25 July 2016

Christmas in July

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I am a huge Christmas nut (take a gander at my Christmas tab above!) and yes, I love celebrating Christmas in any way I can!  Christmas in July is not a hard stretch of the imagination for me!  To get you interested in CIJ,  here are some wonderful crafty projects you might want to try now for your celebrations in December!


DIY Ornaments – by Saved by Love Creations
Cocktail Umbrella Wreath – by Design Improvised
Rick Rack Christmas Trees – by Lil Luna
Santa Chimney Place Setting – by Crafts by Amanda
Wine Bottle Labels – by Lia Griffith
Snow Globe – by the Soap Queen
Clay pot Snowman – by Craft Ideas
Candy Cane Shot Glasses – by Your Modern Family
Iced Coffee – by A Beautiful Mess
Snack Cake Penguins – by Hungry Happenings
White Christmas Treat Jar – by Lolly Jane
Peppermint Rock Candy – by Simply Designing
Glass Block Holiday Jello – by Our Best Bites
Strawberry Santas – by TISL Style
Whipped Ricota Spread – by My Suburban Kitchen

Peppermint Cocktail – by Totally the Bomb

I think this will be the cocktail of the day.  Doesn't it look pretty and sound refreshing in these hot days of July?


For today's crafting fun, I love these labels.  I love plaid at Christmas, it is one of those things that it isn't Christmas without red and green plaid.  Do you have those must haves too?


And this jello treat is fantastic.  It looks fairly simple to make and I think it will make the perfect dessert to serve at a Christmas function!  With red and green cubes, of course!


I hope you find some wonderful items to try from our list today!  Christmas in July is a fun event, will any of you be celebrating?

22 July 2016

Impossible Spinach Quiche for #FoodnFlix

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The film for July for #FoodnFlix was Popeye, the 2003 version with Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall.  Food n Flix is a group of bloggers who watches a film, uses the film to get inspiration to cook, and posts the inspiration on the blog.  My inspiration was Impossible Spinach Quiche.  More about that later!



Here's what Amazon had to say about it:

Based on the long-running comic strip created by E.C. Segar (and less on the animated cartoons created by Max Fleischer, which were decidedly different in tone and approach), Popeye follows the sailor man with the mighty arms (played by Robin Williams in his first major film role) as he arrives in the seaside community of Sweethaven in search of his long-lost father. Popeye meets and quickly falls for the slender Olive Oyl (Shelley Duvall, in the role she was born to play), but Olive's hand has already been promised to the hulking Bluto (Paul Smith), of whom Olive can say little except, well, he's large. Eventually, Popeye and Olive are brought together by Swee' Pea (Wesley Ivan Hurt), an adorable foundling , and Popeye finally meets his dad, Poopdeck Pappy (Ray Walston). Direct or Robert Altman in no way tempered his trademark style for this big-budget family opus, crowding the screen with a variety of characters and allowing his cast to overlap as much dialogue as they want.

So of course, when you think of Popeye you think of spinach (or hamburgers, depending...) and then I started thinking about a quiche recipe I used to make all the time!  Growing up in the 60s and 70s presented a lot of opportunities for me to learn about quick cooking.  One of those quick cooking tips was Bisquick.  Remember Bisquick?  There was a yummy quiche recipe that was on the back of the box that I loved to make.



I wondered if I still had that recipe and sure enough, I found it in my recipe book, written in my still teenaged handwriting!

I've included the original recipe but I've lightened it up considerably and put those adjustments off to the side!



Impossible Quiche
by Our Good Life
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 12 Bacon strips, cooked to crisp, drained, and crumbled (I used half the amount)
  • 1 Cup Swiss cheese, shredded (about 4 ounces) (Light Swiss cheese)
  • 1/3 Cup onion, diced
  • 2 Cups milk (nonfat Half and Half)
  • 1 Cup Bisquick (Low Fat Bisquick)
  • 1 Box frozen spinach, thawed and patted dry
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground black pepper
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 10-inch pie plate.
Sprinkle the bacon (spinach), shredded cheese, and diced onion (in that order) evenly over the bottom of the pie plate.
Beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.
Stir in the milk (half and half)
Add the Bisquick and beat until smooth.
Pour over the ingredients in the pie plate.
Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean.
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I hope you enjoyed the review and the quiche! If you are interested in joining, check out the monthly movies here!

21 July 2016

Peach Navy Fizz

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Peaches, the summer fruit that we live for in Missouri, especially if the peaches are from Calhoun County (IL). Good stuff! This peach cocktail is lovely. Refreshing and a bit sweet.  Perfect for a pre-dinner cocktail or a sitting on the porch cocktail. Enjoy it wherever you want!  This drink has a nice woodsy taste from the rosemary, sweetness from the peaches and the right amount of kick from the gin.  I'm not a gin drinker and I liked this drink!

Bonus:  I use Sonic ice for my cocktails and I won't use any other!  Something about Sonic ice...


I'm joining a group of bloggers who like to improv each month using a special ingredient.  This month, of course, is peaches.  If you wish to join up, click here and make a request!

To make this cocktail you need:

1 ripe peach, pitted and skinned
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 rosemary sprig
1 1/2 oz of dry gin
3/4 oz Campari
The juice of one lemon
Club soda
(alas, no cream!)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle peach, rosemary and simple syrup. Add gin, juice, Campari and ice. Shake until cold about 15 seconds. Fill highball glass with Sonic ice. Strain drink into glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with rosemary.








20 July 2016

Vanilla Rose Bundt with Edible Flowers #BundtBakers

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The July theme for Bundt Bakers is Secret Garden.  Thank you to our host, Sue Lau, from Palatable Pastimes for getting all of us organized!  In the list of cakes below, you will see a lot of cakes using ingredients from the garden including flowers, herbs and vegetables.  When I was a kid, I read and reread the book, The Secret Garden many times.  The author describes that first look of the garden as filled with overgrown roses. That vision in my head is quite beautiful! This was the inspiration for my Vanilla Rose Bundt this month.




Vanilla Rose Bundt
by Our Good Life
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (8 servings)
  • 1½ c. sifted cake flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 T rosewater
  • ½ c. whole milk
Instructions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a bundt pan with butter and dust with all-purpose flour. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Beat in the butter one heaping 1/4 teaspoonful at a time, using an electric mixer set on low speed, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla, rosewater and milk, and beat on medium-high, just until blended. Do not overbeat.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean — 35-40 minutes. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, invert and remove from pan. Cool completely before serving. Garnish with edible flowers.

I made a simple glaze of 1 T milk, 1 c powdered sugar and 1 t of rosewater flavoring.  Mixed it well and poured onto the cake.

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BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

18 July 2016

Help Us Name Our House!

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For those who don't know me personally, my husband and I live in a community developed on the principles of New Urbanism called New Town of Saint Charles.  New Town is further divided into "districts" each having its own identity in our community.  Our district, called The Beach District, is one of the more complicated districts due to the freefall that was our economy back in 2008.  Our district is supposed to have a beach like theme and actually to have a beach within the district!

Those promises weren't kept for a number of years, but now with the growing economy, it looks like new plans have been made to create the beach, build more houses and add green space to our district. Our neighbors are thrilled!



Prior to all this good news, the residents of the Beach District were looking for ways to help our district be a bit unique.  One of the ideas we had was to name our houses, like the cute names given to beach cottages along the ocean.  That idea was dropped until recently, where we had a new interest growing in naming our houses.

This is where you, readers, come in.

Please help us name our house!  We are looking for names that might reflect the area we live in, our interests and personalities.  I've created a list that might help you.

  • Our house is blue with a yellow door
  • We are both in higher education
  • We are empty nesters
  • We have fabulous sunsets and I am semi famous for my sunset pictures
  • We have two dogs, Truman and Wilson
  • We live across from the lake and where the beach will be
  • We love gardening
  • We both love to cook
  • We both love cocktails and wine
  • My son-in-law calls our house "The Resort"
  • We have a bottle tree in our backyard.


In the comments below, please suggest a name or two for our house!  I'll keep you posted on our favorites!

17 July 2016

Peach, Tomato and Mint Salad #SundaySupper

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The folks at Sunday Supper have given us a whole lotta peach recipes just in time for the season!  You will really enjoy this fresh, summer sweet salad.  There are lots of options for changing this around, for example, my favorite is substituting honeyed goat cheese for the feta. Make this dish your own!

Delicious as a side dish, this can also be served on top of grilled fish for a delicious salsa.  The acid of the tomatoes along with the sweet of the peaches make it perfect for any fish.  




Peach, Tomato and Mint Salad

by Our Good Life
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (4 servings)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 pound ripe peaches, pitted, cut into wedges
  • 1/4 pound heirloom tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
  • 1/4 pound heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
Instructions
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
Combine vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over peach mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese and mint.
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Starters:
Breakfasts:
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Sides & Salads:
Main Dishes:
Desserts:

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

13 July 2016

Strawberry Avocado Salsa #UltimateRecipeChallenge

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Strawberries have always been my favorite fruit.  I like to have them around all the time, even when strawberries aren't at their finest.  This salsa is so good, my two favorite flavors combined into one ultimate dish!  It's versatile and quick to make, two of my favorite descriptors when it comes to food!



The Ultimate Recipe Challenge was started by a fellow blogger, Kim Six, who is a renaissance woman if I ever saw one!  She's a dynamite chef, toolman and blogger, and really, can just do it all!

Give this salsa a try, it is excellent on grilled meats, as a side, and for me, even as a dessert.


Strawberry Avocado Salsa

by Our Good Life
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients (2 cups)
  • 20 strawberries, cubed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 c of cubed red onion
  • the juice of 1/2 lime
  • the zest from 1/2 lime
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded, chopped
  • 1/4 t sugar
Instructions
Toss all ingredients together gently. Serve immediately!
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Check out all these other amazing strawberry recipes!  If you love strawberries like I do, you will be in heaven!




11 July 2016

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Sausage with Panko Topping #SRC

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The July Secret Recipe Club reveal day is today!  I had a lot of fun reading the blog called Little Bit of Everything.  Cute name, huh?  In case you are not familiar with the club, we are a group of bloggers who like to cook.  Each month we are assigned (secretly) to scour the blog of one of the members, cook a recipe from the site, and write about our experience on our own blog.  On a specific day, we reveal the recipe and the blog we were assigned.  Always a lot of fun!



I am eager to share with you about Julie who lives in Nebraska.  All my friends are covering their mouths and snickering, but I can assure you that since the Tigers are no longer in the Big 12, I am going to be perfectly sweet and kind to Julie.

Her blog is full of wonderful recipes!  I'll also be making some Chive Blossom Vinegar and possibly some Cranberry Jalapeno Jam (won't that be fantastic on a turkey sandwich?).  Oh, and this Grilled Romaine is a must this summer!

This is the recipe I decided on.  I made changes in the recipe due to the reflection on Julie's blog.



Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Breadcrumb Topping

1/2 pound spaghetti 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling  
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (about 3 cups) 
1/2 pound loose pork sausage  
1 cup panko 
2 tablespoons snipped chives  
Kosher salt 
Pepper  
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts and sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sausage is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 c pasta water. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Toast the panko bread crumbs in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Drain the spaghetti. Plate the spaghetti and top with the brussels sprout mixture, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle panko on top  and serve with lemon wedges.



10 July 2016

Tomato Cobbler #TasteCreations

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The Taste Creations blog hop is happy to share TOMATOES with you today!  Juicy garden tomatoes are starting to hit the Farmer's Market by the gallons so here is a chance to try some great food with seasonable vegetables.

For today's recipe, I thought I was going to be making a tomato tart for you, something I make every summer, but I didn't have any pie crust made up.  I did have a package of biscuit dough that I wanted to use up, thus this recipe was made!




Tomato Cobbler


by Our Good Life
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 4 large heirloom or good quality tomatoes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 onion, cut in half and into slices
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • 1 pkg Marie Callender Cheddar Biscuit Mix (7 oz)
Instructions
Make biscuit mix according to package directions, set aside.
Preheat oven to 400.
Heat oil and butter. Add onion, brown sugar and salt. Cover, reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes, until onion is tender. Add balsamic vinegar and basil, cook until liquid is nearly gone and basil is wilted.
Slice tomatoes and arrange in 4 by 9" baking pan. Roast tomatoes for 15 minutes until juices bubble. Remove from oven, top with the onion mixture and dollop dough on to the top of the onions. Bake until biscuits are done all the way through, approximately 20 minutes.
Serve warm.
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The Taste Creations team, Nikki from Tikkido, Lauren from Mom Home Guide, Rosemary from An Italian in my Kitchen and me, come together to share recipes from our blogs on a variety of different ingredients. Last month we shared Salads and had a wonderful response! Next month we will be sharing sweet corn!


Check out these other, wonderful tomato creations!

An Italian in My Kitchen Easy Double Cheese Grilled Tomato Eggplant Stacks 

Tikkido Easy Salsa

Mom Home Guide Southwestern Chicken, Tomato and Avocado Salad


Our Good Life  Tomato Cobbler

Linking to Thoughts of Home linky party!

06 July 2016

Bridal Shower for Rachel

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My youngest nephew is getting married!

Benjamin Levi is getting married in August!  You might remember he graduated from college in December and now is getting married to his sweetheart in August.  Rachel is his perfect match in all ways and we are happy to have her join the family!

The shower was hosted by the maid of honor and bridesmaids at the church where Rachel and Ben will be married.  Here is the invite:


Pots and pans, bowls and dishes, let's shower Rachel with her kitchen wishes!


Please join us in honoring Rachel
on Sunday, July 3rd at 1:00pm.
First Presbyterian Church
123 W St. John St. Brookfield MO 



One small request that won't be too hard PLEASE BRING A RECIPE instead of a card. 



Whether it is a fancy cake or a yummy fondue. You can sign the card with a note from you. Our new bride will become quite the cook with all the new recipes to put inside her cookbook.

The church is beautiful and the stained glass windows are gorgeous!  The church is set on a corner and has the most adorable set of doors!


When you first arrived, you signed an apron that was given to Rachel at the end.  It will be a fun remembrance of the event!



The shower was a salad luncheon and boy did we have the food!  This was taken before all the food was there and this itself is quite the spread!




We played some fun games, too.  One was called Put a Ring on It and all you had to do was take a play ring from the basket, wear it, and not say the words bride or wedding.  If you did, and you got caught, then you had to forfeit your ring. The one with the most rings at the end of the shower won a gift.   We played a wedding trivia game, like, why does a bride wear white? and a cute cell phone game (which I won!).


We ate, then Rachel opened gifts.  She received a lot of wonderful things!

The dessert were these awesome Oreo cupcakes that were just so good.  On the bottom was an oreo cookie, then the cake, frosted with cookies and cream icing and topped with a mini oreo!



And of course, there was a lot of visiting and catching up.  This is my daughter, Ashley and our cousin's baby, Hanna.  Isn't she a beautiful baby!  Those eyes!


The shower was a lot of fun for everyone and I know Rachel enjoyed the day.  There were a lot of great moments!