying it does)?

I have also never felt compelled to purchase food, fashion, perfume, cars or consumer products because a singer or actor that I respect and admire star in their commercials. Have you? Are you swayed into a major or minor purchase like a car or a candy bar because Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt are seen in the ads? 




I certainly respect, (even if I do not agree), other peoples opinions. I will often listen to their speeches, and talks but I sometimes find that many of these so called "influencer's" are hypocrites. They speak from both ends of their mouths or have another agenda, i.e. their own. No matter, most people do but honestly I just find it hard to believe that because a person watches a TV show, or loves a movie or band that they buy water, eat pizza, or a burger, or cast a vote for something so important as president  based on the influence of these people. Am I missing something?

Do you find yourself trying a product because a writer from a blog recommends it? I think maybe 5 years ago I would be more apt to purchase a product on the recommendation of a blog. These days not so much because so many blog have turned into one big ad space.





I find more often than not that I am influenced by my upbringing, my education and people in my circle, my parents and friends. That said, I know what I like and do not like and it doesn't matter who you are or what you say you are never going to convince me to eat seafood, to sell off my stocks and put my money in a mattress or to purchase the entire line of Kayne West's latest clothing( nude body stockings don't suit my body type).

I would love to know what you think about celebrity endorsements of products,, candidates, etc. Do you find yourself influenced by them? If so, why? If not, why? Are you influenced by social media and people that you follow on blogs, Instagram and Facebook?

What does influences you?

Thanks for sharing, I hope that you have a nice day.





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Amaretto Cream Cheese Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping


Good morning! How was your weekend? I hope it was wonderful and relaxing, whether the weather was freezing or toasty warm. Mine was great, freezing and toasty warm but relaxing. Let me apologize for not posting my Friday Favorites, I was traveling this week and rather than rush a post I thought I would just skip it and pick up next week. I am sorry for those that wrote to say they missed it, I will post this week. 






You know that I love to bake and this weekend was no exception, I made this scrumptious Amaretto Cream Cheese Coffee Cake and I think it may be one of my new favorites. Everything about this cake is delicious the moist cake, the cream cheese filling and the crumbly topping. 




Amaretto Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Recipe from Call me PMcC


Cake

21/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup amaretto
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Filling

2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature

Streusel

1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, melted
21/2 cups all purpose flour

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325. Then prepare a 9x13 inch pan or a 10" spring form pan with cooling spray and line with parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add butter and mix. The batter with be think and crumbly. Add the eggs, buttermilk and the amaretto, then mix the batter until smooth and fluffy for 2 to 3 minutes.  Pour half of the batter into the bottom of the pan.

For the filling:

In another large mixing bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, sugar, and egg. Beat the mix until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Spoon the filling mixture over the top of the cake batter. 

Spread remaining cake batter over the top of the cream cheese filling. Smooth evenly and set aside to make the streusel

Streusel topping:

Mix the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the butter and mix to combine. Add the flour and mix, use you hands r a pastry blender to fully combine the mixture. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the cake. 

Bake at 325 for 40-55 minutes. The center will be set and NOT jiggly when it is finished and fully cooked. Cool on a wire rack completely before serving. 






What do you think? Do you think you would like a piece of this at your breakfast table or on your coffee break? I made a few of these and gave them to friends and neighbors and even froze a couple to send to my in-laws; that is how tasty this cake was. I cannot make it again for my future house guests. 






Have great day!




Thursday, May 12, 2016

Just Curious...What Advice Would You Give A Graduate or My 10 Pieces of Advice to the Future Graduate


Good morning! How has your week been so far? Mine has been busy but going well so I will not complain. As we are nearing the graduation season I was thinking back on my own graduation and the advice that I was given when I "went out into the world."  I thought it would be interesting to make a short list of things that I was told or would advise myself to the future graduate.




10 Pieces of Advice for the Future Graduate or 10 Suggestions for a Happy Life:


1. Save money for your retirement, start with your first paycheck and remember to ALWAYS pay yourself first. The economy has had its ups and downs, more often than not you will not be working in a job that pays you a pension or a "golden parachute" so you need to rely on yourself.  The earlier that you start the better off you will be. Hand in hand with this nugget is stay out of debt, you never want to live above your means and get into debt, having a nest egg will help you should you loose your job or have another finical disaster. 




2. Never ever stop learning. Just because you graduated doesn't mean that you know everything there is to know about the world, people, and life so continue to learn new things, languages, history, etc. Not only will it enrich your mind but your life as well. 

3. Travel, as much as you can and wherever you can. While doing so step outside your comfort zone and experience things that are new to you, try new food, speak to the locals, go off the "beatin' path." Do it while you are young and have the most time, this doesn't mean that you stop traveling as you age but it means that as you age and have families and jobs your time is more limited.




4. Love yourself just the way you are, right now because I promise you that you will look back in 20-30 years or more and wonder why you thought you were fat, not pretty enough, or smart enough or just enough!

5. Stay healthy. Your health is vital, your body is your temple; if you do not take care of yourself no one will do it for you. Eat well 80% of time time and splurge 20%. Stay away from drugs and cigarettes, don't go to the tanning salon, get regular check-ups, see the dentist and exercise everyday.





6. Family is your rock, they share your history, and will be with you through good times and bad. Life is full of ups and downs, good and bad; (believe you me there will be some of both). That is what life is all about and it is always nice to know that you have your family to help celebrate the good and pick up the pieces of the bad.


7. Collect memories not things. Enough said.  

8. Respect yourself, your time, your beliefs, and your faith because if you don't ,you will allow others around you to trample on you and them. Learn to say no. 





9. Set goals. Then get up and get moving to achieve them whatever they may be,  traveling the world,  climbing Mt. Everest, buying a house, moving to Paris, etc. Never be afraid to ask for what you want in life, open your mouth, share your ideas and seek what you want and the people that will help you get it.





10. Life is about the little things, find joy in everyday life. Moments will be what you remember; time spent with family,  a walk with a loved one, a special meal prepared by a friend, a cup of cocoa on a snow day with your grandmother, baking the day away with your mom, frolicking in the rain with your kids, and so many other little moments that will shape your life, love and happiness.

These are a few of the things I was told oh so many years ago or that I would tell a future graduate. What about you? Any nuggets of advice to share?

Have a great day!





Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Bars




Good morning! Did you have a good weekend? Did you get to celebrate your mom? Or did your kids celebrate you? I had a relaxing weekend and I loved it, we even managed to see a little sun which was so nice after weeks of rain.






I made a few of these scrumptious bars this week to give to friends for Mother's Day and they could not be easier or more delicious. I think they would be perfect treats for bbq's, summer picnics, camping and more. You can add whatever filling you like, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, chocolate and more. 






Raspberry Almond Shortbread Bars

3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup of raspberry jam
11/2 pints of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup almonds

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the butter is mixed in and the mixture resembles small peas. In a small bowl bowl bowl, whisk together the egg, and the extracts. Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine. The dough will still be crumbly.

Take 1/2 the mixture and pat into the bottom of the pan, then spread with the jam and raspberries.  Crumble the remaining dough over the pan and sprinkle with almonds. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool on wire rack then slice and enjoy.

While bars are cooling, mix the ingredients for the glaze. One bars are cooled drizzle with glaze.





Do you have a favorite bar recipe or a summer dessert recipe to share? I would love to try it out. I am also looking for a few tried and true lemon recipe, my mom loves lemon desserts and I want to make some while she is visiting. I am not a fan of lemon desserts so any help would be appreciated.

Have a great day.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Friday Favorites from Spicy Southern Kitchen, Once Upon A Chocolate Life, Gwen Moss, South Shore Decorating Blog and More


Good morning! Did you survive Cinco de Mayo last night? I did not do anything to celebrate, thankfully, because Mexican food is one of my all time favorite things to eat. I probably would have eaten my weight in chips, guacamole and beans. I am however planning to indulge on Saturday at the Derby party that we are having.



Spicy Southern Kitchen


This Southern Pimento Cheese Burger from Spicy Southern Kitchen made with


Pimento Cheese Dip






My favorite Pimento Cheese Dip  and washed down with a mint julep or perhaps a Blush Lily are just a few of the items on the menu.





Along with one of my favorite chocolate desserts ever, Double Chocolate Bourbon Brownies with Frosting.

In addition to the Kentucky Derby this weekend, don't forget it's Mother's day! If you are lucky enough to be with your mom make sure to make her feel extra special by perhaps making her something scrumptious to eat like a coffee cake? I can help you with that as I have several favorites. 




I made and then mailed several scrumptious treats to my mother-in-law, including this Triple Cinnamon Coffee Cake,






Vanilla Peach Coffe Cake

For something a little healthy(ha ha) with the addition of fruit then try this Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake.

If you wanted a cool gift for mom( which would be a little late) check out Stacy's List of Etsy Favorites from the  South Shore Decorating blog If you already have a gift bookmark this post because there are some really great things!

I am looking forward to seeing The Man Who Knew Infinity with Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. 

If you are missing Downton Abbey Julian Fellows has created a new show called Doctor Thorne an adaptation of Anthony Trollope's book of the same name. 

Lately I have been trying to be more present and mindful in my life and this post from Leslie at Gwen Moss,  Thoughts on Slowing Down is a perfect reminder of what we miss when we don't stop and smell the roses.

That's it for this week! What did you find that was interesting, a movie a book or a great blog post, if so please share.  I hope that you have a wonderful, safe weekend.

To all of the moms out there, Happy Mother's day! You have the hardest and most selfless job in the world, so take a little time for yourself this weekend, you deserve it.





Thursday, May 5, 2016

Sharing Memories for Mother's Day



Sunday is Mother's Day, a day set aside to celebrate moms all over the USA. Although this year I will not be celebrating with my mom in person I will see her in a few weeks and we will celebrate then. This year she will be with my older sister and my niece celebrating not only Mother's day but my nieces prom. 

When it comes to my mother I am overwhelmed by my love for her and from her. 

To say that I am blessed is an understatement, especially when it comes to my mother.  My mother is not only my friend, she is my confidant, she is my anchor when life seems to be spiraling out of control, she is my cheerleader when something good happens. She has been my nursemaid when I was sick, my personal shopper when I needed a suit for interviews, my teacher when I was trying to learn to cook, or sew and so much more. 





My entire life my mom has made me (and my siblings as well) feel like the most important people in her life. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36, her first thought was not for herself, but what would happen to her kids if something went wrong with her treatment. She wondered who would take care of us, who would share our days, and make our lives special. 







She tried to make every holiday magical, and filled with traditions passed down from her own family and new ones that she made up. In December we always put out our stockings on the feast of St. Nicholas and in the morning on the 6th they were filled with candy, nuts and an orange in the toe. For Christmas we would celebrate doing little things, like baking, decorating, going sledding, playing carols, drinking cocoa, doing puzzles, and stuff together. 

For Easter my mom made us beautiful panoramic sugar eggs and they were tucked into our baskets along with our favorite treats. We had egg hunts and Easter dinner.  






In the summer she packed us up and took us to the beach almost everyday where we would have picnics, catch little guppies, make sand castles and swim. 

My mom made clothes for us, our favorite cakes on our birthday, chocolate chip cookies and "Sputnik" donuts. Those were our special donuts because unbeknownst to us my mom didn't like to roll out the dough, so she would pull off blobs of dough and throw them in the pan and they would be like donut holes with little knobs all over them. They actually looked more like meteorites but we called them "Sputniks."





She sacrificed so that we could attend private schools, go to camp and to send us on our first trip to Europe when she had yet to go. 

She divorced and held her head up high in a Catholic family that not only did not believe in divorce but had never had one before. She was the first. 

She went back to college after her divorce and in fact we were in one or two classes together. She taught me what it was like to work full-time and pursue your dream at the same time. 

I admire my mom for so many things, her work ethic, her lifelong love of learning, her love of books, and so much more but the thing I love most about her is love for her children. There is nothing that my mother would not do for us, even now when we are grown up with kids of our own. 





Don't get me wrong, everyday was/is not sunshine and roses. We had rules and were grounded, we also got hit with a wooden spoon if we were really bad and had our mouths washed out with soap if we swore. We had our differences and still do but at the end of the day we are still family. 

As a child I never knew that all mother's were not like mine. I realize now that not everyone in life had a life like mine or a relationship with their mothers like me. 

So unfortunately Sunday will be a sad day as well, for those who have lost their mother or perhaps you are a mother who has lost a child, for those who are estranged from their mother or maybe had a mother who didn't care for them, for those who are mother's to children who are not their own and for those who have issues with their mother's-in-law. 

I may be forgetting someone and if I am I apologize and hope that you find some solace on this day and know that you are in my thoughts. 

To my mother, I LOVE YOU MOM and I thank God each night when I go to bed for giving you to me. 






Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Triple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Good morning! Did you enjoy your weekend? I did, but then again I cannot recall when I did not like relaxing and doing whatever I want with no schedule. This coming week is ripe with opportunities to celebrate, you can have a margarita for Cinco de Mayo, or perhaps a julep and a pimento cheese sandwich for the Kentucky Derby or you can make something special to celebrate mom!





If my mom and I were going to be together for Mothers day I would be sure to make this scrumptious  Triple Cinnamon Coffee Cake from The Baker Chick. I have a few coffee cakes that I like to bake but after discovering this moist, buttery and filled to the brim with cinnamon cake I think  I will be putting those on the back burner for a bit.





If you love cinnamon, cinnamon bread, or cinnamon rolls that you will definitely want to make this cake, because the cinnamon permeates this cake, it is the crumbs, the ribbon of cinnamon filling running trough the middle of the cake and in the glaze as well.







Triple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Recipe from The Baker Chick

Filling
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, ROOM temperature
2 cups buttermilk ROOM Temperature
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
31/2 cups flour

Topping
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Glaze
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 Tablespoons of milk


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a spring-form pan with cooking spray and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a small bowl of mix together the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, salt and sugars. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each additional egg. 
Sprinkle the baking powder over the batter and then 1/3 of the flour. Beat the mixture on low until just combines, Then add 1/2 the buttermilk, then another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the buttermilk and then end with the flour. Make sure to not over mix the batter or your cake will be hard.

For the topping:
Melt the butter and then sir in the flour, sugar, and cinnamon until crumbs form.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the batter evenly, then sprinkle the filling evenly over the batter. Make sure to make it even and keep it away from the sides of the pan. Spread the topping with the remaining batter and smooth again with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the batter. 
Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. 

For the glaze:
Stir together the powdered sugar and the cinnamon, add the milk or cream and stir together until smooth, If you would like add a little more milk until the glaze is more of a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and serve. Enjoy!





I hope that you have a great week!




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