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Showing posts from February, 2018

Missouri Botanical Garden Orchid Mania

Every year the Missouri Botanical Gardens puts together beautiful specimens from the Garden's permanent living orchid collection with over 500 orchids on display.  It's a night to enjoy the beautiful and amazing blooms and step back into the Victorian era when these beautiful and exotic plants were collected and cultivated.  Orchids were a symbol of wealth during this time. Each year the floral display team puts together a completely new show.  You can see photos of the installation here:  Orchid Show Installation.   It is pretty incredible how they transform this space into a rain forest of beautiful blossoms. Display All orchids share the same characteristics:  3 peetals, 3 sepals, and both male and female reproductive organs called a column.  The lower petal has a special name, labellum, and this is where pollinators for the orchid land.  Yes, insects and tiny animals have their own landing pad! Look at these teeny tiny orchids! The first specimens appea
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Crab Stuffed Pastry Cups #SundaySupper

With the Academy Awards coming soon, I am starting to put together my ideas for my annual Hors d' oeuvres table.  We love to snack on finger foods during the show.  This week Sunday Supper is sharing many wonderful ideas for your appetizer enjoyment! These Cab Stuffed Pastry Cups are one of those easy to make apps that I love to have available so I can spend more time on a couple of truly fancy ones.  They are elegant, though, with delicious crab meat, cream cheese and sauce spilling out of filo dough pastries.  So easy to pick up and pop right into your mouth. Crab Stuffed Pastry Cups 1 box of mini filo dough pastry cups (in the frozen section of your grocery store) 4 oz cream cheese, softened 1 t fresh lime juice 1 can of premium crab meat (or fresh from your seafood department) 1/2 c good cocktail sauce Preheat oven to 350.  Drain crabmeat and place on paper towels. Pop the shells into the oven for 3-5 minutes, to heat through and provide a little crispine
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Rhubarb Shrub

In case you didn't know, a shrub is a sweetened, vinegar based syrup from which a cocktail can be made. You will find them in the best of cocktail bars, sandwiched in between the garnishes and bitters, in pretty bottles with lovely colors.  So happy you could join me for this month's Fantastical Food Fight, a monthly food event hosted by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. A shrub is tart or sweet, and the acids can come from vinegars or acids of the fruits.  They are easy to make, using equal parts of sugar and water (a simple syrup) and when the two are melted together, add fruit.  When the mixture is cool, add vinegar.  Typically they are stored in the refrig, but some are considered shelf stable. Most rhubarb shrubs are made by soaking the rhubarb in sugar for several days to get the syrup.  In this recipe, you boil the rhubarb, which is a faster process. Add a tablespoonful to your glass of water for its health benefits, or add to a glass of Prosecco.  It is light an
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A New Way to See the Doctor

I received a free visit in exchange for my honest opinion. One of the things I am most proud of on Our Good Life page, is the opportunity to tell you of something wonderful that I have learned. Today,  that is the wonderful app called Amwell.  It is an app that you can download on your phone, and have access to board certified doctors wherever you may be, desktop or mobile, all within the comfort of your own home.  Because I gave it a try, the Amwell people gave my readers a code to use to save some money off your own visit!  Code: MOM26 Expiration: 12/31/18 Discount: 25% off your visit Isn't that the nicest thing?  I was excited to share this good news with all of you! Let me tell you about my experience. I am working HARD at staying well this year.  Every year since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have had a severe sinus infection, cold, bronchitis, etc.  I am hand washing more than ever, using diffused essential oils and the number one thing I am doing is st
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Happy Birthday, Huxley!

We received the Blue Buffalo Bones for free in exchange for our honest opinion. Our sweet grandpup celebrated his 7th birthday with pupcakes and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Wild Bones Dental Chews .  He loves dental chews, so we are happy to give him a special treat on his birthday!  Since February is also National Pet Dental Month, it is very appropriate! I made Huxley these wonderful pupcakes.  So simple and good for animals and humans alike! 1 egg 1 ripe banana 1/3 c peanut butter 1/3 c oil 1/4 c maple syrup 1 t vanilla Mix these all together. Then add  1 c wheat flour, 1/2 c oats and 1/4 t baking soda.  Mix together well.  Preheat oven to 350.  Put paper liners in a cupcake pan.  Fill each 2/3 full.  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Let cool, "frost" with a spoonful of peanut butter. We gave Truman, Wilson and Huxley a pupcake and a dental bone.  The bones are free from grains and gluten.  They have added vitamins and minerals and are easily digestible.  They clean the
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How to Be Married by Jo Piazza

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion. Happy Valentine's Day!   I want to share with you today tips for a successful marriage according to Jo Piazza and her book How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) First Year of Marriage and some tips from my own personal marriage journey.  I am hoping that what I share with you today helps you on this special day! Our wedding day in 1977 This book combines the author's journey through her first year of marriage to her husband, as they travel through five continents.  She shares what she learns from each place she goes, and tells us practical advice from those she meets.  She is a talented writer, weaving her personal story and research together seamlessly and makes you laugh at their antics (see the chapter where they enter a race where her husband has to carry her the whole time.)  Personally, I loved reading the different viewpoints
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Cupid Crunch #FoodBloggerLove

For where we are in our married life, we are so happy to celebrate Valentine's Day at home, with a fabulous dinner (usually cooked by my husband) and curl up on the sofa and watch a romantic movie.  Valentine's Day doesn't have to be roses, chocolate and expensive.  Well, maybe it does have to have SOME chocolate in it. Enter our movie snack: It is a type of trail mix snack, made a little more decadent with a high quality white chocolate and holiday M & Ms.  It is a perfect combination snack/dessert and goes very well with the Hallmark Channel Valentine movies.  In case you wondered. 1 box Chocolate Chex cereal 1 bag red and pink M & M candies 1 bag of kettle type popcorn 1 bag of white chocolate chips 1 cup dry roasted peanuts Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spread the box of Chocolate Chex over the entire cookie sheet.  Sprinkle the M & Ms over the chocolate chex, then the popcorn, and then the peanuts.  Melt the chocol
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Spinach Ravioli Bake #SundaySupper

It is tradition in our Catholic family to have a meatless meal on Ash Wednesday and on Fridays during Lent.  This meatless casserole is delicious and satisfying.  Who doesn't love cheesy pasta? I love this easy and convenient recipe. It uses frozen ravioli (no need to thaw) and my favorite jarred Alfredo sauce.  In the recipe I say to use jarred pesto but I still have frozen pesto in my freezer that I am using.  If you have a homemade Alfredo sauce that you love, sure, use it! Even though I am suggesting this for a Lenten meal, it is a wonderful week night meal, too.  Meatless Monday would be so happy to have this as the featured recipe. This is definitely a winter comfort food, but the spinach gives us hope for the spring. Spinach Ravioli Bake 1 box frozen cheese ravioli 2 jar alfredo sauce 1 jar pesto 2 c shredded mozerella 1 bag of baby spinach Parmesan cheese for dusting 1/4 c water or milk Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare a 9 by 11 casserole
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Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes

My husband can grill a mean steak. I'm serious, we never eat steak out, because we are always disappointed that the steak isn't seasoned correctly or cooked right.  Since the weather isn't always great for grilling, that is where this Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes comes into play.  It is a perfect week night dinner with little fuss and easy clean up! Here's how he does it for two: 1 16 oz steak of your choice 1 lb of small red potatoes 2 T olive oil 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 T garni bouquet (our favorite is Penzey's) Salt and pepper Set your oven to broil. In our oven, it takes awhile for that to heat up properly.  Prepare your pan with nonstick foil or lightly oil the pan. We like to precook the potatoes a bit and the way we like to do it is to parboil the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes.  You can microwave the potatoes, too, for about 8 minutes.  Cut your potatoes in half before you microwave. We like to add a green vegetable to
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Easy Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes

Have you ever wondered how to make chocolate cupcakes from scratch?  Have you wondered what makes a cupcake moist and fluffy?  I have the answers for you here, in a delightful homemade chocolate cake recipe that I shared with you yesterday.  I'm making those cupcakes for you today so you can see how delicious they really are. This homemade cake mix is so frugal. I calculated it to be around $1.70 using premium ingredients and about $1 using discount grocery store products.  If you are wanting something frugal this is about the equivalent of a cake mix on sale, without all the preservatives. If you use a traditional cake mix a lot, you might want to check out a post I wrote in 2016 about how to make your cake mixes taste homemade. Some of those tips work on this mix as well.  Since we are making a chocolate cake, I am adding the 2 T of good mayo and 1 T coffee to my mix to deepen the flavor and making the cupcake moist. 1 homemade cake mix 1/2 c cooking oil 1 1/3
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Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix #TasteCreations

For most people, giving chocolate for Valentine's Day is a holiday tradition. I love giving chocolate goodies for gifts and this homemade chocolate cake mix is perfect. The receiver can choose when they want the treat, as it is ready to make when they are ready to create! This homemade mix is so simple and of course, using good ingredients for simple mixes is what makes it special. Use good flour and good chocolate and you are good to go!  I made these cake mixes for under $1.00 per mix, which makes it a budget-friendly gift. Homemade Chocolate Cake Mix 2 1/4 c flour 1/2 c cocoa 1 3/4 c sugar 1/2 t baking soda 1/4 t salt Whisk all ingredients together.  Store in a ziplock bag.  Can be stored for up to three months. To make the cake: 1 homemade cake mix 1/2 c cooking oil 1 1/3 c water or milk or almond milk 1 T good vanilla 3  eggs Prepare pans (2 round or 1 9 by 13) by greasing the sides and bottom.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mi
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Shrimp Biryani #SundaySupper

My husband cooked this elegant but easy Shrimp Biryani in the instant pot for us one night this week and we decided it was a keeper. If you love curry, or Indian style food, this dish will definitely please.  Made with fragrant basmati rice and and warm spices this dish will warm up your cold winter evening. One of the things I like most about this dish is that you can cook the shrimp and rice at the same time in the instant pot. This dish typically required a multi step process that the instant pot simplifies by cooking in just one pot. Instant Pot Shrimp Biryani 1 c basmati rice 2 T ghee or coconut oil 1 T raw cashews, halved 2 red onions, sliced 4 cardamom pods 3 whole cloves 1 1 inch pice of cinnamon stick 1/2 t cumin seeds 2 t minced garlic 2 t minced ginger 1 serrano pepper 20 curry leaves 1 diced tomatoe 1 t garam masala 1 t paprika 1 t salt 1/2 t black pepper 1/2 t tumeric 1 c water 1 pound frozen shrimp, with no shells
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