June 30, 2013

Towels, Redefined

On a super hot day, what is better than sitting back with your feet in the plastic kid pool, a cold beverage and a stack of magazines by your side, and the world's best patio towel?!
Not much, in my opinion.

These giant softies were given to me as a gift and I LOVE them! 
These are not your ordinary towels. 
In fact, upon arrival I entertained using them as blankets.


Thank you so much Jo and Laurance;
These will make our patio comfortable and chic for years to come!

Here is the link:

June 28, 2013

Happy Hot Summer Friday!

Phew it is a hot one!
Take advantage of this scorching weather and make a big batch of sun-tea, grandmother style.
My favorite tea to use is 'Mighty Leaf's Green Tea Tropical.' 
It has a beautiful, light, herbal taste. 
No sweeteners needed!
I made this batch for a party that I had recently, but I have another batch brewing on my patio as I write this post.
This dispenser is great because it is big enough that we can enjoy the tea all week long.
Simply fill your vessel with water, and hang tea bags from the rim and cover. Allow the tea to steep from breakfast to happy hour.
Discard the tea bags.
Pour into an ice-filled mason jar. 
Add a few sprigs of your favorite herbs and/or lemon wedges.
Add a splash of lemonade if you wish.
Add a splash of grain if you wish.
Sit back in that rocker, crank up that country music and toast to summer!

Happy Friday Everyone!

(The vessel in this image is from Target; Mighty Tea can be found at most grocery stores, but could also be purchased on-line; Country music can be found on the radio; Joy can be found in your heart)

June 27, 2013

Alphabet Banner

Do you remember when you learned the alphabet!?
 Was it in song?
Was it visual?
Ahhh...who cares...If you are reading this, it is safe to say that you probably learned it at some point along the way...
Regardless, here is a fun way to display the alphabet for your little one; banner style!
This was a great decoration for a baby shower, but also can be used for either learning cards, or nursery room/play room decorations.

Now, can you say it backwards?!

Here are a few detail shots of my favorite panels:

"Z, Y, X, W, V, U, T, S, R, Q, P, O, N, M, L, K, J, I, H, G, F, E, D, C, B, A"
Now, five times fast...

Just kidding.
Have a great day everyone!

June 26, 2013

Team Paula

In honoring Paula, I had to post a meatloaf recipe.
I try not to use this blog as a soap box, but let the witch hunt end!
Leave the woman alone.



1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork and veal mix
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups of Parmesan/Romano cheese
2 cups of bread crumbs
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise

6-8 strips of bacon

Preheat oven to 350
Mix together all of the ingredients except the bacon and put into a large baking dish
Form into the shape of a loaf
Top loaf with bacon and bake at 350 until cooked through about 45 minutes.

I personally prefer Paula's recipe (included below), but I know she would appreciate this recipe as a nice alternative. 
We are on your side Paula!

Paula's Recipe:

1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Pre-heat at 375 
Mix all ingredients and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf.
Mix all topping ingredients and pour over the top
Bake for one hour

Keep on Cookin' Girl!

June 24, 2013

Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry season is here, and what better way to indulge than with a simple, delicious bowl of strawberry shortcake.

My husband grew up having this for dinner, and I thought that was ridiculous.
In my world Strawberry Shortcake was a dessert. 
A mid-day snack.
A treat.

Well, I am converted.

 He made this for dinner, and true to his family's tradition, he used milk instead of whipped cream or ice cream. 
Again, really!? 
Homemade whipped cream is what it is all about. And if not whipped cream, vanilla ice cream is what it is all about.

Well, again, I think I am converted.

The way the milk soaks into the bisquit is texturally addictive, and after my first trial, I switched to 1% to lessen the fat, and the flavor was not compromised at all. 
It was still yummy.

Also, I added a few sprigs of basil (to which my husband balked), and that too added a depth of great flavor, but it is not necessary.

And with great strawberries abundant, you don't even have to mascerate them = less sugar!
Get them while they are fresh!


1 flat of strawberries, halved and cleaned 
milk (whole, 2%, 1% or skim, depending on your diet)
Bisquick* (follow directions and ingredients on box)
Sugar (amount to personal preference; My son and I didn't use any because the berries were so sweet and ripe on their own, my husband sprinkled generously because that is how he rolls)
Optional: Basil

1. Prepare bisquits per the Bisquick directions. Or better yet, use a homemade recipe!! Don't buy the store made angel foodcake or shortcake; you want them out of the oven, warm. This recipe doesn't require any other cooking, so do it right. And when you get down to it, making Bisquick shouldn't put a kink in your side.
2. Slice and clean strawberries. If the strawberries are ripe, leave them be; if they need a little sweetness, add sugar, toss to coat, and allow them to mascerate for about a 1/2 hour or while the bisquits cook.
3. To serve, put the warm bisquit in a bowl, top with strawberries and drizzle with milk. Taste and adjust sugar to diet and liking. Save some for the rest of your family.

Any and all homemade bisquit recipes are welcome;
Please share if you have one that you love and recommend!

June 17, 2013

I Love A Good Story

eeBoo does it again!
They have made another greatly illustrated, fun, mind-inspired game for both children and adults alike. 
This time, you create your own stories by looking at the illustrations and/or lining up a number of them to create a story line. 
These are great because there is no wrong answer and it encourages you to use your imagination.
Exercise those brains!
And did I mention the illustrations are hysterical?
Good. Honest. Fun.

I found these at Barnes and Nobles, but if you Google 'eeBoo' you will be able to find them at a variety of different sites. 
Check out their alphabet cards, and growth charts while you are at it, because they are great as well.
Have fun and happy story telling!

June 15, 2013


I admit it. 
I love Teresa Giudice's cookbooks.
I know, I know, I know she is a crazed maniac, but her recipes are surprisingly delicious. 
And easy.
A few years back I purchased her first cookbook for my mother as a joke because we both loved the show; and it turned out great.
Then recently, my mother got me her new grilling cookbook as a joke because we loved her first cookbook; and it also turned out great.

Who knew!!?

I have a new respect for this woman. 
Bravo depicts her as trash, but here she is raising four pre-teen girls, supporting her husband, and cooking good meals all the while...all with her hair perfectly straightened!
Good for her. 
Which one of us hasn't wanted to flip a table once or twice!?

She doesn't talk as much trash in the newest cookbook, or throw any of her "good" friends under the bus, but she is still pretty transparent in this version, so it makes for fun reading atop the good recipes. 

This is a take off of Teresa's 'Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Artichokes and Fontina.'
Here, I baked the chicken, instead of grilling it, and I used swiss cheese as opposed to fontina. 
Just personal preferences.
I served it with sauteed spinach with farm fresh butter, and it was fabulicious!

Thank you Teresa for constant entertainment and these yummy recipes.

Recipe (From "Fabulicious! On the Grill):
Makes 6 Servings

Basil-Rosemary Marinade:
1 (6 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts (here I used a 12 oz jar because I LOVE artichokes. The more the better in my book!)
1/4 cup of dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/4 cup evoo
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Breasts:
6 Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese (here I substituted swiss, because I don't care for Fontina, and it worked very well)

1. To make the marinade: Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the marinade from the jar. Set the artichoke hearts aside. Whisk the wine, oil, reserved artichoke marinade, basil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl.
2. To make the chicken: Working with one chicken breast half at a time, use a thin sharp knife to cut horizontally through the center of the chicken, cutting almost, but not quite, to the other side. Transfer chicken to a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the marinade and close the bag. Refrigerate, occassionally turning the bag, for 1 to 2 hours
3. Coarsely chop the reserved artichoke hearts. Transfer to a bowl and combine with the fontina cheese. Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Open up a chicken breast half like a book. Place about 1/6 of the artichoke mixture on one side of the chicken, and close to cover with the other half. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and the artichoke mixture. Let stand at room temperature while prepping the grill. 
4. Preheat the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (400)
*I baked, instead of grilled the chicken, and it worked very well!!!

Don't worry. 
I won't tell anyone you like it too. 
I guess there is a reason she is a 
New York Times Best Seller; 
Somebody besides me must be buying them!
Is it you!?

Here are the links to her grilling cookbook as well as her original cookbook:

June 14, 2013

Happy Father's Day Friday!

Show all of the fathers in your life that you love them!

 Life is too short

June 13, 2013

Hollow Radishes

I am relatively new to this gardening thing. 
So, in Pennsylvania this makes me a total rookie, and in most company around here I am laughed at when it comes to my novice knowledge and skills of raising vegetables, fruit and the such. 
For those of you who know me, know that I don't take very well to being made fun of, and I have difficulty admitting when I am wrong... 

Well, I should have taken my husband's advice and picked the damn radishes two weeks ago...

However, in my own defense, these radishes look totally beautiful, don't they!?
 But in their defense, I should have picked them when they said to...because they are all hollow.
Translation: The radishes are compost.

I am admitting I am wrong. 
And not very good at this stuff.
Off to Wegman's

Someday I'll be good at this gardening thing, right!?

June 11, 2013

Half Marathon Mama

Lake Placid is one of the prettiest places on earth, and the weather this year was perfect for running; overcast, slightly drizzly at first, breezy, and then sunny and beautiful for post-race cocktails on the patio.
If you are ever entertaining doing a half or full marathon, I highly suggest this locale.
Just be ready for that monster hill at the finish. 

So I didn't move mountains with my time...in fact I managed to add 7 minutes to my overall time from the last two years, but I felt great, took in the sights, and I didn't walk once. 
That was my goal. 
Also, a special shoutout to my friend Erica who made miles 9-12 a breeze, my husband for giving me a superhero cape at mile 12, and all of my fasty friends who cheered me up that beast of a hill at the end. 
I love you guys and your company made those difficult miles fly by!

Here is the link, as well as a few photos from our weekend.

What We Saw:
The View From The Patio Looking Right

The View From Our Patio Looking Left
Perfect Morning For A Long Run!
What a Happy Runner
Yes, It Is June and There Is Still Snow on the Peaks! 

What We Ate: 

Fried Eggplant Love

Post Race Feast
Food Envy.
I Should Have Ordered This!

Thank you Lake Placid for another great year! 
See you in 2014 for the 10th Annual Marathon and Half!
Are YOU in!!?

June 6, 2013

HaPpY FrIDaY!!!

Happy Reunion Weekend Fellow Hobart and William-Smithers!!!! 
I really wish I could be belly up to the bar at Sideshow, eating a burrito at Ports, and streaking the quad with all of you this weekend.  
Make sure you throw back a few bionic bees and play 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' or 'Beast of Burden' for me! 

It seems like yesterday!


June 5, 2013

Cool as Ice

I'm cheap.
Well, at least too cheap to buy ice trays. 

I normally make a big bowl of punch, circa 1950's, for a large gathering, which means I make a big ice ring using a bundt pan. This time, however, I used my larger pitchers and punch dispensers for the beverages, so I had to come up with something a little more creative. 

So, instead of using plain ice, or buying ice trays, I used my mini-muffin pans to make flavored ice.
It worked great, and just in time for summery drinks!

Cheers to THAT!

Here are two that I made for this past occasion:

Lemonade Ice with Slices of Lemon:

(Bad Picture, But You Get The Idea)

Strawberry Basil Ice:

This is pretty much a no-brainer, but there are two simple tricks to doing this: 
One, try to use the coordinating juice in the ice. This way, when the ice melts it doesn't water down your drinks. 
The second, is let the ice melt a little before trying to get it out of the tray, otherwise it is impossible. Just allow it to melt a little bit, then pop them out with a fork.


The possibilities are endless, but here are a few fun suggestions:

- Frozen Clamato Juice with Hot Sauce and Olives for Bloody Mary's

- Frozen Pineapple/Orange/Banana Juice for Your Summery Foo-Foo Drinks

- Frozen Lime Juice with Mint and Sugar Cubes for a Mojito

- Frozen Raspberries, Pom Seeds or Other Fruits for Water = You Will Never Need to Buy Flavored Water Again!

Have fun with this and happy summer!

June 3, 2013

Baby Baby!

This past weekend I had the great opportunity to throw a baby shower for one of my dearest friends.
I had such a wonderful time decorating, catering and hosting this party, and I can't wait to see all of these smart, fun, beautiful ladies again soon. 
Here is a photo gallery of the special event!

Horrible Image, But You Get the Point :)

Party Favours
Chocolate Mint!

Every Party Needs a Good Game
Baby Scattagories!

Chocolate Prizes
The Creepy Baby Chalice
The Candy Table
The Baby Food Tasting Station

The Notorious Chocolate Platter

Baby Carrot Cakes...Can You See Where My Son Helped Himself!?
The More Cupcakes, The Better
Tropical Green Tea, Sun-Brewed

Pretty Fruity
Cheesy Poblano Scramble
Strawberry Basil Water = Yum
Grab and Go Fruit Seltzer
The Food Table Before the Food
Coffee, Teas, Chai and Such
Mix Matched Glasses; An Easy Way to Keep Track of Your Glass!

Glass Markers; Just in Case
Party Animal
Emergency Kits for Mama
Beckified's Awesome Diaper Cake!

The Alphabet Banner

Congratulations Jo and Laurance! 
We are over the moon happy for you and can't wait to meet your little person!
Also, thank you everyone for a great time and for all of your help! 
Serious FUN!