July 30, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Quinoa Fruit Salad

I think that one of the best parts of summer is the wonderful offerings of the fruit stands and produce markets in my area.  Nothing against grocery stores...but it's nice to know that when I drop by a fruit stand a few miles from my house, that I'm actually supporting local growers!
Someone on Twitter (sorry, I don't remember who!) was talking about a quinoa fruit salad over the weekend...and that got me curious.  So I played online, then I played in the kitchen!


Quinoa Fruit Sald
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
1 apple, rinsed and diced
2 peaches, rinsed and diced
1/2 pint blueberries, rinsed
1 pint strawberries, rinsed and sliced
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, remembering to rinse it well first to get rid of the bitter taste.

In a large bowl, dump all your rinsed and diced fruits. When your quinoa is cooked and fluffed, add that in too.  Then add the balsamic vinegar, orange juice and honey...and mix well.

Let cool for an hour or so.  Just before serving, sprinkle nuts of your choice on top. (And maybe a little vanilla ice cream too!)

What's cooking in your kitchen?

July 27, 2012

July Book Club - Friendship Bread

Thanks to all you lovely readers that are back after the June book club hiatus!  To make this month even more special - this is the first book with my fabulous, gorgeous, super sweet co-host Mrs. Jones.  If you aren't already reading her blog - you SHOULD be!

An anonymous gift sends a woman on a journey she never could have anticipated.

One afternoon, Julia Evarts and her five-year-old daughter, Gracie, arrive home to find an unexpected gift on the front porch: a homemade loaf of Amish Friendship Bread and a simple note: I hope you enjoy it. Also included are a bag of starter, instructions on how to make the bread herself, and a request to share it with others.

Still reeling from a personal tragedy that left her estranged from the sister who was once her best friend, Julia remains at a loss as to how to move on with her life. She’d just as soon toss the anonymous gift, but to make Gracie happy, she agrees to bake the bread.

When Julia meets two newcomers to the small town of Avalon, Illinois, she sparks a connection by offering them her extra bread starter. Widow Madeline Davis is laboring to keep her tea salon afloat while Hannah Wang de Brisay, a famed concert cellist, is at a crossroads, her career and marriage having come to an abrupt end. In the warm kitchen of Madeline’s tea salon, the three women forge a friendship that will change their lives forever.

In no time, everyone in Avalon is baking Amish Friendship Bread. But even as the town unites for a benevolent cause and Julia becomes ever closer to her new friends, she realizes the profound necessity of confronting the painful past she shares with her sister.

About life and loss, friendship and community, food and family, Friendship Bread tells the uplifting story of what endures when even the unthinkable happens.

1. Did you like the book? Why/why not?
I really liked the book.  Honestly, I read the prologue and didn't see exactly how it fit in with the book until the epilogue.  When it did "click" for me, I cried. All of the main characters were women that I could see myself being friends with.

Darien Gee has a great writing style that is easy to follow despite the intertwining story lines and numerous details about each of the main (and peripheral) characters.  It was easy to engage with this book!

2. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to them/ do they remind you of people you know?
Most of these characters were very believable.  I don't know many people that haven't had to deal with some sort of personal tragedy...or find them self in a new place looking to start over...or just need to determine what comes next in life.  It's easy to relate to one, if not all of the main characters on some level.

3. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, why not...and how would you change it?
I did like the end.  I'm a sucker for a happy ending - and all the characters find a happy ending in one way or the other.  I do have a few little things that I wish would have been changed or revealed - like a town article to reveal who the real originator of the friendship bread mix was - or seeing Julia repair all three of her broken relationships.

4. If you could ask the author a question, what would you ask?
I want to know if the bag of batter that spawned her book idea is still living on in perpetuity...or if she finally pawned off all the batter!

5. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? If so, how/why?
All of the characters that are introduced in the book evolve.  Heck, the whole town changes because of this friendship bread batter.  It was great seeing each of the main characters deal with their problems, grow together as a group and come out the other side as better people.

Did you read along?  Link up and tell Mrs. Jones & I what you thought!

July 25, 2012

3 on Thursday - Fall TV

Happy Thursday!  The gorgeous Andrea and I are ready for another round of "3 on Thursday"!  Are you?!  Speaking of my co-host...have you visited her yet?  You should.  She's way cooler than me!

3 on Thursday

This week's topic:
What three shows you are looking forward to seeing return in the fall?

This is a hard one for me!  {don't judge...} There are so many shows that I'm looking forward to seeing return this fall.  I'm the geek that puts together a schedule of what shows are premiering and when they start for maximum viewing/DVR'ing coverage.

I can't wait for NCIS!!  They left quite the cliff-hanger, and honestly, I'll be really upset if Ducky (or any of the other major characters) dies.

Scandal only had a short run last season, but I love good political drama!

Rumor has it that this week be the last season of Bones.  I've been hooked on this show from the beginning...and if it really is the end, I hope that Booth and Bones get married.

Runners up:
Once Upon A Time
Dancing With The Stars
Grey's Anatomy

Eff...Marry...Kill - Morning Show Edition

The awesome Michelle from The Vintage Apple and Heather from Blonde Undercover Blonde are hosting another linky-tastic round of Eff...Marry...Kill.

I probably take more joy from playing this game than I should, but I take solace in the fact that the other lovely ladies linking up have a lot of fun playing too. If you want to see my prior selections, go HERE.


This time, I'm talking about hosts of the national morning shows.  I seem to be watching either the Today Show or Good Morning America on an increasing basis...at least enough that I have opinions of the male hosts.

Eff...George Stephanopoulos.  Only for the political pillow talk afterwards.  I bet he has some doozies of stories from the White House.

Marry...Josh Elliott. He seems like such a goof-ball and completely melts when talk turns to his little girl and about being a single father.  Plus - tall, dark and handsome is my thing.

Kill...Matt Lauer.  Something about that guy just rubs me the wrong way. Never mind the fact that he allegedly had Ann Curry ousted in favor of his mistress, Savannah Guthrie.

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?

Wordless Wednesday (sorta) - Brady Edition

I still have to get the paperwork from FDR, but I'm officially a "foster failure". 

This dude is staying put!  And I couldn't be more excited.

I've know since the beginning that he was meant to stay with Meadow, Beckett, Paisley and I.  He just *fits*.  Even my veterinarian told me that I HAD to keep him!  Tell me something I don't know, doc. :-)

Here's to a lifetime of Paisley trying to smother you in your sleep little man!

Oh...since he's been "Brady" from the beginning, I'm going to keep his name.  If I could have chosen a different name, I would have, but whatever.  I, do, however need a middle name.  Suggestions?!  Reminder: I like outdoorsy/hippie name.  (ie. Meadow Breeze, Beckett Scout, Paisley Skye)

July 23, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Watermelon Margaritas

Tuesday - the yummiest day of the week!  Thanks you all you lovelies that share your recipes each week! :-)  Keep them coming.
Have you ever watched an episode of The Chew?  I just love the way that all the hosts interact with each other.  You can really tell that they're having fun! Add some yummy recipes (and Clinton's Craft Corner) and it's not an hour of wasted time.  I saw this recipe almost a month ago and, while I wanted to make it, didn't think about it again until I walked by a watermelon display in the grocery store today.  I just *had* to give in and make it!


Watermelon Margaritas
3 Cups cubed watermelon
1/4 Cup lime simple syrup
1 1/2 Cups tequila
1/4 Cup orange liqueur

Add the watermelon, lime simple syrup, tequila and orange liqueur to a blender and whirl until smooth. Pour margarita into salt rimmed rocks glasses filled with ice. Garnish with lime and watermelon wedge. (If you prefer a frozen margarita, I'd suggest freezing the watermelon before blending and add in about another cup of ice before blending.)

Recipe and picture via

What's cooking in your kitchen?

July 20, 2012

WOOF (aka Hi!)

Paisley, Brady and Meadow send kisses.

Beckett, on the other hand, would like to go back to napping on the top of the couch with his favorite blankie.

Brady (and Paisley) turned 5 months yesterday and weighs in at 8.9 pounds.  He is my little moose! Dr. W thinks he'll be 14-15 pounds!

Little Pai-sky weighed in at 6.2 pounds. Dr. W thinks she'll be under 8 pounds when she's done growing! I have to get a picture of her underbite - it just slays me.

Meadow thinks having the heatwave break calls for a roll in the grass.  I agree!

The girls welcome you to come visit....but only if they can sit on your lap and you'll feed them carrots/cookies.

July 18, 2012

3 on Thursday - Celebrity BFF

Programming note: my wordless Wednesday (aka "here, look at my fur-kids") post didn't go up as scheduled.  Darn you, Blogger!  Look for puppy cuteness on Friday instead. :-)
OK...now, where were we?  Are you having  fabulous week?!  I hope so!  I also hope you're visiting my lovely co-host, Andrea.  She's one of the sweetest people I've ever met and you should be reading her blog.  True story!

3 on Thursday

Please remember that this is a “few rules” linky, so please post about the weekly topic in order to link up. Be sure to link to your specific blog post and not your blog. Any blogs linked just to get increased traffic (ie. totally off topic) will be deleted. Please don't make us do that! Finally - please do us a favor and visit some of the other ladies to see their answers!
This week' topic:
What three celebrities would you most like to be BFF’s with?

Emma Stone. She seems so down to earth, has great style and I want the scoop on kissing Ryan Gosling!

Piper Perabo. I love her on Covert Affairs, she seems so fun, and she actually answers when you send her a tweet. (Of course, she's new to twitter, so who knows how long she'll be able to keep up with people asking questions.) Love that!!!

Reese Witherspoon. She is so pretty, fills every interview I've seen her on with Southern charm, and if what the gossip mags say is true - is one strict momma!  She totally seems like someone that I'd watch to hang out with on a regular basis.

July 16, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Vanilla Granola

Howdy!  It's Tuesday again.  I have no idea where the weekend went... It's been so hot that it probably went up in steam.  Heeheehee!  :-)  OK, I'll stop.  I know I'm not funny.

Anyway, I'm sharing my love of granola this week.  It seems to be costly in the store, but it's really economical to make yourself.


Vanilla Granola

6 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large bowl, toss oats, walnuts, coconut and sesame seeds. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook oil, honey, brown sugar, water and vanilla until well mixed. Pour over oat mixture and stir to coat evenly. Pour into two greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pans. Bake at 275 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool, stirring occasionally. Store in an airtight container.

Even though the recipe calls for coconut, I didn't use it (I'm allergic to coconut) and it still came out really well.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

July 11, 2012

3 on Thursday - Favorite Vacations

Before we start, please take minute and welcome back my lovely co-host, and one of my besties, Andrea!  She took a little break, but she's back and better than ever!
Did everone enjoy their little break from 3 on Thursday?  I did! Sometimes, we all need a little breather.  :-)  We have some great topics this month - I bet you'll love them!

3 on Thursday

This week's topic:
Vacation Plans - tell us about your 3 best vacations, or the plans you have had/are planning for this summer!

London, England
You all know how much I love Europe, right?! Well, I think I could probably move to the UK without a problem (you know, as long as I can bring my dogs and my family/friends).

Disney!  I need to go every few years and act like a little kid!  I was lucky that my parents brought me every few years - my first trip was at 2 years old - and I think it's one of those places that ALL kids should go at least once by the time they leave elementary school.

The first time I went to Sedona, Arizona was on a business trip.  I've gone back a few times since and just love it there.  It has shops and artist communities and great food - all without compromising the natural beauty of the location.

Link up and tell us about your favorite trips!

Rumor Has It...

...it's my birthday.

I could deny it.  But I won't.  Some people love their birthday.  Some people hate it.  I'm kind of...wishy-washy.  Please tell me that I'm not the only one that feels that way!

However, I do have to thank my amazing friends Andrea and Jane!  They both surprised me with presents, and I adore them for it.  There's nothing like getting a package in the mail to make your day!  Especially when your crabby mailman has to get out of his little truck and walk it up to your front porch.  Heeheehee!

The awesome Andrea got me this:

The fabulous Jane got me this:

Opi Vintage Minnie Minis 1/8 Oz 3.75 Ml 4 Pcs

Aren't I such a lucky woman?!  My birthday lunch is at Wahlburgers.  It totally makes up for spending time at the DMV. :-)

July 09, 2012

Tuesdays At The Table - Avocado Ranch Dressing

Happy Tuesday!  Did all you lovely, recipe-laden ladies see that I gave you an award yesterday?  I did!
This week, I'm sharing one of my favorite dressings.  It goes well with most salads and on a hot night, I like to just dip carrots and celery in it instead of cooking.


Avocado Ranch Dressing

½ Avocado
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
¼ Cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Buttermilk
1½ tsp White Vinegar
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Dried Parsley
1/8 tsp Onion Powder
Dash Dill
Dash Garlic Powder
Dash Ground Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Tomato – Chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp Onion – Chopped (optional)

Place the avocado in a bowl and mash with a fork until it’s smooth. Some small lumps are OK.

Add in the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the chopped tomato and onion.  Stir until everything is mixed well.

Place in a small serving bowl and top with the chopped tomato and onion (optional).

What's cooking in your kitchen?


I've been lucky enough to get a few bloggerific awards lately.  I contend that I haven't been slacking in posting about them...just waiting until the right time.  You believe me, right?!

This one comes from Nola and her mom.  Nola looks very much like a young version of Meadow! Her fur-siblings minions are pretty darn cute too. Thanks, Nola and the momma!

The rules are pretty straight forward: Thank the blogger(s) who gave you the award and link back to them. Done. Share 7 things about yourself.
  1. I have to renew my license this year...and visions of the DMV are already making me not like my birthday.
  2. It may not seem like it - but I'm REALLY shy.
  3. My cell phone ringtone is currently the minions from Despicable Me singing "Copa Cabana".
  4. I'm happiest at home, on the couch, knitting with my pups cuddling me & watching a movie.
  5. I'll be one of the first to offer you my help, but tell me what to do and all bets are off!  Oh...and I don't ask for help either. Someone needs to offer - and even then, I'll probably tell you that "I'm fine".
  6. I'm probably a little more addicted to caffeine than I should be.  Pass the Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and MaryLou's News!
  7. I can't imagine life without my dogs!  They are AWESOME!

Nominate 15 or fewer bloggers:
Mrs. Jones
Nora B. Webster

The second award is from the lovely Kristine!  She shares a love of dachshunds and is overall a really cool lady!  Thanks, love!

Here are the rules of this award:
*Include the awards logo in a post or on your blog
*Share the love and link the person who awarded you
*Tell us 7 facts about yourself
*Nominate 7 other fabulous bloggers
*Link your nominees to your post and leave them a comment on their blog, letting them know they've won! (OK...I'm cheating on this one. I'll get to as many blogs as I can, but you may get a tweet from me instead!)

  1. The summer is my least favorite season.  As a girl with asthma - humidity SUCKS!
  2. I used to LOVE wind chimes.  Now I'm surrounded by neighbors that have them...and the love has worn off.
  3. I could probably eat the BBQ steak pizza from the pizzeria by my house every night for a week.
  4. I have a really hard time saying "no" to people.
  5. I love airplanes and roller coasters...but am PETRIFIED of heights.
  6. I keep a list of all the things I'd do & people I'd help if I won the lottery.
  7. I have this weird obsession with flavored seltzer water.  It was the only way I could give up soda (yes, I still cheat out at restaurants).

Nominate 7 bloggers:
Mrs. Smith
Preppy Girl Meets World
Beach Bum & Baby

The last award is from Jaimie!  She's one of the lovelies that links up her recipes for Tuesday at the Table.  Thank you, Jaimie!!!!

Because I've already shared a whole bunch of facts - I'm going to rebel and not share 7 more facts.  I'm also going to tag ALL my Tuesdays at the Table folks for this award.  :-)

 If your interested...I'll be blogging here from time to time too. I linked you to my first post. You all know I'd do anything for a dog, especially a dachshund!

July 05, 2012


Because I'm a little scattered, I'm just going to give updates on a few things. Beware, out come the bullet points! Heeheehee :-)

  • I passed my CNA state test!  Woohoo!  Hopefully I'll have a new job pretty quickly.
  • If you didn't read it before, Andrea and I are skipping "3 on Thursday" this week.  We'll be back with fun new topics next week!
  • I'm thrilled to announce that Mrs. Jones will now be co-hosting book club with me!  You all know and love her, right?! If you haven't met her yet, so visit her now! Because only two people (I think) read the June book, let's just use it for July.  Everyone OK with that?
  • I will be moving to a .com website pretty soon.  I'll be planning it to coincide with my new blog name and design. I'm so excited!
  • This is going to sound weird.  Especially for any of you that don't have dogs.  When I got bitten last week, all I could think about was my dogs. And...I knew right away that Brady, my foster boy, belongs in my home. I've asked the board to keep him and could use a few crossed fingers that I get a "yes".
  • I'll be going to the plastic surgeon on Friday to get my stitches out.  My PCP doesn't feel comfortable taking them out, and this way I can get a consult at the same time. The swelling is going down, and my lip is fairly numb.  Hopefully that's temporary.  More news after the doctor's appointment!
  • The worst part for me right now is that because of nightmares, the little sleep I get (as an insomniac, I get little sleep to begin with), is compromised.  If anyone has tips, hints, experience on dealing with nightmares - please let me know.
  • Jack-Jack is still hanging in.  He's fighting a rough battle and we still don't know that the outcome will be.  His puncture wounds are healing well, but he has a broken snout.  Additionally, he's had four blood transfusions, been intubated (it's back out now), been given a feeding tube (coming out soon), has arrested twice, had four seizures and there's a possibility that he's had a stroke.  Prayers for Jack-Jack and his family are GREATLY appreciated.
I also want to thank each of you.  Somehow talking about my dog bite experience has garnered a few nasty emails and lost me a couple followers. That you all stuck by me means a whole lot! The tweets, texts, emails and blog comments have brightened my day and let me know that I really do have an online support network.  Please know that I'll be here for you too.  :-)

Lastly, if you made it through my updates without wanting to throttle me, congratulations!  Here, have a puppy picture!

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