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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blue Monday: Roatan, Honduras

Photo by Melanie Holden
My cousins Melanie and Kurt celebrated their anniversary in Roatan, Honduras recently.  Melanie took this picture.  Isn't it beautiful and ideal for Blue Monday?

Be sure to stop by Sally's blog to say hello and wish her well.  

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HOW HOT IS IT?

Shoo-wee!

Is it hot in your neck of the woods?  
It has been unbelievably hot throughout 
much of the US with indices well above 100!  

Google Images
The least little effort leaves you wilted.  
Google Images
Pulling weeds for about five minutes 
the other night left me looking like I ran a marathon. 

I was so happy when I received an email from 
Taste of Home that included a recipe for a 
strawberry spritzer.  It is just what we 
needed to help us cool our bodies.

STRAWBERRY SPRITZER
1 10-oz. package frozen sweetened sliced strawberries, thawed
2 liters lemon-lime soda, like 7up or Sprite
1 can pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

Place strawberries in blender; process until pureed.
Pour into large pitcher and stir in soda and 
lemonade concentrate.  Serve immediately.

HOW HOT IS IT IN OHIO?
A picture is worth a 1,000 words!
I will be linking to Foodie Friday
 MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday: Letter O

Hello Friends.

Today Miss Jenny's class is exploring the letter O.  
Hop on over to her blog to find some fun and interesting posts. 
Over the past few weeks, most of the US has been experiencing 
Opressive heat. 
Google Images
Many areas are seeing triple digit 
temperatures and heat indices.  
***
Whenever temperatures reach this level, 
the only thing I think about is the  
Ocean.  
I  wonder with this heat
if it would be cool and refreshing
or feel like bath water?
***
One more thing before I go...
 I am much Obliged to Barbara

I won this beautiful Park Lane
jewelry from her wonderful blog. 

Thank you so much, Barbara!

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blast from the Past: Harry Potter

Jordan is a huge Harry Potter fan.  I credit J K Rowling with developing Jordan's love for reading.  Therefore, we always celebrate the premiere of the latest movie and have a standing date to see it the first weekend.

Today, we're only going to go back to 2001 to the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneLook how young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint appear in this first movie.  Aren't they adorable?

These young actors have entertained us for 10 years with their adventures at Hogwarts, their battles against he who shall not be named, and their growing pains.  It was bittersweet last weekend when we viewed the last film of this magical series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  
These brilliant actors have grown from young children into responsible adults.  I feel as though they are a part of our family.  Whatever the future brings for them, I am confident they will be successful.  

Are you a Harry Potter Fan?  I'd love to hear your stories. 
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Horrible Bosses and a Drink for Sally

Hello Friends.  

I hope you had a fun weekend and didn't swelter in the 2011 heat wave that seems to have a grip on most of the country.  

Ashlee and I had a girls night out on Saturday.  We went to see Horrible Bosses in Columbus.  This star-studded romp was so fun and was just what I needed to decompress from a hectic week.  
Google Images
The movie follows three friends (Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day) who work for the worst of the worst of bosses (Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston).  Their solution?  They would each kill the other one's boss.  As you can imagine....that is easier said than done.  

We enjoyed the movie very much, but if you are easily offended you may want to pass on the R-rated movie.  Actors also appearing in this movie are Bob Newhart, Donald Sutherland.  Julie Bowen, and Jamie Foxx.

Before the movie, Ashlee and I stopped into Keystone Pub for a drink.  I had an Electric Lemonade in honor of Sally, who is still recuperating from her surgery.  I think she would love this color of blue, don't you?
Here's to you, Sally.  Cheers!


HEY EVERYONE ~ SALLY HAS RESUMED 
HER BLOG PARTY, BLUE MONDAY.
HOP OVER AND SAY HELLO!


MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ice Cream Social Wrap Up and Winners

Hello Friends.

Thank you so much for joining me for my first link party.  Ice cream seems to be a favorite no matter where you are from.  It was so fun to meet new friends and to visit those I've known for a while.  (Like how I skirted around using the word old?)
Wasn't it interesting to visit Spain, France, the UK, Australia, and different areas of North America to see how our neighbors in those locals enjoy this sweet, creamy, and cold delicacy?
I enjoyed reading about the Fish Man and Phil, the ice cream man, didn't you?  Some of you made ice cream using very unique ingredients: daylily ice cream, candied bacon ice cream, Horchata which is made using tubers of the Cyperus esculentus.  Who knew??
 

There are so many fantastic recipes I don't know where to begin.  I hope you try at least a couple of these wonderful desserts.

Look!  I won Cindy's Ice Cream Social tag.  Isn't it adorable?  I love it! 
Now, for the prizes.  As you recall, there is a grand prize which includes the Martha Stewart Ice Cream serving set for four and a Zyliss ice cream scoop.  Also, four participants will receive the Scoop of Love ice cream scoops.  

We had 40 participants.  Using the Random Number Generator, the following ladies will receive a prize.


GRAND PRIZE WINNER

The four Scoop of Love ice cream scoops go to the following friends:
Esther from Not Quite Perfect
Kathleen from Cuisine Kathleen  
Cool Mom of the Year from the Tablescaper

Congratulations to all the winners.  Please email me your address so I can get your goodies out to you.  

Stay tuned for a new party very soon. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alphabe-Thursday: N is for...

It's time to join Jenny Matlock 
for another Alphabe-Thursday.  

This weeks letter? 

N

Google Images
 N is for NIAGARA FALLS

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Smooth Sailing for Sally

Those of who participate in Blue Monday at Smiling Sally know she has been ill.  Sweet BJ suggested until Sally is well enough to resume her blog party,  we should post blue on Mondays in her honor.  I think that is a fabulous idea!

Also, please stop by Sally's blog and leave her your well wishes.  Her lovely granddaughters are reading them to her.  Today I am wishing Sally smooth sailing as she continues to recuperate.  


MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Victorian Tea

Hello Friends.

Recently, I took my great niece, Makayla, to Biddie's Coach House for a Victorian Tea.  Biddie's is located in Dublin, Ohio in its historic downtown. 
The present Dublin Historic District was originally part of the Virginia Military District.  The main dining room of the coach house was constructed by Cornelius Orrman in the 1830’s Over one-hundred years ago, diners and travelers were welcomed here when Mary Johnson Sells opened the Sells Hotel in this building. Under the caring hands of Aunt Mary Sells, the Sells Hotel gained a distinguished reputation for excellent service and fine meals. 
Today, it houses a quaint tea room which serves as an ideal local for bridal showers, reunions, or simply girls' day out.   On this particular day, we were celebrating Makayla's birthday.  Coma and join us.
Makayla was quick to demonstrate the proper way to sip tea or, in her case, hot chocolate.  Her teapot was filled with hot chocolate and piled high with Devonshire Cream.  She loved it!
We started out with soup.  Makayla chose cream of broccoli and I chose a cold peach soup.  It was delicious.  After the soup, trays of decadence were brought out for us to enjoy.       
The waitress was so sweet and attentive and truly made our visit special.  She even took several photos of us. 
We'd like to thank the lovely ladies of Biddie's Coach House for a perfect afternoon of girly fun. 

I will be sharing this with Mosaic Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, and Teacup Tuesday.

MAKE IT A GREAT DAY! 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ice Cream Social

Hello Friends.

Welcome to A Musing Potpourri’s Ice Cream Social! Today is National Ice Cream Day; what better occasion for my first link party? Come on in and make yourself at home.

Whether you like your ice cream in a bowl with lots of toppings 
Skylar enjoys his first ice cream cone at G-ma-La's
or piled high on a cone like Skylar, you are invited to enjoy yourself.
I thought it would be fun to have a sundae bar today. Jordan and my nephews love it when we have a sundae bar…although Haiden is a goofball and likes only white ice cream. Don’t even try to sneak French Vanilla past him…
The table is set just for you. I bought these polka dot plates and red bowls at Walmart on clearance. Aren’t they cheerful? The bowls are big enough so you can build an impressive ice cream tower of goodness.  The dessert spoons are dipped in chocolate....YUM!  I found the sweet favors at Party City. Each spoon has a heart-shaped bowl and the handle reads Scoop of Love. So cute!
Instead of cupcakes, my cupcake stand is holding cups of ice cream toppings. There are assorted chopped candy bars, nuts, gummies, and coconut. You have your choice of syrup as well. Chocolate, caramel, fudge…what is your favorite? Don’t forget the whipped cream and cherry!
This is such a fun dessert to have with kids, but one word of advice…make sure you have at least one extra can of the whipped topping. Whether it is piled high atop a grand sundae or squirted directly into the mouth (yes, Aunt La encourages allows such behavior), it is a favorite with the kids.

What is your idea of the perfect ice cream sundae?
I’m so happy that you are here to join in the fun. All participants will be entered to win this 8-piece ice cream serving set from Martha Stewart and a complementing Zyliss ice cream scoop. Not only that, but four of you will be drawn to receive one of the Scoop of Love favors.
 
So what did you bring to share today?

Directions for linking:


Be sure to link up the permalink and not your general blog address. To get your permalink, click on your post name, then just copy and paste the address that shows up in the address bar at the top of your blog, into the "url" box.

Please include a link in your post back to this party so your regular readers will be able to find the party 

If you have any questions, email me. 



MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!







Ice Cream Dessert

Hello Everyone.  


Sunday is National Ice Cream Day and I am hosting an ice cream social at A Musing Potpourri.  

In conjunction with the social, all participants will be entered in a giveaway.  The party begins Saturday at 5:00 PM EST.  

I am also joining Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet for her ice cream social.  Be sure to hop over to her blog and link up. 
I'm sharing a delicious dessert featuring ice cream.  You know those recipes that have really creative names?  This isn't one of those.  It is called.....Ice Cream Dessert.  What it lacks in cleverness, it makes up in flavor.  
Ice Cream Dessert
1 Large or 2 Small Vanilla Instant Pudding Mixes
1 Quart Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Package of Shortbread Cookies, like Lorna Doone
 4 Large or 8 Small Chocolate Covered Toffee Bars, like Heath (freeze)
2 Cups Cold Milk
1 Stick Butter or Margerine
1 Medium Tub of Whipped Topping, like Cool Whip


Crush cookies until they are fine crumbs.  To these, add melted butter or margarine.  Mix together and press into a 9x13 pan.  Bake in 350* oven for 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Combine softened ice cream, pudding and milk.  Beat until well blended and pour into crust.  Let chill one hour.  Top with whipped topping and sprinkle with crushed candy.  


Keep refrigerated. 










MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Celebrity Cook-along Bobby Flay: Biscuits

It is mid month and we all know what that means.  It is time to join Lynn and Earl at Happier than a Pig in Mud for Celebrity Cook Along.  This month's guest chef is Bobby Flay. 
I decided to try Bobby's Pepper Biscuits.  The family reviews were split.  I thought this recipe was fantastic, but Jordan prefers another recipe better.  I'll let you decide.
Let's cook!

Throwdown Pepper Biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus 4 tablespoons, melted
1 1/2 cups cold buttermilk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, not super fine and not coarse, somewhere in between

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using a dough cutter, combine until ingredients are incorporated. Scatter the cold butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture and continue to combine until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and pulse until the mixture just begins to come together.

Scrape the dough onto a lightly flour counter. Pat the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle about 3/4-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out biscuits. Press together the scraps of dough, and repeat process. Place the biscuits on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper; brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush the tops with melted butter.
I hope to see you this weekend as we celebrate National Ice Cream Day with an ice cream social link party.  See you there!

I'm also linking up to Friday Food at Mom Trends.
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Alphabe Thursday: M is for Mozzarella

One of the great aspects of blogging is all the inspiration and motivation gleaned from other bloggers.  Recently, I was inspired by a post written by Yvonne at Stone Gable.  She wrote a very informational post, complete with beautiful photography, about making mozzarella.  

I didn’t even know you could make mozzarella cheese at home.  Yvonne provided a link to the New England Cheesemaking CompanyThe company offers cheese making tools and specialty ingredients.  Because I am a novice, I chose one of their beginner mozzarella/ricotta cheese kits.  The kit includes citric acid, rennet, cheese salt, a dairy thermometer, and instructions.  

Rennet: There are two types of rennet used for cheese making purposes.  One is a substance made from the inner lining of the fourth stomach of calves and other young ruminants (any cud-chewing hoofed mammal with an even number of toes and a stomach with multiple chambers) which contains the enzyme rennin.  The second type is a vegetarian substitute made from plants.

Citric Acid:  A weak colorless acid used in flavorings.

Ok, now that we know what we are working with, here's what you will need.

Equipment
Stainless Steel, or any other non-aluminum or non-cast iron pot with 1 gallon capacity.
Dairy thermometer
Colander
Slotted spoon
Long knife
Microwaveable bowl

Ingredients
1 Gallon Whole Milk
¼ Rennet Tablet dissolved in ¼ Cup Non-chlorinated Water
1½ Teaspoons of Citric Acid dissolved in 1 Cup Non-chlorinated Water
1 Teaspoon Cheese Salt

Please note
  • Do not prepare any other food while you are making cheese.
  • Put all food products away
  • Move all sponges, cloths and dirty towels away from your work surface, wipe your sink and stove with soap and water.
  • Finally use your antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.

Directions
Crush 1/4 tablet of rennet and dissolve in 1/4 cup of cool non-chlorinated water and set aside to use later.
Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of citric acid to 1 cup cool non-chlorinated water and pour into pot.  Add milk to pot while stirring vigorously.  (This will bring the milk to the proper acidity to stretch well later.)  Heat milk to 90*.  As you approach 90*, you may notice the milk beginning to curdle.
At 90*,  remove the pot from the burner and slowly add the dissolved rennet to the milk and stir in a top to bottom motion for about 30 seconds.  Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.

Check the curd, it will look like custard, with a clear separation between the curds and whey.  If too soft or the whey is milky, let set for a few more minutes.
Cut the curds into a 1" checkerboard pattern.

Place the pot back on the stove and heat to 105*, while slowly stirring the curds with your slotted spoon.  
Take off the burner and continue slowly stirring for 2-5 minutes. (More time will make a firmer cheese)
Drain the curds in the colander and place the curds in a microwave safe bowl.  You will now press this curd gently with your hand, pouring off as much whey as possible. (You may reserve this whey to use in cooking.)
Next microwave the curd on high for 1 minute. You will notice more whey has run out of the curd. Drain off all whey as you go.  Quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands until it is cool enough to touch (rubber gloves will help since the cheese is almost too hot to touch at this point)  Microwave 2 more times for 35 seconds each and repeat the kneading.  Knead quickly now as you would bread dough until it is smooth and shiny. Add salt near the finish.

I am sharing this adventure in cheese making with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe Thursday and Michael West’s Foodie Friday
 
 
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!

    


Google Image
At this point the cheese should be soft and pliable enough to stretch like taffy.   I am not talented enough to stretch the cheese and take pictures simultaneously so I borrowed an image from Google. 
Form cheese into a ball or log and drop into ice water to cool and refrigerate.  When cold you can wrap in plastic wrap and it will last for several days but is best when eaten fresh.