Field Trip Friends plus Beautiful Brunch equals Great Birthday!
So I turned 39 yesterday. Can I just tell you how happy I am to turn 39. I will be ecstatic to turn 40 and I will be in bliss when I am 79! Breast cancer at 36 puts many things into perspective - and let me tell you - birthday's are one of them. I remember when I was first diagnosed many of my friends were turning 40. I remember thinking "God - please just let me turn 40". The minute I prayed this I distinctly remember praying while I was in college "God - Please let me just get married and have a child in my lifetime". I realize now that I should have thought more long term with my prayers. Insert NOTE TO SELF - HERE!
My beautiful friend Julie was silly enough to find 3 friends who all have birthdays within a week of each other. She had us all over to her beautiful downtown home. With the help of our other friend Mary - she put on a wonderful brunch.
The weather was 70 and sunny and with a table setting like this....you just knew it was going to be a great day!
Of course Meredith, our Field Trip Mascot was invited. Who else could we blame for all the eaten Fractured Prune doughnuts?
Julie is one of my friends who shares my love of cooking. Look what she does with her Kitchen Aid mixer. Each season brings a new "costume" for her well used friend. At Christmas the reindeer antlers and red nose "supervise" the cookie making.
I think when you are young, your heart longs for a Best Friend; but as you grow older and wiser - you come to realize - the more the merrier! I thank God for all the friends He has put on my path. I am continually learning from all of them and I hope I get the chance to live to 79 so I can just keep collecting them.
Thank you Julie and Mary for making # 39 worth repeating - Let's do 39 again next year!
My daughter, Jensen, is involved with a group of girls from our church. The group calls themselves the Faithgirlz. I am very excited Jensen is learning how to better cope with friendships, parents and her own emotions through this group. I wish I was given these instructions when I was her age. I still have days, with my friends, that I have to scratch my head and wonder "What just happened there?" I don't think life gets any easier - so filling her proverbial tool bag with helpful solutions can only help Jensen on her journey of life. Last month I volunteered to bring the treat. I knew I had to do two things: Make something tasty and make it as big as their face. Even a bad treat - when made big- seems like the greatest thing! I made three pans. Each pan was a 9 by 13 and I cut them into 6 pieces each. Those are some big treats!
Another "No Fail" idea - which I learned from Big Red Kitchen's Robin Sue, is package it pretty. Even simple treats, when packaged appropriately, seem like a delicacy! Robin Sue introduced me to the wax paper "Pouch" and I have used them ever since. I used my Avery Business card templet to make the tags to staple onto the bags. Just ran them off on regular paper to save money.
What treat do you like to make for your kids clubs?
Just as my mom got ready for the Race for the Cure in Florida by baking up a batch of yummy cupcakes for her team meeting, I am getting into the Race Mode for the race in Washington D.C. June 6th. It is so wonderful to see people coming together to work for a cure for not only breast cancer but all cancers as we all benefit from on-going research. The Pelican Landing Pink Pelicans made their goal this year in spite of the economy. My mom showed me their team picture. This is a group that just started three years ago and I was astonished to see they have grown to 200 people.
My mother was brought to tears this year as they walked behind a family. Each one wore a tag on the back of their shirt. One said - He lost his wife, the next- I lost my mother, the next- I lost my grandmother, the next - I lost my sister, the next - I lost my neighbor and then others said - I lost my friend. This was only one person who had lost her battle but how great a loss it was. Those are reasons to Race for the Cure.
Three years ago was the first time I walked for a Cure. I had a fitting hair do for the day and held my head high as I crossed the finish line having just undergone one of my chemo treatments just two days prior.
This is a picture of "Rindy's Pink Posse" - the title I gave my support team. These ladies loved on me and my family throughout my entire cancer journey. That first year they walked for me, last year we walked for our mothers and daughters, and this year we are dedicating our race to a young teacher at my daughter's school. Ms. Chanel is young, energetic and beautiful and heard those crazy words - YOU HAVE CANCER on September of this past year. She has been a fantastic teacher throughout all her treatments and we're excited to get to show her some love this year.
If you would like more information on my team or the Susan G. Koman organization just click HERE!
Can you find the smiling cupcake in the picture above? Once we find a cure - I'm sure all the cupcakes will have smiles!
So today my "Healthy Hero" friend, Cindy, gave me her homemade Power/Breakfast/Healthy treat Bars. As usual, I was a little suspicious of the ingredients since she wouldn't tell me what was in them until I had a bite. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste as well as the ingredient list.
As a breast cancer survivor, I have been instructed to stay away from soy. I know there are all different schools of thought on the subject, but I am listening to my oncologist and just steering clear of the stuff. Do you know how hard it is to find a breakfast bar without soy in it? I have fallen in love with the Lara Bar - and with their oodles of flavors I'm usually set. I am happy to have found this treat to give my taste buds a change and save a little change as well.
Make a batch and see if you don't love them as well!
Cindy's Healthy Breakfast Bar
1 1/4 cup flour (Cindy actually ground some oats for me in her Vita mixer. IMPRESSIVE!) 1 teaspoon non-alum baking powder 3 eggs, well beaten 1 cup pitted dates, soaked in 1/4 cup hot water to soften 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
In a bowl, thoroughly whisk eggs. Add flour, baking powder and mix. Add dates and nuts. Pour into lightly greased 8 x8x2 pan. Bake at 250 for 40 minutes. Do not over cook. Should stay moist.
Bonus Ingredients: Try adding dried orange or lemon peel, coconut, crushed pineapple, or chopped and dehydrated apricots.
One more confectionary concoction from Curt (Gumpa) and his Sourdough Starter!
Sourdough Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup sourdough starter 1 cup peanut butter 1 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups flour, plus more if needed to make formable dough 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix sourdough starter, peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Add to sourdough mixture, adding a little more flour if needed to form balls. Form into small balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Yields 36 cookies. For variation add 2 cups choc. chips. These cookies can also be iced with a confectionary sugar icing.
When my mom made these over Spring Break she mixed the ingredients and treated half the dough like sugar cookies and added chocolate chips to the remaining dough. Both were wonderful. This dough makes a wonderful soft and moist cookie. Try some with your starter!
and this is his "Sour" side. Both make him extremely Happy! This is him making kissy faces at his latest bottle of starter. As you can see - it certainly makes him pucker!
My father has been making bread for as long as I can remember. There is nothing that makes him happier then a VERY sour sourdough. The Twangier the better! Here is a link to help you get started on the STARTER!
On this day - my father used his starter to make pancakes with my girls.
The night before, mix 1/2 cup Starter, 1 1/4 cup Water, 1/2 cup Flour and let sit in a warm place until the next morning, then add 2 Eggs, 1 Tblspn Sugar, 1/4 tsp. Salt, 1/2 cup Flour, 2 Tblspn Oil and.....
... just before cooking mix in 1 tsp. Baking Soda. This is the magic ingredient!
Last week when we were in Florida for Spring Break I knew to expect one thing. A "Ladies" lunch! My sweet mom always tries to take me and my girls out for a special luncheon. We all pretend we are important ladies out for our high tea with watercress sandwiches and petit fours. It works for about 10 minutes - until my oldest bursts out with one of her contagious laughs. It's fun while it lasts!
This Spring break she chose "The Veranda" for a Hot Brown sandwich. My mother's neighbor Tweedy grew up in Kentucky and introduced my mom to this delicacy - and instantly my mom knew this would be where her "Ladies" would lunch!
We dressed in our Spring Break best and headed up the road about 45 minutes to this lovely establishment in the Fort Myers downtown area. They sat us by the fireplace where we had beautiful views of the veranda! It was a little cool on this spring day to actually sit on the veranda - We wouldn't want our lovely little ladies to freeze - now would we!
This was the Hot Brown - it was as gorgeous to see as it was to eat! Tweedy had previously given my mom her recipes for the amazing sandwich.
Original Hot Brown Cheese Sauce: 2 Tablespoons Butter 1/4 cup flour 2 cups milk 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Melt butter in a sauce pan; blend in flour. Add milk, cheese and seasoning, stirring constantly until smooth and thick. Set aside. Sandwich: 8 slices trimmed toast 1 pound sliced turkey breast or ham 8 slices tomatoes 8 slices bacon; cooked 4 oz Parmesan Cheese Sprigs of parsley
Cut toast into triangles and put into baking dish. Arrange turkey slices on toast and cover with hot cheese sauce. Top with tomatoes and bacon or ham. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 until bubbly. Garnish with parsley.
The picture above is Tweedy and her man Gene- Isn't she as cute as her name!!!
Another Variation of the Hot Brown Sauce: 2 Tablespoons butter 2 Tablespoons flour Salt to taste 1 (3 1/2 oz) can sliced mushrooms; drained (or 1/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms sauted) Dash of Cayenne pepper 1 chicken bouillon cube 1/4 teaspoon curry powder 1 Tablespoon Sherry 1 cup milk Melt butter in a small skillet; blend flour and salt. Remove from heat; stir in milk slowly until smooth. Return to heat; stir in mushrooms and bouillon cube. Cook until bouillon cube is dissolved and mixture thickens. Add Sherry.
Sandwiches: 4 slices of toast 4 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced 4 slices bacon, cooked and sliced in half 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Place toast on 4 oven safe dishes. Cover with sliced chicken or turkey breasts. Pour sauce over sandwiches. Sprinkle with cheese and place pieces of bacon criss cross on top. Place under broiler and broil until bubbly!
If you're ever in Fort Myers, Florida don't forget to check out "The Veranda"! Go on a Tuesday because that is the only day you can get a Hot Brown - and it is completely worth it!
My mom threw this together one night when we were in Florida last week. It was delicious! With every bite my brain didn't know whether to register sweet, salty or savory. I enjoyed the confusion immensely! Confuse your brain today and whip up a batch!
2 Sweet potatoes 3 white potatoes 1 cup mayonnaise (or to taste) 1 Tablespoon PickaPeppa Sauce (may substitute Worcester sauce) 1/2 red onion, minced 1 stalk celery (she wanted to put 2 stalks in - but you know how I feel about celery) 4 oz pimentos, drained 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
Peel and dice potatoes. Boil white potatoes - about 1/2 way through add sweet potatoes. Drain when fork tender. Cool in fridge at least 1 hour. Mix remaining ingredients then add cooled potatoes to mixture. Serve and Enjoy!
These are the eggs my daughters decorated. I told them they symbolize the rolling away of the stone in front of the tomb - that's how egg rolling contest started! May your day be as bright and beautiful as one of these eggs!
We are spending Spring Break in Florida with my folks this year. As I was putting Logan, my oldest, to bed - she said she feels like she won the lottery having Gumma and Gumpa for a Grandma and Grandpa. I told her "How do you think I feel - they're my mom and dad"? I love them so much and in turn they LOVE my girls sooooo much. My mom, Gumma, told the girls that she had a mission this year when we went to the beach - we were making Beach Friends! We were up for the challenge so we started to gather our supplies.
The tide was very high, and as we started looking for shells and seaweed to make our "Friends" we ran into a herd of Heart Urchins. The lifeguards told us they had only seen these up on shore 3 other times. What a find! They are the white little shells that look like brains in the picture above. We were more excited because my mom would have a whole jar of them to add to her collection in the window!
As we gathered our "pallet" of supplies we tried to let our imagination flow like the waves.
The egg casings we found made perfect hair for our "Curly" girl.
This guy looks a little mad. Maybe his friend below stole his Easter Bonnet!
After the "Bonnet" theft - Dr. Phil made an appearance.
The rest of the people look like they know their fate - 2 minutes in the sand and their faces are gone.....
Logan made this side pony tail girl. She is happy - because we left her right there - for others to enjoy!
What a great day with Gumma making new "Friends" and memories!
Yesterday "Alice and the Mock Turtle" did a blog on her beautiful apothecary jars. Run over and check her collection out and then come right back. Wasn't that cute - so festive for Easter. It reminded me of my favorite thing at my mom's house and I wanted to share it with you.
My parents live in Florida and years ago my mom started her Sea Shell collections. After a while she just had a big box of shells and she didn't really know what to do with them. She decided to sort them according to type and put each different shell in a different jar. It has turned into a beautiful display in a nook of her home.
Each jar has it's own story. Some are wrapped with decorative wire with beautiful beads on them.
Some are guarded by the ghosts of sea animals past.
Some jars used to scream"Pimientos" and "Minced Garlic" - and now, with the touch of a paint brush, they just whisper "Look at my beautiful gifts from God".
Some jars have old thrift store jewelry as a "necklace" around their openings, but all have their name tags proudly displayed for all to see.
Just as "Alice and the Mock Turtle" used thrift store containers to give her home some spice - My mom used these jars, usually thrown away without a second thought, to highlight her collection of shells.
Try looking at your trash a little differently today!