Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Eggnog Cheesecake with Candied Cranberries

Good morning! Did you have a great weekend? Are you reseted and relaxed from the eating marathon? I am ready to move on from the leftovers and on to Christmas baking. Although I an not a huge fan of drinking down a huge glass of eggnog I love the flavors, the nutmeg and the cinnamon and think it taste subtle and delicious in a cheesecake. 

Eggnog Cheesecake with Candied Cranberries


1 cup graham cracker crumbs 
2 Tbsp granulated sugar (for crust) 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp  butter melted 
3- 8 ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature 
1 cup granulated sugar 
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup eggnog 
4 eggs room temperature
2 Tbsp rum 
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Garnish with candied cranberries


Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a 9 x 13" cake pan in the oven on the shelf lower than the one you will place the cheesecake on, fill about 2/3 of the way with water. 
In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter; then press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9” spring form pan. Bake 10-15 minutes until light golden, then cool to room temp.
Place eggnog, rum, eggs, flour, sugar, nutmeg, and cream cheese into your food processor and blend the mixture until smooth. 
Pour mixture into pre-baked crust and bake 45-50 minutes, or until cake is barely firm to the touch.The cake will look a little jiggly. Turn off the oven and open the door about 2 inches. Leave the cake to cool in the oven for at least an hour. Then remove from oven, run a knife around the edges of the pan and cool to room temperature. 
Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled before serving.
Both the water bath and the cooling in the oven should keep the cheesecake from cracking. If it cracks, no big deal we are going to garnish it anyway. 

What have you been baking or do you plan to make for the upcoming holidays? Share your recipes with us or your favorite pins!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Silent Sunday 11-27-2016

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Business Saturday Shop at Billy's Bungalow, Oreillers, Ancient Oaks Antiques, Dunstan & Moles, Splenderosa, 5th & State,The Enchanted Home, and More

Good morning! Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I hope that you were able to spend time with your family and friends and of course eat your fill of the feast. We went to friends and it was wonderful, the food was fabulous as were our friends but one of the best parts of the day was the new addition to the family, Brady Cooper. Brady Cooper is a Pomeranian puppy that looked like a stuffed animal with his cute red bow tie affixed for the day. His antics amused us for hours, so much so it had me thinking I need another puppy!

Did you get out the the Black Friday sales? I stayed in and out of the mayhem. I am pretty well finished and didn't want to be a part of the craziness. But I have been checking out some of my favorite local shops and blogger stores for one of a kind, special and unique gifts. 

If you still need to do a little shopping why not support a small business? Either one that is local or even one of the many bloggers that we know who have small business on the web and Etsy.

 Billy's Bungalow owned and operated by Barbara and named after Billy(her late dachshund)  is a cabinet of curiosities and filled with treasures from a life well lived. There are beautiful Majolica plates, vibrant Transfer ware, shinny silver, vintage paintings and much more to be had from this wonderful store.  I have purchased several items from Barbara and I love each and every item, they come beautifully wrapped and there is always a special gift in each box.  If you are searching for a unique vintage item this is the place to get it. 

The Enchanted Home Storefront  owned and operated by Tina of the blog The Enchanted Home is filled to the brim with anything you might want or need to decorate your home. Tina offers lighting, china, soaps, candles, silver, statuary and so much more. Each item is hand picked by Tina and would make a wonderful and special gift for your family and friends.  

Splenderosa owned and operated by the ever stylish Marsha is filled with "bling" for all of the ladies in your life. There are rings, bracelets, necklaces, scarfs and handbags and more. Marsha not only curates the items for her shop but also designs and makes many of them. While you are shopping for your family and friends make sure to get something for yourself too.

Yonks, is owned and operated by Di, located in Cardiff, Wales. Her Etsy store  is filled with over 151 English, French and European antiques and vintage finds all of which are carefully picked by Di at auctions all over Europe. There are biscuit jars, silver christening cups, tea services, jewelry and more. 

Oreillers(French for pillows) is the online store owned by Debra of the blog, Acquired Objects. Debra specializes in 15th-18th century European textiles which she handcrafts into pillows. These works of art offer you the opportunity to have a piece of history in your own home. In addition to her handcrafted pillows, Debra offers unique European finds including antique sewing kits, needlepoint pictures, and more. Even if you are not in the market take a look around the Oreillers web page, the textiles are amazing. 

Here are a few other blogs that I know of which have small businesses:

Dunstan & Moles

Have a great day and get out there and shop and the small business that you know and love!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good morning! I wanted to take a minute to say, Thank You! Thank you for your friendship, kindness and for following along with me each day through the twists and turns that are my life. 

I hope that today, on the day that has been set aside for thanks that you find yourself among family, friends and those you love. 

Have a wonderful day and thank you! 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sugared Cranberries

Good morning! Are you ready for Thanksgiving? As I said I am lucky because we are going to a friends for dinner so I do not have to make anything, except dessert.

I don't know about you but I am always looking for a great garnish for my holiday desserts and have seen candies/sugared cranberries for years but have never gotten around to making them.

These tasty berries are easy to make and are delicious! My husband eats them for snacks, he said they are the perfect mix or tart and sweet. As for me, I have been using them for garnish on cakes, pies, and more. You will see these berries popping up on my blogs over the next few weeks many times.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cup cranberries
1/3-1/2 cup of sugar

In a saucepan over medium heat place sugar and water, bring mixture to a simmer. Be sure to stir constantly to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved remove mixture from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes. 

Add sugar to a shallow plate or pan. Then add 1 cup of cranberries to the pan of simple syrup move around the berries to coat. Remove the berries with a slotted spoon and let dry on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining cranberries and then remove them to dry with the others for an hour. 

Take the berries a little at a time and add them to the bowl of sugar, move the berries around until coated with sugar. Scoop the berries up with a slotted spoon and let dry on rack until dries, repeat until all berries are coated.

Note: Do not store in the refrigerator or the moisture will cause the sugar to evaporate. That is what happened to min and why they are not completely coated in sugar. They were perfect before that. 

I hope that you have a very Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family, friends and of course all of the tasty food!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Overnight Rhodes Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole

Good morning! I am so excited to have a three day work week and to be spending Thanksgiving day with great friends. 

Making a memorable Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work so why not make breakfast for your crowd easy and try my recipe for Overnight Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole? The good news is that you can prepare it the day before and just pop it in the oven on the morning you would like to serve it. 

This is one of my favorite breakfasts to make when friends and family are visiting, I serve it with fruit, bacon or sausage and syrup. It is a great casserole to make on the weekend and for the holidays. In fact I will be making this on Christmas morning for my guests. 

If you would like the recipe visit Rhodes

Note: I am a huge fan of Rhodes dough and have used it for years and years. I have been compensated for this post but all my opinions are my own. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Crockpot Braised Beef Ragu

Good morning! How was your weekend, did you get slammed by the storm? We had fabulous weather this weekend 75 and then on Sunday it plummeted to 40. I know this weekend is Thanksgiving but I cannot tell a lie, I already decorated for Christmas. I have a very bust few weeks coming up and I like to be able to bake, work and enjoy my decorations at the same time.

As I said we are headed over to friends for Thanksgiving and all I have to do is bake whatever I want. Sounds like a perfect invitation to me.

I have a delicious and easy dinner for you to make this week, before all of the Thanksgiving cooking or next weekend when you are tired of turkey and leftovers. This easy and scrumptious braised ragu is filling, hearty and more importantly, easy because you cook it in your crockpot!

Braised Beef Ragu
Recipe from Little Spice Jar

1 tablespoon olive oil
2-2/12 lbs chuck roast
1 medium onion, chopped finely
6-8 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 cup + 2 tablespoons beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup of red wine
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 24 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a large bunch of basil 
1/4 teaspoon - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
pasta, pappardelle, spaghetti, linguine 
parsley and Parmesan for garnish


Season both sides of the chuck roast with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the beef into the pot and allow it to sear on each side for 5 minutes. Add the onions to the skillet and let them sweat for 4-5 minutes or until they turn translucent. Add the garlic and let cook for another 1-2 minutesIn a pan brown add the oil, then transfer the meat, onion, and garlic mixture to a slow cooker. Add the 1 cup of beef broth to the slow cooker. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of beef broth in a bowl with the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Add the mixture to the slow cooker along with the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, fresh thyme, basil, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Add red wine. Cover and let cook on the slow setting for 6-8 hours. Use 2 forks to shred the meat. You will know when the meat is done when it falls apart easily. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If there is excess fat you can skim it off the top. Also,  remove the bay leaves and basil leaves before serving. Serve over pappardelle, spaghetti, linguini or whatever pasta you prefer, then sprinkle with parsley and freshly grated parmesan

Did you make or do anything interesting or fun this weekend? If so, please share, I love to hear and learn about new recipes. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Friday Favorites from The DIY Playbook, Inspired by Charm, Stone Gable, Martha Stewart and More

Good morning! Happy Friday and a very happy weekend. I am so ready for the weekend. I cannot believe how fast time seems to be going and I need a rest. Can you believe that Thursday is Thanksgiving? Thankfully we are going to friends so I do not have to cook but I still feel stressed. If you are cooking for the family and need a little help check out Martha Stewart where there is a plethora of information on everything you need to know from pies, to turkeys, to potatoes, its all there.

Thankfully I have my shopping done, not wrapped and shipped yet but I'm getting close. If you are looking for gift ideas check out this fabulous Blogger Gift Guide that is the brainchild of Bridget and Casey of The DIY Playbook. They have gathered 10 of our favorite bloggers and made a complete holiday shopping guide, the best part is that you can click on each item and it goes right to the place where you can purchase each item! 

Image Stone Gable

If you like to make  holiday gifts than you could make a pile of these DIY Pinecone fire starters that Yvonne from Stone Gable featured this week. This easy DIY would be great for anyone who loves a nice roaring fire inside or out in the winter!

For the Anglophile in your life I discovered a fabulous cookbook this week, The London Cookbook written by food writer Aleksandra Crapanzono .The award winning writer has written a wonderful book filled with more than 100 unique recipes from London's best restaurants, cafes, and "hole-in-the-wall gems." If you have never been to London they have in the past had a reputation for bad food, not so much any more, thankfully they are now known the world over as a "food destination" and this cookbook has just a few of the recipes that helped it earn that status. The recipes, everything from soup, to pasta, to fish and desserts  are easy to follow, and many have beautiful photos to accompany them.  I am particularly fond of the dessert recipes and in fact have already made the Bakewell Tart which was scrumptious! If you love London or knows someone that does this is the perfect gift, part history, part travel guide, and filled with beautiful photos I am sure that anyone of your friends or family would love to receive this book. 

Speaking of DIY, if you have wood and a saw you could make these great wood stockings that Michael at Inspired by Charm made this week. I love them because they are unexpected and whimsical. 

Image here

As I do not have to make anything for Thanksgiving I am free to bake and this week I am going to try these Pumpkin Sugar Buns from The Candid Appetite. Don't they look delicious?

 And last but certainly not least, I discovered a wonderful artist this week who makes woven sculptures many of which are life size animals. I hope that you check out Juliette Hamilton because you will not believe her work, I already have a few favorites. 

I hope that you have a relaxing and wonderful weekend! Stay safe and warm in the storm. 


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just Curious...What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self If You Could?

 This past Saturday I turned 50 and typically on my birthday I write a post about the lessons I have learned in the last year or from my mother and even one year lessons that my dog taught me.

This year I am curious, what lessons or advice would you give to your younger self if you could? Here are 30 things I would tell my younger self that I learned, need to be reminded of or that someone had tried to tell me.  

1. Family, where life begins and love never ends. 

2. Love yourself, first, last and always. 

3. Be a saver, not a spender. 

4. Collect memories and adventures, not things. 

5. Your body is your most priceless possession - take care of it. 
~ Jack Lalane

6. Everything is a choice. 

7. Forgive them, even if they are not sorry.

8. If there is a small voice saying maybe this is not going to work...listen.

9. A little progress each day adds up to big results.

10. Be who you are not who the world wants you to be.

11. Don’t ever be afraid to start over.

12, Life is full of give and take. Give thanks, give a lot and never take anything for granted...not people, time, friends, love, work, etc.

13. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

14. Nothing worth having comes easy.

15, Beautiful girl, take care of yourself. No one else knows what you need better than you.

16. If you don't love yourself, you will always be chasing after people who don't love you either. ~Mandy Hale

17. Give it to God and go to sleep.

18. Before you assume, learn the facts. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think.

19. Nothing is worth it, if you are not happy.

20. If you don't ask, the answer is always no.

21. Be truthful, gentle and fearless. ~ghandi

22. Do what is right, not what is easy.

23. H.O.P. E.: Hold on pain ends.

24. There is no reset button in life. You cannot take anything back and you cannot undo anything. All of your actions have consequences and the things that you say and do to yourself and others will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. You have to understand that, and you have to be aware of it when making your decisions.

25. Be careful who you trust and share your problems with. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend.

26. Sometimes you don't need explanations. It is what it is.

 27. Pay attention to the things that you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion, and purpose in life. Have the courage to follow them. ~ Ruben Chavez

28. Everyday is a new day, a new beginning; you can start over, be better, have another chance.

29. Believe.

30. Don’t be old before your time. 

I am sure there are other things I wish I had known but I don't want to keep you here all day. I would love to hear your advice to your younger self, or perhaps even your advice to the young ones you have at home. 

Thank you for reading and sharing! Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Herbs and Spices

Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was great, I spent the weekend celebrating my 50th birthday and doing all of my favorite things, like going for long walks, baking and eating lots of chips, salsa, Mexican food and cake.

In between all that I did make some scrumptious butternut squash soup to eat this week, This soup is very easy and is perfect with a salad and some crusty bread for lunch or dinner from now until the end of winter!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soap with Herbs
Recipe adapted from Ahead of Thyme

1 large butternut squash
1 medium onion, cut into big chunks
2 carrots, chopped into 1" pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 1" pieces
4 sage leaves
3 springs of thyme
1 spring of rosemary
31/2-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half, peel, remove the seeds and pulp, then cut into 1 inch cubes drizzle with olive oil/ Then add the carrots, onions, celery chunks sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir vegetables to coat. Add the herbs. Roast for 1 hour or 1 hour and 15 minutes and the vegetables are soft. 

Once the vegetables are soft, remove the herbs, add to food processor, blender or a pot and add 1 cup of stock and puree. Then pour the mixture into a soup pot and add the rest of the stock, dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, stir well, then simmer for 10 minutes. 

Note: I like the spices with the herbs, if you do not like the cinnamon and nutmeg, then don't add. 

What did you do this weekend? I hope that you relaxed and had a good time and maybe a respite from all of the chaos in social media and the world. 

Have a great week. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friday Favorites from Rustic Rooster Interiors, A Spicy Perspective, Drizzle and Dip, Little Spice Jar, and More

Good morning!  Did you have a good week? I did and but I ready for a little rest and relaxation! 

Thanksgiving is coming up fast, so as I mentioned, here and here my mind is on preparing my menu. Besides dessert and stuffing my other favorite thing about the holiday is the rolls! 

 Pumpkin Rolls with Rosemary and Sea Salt

Yes, you did read that right, I LOVE rolls hot from the oven slathered butter. These pumpkin rolls with rosemary and sea salt from Drizzle and Dip are the first thing that I am going to make. I might even make more than one batch so that I can have them on Thanksgiving day and with leftovers. Don't they look delicious?

Honey Yeast Rolls from A Spicy Perspective

Now, if you don't like pumpkin you could always make these scrumptious Honey Yeast Rolls from a Spicy Perspective. Maybe I need to make these two, after all, you can never have too much bread can you?

French Toast Casserole from Little Spice Jar

I know that with all the cooking and baking to get ready for the big meal a lot of people skip breakfast but this French Toast Casserole from the Little Spice Jar will make you rethink that! You could add a side of sausages you would be all set. 

Thanksgiving Tablescape from Canadian Living

I love this tablescape from Canadian Living, get out your plaid blankets and antlers, add a few pinecones, pumpkins and some leaves in a demijohn and you have an easy and beautiful Thanksgiving table!

I am all about self-care, especially as I age, this post, 10 Ways to Love Yourself from Rustic Rooster Interiors is a little reminder that we are OK just the way we are.

Last but not least, I know that people like to focus on one holiday at a time but I am a planner and I love to buy my Christmas gifts all year long. One of my favorite cookbooks that I found this year is Slow Fires : Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast and Grill by Justin Smillie. Beautifully photographed, interesting, informative and incredibly well written. This book offers a challenge for beginners and seasoned cooks as well as many of the recipes take several days to make but the great thing is that each feast comes with "how-to-plan" box so that you know what do do and when. I think this would be a great book to give to the man or woman in your life who loves learning new techniques in cooking as well as learning how to prepare oils, vinegars, rubs and broths too!

Did you watch, read, do or discover anything interesting this week? If so, please share I would love to hear about it. 

Have a safe and fabulous weekend. 


Thursday, November 10, 2016

15 Fabulous Thanksgiving Desserts

Libby's Pumpkin Pie

Good morning! How are you? Did you survive the election? I am happy it is over and now I am ready to move on to getting ready for the holidays. As I said on Monday, at Thanksgiving dinner my favorite things to eat are the sides, in particular stuffing and of course dessert. My personal preference is Libby's pumpkin pie with whipped cream, it is the pie that my grandmother and my mother made and it is the one that I make. 

Today I wanted to share 15 fabulous desserts that caught my eye. 

Harvest Apple Pie with Crumble Topping

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline Sauce

Pecan Cheesecake Squares

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pecan Pie Cheesecake from OMG Chocolate Desserts

 Slab Apple Pie

Browned Butter Carameliezed Apple Crisp Bars from Half Baked Harvest

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding from Something Swanky

Apple Pumpkin Cake from Julias Album

Chai Poached Pear from Oh My Veggies.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

Pecan Pie Balls from Just a Pinch

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie from Sweet Peas and Saffron

And for those who do not want to eat pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie or traditional desserts than perhaps this Devil's Food Cake would be right up your alley?

Tell me what is your favorite Thanksgiving dessert? If you are still undecided than maybe one of the above will become your new favorite.

Have a great day!