I drink a lot of water year round and sometimes it just gets plain boring. Last summer I purchased a glass water pitcher that contains a separate cylinder inside for fruit. When I’m not being lazy, I love to make infused water. You don’t need a special pitcher to make flavored water, but I like it because it helps contain any floating seeds from the fruit. I purchased my pitcher at Bed Bath and Beyond last year. You can find them at several different places. Infused Waters recommends the Prodyne Fruit Infusion Pitcher. So far I haven’t been too experimental with my flavored waters. I’ve made lemon, strawberry, cucumber, orange and lime infused waters. After doing a google search for infused waters, I found a few new combinations I’d like to try.
- Orange Pineapple- for a 2 gallon dispenser use 1/2 a pineapple quartered + 1 orange sliced with the peel on, source-Infused Waters
- Watermelon Cilantro- for a 32 oz. jar mix 4 cubes fresh watermelon + 5-6 leaves of cilantro. Tear cilantro leaves in half to get the most flavor. Chill for 2- 4 hours. Do not re-infuse or let it sit for too long because the water will become cloudy source- Infused Waters
- Cucumber Lemon- In a 2 qt. pitcher combine 12 thin slices of cucumber + 4 slices of lemon with water. Chill at least 2 hrs., source- fruit infused water
- Cherry Limeade- 1 key lime thinly sliced, 6 pitted cherries cut in half, 1 sprig of mint, source- fruit infused water
- Grapefruit Orange and Lime- 1/2 grapefruit thinly sliced, 1 orange thinly sliced, 1/2 a lime thinly sliced, mint sprigs (optional) source -fruit infused water
- Pineapple Mint- 1 cup fresh pineapple cut in cubes and 12 mint leaves roughly chopped, chill overnight, source everyday home blog
- Blackberry Sage- 1 cup blackberries lightly crushed, 3-4 sage leaves, chill overnight, source- everyday home blog
- Strawberry Orange and Mint- 6 strawberries halved, 1/2 orange, crushed mint leaves
- Orange and Lemon- 1/2 orange sliced and 1 sliced lemon
- Cucumber Lime and Mint- 1/2 cucumber sliced, 1 lime sliced, crushed mint leaves
The possibilities are endless when it comes to flavoring water. My blogger friend Stacey posted links for nine more infused water recipes on her blog Likes to Smile just yesterday. I would much rather use fresh fruits and vegetables to flavor my water than a bunch of artificial ingredients. Do you make flavored water? If so, what are some of your favorite combinations?
I have found the saying “what comes around goes around” to be true many times in my lifetime. I had to smile when I saw this article for handmade purses in the June issue of Martha Stewart Living. I used to carry one of these purses when I was in 7th or 8th grade. At that time, I was a transplanted Yankee living in North Carolina. I lived there for three years and the style was very preppy. It was a tough move, not only because I was a middle schooler, but because I spoke and dressed differently than everyone else. I quickly changed from wearing my faux sheepskin coat and clogs to polo shirts and sperrys. Like most middle schoolers I just wanted to fit in and I’ve never been one to draw attention to myself. These fabric purses with wooden handles were like what Vera Bradley currently is to young girls. Like my love for jewelry, I also acquired a love for purses from my mother. Fabric purse covers could be purchased that buttoned onto the wood frame handles. My mother sews which came in handy at the time. She made me several different purse covers in various styles and patterns.
According to the article you can purchase wooden handles at craft stores or on Etsy. It appears many have slots that you thread the fabric through. If you are interested in detailed instructions go to Martha Stewart’s website. This is one DIY I probably won’t be repeating. For one thing, I don’t sew. However, if you do you might turn out to be the next Kate Spade. If that’s the case let me know and I’ll buy one from you.
I love to make a Trader Joe’s run every month or so to stock up on some of my favorite items. It’s not that convenient to do my every day grocery shopping there, but there are a few things that I really like that you can’t buy at other stores. I have listed some Trader Joe’s favorites in past posts and will continue to do so as I discover new finds.
- The Unexpected Cheddar Cheese is a family favorite. It tastes like white cheddar cheese, but with a hint of parmesan just like the package states. It’s a hard cheese and little crumbly, but delicious.
- The Raisin Rosemary Crisps go great with the unexpected cheddar cheese. They are crisp and savory with a hint of sweetness from the raisins. They are a nice specialty cracker for entertaining.
- Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Butterscotch Caramels are wonderful. Beware, it’s hard to eat just one. My friend Mary told me about them and I didn’t buy them for the longest time because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them.
- Trader Joe’s Healthy 8 Chopped Veggie Mix is great tossed in salads. It contains chopped carrots, red and green cabbages, broccoli, jicama, bell peppers, radishes and celery. The best part is you don’t have to chop the vegetables yourself.
If you shop at Trader Joe’s what are some of your favorite finds? Please leave a comment.
Before I tell you about this weeks recipe. I wanted to answer a question I often get from friends. That is, how do I share your post? If you are reading this post and are an email subscriber just click on the title of the post and it will take you directly to my website. Unfortunately from email you can’t see all the bells and whistles of my website. At the end of every post there are several ways to share my post. You can pin it to pinterest, share the link on Facebook, email it, post to goggle plus, twitter and just about any other social media site you can think of. If you like what you see or read I’d love for you to spread the word and share it. If you would like to receive posts by email at the top right hand side of my page it says subscribe by email. Just type in your email address and you will receive an email asking you to confirm the subscription. You have to confirm it in order to get updates.
On my recent trip to Seaside, Florida my husband and I had breakfast at Fish Out of Water located in the WaterColor Inn and Resort. It was highly recommended by my friend Kristine who dreams about this french toast all year long while eagerly awaiting their annual trip to Seaside. Seriously, she does. Our first morning in Seaside we walked down to the WaterColor Inn and were prepared to order the french toast. It was part of the breakfast buffet and not on the menu which they have since changed. This is not your run of the mill ordinary french toast dipped in eggs and vanilla. It’s dipped in bourbon vanilla and the outside is crispy. I asked our waiter what made it crispy and the secret ingredient is rice crisp cereal otherwise known as Rice Krispies.
Since Chelsea at WatchaMakinNow kindly shared her recipe for strawberry french toast for Mother’s Day weekend. I thought I’d share this one for Dads. Breakfast is one of my Dad’s favorite meals and one of the few things that he cooked growing up. His specialty was pancakes with bananas in them. The bananas and love that went into making them made them taste better than any regular old pancake. This recipe is a little more complicated and requires a few more steps. ”One day” I will make them. However, if I waited to share the recipe until I make them, you all would be waiting a long time. For those of you that like to cook (Chelsea, Katie and Nicole) let me know if you make it. Thank you Fish Out of Water for sharing your recipe so that we can all enjoy it!
- 8 thick cut slices fresh challah or brioche bread
- 4 cups crisp rice pulsed in a food processor until slightly ground
- 1 recipe royale (recipe to follow)
- 4 oz. clarified unsalted butter melted
- 1 banana sliced
- 8 oz. mixed seasonal berries
- 8 oz. grade A maple syrup
- powdered sugar, scant amount
- Royale Ingredients
- 4 whole eggs removed cracked
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp bourbon vanilla extract
- 1 cup half and half
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- a small pinch of kosher salt
- Mix all ingredients well until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Add clarified butter to the non stick skillet and set over medium heat.
- Submerge each bread slice in royale for 30 seconds in order to allow the bread to absorb the royale.
- Remove from royale and gently crust in the ground crisp rice.
- Carefully add to the preheated non stick skillet.
- Cook on fist side until golden brown.
- Carefully turn over and let finish cooking on the second side in the preheated oven for approximately 8 minutes.
- Remove from oven when entire slice is golden brown and crisp to the touch. allow to drain on a towel.
- Garnish with fresh fruit, banana, syrup and powdered sugar.
On a side note, I had to look up what clarified butter was. I just thought it meant the same as melted. If you are a novice in the kitchen like me. Click on clarified butter for instructions. Also, you can buy bourbon vanilla at specialty stores and Trader Joe’s, but I included a link above on how to make your own.
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The beauty of being my own blog boss is that I create my own deadlines. The downside is, I create my own deadlines and therefore don’t always always get things accomplished in a timely manner. The television series The Office came to an end last month. The month of May is always very busy and I wasn’t able to watch the season finale until a few weeks ago. The past nine years The Office has made me smile and laugh. Like its predecessor Seinfeld, it’s a television show that didn’t really have a plot. The show was about people and relationships between co-workers, played by a remarkable cast of actors. The employees of Dunder Mifflin based in Scranton, Pennsylvania made me laugh with their dead pan humor and glances at the camera. On a side note, my father actually worked in Scranton Pennsylvania during my elementary school years. However, the company wasn’t called Dunder Mifflin and they didn’t sell paper.
My boss at my first full time job had a few similarities to Manager Michael Scott. He was a nice guy who just wanted to be loved, but could be a little cheesy at times. I think anyone who has ever worked in an office could probably pinpoint someone they know that’s similar to any one of the Dunder Mifflin employees. I enjoyed the little office nuances between Pam and Jim during their pre-marriage years. I’ll never forget the whole cast dancing down the aisle to Forever by Chris Brown which was inspired by a you tube video that went viral months before. I was also amused by the many pranks and the love hate relationship between Jim and Dwight.
I’ve felt it was time for The Office to close its doors over the past two years. Things never seemed quite the same to me after Steve Carell left. Several actors tried, including Will Ferrell, but no one could ever fill his shoes. I feel like the show ended on a good note and that there was a nice closure to all of the characters lives. I think Pam said it best in the season finale. “All in all I think an ordinary paper company like Dunder Mifflin was a great subject for a documentary. There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” Are you an Office fan? What are your thoughts on the season finale?
My newest obsession is pearl and leather jewelry. When I was in Seaside, Florida (I’ll share more about Seaside next month) I kept running into ladies wearing pearl jewelry strung on leather cords. It seemed like everywhere I walked I’d spy pearl and leather bracelets or multiple strands of necklaces on women of all ages. There are a few shops in Seaside that sell pearl and leather jewelry handmade by a local artist. I was on sensory overload when I entered a store featuring all of the artists jewels. I wanted everything. I’m a June baby so I’ve always had an affection for pearls since it’s one of June’s birthstones. I already own several freshwater pearl jewelry items thanks in part to my mother. I acquired my love of jewelry from her. The prices for these lovely pieces of jewelry in Seaside were a little steep for me so I decided to do some research. I asked a young gal at one of the stores where she purchased her pearl necklace. As luck would have it, she actually made her necklace and has a website. She gave me her business card and I immediately checked out her website to compare prices. The website is sugar pearl designs. I wasn’t sure what size bracelet to order so I emailed her and she got right back to me. She is able to customize the size if you contact her by email. I’m very happy with the necklace and bracelet I ordered. They are very casual pieces I can throw on with a t-shirt. I like them so much, I want to add more to my collection. I’ve also been researching pearl and leather jewelry on Etsy and marking my favorites. I’m working on my birthday wish list, and this to me is a simple joy. I’ll be even more joyful if I get one of the items (hint,hint, Chris if you are reading this).
One of my favorite things about working in an office was planning where my co-workers and I were going for our lunch break. I haven’t worked in an office building for quite some time, but I still love going out to lunch. I recently met a friend at Fresh Grill located at 13145 State Line Rd. in Kansas City, Missouri. My friend Kristine had eaten there with her family and thought it was good. I’m always up for trying new places and if it’s a place I enjoy I like to share it with my friends. My friend Anne and I got there right as they were opening at 11:00 and the place was a bit smokey. There must have been something burning on the grill. We were a tad worried, but proceeded to order food because the menu and specials looked great. They have a you pick two option similar to Panera Bread where you can choose a 1/2 sandwich, soup or salad. I ordered the smoked salmon po boy and kale salad. Anne had the fried green tomato sandwich which was on the special menu. We both enjoyed our lunch and I would definitely go back again. Another friend has tried their rueben sandwich, but said it was too heavy on the sauce. If you enjoy breakfast for lunch, Fresh Grill serves breakfast all day as well. Click here to check out their website.
Another great option for lunch that’s fast and tastes fresh is Twisted. My friend Emily who works at Par Exsalonce goes there a lot for lunch. Twisted is located at 11737 College Blvd in Overland Park right by Par Exsolance. After my daughter recently got her haircut we decided to check it out for a late lunch. They offer tacos and hot and cold wraps that can also be made into a salad. They also have burgers and chicken sandwiches fresh off the grill. I ordered the mahi tacos not realizing three tacos come with an order. I ate one and enjoyed one later as a leftover. They were great and have a spicy kick to them. My daughter had the california turkey wrap and enjoyed it as well. We shared a homemade brownie with white chocolate chips and couldn’t wait to bite into it, therefore there’s no picture. You can read more about Twisted here. They also have a location in Shawnee. I recommend both Fresh Grill and Twisted if you are looking for something quick for lunch this summer. Let me know what you think if you’ve been to either place or decide to try them for yourself.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before how much I love to take classes. I recently had the opportunity to take an herb gardening class at Red Cedar Gardens with two of my good friends. I’ve written about my love for Red Cedar Gardens in a past post here. This wasn’t your run of the mill herb gardening class. We enjoyed a boxed lunch which was cleverly contained in a set of weathered french wooden boxes. The lunch menu consisted of: turkey and spinach wraps with cranberry walnut cream cheese spread, vegetables, chips and coconut cupcakes for dessert. It was delicious. We then used our adorable boxes to plant our herb garden.
We planted oregano, boxwood basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, verbena and marjoram. We dampened moss to cover the soil and help keep the moisture around the plants. The moss is one of my new favorite things. You can purchase a big bag of it at Red Cedar for around $8.00. I’ve used it in several of my container gardens.
This is the finished project complete with a little bird snuggled in his nest. I had a wonderful afternoon at Red Cedar Gardens. The staff is so talented and creative that I’m inspired every time I visit this little family owned nursery. They offer all sorts of classes throughout the year so be sure to check their calendar on their website. They also have a facebook page. This Sunday, June 9 they are hosting an event called Art in the Garden. Local artists will display their art at Red Cedar Gardens. There will be food, art and all sorts of fun shopping. If you like fairy gardens, they sell all sorts of goodies to go in your garden. Anne and Keri took their fairy garden class as well.
I would love to tell you that all of my lovely herbs have survived, but a few of them haven’t. I don’t seem to have much luck when I plant multiple herbs in a container. If anyone has any tips let me know. I would also love to tell you that I regularly clip my herbs to use in the gourmet meals I’ve been making, but that would be a fairytale. Maybe if I planted some fairies in my herb garden they would make me dinner. I don’t envision that happening either. I still love my box though and if the rest of my herbs don’t make it, I know that succulent plants will. For those of you that might be interested in attending this class, the bad news is it’s not on the calendar anymore. The good news is Red Cedar shared the recipe for the turkey and spinach wraps which I’ll share with you as well.
Turkey and Spinach Wraps
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, softened
- 1 (8 oz.) pkg goat cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- salt to taste
- 8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
- 1 pound thinly sliced turkey
- 4 cups fresh baby spinach
Stir together cream cheese, goat cheese, cranberries, walnuts, honey, minced garlic, rosemary and pepper. Season with salt. You can prepare this mixture up to 3 days ahead if you prefer and cover and chill it in the refrigerator. Spread 2 tbsp cream cheese mixture onto each tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Divide turkey and spinach among tortillas. Roll up and cut in half or into slices. The perfect lunch for a picnic!
- 1 large beaten egg white
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1½ cups chopped nuts, (pistachios, pecans or walnuts)
- 1½ cups coconut shavings
- ½ cup agave syrup,
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- In a large bowl; toss to combine ingredients.
- Bake granola, stirring every 10 mins, until golden brown and dry 40-45 minutes.
- Let cool on baking sheet. It will crisp as it cools.
- Mix in 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries.