Showing posts from January, 2018

Exploring St. Louis Neighborhoods~Lafayette Square

From its beginnings as a public parade ground for the Union Army in the 1830s, Lafayette Square is credited for being St. Louis' first suburb.  The city's wealthiest citizens would come to the park to hear music, watch the swans and feel the spray from the fountains.  In fact, due to its popularity,  the neighborhood grew so busy that the influential of St. Louis retreated to St. Louis' newest and upcoming area,  Central West End. In the early 1900s, the Square fell into disrepair and these homes were about to be leveled. In the 1970s a concerted effort was made to start drawing people to the area to refurbish Lafayette Square.  The annual homes tour was started (still goes on today) to try and bring awareness to this once beautiful area. The strategy worked, and today Lafayette Square is home to the Painted Ladies, Victorian mansions that outline Lafayette Square Park.  In 2012,  The National Paint Quality Institute identified Lafayette Square as one of the Prettie
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Bacon Pineapple Cheese Spread #SundaySupper

It's that fun time of the year when I get to try some new super bowl snacks! I am excited about this one, as it has a little nostalgia surrounding it. I remember eating this Kraft Pineapple Spread with my grandmother, stuffed in celery or just straight on crackers. One day I was walking through my grocery store and I spied a jar on the shelves. I grabbed it right away and knew I would have the perfect chance to use it.  Do you remember that Kraft cheese product that came in the little glass jelly jars? This is super simple, and with the addition of bacon, you have a wonderful salty/sweet combination that is sooooo goooood.  Serve this with celery sticks and crackers and you will have a wonderfully nostalgic taste on your table. Bacon Pineapple Cheese Spread 6 slices of bacon, fried crisp, and chopped 1 8 oz block of cream cheese, softened 1 jar Kraft Pineapple Spread 1 cup of shredded cheddar 2 T red onion, chopped 1 T steak sauce Mix all ingredients together
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A Sweetheart of a Porch

Decorate your front porch for Valentine's Day to add some cheer to the gray of winter!  Here is how I used home decor from my favorite online store! When my husband and I were first talking about building a house in 2014, we each listed what were our top five non-negotiables and the first one on each of our lists was a big wrap around front porch. Bob likes to sit on the porch, smoke a cigar and talk to neighbors passing by for a walk.  I like to decorate, watch morning sunrises and evening sunsets and enjoy a cocktail looking at the lake. I like to decorate the porch for each season or holiday, but I hadn't really done much for Valentine's Day.  I went to my go-to shopping spot to see if they might have a few Valentine Day decor items that I could get to start out my front porch decorating. I was so pleased to see that they had the perfect items:  lumbar pillows in the cutest Valentine style and a bright and sparkly heart wreath for my wall. This year I
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Happiness at Work

The thing about good teachers is that they love their work.  All of the teachers I have the opportunity to work with excel at their work by working long hours, weekends and through their personal plan periods. They simply love what they do. A group of teachers I work with at the Regional Professional Development Center, the Teacher's Academy, met at the Lake of the Ozarks to hear guest speaker John Antonetti.  John is a pleasure to listen to, he puts laughter smack in the middle of mind bloggling work, making us think deeply and question our thinking and those of the folks around us in a way that brings new knowledge and better ways of thinking.  Even though I knew we were in for a treat, I wanted to make the day even more special but not over-the-top embarrassing.  That's where Oriental Trading came in to help! Before the teachers arrived, I took a bunch of leis (decorated in Mardi Gras colors) and placed one at each of their seats.  In  the middle I scattered a bu
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Tex Mex Caulirice Bowl #SundaySupper

My family has a big love of rice bowls, but also want to watch their carbohydrate intake.  We discovered frozen cauliflower rice, known as caulirice, at our local Trader Joe's.  The "rice" is easy to cook from frozen state, reduces the carbs in our dish and we love the taste! This Tex Mex version is so easy to make, and if you set it up like a bar, each person can add to it what they want, which is what we do at our house.  Our toppings include seasoned chicken breast, avocado, shredded cheese, restaurant style salsa, chopped onion, cilantro, beans, corn, and sour cream. Tex Mex Caulirice Bowls 1 bag of frozen Trader Joe's Cauliflower Rice 3 chicken breasts 1 T taco or southwestern seasoning 1 T butter 1 avocado, sliced 1 c shredded cheese 1 c restaurant style salsa 1/2 c chopped onion 1/4 c cilantro 1 c black beans 1 c corn 1 c sour cream Preheat oven to 450. Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts.  Melt the butter in the
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Cabo San Lucas: A Travel Guide

During our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas (2017),  we had the opportunity to experience some wonderful opportunities and we want to share with you our favorites! Resort Sirena del Mar   Located on a cliff outside of Cabo, this resort has stunning views of the Sea of Cortez and Del Arco, the rock formation that Cabo is famous for.  We were amazed by stellar sunrises and the sound of the surf crashing against the rock formations in the ocean.  Our food was good, we highly recommend their Mexican selections. We stayed in the one bedroom unit. We had a living area, a full kitchen and a bedroom that faced the Sea of Cortez. Our room was clean.  Maid service is weekly.  Here are some not-to-miss events associated with the resort: Romantic dinner-the staff at Sirena del Mar will give you an opportunity to do a private meal facing del Arco and the Sea of Cortez. They completely remove all the chairs and lounges from a small patio and fill the space with flowers, special ligh
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Huxley Comes to St. Louis! #chewyinfluencer

I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. We have some news! Our daughter, her husband and their dog, Huxley, have moved into Lakeview Resort for the next 12-18 months!  We are so excited to be able to see Huxley on a more regular basis. He and his mom and dad were living in Chicago. While I know he loved the city, he has adapted quite nicely to having his own backyard.  The best part is that Truman and Wilson really enjoy his company. Wilson loves having a bigger dog to play with that can handle his rough housing. Truman is just too little for that. Kathleen Virginia Photography When it was time to choose some treats this month, I had to consider that we now have to medium sized dogs and one small dog to consider. This three pound bag of Blue Dog Bakery Treats seemed to be a good idea.  I placed my order and wow, it came super fast!  I love's delivery.  See where the photo says DEAL in the upper left hand corner?  This three pound ba
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Feast of Sorrow: Cook the Books Club

For newer readers, I am a participant in a foodie book club.  What's that? you might ask?  It is a book club that finds books with food inspiration in them that we read, then we cook something that the book inspired us to do.  My 2017 posts are here: The Patriarch by Martin Walker. I made jalapeno infused vodka! Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I made dairy free ice cream. Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Loving .  I made Russian Potato Salad. Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent. I made Paper Bag Roasted Chicken We get two months to read and cook, then we post our review and our recipe before the end of the two month timeline. It's crazy fun and so inspiring to read other reviews of the same book and then to see how they were inspired. December/January book was Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King. She has many credentials for her writing, including a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Boston but loves Italy and the food scene there. Our host fo
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Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats

It's an Oatmeal Food Fight!  Can you see that image in your head?  Pretty messy, huh?  That's the fun of Sarah from Fantastical Food Fight and she has us conjuring up recipes using oatmeal. I am a big fan of steel cut oatmeal, the kind with a little "chew" to it.  Do you know which one I mean? It takes a really long time to cook, and because of that, I don't get to make it often. So it became clear to me that I needed to see if I could make steel cut oats in my Instant Pot.  I did a little research on the web to help me out. What I found was that, yes! Steel cut oatmeal is being cooked all over the world in the instant pot. I decided to give it a try and help you learn from my mistakes.  Fair warning: although the cook time is 4 minutes, with warm up and steam release, it could be 30 minutes all said and done.  However, no standing by the stove, stirring, and waiting.  *Winner!* Steel Cut Oats in the Instant Pot 2 c steel cut oats 4 c water 2 T
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One Word: Kind

You might remember that I announced my One Word: Kind which lead to the formation of a Facebook group for all of us who want to really make a difference with our word this year.  Recently I was contacted by Stacey at Poofing the Pillows to participate in a project called PERK which is Positive*Encouraging*Real*Kindness event. For each word of PERK, there has been a post about that part.  I encourage you to go and see the whole series! Today's word is KINDNESS and since I was already working on KIND, I was so happy to be able to share what I have been working on since choosing my word. The Facebook group has 11 members and we are sharing thoughts and ideas about our words.  It is very low key but profound in the interaction between members.  If you are working on a word this year, and want to have a supportive group, come join us! I have ordered a bracelet with the word KIND on it. I wore a bracelet last year with my word on it and it was a constant reminder of honoring
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