Monday, June 26, 2017

potato salad (just like mama used to make)

My grandma made the best potato salad and I'm always happy to make it for our family holidays or any time really. It's the perfect side dish and everyone always smiles when I put the bowl on the table. It's like my grandma is right there with us in spirit.

I love how easy this is to throw together and especially like that you don't have to peel the potatoes first.  I mix everything up in a huge roasting pan and then transfer it to a serving bowl before adding the sliced eggs and a dash of paprika on top. Be sure to stir really well and you'll get that perfect blend of diced and mashed potatoes that gives that wonderful creamy texture. Try this out for your 4th of July festivities. It's sure to become a fast family favorite.

Potato Salad (Just Like Mama's)
5 lbs Idaho Potatoes
Half Medium White Onion, finely chopped
Sweet Baby Wholes, small/medium chop
6 Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hellman's Mayonnaise
Yellow Mustard
Celery Salt
One teaspoon sugar

Boil potatoes with skin on in salted water, cook just until soft. Allow to cool. Peel and dice potatoes. Add a few tablespoons of pickle juice to potatoes. Peel and mash 3 or 4 eggs (leave rest for top).   Stir in mayonnaise, about a tablespoon of mustard, eggs, onion and pickles. Add celery salt and sugar to taste.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  Just before serving, slice remaining eggs and place on top, followed by a light sprinkle of paprika. (I was out of paprika when I made this for Father's Day as the photo shows). 


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Thursday, June 15, 2017

father's day gifts

Cracker Barrel sent me some products to try to help us celebrate Father's Day.  Landon was excited to help me wrap up some presents for daddy. On Sunday morning, Mike will have a new favorite album, shirt and cap. I was really tempted to keep the cap for myself because it's so soft and feels just worn in enough to be super comfortable. 

Mike has always been a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan, so I know the album will be a winner. I love the bit of nostalgia that comes from playing albums and that raw sound you can't get from music downloads. Records and hot summer days just seem to go together.

If you still need some Father's Day gifts, stop by Cracker Barrel to see what they have for the dads on your list. There's plenty to choose from or you can grab a gift card and let dad pick his own gifts. You can also shop online here. There's even a dad-approved gift guide to help you choose. 

Happy Father's Day! 

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

summer so far

Our summer is off to a great start. We've been spending time at the pool, enjoying evenings on the front porch and watching marathons of Naked and Afraid. Here's a few things that's keeping us busy...

I ordered this Octopus sprinkler from Pottery Barn Kids back in 2012. I had big plans for it and then it seemed to disappear. Mike and I both thought it had got thrown away with some other boxes and I was so disappointed. Imagine my surprise when we found it with some old Christmas decorations back during the holidays. We are loving it!!

Landon LOVES building forts and usually has one one built on our couch or chair at all times.  It's usually covered with all my throw pillows and blankets. He loves it, but it can get to be a bit of a mess. Well, last week my mom scored a Crazy Forts building set at a yard sale for $5. What a fabulous find!! He loves it and I'm so glad.  Just build the frame, toss some pillows inside and a sheet or blanket over the top and you're all set. She's keeping the yard sale find at her house and ordered this one for him to use at home. I'm so excited to have our living room back...and still let him have his fort.

We're doing a summer reading program that starts on June 25th. It runs for 6 Sundays. I'm excited that I'll have a few free hours for Target while he's busy learning. In the meantime, I found some fun worksheets here.

We're heading to Tennessee later this month to see the Titanic exhibit. I'll share more on that soon.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

tiramisu macarons

I had a little bit of time on Sunday to whip up some  Macarons. I decided to go with a Tiramisu version just because it sounded good. And, oh my goodness, were they good.  The shell has a little bit of espresso powder mixed in and the filling is marscapone and heavy cream. It's hard to go wrong with that combination.

So many people want to try macarons, but are too scared of failure. I say go for it.  I'm certainly no expert, but I've made them four times now and they've turned out each time.  My batter has looked different enough each time that I'm sure it's my fail batch, but I'm still four for four.  And a friend paid me the best compliment I could have asked for and said these tasted just as good as the macrons she ate in Paris. Just WOW to hearing that.

For these tiramisu macarons, I used this recipe.  If you decide to try macarons for the first time, here's my advice.

// Read several macaron recipes to find the one that makes the most sense to you. Even though the ingredients are basically the same, the writing style of the directions can make a difference in how competent you feel trying these out.  

// Use a food scale.

I hope you'll give macarons a try. They are so worth it!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

five on friday

Hooray for Friday! It's my birthday weekend (Sunday) and we're leaving for vacation later next week.  I'm excited to get this weekend started. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's jump right in.

We're grilling out at my sister's house tomorrow evening. We're going to have hot dogs, a few yummy sides and my birthday dessert. My mom is fixing my favorite strawberry pretzel jello dessert. I LOVE the combination of salty and sweet. I don't know exactly which recipe she uses, but if you Google the name, lots of recipes/versions will come up.  Back to the hot dogs for a moment - we like ours with chili, slaw and onion. That's a true WV Dog. What's your favorite hot dog fixins'?

This little guy lost his fourth tooth yesterday. His teeth have been slow to fall out and he was so excited to finally loose a front tooth. How funny is that face?! Oh, he melts this momma's heart.

I treated myself to a little early birthday gift today. My go-to bag is my Vera Bradley Betsy in Very Berry Paisley. I wanted a small wallet to take on vacation instead of my larger one, so I found this cute little matching tri-fold on eBay. Brand new with tags and under $20.  I love a good deal!

I was in Target earlier this week picking up a few things we need for our upcoming beach trip. Besides our usual sunblock, I also picked up a bottle of Sun Bum.  It smells so good! I'll let you know how it works.

And now in book news... 
I like to use vacations as a time to read some old favorites and catch up on my magazines. Vacation is all about relaxing after all. That means my stack of beach books may look something like the picture above.   Book news will be back on May 12th with my top summer picks. 
Have a great weekend!!
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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

blueberry bread pudding

I need a t-shirt that says "I Heart Bread Pudding". Seriously, I would wear it. I really do love bread pudding and this blueberry version does not disappoint. It's amazingly good. If you're looking for something for your Easter breakfast buffet or need the perfect dish to take along to your Sunrise Service Breakfast, this is it. You can make it the night before so there's no early morning fuss. I like it with a bit of whipped cream, but I bet a bit of warm maple syrup would be good too.

Blueberry Bread Pudding
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup cream
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 pound Italian or sturdy white bread, 1" cubes
2 cups fresh blueberries

Butter a 3-quart baking dish and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs slightly with whisk. Add milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg. Fold in bread and berries. Pour into baking dish - cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350. Bake pudding uncovered until golden and puffy (start checking after one hour). Don't overbake - center will be custardy. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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Friday, April 7, 2017

five on friday

Happy Friday! We're kicking off spring break this afternoon....with snow. We're having the craziest mix of weather I've ever seen.  I can do without the snow, but I would like a thunderstorm that lasts for hours instead of a few minutes.  If only mother nature took requests.   I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Here's what's going on for us right now...

I'm a little obsessed with I've been researching my dad's side of the family and it's truly amazing to go back and see records and stories about people you never got a chance to know, but still feel that connection to. The more you find, the deeper you want to dig.  If you've been thinking about researching your own tree, I definitely recommend it. Mike even has me doing a tree of his family. It really is interesting. 

I've been looking for an area rug for our living room.  I saw this allen + roth Kincora Beige woven area rug at Lowes and it's absolutely gorgeous. I think the colors would  work well in our room and the pattern is not too busy.  The price isn't too bad for an 8x10 size. I'm going to move our furniture around tomorrow to see if it could work. 


I have some Hilda cookie dough in the freezer, left over from Christmas. I'm going to use it next week for some fun Easter cookies.  I got these cute little Easter cookie cutters from Amazon last month and I can't wait to use them. Hilda cookies are very similar to Linzer cookies, but the dough has a cream cheese and butter base and it is so good and rich. My aunt's German mother-in-law passed down the recipe from her mom.  I like to use peach, apricot or blackberry jam. Check back next week to see the finished cookies. I'll share my dough recipe too. 

Landon can't get enough of watching "Sing".  He watched it at school last week and we purchased it on Amazon Instant Video that same afternoon. He loves singing along and performing.  Last night we downloaded the soundtrack. It's so cute to hear him sing along. He has such a good voice and some really good dance moves. We may just have to put him in dance class. My little Sinatra.


And now in book news...  I found a new cozy mystery series to try. The first book is Murder on Bainbridge Island by Dianne Harman.  It was a suggested title on Amazon, so I decided to give it a try.  The book is set in the pacific northwest and the main character has a catering business.  It's my first time reading this author and I'm hoping I enjoy the series.  I'll let you know!

Have a great weekend!

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