Saturday, December 31, 2016

Let's ring in the New Year with Stirrings and a Michigan Cherry Lemonade!

Yes, I know it is the last day of the year.  Yes, I know I live in Michigan.  Yes, I know it is cold outside.  Yes, I know Lemonade is a wonderful summertime drink. But....if you are lucky enough to be me this New Year's Eve, then you are spending the evening in a hot tub with your favorite person to ring in the New Year.

The good folks over at Stirrings invited me to join in their "Stir It Up Holiday Blogger Mixology Challenge".  In return for joining the challenge, in which we were charged to create a "Simply Better Cocktail", we received our choice of two Cocktail Mixers and two Cocktail Garnishes to be used in the creation of an original cocktail.

I chose Blood Orange and Lemontini mixers and Cosmopolitan and Margarita rimmers to use in my creation.  I ended up using the Lemontini mixer and Cosmo rimmer in this recipe that I am sharing with you today.

Here in Michigan we are famous for our Cherry Crops. We also have many wineries, breweries and distilleries, all of which make use of our cherry harvest.  I had a bottle of Cherry Vodka in my bar from one of our trips north this past summer.  I knew that it would pair perfectly with the Lemontini mixer and decided to make a Michigan Cherry Lemonade.

This drink is a light and refreshing cocktail that can be enjoyed on a hot summer day in the pool or on a cold winter's night in the hot tub.  It is also a perfect drink to serve up at your next party.

Stirrings products are widely available throughout Michigan and the country at local party stores, liquor stores, wine shops and grocers including Meijer, Value Market and Plum Market.  You can find a complete listing of all the stores that sell their products by going to the store locator site.  Follow Stirrings on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.  Disclosure:  I did receive free product from Stirrings for use in this contest.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  All opinions are mine alone and based solely on my experience with this product.

Michigan Cherry Lemonade
an original creation from A Day in the Life on the Farm

1 jigger Cherry Vodka
1 jigger Simple Syrup
1 jigger Stirrings Lemontini Mixer
Club Soda
Stirrings Cosmopolitan Rimmer
Lemon slice

Place the vodka, simple syrup and lemontini mixer into a cocktail shaker and shake until well blended. Rub the lemon slice along the rim of a tall glass and dip into the Cosmopolitan rimming mixture.  Fill the glass with ice. Pour the lemontini mixture over the ice and add club soda to fill the glass.  Garnish with a lemon slice and serve.  Print Recipe

Countdown to 2017: Readers Favorite Recipes of 2016

This is it!  Today is the day that I share what you, my readers, have chosen as your favorite recipes of the year, determined by the number of page views.

The number one most viewed recipe from last year is this Peaches and Cream Cake that I made for my very first Improv Cooking Challenge.

The next most popular recipe post was my MerlotMe post that featured three different recipes.
Busy Day Rump Roast, Deep Dish Italian Chicken Pizza and Pasta ala Norma.

Readers loved these Shrimp and Asparagus Crepes and so do I.

Now let's go see what you guys chose as your favorites of my blogging friends recipes.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Celebrations Continue.....our Weekly Menu for the last week of the 12 Days of Christmas

Are you still celebrating Christ's birthday at your house?  Our celebrations, parties and fun continue right up to the Feast of the Three Kings or Epiphany on January 6th.

Tonight we are going out to dinner and a movie with our friends, Kim and Kurt.  They are treating us to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants, The MC Fish Company, and then we are treating them to popcorn and the movie Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.

Tomorrow we are going for an early dinner to Frank's brother's house.  Each NYE our sis in law, Rebecca, makes a wonderful spaghetti dinner to welcome in the New Year.  We plan on coming home and having a quiet evening enjoying time with just the two of us.  Last year I was home taking care of Mom and Frank was at his sister's taking care of his Mom so this year we are going to enjoy our time together.

Sunday is supposed to be a beautiful day so Frank has asked me out on a lunch date.  We are flying somewhere....he hasn't told me where yet.

Monday evening we are having our family Christmas Dinner.  All of the kids will be here except for Chuck and we will give him a call during the evening's celebrations.

Tuesday morning I am going for a mani/pedi to get ready for the CA trip on Saturday.  Tuesday afternoon we are taking lunch to Frank's  Aunt Irene.  She is not as steady as she used to be and I will be going over each Tuesday afternoon so that she can have someone nearby while she showers. Tuesday night we have choir practice because we are having a Christmas Concert on Thursday evening.

Friday Jen, Lili and Danielle are all spending the night as we will be leaving early Saturday for our trip.  Can't wait!!

So here is the Weekly Menu.  All of the leftovers have been used so we get to start fresh.

Spaghetti at Dan and Rebecca's.

Late Lunch out

Monday-Family Dinner
Individual Lobster Pot Pies
Bean Soup with Ham
Chopped Salad
Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Root Vegetables
Cheesecake by Pierre


Chicken Stir Fry
Steamed Rice

Dinner out before Choir Concert

Pizza and Salad 

Countdown to 2017: Best Crockpot/Slowcooker Recipes

Welcome to Day 5 of our Countdown to 2017.  Today we are featuring our favorite Crockpot/Slowcooker recipes.

Do you call it a crockpot or a slowcooker?  I vary between the two. Whatever you call it, I think we can all agree that it makes our lives much easier.  I use my crockpot in the summer to help keep my house cool, during the winter because it is perfect for soups and stews and throughout the year because it does all the work while you are off running errands or playing.

In fact, I found slow cooker recipes in nearly every category of my Recipe Index.  Let me demonstrate......

Beef- Irish Stew

Join us tomorrow when I share your favorites from the past year.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Countdown to 2017: Best Desserts

Today would have been my parent's 79th Wedding Anniversary.  I know that they are together celebrating this year after a 5 year hiatus.  Apropos then, that we are celebrating desserts for today's Countdown.  My folks loved desserts....Pop's without apology and Mom saying "oh this is much to sweet" as she finished her second serving.

Memories are sweet and so are these desserts that I am sharing with you today.  As I went through my dessert recipes to decide what to share with you today, each one brought back a delightful memory and made me smile.  I rarely make desserts, unless there is an occasion for it, except for bundt cakes which get made once a month around here for a little group to which I belong called #BundtBakers.  It was a difficult task just picking a few recipes to share.  Heck, besides the recipes for Bundt cakes and special occasions, I shared 13 different cookie recipes from around the world during this month alone!!  So many little make it easy on myself, I have chosen my favorite dessert recipe from each month.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Countdown to 2017: Best Main Dish Recipes

Today for our Countdown to 2017 we are featuring our favorite Main Dish recipes.  When you go to my Recipe Index you will find subsets that include Beef, Chicken, Lamb and Game Meat, Pork, Fish and Seafood  and Meatless entrees.

I decided that, for today's event, I would share one recipe from each of the above categories.  I hope you enjoy them.

The next time you are looking to impress family and/or friends, serve up this tender and juicy 

Looking for something on the healthy side?  Try this tasty and nutritious Chicken Broccoli Bowl . It  is Phase 1 Friendly on the Fast Metabolism Diet.  What a great way to get yourself back on the path of wellness and self care.

I adapted this Venison Stroganoff to be made in the crockpot.  I served it up over brown rice noodles to make it friendly for those who are gluten intolerant.

This Yuk See Chau Mein is unlike any Americanized version of Chow Mein you may have ever had.

I was so excited when I made this Crab Souffle, my first ever, and it turned out perfectly!!

My final selection is this wonderful baked Pasta ala Norma.  Perfect for Meatless Mondays or anytime you get a hankering for a comforting  meal to soothe your soul.

Now let's take a look at what the others are sharing today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Countdown to 2017: Best Breakfasts

Today we are sharing our favorite breakfast recipes that we posted during the year.  Last year on this day we were posting our favorite breakfasts from 2015 and the year prior we shared our favorite Crockpot recipes.

Let's start with eggs again today.  One of my very favorites was this decadent, rich and comforting Waffles Benedict topped with a Poached Egg and smothered in a Creamy Sage Sauce.  Don't worry, I served up some healthier options as well, like this open faced breakfast sandwich or this spinach toast with egg.  Both of these were shared while I was on the Fast Metabolism Diet and are Phase 3 Friendly.  Feeling rustic and casual?  How about this filling, stick to your ribs sausage skillet topped with fried eggs? To round things out we went international with a Mexican breakfast bundt and an apple and onion frittata.   

Before we look at what the others are sharing today, I want to thank Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes for all her hard work putting this event together each year.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Weekly Menu featuring Christmas Leftovers

Happy Monday all.  I trust that you had a marvelous Christmas weekend.  We sure did.  We had several days of celebration that all included feasting, love and laughter and it is not over yet!  We celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas which means the parties go on until the Epiphany on January 6th.

Image result for 12 days of christmas

Our celebration continued today by going out for breakfast with our friends, Bob and Cathy, who are down from up north for a few days.  The rest of the day was supposed to be spent relaxing but then Frank decided that we needed to get a bar fridge for in the sun room.  That turned into rearranging the entire room to make a space for it.  We spent several hours moving furniture around before we were finally satisfied with the results.

Tomorrow evening John and Kirsten are coming over for dinner. Their son, Mike and his wife Amy (of Amy's Cooking Adventures) and their boys are in town as well as Kirsten's mom, Caroline.  We always love getting together with them when they are here and I'm looking forward to spending the evening with them.

Wednesday, Frank is conducting a CPL class so I will be providing breakfast and lunch for the students.  Thursday we have friends coming for dinner and Friday we are going out for dinner and a movie with our friends, Kim and Kurt.

With all of the entertaining over the weekend I have tons of fabulous food left that I will repurpose to feed us all week long.  Now that's what I'm talking about!! I am putting the recipes made with leftovers in italics.  Check back during the New Year when I will be posting recipes and photos.

Ham, Broccoli and Cheese Chowder

Tuesday-Company for Dinner
Kale and Squash Soup
Fruits of the Season Salad
Chicken Marsala Lasagna
Garlic Bread
Asst. Cookies

Wednesday-CPL class
BreakfastSausage Strata
Sweet Bacon Breakfast Muffins
Apple and Pear Salad

Ham and Swiss Sandwiches
Cole Slaw
Potato Chips
Asst. Cookies

Thursday-Company for Dinner
Crab Mushroom Bisque
Lemon Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
Roasted Redskin Potatoes
Corn  Casserole
Eggnog Rum Cake Parfaits

Friday- Dinner out

Sweet Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Muffins #MuffinMonday

Hello friends.  Are you all recuperated from your Christmas celebrations?  I am not but I am planning on recuperating today.  I am going to just sit for a while this morning and relax with my coffee and a nice sweet and savory muffin.  Sweet and Savory, you ask?  Why yes.  You have heard of candied bacon?

Well, I was making my basic muffin recipe which I normally use for sweet muffins, perhaps adding fruit or chocolate to them.

Midstream I decided that I wanted to use up some cooked and crumbled bacon that I had  for another recipe that never got made.  Hence we ended up with a sweet and savory muffin that was pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

I enjoyed one with my coffee and I put the rest into a freezer bag and into the freezer.  I will pull them out Wednesday morning to serve to Frank's students as they arrive for his CPL class.

Sweet Bacon and Cheese Breakfast Muffins

2 c. flour
3 t. baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c. shredded colby jack cheese

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.  Whisk together the egg, milk and oil in a 2 c. measuring cup.  Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture.  Stir with a fork until just combined.  Stir in the bacon and cheese.  Divide batter between 12 muffin cups that have been lined with paper liners or treated with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 15-18 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center of a muffin removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

More Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Countdown to 2017: Best Appetizers and Snacks

Our friend, Sarah, of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes, is hosting the Countdown to the New Year once again this year.  This is a fun little event where we share our favorite recipes of the year by category. This year we are starting with Best Appetizers and Snacks. 

Last year we started with the same category.  You can see my favorite apps and snacks from 2015 right here.  In Countdown to 2015 we started with Breakfasts.  These countdowns are a lot of fun for us as we walk down memory lane and we hope for our readers as they are reminded of recipes they had hoped to make and didn't find the time.

You can tell I raise laying hens... I served several egg appetizers this past year, including a Jalapeno Popper Deviled Egg from a recipe that I got during an SRC challenge when I was assigned our host, Sarah's, blog.  Sarah was also the host of #FantasticalFoodFight where I posted this Polish Deviled Egg recipe.  I also posted a Deviled Egg Guac recipe in a #GuacSquad Challenge.

Seafood is also a big seller around here.  I served two different crab dips, a spicy version and a milder baked version.  I also served up some Shrimp Balls and Oysters Casino.

We love cheese, whether in a fondue, surrounded by olives or stuffed into cherry tomatoes like these little BLT bites.

Of course, if you have a hankering for carbs there is always Spinach Pie, Crostini and Chicken Puffs.

Last, but not least, I shared several different salsas that can be thrown together in a snap and served along with chips for an easy and tasty snack.  Don't forget the margaritas!!

Now let's see what apps and snacks the others have to share.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Menu 2016

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat....and so am I after all of those cookie recipes I have been sharing all month!  And you want to know something!  After baking hundreds, literally hundreds, of cookies this month....I have none to put out for Christmas day!!  True story!!

So, today Little Miss and I got it.....baking more cookies.  To be completely honest with you, we have been running so much that I am thrilled to be able to stay home today and putz around baking cookies with my Angel Face.  It has been a crazy busy week but yesterday was the Food Pantry Christmas Basket deliveries so now I can concentrate on our Christmas.

Tomorrow we will be finishing up last minute gift shopping in addition to the grocery shopping for Christmas Dinner.  I looked back to see what I served last year and was floored by all the memories that brought forth.  Last Christmas was a very tough one.  This one hasn't been much easier but both have had wonderful, joyful moments spent with family and friends and I am looking forward to the next few days.

Christmas Eve will be very different this year.  Frank is singing with the Ensemble at 4 pm Mass and then we are having a Christmas Carol sing at 11 pm before we sing for Midnight Mass.  In between Masses we will be going to Frank's brother's house which is about an hour travel time both ways. Our TC family will be arriving sometime during the evening after having an early celebration with my kid's Dad's side of the family at Amy's house.  Amy is leaving to have a later celebration with Doug's family and the TC family will be coming to stay at our house.  We won't see them too much on Christmas Eve but we will have Christmas morning with them before they go to celebrate with their Mom's side of the family.....Phew.....did you get all that?

Our dinner isn't until 4 pm.  I am keeping it much simpler this year than last because our family dinner will be held on January 2nd.  Amy, Doug, Tingting and Mel will be able to join us on Christmas Day.  Chuck will not be coming in this year as he was just here for Thanksgiving.  Nic, Pierre and Anthony will be spending Christmas Day with their Mom so we are all getting together after the craziness subsides for our family dinner.  I will be sharing that Menu with you after Christmas.

From our house to yours we wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy and Healthy New Year.  May your blessings be abundant and your sorrows few.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Candy Cane Kissed Shortbread Cookies #FantasticalFoodFight

This month for our Fantastical Food Fight we are all bringing our version of Shortbread Cookies to the table.  I love shortbread so this challenge was just up my alley even though I just spent 12 whole days baking Christmas cookies from around the world.

During the travels many of the cookies were based on shortbread which is simply a rich, buttery cookie made of butter, flour and sugar.  Shortbread typically have no eggs included in the recipe.  The recipe I am sharing today includes cream cheese, which is not typical, but is very delicious.

Life doesn't get much easier or much sweeter than these tender, melt in your mouth cookie topped with a Candy Cane Kiss.  Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Candy Cane Kissed Shortbread Cookies

1 lb. butter, room temperature
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
4 c. flour
pinch of salt
Candy Cane Kisses

In large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the sugar and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the flour and salt to the butter mixture on low speed until combined.   Refrigerate the dough for 15-20 minutes to make it easier to work with.  Roll a rounded tablespoon of dough into a ball and top with a Candy Cane Kiss, pressing down into  the dough.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375* oven for 8-10 minutes until bottom is light golden brown.

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More Amazing Shortbread Cookies

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Weekly Menu before Christmas 2016

Our dinner party last night was a great success.  I love getting together with friends who have become family.  I am so fortunate that God has blessed me with such great family....those I was born to....those that I married into (both times) and those who are the family of my heart.

Image result for family

It is going to be a crazy busy week around I'm sure it is at your homes as well.  Tonight, we are going to a Christmas gathering at the Bendas.  I am bringing a Bean Salsa that has been on my to make list since last winter when our friend, Bob, brought it to one of the dive parties.  I also had some pork leftover from the Crown Roast last night so I thinly sliced it and put it in the slow cooker with some BBQ sauce and am bringing that, as well, with little Kings Hawaiian Rolls to make sliders.

Image result for Christmas craziness

Tomorrow we are going to see the Musical about Carole King, Beautiful, with John and Kirsten.  I love Carole King's music.  Her Tapestry album was one of the first I ever purchased and I listened to it for hours on end.  I am looking forward to the show and we will go out for dinner afterwards.

Image result for beautiful the carole king musical

Monday, I will be spending the day prepping for the Christmas Basket Distribution for the Food Pantry which is taking place on Wednesday.  I am just going to throw together some chili for our dinner that night.

Tuesday is our Choir party.  This is the first year in 15 years that we are not hosting the party.  Our friend's Steve and Sharon are hosting this year.  I am bringing Mac and Cheese for the Potluck.

Wednesday we will go out and grab dinner after the distribution of Christmas Baskets.  Thursday we have our Little Miss.  I am going to make Beef and Noodles using the bones from the Prime Rib Roast that I had put in the freezer.  Melody loves noodles in any way, shape or form.

Friday we will be running around getting ready for Christmas Day Breakfast and Dinner and picking up any last minute gifts that still need to be bought.  I am sure we will be eating on the fly.

Have a safe and happy week before Christmas as you prepare for the coming of our Lord.

Saturday-Potluck at Bendas
Bean Salsa and chips
BBQ pork sliders

Out for dinner after theatre

Corn Bread

Tuesday-Choir Potluck
Mac and Cheese

Dinner out after Food Pantry

Beef and Noodles

Dinner out while running errands