Thursday, April 29, 2010

Senior Parent Dinner






I am not quite sure who came up with this AMAZING idea, but I think it is worth passing on!


It has become a tradition at the school where our children attend that every year, the parents and their senior have a special dinner out. I know it sounds like just one more "thing" to do, but it was so NICE!


We all met for dinner on the waterfront and enjoyed the evening talking with other parents and feeling blessed that our children all get along so well and that they will be friends into their college years!


The SENIORS all sat together at one big, long table and the parents sat in small groups at tables around them.


At the end of the evening we listened to their plans and some of their school memories. OH.WHAT.FUN. they have had together!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Little Hint

 

I have a secret. A GIVEAWAY is coming soon. You aren't going to want to miss it! Keep your eyes open for details!
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Home is...Finding a Bargain!


I am completely sentimental by nature. I just can't help it. Especially these days with a daughter graduating from highschool!

If I had to choose between old dishes or new dishes I would pick old. There is just something about using older dishes that have chips, dings and scratches. They are most likely there because they have been used.

I inherited my Grandma's old VERNONWARE mixing bowls awhile ago, and I love to get them all out on baking day and use each one of them for something. It is fun thinking about the things she would make in them for my Dad when he was young.

A couple of weeks ago my hubby and I went out for a date to have an early lunch at the Portland Food Carts {we loved the NATIVE BOWL}. After dining alfresco under the canopy, we shopped at PORCHLIGHT...our favorite old time shop.

There, nestled away in an old hutch was a tiny glass cream and sugar set complete with a little serving tray. My hubby assured me it was too adorable to pass up and that it was a bargain, too!

I think that old dishes make any house feel more like a home. It adds a bit of sentiment and history. And who doesn't love having things in their home with a story for conversation purposes.

This one of a kind find is now at the top of my favorites list and I am saving the tippy, tippy top favorite for the fun memory with my hubby. Best of all I will think of our fun day together every time I enjoy a cup of tea with cream and sugar.

{Thank you, honey for the sweet gift!}

Today I am linking up to Reluctant Entertainer. Hope you get a chance to see what bargains others have found. Thank you, Sandy for the fun topics!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Show-n-Tell

So, since many of you liked the idea of Show-n-Tell. I thought I would give you the details of our fun monthly get togethers. We all just happen to be "foodies". We are all equally obsessed with the thought of food, dishes{CLEAN DISHES, that is!}, menus, entertaining etc. and I seriously can't think of three more supportive husbands on planet earth than Jay, Steve and Scott. Although, Jay MADE Julie get rid of a bunch of dishes and kitchen stuff not too long ago. :)

Today was my day to host. Julie got a hall pass because she is really busy right now, so it was Linda and I.

 
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Linda showed up at my house offering me advice on my pathetic hydrangea right off the bat. {Nothing quite says "WELCOME" like a dying plant right by the front door!} She suggested giving it "egg water". That was that. She loved my peonies, though, so I gave her my advice for that. This all happened before she even entered the front door! Now you know why I get so excited the week of Show-n-Tell!

 
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There is never really a quiet moment and we talked about absolutely everything from raising children to her two years in England. Before I knew it, our time was up. Now to get a date on the calendar for May!

Our menus should be fun to follow because one of us loves everything...including meat, one is a die-hard vegan, and one is semi-vegetarian!

SHOW-n-TELL MENU


Asian Pasta Salad

 
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1 lb. Barilla Farfalle Pasta, cooked according to package, Rinse with cool water and drain. Place in large bowl,
ADD:
1 bunch spinach, chopped
2 cans water chestnuts, sliced
1 bag bean sprouts
½ green pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 chicken breasts…I soak mine in kosher salt, rinse, and soak in soy sauce for a couple of hours. BBQ it and slice it up. Let cool and add to salad.

DRESSING;
½ cup olive oil
½ cup organic sugar
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic

Shake all ingredients in bottle with lid and dress the salad before serving.

This salad is great to make the day or night before serving. Just add crusty bread and sparkling lemonade for a nutritious, quick dinner. You may add sesame seeds, dried cranberries, mandarin oranges
NOTE: If you don’t want to mess with making your own dressing, you may substitute Trader Joe San Soyaki Teriyaki sauce.

SWISS SWEET BREAD

Ingredients:

Add Together:
1 tablespoon yeast
1 2/3 cups warm water
(Let sit for five minutes)

Add:
1 cup dry potato flakes
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
4 eggs
1 tablespoon orange extract



Directions:

* Knead in flour until smooth
* Put in greased bowl for 1 ½ hours until it doubles
* Punch down
* Let it rise for 10 minutes
* Divide dough into 3 loaves
* Place on greased baking sheet
* Cover and let it sit for 45 minutes
* Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden



Leftover homemade ice cream with berry sauce from mom



AND we always have something "different" to drink...kinda our own version of taste testing. Since Julie and I are always adding lemons to everything, we FINALLy got Linda on board and even though she had the choice between orange and lemon SANPELLAGRINO she chose the LIMONATA! So proud of you, Linda.

 
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She brought the yummiest little wrapped bag of lemon cookies for her show-n-tell, but I had finished them off before I could snap a picture.

Linda was taking a meal to a friend and wanted to take dessert, so with very little effort and even less time, she was able to make these most adorable cookies and the presentation was so very cheery and springy. Thank you, Linda!



Linda’s Lemony Cookies

1 lemon cake mix
1 cup Rice Krispies
½ cup butter
1 egg

Mix all together in a bowl until it forms a dough.
Roll into 1 inch balls.
Place on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 for 9-12 minutes.
Makes 3-4 dozen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baking in the Spring






Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

Mix together:
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. soy flour
1 cup canola oil
2 ¼ cup organic sugar
Zest from 1 large lemon

Add:
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. pure lemon extract
2 tsp. butter flavoring
Add:
1 ½ cups soy milk
Stir together:
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. sea salt

2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
Mix for about 2 minutes

Pour into mini loaf pans. Fill about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until done in the middle.
Glaze:
¾ cup organic sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. pure lemon extract
2 tsp. butter flavoring
Pour glaze over hot mini loves and let cool.
Wrap in sheets of wax paper.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HOME is...Aprons

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my friend Carolyn wearing my apron and copying down a recipe!



In my life {of 40+ years} I have been blessed in so many ways.

I have always had a best friend {my twinsie},always had parents who love me and support me, and my own family that I absolutely ADORE!

Some of my earliest memories are of our cheery yellow kitchen and my moms aprons.

Whenever we would help in the kitchen we would wash our hands and put on an apron. It was second nature.

I remember putting my mom's apron on when I was in the third grade. I followed my very first recipe all by myself. The moment I opened the door and pulled out the freshly baked loaf of banana nut bread was sheer wonder and excitement! I couldn't wait to share it with my family at dinner that night. It was a feeling of accomplishment.

Have you ever wondered what it is about aprons that make them so endearing? I know some are beautiful, some are cute, there are those that are funny and others are almost as fancy as a prom dress {NOT REALLY!}.

I don't think it is the apron itself, but the act of nurturing the family and creating an atmosphere of caring for others that is associated with wearing an apron.

To me there is still something special about going to my Momma's house and seeing her open the front door with her apron on. It is the very first hint that she is working on something special for her family...in the kitchen!

Not too long ago, my week was extremely busy and my friend called to get together. I knew I wasn't going to be able to sit still long enough to sip on a steamer while we chatted about everything under the sun, sooo, since baking is always at the top of the list and laundry is at the very bottom, I invited Carolyn over to do Easter baking together.

I met her at the door with my apron on. She walked in with her coffee, washed her hands and put on one of my aprons and we got to work. Since I am the bossy one, I just told her what to do and we had more fun than we should be allowed to have. We made Banana Italian Cream Sodas and Lemon Poppyseed Bread...and it was way better than baking alone with the sounds of Norah Jones and Michael Buble in the background. Not only did we get to cross baking off of the to-do list, but we made one more memory to be able to reminisce about when all we have to do when we are in our 90's is to sit on the front porch sipping our lemonade...I mean Banana Cream Sodas...remembering how we took care of our families in the "good old days". I love you, Carolyn!

Today I am linking to the Reluctant Entertainer. You will have to take a look at what others have written about Aprons.



Let's Picnic! {part two}

Since I got more than one e-mail wondering who else carries the containers I had mentioned in the picnic post, I decided to follow up with a second post.

Garnish carries a large selection of containers that you will LOVE! You wont even have to leave the comfort of your own home at o-dark-thirty to head out to Cash and Carry hoping the whole drive over that all of the solid white containers are not gone {AGAIN!} and to be left with the containers that still have their original "SWOOSHY" design that was all the rage in the 70's. Who knows?! I personally am in love with white, because even if you don't embelish it, it still looks classy!

If you don't purchase the products, I can gurantee you will be on the lookout for produce etc. that comes in these fancy little packages! You will become a Treasure Hunter in your own right! Just dont't drive to the GOLDEN ARCHES and park your little self by the trash bin and ask people for their drink carriers, leftover napkins, ketchup packages and straws...oh and the adorable condiment containers. I'm just saying.

However, there is NOTHING wrong with asking your family and friends to save their packaging for you, though.

Now that business is taken care of here are some things I love to use:



COOKIE BAGS: great for cookies, bars, chips, some veggies etc.



DELI CONTAINER: Great for extra soup, apple slices, veggie slices, BBQ beef, ice cream


CONDIMENT CONTAINER: So nice for Ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressing, salsa, sour cream


SOUP CONTAINER: Can be used for packing soup, ice cream, cobbler, pasta salad, trifle etc.


PRODUCE CONTAINER: Fun to package a sandwich a lunch in. Think of it as a lunchbox. {No time? Go buy a bag of french fries, bake 'em. Line the container with wax paper or a paper towel, put the fries in it along with a condiment container with ketchup and let your little athlete have a snack on the way to the game!}


BOX CONTAINER: This is awesome for everything! I even take gifts in these boxes!


P.S. These containers are amazing for picnics, but I use them for taking meals to people as well. The recipient of a delivered meal will not only be grateful for a night of no dishes, but I am pretty sure the happy dance will be taking place when it comes to having one less 9x13 in the back of the car to return!


All Photos courtsey of GARNISH

Friday, April 16, 2010

Show and Tell





I absolutely LOVE Show and Tell. Over the years I have met with friends for lunch once a month. We take turns hosting the lunch and whoever else attends brings something to share with the other friends. You really should try it. Our finds have included recipes, crafts, vacation spots, good deals at thriftstores, book recommendations and the list goes on. So, I thought I would share a great find with you today.

Not long ago Michaels stopped carrying BAKERS TWINE. So, I started looking all over and it was so expensive for the tiniest little bit, so, I started looking around the WEB and found Divine Twine. I love it and have been using it for everything lately. The colors are beautiful and Whitney is so sweet and her packaging is adorable. She will be selling pink in June. Can't wait. Thank you Whitney!

Polka Dots and Sweet Peas

 
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Okay. I think I am done with Sweet Peas. Sorry.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Picnic! {Part One} oops! Forgot to re-post after corrections were made!

 

 

 

 
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With Spring comes the anticipation of picnics. Lots of them. Wheather it be dining on the bleachers at a ball game or a Sunday afternoon picnic with friends at a park. Packing a picnic can be a great alternative to purchasing pricey, un-healthy food at your favorite local drive-through.

My friend Penny asked me if I had any ideas for easy "pack up and go meals" to eat at the ball park. I thought that since I had been talking about taking meals this week, this would be the perfect time to "chat" about portable lunches/dinners. I am sure you have way more ideas than me , so...be sure to add your ideas and thoughts that work for you.

As mentioned before, I keep a stash of basic containers on hand because the LAST thing I want to do when I get home is to clean a bunch of containers-with the exception of a few glass containers and occasional utensils that can be loaded into the dishwasher.

Depending on what we are having, I pack everything into a sturdy bag or a portable cooler on wheels {COSTCO usually carries these every Spring}.

Everything is packed so it doesn't spill or stain. Be sure to keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.

Everybody gets their own container with their "main dish" or their sandwich, unless it is potluck-style where there is a picnic table to put out a large container for everyone to help themselves.

Sometimes I label the containers with the individuals name. This is helpful for those who are picky. Instead of specifying no mayo, no pickles, no meat etc. :)

I used to have such a hard time not having dinner all together at home @ 5:00 sharp every evening. It just threw me for a loop! Once I stopped pouting and decided I could make it fun, it has just been THAT...lots of exciting meals away from home and lots of memories with friends and family.

Here are some menu ideas:

drink
Caesar salad with leftover BBQ chicken-box container
dressing-condiment container
rolls with butter-cookie bag
brownie-cookie bag



drink
cornbread muffin-cookie bag
tortilla chips-cookie bag
applesauce with cinnamon sugar-glass container



drink
chopped salad-box container
dressing-condiment container
focaccia bread-cookie bag



drink
tunafish sandwiches-cookie bag
pita chips-cookie bag
monster cookies-cookie bag



ginger ale
Asian rice/noodle bowl-large Chinese take-out box
molasses cookies



drink
pasta salad-large Chinese take-out box
mini focaccia loaves-cookie bag
mini cupcakes-mini Chinese take-out box



Italian Sodas-disposable cup with lid and straw in drink carrier
Turkey wraps in Lovash-wrapped in wax paper and put in box container
chips-cookie bag
apple slices-cookie bag



BBQ beef sandwiches-wrapped in wax paper and put into box container
potato salad-mini Chinese take out
carrot/celery sticks-small cup with lid
ranch dressing-condiment container
oatmeal cookies-cookie bag



strawberry lemonade-disposable cup with lid and straw
taco salad-box container
salsa and sour cream-condiment container
pineapple slices

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Little SWEET Pea {part two}


The arrival of a new baby usually means the planning of a baby shower!

There are celebrations to celebrate just about everything, but I can't think of any celebration as SWEET and exciting as the arrival of a new baby.

There is so much anticipation and joy. Some showers are planned after the birth which means that the baby gets to be passed around and adored which is even more fun.

My friend Kim and I had so much fun planning this pea pod shower a couple of years ago. {THANK YOU, Kim for the A.DOR.ABLE photo}

The color scheme was what we based the menu and shower on to pull it all together. Our theme was "SWEET PEA"...from there the planning was easy.

The shower was pretty much stress free. All of the details were done in advance. The only thing that was not done ahead of time was the punch and that doesn't really count because all it took was opening a carton of lime sherbet and adding 7 UP to it! Easy PEAsy (HA!). The cupcakes, the "sentiment" cake and pea pod pecan tassies were made in advance and then frozen.

The chicken salads were made the day before along with the cheese slices.

It is definitely a good idea to keep things simple...food and decorations...so that when your friends arrive, you are able to enjoy the special occasion you are celebrating!

Here are some ideas:

* Get a date on the calendar
* Figure out your colors~I like to choose two colors and I ALWAYS use white as the background. It makes everything look classy and it is way more economical to always have the basics...dishes etc in white so that you can reuse them.
* Pick a theme. For example: Peter Rabbit, circus, firetrucks etc. If you can't think of a theme, stick with colors for your "theme" and it will look B.EAU.TEE.FUL.
* Decide on what time of day or evening you will be gathering. This will help you to decide on your menu.
* Start collecting inexpensive glass luncheon plates and cups and white dishes. Hit garage sales, flea markets or your Gramma's attic. This will eventually save on the cost of expensive paper products. (I started collecting mine 20 years ago!)

What is your favorite idea for planning a shower?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Little SWEET Pea {part one}

 
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One of the best gifts for new parents is sometimes the most practical. A simple way to create a special evening for them is to take a meal. It is a great idea to have that be your gift to the new family. Not only is it meaningful, but it will be fun for you to spoil them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

 
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Frugal Finds

Step One



Step Two



Step Three



Step Four



Sooo, we remodeled our home almost two years ago and we had an electrician pre-wire for two lights over the island. That was all fine and dandy until someone in our family decided to move the island over a couple of feet!

We were not going to spend more money to have the electrician come out and re-wire, so we had been "toying" around with a couple of ideas. Since I am constantly changing things around, we decided that whatever we did, we wanted it to be temporary.

This last week while we were at IKEA, my hubby spotted these lights and he said, "We are getting these!" I did not like the modern look, but he talked me into it. We brought them home and I started getting out my paper scraps and ribbons. It was a lot of fun to see what was possible with leftover crafts.

These solar lights are great because they can be put anywhere and hung from anything...they could even be used outside for a party...above a baby changing table...for late night diaper changes, a child's fort...be it in a closet under the steps or outside {They sure beat the old tap lights!}

If you like the modern look, it comes with a cord with two S hooks. All you need to do is hang it up.

If you want to have some fun with it, the sky is the limit. I am making a couple of them for baby gifts...can't wait.

The cost for one of them is $19.99, I think.



WORKBOOK:

Use paper punch to cut out "scallops". I punched out 11.

Since the light is solar-powered and doesn't put off heat{or not much}I taped the overlapping circles with tape.

I traced a STAMPING UP bird punch...thank you Penny! I cut out two of them so they would be on each side of the string.

I took a long ribbon and attached it to the light and then hung it from the hook in the ceiling.

To finish it off, I tied bows and taped them above the scallops in equal intervals