Thursday, October 30, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS!

Good Morning Friends,

On Sunday, October 26th we awoke to a lovely fall day in North Carolina. The trees were beginning to change color and the day was warm and sunny. It was the day our middle daughter would graduate with her MBA.





The halls of The Carolina Inn were abuzz with family's in town for graduation and those attending a wedding.




Our charming rooms were not only lovely they were comfortable, warm and inviting.



As the day unfolded, we were able to meet our daughter's friends that have supported each other for the past two years and become a family. The excitement and energy of these bright minds was contagious.

As sad as it may seem in many ways that these friends will not be together physically anymore, the vast world around all of us is bound to reap the greatness of this new graduating class.

CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2014 
UNC Chapel Hill
Kenan-Flager Business School 
Executive MBA Program



The future belongs to those that believe in

 the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt



Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Kathleen

***Don't forget to stop by Monday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

EASY DIY CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

Good Morning Wednesday my friends!

I'm finally settling back into my schedule after having a very busy wonderful family weekend.

Before leaving town I made a few lists and one of them included DIY projects for Christmas. Yes, I'm thinking past Thanksgiving for a moment. I find if I start early handling the holiday list, the less stressed I am the month of December. 

Today's blog is a super easy DIY ornament project. I was browsing through the pages of an everything monogram catalog. They were charging 10-15 dollars for a simple clear ornament with a single monogram letter on the front, and a thin colorful ribbon as the hanger. I looked twice at the price and then thought I would tackle this project and share with all of you how easy and inexpensive this project really can be.

After  a quick trip to Hobby Lobby I came home with the following:

-1 box of 12 incandescent ornaments-40% off-5.39
-2 pkgs. silver/gold stickers-40% off-2.39 each

Total purchase-- 
$20.17 and I can make 12 ornaments!!


I had ribbon and some small red jingle bells on hand, so I just used those to make the ornament below. You may use anything to fill the ornament with and color choice is yours too.


Directions:
1.  Apply the monogram sticker wherever you determine your front to be.
2. Fill ornament with any holiday items: bells, glitter, etc.
3. Cut ribbon to size and knot it.

It's as easy as that! You can also stencil a design on the side for a different effect.

These make terrific gifts for office friends, classmates, or someone special. Have fun!

Wishing you a crafty day!

Kathleen


Sunday, October 26, 2014

CRANBERRY ORANGE MUFFINS-Diabetic Friendly

Good Morning Monday!

We had an great weekend. I hope you did too! 

Our family attended the MBA graduation and also celebrated the birthday of our middle daughter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!xx

I just love when we can all be together, and the fact that we were celebrating such an achievement made the weekend even more special!

It's cranberry time here again so naturally I turn to all of the recipes that require cranberries in them. I wanted to bake something, but didn't want a lot of sugar in the recipe. I've never baked with Splenda so when I saw this recipe I decided to give it a try. 


Last year at this time hubby and I traveled to the cranberry bogs in New Jersey and experienced first hand the way that cranberries are harvested. It's quite interesting and made us appreciate even more the fresh fruit from the vines.










The recipe is easy and takes very little prep time.The muffins were light and quite tasty. 

Are you thinking about grabbing some cranberries and wondering what to do with them? Cranberries are rich in Vitamin C and fiber and are only 45 calories per cup. They are full of antioxidants and are truly a "good for you" fruit.

Maybe it's time for you to make a nice batch of muffins and enjoy the fruit of the season!

Have a sweet day!

Kathleen

*****The recipe was published as being considered Diabetic friendly.
http://www.food.com/recipe/cranberry-orange-muffins-diabetic-friendly-211098

*****If you would like to read more about Splenda, copy and paste this link: http://www.splenda.com/


Thursday, October 23, 2014

BRAZILIAN DINNER WITH FRIENDS

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

Last weekend while we were in Florida our very close friends invited us to a dinner party. My friend is Brazilian and her husband is Italian. He's the grillmaster, she's the chef. They are quite a team!!


Our menu for the evening was outstanding. Our grillmaster cooked our meats to perfection and our chef's side dishes were outstanding. We love to try cuisine from other countries. 


Our meal was so delicious I just had to share it with all of you. When I asked my friend for the recipes, she told me she would be "happy" to jot down exactly how she prepared each recipe. 

**My apologies for the quality of my photos. It was a very dark evening.

We feasted on

Brazilian Beef and Chicken

Crispy Smoked Sausage
Sauteed Collard Greens
Farofa 
Brazilian Rice
Brazilian Black Beans

Our featured drink:


Caipirinha shorties (my favorite)



Brazilian Rice


Saute garlic and olive oil until it begins to slightly brown. Add the rice and saute for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover the mixture with HOT water, approximately 2 inches above the rice. Add salt to taste. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Cook at medium heat for approximately 20 minutes.


Black Beans




Saute green onions and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add as

many cans of drained beans as you require. Then add 1/2 can of water for each can of beans used. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
***She occasionally adds bacon or fresh basil also.

Collard Greens


My friend buys her Collard greens already chopped (Costco) but if you prefer you may chop your own. She prefers not to use the middle vein as it can be a bit tough. Saute garlic in olive oil until it slightly browns then add the greens and cook until softened. Salt and pepper to taste.

Farofa


Farofa is the most well known accompaniment in Brazil. It is toasted manioc (yucca) root. This may be purchased in most Latin supermarkets.You may add any of the following ingredients to this; eggs, sausage and chicken. In a fry pan mix all ingredients together. Saute and serve over rice and beans.


Crispy Grilled Smoked Sausage


Our grillmaster cut smoked sausage into tiny bite size pieces and grilled them so that when you bit into them they were nearly all crispy except for the soft center. They were outstanding.


Brazilian Chicken and Beef Sirloin



My friend used chicken thighs for our dinner. First wash the chicken in a white vinegar and salt bath. Add fresh or ground garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Marinate in vinegar and olive oil for a few hours. Grill when ready.

Our grillmaster used Top Sirloin beef. He sprinkled it very liberally (as they do in Brazil) with coarse salt and pepper to taste. 


Caipirinha--Brazil's National Cocktail

 
recipe image
Ingredients:
1/2 lime, quartered
1 tsp. white sugar
2 1/2 fluid ounces cachaca
1 cup ice cubs 
In large glasses squeeze and drop in 2 eighths of lime. Add sugar,crush and mix with spoon. Pour in cachaca and add plenty of ice. Stir well.

There's nothing like spending an evening with good friends especially with the added bonus of taking a trip to Brazil for dinner!

I hope you all enjoyed today's blog and make your own Brazilian dinner. It's so delicious......you will love it!

Many thanks to our friends for treating us to such a lovely evening! 

Wishing all of our TLB friends a wonderful weekend with your friends! 



Kathleen 








Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UNIQUE FALL TABLESCAPE

Welcome to Wednesday!

Since we have gotten back from Florida we've had some beautiful sunny days, but our temps dipped to 33 overnight! As my husband says, "there was frost on the pumpkins!"

I've been busy trying to come up with a Fall tablescape that's really different. I came across a black and white striped runner that I made for my neice's bridal shower a few years ago and decided to use it as my foundation.


Did I ever mention that I love repurposing things? I always get a great feeling when I know what I'm making has the potential to be used mulitple times and in different ways. Also, I was able to recycle my gifted coffee table planter into what you see below. By merely removing the plants and placing them in new containers they look entirely different. The colors of Fall abound in all three of the plants.


I chose the purple linen napkins because purple is a nice compliment to the golds, oranges and shiny items I decided to use. (and I love purple Mums!)





By adding the Fall orange in the form of pumpkins and beautiful golden toned leaves, it began to look a little more Fall like.


Golden sprayed pinecones and gourds along with crystal votives and candlesticks gives a nice shiny appearance.

The only thing I purchased in the entire tablescape was the chargers. I had read about the new release of a Better Homes & Gardens collection in Walmart so I went to check it out. These chargers were a very inexpensive add to my tablescape and I just love all of the beautiful leaf and pinecone detail on them!


I hope you've been inspired to think "outside the box" for your next Fall tablescape. The colors of Fall are everywhere right now...while you are out driving or walking take notes, and go home and create your Fall masterpiece with God's creation of color!

Wishing you a colorful day!

Kathleen

***Thanks so much for stopping by. Don't forget.....you can subscribe to THE LAVENDER BOUQUET blog and have it delivered directly to your email. Just follow this link----
http://thelavenderbouquet.blogspot.com and fill in the email box located on the right-hand side of the page. You will be asked to verify your email and that's it...it's that easy! Hope to see you soon!

Monday, October 20, 2014

DIY FROM OLD CALENDARS

Good Morning Monday my friends!

I hope you all had a great weekend! Hubby and I were able to spend a few days at our Florida house for a little relaxation. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. 

Today's blog is inspired by a long time friend from Florida. About 5 years she gifted me a beautiful set of calendars from the artist Susan Wallace Barnes. I became a fan instantly and began gifting them to my other Florida friends.



Her work in watercolors is light and cheery and brings such a sweet touch to wherever they are displayed. Anyone who knows me knows that I love watercolor artistry.

One of my friends resides both at the Jersey shore and Florida. She loves them so much she has easels displaying calendars at both of her homes.....and I must confess so do I! I look forward to their release every year.

A couple years ago as the year was coming to an end  I perused the pages of the beautiful calendars one more time before I was going to pack them away. As I looked around, the Florida house walls were begging for some color and that's when it hit me.....

I bought two white wooden frames, added a creamy white mat and one of the 11 x 14 prints to each frame. Most of you have probably tried this easy DIY, but in case you haven't, it's an inexpensive way to add color and personal touches to a home. I think most of all, having something you love displayed tells a story of you.

Here's what my framed wall art looks like in my kitchen:





Why not recycle your beautiful calendars to add something new and beautiful to your walls?

Aren't familiar with Susan Wallace Barnes? Here's a little background on her:

Susan's home is located on coastal meadow in California's Carmel Bay. She is very active in environmental efforts on behalf of ocean awareness. 

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderfully creative week!

Kathleen

****Don't forget to check us out on Facebook too!





Friday, October 17, 2014

RECIPES FROM THE COCKTAIL PARTY

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

I think the toughest part of having a party are the last minute details, like food prep. Today's blog has photos and recipe links of everything that was served at our party. I also took a few photos while prepping some of the dishes.


-Spicy Pickled Shrimp


This is an easy dish, prep takes a bit but it's worth it. It is a "must do" the day before so that it may marinate.




I wanted to make sure that the shrimp was sweet and delish so I bought organic and peeled and devein it myself. 


-Vegan Grain free Stuffed Mushrooms

Delicious but recipe requires a bit of prep, a "must do" the day of the party.




-Caprese Pops

I made my pops the day of the party. They are easy and they make a beautiful fresh presentation.


Recipe:
-small tomatoes
-fresh mozzarella balls (cherry size)
-fresh basil
-package of sucker sticks (lollipop)
-Balsamic Glaze

Thread tomato, basil and cheese on stick. Drizzle with Balsamic glaze.

-Caramelized French Onion Dip

This is a great recipe to do a day or two ahead. The flavor of all of the carmelized onions just gets better.



-Cocktail Meatballs w/homemade BBQ sauce

Best meatball recipe I have ever worked with. Follow the directions exactly....great BBQ sauce too!






That about wraps up the party. It's a lot of work to entertain, but the evening was so worth it.

                     Have a wonderful weekend!


                      Kathleen










Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HALLOWEEN PORCH

Welcome to Wednesday!

It's time to bring out the Halloween photos.......


Easy wreath I decorated for Fall, and then at Halloween
added the witch hat and the sign. It was a quick change and only required one wreath for both Fall and Halloween.




The fireplace mantel is kept simple by using fresh pumpkins and terra cotta votives.



Hope you enjoyed my Halloween front porch!

Have a wonderful Wednesday! 

BOO!
Kathleen

Sunday, October 12, 2014

HARVEST COCKTAIL PARTY

Good Morning Monday friends!

It was a slightly misty cool evening, but our party spirits weren't dampened. The 3rd Annual Harvest Cocktail party at our home was a success. 

The beautiful floral arrangement below was a gift from a special friend. Each year she personally delivers her hostess gift to me before the party and each year it's perfect for my coffee table. I love this idea, one I think I will start paying forward. How about you, isn't this a terrific idea?


Our home was filled with the laughter of good friends, the scents of Fall and some delish food and drink.

I chose the color scheme this year when this beautiful pepper plant caught my eye on our trip to Terrain. It's unique and colorful appearance made it's way to it's rightful place of honor on the bar table..... the color palette was established.....red, gold and purple.  



This year the bar was set up in our living room. Only a couple of pieces of furniture were removed, opening the room up for mingling. The bar's new location made for easy navigation from the foyer directly into the living room. We did hire a bartender so that my husband and I were able to greet our guests. In my opinion this personal touch is really important if it fits into your budget.




My hubby hollowed out the pumpkin and poured Parafin wax inside to prevent water leakage then filled it with ice....a really unique Fall touch displaying white wine or even soda.





We also changed the location of the food this year. It was moved to the family room in place of a sofa table that was relocated. The new table location eliminated our need for wait staff. Everything was in easy reach for our guests to serve themselves as they mingled.





This year I got a bit nostalgic when planning the food choices for the evening menu. Some of the recipes I've used this year were updated versions of food that had been successful at some of our parties back in the 80's. 

Cocktail Party Menu:

-Spicy Pickled Shrimp
-Vegan Grain free Stuffed Mushrooms
-Caprese Pops
-Caramelized French Onion Dip
-Cocktail Meatballs w/homemade BBQ sauce
-Varietal Cheese tray

Simple bar set-up:
-Merlot & Cab
-Chardonnay & Pinot Grigio
-Craft Beer
-Pellegrino and several soda flavors

 On the menu:

The Spicy Pickled Shrimp was the hit of the evening. There were "4" shrimp left on the plate at the end of the party! 



Remember the French Onion dip way back when? This recipe puts the "oldie" to shame. Compliments were flying!!!



My hubby loves mushrooms and these were given his seal of approval; guests apparently felt the same way, they were completely gone!



The Caprese Pops were loved by all! A 3rd runner-up for hit of the party. So easy and delish!



This was the best meatball recipe I've ever made. The meatballs stay nice and firm....not like some that fall apart in preparation. These were the 2nd best hit of the evening!



Because every party needs a bit of sweets....we always have candy dishes filled with Marsha's Buckeye's from Perrysburg, OH----a family favorite from our days we called Perrysburg home.



AND-----mouth watering Italian cookies with a few decadent mini cupcakes.



I hope you've enjoyed our cocktail party pics. This week on FOODIE FRIDAY I will feature all of the recipes I used at the party. Hope to see you then!

Have a wonderful day!


Kathleen


 *****Please join us on Wednesday for our HALLOWEEN decorations!