Thursday, April 30, 2015

FRESH STRAWBERRY BREAD

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

One of my favorite fruits is strawberries. I love strawberry anything. Since strawberry season is from April thru August, we can depend on a constant supply of fresh strawberries nearly 6 months of the year in our supermarkets or farm stands. The nutrition facts alone make the strawberry a wise fruit choice. Approximately 8 berries provide 85 mg of Vitamin C or 160% of the Recommended Daily Value. 

I'm somewhat of a Strawberry Bread virgin, I'd never tried it before. The recipe that I chose uses fresh strawberries, is easy to prepare and really delicious!




The final result is a very tasty, a bit gooey, moist bread.....I LOVE the addition of the swirled strawberry jam on top!



I'm anxious to hear my Mother's review......I sent her some of the bread in her Mother's Day package!

Go grab some strawberries and make your family happy with this super delicious and easy bread!

                                                Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

                                                          Kathleen

Link to bread recipe:
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Strawberry-Loaf-Bread

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

COME VISIT---TLB's SPRING PINTEREST BOARD

Happy Wednesday friends!



Are you getting in the Spring mood yet? Maybe your weather isn't quite ready for outdoor
gardening, maybe it is....whatever your situation may be it's never to late or to early to plan what you will plant this year.....or how you will decorate your porch.

I'm sharing my SPRING PINTEREST board with all of you. Hopefully some of the ideas I've posted will inspire your own inner gardener!

Grab that coffee, tea, latte, smoothie or whatever makes you happy.......and browse the possibilities.........


ENJOY!

Kathleen


Sunday, April 26, 2015

FRESH SPRINGTIME TABLESCAPE

Good Morning Monday my friends......

It's no secret that I love Springtime! Here in the South we've been having 90 degree days and for a northern girl that loves her temps around 70....it's pretty warm!

Since I'm just beginning to familiarize myself with flowers of the South, I've decided to rely on my herbs for a little help with my first Spring tablescape. 



It's really amazing how many times I've struggled with exactly the right objects and florals to make just the "perfect" tablescape.  I've actually come to realize that by keeping it simple, yet stylish is quite easy. Herbs in pretty pots, a rattan tray, a beautiful blue and cream gingham tablecloth and cobalt blue goblets. A simple napkin tied with twine.....how gorgeous is that?

Lesson learned......a beautiful tablescape does not have to take hours to create and does not have to break the bank. Now go take a look around your house and start creating your Spring tablescape!

                                      Keep calm and pretend it's not Monday!



                    Kathleen


Thursday, April 23, 2015

PERFECT PULLED PORK SANDWICH

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

I'm always trying to find recipes that require little preparation. This recipe is a winner!

While hubby and I were shopping at Costco we ran across a terrific sale on pork loin. The sizes of the loins were quite large, but the price per pound was too good to pass up. I was able to cut the loin into 3 nice size roasts.

In today's blog I am using one of the roasts for a 3-Ingredient Pulled Pork recipe. The recipe is quite simple because the pork is cooked in a slow cooker with only two other ingredients, root beer and BBQ sauce.

First place the pork in the crock pot.





Add 1 oz. of root beer.



Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the pork shreds easily with a fork. After pork has cooked, drain and discard the root beer. Shred the pork and place it back in the slow cooker. Pour the BBQ sauce  (I used Sweet Baby Rays)  over the pork and stir to combine. 

 Serve or keep warm in a slow cooker until ready to serve.  Serve on buns.



This recipe is a great make ahead recipe for a party or a quick dinner. It's easy and delish!
It's a real winner!

**Recipe may be found at: http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/3-ingredient-pulled-pork/97ce3e03-1178-416c-8073-e1e37987e060/

                                                                Have a terrific weekend--


                        Kathleen


                                                                    

Sunday, April 19, 2015

DIY MAY DAY GIFT

Welcome to Monday friends!

In only a couple of short weeks May 1st will be here. This day is referred to as May Day and in some places considered the first day of Spring. Some of the May Day traditions are the crowning of a May queen or sometimes King. That person was to oversee all of the day's activities that would take place. Children and adults of all ages fill May baskets with candy or flowers and leave them secretly on neighbor's porches. What a sweet gesture of kindness!

One year I bought small baskets and filled them with flowers tying them on the door knobs of all of my neighbors. This year I changed it up a bit.



I made a quick trip to the Dollar General store and purchased these cute floral buckets and a spool of the pink polka dot ribbon. Then I headed to Costco and purchased a 6-pack of herbs that included Basil for $9.99. I left the Basil intact with soil and planted it gently into the floral bucket. Then I secured the handle of the bucket to the door knob with the ribbon and tied in a knot. I added a bow because when I wrap gifts, I always include a pretty bow on top!! Who doesn't like a gift with a beautiful bow??


Cost:

$1.66 Basil plant
$1.00 decorative bucket with handle
$1.00 1-spool ribbon (there is plenty of ribbon left for more pots)
Total cost for TLB's May Day Gift--less than $4.00

This DIY is so easy and inexpensive.You can personalize it with any plant you like. These little buckets would be great filled with cookies or candy also.

You'll be the hit of the neighborhood! Your friends will love the fact that you are thinking of them with something so pretty, fun and useful!


Happy May Day!



                      Kathleen







Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Sweet Springtime Treat

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

Spring brings our first blossoms, birds chirping and the smell of freshly mowed grass. It also brings hours of work to bring our flower beds back from the tough winter weather.


I always start working in my flower gardens early in the morning. It's pretty typical of me to stop mid-morning for a cup of coffee and a little something sweet to accompany it.

In today's blog I'm sharing my steps to making a delish pot of French Press Coffee accompanied by a slice (or two) of Cinnamon Sugar BiscottiNow doesn't that sound like a nice reward after a few hours of toiling in the soil?


How to make French Press Coffee--

Add:

1.    1 tablespoon coarsely ground coffee per cup
2.    Pour boiling water into the carafe within approximately
       1 inch from the top of the carafe.
3.    Stir with a non-metallic utensil.
4.    Place lid assembly on top of carafe. Brew 4 minutes.
       With one hand firmly holding handle, use other hand to 
       slowly press the plunger down to filter the coffee.
5.   Tilt, pour and enjoy!



The house was filled with the delicious scent of cinnamon while the biscotti was baking. Biscotti is as easy as the steps you see above.  Here is the link to the recipe that I used:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cinnamon-sugar-biscotti/

Bon appetit-
Kathleen

****Please join The Lavender Bouquet on Instagram, Hometalk and Facebook! See you on Monday! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Margarita Madness

Welcome to Wednesday friends!

Cinco de Mayo is May 5th so it's time to get some of those party ideas together. First and foremost track down (and sample of course), a delish margarita recipe. I got mine when we lived in Houston. It's pretty powerful but really tasty! You may adjust the amount of tequila used to your own taste.


Margaritas Mas Grandes
Serves 10

2 1/2 cups tequila (I prefer gold)
1 qt. limeade
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 limes cut into wedges for garnish

Put all liquids together in pitcher, stir and serve with a bucket of ice.

For a more fruity margaritas.....check out Strawberry Mango Margaritas at Baker by Nature.

http://bakerbynature.com/strawberry-mango-margaritas/

OR

Pineapple Margaritas at Miss in the Kitchen

http://www.missinthekitchen.com/pineapple-margaritas/

Whatever margaritas you serve on Cinco de Mayo, they will surely be a party favorite.

ENJOY!

Kathleen





Monday, April 13, 2015

Relaxed Living

Good Morning Monday friends!

The past few months have been so busy and jam packed full of lists upon lists of "things to do," it's been so nice to take some time with hubby to decompress. (Explaining all of this will take a full blog some day!) I know this calm will not last forever, but for the moment, this "relaxed living style" is just what we needed.

As my head's coming out of the sand, and my creative juices are once again flowing, it's time to tackle some of the updating that I mentioned in my previous blog. I find so much inspiration from my surroundings. This vignette kind of sets the tone for our southern home.


I'm still working on that "first impression" foyer. I was invigorated after just rearranging items from different areas of the house, but then I felt it needed a bit more pizazz to bring it up to my vision.

I purchased an area rug a couple of years ago with the intention of expanding the navy color palette throughout the house, little by little. I'm a big navy fan and am in love with the new corals. It appears that I'm not alone. Coastal stores are full of my new palette.

This is the design in my rug and some of my navy paint choices. I'm taking a very bold step into the unknown because of a gorgeous photo that I found in a magazine. The inside of the foyer door was painted a very deep navy blue. It was in a much larger luxe home, but I loved it so much......I thought I would give it a try. What a great unexpected surprise as you enter the house!  Let's not forget that "big surprises" can come in "small packages!"

 
I had no idea there were so many different shades of navy. These are a few samples I picked up at Home Depot. My wall color does not photograph well....it is really kind of a sun kissed cream. 


Picking the right navy with limited lighting is tricky. As with most colors they tend to look entirely different when you bring them into your own home. Lighting is key! Everyone has obstacles to work around, and honestly I only want to paint it once so that I can move on to other fun projects!



Now the work begins! Follow me as I share my journey to "relaxed living" with you!

                                       
Wishing you a wonderfully relaxing day!
Kathleen

****** Don't forget to follow TLB on Facebook, Instagram and Hometalk! 


Thursday, April 9, 2015

SIMPLY SOUTHERN

Welcome to FOODIE FRIDAY friends!

There is something so sweet and heartwarming about living in the South. Our first taste of "southern hospitality" was when we lived in Longwood, Florida. Our neighbors were so welcoming, starting with the first day the moving truck arrived to unload us.

There are so many ways to say "welcome". Simple ideas like creating a folder with the trash and recycle schedules and the link to your local Township office. A list of vendors that you have already vetted is always helpful. Examples are; lawn maintenance, pest companies, electricians and carpenters. (And remember to exchange names and phone numbers.) It can be a very lonely time when you literally know no one within hundreds of miles of your new home.

There is nothing "sweeter" than the gift of something baked from the heart. I love making a basket of Southern Buttermilk Biscuits accompanied by my homemade Strawberry Christmas jam.....delish all year round!

The biscuit recipe that I use is quick and easy and makes about a dozen nice size biscuits.


Link to biscuit recipe:  http://southern.food.com/recipe/southern-buttermilk-biscuits-26110
Link to jam recipe:  http://www.food.com/recipe/christmas-jam-105718


The biscuits are light and fluffy and the jam adds just a hint of sweetness to the biscuits.

No matter where you live........it's always a wonderfully warm gesture to reach out to a new neighbor and say "welcome to the neighborhood!"

Wishing you a neighborly day!


Kathleen







Tuesday, April 7, 2015

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS MATCHA?

Welcome to Wednesday friends!

I've been curious about all of the buzz surrounding a new beverage receiving a lot of publicity recently called "Matcha Tea." You may have heard about this in news releases lately.

I became quite curious and have done some research. I chose an Organic tea grown in Japan. There is some information that reflects concerns of high lead levels of lead in teas grown particularly in China.   

My daughter and I have tasted a few recipes using Matcha and am sharing them with you today.


Matcha comes in a powdered form and is green in color. To make Matcha, green tea leaves are ground super-fine into a powder form. For a traditional cup of Matcha tea, hot water is added (not boiling) to one teaspoon of tea powder and mixed until a bit frothy. My daughter added a bit of unsweetened Almond milk to her cup and loved it. There really isn't much flavor otherwise.





So what's so special about Matcha? Because the whole tea leaves are ingested the tea becomes much more potent and is full of nutrients. It is rich in antioxidant polyphenols which are helpful in protecting against heart disease, cancer, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction and anti-aging. There is another polyphenol called EDCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) that in some research is touted as boosting metabolism and slowing or halting the growth of cancer cells.

Matcha may be incorporated into meals, may be sweetened, and is the focus of Japanese tea ceremonies. It's a great way to slow down. Research also shows the benefits of health and weight loss.



Link to the above recipe:
http://kelliesfoodtoglow.com/2014/03/14/glow-green-matcha-yogurt-breakfast-bowl/


Matcha Chia Pudding
1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 tbsp. maple syrup (or any sweetener)
1/2 tsp. Matcha powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. Chia seeds

You may also add berries or nuts for added texture.

Whisk all ingredients together and chill overnight. (Stir ingredients once approx. 
1/2 hour after refrigeration and then let set.) If you choose not to stir Chia seeds
will sink to the bottom of the pudding.

***This is my daughter's recipe.

As usual, I suggest you perform your own information finding facts and form your 
own opinion on whether Matcha is a good choice for you.


Wishing you a wonderfully Matcha day!

                      Kathleen


Source: http://time.com/3766975/matcha-green-tea/

                     








Thursday, April 2, 2015

UNIQUE GRILLED CHEESE JOINT

Welcome to Foodie Friday!

This week has been a real learning experience for us. We've spent several days with kitchen and countertop experts, and then had a little fun exploring some of the recommended restaurants of Southwest Florida.

Since today is Foodie Friday I'm sharing our unique experience at 11:Eleven Cafe in Fort Myers, Florida. Recently Alton Brown, the "Cutthroat Kitchen" host, stopped for lunch, and the Cafe has been bustling since. Tourists and locals alike are lined up on any given day to sample the delish "comfort classics." So hubby and I decided to stop by for lunch to see what all of the chatter was about.



The simple eclectic decor reflects the personality of Chef and Owner Christa Leigh.






The menu consists of childhood favorites like grilled cheese, savory waffles, Naan flatbread, and baked potatoes.....all with a twist. I tried "The Gabbi Mac & Cheese please." It's mac and cheese with your choice of cheese between 2 slices of bread! Yep, a sandwich grilled and pressed until the cheesy goodness escapes around the edges just a bit! YUMMY....but oh so filling. Hubby tried the Bacon and Cheese........which included 3 strips of bacon, added to an already oozing grilled cheese sandwich. YUMMY but deadly! You may customize your own sandwich. Also, served are made from scratch soups, vegan and vegetarian items. 

My Gabbi Mac and Cheese Sandwich------



Eclectic touches are everywhere......


If you are ever in the Fort Myers area stop by the 11:Eleven Cafe for a unique dining experience.

                                       Wishing you a wonderful Easter Weekend!

                                                         Kathleen