Monday, May 23, 2011

Swimming and being Lazy

We've had a nice spurt of warm weather out here so we've been away from the computer for a while....

And out with friends to the pool!

I think these floatie things are so cute..kind of a big contraption..but cute...

Along with this nice weather it's time to round up our summer reads. I've gotten into a "classics" fever lately so went to the library to get:

1. Brothers Karamazov -Dostoyevsky
2. Ethan Frome -Edith Wharton
3. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame -Victor Hugo
4. Selected stories of O.Henry
5. East of Eden - Steinbeck and
6. Maya Angelou. Anything by her.

What's on your reading list? Are you in a certain phase? Reading a certain author? Whose your favorite?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Food and Blooms

Prepare yourself! This is a healthy recipe. Shall we just say this mac and cheese takes on a modern tone and taste. All you need for this dish is seen below. Super easy...good hot or cold.

Cook your pasta and either microwave or stove prepare your light-cheese sauced broccoli. I have never used a vegetable that had a prepared sauce along with it. So, I was really curious about how this would all taste. Add together with 3 wedges of the Light, Laughing Cow cheese.
Warm until cheese is that gooey, yummy texture.

Add a little salt and pepper and their you have it. I really liked this dish. It was so quick, so easy, and low in calories. Really a great twist on an old standby. And, thinking of adding chicken to this dish, next time round.

And, please try this recipe. You won't be sorry. Thanks to my blogging friend, Julie (, who has some of the best recipes ever! This is one of the really, really, really great one's. My family loved these. And, yes! Carrots. Carrot fries. Lot's and lots of carrots. I used about 6-7 large carrots and chopped them into french fry type pieces. Put them in a bowl and add in 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp cornstarch and a Ranch Dressing packet. Shake and mix until all carrots are coated. Bake at 400 degree's on a sprayed or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes. YUM!

And, we ate the carrot fries cold, along side our spring salad and slice of focaccia the next day. Carrots...still tasted great.

Now that we have had our fill of food, let's take a little walk in the yard and enjoy all the beauty of spring.

Glad to get my wind chimes hung for the season. Oh, and loved getting the humingbird feeders ready and cannot count how many times I am refilling bird feeders. All great fun and such beautiful birds fill our yard. Wish you could smell the fragrance of all these blossoms.

We gutted out our flower boxes in our backyard and have begun to refill them with wonderful perennial greenery and blooms. Wow do they ever smell so good.

I do love hostas and the baby blue forget-me nots! I love blue flowers.

So petite and so sweet.

The tree's off the front porch are all "popcorned" out! You can hear the bee's a buzzing, doing their work. And, you can spot a golden oriole or two, ever so often.

Love sitting on my front porch.

Preparing a new rose bed for new roses....we have a few Blue Girl Tea Roses, a few Sunny Delight (yellow) Tea Roses and a few Arizona Roses....which are yellow, orange, cream and pink.

And, we are revamping an area for raspberries and grapes. Much to do.


Meadow view on a rainy day. Trying to be thankful for the bounteous rain we have had this spring. It has been more rain than I have ever seen in a single spring season. Loving all the greenery.

How are things cooking and whats blooming/growing in your yard? We are still waiting for our garden spot to dry out enough to rototill and plant. My seedlings are bursting at the seams to get out in the garden. Yipes. xo

Thursday, May 12, 2011

? and Biscotti

OK......who can name this flower? Not me. My son found tons of these out in the woods. Gorgeous.

The bloom is slightly bigger than the palm of my hand.

And, I have been thinking about Biscotti lately. Maybe because one of our dearest friends is in Italy right now. And, my daughter and I just watched "Letters to Juliet"---again.

Anyways, early this morning, as the sun was just coming up and the birds were singing, I made Biscotti. It is such a fun food. Reminded me of our years in France.

So, let's slow down today and make a basic Biscotti recipe.

Dry stuff first....1 and 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Mix.

In a separate bowl, 2 eggs and 2/3 cup sugar...mix on high speed for about 5 minutes. The egg and sugar mixture will thicken. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla (original Biscotti was flavored with almonds).

Now, slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Wet your hands and pick up dough out of your bowl. It will be sticky. Lay in on a cookie sheet that has parchment paper on it. Shape the dough to about 12 inches long and 3-4 inches wide. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Nice. cool on a rack for about 10 minutes. Did you know that "bis" means twice and "cotti" (or cottum) means baked. And, that's just what we are going to do...bake twice.

Now, slice on the diagonal. Oh...and turn your oven down to 325 degree's.

Smells so delicious. So, place sliced Biscotti back onto your parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Then, turn Biscotti over and bake for another 10 minutes.

Hello Biscotti! YUM!

For you food history buffs....Biscotti originated in Roman times. Biscotti was more about being a food for travelers because it was convenient. The twice baked Biscotti dries it out and makes it perfect for travel for long journeys. Biscotti was a staple of the diet of the Roman Legions.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, people did their best to survive and there was no culinary development.

But, with the Renaissance, Biscotti reemerged in Tuscany, by a Tuscan baker who served them with the local sweet wine.
So, bring a bit of Tuscany into your day and bake a little bit of Biscotti. Somehow, I think you are going to love it. xoxo

P.S. Can add nuts or dried fruit to biscotti to dress it up a bit....or dip or drizzle with a little chocolate.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Weekend in Las Vegas Part II

We pick up in Paris! Paris casino that is. Enjoying the lovely eclairs and other delights of la belle ville.

A fruit tart from Bellagio. They even have their own chocolate disk with their signature 'B' on it!

They have a galleria/walk-through foyer on the first floor of the hotel that draws a lot of attention as they change the decor depending on the season:

I Looooooooooove these flowers! There are so many! Reminds me of the fields of rows and rows of beautiful bright colored flowers we'd see in France.

These birds were made of flowers and sunflower seeds and egg shells and feathers

A little green house in the center with beautiful, real butterflies inside

I love art. Love, love it. I love flowers. Both together!? I want this in my house!

I love the idea of sitting on this Ferris wheel and letting my bare feet skim the field of flowers with each rotation..

Here is Madelyn trying to wake up Alyson for the day. Is she really in there?!

Someone got into a pen and not finding any paper....ha!

Easter baskets from the bunny! Her first Easter. Thanks for the Easter dress grandma!

She's such a good girl...10 months now!

Eating some bananas....

Cheers! TGIF!

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