28 May 2017

Grilled Lime Beer Ritas with Smoky Lime Salt #SundaySupper

Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to thank Americans who have served in the American armed forces, for those served and for those who gave up their lives for the American Way.  Many of us honor the day being with family and loved ones, and that often includes a BBQ, since Memorial Day marks the unofficial first day of summer!

Grilled Lime Beer Ritas with Smoky Lime Salt

With the weather being so nice here in Missouri, grilling season has started and is well on its way!  We love these delicious Grilled Lime Beer Ritas because they are so refreshing and good!  Make these ahead of time and all you need to do is grill the limes and salt the rims of your glass and serve these delicious cocktails to your friends!

Grilled Lime Beer Ritas with Smoky Lime Salt

Grilled Lime Beer Ritas with Smoky Lime Salt

For the salt
The zest of one lime
1 T smoked bourbon salt
1 T sugar
Blend together.

For the Ritas
1 12 oz can frozen limeade
6-12 oz tequila
12 oz water
12 oz beer
1 lime, sliced
2 T sugar

Heat the grill (we do this when we are already grilling things!).  Cut limes and dip into sugar.  Lay on the grill, watching carefully. We like the burnt sugar taste (think creme brulee) so we leave them a bit longer.  In a large pitcher blend limeade, tequila, water and beer.  Stir until blended.  Wet rim, dip glas into salt.  Fill glass with crushed ice (we love Sonic ice!) pour in the Rita mix and garnish with a grilled lime.

Grilled Lime Beer Ritas with Smoky Lime Salt

These are refreshing and so good!  We generally start these off with the lower amount of tequila and things might change as the party goes on...

Sunday Supper Easy BBQ Recipes

Best Burgers and Sandwiches

Grill Master Mains

Mop Worthy Sauces

Searing Starters and Sides

Sizzling Sweets

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.

24 May 2017

Last Minute Memorial Day Ideas

The bloggers at Project Beautiful are so understanding when it comes to hosting a party, so we are sharing with you our best ideas for Memorial Day.  Check out the links below for food, recipe, party ideas, parades, cocktails, drinks, gardening and decor!

For food:  Hawaiian Burgers, Red White and Bleu Cheese Grilled Pizza, Red White and Blue Fruit Salad, Red White and Blue Chocolate Covered Cherries, Strawberry Trifle and more!

For drinks: Bomb Pop Cocktails, Peach Coolers, Watermelon Sparkler and more!

For decor:  Red, White and Blue Home Decor, Decorated Silverware, Tie Dyed Fireworks napkins, Paper Poppy Wreath, Red White and Blue Container Plantings, Patriotic Handkerchief Wreath and more!

In years past, our family has had a Memorial Day Cookoff but this year, we are celebrating the beginning of summer in Cabo san Lucas!  We will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary along with our kids, so this is such a wonderful opportunity for us.  I am going to miss our tradition, though.

Look through this amazing line up of goodies and let me know your favorite in the comments. Let me know your favorite and I will be sending an Amazon gift card worth $20 to one lucky person!

On this Memorial Day, I would like to publicly thank my dad, Jerry D Oliver, my uncle David W Holt, uncle Richard Peck, uncle Robert J Oliver and cousin Mike Moore for their service in the armed forces. I am so fortunate to have these honorable and brave men in my own family!

21 May 2017

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear #SundaySupper

Small bites are a perfect patio party food.  When my husband and I plan a party, we often think in terms of small bites, food that is easy to eat and carry from place to place.  We were challenged to think of our favorite foods, and to make them miniature, and so we did.  This is the inspiration of our favorite dish: meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

To keep this dish easy and so that you can have time with your guests, all of the prep gets done ahead of time and only the final cooking and assembly goes into making this dish.  When I am the hostess, what I want to do is be with my friends, so I try to do all I can to make that happen!

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

Today's #SundaySupper is sponsored by Tapa Toro. Tapa Toro combines contemporary Spanish cuisine with a vibrant, energetic atmosphere – bringing a fresh dining experience to the I-Drive 360 area in Orlando, FL. Their unique paella pit, vibrant tapas menu, and extensive selection of imported wines will guide you through a culinary journey of Spanish flavors and culture in the heart of Central Florida.  We are huge Orlando fans, just having been there at Christmas this year.  Love Disney World at Christmas!

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

Here is our take on meatloaf and mashed potatoes: small bites style!

Meatballs and Cilantro Cauliflower Smear

1 bag of frozen meatballs (you choose size, variety, etc)
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into chunks
1 t garlic, minced
1/2 c cilantro, stemmed
6 mint leaves
1/2 c sour cream
salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 and cook the meatballs according to your package directions.  If you have a favorite meatball recipe, you can insert it here! Cook the cauliflower by placing medium sized florets in one inch of boiling water for 15 minutes until soft (check with a fork.) Drain, and place into a food processor.  Add sour cream, salt, cilantro, mint and garlic into food processor and process until smooth but allow some small chunks to remain.  Use plenty of salt as cauliflower tends to need it. Scoop cauliflower onto serving dish, add two meatballs.  Use the meatballs to scoop up the cauliflower.  Delish!

Sunday Supper Small Bites Recipes for Entertaining

Small Starters

Pint-sized Protein


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.

20 May 2017

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup #SoupSwappers

This month at #SoupSwappers we are featuring fruit soups.  This is a fun category and if you haven't tried to make one, this is the time to do so.  My lemon and blueberry soup is adapted from a recipe that I found in a cookbook by the St. Louis Herb Society.

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup

This chilled and sweet soup is a perfect appetizer for a summer menu, and can be served as dessert. Add a couple of my favorite madeleine cookies you will have a creative and delicious ending to your meal.

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup

Meyer Lemon and Blueberry Soup

2 c blueberries
3 c water
1 T lemon verbena, bruised
1/3 c sugar (or sugar replacement, such as Truvia)
1 meyer lemon, chunked
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
1 c sour cream
1/2 c dry red wine

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the blueberries, lemons, water, sugar, cinnamon, lemon verbena and nutmeg.
Isn't this a pretty color?
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Seive into a large bowl, discarding the leftovers.
It seems a shame to discard these fragrant leftovers!
Chill for 1 hour, covered.  Whisk in sour cream and wine. Chill until ready to serve.  Ladle into serving bowls, garnish with lemon verbena and a dollop of sour cream.

If you don't have meyer lemons, use regular lemons and more sweetener. If you don't have lemon verbena, try thyme.

Here are some more great soups to try!  Expand your cooking and eating experiences and let me know if you try one!

18 May 2017

Girlfriends and Gardening #WaveRave

I wasn't paid to do this post, although I was given the plants and pot for free.  I also was not asked to write this post, but I love the flowers and the shops involved so much that I wanted to write all about the experience!

For me there is no better way to spend time with your girlfriends than in a gardening center.  Walking among the flowers, daydreaming about English gardens and just oohing and ahhing over all the gorgeousness is a lot of fun.  And then you discover Wave Petunias.

Put this all together with girls who love to blog and eat, you have the makings of a wonderful event. Several St. Louis bloggers came together to learn more about Wave Petunias at Parkview Gardens here in St. Charles.  Hosted by Julie from julieblanner.com, we learned how to pot up some gorgeous patio pots, with eats from Prasino's and expert help from the people at Wave Petunias!

When we first arrived, Julie was there to greet us and get us started with sangria.  We chatted a bit, admired the flowers, and as others arrived, started snacking on this delicious food.

prasino st. charles food

Once we were all there, we learned about the Wave petunia and how it came to be.  I love the story and I want to share it with you!  A Japanese beer company employed several horticulturists who grew plants for the flavors that go into making their product.  When the company was looking at options for wine grapes, it discovered a vigorous spreading petunia growing wild.  The breeder was able to produce a seed that resulted in the first Wave Purple petunia!  In 1995 the company won an award and impressed Anna Ball, the president of Ball Horicultural Company which is headquartered in West Chicago. They saw the potential in the flower, and the rest is history!!

Our wonderful presenter showed us the elements of a good planter pot and then set us to task creating our own pots, with the star being Wave Petunias.  

We potted, planted, talked, discussed and eventually admired each and every planter, as all were unique and gorgeous!  Some put herbs in their pots for future cocktails and drinks!

Here is my pot, blue like the house with yellow and white flowers.  Right now it is sitting happily with my patio furniture, next door to the succulent angel.

You can learn a lot more about the Wave Petunia, including tutorials on planting here.  Go and check them out.  We all need pretty flowers in our lives. It reduces stress and gives us something to care for. Did you see a favorite color of Wave Petunias?

15 May 2017

Hydrangeas~ #PBColorOurWorld Blue

When we picked blue for our color in #ColorOurWorld last year, I thought my hydrangeas would be up and blooming, but due to a wild and wet week, the hydrangeas are still in the bud stage.  I still want to share with you about getting a nice blue in your hydrangeas.

blue hydrangea

First, you have to have the right hydrangea plants.  I have a pair of oakleaf hydrangeas that will not have blue blossoms, no matter what I do to them.  You have to have what are known as mopheads or lacecaps in order to get the blue blooms.  These plants can change their bloom color based on soil chemistry.  Acidic soil gives you blue blossoms, while a more alkaline soil gives you pink.

First you will need to know the acidity level of your soil.  Use a pH kit to find out.  You can purchase them in most garden stores.  This will give you the natural pH of your soil.  Then you will determine what you need to do to get blue blooms.  The pH range for blue blossoms is 5.2-5.5  If your pH is higher, then you will want to LOWER the pH by adding soil acidifer (follow the directions on the package.)  If the soil pH is lower than that, you will want to RAISE the pH by adding powdered garden lime, also available at your garden store.  Follow the directions on the package.

blue hydrangea

You will have to retreat the soil at the minimum, annually.  If you see your blossoms turning another color, retest the soil and treat as suggested above.

For our color theory lesson, blue is one of the primary colors.  Our sky and water appear blue due to the optical effect called Rayleigh scattering.  Blue wavelengths scatter more widely due to the oxygen in our atmosphere and our eyes see more blue.  A similar thing happens for blue eyes, there isn't any actual pigment in the eye, it has something to do with scattered light.

blue hydrangea

The stone lapis was used to make blue pigment for art in the middle ages.  Blue is most associated with intelligence, calmness and concentration.  Did you know blue was the most popular color for men's suits?

One of my favorite blues in in the painting the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vemeer.  Isn't it a gorgeous blue?

How do you use blue in your garden?  Any further tips on hydrangeas?

14 May 2017

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries #SundaySupper

I love to plan a wonderful brunch for Mother's Day about as much as I like going to one!  This year I will be taking my mom out to eat, as we will be in my hometown of Marceline for my 40th high school reunion.

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

I love a good cocktail and last year I made this delicious mimosa that is so refreshing and good.  That cocktail, along with this Frisee Salad, would make a wonderful meal fit for the queen that is your mom!  To complete this meal, these Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries are the perfect ending.

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

These are so easy and so delicious that you will find ways to make them all during the summer.  I already have plans to make them with plain cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake and pineapple.  I'll keep you posted.
Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Lemon Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
I box lemon pudding
1-3 T whole milk
1 qt. strawberries
3 shortbread cookies, crushed

Prepare your strawberries by cutting the stems off and creating a flat base for which the strawberries can stand.  Cut an X through the small tip of the strawberry, not quite cutting through.  With a mixer, blend cream cheese and milk. Gradually, add the pudding 1 T at a time, alternating with the milk. I made mine fairly stiff, as you can see, but you can make it a softer filling by adding more milk. Put filling in a piping bag with a star tip.  Spread the X in the strawberry until the tip can be inserted and squeeze filling into the strawberry until it reaches the top, swirl off.  Continue until the strawberries or the cream runs out.  Crush shortbread cookies and sprinkle crumbs on top.

You can store these in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to serve, then let them sit 10 minutes on the counter before serving.  It is hard to eat just one!

Sunday Supper Mother's Day Food Ideas

Chocolate Treats


Sides and Salads


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.

11 May 2017

Trusting Grace #ourgoodlifebooklist

I was given this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Trusting Grace, a novel by Maggie Brendan, is the third book in a series that I have been able to enjoy from the first book to this one.  I have enjoyed meeting these characters and was glad that the author chose to let each main character have a book of their own for us to really get to know and enjoy their stories.

I was really interested in Grace's story after learning more about her in A Sweet Misfortune.  She seemed like a genuinely nice person and she is! I could feel her pain in not having a family of her own, the loss of her husband and the devotion to her father, who is ill and needs her care. I love that in her need of help for a farm, a newly widowed man and three children (who are the children of his late wife, who failed to tell him about them!) Romance buds, after a time, and the book tells their story.

There is a spot of real drama in the book, and not telling you the ending, the author does seem to let it be a bit too convenient. However, for me, the goal of a romance is to get rid of the bad guy and she does so, and with a cheer from me!

The book has times when the story lags, and the ending is a little long in coming, but I do like the characters well enough to spend some extra time with them.  In the future, I would ask the author to consider a bit more detail in the ending, and a lot more detail in the day to day operations of the farm. I like that stuff, and it is needed to really give us the 1880s feel.

If you like historical fiction as much as I do, you will love this series.  The books can be read as a stand alone books, but you will meet the characters and want to more about them, like I did. Good summer reading!

10 May 2017

Sugar Free Magic Chocolate Shell #UltimateRecipeChallenge

I love chocolate shell but now that I am sugar free, I haven't been enjoying my favorite treat.  With this sugar free magic chocolate shell recipe, I can enjoy it once again.  It's vegan, low carb and made in under five minutes!

Sugar Free Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell

I use a liquid stevia that is flavored with chocolate to add some depth, but you can use regular stevia. I find with stevia that it is best to start with a small amount and add more to taste. If you are using natural sugars like coconut sugar, replace the stevia with 2 tablespoons. In order for the sugar to have time to dissolve, I recommend that you add the sugar to the coconut oil and melt together in the microwave.

Ingredients for sugar free homemade magic chocolate shell
(in the spoon) Salt, Coconut Oil, Chocolate Liquid Stevia, Cocoa, Homemade vanilla
Sugar Free Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell

Sugar Free Homemade Magic Chocolate Shell

1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t salt
3 droppersful of chocolate stevia liquid (start with 1 and add more to taste)

Melt the coconut oil, add in cocoa and stir until all lumps are gone.  Add in vanilla, salt and one dropperful of chocolate liquid stevia.  Taste, add more stevia if needed.

Store at room temperature.  You may need to microwave for a few seconds (less than ten) to make the shell pourable.

I used a nutrition calculator to find that this recipe has 46 calories/tablespoon, with 0 sugar and 5 g of fat.

The Ultimate Recipe Challenge is hosted by The Kim Six Fix every other month. If you would like to join us, send me an email at terri@terristeffes.com and I will pass your name along!  Investigate these other marvelous chocolate recipes!  {You're welcome.} 

09 May 2017

Earthborn Holistic Earthbites #ChewyInfluencer

I was given this product in exchange for my honest opinion.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know that Truman and Wilson, our rescue dogs, pretty much like any treat they are given. I am sure it has a lot to do with being grateful for every bite, even though they have been treated like kings while living here at our house.

When choosing a treat for the boys, I always read about the companies that I choose from. I like to be sure they are getting good quality food sources and when I read about Earthborn, I knew that this was a company I would like to support.

The rewarding mission of Earthborn Holistic combines a love of pets and the planet. Taking a wholesome approach to nutrition with high-quality ingredients that nourish the whole pet, every holistic pet food formula is designed to offer balanced nutrients that support your pet's overall health and physical well-being. Earthborn Holistic offers a variety of canned and wet formulas for dogs and cats that meet their individual tastes and needs. And not only do they care about the needs of dogs, but they care about the planet too. With a goal to create awareness about the environment, they take a variety of measures to help the planet. The packaging is made in North America using clean, natural oil that reduces dependency on foreign oil. Additionally, the packaging is lighter and takes up less space, which means more packages fit in a truck and less fuel is used in the supply chain. Also, their UPC for Trees program promises to plant a tree when consumers send back the UPC code from their purchased products.


So many wonderful things right there that make me just plain happy.  I ordered the treats and almost before I turned around, the treats were here!  Chewy.com does a fantastic job of delivering their products in a quick manner!  The boys love it when the doorbell rings and it is a Chewy.com box!

When I unwrapped the treats, I pulled out a couple for the dogs to smell.  Typically, they grab it and run and then come rushing back for more.  This time, they both smelled it and Truman took it carefully from my hand and went to his spot on the carpet and put it down.  He sniffed it, licked it and ate it.  And then came back for more.  Each time, it was a careful enjoyment, much like I am with a perfectly cooked scallop!  He savored it, that is the best description!

I would say these are a hit!  Both dogs are eager to get one and both like to take their time with it. That actually makes me very happy!

Have you ever had a treat that your dogs would savor?