Join me for some fun!


Monday, June 20, 2016

Mermaids in my Garden

Mermaids are popping up everywhere this week!
Today they are in my garden -
and they love getting to be a part of the

My friend Brianne told me that one of our
local nurseries, Cascade Nursery,
 had Mermaid Fairy Garden supplies,
so I headed on over and got the last three
mermaids.  They said they were getting more,
but I haven't been back.

Of course, when I saw the pirate ship with
the shark swimming out of it, I had to
get that for the boys.  I try to include
them in all of the Fairy Garden fun too!

I love this little leave sail boat.

and the Mermaid Wishes and Starfish Kisses

We had to have this treasure!

This garden was made in one of my cement
flower pots.  It is so easy to make a fairy garden.
Pick any container or spot and use small rocks,
shells, glass bits and moss to create the areas.
Pop in the darling little fairies and accessories.

You can just picture the grandkids eyes when
they saw this!  I am always trying to make magic
for them, and they thought this was pure magic!

This is definitely my new favorite addition to the
fairy garden.

I will be posting this on

Monday, June 6, 2016

Red White and Blue Strawberries

These strawberries decked out in red, white and blue have
been on my bucket list for a long time.  I was making
chocolate dipped strawberries for a dinner
 and wondered if I had
any blue sugar sanding sugar in my hoard - I mean
supply.  (I have a whole locker turned cupboard full of
sprinkles and such!)  Sure enough I had some pretty
blue ones, more than enough for a large container
of strawberries.

These are pretty, easy, but they were a little trickier than
I thought.  You simply melt your desired amount of
white candy coating discs - I used about 2 C., as I had a
lot of strawberries, and dip cool, clean, dry strawberries
into the melted chocolate.  I poured my sugar crystals
into a bowl and dipped the white coated
strawberry into the sprinkles.  The sugar pushed
the white chocolate up and created an ugly "shoulder"
between the blue and the white.

Ok, that wouldn't do! 

So I moved the sugar to a small plate and I rolled
the bottom in the sugar.  Still a little bit of a shoulder.
Finally, I dipped the strawberry, and held it, counting
to about 20, so that the white candy coating had 
started to set up a little, then rolled the bottom
portion.  That produced the pretty line I wanted
between the blue and white - not that anyone 
eating them would care - but I did!  That took a
little more time than usual for dipping strawberries,
but I thought it was worth the little wait on each one.

So hopefully, if you try making these for
the 4th of July, or celebrating going to London,
or Memorial Day, or any other celebration that
suggests red, white and blue, you will have a
little easier time than I did!

When I carried them into the dinner, there were all
kinds of gasps.  They really are striking and gorgeous!

And tasty too!  The blue does leave your tongue with a little
blue tinge, so you could tell who had one.  Definitely
a fun idea worth trying.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Remembering The Sacrifice

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day, and I
also hope that it wasn't just a picnic, or a work day,
or a holiday, but a day you took to remember those 
who have died in the service of our country.

I was recently contacted by Ray Trosper, a
classmate from high school who has started
a project to remember those who have given the
ultimate price.

He sent me copies of the coins that he has designed in
an effort to help remember those who have paid the
ultimate sacrifice.  He spoke last year at the Riverside
National Cemetery in Riverside, CA on this project. Ray
served in the Armed Forces of our country and is very
active in promoting awareness of the sacrifice made by those
who have served.

The following are the 21's of Military Sacrifice:

We are living in the 21st Century.
There is a 21 gun salute fired as a military honor.
There is a 21 second pause at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The year 1776, the birth of our country, when the numbers 
are added up, they equal 21.
Ray's American Legion District in California is District 21.
09/11/01 - The calendar date when added up is 21.

Ray's project 21 Seconds Now is proposing a greater
remembrance of those who have given their lives in
war.  You can watch his speech in the above link.

Ray and his wife actively participate in parades, and 
these coins have been designed to hand out during
the parades.  

I am so proud of my handsome father, who served
for five years in the United States Army during
WWII.  He was stationed for over 4 years in 
Iceland and then was  in the second wave to hit
the beaches of Normandy.  Fortunately he was 
wounded ten days into France and was sent
stateside to recover.  Many in his company were
not so blessed, and they died in France. 
 He met and married my mother
during the war while recuperating and having
his surgery at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. 

We spent part of Memorial Day sharing
my dad's experiences with the kids, and
my husband spent a large part reading the
life story of my dad which I have written.

May we always remember.

I honor those who willingly put their lives at
risk for our safety and freedoms.  

May we all honor and respect those who have fallen,
and those whose lives were preserved by the
divine hand of God.  

Thanks Ray for sharing with us your wonderful

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Two New Delightful Spring Cookbooks

I am totally thrilled - like mouth-watering-thrilled,
to be able to share two new cookbooks with you
this spring.  

As you know, I am a lover of cookbooks - 
well, cookbooks with great pictures!!  I have to
have great pictures to get me inspired to try a recipe,
and both of these new cookbooks from 
Harper Collins Publishing
had me at first glance.  Literally, my mouth was
watering and I was grabbing anything I could
to mark recipes that I wanted to try.  

I love to read cookbooks like a novel, but when I
am marking the recipes I want to make, you know
I am really excited.  

As I literally just got back from London and Paris,
(Hardly have had a chance to unpack yet!)
I decided to try this chocolate packed croissant
bread pudding.

Of course, every day in Paris (and London)
saw us having croissants and chocolate.  I have
to admit that the absolute best croissant we had
was in London, at one of the train stations, and
it was split open and filled with Nutella.  So
this recipe caught my eye, and let me tell you,
it doesn't disappoint.

I felt like I was somewhere in Europe, having 
the perfect breakfast!!

I am sure, this is meant more as a dessert, but
I think bread pudding with croissants, chocolate
and more chocolate is perfect for breakfast.

This recipe comes from The Quick Six Fix
Stuart O'Keefe.

Stuart grew up in Ireland and his new cookbook,
which makes you want to head to the kitchen,
is based on six minutes of prep work,
six minutes of cleanup, and six key ingredients.

I don't know about the six minutes of cleanup,
I will leave that for hubby to take care of,
but the recipe went together really easily.

The only thing I had to go to the store for,
was the package of croissants, (and I checked to make
sure they were made with real butter - not some fake
nasty stuff!)

I raided the pantry for chocolate that I had on hand,
so I combined some Godiva and Amano and
chopped it up for the chocolate.

Chunk heaven!!!

It was worth using good chocolate in this.

Black and White Croissant Bread Pudding Recipe

1 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 medium eggs, plus 3 additional yolks
1 C heavy cream
1 C. whole milk
1/2 C. plus 1 T. light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 one-day-old croissants
(I bought little ones and used 12 of them)
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (70% cacao)
5 oz. white chocolate chips
1 C. creme fraiche or whipped cream (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter the bottom of a
9x5x3 inch baking dish.  (I opted for spraying with Pam.)

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks, cream and milk,
and the brown sugar and vanilla.

Tear up the croissants and mix with the egg mixture
until well combined.

Spoon half of the egg croissant mix into the baking dish,
sprinkle with half of the dark and white chocolate.  Top
with the remaining croissant mix and sprinkle the
remaining dark and white chocolate on top.  Finish
by sprinkling the remaining 1 T. brown sugar
on the top.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes (I did 20)
or until firm to the touch.  

Remove from oven.  Serve with a dollop of cream.

This was amazing!  I still have a few pounds to take
off from two weeks in Europe, and shouldn't have
been indulging, but I couldn't stop eating this.  Wow!

I highly recommend this cookbook.  I want
to make a lot more of the recipes like:
Thirteen Spice Chicken with Creme Fraiche
Pork Curry in a Hurry
Stuart's Irish Yankee Mac and Cheese
Angel Hair with Lemon, Kale and Pecans
Jumbo Shrimp Roll with Spicy Chile Butter

(Picture from cookbook)

Can you see why I am excited about this book?
The recipes not only sound fabulous, there are
gorgeous photos that make you have to try them.

Now on to the cookbook that I need to focus on
while I take those few pounds off!

The second cookbook Harper Collins sent
me to review is,
Lose Weight by Eating,
Audrey Johns.

Audrey has a blog by the same name, and
now has a cookbook showing you how you can
be successful at losing weight by eating delicious

She says in her introduction, "This book is all
about making the naughty nice."

Let me tell you, her pictures and recipes were 
just as mouth-watering, and I was marking just
as many recipes to try in her book.

We ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant while we
were in Paris, so I was craving Italian when I 
came home.  I decided to try these Meatball Sliders,
featured in Lose Weight by Eating for part of an
Italian feast for our Sunday dinner.  

Of course, being a good cook, I had to have one ahead
of time.  Fantastic!!  So of course, hubby had to try
one before the kids came.  Hands down, this was a hit
and they were the first dish to disappear.

I hadn't cooked with ground turkey in a long time.
and it was delicious, and made such a moist, tasty
meatball.  I can't wait to try more of Audrey's 
recipes.  She gives you menu ideas and includes
the calories, fat, fiber, protein and carb information.

I also had never cooked my meatballs in the sauce before
and I loved the ease of that, especially using low fat turkey.
They were so moist and delicious.

These were amazing, and a huge hit with all ages!

Audrey will motivate you to make great food
while you lose weight with recipes like:
Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup,
Rosemary Olive Oil Wheat Crackers,
Pear, Rosemary and Goat Cheese Pizza
Jalapeno Poppers with Cool Dip
Citrus Boost Water
Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.

(Picture from cookbook.)

I have already picked up the ingredients for these
Jalapeno Cheddar Scones, that I want to try.

I am thrilled with both cookbooks, and I
know you will be too.  Both can be found
on Amazon for around $15-16.

A thank you to Harper Collins Publishing
for sending me these beautiful cookbooks
filled with mouth-watering pictures of
recipes that I think you will love.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Baked Brie with Bruleed Pears and Candied Pecans

Have you ever had an experience when someone asks you
to make a recipe that they think you have made before, and
you don't have that recipe in your arsenal?  

Well, that just happened to me.  My friend asked me to make
my Brie with sugared pears, and I asked if she meant my
that I serve with sugared pears, and she said that wasn't
the one.  I think she must have remembered something
that someone else had made, but maybe I could come
up with something to please her for her luncheon.

I decided that I wanted to use my torch to brulee the pears
rather than broil or bake them, or pan fry them.  

I have actually had my little kitchen torch for a long time,
but I couldn't get it to fill.  My son in law was over, and I
knew that he could figure it out, and he did!  Hooray!!!
Wish I would have asked ages ago, and I do mean ages!

With the soft textures of the warm cheese, and the bruleed pears,
I wanted a little crunch, so I added sugared pecans - so, so easy,
and the perfect touch.

Start by removing the top rind, and poking holes
with a fork.

Cover the top of the Brie with brown sugar,

then bake until the Brie is soft and runny. 
 See how that sugar has melted
and run down into the holes?  Wow!!

Then ripe Bartlett pears are dipped in sugar and placed
in a fan shape on top of the baked brie.

The pears are now caramelized and lightly cooked from
the torch.  The finishing touch is topping it with sugared pecans.

To tell the truth, I was tempted to just do my Brie en Croute,
but when she had said that wasn't the one, I was glad I played
around and came up with a new idea.  Everyone wanted to just
eat the appetizer and never move on to the main dish (although
that was fantastic too!)  Four of us ate the whole thing!  I am
making it again for Mother's Day dinner.  It is so simple, yet

Baked Brie with Bruleed Pears and Candied Pecans

6 inch wheel of Brie
1-2 T. brown sugar
2 ripe Bartlett Pears
1/4 C. white sugar

2 C. pecans
1/2 C. white sugar
1/4 C. water

1 baguette, cut, and toasted

Heat oven to 350.

With a sharp knife, remove the top of the Brie.  Poke the
Brie with a fork, and spread the brown sugar on the top of
the cheese.  Place the cheese in an ovenproof dish.  (I put
a piece of parchment paper under it, which you can see
in the picture, but I wouldn't do that again.  It made it
hard to cut the cheese into wedges.)

Bake for 15 minutes.  The cheese should be soft and melted.

While cheese is baking, place the 1/2 C. white sugar in a frying
pan with the 1/4 C. water.  Bring it to a boil and add the pecans.
Stir constantly.  The syrup will boil and get thick and all of
a sudden the moisture will all boil out, and it will turn sugary.
Pull it off the heat, and pour onto a piece of tinfoil.  Break
the clumps apart while they are hot.

When the cheese is melted, remove from the oven and 
top with sliced pears that have been dipped into the 1/4 C.
white sugar.  Use a kitchen torch to brulee the sugar on
the pears. 

Top with the pecans, and serve warm with toasted baguette.

You can also serve with additional sugared pears.

Mix 1 T. powdered egg white with 2 T. cool water.  Whisk
until smooth.  Paint the egg white on a clean, ripe pear.  Sprinkle
white sugar over the surface.  Set aside until the egg white dries.

This one will wow everyone, and it is so super simple.
We all fell in love with it!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Best Tea in London - On A Vintage Bus

Welcome to afternoon tea in London!  This had to be
the best food I have ever had at high tea, and the
most fun I have ever had (and I have been to some fun teas!)

Our tea takes place on a vintage double decker bus,
boarding right off Trafalgar Square.  

Imagine how enchanted we were as this 1960's bus
rolled around the corner to pick us up.  Talk about
making you excited that you had picked this excursion.
It was tea plus a bus tour of the major attractions in London.

And as we walked on the bus, our table was
all set and ready to go.

The inside of the bus has been redone with classic vinyl seats,

and funky, girly tables and decor.

Our places were set with hot pink napkins and silver flatware
with vintage plates.  The lemon meringue tarts were on each
plate as we sat down.

 Each individual had a different vintage
china plate.

A darling book was at each table of two or four
to tell you about all of the sites we were going to see.

The table was filled with the most scrumptious
sandwiches and pastries.  They are all made by
BB Bakery, so every bite was fantastic.

Of course we had traditional cucumber sandwiches, but
made with their homemade bread.

with quiche and smoked salmon and cucumber blinis, 

with a tomato bread and a chicken sandwich that was 
everyone's favorite.

This was not a skimpy tea like some!
We couldn't finish all of the food,
and they had orange juice in cup holders
on the table, they took your order for tea - I chose
peppermint, and they also offered us water.

Each of the delectable sweets were made with real
cream and were fantastic.

 A few days later, we ran across BB Bakery.
It was just as charming.

Look at their gorgeous florals in the windows,
and notice the little creamer filled with
French Macarons at the bottom.

This is another floral, made of pastries with
a couple of tea cups tucked in!

Simply darling.

I would highly recommend this tea experience,
or just stopping at BB Bakery!  We all felt like
it was one of the highlights of our London experience.

I will be posting this with


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