Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ice Tea for Me!

Tea With Lemon on the Rocks Please!

It has been a long run of heat and humidity (mostly humidity) and as I write this post a thunderstorm is in progress. It isn't one of those intense, violent storms but rather a gentle rain and an occasional clap of thunder. Most of the more constant thunder rumbles off in the distance. I like these kinds of thunderstorms.

Quenching my thirst was on my list of things to do today as well as laundry and grocery shopping. Before heading out to grocery shop, I boiled two quarts of water, added 6 regular LIPTON tea bags and 4 TAZO orange tea bags and covered to steep for 7-8 minutes. Then I refrigerated after cooling for a bit.

When I got home the tea was cooler . I added sliced lemons.

Lemons--one of my favorite fruits and flavors! When life gives me lemons I say thank you very much!

Grabbed myself a cup and filled it with ice.....

And there you have it--Orange Ice Tea on the Rocks with Lemon

I like my tea a little on the weak side and the Tazo adds a subtle citrus twist which is really refreshing and thirst quenching. I sat down on the porch, put my feet up on the wicker table (oh oh!) and enjoyed my tea. 

In the short time I have taken to write this post, the gentle rain has become a torrential downpour and the thunder and lightning has picked up as well. Still far from being a violent storm. This has been our weather trend over the past week or so. Hoping tomorrow brings us a little sun! Have a great week and stay cool!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Applesauce-Stuffed, Baked Pork Chops

Some Time for Me, Myself and I

Dinner tonight--recipe below

This afternoon I realized that I was very hungry. With the heat and humidity over the past several days, I have not had much of an appetite so I have not been eating as much as I normally do. I think it finally caught up with me and instead of snacking on veggies and dip or other small meals I had been eating, tonight I needed a filling dinner.

No one was home but me. So I spoiled myself rotten. I baked some stuffed pork chops--this used to be one of my favorite dinners growing up. It's my mom's recipe and it is delicious and EASY to prepare. Everyone thinks I go to great lengths whenever I make this, but it is a quick stir and throw it in the oven kind of dish! I also baked sweet potatoes (added a sprinkle of cinnamon) and cooked some fresh green beans.

How to prepare the stuffing: (for 3 center cut, bone-in pork chops)

3 slices of Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 C applesauce (sometimes I add more)
Yup, that's all folks!

Tear the slices of bread into small, bite-sized pieces and place in a small mixing bowl. Add the applesauce and stir. Divide evenly and place on the pork chops covering them entirely. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until done.

It doesn't get much easier than that! I have added craisins, chopped apple, walnuts, onions and celery--whatever floats my boat at the particular time....the pork chops are so nice and moist when they come out of the oven. The stuffing is delicious! 

I decided to spoil myself even further by making a cocktail for myself using mostly (Simply Lemonade brand) pink raspberry lemonade, a little margarita mixer, a bit of tequila and some frozen raspberries. That was really refreshing!!(The photo makes this look much larger than it actually was--just wanted to clarify that!!! LOL!)

I love raspberries! 

I had a nice quiet dinner alone, out on the porch as thunderstorms were rolling in. I find the sound of distant thunder peaceful and relaxing. I dined in peace and quiet, with my dog Ellie at my side.

"All four elements were happening in equal measure--the cuisine, the wine, the service and the overall ambience. It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level."
Charlie Trotter

Stars and Stripes

Sew Easy Project for Patriotic Beginners and Kids

This began as one of those serendipitous moments. I was out on my back porch folding a load of freshly washed linens (which I love to do btw) and I happened to glance over at a shelf holding my fabric stash. That's when it happened! 

I saw this:

then I saw this:

Are you now thinking what I was thinking? 

I liken my experience to the old commercial for the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (and I am probably dating myself here) where the lady holding a chocolate bar stumbles into the gentleman holding a jar of peanut butter. 
Then the couple exchanges accusatory words: "You got chocolate in my peanut butter".  "Well, you got peanut butter on my chocolate bar." Then they lock eyes, they have this magical second or two before the light bulbs go on and the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is born.

I saw stars and I saw stripes and I had that same "aha" moment, though not nearly as corny! So I pulled out the fabric and whipped up a quick 4th of July project that anyone can do. I did this without a pattern, eyeballed the entire thing and ended up with a pillow approximately 14" x 10". 

If that size is fine with you, then your first step will be to cut (2) pieces of fabric and add 1/4" to 1/2" for seam allowance. For kids, it is sometimes easier for them to sew a wider seam allowance. Even easier, cut the fabric in a strip 28 1/2" wide (I did this) and that leaves only 3 sides to be stitched.

Then cut a piece from the blue fabric. Again I eyeballed it and cut a piece about 6 3/4".  I turned in the edges (to the wrong side--see above) on the right hand and bottom sides of the blue fabric as the piece will be stitched to the red fabric. The left side and top side of the blue fabric will be stitched into the seam allowance of the pillow.

Pin in place. 

Stitch the right side....

next...the bottom. Be sure to stitch very close to the edge.

Press with an iron. Here you can see that I used one long piece of red fabric. This makes stitching a breeze--great for kids or first timers! I then folded in half...

You can pin sides together before sewing.

I stitched around the 3 sides and left about a 3" opening so I could stuff it.

Turned it right-side out....

Pressed it with an iron....

Added stuffing...

I like my pillows stuffed very full....

Pin the opening and whipstitch it closed. Your star spangled banner is now complete. easy start to your 4th of July decorating. Great rainy day  project for the kids.  It is just pouring here!

Place it in a spot that needs some holiday color. (I have not whipstitched my opening closed yet as you can see if you look closely)

I have plenty of red ticking fabric left (I got this good sized remnant on clearance at Joanne's) so I have some other 4th of July ideas I hope to create and post, time permitting! 
Please scroll down to view update to this post: a larger pillow top that coordinates with the pillow above!

"You're a grand old flag....."

Linking this post to:

The Charm of Home's Home Sweet Home #125 CLICK HERE

The Tablescaper's Seasonal Sunday Party CLICK HERE for some more 4th of July inspiration!

More link-ups after the update below!


I have been working on another pillow top to coordinate with the American Flag pillow I made this morning. This one is pieced and much larger.

Not sure what I will back this pillow with....just completed the top 
for now! Hooray for the red, white and blue....

sew many ways
2014 Link ups:
The Checkered Apple's Patriotic Link Party. Click HERE to visit or to link up your patriotic creations!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


How to Survive a Cake DISASTER! A DIY Fix!

Over a week ago I called a local bakery to have a special cake made for my daughter's graduation. They were completely booked due to many graduation cake requests. Since my oldest daughter lives in the Boston area I decided to find a bakery near her. Knowing she would be coming up the day before the party to attend the evening graduation, well, I just thought how convenient that she could pick it up! No problem, right? WRONG!

I called the shop and told them my daughter wanted an all pink theme so the cake should be pink. The baker asked me to send her an email with some details and she would get right back to me. By the next morning, I had heard nothing so I called the shop again. She never received my email. So we went over the details again and I told her my daughter would pick it up Friday morning at 10. (Even thought the party was on Saturday)

My daughter and her fiance went to the bakery earlier that morning to eat breakfast and then asked for the cake. It was not frosted yet because they thought she was picking it up the next morning. PANIC! She had to leave to come here as she is almost 3 hours away from us and she had errands to complete before graduation that afternoon. She was sent home for a couple of hours while they frosted the cake. However, the frosting had not set and during the long ride home the frosting started to melt and the cake eventually ended up breaking in 2 places. This is what I saw when it arrived:

No way was that going on my dessert table!

Now that is some bad penmanship! 

Not to mention--not in my color scheme!

There were tears--I admit! Though I don't think anyone noticed....

WHAT TO DO??? I went to graduation that night heartsick as I had over 70 people coming to a party at 2:00 the next day and I already had to decorate the camp that we rented, make potato salad, additional sandwiches etc. and lug all the party "stuff" to the camp. I worried and fretted all during graduation! To top it off, people stood up in front of us the entire time so I never saw my daughter at all during the ceremony! I will have to wait for the video!

While we were at graduation, we had placed the cake in our freezer chest and it froze enough that my daughter was able to scrape off all the previously melted chocolate lettering and those other chocolate things in the corner that resembled graduation caps...????

THE FIX!!! I went to bed late doing some other food prep and got up early to make a batch of white frosting thinking I was going to have to refrost the entire cake, but then I realized I could use all the frosting that had been star-tipped on and melted and I used it to refrost all sides and part of the top. There were two big cracks so I printed off a photo I had taken of my daughter just before graduation and I slipped it into a plastic magnet enclosure and covered the back with wax paper. Then I framed the photo with star tipping. Then I star-tipped a border around the entire cake (top and bottom) and in all 4 corners where some chocolate had melted into the frosting. We added a bow (the graduates idea and my mom happened to have some pink ribbons) and the little white edible pearls which were perfect as the grad had pearls on around her neck and it all tied in nicely!!!!!


The ribbon actually hides a crack that went all the way through the cake. 

The photo covered up another crack.

Not perfect, but it is a cake I can live with! At least more presentable!

PS The bakery did not charge us for the cake. (lol now but not lol then....)Though it will not go down in history for being the prettiest cake, it was absolutely most delicious. (Vanilla cake with raspberry buttercream frosting with my white frosting) It made for a great story at the party. I brought a "BEFORE" photo to show everyone!

Party photos to follow.....

Updated 4/27/2014

"A Scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do whenever anything unexpected happens."
Lord Baden-Powell

Linking up to:

The Charm of Home's Home Sweet Home's  #124 CLICK HERE

Family Home and Life's Wow Us Wednesday Party, CLICK HERE
The Everyday Home's Home(work) Wednesday Party CLICK HERE

Love Bakes Good Cakes All My Bloggy Friends, CLICK HERE

All My Bloggy Friends

Fluster Buster's Creative Muster CLICK HERE

Fluster Buster

Ivy and Elephant's What's it Wednesday Linky Party CLICK HERE

Ivy and Elephants

The Farmhouse Porch's Tuesday's The Scoop CLICK HERE

Domesblissity's Thriving on Tuesdays Linky Party #73 CLICK HERE

Sew Crafty Angel's Thursday's Favorite Things Blog Hop CLICK HERE
Rooted in Thyme's Simple & Sweet Fridays Linky Party CLICK HERE. I just love the journals pictured in the post connected to the above link.
Rooted In Thyme
The Dedicated House's Make it Pretty Monday Party CLICK HERE. I just happened upon this blog--beautiful! Can't wait to get back in time and do some reading....