Saturday, April 20, 2019

Reflecting and Giving Thanks

Every now and then, a memory of my childhood years pops in my head.  I come from a family of 7 and each year for Easter, our Dad made sure his daughters and our Mom had a beautiful corsage to wear to church.  When we grew up and got married, he hand delivered our corsages to our homes, not only for us but his grand daughter's and daughters in laws too.  It was a true act of love.  I'm blessed to still have Dad and I picked up the phone yesterday to tell him how much that meant to me and he seemed so pleased to hear that.

Our Mom stayed home and raised us while Dad worked 6 days a week as a floor installer for he and Mom's business, having to do his own work estimates at night .  Mom knew how to sew and beautifully to save money.   I'll always remember how excited she was making matching Mom/Daughter dresses for herself and my sister Jill and I. Sewing is a craft I didn't inherit from Mom or ,my Grandma.  When I was pregnant with our firstborn, Ryan, I proudly bought a pattern and material to make myself a maternity top. Let's just say I give myself a pat on the back for trying.  The opening for my head wasn't big enough to fit an orange through.  However, I was able to sew a large bear for Ryan that we still have to this day.  I inherited Mom's love for cooking and baking and being a creator in the kitchen.  Hearts are full when we look at our dinner table to see family sharing stories and breaking bread together.  Its not important what you are serving, but that it's being shared with those you love.

Celebrate each day and surround yourself with positivity and joy when you can.  May you all have a Blessed Easter holiday.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Simple Quiche for your Brunch, Lunch or Dinner Table

If you have 15 - 20 minutes and ham, you can make a delicious Ham and Swiss Quiche for family or friends.  Using Pillsbury refrigerated roll out pie crusts saves time and they taste just as good as home made.  Give it a try!

Prep time - 15-20 minutes,  cook time is 45 minutes and makes approximately 6 servings.

You need:  

1 cup of half and half
4 eggs beaten
3 tablespoons honey mustard
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked ham cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Take 1 pie crust out of the box and sit at room temperature for a few minutes while you prepare the filling for the quiche. In a medium bowl, mix half and half, eggs, mustard, flour, salt, thyme and pepper and beat until mixed well.  
you wil Lightly spray a pie pan with cooking spray and  lay the pie crust gently in the pan.  Layer the ham, Swiss cheese and spinach in the pie crust.  Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes on until the crust is golden and the filling is set. 

A perfect accompaniment for this dish is a side of fresh spring asparagus and a bowl of freshly sliced fruit.  Whether you are hosting a brunch buffet, a luncheon or looking for a way to use your leftover ham during the week, this is a delicious dish I guarantee you will love. 

I wish you and your family a Blessed Easter holiday.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hard Boiled Eggs Aren't Easy for All of Us!

Easter is here and we are busy preparing menus, coloring eggs and making egg salad with all of the eggs you just colored.  Each year I attempt to hard boil eggs, and each year it's a bust.  They either do not harden inside, have a green ring around the egg, the eggs crack while boiling or simply won't peel.  UNTIL NOW!......

 Finally I have found a method that works for me.  Ok, I admit the shell peeled off in little pieces, but the fact remains that it did peel👏Here's what I did.

I placed 6 eggs in a saucepan.  Then I covered the eggs with an inch of cool water.  I covered the saucepan with a lid and heated until the water was boiling.  Turn the heat to medium for 7 minutes. Remove the cooked eggs with a slotted spoon and place gently into a bowl of iced water.  Let the eggs cool for 2-3 minutes.  I towel dried the eggs and placed therm in the refrigerator to be used within a week.  It's that simple.  
I just read online there is an oven baking method to make hard boiled eggs too.  Interesting.  Has anyone tried this?

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Plan for Your Garden

We live in the Midwest and the winter has felt longer and been grayer than normal.  With some prep work, you can plan on having plants and flowers blooming in your yard in the coming weeks.
Once the snow has cleared, inventory your yard.  You will need to do clean up of branches, sticks and leaves. If you keep a compost pile, place in the pile.

Remove and prune back old branches that rub together, dead branches or branches that have damage from insects or are diseased.

Did you place mulch or leaves on your plants for protection for the winter?
Clear the remaining mulch and leaves to prepare the area for new flowers and plants to be planted.

Make a list of the annual and perennial plants and flowers you want to plant and check planting tips on the seed packets or plants in containers. Burpee is a favorite of mine and I am pleased each year.

When the threat of frost has passed and the ground has thawed, loosen the soil with a garden fork. You may plant your new plants and place new mulch around them.  I like redwood mulch but cedar and cypress also offer a beautiful presentation.

If you are short on space, you can also grow flowers and vegetables on your patio in containers quite successfully.  This weekend I will be heading to our local shop that repurposes home accessories.  They are having a sale on wooden crates that I plan to stock up on to fill with potting soil for my tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries on my patio.

What are you planting in your garden this year?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Birthday Blog to Myself - Ignore the Box

Always have cake!

I'm celebrating a milestone birthday.  No birthday number has ever phased me, until now.  This one has given me an ah-ha moment or two. What is it about this birthday?  The truth is, we as a society are living longer.  We are eating healthier, are more aware of what goes into our bodies, we are working out more because we realize this plays a role in our longevity.  It keeps our bodies healthy and our minds sharp.  We keep up with social media, enjoying blogger life, Instagram, Twitter and others in our efforts to stay current.  Then one day, you are checking the box on an application for your age. 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and then you come to 65 to whatever. Let's extend the box to 65-80 and on to 80- and beyond. 
 I feel in a way, I'm just getting started and many of my friends feel the same way. My thought process will return to "it's just a number" shortly once I reflect back on this life I have been blessed to have.  Each morning I feel happy to have the day and choose to embrace it.  So here's hoping I'm graced with another 20-30 more years because I have a very long "to-do" list.  For one, I'd like to find time to set aside each day to read a few of the books I have found that sit on my book shelves.  I want to author a cookbook.  I hope my husband and I find time to visit national parks and parts of the country we haven't seen.  These are reasonable goals and with luck, they will happen.  So here I am embracing my new age and celebrating my fortune I can share my thoughts with you on my blog.  Enjoy your day and make it a good one.  Thanks for sharing!

Happiest birthday to all celebrating their special day💝

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Trail Mix for your Road Trip

Pictured in the bowls to add are sweet and savory choices of pastel colored m&m's, chocolate covered espresso beans and dried cherries. All of the above can be found in your local grocery store. 

Whether you are traveling or enjoying a stay cation over spring break, easy grab and go snacks are a fun way to satisfy your hunger between meals.  Trail mix is usually a winner simply because you can customize its content for just about every ones taste or dietary needs. These can be pricey in the store.  These are a few goodies I had in my pantry, so I mixed them together in a large bowl and loved the result.  Just store them in individual Ziploc bags that are easily transportable.  When my children were growing up and they had friends over,  I made a large bowl of popcorn, and tossed in pretzels, goldfish crackers, m & m's, and chocolate chips.  The chocolate chips melted into the hot popcorn and tasted delicious. 

Peanuts, almonds, cashews or walnuts, or a little more pricey but tasty macadamia nuts are a great place to start.
Next add dried cranberries, dried pineapple, cherries, raisins.
Sweet options include dark or milk chocolate chips, m & m's, shredded coconut, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, chocolate covered coffee beans (a favorite of mine), or cacao nibs.
A couple of salty favorites I like are pretzel twists, popped popcorn and/or Chex cereal. 
The fun part is there are no rules for trail mix so you can enjoy whatever your favorites are.  

What's your favorite snack mix?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Tasty Treats for your St. Patrick's Party

How do you celebrate St. Patrick's day?  In our family, we gather wearing our green shirts to enjoy a meal of corned beef sandwiches served with a choice of potato rolls or rye bread, a selection of swiss or american cheese, homemade potato salad, relishes of pickle slices and green olives.  The dessert spread is what we love most. My sisters Pistachio cake topped with a dusting of powdered sugar, my fudge brownies, and creme de menthe brownie bars.  Beverages include Green River soda and Guiness beer. Our niece Teresa and her husband Bryan host our annual gathering with flair.  She has been a Trinity Irish Dancer since she was a little girl and for years we have loved watching her dance and walk in the St. Patrick's day parades.  Whether you were born Irish or not, celebrate the day with your favorite people with food, drink, laughter and love this weekend. ☘

May the road rise to meet you and the wind always be at your back. May the sunshine warm on your face, and the rains fall softly on your fields.