Thursday, March 31, 2016

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

Good morning! I hope that you week is going well. Are you over the chocolate, the peeps, jelly beans and stuff from Easter? I usually eat a few things on Easter but after that I don't want anymore.

 But I still like to have something sweet as a treat. I have a quick and easy recipe for you if you are tired of the Easter stuff too. I would like to say that these are good for you, but they aren't really because of the sugar. The good news is they contain heart healthy almonds!

Roasted Cinnamon Almonds

2 egg whites
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 250. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
In a bowl combine the sugars, salt and cinnamon, mix well. 
Beat egg whites and vanilla with mixer until soft peaks appear then add almonds and mix to coat. Add sugar mixture and mix well. Pour onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 60-70 minutes until nuts are dried, stir every 15 minutes.

Have you made these before? I make them frequently and often give them away to friends for hostess gifts. 

I hope that you have a fabulous day!

Linking to:
The Scoop

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Monday

Good morning! How was you Easter? Did you celebrate with family and friends? Did the bunny bring you a little or a lot of chocolate?

Our weekend sadly included no family but we had dinner with great friends Saturday. On Sunday we spent a quiet, rainy day at home.  It was a perfect weekend. 

The Easter bunny brought a lot of candy, chocolates and more.

Spring seems to have come and gone, and it now feels like winter again but with lots of daffodils, tulips and flowering trees. Hopefully we will see a little warm weather  although not too soon because I want to enjoy a little Spring before we get right to Summer.

In many countries Easter Monday is a holiday, here in the US it is not a holiday for most unless you are a student and then it is probably part of your Easter break. 

Speaking of Easter, I never actually knew until this weekend( or if I did I forgot) why Easter fell on different days each year. Easter is determined by the Lunar calendar, therefore it falls on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox, around March 21st. Therefore Easter will always fall between March 22 and April 25. Did you know that?

On that note,  I will wish you a wonderful day and a fabulous week! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'" ~John 11:25-26

I hope that you have a beautiful, blessed and happy Easter. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Friday Favorites from Sprinkles Bakes, Shabby Sweet Cottage, Kitchen Treaty, Better Homes and Gardens, Butter Baking and More

Good morning! I hope that you have had a wonderful week! I cannot believe that this week is Easter, it always seems strange to me when Easter is in March, it seems too early. 

 What do you have planned, something with family and friends? I wish that this holiday included family but we are too far away, so maybe the next one. 

I know Easter is not about the basket and the treats, but it is one of those holidays that stands out from childhood for so many reasons, including family, baskets and so much more.  We used to get the most fabulous baskets, beautifully decorated and filled with all of our favorite candy and either a stuffed rabbit or a lamb, wrapped in cellophane, tied with ribbon and hidden. Before mass we had to search for our baskets, then once found we sampled a few treats headed off to mass and then home for and Easter egg hunt. In addition, we always had a beautiful panoramic egg. My mom made these eggs and each was unique and different. I miss those eggs because you hardly ever see them any more but I think what I miss more is my family and all that Easter stands for. 

Image from Sprinkles Bakes

If you are still baking and preparing for Easter, Sprinkles Bakes made some easy and beautiful Sprinkle Sugar Cookies that you may want to try. 

Or if you would like to make a cake, a pie or something else that includes bananas or coconut, check out my 15 Easter Desserts Made from Banana's and Coconut.

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Bun from Butter Baking

I made these Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns from Butter Baking and they are delicious, so delicious in fact that I will be making them again this Easter weekend.

Image Shabby Sweet Cottage

I have yet to decide on a tablescape, but I love this one from Shabby Sweet Cottage using neutrals and probably things you already have at home. 

Natural Easter Egg Dye from Better Homes and Gardens

I still have to dye a few Easter eggs, that is only my list for today, after all it is tradition, so I think I am going to try these great ideas from Better Homes and Gardens using natural dye from vegetables and more.

Once you dye those eggs you are going to have to eat them, here are 21 Deliciously Different Deviled Egg Recipes from Kitchen Treaty.

This last item has nothing to do with Easter but I loved it. It is from Sharon at My French Country Home and is titled The Power of a Picture. I hope that you read it because it tells about the power of a picture, Instagram and the internet. 

I hope that you have a blessed Good Friday and a wonderful and Happy Easter. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Taking the Day Off

Good morning! I am taking the day off to prepare for Easter and to make sense of this crazy world. My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives in Brussels yesterday and with their families.

I hope that you are having a good week and I will see you on Good Friday.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

15 Easter Desserts Made with Banana's and Coconut

Easter at My House

Good morning and a happy Spring to you! Can you believe it is Spring? I am sure that for those of us that have had cold, rainy or snowy weather this weekend we cannot believe it either. My mind is blocking that out because just the day before the temperatures plunged we had out air conditioning on and it was 81!

Banana Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Best-ever" Banana Cake

Today I am looking forward to the long weekend of Easter. I am trying to narrow down my menu and as you know I always start with dessert and work backwards. I was thinking this year of something with banana or coconut because it seems fresh, easy and spring-like. 

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Aside from chocolate, bananas seems to feature prominently in my desserts because I buy too many and then wither decide I am "off" bananas or they are too ripe, therefore they are in a dessert. Here are a few of my most popular banana, and coconut desserts that might be an interesting change for your Easter table. 

Banana Cake Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Pie

Barefoot Contessa Banana Cake

Banana-Bars with Browned Butter Glaze

Coconut Cream Pie

Spiced Banana Cake

Banana Bar with Vanilla Bean Frosting

Banana Cream Tart

What do you have planned for Easter dessert? Will you be making a Hummingbird Cake or perhaps carrot? Or is there something that you serve that is traditional to your family festivities? Please share your Easter dessert ideas with us!

Have a great week, and stay safe.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Friday Favorites from Privet and Holly, Elements of Style, Hooked on Houses, Liberty of London and More

Good morning! Happy Friday and happy day after St.Patricks day! Did you enjoy any celebrations, parades, tasty food and perhaps some beer? We did not imbibe in any beer but we did have Ruben sandwiches, in which the corned beef was cooked in Guinness stout and, I did enjoy a Guinness Stout brownie or two afterward. They might be the best chocolate brownies I have ever eaten! 

Guinness Stout Brownies

By the way Guinness Stout Cake wasn't too bad either.

My "Friday Favorites" are all over the place this week but I hope that you find something new and interesting!

Image Privet and Holly

Suzanne at Privet & Holly is not only a talented writer but she has one of the kindest, gentlest souls in blogland. I never, ever leave her blog without feeling uplifted, smiling and a better person. How wonderful to have that gift. This week she wrote a beautiful post entitled Fingerprints that I think you will love.

Image Elements of Style

I have followed Brooke and Steve from Velvet and Linen for a long time and have enjoyed their beach house, their former house and the building of their dream house Patina Farm. Their fabulously photographed second book is out and you can read this great review by another favorite blogger Erin at Elements of Style.

Book Barn Hooked on Houses

Speaking of books and book lovers, this book cottage from Hooked on Houses would be perfect for me! I do not even need anything else because it has it all, bedroom, small kitchen, bath and walls and walls of books

Image Liberty of London

I am a huge fan of Liberty of London and thought this saddlebag featuring their iconic prints would be a perfect addition to my wardrobe.

Thank you so very much to all of the people who left comments and took the time to email me about the Caregiving post I wrote this week. I am overwhelmed by your compassion and your stories. At the end of the day the world is indeed a very small place and we are all trying to life our lives to the best of our abilities; sometimes we fail, sometimes we strive but at the end of the day we are trying to be the best we can be for ourselves and our family and friends.

I hope that you have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St.Patrick's Day

Image from the Graphics Fairy

May your troubles be less and your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door. 

Happy St.Patrick's Day! I hope that you have a great one. 

I will be eating a little corned beef, skipping the beer and eating one or both of these scrumptious stout desserts.  You can find them both at Once Upon A Chocolate Life.

Guiness Stout Brownies

Guiness Stout Cake

Caregiving in Blended Families

Recently, I wrote recently about my in-laws and their accumulated treasures. What I did not discuss is my family's recent health situation. My in-laws are wonderful people, stubborn as old goats , but wonderful never the less and aging fast.  They are each others second spouses, as as their previous ones passed away. Each have their own children, my mother-in-law a son(my husband) and a daughter and my father-in-law, two sons and a daughter. In the 22 years I have been in the family I can count on one hand how often we have all been together. Apparently early on in their 35 year relationship they decided to keep their families separate.

 Now that they both are getting older, my father-in-law it seems is aging much faster than my mother-in-law and life is becoming very challenging for both.

My father in law suffers from leukemia and essential tremors, add to that skin cancer, pneumonia, and several other illnesses in the last year that affect the aging population, and it has become a real effort and dilemma to keep him healthy and happy.

My father-in-law refuses to move out of their house, because he built the house with his first love and first wife, I completely understand these sentiments and everyone wants him to be able to live out his life in the house. But he will also not allow live-in-help or even allow his own children to come a few days a month to let my moth-in-law have some much needed rest. Consequently, my mother-in-law is his primary, make that ONLY caregiver. She is 88 herself, 5'2 and about 90 pounds, he is 88, 6 foot tall and considerably heavier. I am sure that you can imagine that lifting him off the ground when he falls is a near impossible task.

Sadly, his attitude is beginning to create ill feelings because we(my mother in laws side of the family) feel helpless; not only because we live half way across the country from them but also because we love my father- in-law but are disheartened that his actions are detrimental to my mother-in-law and her well-being.

  Although we suggest in-home nurses, or perhaps downsizing, he will have none of it. He will not compromise in any way. 

His health and attitude is taking its toll on my mother-in-law because obviously she loves him and wants to honor his wishes but also because he will not be truthful about his health situation to his own children. If I were absolutely honest, I would say that they are happy to have my mother-in-law handle it. Don't get me wrong, the come to the hospital and visit the house all the time. They have also insisted that their dad use a cane and the other items they have brought like the chair in the shower and things like that.

 My mother-in-law is exhausted all the time from taking him to appointments, running back and forth to the hospital numerous times a day when he is in there with food, clothes, etc, and taking care of him at home. She just needs a break.

If I come across as unfeeling I think it is because I am frustrated. I am torn because I love both of them, BUT, these are not my parents and I am in no position to make demands and decisions about their care. In fact even when they have asked us for help and advice they seem to do the opposite. If these were my parents I am sure that I would be a wreck trying to figure out how to realize their wishes, and to keep them safe as well.

End of life care is a challenge for everyone, those living it and those on the fringes. 

Is anyone else in a situation like this that can offer a bit of advice on how to cope and get through a situation like this?

Life in a blended family is a day to day challenge but especially when the kids are very young and the parents are very old. I would welcome any and all advice as I love them both but also could use some coping skills in this situation as my own parents are 18 years younger.

Thanks for the advice!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Macaroni

Good morning! I hope that you enjoyed your weekend! It was beautiful here one day, so a walk on the beach was in order and the other was rainy and overcast so I stayed in and read a good book.

I know that this week is St.Patricks day and that we should be moving away from comfort foods and on to lighter, spring like food but I could not resist sharing this scrumptious Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Macaroni.

You may remember a few weeks back I posted about this Caramelized Onion, Ham and Cheese Quiche, I loved the combination of flavors so much I decided to try it in macaroni and it is delicious, tangy, sweet and cheesy all ant the same time!

Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Macaroni 

 8 oz elbow macaroni
2 cups chèvre goat cheese
3 cups of milk
1/4 cup butter
11/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup caramelized onions

Grated cheddar for topping

Prepare macaroni or any pasta that you are using according to directions, then drain and set aside. In a saucepan melt the butter, add the flour and make a roux, then slowly add the milk stirring constantly. Add cheese and stir until incorporated and thick. 

Pour the macaroni into a buttered casserole dish, top with caramelized onions, add the sauce and stir well. Top with grated cheese and bake on 350 for 15 minutes or warmed through. 

I hope that you have a great week!

If you need a little chocolate to start the week with a St.Patrick's day twist than try these Chocolate Guiness Stout Brownies from Once Upon A Chocolate Life they are fabulous!