Sunday, July 31, 2011


Found some Pimm’s!  The last thing I wanted to do was drive up to Virginia looking for it  so I did some google-ing and made some more phone calls and I finally found it much closer to home.  Shame on the guy in the Battleground store for telling me “nobody in Greensboro carries it.”    For anybody living in Greensboro, you can find Pimm’s No. 1 at the ABC Store on Market Street in the Marshalls and Food Lion shopping center. 

Pimm's Cup 004Pimm's Cup 009

So, we brought home the Pimm’s and made up a pitcher from a recipe found online.  It really is like a sangria.  A British Sangria.  The recipe called for a sliced up cucumber which I thought was unusual and I thought I would love.  But really, not so much.  Husband hated it!  Next batch I made will be sans cukes!

The deer have finally found my garden and seem to come while we are sleeping and select something different each night to feast on.  Last night they ate almost all of my Swiss chard. And trampled two tomato plants.   :(

It’s been so hot and humid that I just can’t make myself go out and tend the garden.  It’s starting to look like a deer-chewed jungle.  And the evil Bermuda grass is invading big time.

I went to a party last week and the hostess served individual cups of dip with crudites/sliced veggies.  It looked so cute and that way everybody was allowed to double dip!


I’ve taken to adding 2 shakes of cinnamon to the filter basket when making my coffee.  It adds just enough cinnamon for me to know it’s there and I hear cinnamon is good for you.  Even better.

Progress on my braces is good.  The Ortho said I was heading into the “final detailing stage” and put stainless steel wires on both the top and bottom.  My teeth are very tender right now.  But, I can see my new smile emerging! 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mike’s Hot Honey

Hot Honey and Apron Kit 015

I saw this over at Hip Hostess last week and knew this could be something very good.  I went to Mike’s website and ordered a bottle.   It cost $8.00.   It came yesterday.  It’s better than I expected.   It really is hot.  And sweet at the same time.   He has a list of food pairings on his website.  The first thing I am going to drizzle it on is a slice of pear with a piece of blue cheese.  I have neither in the house.  Fresh Market here I come. :)


Friday, July 29, 2011


Hot Honey and Apron Kit 012

How cute is this?  And I am going to sew one thanks to Jodi over at Pleasant Home.  She has an Etsy Shop and she puts together the cutest fabric patterns and color combos.  You can buy just the pattern or the kit that includes the pattern and all the fabric  you need on her Etsy site.  Here is the set I picked out. It came in the mail today.

I haven’t sewn anything really in years.  Can’t wait to get started. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Anniversary Dinner

Here is the round about way we picked a restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary this year.  You see, for quite some time, I have been in search of the ingredients to make an adult beverage called a Pimm’s Cup.  It’s a British drink made with Pimm’s No. 1 and it looks like this:


It cannot be be found anywhere in the Greensboro, NC area. We’ve searched.   The ABC Store here tells us the only way we could get it is to order it.  But of course they will only order it for you by the case.  I am not willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a case of a liquor that I have never tasted before!  We looked online.  I could order a bottle online but between the cost of the Pimm’s and the shipping it would be about $60.00.  Again, not willing to pay that much for something I just want to taste to SEE IF  I like it. 

My husband has a friend he works with who lives in the UK.  He said he would send us a bottle.  We told him to wait and give us some more time to see if we could find it cheaper and closer to home.  So, my husband started google-ing Pimm’s No. 1 and lo and behold it turned up on the menu of a restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC where our daughter happens to live and go to school.  A restaurant there called 411 West serves a Pimm’s Martini!  So, that is where we headed for our Anniversary dinner. 


We took the son (and let him drive….that was a hair raising experience for me…my husband handles that better than I do) and we picked up the daughter when we got there and we dined at 411 West on Franklin Street in the quaint section of Chapel Hill.

     Anniversary 004Anniversary 003

And here is my Pimm’s Martini!  It was very tasty and refreshing just like I had heard.  So now that I finally got to taste it and like it…the hunt continues.  (We heard we can get it in Virginia, so in the next couple of weeks we are going to take a road trip up to Virginia to see if we can buy a bottle there.)

Anniversary 008

We had a lovely dinner.  411 West was very nice and the food was delicious.  Here we are toasting with our kids to our 26th Anniversary.    Cheers!

To start our dinner off, my daughter and I shared a cup of Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho.  So good!  Sorry no photo.  And then we all nibbled on the Caprese Salad.  It was made with local heirloom tomatoes and was delicious.

Anniversary 011

Then the entrees came.  I enjoyed Chicken Marsala with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.  My husband and son each enjoyed a Wood Grilled Filet Mignon.

Anniversary 017   Anniversary 013

And our daughter had a Crab Pasta dish.  She said it was fabulous.  (Tasted better than it looks I guess. ) :)

Anniversary 015  Anniversary 019 

And then the Filet on my husband’s plate started looking like the state of Michigan so of course we had to take a picture of that!  Kind of like when the image of Jesus appears on a potato chip.  People want proof!

Anniversary 021

And we were all so stuffed by the time dessert came around that we all shared this delicious piece of Carrot Cheese Cake.   The carrot cake was on the bottom, cheese cake on top with candied almonds and a caramel sauce.  Two bites of bliss were more than enough. 

My husband and kids all got a kick out of the 52 Reasons Why I Love You deck of cards I made for my husband and he surprised me with a gorgeous anniversary band ring!  It’s just beautiful.  It was a wonderful evening.  I got to finally taste the elusive Pimm’s No. 1, we saw the state of Michigan in a piece of meat, we had a delicious dinner out with our kids, and I came out of the restaurant wearing diamonds!  Does it get any better than that??!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

52 Reasons

52 Reasons 009

It’s our Anniversary today and this is what I made to give to my husband tonight at dinner.  Another idea that I picked up on Pinterest which pointed me to Cutout and Keep where it looks like the idea came from.    It’s kind of goofy and kind of fun.  I think he’ll get a kick out of it and I had fun making it.

52 Reasons 004 52 Reasons 005

It’s filled with happy memories and all the quirky things he does that make me love him so much.  There is a lot of quirk.  :)

You can make one too.  Just sit down and think up all different ways your special someone makes you smile.  This isn’t just limited to anniversaries but would be fun to do for a friend or for your kids.  For any reason really.

You will need:

1 deck of playing cards

Printout from your computer with all the reasons, play with the font and the font size.  Leave space between each reason to make cutting them out easier.  I did a twisty/curvy cut with my scissors by moving the paper as I cut. 

1 hole punch, scissors, Tacky Glue, small paint brush

10'” piece of ribbon or a large key ring

1.  After thinking up at least 52 reasons, print them out on your computer.  You might have to play with the font size and experiment by cutting them out to make sure they are going to fit on your playing card. 

2.  Using a paper punch, you want to punch a hole in the card in the top left corner.  This is where you will thread all the cards on the ribbon when you are finished.

3.  I used a small dish with some Tacky Glue thinned out with a little bit of water and I used a very small bristle paint brush to brush the back side of my cutouts with glue and I carefully attached them to the playing card.  Let all the cards dry. 

4.  After the cards are all dry. Lay them out and decide what order you want them to be.  Take your ribbon piece and tie 5 or 6 knots on top of each other on one end to make it big enough that the cards won’t slip off.  Then start threading your cards onto the ribbon.  Your first card should be your title card.  After all the cards are threaded on, tie another set of 5 or 6 knots to secure all the cards.   C’est tout!   That’s it!

52 Reasons 006

This took me about 3 hours to complete after I had my list of  52 reasons.  Start jotting down those reasons today and give yourself a head start.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies

Chocolate Chip S'more Cookies 014 

Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies!  And they taste as good as they look!  I first saw these on Pinterest which took me to a blog called The Girl Who Ate Everything.  I found some fun recipes there including this one.  I noticed that the recipe looked very close to a chocolate chip cookie recipe so I decided to use my own favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe instead.   I added some cinnamon and some mini marshmallows and voila!

Here is how I made mine.

Chocolate Chip S’more Cookies

1 box graham crackers

6 Hershey Chocolate candy bars ( I bought a 6 pack in the candy section)

1 bag mini marshmallows

1 Cup sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 cups mini marshmallows

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream the butter and the sugars together.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well till light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt,  and baking soda and cinnamon.   Slowly add to the creamed butter mixture.  Mix well.  Add the chocolate chips and the mini marshmallows and mix until incorporated but be careful not to over mix.

Line your baking pans with parchment paper.  (I used foil and sprayed it  with Pam which worked fine but I did have some cookies stick a bit to the sides of the foil around the edges of the pan.  I think parchment paper might be the better choice.) 

Take your graham crackers and break them into squares and line your cookie sheets with them.  Using a small cookie scoop (approx. 1 –2 Tablespoons) place a scoop of cookie dough on each graham cracker square.  After all of  the graham squares have cookie dough on them, use your fingers to slightly “smush”  the dough down to fill out the graham square. (See photo below.)  (I ended up with two large baking sheets.)

Chocolate Chip S'more Cookies 011

Place them in the oven for 5 minutes. 

While the S’more Cookies are baking during this first 5 minutes, take the time to unwrap at the Hershey Chocolate Bars and break into individual pieces.  (Each cookie sheet used about 3 candy bars broken into pieces.)

When the first 5 minutes is up, take the baking sheet out of the oven and gently press into each cookie square one of the Hershey chocolate pieces.  Return to the oven and continue baking for another 5 to 7 minutes.  Take them out of the oven when the edges start to brown.  Let cool for about 10 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to continue cooling. 

Chocolate Chip S'more Cookies 016

These  really do taste as good as they look.    And I just love how you can still see the word “Hershey’s” on the chocolate pieces and that you can see melted bits of marshmallows.  They taste wonderful warm or cold.  And when you bite into them they are soft and chewy and you can taste the cinnamon and the graham cracker along with all the other wonderful chocolate chip cookie gooey-ness.  These are too good!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sarah’s Summer House

image image

Did you watch any of the program Sarah’s Summer House on HGTV??  Sarah Richardson transformed her husband’s “bachelor shack” into what I would call the perfect cottage.   Try and catch the re-runs if you missed it.  The transformation is amazing.


Country Living Magazine  also did a layout of this gorgeous property in this month”s issue.  My copy of the magazine is already getting dog eared from me pouring over the pages. 

How gorgeous is this family room?  So many windows overlooking that beautiful lake

image      image 

It’s even more amazing when you see that this cottage is situated on it’s own mini island somewhere in Canada!  It is totally off the grid.  Their energy needs come from wind, solar, and propane.  And everything including building supplies and the workers all had to get there by boat.  Unbelievable.  

image  image

   Notice the wide stripes painted floor in the master bedroom.  And it’s a smart idea to have that quilt hanging from that towel bar in one of the guest rooms.  It’s all so cheerful and cottage-y. :)


After the kitchen, I would have to say this is my favorite room.  It’s one of the guest rooms and actually it is separate structure that also has incredible views of the lake.   Wouldn’t you love to wake up here in the morning?!  This would make the perfect getaway.  I just love it!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dill Pickle Spears

Pickles Country Living Recipe 019

After dropping my husband off at the airport for a business trip to Europe…this time he is headed to Germany and The Netherlands (someday I’ll get to tag along), and with the son at the beach in Wilmington, NC, and the daughter spending the summer in Chapel Hill, NC, I suddenly found myself with a wide open weekend.  Yep, it’s just me and the dog right now.  But don’t feel sorry for me yet, I did manage to squeeze in some lunch and shopping before I headed home.  Pickles is how I decided to spend my afternoon and I made them with the bag of cucumbers a friend gave me from her garden. 

Pickles Country Living Recipe 004Pickles Country Living Recipe 010

I mentioned in a post about a week ago that I wanted to try a recipe that Country Living Magazine published in their April 2011 issue for Pickle Spears from Judith Fertig’s Heartland book.  Well, here they are.  Love this recipe almost as much as I love my own for Dill Pickle Chips!  :)  These are a lot sweeter.

This recipe makes about 3 jars.   (I doubled the recipe and got  a total of 7 jars.)

Here is the recipe:

Dill Pickle Spears

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 pound pickling or baby cucumbers, ends trimmed and quartered lengthwise (about 4 or 5)

8 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons black peppercorns

2 large see heads fresh dill, with some stalk.  ( I used dried dill.)

In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine 1 cup water, vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil.  Stir until sugar and salt dissolve, about 2 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. 

Divide cucumber spears, garlic and peppercorns between two sterilized pint size canning jars.  Stuff a dill seed head into the center of each jar.  Pour cooled vinegar mixture over jar contents to cover.  Screw lids onto jars and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using.  Keeps refrigerated, for up to 1 year. 

Pickles Country Living Recipe 016

This recipe is for another great pickle that does NOT require canning.  They say they will keep up to a year refrigerated.

Pickles Country Living Recipe 019

I don’t think we have to worry here.  They won’t last the month . :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Margaritas in Jelly Jars

  Margarita's in Jelly Jars 009

I was inspired not too long ago when I came across  the post 50 Foods You Can Put in a Jar over at Under the Table and Dreaming.  This is a great one-stop post for food ideas for jelly jars.  I am always looking for new ideas and with a small party coming up I was happy to have a new idea to try.

Margarita's in Jelly Jars 006

How refreshing does that look?!

Margarita's in Jelly Jars 013Margarita's in Jelly Jars 017

I used a 1.75 Liter sized bottle Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita. (Cost was $16.95. ) The tequila is already in the mix and it’s made with Grand Marnier.  Mmmm. :)   This sized bottle was the perfect amount for 12  jelly jars.  I filled each jar up about 3/4 and added ice for the last 1/4. 

Salted rims optional.  Lime wheel mandatory.

Margarita's in Jelly Jars 012

I made these ahead of time and then kept them in the refrigerator until party time.  When it was time to serve I pulled them out, took off the lids and added to some ice cubes and a wheel of lime.  You can also serve them with a salted rim.  To do this you wouldn’t want to pre-fill your jars like I did.  Simply salt the rims and fill with your Margaritas at serving time.  Cheers!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels 004

Now before I jump into the Ham and Cheese Pinwheels,  let me start off by saying that I realize that my blog seems to be morphing into a Food Blog.  It’s not intentional but it does seem to be that way lately.  It’s just where my head is these days I guess.  :)    I seem to do everything in spurts.  I get obsessed with certain things.  A new stencil….BAM….5 blog posts in a row about stenciling.  French Macarons…BAM…post after post of my macaron baking attempts.  One found piece of junk from Goodwill transformed and BAM…10 trash to treasure posts.  Stick with me….something besides food will grab hold of my attention.  And and if not that’s okay too!

So, back to the post at hand.  It was my turn to host the Mah Jong group this week.  The last time it was my turn to host a snow blizzard (and I do mean blizzard, which is very rare for these parts I might add) hit and only two people who live in the neighborhood were brave enough to come.  Boy, did I have leftovers after that night!  Well, this time things turned out much better.  Click HERE if you want to see what I made that night.  The Feta Dip alone is worth the click.) :)

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels 003

One of the things I made this time were these Ham and Cheese Pinwheels.  I tried making them for the first time a few weeks ago for a Happy Hour we were invited to after seeing them in Ina Garten’s Back to Basics Cookbook.   I thought I would get fancy and brushed them with an egg/water mix thinking it would make them look better when they came out of the oven.  Big mistake!  The egg/water wash actually made them so brown that they looked burned.  This time I left them alone and I had much better results.  They were very good.   

A few weeks ago I was at a cheese seminar and was given a few very nice pieces of cheese to take home with me.    Lucky me!  One of the cheeses I brought home was a nice piece of Emmentaler.  Emmentaler is similar to a Swiss cheese and is often used in Fondue and melts nicely.  I grated up the whole piece and used it in the Ham and Cheese Pinwheels. Gruyere is also a wonderful choice to use here too.


1 package of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry (2 pieces of Puff Pastry)

Grey Poupon, Country Dijon Mustard

Sliced Ham from the Deli, sliced very thin

8 oz. shredded cheese ( Swiss, Cheddar, Gruyere, and Emmentaler work well)

Maj Jong Food 003

Thaw the Puff Pastry according to directions on package.  Flour your counter surface and rolling pin lightly roll out one piece of your puff pastry until it’s about 9 x 11 inches.  Spread the sheet of puff pastry with Dijon Mustard.  Lay pieces of the sliced ham on top of the mustard.  Sprinkle with about half of the grated cheese.  Roll up the pastry/ham/cheese along the long edge and roll it into a log.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.    Repeat this process for the 2nd log and place in the refrigerator. 

After the logs have had time to chill, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Slice each log in half and then keep slicing each half in half until you have about 16 pieces from each log.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.    Bake for approximately 18 minutes checking on them to make sure they are not getting too brown after 14 minutes.  (Mine actually took 20 minutes.) 

Makes about 32 pieces.  Best served warm.

 Ham and Cheese Pinwheels 005


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raspberries Stuffed with White Chocolate Chips

 Maj Jong Food 013


     Maj Jong Food 018


Maj Jong Food 010



So easy to do.  Find some raspberries, and this is the perfect time of year to find quality and affordable berries, (The berries I found were two pints for $5.00…quite the bargain!) and stuff them with white chocolate chips.

Make sure your berries are ripe but firm.  

Squishy berries that are past their prime will not work here!


Here is how I stuffed my raspberries:

First, I took one white chocolate chip and placed it in the raspberry with the point going in first so that a flat surface was showing .  Then I took another chip and did the opposite by pressing the second one in flat side down so that the two chips met up flat side to flat side and the point side showing  coming out of the berry.  Does that make sense?  I just thought they looked nicer that way.

Maj Jong Food 014

And two chips are always better than one anyway, don’t you think?  :)