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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
Whatever your plans are, have fun and stay safe!

Mr. Terrific and I will be staying in tonight as our kids go out with friends. 

Tomorrow will be my undecorating day.  These snowflakes by the back door make me smile every time I pass by.

 Goodbye to the jolly snowmen.  See you next year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

There Are No Words

I have been attempting to write a post for the last few days but I quite simply can not find the words to express the profound sadness that I am feeling since learning of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

I am just sitting here staring at the screen, trying to convey the deep sympathy I feel toward a community and people that I have never met.  The sweet, innocent children; the heroic teachers and administrators who sacrificed their lives trying to protect them; the loved ones left behind; the once-peaceful community, now shattered........I pray that they will all somehow find peace and comfort, knowing that so many of us whom they will never meet are grieving with them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Enjoying The Season!

The decorating is done!  My shopping is almost complete.  I'm enjoying every minute of this wonderful season.

Caitie flies home on Friday, Sean will be home on Monday, and then everything will be right with the world.

Before then, I've got a gazillion things to do.  But I'll still find the time

 to get lots of baking in,
and I'll also find the time

to simply stare at Clyde.  He's growing so fast!

Okay, I feel bad that I cropped Gus out of this picture.  But the light reflecting in his eyes made him look possessed.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chocolate-Raspberry French Toast

Okay, you know it's coming, so let's just get this out of the way:
 Clyde trying on his Santa hat.....
and naptime.  As usual, Clyde is cuddling with a sneaker.  Gus momentarily woke up as I slithered across the floor on my belly to get this shot.
Gus went right back to sleep and then it was Clyde's turn to wonder why I was flat out with a camera pointed in his face.

Okay, thank you all for being such good sports and putting up with my puppy pictures.

Today's recipe is fabulous, if I do say so myself.  I'm experimenting with recipes, trying to figure out what I might want to make for breakfast on Christmas morning.  This morning I cooked up some chocolate French toast, with raspberry syrup and whipped cream and it's a keeper.  Definitely making this on Christmas morning!

I clipped and saved this recipe for chocolate bread, "Pane Alla Cioccolata," from Country Living Magazine in February 2001.  

 I knew it would come in handy someday.  It took almost twelve years, but I have finally found a use for that recipe!

Make it easy on yourself and bake the bread the day before.  Better yet, bake two loaves (like I did), so you can freeze one for next time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Decorating Frenzy...and Clyde (of course)

 I've found that it's easiest to snap pictures of Clyde while he's sleeping.  When he's awake, he's usually out of the frame by the time I get the shot off.

He's been picking some interesting places to take his naps.  I had a picture of him snuggling with slippers in my previous post; the shoe theme continues....
with Erin's sneakers....

with mine.......

and with Sean's.  I'm glad he doesn't play favorites.

On Thanksgiving, we went to my parents' house in Connecticut.  He managed to find a cozy spot to take his nap.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

More Clyde

My painting projects have pretty much come to a standstill.

The roman shades I started to cut remain unsewn.

I have a new puppy that I can't take my eyes off of!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Puppy Countdown

Erin and I took a ride to Brimfield last weekend to visit the puppies.   We pulled up and were greeted by nine little fluffballs.
 Erin and I both sat on the ground and let them climb all over us.  For an hour.  When it was time to go we had to tear ourselves away!
 I mean, does it get any better than this?
Eenie, meenie, miney, moe..........
Erin held this little guy for about ten minutes.  He snuggled right in and took a little nap.  She decided that he's the one.

But wait!

What about this little guy?  Shouldn't she give him a chance as well?  So she held him and he snuggled and napped in her arms.  And she was certain that he was the one.

All we know for sure is that one of these two will be coming home with us next week, and we can't wait!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Loaded Pumpkin-Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Halloween!

I made these cookies over the weekend.  Thanks to the added moisture from the pumpkin, they are a bit softer than typical oatmeal cookies.

I loaded them up with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, but you could substitute chocolate or butterscotch chips, chopped nuts or raisins.  Whatever you prefer.  Or you could kick up the pumpkin flavor a notch and add a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Weekend In Ogunquit

With Caitie home for her fall break a couple of weeks ago, we decided to take off for a few days for a much-needed mini-break.
Okay.  Maybe it wasn't beach weather, but it was still nice to hang out by the ocean.
Bundled up against the autumn chill, we took a walk along the Marginal Way.  Caitie was the only one who had the foresight to bring gloves.  Erin's coffee kept her warm.  I kinda froze.

We marveled at all the daring souls who climbed the boulders to leave stacks of rocks and pebbles.

All libraries should look as charming as this one does.

Wandering down to Perkins Cove.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Apple Cider Sangria

Caitie came home last Friday for her fall break.  We haven't seen her since August!   It was so nice to have her home, if only for six days.  

We went to Ogunquit for the weekend--I'll save that for another post--but when we returned I asked her to let me know if there was anything in particular she would like me to make for her while she was home.  She requested a couple of old favorites, chicken pot pie for dinner on Monday, and broccoli soup with cheddar cheese on Tuesday.

Also, in the spirit of the fall season, she wanted to try some Apple Cider Sangria.  I know I've mentioned my love of "umbrella drinks" in previous posts, but sangria runs a close second.

If I can't have a frozen fruity concoction, I favor frolicking with a full-flavored sangria flooded with fruit.  Repeat that three times.

Then go and make yourself some lovely sangria.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dogs: Past, Present and Future

Today's post was originally all about my little southern boy.

That's right, Gus is a Georgia boy.  Atlanta, to be precise.

Gus is our first rescue puppy.  And our first non-golden retriever.  

But as I started writing about Gus, I kept making references to Rosie and Gracie, the dogs I had before Gus.     After many editing attempts, trying to keep to the subject of Gus, I decided to just start from the beginning.

We've had two goldens.
First, there was Rosie.  

Why did I get a golden retriever?  I wanted a dog, a big dog.  I didn't care what kind of dog, as long as it was big.

I don't know if Mr. Terrific wanted a dog.  I didn't ask him.  I did know that he liked golden retrievers.  I logically came to the conclusion that getting a golden retriever would fulfill my wish for a big dog, and that there would be no protests from my husband because the dog would be the breed that he loved most.

Rosie was awesome.  When she was a year old, Caitie was born.

Rosie didn't seem to mind.

Then came Sean.  Great!  Two playmates.  And then Erin came along.

Three was never a crowd as far as Rosie was concerned.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

This 'n That

Where do I start?

Okay, first things first.  I do not have a new recipe to post.  I've been making lots of oldies but goodies, like pasta, broccoli and chicken which was the recipe that started this whole blog.

Nothing I've made recently has been good enough to blog about.
This was the pot roast that I made in my crock pot earlier this week.  Ick.  First and last time making pot roast in the slow cooker.

I've been spending way too much time trying to figure out my blog header.  Or should I say lack thereof.  Several months ago I changed the layout and the graphics, and you have no idea how frustrated I've been trying to put the header back together.  I can't figure out how to layer a photo onto the header!  Caitie is coming home for her fall break in a couple of weeks, I think I will cajole her into helping me figure it out.

I painted my dining room today.  Or maybe I should say that I continued my kitchen/dining room painting project.  
This is how I left it last week, when I didn't have time to finish.  The new green is pretty close in color to the old green, and unless you were looking at this particular spot under one of the windows it was hard to tell that my walls were painted different shades of light sage.

As I was finishing up my painting I was thinking of what my next painting project would be.  I don't like anything about my kitchen and since there is not a remodeling possibility in my near future I was thinking that I'll paint the trim as well (hard to tell in the above photo but the wood is an icky knotty pine).  And I'm going to paint the icky oak cabinets.  
And then I wondered, is it possible to paint the icky tile back splash?  And what about the icky counters?

I think I've overused the word icky.

I'll switch gears, from icky to magnificent.

I'm so happy that my garden is still producing an abundance of magnificent flowers so that I can surround myself with their magnificence in my icky kitchen.

I'm not kidding about the abundance part.  The more I clip, the more they grow and bloom and multiply.

Some of the zinnias are even having twins!  I've never seen double blooms like this before.  Magnificent.

Next post, I think I'll write about Gus.  My magnificent little southern boy.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Broiled Zucchini With Melted Cheese

Okay, I've spent way too much time trying to come up with a name for this recipe.  

 I've just spent almost an  
hour staring at this blank page.  Daydreaming, talking to Gus, anything to avoid the torture that is coming up with a name for a recipe.  Time to move on and go with a straight-to-the-point name.  The zucchini gets broiled, the cheese does melt...and so there you have it.

The important thing is this:  you will now have another recipe to go to when you are looking to use up the abundance of zucchini growing in your garden.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grilled Potato Wedges

I've never told you how I came up with the name of this blog.  I didn't even have to think about it.  Between my three kids, "Hey, Mom, what's for dinner?" has been the most-often asked question for the last fifteen years or so.  And by my three kids, I mean my son. 

I could usually expect that it would be one of the first questions of the day.  The memories are so clear:  Sean, at three years old, eating his cereal, talking with his mouth full, "Hey, Mom, what's for dinner?"  Picking him up from elementary school, and as he ran toward me he'd be yelling, "What are we having for dinner?"

Picking him up anywhere, and the first thing he would say when he opened the car door, "What's for dinner?"  And then when he got his license, he'd drive himself home but as soon as he'd walk in the door, "What's for dinner?" And then the 2.0 version of the question: "When are you starting dinner?"

Five days ago, we dropped him off at his college.  Now I'm the one asking the questions, texting him, "What did you have for dinner?"

With Caitie and Sean back at school, it sure is quiet around here.
Erin made a back to school cake today.  Chocolate cake with peanut butter-butter cream frosting.  I think she must have used three pounds of assorted Reese's cups/Reese's pieces decorating this.  I cut the teeniest, weeniest, skinniest slices I could, but I bet they still had about a gazillion calories in each.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to come up with a French toast casserole that doesn't have a million calories in it.
A while ago, a friend of mine made a French toast casserole and it was incredible.  It was Paula Deen's recipe for French toast casserole with maple syrup.  I googled the recipe and saw the ingredients--besides all the eggs and cream and maple syrup it had two sticks of butter in it--well, to make a long story short, I just couldn't bring myself to make it.

I mean, it's one thing to eat something when you are out somewhere and you think, "oh, this is spectacular!"  But when I'm preparing it myself I just can't bring myself to add two sticks of butter--not without envisioning a syringe plunging all those calories directly into my thighs.

This is what I made this weekend:
An overnight French toast casserole.  With only one tablespoon of butter in it.  It wasn't that good, so I'm going to have to keep tweaking it! I'm going to give you a recipe that has been my go-to side dish this summer.  Last week, I was talking with my friend, Alyse, and she said that she was having trouble coming up with ideas for side dishes.  On nights when you're going to be grilling your dinner, it's easy to throw these potato wedges onto your grill as well!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sauteed Mushrooms

Okay, this is my third attempt to write this post.  And since each subsequent attempt means I have to start from the beginning and edit what I've written, I am determined to finish this one.

The first edit was easy, because all that I had accomplished with my first attempt was "Sauteed Muuuuuuuuu" in the title field.  Give or take a few u's, I didn't count how many there actually were.  That's right, I fell asleep before I barely even started.

And the second attempt, I fell asleep while writing the above paragraph.  

Before you wonder if my laptop is pumping out some sort of a sleeping mist, let me just say that I've been dealing with a nasty summer upper respiratory infection which has left me wiped out by the end of the day.

And now that I'm feeling better, I'm not so wiped out, maybe just feeling grumpy.  Take last night for example.  My grumpiness prompted me to take this picture:
I was at Fenway Park, which is usually my happy place, but in the seventh inning the Red Sox blew a 9-3 lead and that made me grumpy and then I started wondering why the head of the person sitting in front of me (see picture) seemed to be growing larger as the game went on.

That was my view.  It could have been worse...despite obstructing my view, the young man with the expanding head was extremely well-behaved and hardly moved at all during the game, so there was no bobbing and weaving on my part to see around him....I simply had to lean to the left (to see the pitcher) or lean to the right (to see the batter).

Thanks for listening.

If you're not feeling well, you may consider chicken pot pie or beef stew your comfort food of choice.  Not me.  Nuh-uh.  I need mushrooms.  The steak under the mushrooms is merely incidental.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time Sure Does Fly...........

I can't believe how quickly this summer has been flying by!

In two weeks, Caitie and Sean will be gone, off to college.  I really enjoy having everyone under one roof, so my focus this summer has been on enjoying every moment and trying not to think about how lonely it's going to be when they're gone.

I've  secretly been making lists of things I want to pack into their care packages.  Shhhh, don't tell.  It will be Sean's first year at school, he has no idea what a care package is.  His care packages will involve lots of home-baked treats.  He especially likes cookies.

Too bad he doesn't like banana bread--but Caitie does.  I've been baking lots of banana bread this summer. The summer heat has been ripening the bananas so quickly, I've had lots of overripe bananas to bake with.
    I put chocolate chips and raspberries in this loaf.
 In less than 24 hours, it was gone.
I added chocolate chips and raspberries to this loaf as well, and then made it chocolaty by switching out 1/2 cup of flour for cocoa powder instead.

You can find my recipe for banana bread by clicking here .  To make the chocolate chip-raspberry banana bread, just add a cup of chocolate chips and a cup of halved fresh raspberries (tossed with a tablespoon of flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of your loaf) to the basic recipe.   Because of the extra moisture that the raspberries add, you will need to increase the cooking time, at least ten minutes more than the original recipe calls for.   I baked mine for an hour and 10 minutes.

It's been extra-hot around here this summer.  I can't keep up with the water demands of my container plants,   and most of them are very sad-looking.  I won't even show you a picture, that's how bad they look!

But the flowers in my garden are holding on, especially the zinnias and dahlias.
I've been filling vases with them (and an occasional late-blooming gladiolus), hoping that these bright blooms will make the dead flowers in the deck boxes less noticeable!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Alcohol-Free Pina Coladas

Summertime makes me so happy.
 What's not to love?
 Sitting on my deck, surrounded by flowers.
 Love. It.
 Even the window boxes that I put up this year are filling in nicely.

We spent the past weekend in Vermont, Erin had a softball tournament there.  It was wonderful to spend some time with our favorite softball families.

 We spent a lot of time hanging out on the hotel balconies, enjoying the view and the cool breeze coming from the river.
 We spent more time at the ball field, though..........three games on Saturday and Erin's team was seeded #1. That led to more games on Sunday.

Have you ever seen a more spectacular view at a ball field?

On Friday night, we were all sort of exhausted from traveling.  We went out for dinner and then called it a night, as we had to be at the ball field by 7 a.m.
 Look at the size of this bug on the window!  (For those of you who are wondering, the bug was on the outside.)  It was HUGE.  Probably about 3 or 4 inches long.  I couldn't help but snap a picture.

The table by the bug was not occupied while we were eating dinner, but as our group of twelve was leaving there were people being seated by the bug.  The woman that was sitting at that window was oblivious to the creepy-crawley bug on the window, but I think at some point she would have noticed and I like to imagine that she let out a nice shriek.
I admit it, I smiled (okay, I smirked) as we walked past the Inferno with its promises of "music, temptation and booze."  

This pina colada recipe that I'm about to give you is family-friendly so there is no alcohol in it........but if you're tempted to booze it up, add a splash of rum!