Tonight the Emmy awards are on NBC. Are you watching? Stay tuned for updates. Who are your predictions for tonight’s winners?
Today is the French equivalent to Independence Day, better known as Bastille Day. It commemorates the day that the Bastille prison was stormed and signifies the end of complete monarchy, the birth of the sovereign, and would eventually lead to the creation of the (First) Republic.
Like the 4th of July, food is an important part of the celebration. Sometimes French food can be seen as fussy and complicated, but here are a couple options that aren’t.
These Raspberry, Blueberry, and Champagne Cream Macarons are a great option for any occasion. Not to be confused with macaroons, which are lovely coconut or ground almonds circular cakes often mistaken for macarons. Macarons are tiny bits of decadence. They come in many flavors and shades, but when done right they are divine!
I have shared my recipe for making vanilla extract before, but many don’t know there are many things that can be used to make extracts. There are so many flavors that can be used and extracted, but I found this recipe for one using lavender.
Lavender is a very hearty plant, and can grow in most regions. The properties of lavender are calming and soothing. That’s why it works well in teas and herbs. Lavender is something many see in open fields or bouquets and centerpieces. But lavender actually has some great uses in the kitchen. Many teas and rubs include lavender as a spice. There are other unique ways to use lavender, such as sugar and pepper. There are a few different types of lavender, but the most common is English and French lavender, but you may not know there are only a few varieties that you can cook with. The most common culinary versions are munstead, white ice, and hidcote. Whatever you prefer, however adventurous you are, this recipe may help you take your food venturing a little further.
Making extracts are simple. It’s a basic equal parts sugar and water, with a little of whatever flavors you want to add towards the end. This recipe is for lavender, and any other essences you want to try. Be adventurous with your options, but be conservative with the flavors until you know the exact results.
Makes one 1/2 liter bottle
I would say to find some smaller jars from a home goods store to store your extracts. It makes things easy to store and just makes things pretty.
Adding lavender to any recipe will enhance the flavor. Be adventurous and enjoy the flavors of nature.
Ok, so I’m a sucker for the 80’s. It was a part of my childhood that I still reminisce about often, and I truly do miss that period. What I miss the most is the television lineups that we had then. Not to slight the television shows now, but the shows in that decade were meaningful, inspirational, and entertaining still. We had humor, drama, legal, and situational sitcoms that stayed on the air during the school year, and went on hiatus for the summer. The primetime lineup was diverse and very appealing to all age groups.
Ok, so I know this wasn’t a primetime show, but I just have to express my fondness for Jem and the Holograms. I watched this show in the afternoons and still occasionally get the theme song in my head from time to time. The Misfits were wild and sneaky, but made good cartoon bad girls. Ok, now moving on…
One of my favorite shows in primetime was The Love Boat. I would watch this show and drape a sheet around me to simulate the moment the belle of the Captain’s Dinner came down the ship’s sprawling staircase. Hey, what did most 8 year olds want to be besides the belle.
Now Small Wonder was one of those shows that didn’t last very long, but along with shows like Charles in Charge and Perfect Stranger, Small Wonder was a quirky and funny show about a robot girl who was discovering family.
A great family drama was. This show embodied a unique dynamic of characters who were well matched and showed the diversity of a family.
And the infamous Cosby Show...there are so many moments that still have meaning in today’s life and culture. This family (and show) truly represented the average American family makeup, and sent very powerful messages about growing up and learning through the process. Man, I loved Thursday nights at 8pm!
Exploring and creating shows with a variety of family situations was a common theme throughout the 80’s. There were also shows, mostly comedies, that showed a different kind of family situation. Charles in Charge, Who’s the Boss and The Facts of Life were shows that created a variety of situations that may not be typical, but we could still relate to their experiences. Plus, being hilarious helped.
Now, there were plenty of drama on television then. I think it was some of the best ever, but I’m biased.
There were a mix of cop and legal dramas, such as Miami Vice, as well as pure drama (ie. Dallas, Dynasty). These shows sometimes had a form of comedy to them, but they were all so cool and truly entertaining.
Now there were also some slap happy comedies, as I call them, that were mostly funny but had the occasional lesson you can learn from their mishaps. One I still love today is WKRP in Cincinnati. The characters were hilarious, but their jobs were very meaningful for the times. There were a lot of story lines that I didn’t get as a kid, but it still made me laugh. Watching it today as an adult, I see how impactful some of the stories were, but it’s probably more funny now.
So if this was how you changed the channel and found your viewing pleasure for the evening, let us remember the wonderful variety of our primetime lineup.
I love fish, but sometimes it can be a bit bland just baking it. So I decided to kick up the meal a bit by making a menu of Parmesan Tilapia, Sauteéd Green Beans, and Roasted Golden Potatoes.
Don’t get me wrong, baked fish is good, but pan fried Italian tilapia just has so much more flavor to a light fish.
I decided since I was adding a flavorful fish, why not make the sides just as flavorful. So I decided to use my culinary degree skills and add some sautéed fresh green beans and oven roasted golden potatoes.
Since I’m not really big on following recipes to the letter as law, I’ll simply say this about the individual menu items:
Season with salt and pepper, or preferred seasonings
Plate of Italian breadcrumbs
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
Mix the breadcrumbs, cornstarch, and parmesan on a large platter, mix with fork. Place the seasoned fish fillets in the breadcrumb mixture, cover and pat both sides. Place gently into a pan of hot oil. I used my cast iron skillet to fry these in. Let the fish cook fully on both sides, generally about 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fillets.
2 cups of fresh green beans
1 half of white onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a stainless steel pan and melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the beans and turn heat down to medium. Sauté beans until soft, but not mushy. You can add a tablespoon of water if your beans start to stick or your pan gets too hot. This will help to soften the beans.
3 medium size golden potatoes
Herbs de Provènce
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven at 400°F. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Season to your preference and coat with oil. A trick I learned in culinary school when cooking potatoes in the oven. Take the pan you will be using, coat with oil and put in the oven while its preheating. While you prepare the potatoes to cook, heating the pan will heat the oil, and when you add the potatoes to the pan it will sizzle. What that does is essentially quick fry the outside of the potatoes, and will give the potatoes a nice crisp on the outside. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a little kosher salt on top. Potatoes need a lot of seasoning.
Well, here was the final product:
Today is the beginning of the weekend, and for me it’s been a long week. A very emotional and stressful, at times, week full of roller coaster ups and downs. So, I thought it would be a generous act to share a few craft cocktails with you on this #FabulousFriday.
Scrappy’s Bitters first hit the bitters scene around 2008 when crafting wasn’t very widespread. Today, crafting while making cocktails has exploded the mixology industry and the sale of and demand for bitters has grown exponentially. Part of their success can be attributed to their commitment to organic ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors. Scrappy’s “craft” bitters are perfect representations of the ingredients they contain along with a balance of carefully selected herbs and spices. Here is a recipe using the crafted bitters that is sure to pique the interest of a cocktail voyeur.
1 oz Old Tom Gin
2 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
1/8 oz Maraschino
Add all ingredients to cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
2 oz Arco Blanco
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz Cranberry Juice
.75 oz Hibiscus Syrup
2 oz house-made Amaro
3 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
¼ oz Calvados
Whatever your preferences are in match ups, enjoy and have a safe weekend. Happy #FabulousFriday.
You know there is a cliché that says everything that is old becomes new again. It seems that things come in and out of style all the time. Fashion is no exception. If you’ve been following trends lately, I’m sure you have seen the cropped shirts and leggings making a staggering reappearance.
Today, I want to take you down memory lane. I may be biased, but the 80’s were some of the best years of my life. From television shows to fashion accessories, I loved everything 80’s (and still do). Here are some of my favorite things I remember fondly.
This movie needs no explanation. Purple Rain was one of the 80’s best films, and of all time! It will never get old.
Jem and the Holograms was one of my favorites growing up. The main character was a strong female influence and the typical situations on the show displayed how you can keep your dignity and integrity as a person, all while being fabulous and talented.
The denim jacket was a huge part of our 80’s wardrobe. And like all trends, they all come back. The denim jacket is making a comeback, and will surely be a staple once again in our wardrobes. This one from H+M is just an example of how much the denim jacket has not changed much.
The stirrup pants were a phenomena that came in an array of colors and patterns, and it was a sign that you had true style. As a Catholic school girl, I didn’t get to wear these often, but on free dress days I would go straight for my stirrup pants.
In middle school I begged my mom for my own phone line I the house just so I could get one of these phones. They were the coolest thing to see when they rang! It was a glorious day when I finally got mine.
Being a dancer most of my chiodhood, leotards were a huge part of my weekend wardrobe. And with the influx of aerobic exercise classes that inundated the 80’s, the leotard was the uniform for most aerobics classes.
Now Ms. Collins wore a mean shoulder pad in the day, but these pads are taking on a new role in making a dramatic expression in fashion today.
Everyone from the 80’s and beyond remembers the infamous water bucket scene with Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance”. Well that scene sparked a phenomenon with legwarmers and leotards. But the off the shoulder shirt was her signature contribution to 80’s fashion.
Wherever you were in the 80’s I’m sure you osned or sported some of these items. Those were the days and I do miss those times, but they made me who I am today. So if you have any memories you want to share, feel free. Pictures, memories, etc. Happy #tbt sharing!
Outdoor weddings are always beautiful and exciting. If the elements cooperate, the possibilities are endless to what you can do outdoors for a wedding.
But if mother nature doesn’t cooperate, there are ways to avoid a wash out…no pun intended.
Mother nature can ruin or bless your special day. And with the many types of weather disasters that are possible, rain is probably the least of your worries. There are rising storms, such as dust and tornado storms, that are really taking over the weather patterns lately. So when planning your special day, there are some tips you can follow to avoid total disaster.
So while you’re planning that outdoor wedding, be sure to take into consideration that the reality of uncontrollable weather patterns.
But, if you get caught with your umbrella blowing backwards, make the most of it…like these people:
Enjoy your day, have the breeze blowing through your veil, but be smart about it and make sure to protect yourself.
Mother’s Day was yesterday. I spent time with my mom for the weekend helping her with some things around the house. Those things she needed an extra hand with. It was the least I could do after all the things she’s done for me.
One project that took the most time was painting/staining the deck back to its original color. Back in 2000 when we first moved into the house, it was new construction and a big move for my mom and step dad who had just got married 4 years previously. This house was a big step for all of us, and it was cool! For 12 years my step dad took care of that house and him and my mom made it a home. Even though I no longer live there, it will always be a home. After my step dad passed in 2012, my mom had to take care of the house all by herself with some help here and there from friends and myself.
So this project was something 2 years in the works. The deck needed to be re-stained and protected after 12 years, so this year we decided to do so on a weekend I would be at the house already. Not the typical Mother’s Day activities, but we both love DIY projects, so we decided to take on the project. So here’s a before:
So after 6.5 hours of painting intricately and getting between each spindle and railing, this is the after:
I’m still in a little bit of pain, but I’m pretty proud of the accomplishment. I get to say I did that and it looks pretty cool. Here’s some more shots of the deck.
It’s been a long weekend, but one that had it’s rewards. I hope you all had a happy Mother’s Day. I enjoyed mine.
Mom’s are special people!
There are some unique color palettes for spring weddings. I like different shades, but some of my favorites are bright tones and deep jewel tones.
Pantone, a trusted source in color choices and development, has thousands of colors and blends of color to choose from for any occasion. You can put different color combinations together from their database.
Orange and blue are a great spring color combination that is vibrant and lively. Something that works wonders for any special event. The more lively the decor, the more that will be passed along to the guests and attendees.
I love bright colors with white. It makes the color pop and stand out, but still makes the event look clean and vibrant. Lime green goes well with most other colors, but with white it sticks out. For spring, lime is a great color to express the new growth of the flowers and trees.
Now bright colors combined together can also make for a vibrant affair. Bright blues, yellows, pinks, and oranges together make for fun options for decor. Bright peonies and gerbera daisies with turquoise and persimmon color bowls, add in gold silverware and gilded glasses. Just seems regal and extra special.
Try this varietal palette for a garden wedding affair. The palette includes multiple colors that are found in gardens everywhere. These colors are subtle and they all compliment each other. It’s just pretty and simple, but invigorating.
Lastly, my favorite combination of bright and neutral is chartreuse and gray. The contrast between the two colors is clean and drastic, but beautiful.
However you see spring through color, try something different. Try different combinations, whether you’re getting married or just going out with friends. Be daring with your color choices.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Though it would be great to take your mom out to eat, but to avoid all the fuss and crowds try some of these tasty recipes for a brunch with mom.
Don’t fight the crowds, spend time with your mom in and enjoy each other’s company. Happy Mother’s Day!
Well there’s so much going on today. Today marks Cinco de Mayo, a day of independence of sorts for the Latino community. Today is also the night of the famed and fashionable MET Ball.
The Met Gala started back in 1971, and the themes have always been intriguing. This year’s theme is Beyond Fashion, and I’m interested to see how the stars interpret this theme tonight.
Here is a taste of the stars at Met Galas past:
Today is also Cinco de Mayo, the day that many Mexican-Americans celebrate the battle of freedom and democracy. What better way to celebrate than food and drink.
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 1 large lime
1/4 cup silver 100 percent agave tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup coarsely cracked ice cube
Refrigerate the glasses if desired. In a shaker, combine the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Add ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses.
You can use salt or sugar on the rim, but I prefer mine plain with just a lime to garnish.
For those of you who want to try something a little more adventurous, try jello shots. Not just any jello shot, flavored cocktail jello shots. I’ve featured these before from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.
All you need is some ground meat, I prefer turkey, and seasonings of your choice. Heat and add to tortilla chips with all the toppings you love.
However you celebrate, be safe. What’s your favorite Mexican dish?
Are you going to be watching out for the stars’ fashion on the red carpet tonight at the Met Gala? We will be watching to see who’s wearing what. Who are you looking forward to seeing?
Have a Mad Monday!
It’s Sunday and time for you to get ready for the week ahead. One thing I struggle with is drinking enough water. I hate water, but I know it’s necessary. Our bodies need water to survive and function. I always had to be told to drink more water by my doctors and mother. Ugh, I hate water.
We’re supposed to drink so much water per day, but most of us don’t really drink what we’re supposed to. Whether it’s because we’re too busy or we just don’t do what we’re supposed to, it’s a necessity to our well being.
Water is a powerful source of the earth. It’s one of the elements and is very important to our destiny and our past. It’s calming, has cleansing properties, and is truly powerful.
Today, think of water and its truly renewing properties. The cleansing ones, the ones that can help you move forward healthy and renewed.
To have a moment of peace, try and relax with a glass of refreshing water and do something good for your body. Take care of yourself this week, enjoy your time alone, and stay healthy.
Have a wonderful week.
Today was the 140th Kentucky Derby at the Churchill Downs. I love horses and as allergic as I am to them, I enjoyed riding them as a child. Horses are majestic beasts, but let’s be serious here. The real spectacle at the Kentucky Derby is the fashion, especially the hat.
The importance of the hat at the Derby has been a factor since the beginning of the derby itself. Women have a chance to show their inner Southern Belle and gentlemen are able to stand out fashionably as much as (or more than) the ladies.
Don’t hesitate to be different, but classy, at the Derby. Stay focused on the hat as a centerpiece. Be fashionable and chic. Be unique and stand out. Whatever you do, be you.
Here are some of my favorite fashions from the Kentucky Derby and Longines events:
The Derby has been dubbed the fastest greatest two minutes in sports, and mainly because of the hat. If you’re looking for a statement piece, Philip Treacy is definitely the designer to help you stand out and shine at a Derby event.
The turn out of the race was a bit unexpected, but the winner is…..
I think I’ll add to my bucket list going to the Kentucky Derby with fabulous hat gear, and enjoy all the fun and social events. Happy Derby Day!!