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Sleepovers, Swimming in The Lake and Parades!

I remember when I was a little girl….yes, that was a long time ago…;) …but I remember the weeks before the 4th of July and how our little town decorated lamp posts with red, white and blue bunting. It was […]

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It Doesn’t Take Much Time…..

My dear readers, I love to set up little vignettes around my home and with the 4th of July coming up so quickly…I took about 10 minutes out of my morning to set up this Independence Day vignette. I didn’t […]

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WoooHooo!!! Guests Are Coming To Villa de la Luna!

I love having guests at Villa de la Luna…in other words, I love having guests visit us in Florida…and in a couple of weeks our home will be filled with laughter, good food, funny stories but most importantly…just plain fun […]

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My Latest Project….

 My dear readers….I have many decorating projects going on in my kitchen, living room and dining room right now.    Painting chair legs and table legs, ….painting the chandy (chandelier) and painting the ceiling and walls have all been on […]

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June Is Bustin’ Out All Over…..

My dear readers….it is already the middle of June and what does one think about in June?  ….how about June Brides? And yes, I was a June Bride…albeit many years ago. 🙂   The Captain and I were married on […]

 

Sleepovers, Swimming in The Lake and Parades!

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I remember when I was a little girl….yes, that was a long time ago…;)

…but I remember the weeks before the 4th of July and how our little town decorated lamp posts with red, white and blue bunting.

It was the days of Drive-In Movies, Brownie Kodak cameras, Leave It To Beaver and Kool-Aid!

Sleepovers, Swimming in the State Lake and 4th of July parades.

It was a time of screen door slammin’ and hop scotch and playing under the street lights until way after dark.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”!

It was a time when young boys used clothespins to fasten playing cards to the spokes of their bicycle wheels so they could be in the parade that would go the whole length of downtown…which consisted of about 8-10 blocks.

And hay wagon floats pulled directly from the wheat fields, cleaned up a bit… and then decorated with red, white and blue streamers amid the bales of hay on a sweltering summer day.

I watched the movie “The Music Man” the other day and hearing the band playing “76 Trombones” made me want to sing along….

…and yes, I did sing along.  

All by myself!

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Perhaps that is why I love to decorate every inch of my home for holidays, I love holidays and any excuse to decorate my home.

So yes, my dear readers…I have yet another decorating project for the 4th of July holiday.

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And this is so simple and takes all of 5 minutes.

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I am sure you have these items around your house or if you don’t,…they are so easy to come by….and they are not expensive.  I think I paid a dollar for the pinwheels and the carnations were $2.50 with 50 % off at Michael’s…and the little flags were $1.49.  I had the cone baskets but any little basket will do.

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I found the pinwheels and little flags at Ace Hardware….wasn’t that where we always went when we were young? 

It may have been the only hardware store in town but it had EVERYTHING from baseball gloves to ice picks to fishing lures and worms.

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And the flowers are red, white and blue carnations from Michael’s…and the cone shaped baskets I had in my garage.

NOW, what I usually have and did not have was a piece of green Styrofoam so I used the next best thing to fill my baskets….wadded up newspaper.  

I most likely will pick up a small piece of Styrofoam next time I go to Hobby Lobby but for now the newspaper works just fine. 

Soooo I stuffed in the paper and stuffed in two bunches of carnations and poked in three of the the pinwheels and two of the little flags and Waaah-Laaaaah! A hanging basket for my front doors. 

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door decor1See?  5 minutes tops!  And I probably spent most of that time looking for Styrofoam.  🙂

Have a great week-end my friends…..and pop a little holiday decor on your front door. 

It will bring back childhood memories.

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave a comment!

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It Doesn’t Take Much Time…..

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My dear readers, I love to set up little vignettes around my home and with the 4th of July coming up so quickly…I took about 10 minutes out of my morning to set up this Independence Day vignette.

I didn’t have to go far for any of the pieces….my dish pantry held the striped platters, salt and pepper “stars” and star-shaped bowls.

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I had bought a red lacquered tray several months ago at Home Goods….don’t ya just love that store?

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AND….I used my entry table as a staging table.

I went to my linen closet and pulled out the red and blue bandannas…which I love to use as napkins…. and you can usually find them for $1.00 at Michael’s or JoAnn’s or any craft store. They have them in all colors, but I like the red and blue and white.

I used the blue bandanna as a scarf under the red tray and added a white utensil holder for napkins and red flatware.

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I tossed some red, white and blue gumballs into small mason jars,

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…….and wrote with chalk on a little easel chalkboard.

AND to top it off, I used the straw hat the Captain used when we had our old fashioned picnic in the park with friends from our “Birds” group.

Easy-Peasy!!

I just love getting into the spirit of the Holidays and I love to sprinkle the Season around my home.

And it doesn’t take much time to put a vignette together!

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This vignette on my sidebar….is waiting for lemonade and home made ice cream, while the vignette on my entry table is saying chocolate cake, apple pie please!

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Oh, and by the way, the simple No Churn Ice Cream recipe is below.  This has only 3 ingredients (if you don’t count the lemon extract which is optional)  and you can add fruit, nuts or any other flavorings and I guarantee it will always turn our for you.

AND….it isn’t Summer without ice cream, is it?

Of course, I will always prefer the hand cranked home made ice cream…but believe me when I tell you that the No Churn Ice Cream really hits the spot on a warm Summer evening. 

Are you decorating for the 4th of July?

Have a great and blessed day!

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 I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment!

No Churn Ice Cream
This is truly a no churn ice cream. So easy to make and if you want, you can add diced peaches, strawberries, blue berries, chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios, either separately or a combination of a few of these ingredients...this is good eating.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  2. 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
  3. 2-3 tablespoons pure vanilla
  4. 1 teaspoon of Lemon extract (optional)
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Then add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Pour the mixture into a glass loaf pan and cover it with plastic wrap and and pop into the freezer for at least six hours, but overnight is best.
  2. Serve by itself or over chocolate cake or apple pie.
Notes
  1. I have made this into a peach ice cream by using finely diced fresh peaches and omitting the lemon extract....the same with using strawberries. The sky is the limit. :)
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

WoooHooo!!! Guests Are Coming To Villa de la Luna!

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I love having guests at Villa de la Luna…in other words, I love having guests visit us in Florida…and in a couple of weeks our home will be filled with laughter, good food, funny stories but most importantly…just plain fun with family.

You see, the Captain and I will be entertaining 5 family members, showing off the sights and sounds of our fair city and just sitting by the pool with a lemonade or sweet tea watching (and joining) the two little ones as they splash and play in the pool.

Yes, it will be an enjoyable time and I will be loving every minute of it.

BUT, as we eagerly await our house full of family, we will also be preparing for the visit by making sure our guest rooms are in great shape and ready for our guests and here is how we do it.

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I start this process about a week in advance of the guests arrival.  This way I don’t have to rush around frantically at the last minute.  After all, I want to enjoy our family and have fun as much as everyone else, so getting the guest rooms ready beforehand, will be the first on my “to do” check list.

I will be showing you the Turquoise Guest Room.

Clean the Bedding

I like to put clean sheets and pillow cases on my guest room beds at least a week before my guests arrive.  I love that fresh washed smell and so do my guests.  It is important to me, for my guests to know that they are sleeping in spotless and clean smelling beds.

And here is another tip:  Having a good mattress that we ourselves would sleep on in the guest rooms.  When a mattress is worn out, it should be thrown out and not be sent to the guest room.  Of course, having said that, not every one will agree on each and every mattress….whether they are firm, not firm…soft, not soft, but at least we will not be giving our guests an old lumpy mattress that has been around for years and years.

AND the same can be said for pillows.  I have foam, memory foam and down type pillows, so my guests have a choice.

Extra Blankets and a Ceiling Fan

Living in Florida, one may not need an extra blanket…but I still have blankets in the closet on a shelf or in a drawer, along with extra pillows.  One is more likely to need a fan so we have ceiling fans with three speeds in every guest bedroom for our guests.

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The Essentials

I am sure my guests are like me and appreciate a well appointed room.  

So I make sure my guests have everything they may need for their stay.  

I keep little baskets of things they might have forgotten like toothpaste, toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream, feminine products, antiperspirant, comb, hairspray as well as a few meds such as Baby Asprin, Aleve, Tums, Floss, baby powder, etc.

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This also includes soaps, shampoos, conditioners and scented body washes.  

And I like to provide a bed tray which is always sitting on the bed for guests to use for whatever purpose they need. Some use it for jewelry storage and some use it for snacks.  

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I also have a box of tissues and a clock by the bed.  

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Most of us have our smart phones so don’t really need clocks but once in a while we have guests who are a little older who appreciate that little amenity.

And here is another tip I have found to be handy and that is to provide an extension cord! It is important to have enough outlets and plugs for guests to be able to “hook-up” their electronics. 

My guests have commented that the guest bedrooms are like being in a hotel room…everything they need in one place.

Fluffy Towels

I have been slowly making white towels the norm at Villa de la Luna.  

I used to have towels to match the 4 bathrooms so that when I washed and folded them, I knew immediately which bathroom they went in.  But then I decided that I like the look and freshness of white fluffy towels and so I have plenty of white towels ready for my guests.

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One of the perks of having 4 bathrooms is each guest room has it’s own bath so having fluffy, clean towels handy for guests is a no-brainer.

Also, white towels are easy to launder and it’s so easy to find fabulous high quality ones at deeply discounted prices!!! White towels are always on sale! 

However, if your guests have to share a bathroom, I would suggest you put a few towels on a wicker cart or small table in their room, so they won’t have to ask you for clean towels.  Just a thought.

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Snacks and Treats

I also like to set out a small basket of smoked or roasted almonds, Ghirardelli chocolate, mixed nuts, trail mix, roasted pistachios, and a couple granola bars.  

My guests love that there are a few munchies waiting for them when they get into their room as well as a TV, if they want to watch the news, etc.

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I’ll also put a few small bottles of water near the basket on the day my guests arrive and replace them as needed throughout the visit.

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I tell my guests to make themselves at home, but unless they are family, I find my guests are reluctant (no matter how much I insist) to raid the fridge when they are needing a late night snack….so I try to accommodate them with a few guilty pleasures.

Luggage Rack

In my opinion, there is nothing worse than being in a room with no place to put your suitcase, so I provide a luggage rack in each guest room.  

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Sometimes (most times) my closets are storing either coats for travel or other items as the closets are prime real estate when one does not have a basement. However, I clear out a “space” with hangers for guests who are staying for a few days.  

I also try to have at least one empty drawer for storing their personal things.

And, I must tell you about the small hand-held steamer I keep in each guest room. These little steamers are perfect for removing a few packing wrinkles from clothing. And just in case one does not know how to use it….I keep the instructions handy.  There is also a matching over-the-door hanger for whatever needs steaming.

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Now, here comes the matchy-matchy stuff.  I color coordinate the steamers for each guest room.  

I want my guests to feel like they are in a 5 star hotel for conveniences….. but what the Captain and I mostly want is for them to feel at home.

Dust and Vacuum

Lastly, I dust and vacuum the room, including the window sills behind the plantation shutters, shine up the windows and give the bathroom a good cleaning.  I want everything to be spit spot clean for my guests.

I also make sure there is a waste basket and towel racks for hanging wet towels and swim suits.

The Finishing Touch

Now this is my wheelhouse! I am the embellishment queen! Adding personal touches is something I love! love! love! to do!!!! 

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Sooooo, I like to add a vase or pitcher of fresh flowers to the guest room night stands. Nothing big, just a small bouquet.  

I love fresh flowers!  You can pick them from your garden or if you see some pretty roadside “weeds” such as sunflowers or bachelor buttons or tiger lilies, pick a small bouquet of them.  Of course, you could always buy one of the little $5.00 grocery store bouquets! Flowers just shout out “WELCOME TO MY HOME”!

However, let me add that if my guests stay for more than 3 days, I must remember to change the water to keep the flowers fresh.

OR instead of flowers, perhaps I might put a small green plant on the night stand.  A plant also works if guests might have allergies…and I like to suggest the guest take the small plant home as a gift from the Captain and Me.

Of course I have to have something in the room to remind my guests of my humor….such as the plaque below.

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and no, I don’t expect my guests to make breakfast!!!  🙂

So my dear readers, that is how I prepare for my guests.

It gives me satisfaction knowing that they are thankful for my thoughtfulness and that is what being a good hostess is all about isn’t it?

Do you have Summer guests coming to your home?

If so, give me your hints on getting your guest room ready.

Hugs and Blessings Always

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My Latest Project….

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 My dear readers….I have many decorating projects going on in my kitchen, living room and dining room right now. 
 
Painting chair legs and table legs, ….painting the chandy (chandelier) and painting the ceiling and walls have all been on my summer “To-Do” list. 
 
All of these projects take a little time and I have to admit that I am a little slow, so in between some of the more time-consuming projects, I want to show you one of my favorite projects that is fairly simple and yet it still has a bit of decorating impact. 
 
I guess I also need to explain that when I say “I” am working on these projects you need to know that “I” …really means “we”…the Captain and me.
 
I usually do up a design of what I want made and somehow the Captain makes it all happen.
 
This project is a Platter Rack.
 
You see, I had a bare piece of wall with a sort of set back.
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…..and I have lots of platters,
 
….especially white ironstone platters and I wanted to not only display them
 
….I really wanted to be able to get “at them” easily.
 
Bingo! My Platter Rack.
 
If you remember, the Captain put up bead board in the Hall/guest bathroom…
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……and I saw this large piece left over in the garage, and my mind started working overtime.
 
So I asked him to make me a  Platter Rack by framing in the bead board, and adding a few  pieces of decorative trim and then I would grab my handy dandy paint brush and paint it all when he was finished!!!
 
And so “we” made it happen.
 
(And when I say “we”. I mean the Captain!)
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But, …..I did paint it.
 
Two coats of glossy white paint.
 
Yes, and I like how it turned out.
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It not only gives a little pizzazz to the doorway leading into the utility room and across from the newly installed barn door…it just speaks to me.
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And now when I need a large platter….I don’t have to go digging underneath other platters or plates. 
 
If you would like to make a platter rack….it is really pretty simple. 
 
We chose to have a back for the rack but one could just as easily put the rectangular framework up using 1X2 inch boards and adding the same boards in the center (strategically placed, for the platters to rest on…we had to work around a light switch) and then add a little decorative molding to hold the plates in place.  Pretty simple huh?
 
Sooooo whats for dinner?  Something requiring the use of a large platter I am sure.
 
Have a great week-end.
 
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June Is Bustin’ Out All Over…..

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My dear readers….it is already the middle of June and what does one think about in June? 

….how about June Brides?

And yes, I was a June Bride…albeit many years ago. 🙂  

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The Captain and I were married on the 3rd of June….so we were in keeping with an old tradition that has now sorta dropped down in popularity as there has been an increase in having weddings in every month of the year.

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But the romantic in me still thinks of June Brides and June Weddings and June Honeymoons.

But I do have another confession to make….the Captain and I didn’t go on a honeymoon until October of the year we were married…so perhaps we were not in keeping with tradition.

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If you know me, you also know that I love to set up pretty tablescapes and this month is no exception. 

2016-06-16 13.02.24Really, it started out innocent enough….I was re-arranging my glass storage cabinet and I saw a small box that had a few of our wedding mementos…and on top of these mementos was about 5 yards of Tulle slipped inside of a plastic bag.

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Ok…now, my dear readers….

……all of a sudden, I am thinking about knights in shining armor,

…and running through a meadow of dainty pale blue, white, pink and yellow wild flowers (probably bachelor buttons), dressed in a flowing, white linen sundress on a bright, Summer morning.  

…I think of big fluffy white clouds in a beautiful baby blue sky

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AND I think of June weddings.

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Sooooo, I decided to set up a tablescape using the tulle and dainty white flowers..

…don’t ya just love bridal veil spirea?

Don’t ya just love how the branches arch and droop lazily to the ground?  

Don’t ya just love the tiny yellow centers that are surrounded by the tiniest white petals?

I DO TOO!

But, I don’t have any of them.  We don’t grow them in Florida! Sigh!

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Sooooo with a flower substitution, I began my tablescape, which by the way can be used for any occasion…it doesn’t have to be wedding or bridal, necessarily.

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Of course a June Bride would be my first choice…but how about an anniversary dinner or ???? you pick the special occasion?

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You don’t have to set a pretty table to make a meal a nice experience…although I think I will try to have a pretty tablescape at least once a month…just because.

…because I find it fun and enjoy “playing” with my dishes. 🙂  and perhaps it will give you ideas for one of your dinners.

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I am sure you will ask: Do I set up a pretty tablescape for every meal?

No, Not hardly.

Most of the time, the Captain and I grab a food filled plate and our drink and we take it out on the Lanai and eat Al Fresco.

Yes, on an ordinary table with an ordinary meal and an ordinary evening.

 And…..

on those warm Summer evenings, with the tropical breezes full of the sweet aroma of  midnight jasmine wafting through the air…

 as we listen to the crickets singing their symphonies…

we may linger over dinner, sipping on a glass of wine.

And we may look up into the heavens and see the twinkling stars against the dark sky and it makes that particular meal and the evening special.

It is what it is….

Blessings to all of you and your families.

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Nothin’ Says Lovin’…Like Bacon In The Oven!

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My dear readers….I am so excited as I have family coming from up North…as we in SW Florida say…well, lets get more accurate and call it the Midwest.

There is a difference….a big difference.
 
There will be 5 guests…family members, so they really are not guests but the Captain and I are really looking forward to this visit. 
 
I am sure we will go out to eat a few times while they are here, but we will also be having breakfast by the pool too.
 
I have tentatively planned a few breakfasts and one could not have breakfast without Bacon.
 
Lots of Bacon!
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I am sure some readers might say…”oh, no! Fatty bacon!”….but deep down, who doesn’t love bacon and I plan to pop some bacon in the oven which makes it just a bit healthier or as some would say low carb.
 
Well, sort of!
 
Low carb or not, oven bacon has become all of the rage the past few years, but oven baking of bacon has been on most bacon packages for as long as I can remember.
 
And if you have ever been on one of those low carb diets….admit it, we all have at one time or another of our lives especially if we were trying to lose a few pounds quickly….then you have eaten bacon…  well drained of course, and cooking a full pound of bacon in the oven is a great way to get your bacon all done at once.
 
Now, I have to confess that if I’m just cooking a slice or two, I still cook it in my cast iron skillet, but when I am cooking up an entire package of bacon for guests…or a certain recipe… I use the oven method.  And you really don’t have to worry about left overs as bacon stores nicely in the fridge for a few days, so it’s handy to have on hand for a BLT sandwich or to add to a recipe. Just let it cool and store the slices in a plastic baggie. Bacon also freezes nicely,  it if you don’t think you’ll use it up right away.
 

To make bacon in the oven, I just lay the bacon out on a foil covered, rimmed baking sheet pan, two of them for a full pound. Using foil makes for an easier clean up.

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OR, put your bacon on a baking rack with foil underneath for easy clean up.  Works either way.  It is just a matter of preference.  Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how thick your bacon is, and the degree of crispness you’re looking for.
 
There are those who say to start with a cold oven, and I have tried that and it does work, but I prefer to preheat my oven, which I find works for me!
 
No need to turn the bacon either. Once the bacon is done, drain it on a rack or on paper towels, BUT…and here is the most important part…. don’t forget to save the bacon grease.  I love the flavor a little bacon grease gives my fried potatoes and I have a long list of ways to use these wonderful bacon drippings, but that is for another post. 
 
OK…I can hear it now.  The tsk tsk tsk part of …whatever happened to healthy eating?
 
My dear readers, I have another confession to make.  I’m not too good with depriving myself, and I don’t know how long I’ll be living on this earth.  Our time is short as we all know.
 
But this brings to mind the famous quote by Erma Bombeck…the late American humorist.
 
‘Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.’
 
When the time comes for me to meet my maker…I’m pretty sure I’m NOT gonna be saying “I’m sure glad I quit eating Fried Chicken or Bacon!”  🙂
 
It is true that I will continue to try to watch my portions and eat a bit more balanced diet.  And when I notice that I am eating something a bit off the chart…I will add a little more activity in the pool or on the treadmill.  But let’s face it….at my age, I know I will never be a Cindy Crawford look alike…nor do I want to be super thin or even not so super thin.  
 
Do any of you remember that sheep cartoon?  You know the one where one sheep says to the other sheep…Ewe’s not fat, Ewe’s just fluffy!   Ok, I reckon I am just a little fluffy!
 

Having said that, I do think it’s a good idea to cut back on processed foods and simple and refined carbohydrates.  I believe we should focus more on complex carbs and whole grains. Isn’t that what balance is all about? 

But Bacon?  
 
Hey, I’m gonna eat my bacon and baking it in the oven might just be a little healthier than frying in a pan.
 
Family?  Be ready for some bacon when you come down to Florida!
 
Have a great and blessed day!
 
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Flag Day….June 14th,

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My dear readers….today is Flag Day, ….yes, on June 14th 1777, a Presidential Proclamation was made….

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From the Presidential Proclamation:

With hands over hearts, Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs have long saluted Old Glory and honored its legacy.  Our flag persists as a powerful representation of freedom and opportunity.  Waving high above capitol buildings and courthouses, military bases and embassies across the globe, and on the distant surface of the moon, it calls on each of us to remember our obligations to the Republic for which it stands and to carry forward the unwavering optimism that defines us.

America endures because of the courage of servicemen and women who serve under this standard, and our veterans are forever draped in the red, white, and blue when they are laid to rest.  Wherever the flag lies or flies, its message is clear:  We rise and fall together, as one Nation and one people.

The American flag invokes pride in our citizens and hope in those who come to our shores in search of a brighter tomorrow.  In recognition of the ways it has embodied our ideals and sustained our Nation, let us pay tribute to the Star Spangled Banner and continue striving to create a more perfect and indivisible Union — with liberty and justice for all.

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It is very sad that our beautiful flag is having to fly at half mast all over our nation because of the horrible tragedy in Orlando, Florida. …but Old Glory is still flying and that is the best medicine for our nation.  

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I admit that I am very patriotic….and celebrate with good food, family and friends.

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Of course, one does not need an excuse to do that.

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I love our flag and when I see her waving at sporting events as the Star Spangled Banner is sung or God Bless America…my eyes become misty.

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I am proud to say that I come from a family of service men and they all wore their uniforms proudly.

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Americans are encouraged to observe Flag Day and National Flag Week by displaying the flag.

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The Captain and I never miss an opportunity to fly our flag…in fact we have one flag that remains up all year long…and yes, it is lighted at night.

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Below are Flag Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open. When a patriotic effect is desired the flag may ‘be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
  • When placed on a single staff or lanyard, place the U.S. Flag above all other flags.
  • Don’t dip the U.S. Flag for any person, flag, or vessel.
  • Don’t let the flag touch the ground.
  • Don’t fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
  • Don’t carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
  • Don’t use the flag as clothing.
  • Don’t store the flag where it can get dirty.
  • Don’t use it as a cover.
  • Don’t fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
  • Don’t draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.
  • And finally, dispose of a worn flag by burning, or better yet, take the flag to your local VFW who will dispose of it for you.

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God Bless America!

And God Bless all of you!

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When The Weight of the World Seems Heavy…..

When the weight of the world seems heavy…let ’em eat cake!

I am sure many of you have your go-to recipes….you know the ones where you have it memorized and when unexpected guests are coming or you need that really quick dessert?

Yep, that is the one.

Or two.

Or three…oh my goodness, we all have quite a few recipes just like that.

I came home from a short trip down to Naples early this bright Monday morning and as I drove into my driveway….one of my dear neighbors was walking back to her house.  I called out to her and I could tell she was upset.

She told me she had to go to her home as she forgot something she wanted to show me, but that she would be back over.

She had been crying, but I didn’t pry at that time.  I knew she would be back….just as I knew she would tell me when she was ready.

Sometimes one just needs to listen….and perhaps share a slice of cake.

Only, I did not have any cake in the house…remember…I said I was returning from an overnight stay in Naples.

Sooooo I rushed into the house thinking what could be better than having a piece of something warm and sweet to make one feel just a little bit or a whole lot better.

And then a light-bulb went off in my head and I remembered my cuppa cuppa Mandarin Orange Cake.

The actual name of the recipe is Mandarin Orange Cake but I added the cuppa cuppa because it calls for 2 cups of everything.

So I turned on the oven, filled the tea pot and went about making my cake.  This cake is so easy and it is so moist because of the mandarin oranges.

…..And it is easy to remember the ingredients.

When my friend came back to the house, the tears were gone and as soon as she smelled the cake in the oven….I saw her familiar smile.

We sat down and talked and talked and talked while the cake baked.  I jumped up and quickly made the glaze and as I pulled the cake out of the oven….I poured the warm glaze over the top.

I didn’t have any whipped cream….but we really didn’t need it.

We sat and ate Mandarin Orange Cake and drank our tea until all was just a bit more right with the world.

Does cake solve every problem?

Of course not, but it sure makes the medicine go down a lot easier.

You know the lyric from the Mary Poppins song….a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?

I have had this recipe for years and it came from an office potluck…isn’t that the way most of these good recipes end up in our recipe boxes?

This recipe came from a lady who used to do the filing at a business I worked for about 40 years ago….her name was Edith.

She brought it to work at the potluck and I thought it was so good, I asked her for the recipe and I have been making it ever since.

Each time I make it, I get asked for the recipe.  It is a simple cake and very moist.  It is easy to remember because everything is 2 cups or teaspoons.

Please try this cuppa cuppa Mandarin Orange Cake….and you don’t have to wait for a sad day, but I guarantee once you taste the goodness, you will be a lot happier.

The handy dandy printable recipe is below….but it is an easy one to memorize.

Enjoy!  And have a great beginning to your week!

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Cuppa Cuppa Mandarin Orange Cake
I like to call this my 2 cuppa...because almost all the ingredients are all "2's". makes it an easy recipe to remember! everything goes in together in one bowl! How simple is that?
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Ingredients
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 2 cans of mandarin oranges (small cans, drained)
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. ½ teaspoon salt.
Glaze
  1. 3/4 brown sugar
  2. 3 tablespoons milk
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Combine eggs, sugar, mandarin oranges, flour, baking soda and salt in a medium size bowl.
  2. Grease and flour (or using baking spray) a 9X13 baking dish
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  4. While baking, put brown sugar,milk and butter in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  5. Prick cake with fork and pour topping over warm cake right after taking from the oven.
  6. Top each piece with whipped cream right over the glaze if desired
Note
  1. You can omit the glaze, but why would you want to? It makes this orange cake so wonderfully moist and tasty! I love it with my morning hot tea! And so will you!
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

MORE Potato Magic and Louisiana Fries…..

Lets talk potatoes…my favorite side dish by far.  

I love all kinds of potatoes especially creamy mashed potatoes with cream gravy, or brown gravy or just about any kind of gravy…and fried potatoes with onions…and Baked Potatoes loaded with cheese and broccoli…and roasted potatoes with butter and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt…and scalloped potatoes with 5 kinds of cheese…and creamed potatoes with peas…and french fries X-tra crispy…..and hash brown potato casserole…and…. sorry, I was getting a bit carried away there for a minute…but I am back in control now.  BTW, all those recipes are in my recipe file under side dishes.

Perhaps you remember this post I called Potato Magic several years ago….:  here it is if you didn’t get to see it.  I have included the recipe for Potato Magic and if you read a bit further, you will see my friend Miss Marci from Louisiana’s recipe for Louisiana Fries!  She tells me that all the old family recipes include Louisiana Fries, right along with Gumbo, crawfish and jambalaya!

The two recipes are a lot alike….just the seasonings and the order in which you do the steps.  

POTATO MAGIC!!!

Can I tell you these potatoes are like magic…they melt in your mouth and you can’t eat just one!  😉  

I like to call this recipe potato magic because I combined different kinds of potatoes, and lets face it, I grew up in the Midwest on a meat and potato diet….comfort food!

So any recipe with potatoes is right up my alley!  

I love potatoes….yes, carbohydrates I know….but once in a while, they simply are just good eating!

 potato Magic

I used purple or blue potatoes which have blue flesh, red rosey potatoes which are kind of a pink flesh, yukon gold which has a yellowish flesh and sweet potatoes.  

Look in your supermarket to see if you have colored potatoes! They are showing up more and more and are not available only for specialty restaurants.  A farmers market may also have the different colors of potatoes. 

purpleOne day, several months ago,  I was in the super market and saw the fingerling potatoes in purple/blue, red, and the Yukon Gold (which, by the way I have come to love in mashed potatoes because of their creamy texture) and the beautiful sweet potatoes in various colors of orange.  

I was experimenting on their different tastes and different ways to prepare and found a solution to my favorite.  I mixed them all together in one recipe and called them Potato Magic.

Seriously, folks….make these potatoes and you will see the magic and hopefully love them too….The printable recipe is below!

AND now lets take potatoes one step further….we are back to today!

A friend of mine who hails from Louisiana, read my Potato Magic recipe and told me about her recipe which is similar.  She said, most home cooks in Louisiana make this potato recipe.  They are called Louisiana Fries!  

I have to confess that I have not made it yet…and there is one extra step of precooking the potatoes which Miss Marci says can be done a couple days ahead of time and stored in the fridge.  But I have to admit, what is not to like about this recipe?  

The garlic butter sauce? YUM!

The Onion and Garlic powders? YUM

And the spice of the Cajun Seasoning???  Triple YUM

Thanks Miss Marci for giving me this recipe from your Louisiana family archives.  I really enjoy trying recipes from different parts of the country.

Printable recipes are below!

Ya know….I don’t think I could live without the potato….I can’t help it!  

It is an addiction. 
 
Is there a Potatoes Anonymous Group Meeting?
 
If, there is…I should be in it.
 
Help, ……
…….I think!
 
Do you like potatoes my dear readers?
 
Have a great week-end….excuse me while I go peel a few potatoes.
 
They are not for me…..
 
Yeah! 
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Louisiana Fries
Another go to recipe for that wonderful spud. It sounds like a lot of steps but once you go through it...you will see is all falls into place.
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For the Potatoes
  1. 2 large russet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  2. 4 cups cooking oil, for frying (canola, vegetable)
For the Garlic Butter Sauce
  1. 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  4. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
For the Seasoning Blend
  1. 2 teaspoons salt (I use coarse salt, Kosher)
  2. 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  5. 1/4 teaspoon Creole or Cajun seasoning
  6. chopped parsley or green onions for garnish
Instructions
  1. Peel potatoes and cut into 3/4 inch cubes and place them in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Next, melt butter in a medium saucepan, add oil and garlic and simmer until garlic is tender; set aside to cool. Add in chopped parsley.
  3. Combine the salt and pepper, onion and garlic powder seasoning and the Creole or Cajun seasoning and blend the spices together in a small bowl.
  4. Now it is time to cook the potatoes. Drain potatoes in a colander and place the potatoes in a sauce pan, covering with fresh water. Bring to a boil and cook until slightly tender (about 10 minutes) drain potatoes and place on a paper towel.
  5. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 175 degrees F.
  6. In a heavy pot or deep fryer, heat the oil. Add the potatoes, (as you would french fries) frying in batches, and turning to brown (about 3 to 4 minutes).
  7. Drain on paper towels and season with the seasoning mixture....then transfer the potatoes to serving platter and place into the warm oven, while you prepare your meal. Leave the potatoes in the oven for at least 20 minutes. When ready to serve, add the remaining seasonings to the garlic butter sauce,...toss potatoes with the sauce and seasonings and garnish with parsley and/or chives or green onions and serve right away.
Notes
  1. Cubing and boiling the potatoes in advance is a good timesaver when preparing this dish, as they can be held in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or two until you're ready to fry and finish them.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/
Potato Magic
Serves 4
Yukon gold, Purple, Red Rosey Potatoes and Orange Sweet Potato...combined to give you a wonderful potato treat. Use the oven, microwave and on top of the stove.
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Ingredients
  1. 2-3 Yukon Gold Potato
  2. 2-3 Red Potato
  3. 2-3 Purple Potato
  4. 1 medium Sweet Potato
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil***
  6. Seasoning salt
  7. Oil for deep frying
Directions
  1. Clean the potatoes, leaving the skins on. (optional on the skins....I like them on, more nutrition)
  2. Chop the potatoes in equal size chunks, so potatoes are cooked evenly. Do not cut pieces too small....(about the size of a quarter, 1/2 inch cubes as potatoes shrink)
  3. Spread on cookie sheet and lightly toss with the olive oil
  4. Sprinkle Seasoning Salt over the potatoes
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until almost tender, At this point, you can cool the potatoes and store in the fridge until ready to fry, or cool on the counter to use immediately.
  6. Drop into preheated deep fryer or a heavy skillet with about 2 inches of oil.
  7. Fry until crispy on the outside and creamy soft on the inside.
  8. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  9. Add additional seasoning as desired.
Instructions
  1. Clean the potatoes, leaving the skins on. (optional on the skins....I like them on, more nutrition)
  2. Chop the potatoes in equal size chunks, so potatoes are cooked evenly. Do not cut pieces too small....(about the size of a quarter, 1/2 inch cubes as potatoes shrink)
  3. Spread on cookie sheet and lightly toss with the olive oil
  4. Sprinkle Seasoning Salt over the potatoes
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, until almost tender, At this point, you can cool the potatoes and store in the fridge until ready to fry, or cool on the counter to use immediately.
  6. Drop into preheated deep fryer or a heavy skillet with about 2 inches of oil.
  7. Fry until crispy on the outside and creamy soft on the inside.
  8. Remove and drain on paper towels.
  9. Add additional seasoning as desired.
  10. The secret is the deep frying ...these are so yummy! They can be served for an evening meal or for breakfast. If you want to get even more flavor, saute chopped onion in bacon grease and add to the cooked potatoes...Add chili powder for more of a kick. I really like the taste of the sweet potatoes and the purple, red and yukon gold flavors mingled together!
  11. Enjoy and experiment with what pleases your palette .
Notes
  1. You can use a microwave to hasten the cooking or you can put potatoes in non stick skillet and "steam" with a couple tablespoons of water, or par boil them in boiling water. I have made them in the oven, microwave and on top of the stove.
Me and My Captain http://www.meandmycaptain.com/

 

 
 

Let Your Table Show Summer is Here….

summer vignette6

Remember this Summertime Song?
 
“Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh, uh
Chh chh-chh, uh, Chh chh-chh
In the summertime when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather’s fine
You got swimmin’, you got swimmin’ on your mind!!!”
 
Ok, my dear readers, I may have changed the lyrics to that song juuussst a bit, but I like my lyrics better!
 
Don’t ya just love summer?
 
There are so many things to love about Summer….excluding humidity and high temperatures….I’m talking about picnic days and warm Summer nights sittin’ on the porch listening to the crickets sing and watching the lightning bugs dart in and among the evening shadows.
 
I grew up with grandparents who sat out on the front (or back) porch drinking lemonade or sipping on a glass of sweet tea.  One of my grandmothers hand knit little “jackets” for the drink glasses so they wouldn’t “sweat” in your hand. I had a favorite one.  It was variegated red, white and blue.
 
Which leads me to my Summer Vignette for my Kitchen table,…. which if you know me at all…you know I love to play with dishes.
 
There I said it!!!…
…perhaps it is a carry-over from my childhood days of playing house and setting up little kitchens from old wooden pallets and orange crates.
 
My play dishes were anything from old tin cans to chipped plates and bowls that my mother handed off to me when she felt they were not safe to eat from.   AND I loved them.  
 
I would painstakingly remove the labels from small tuna cans and paint them colors with left over paint from our shed….OR, I would leave them a shiny silver because they looked like sterling silver.  
 
I had/have a great imagination!
 
For this vignette, I am setting it up on my kitchen table in the kitchen nook.  And because I love red, white and blue and because there are so many patriotic Holidays through-out the Summer, I’m am adding those colors to my neutral decor!!!
summer vignette2
 
I have/will be celebrating Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day!
summer vignette10
summer vignette11
summer vignette12
summer vignette13
Yep!  It is the RED, WHITE AND BLUE for my Summertime Vignette!
I do confess to having many sets of dishes.  And flatware.  And serving dishes.
 
Yep!, I love dishes and I love playing with dishes and I love having themed dinner parties!
 
If you have followed me, you will see the answer to the most asked questions by my dinner guests.
 
……”Where do you store all your dishes and flatware”?
 
A few posts ago, I talked about the barn door the Captain made for my dish pantry, which is where many of the sets of dishes are stored.  
summer vignette7
 
My flatware, which I have gotten from many sources over the years… consists of red, greens, pink. bamboo, black, brown, orange, white, yellow, blues, gold and multi-colored and they are stored in a cabinet…each set in a clear plastic shoe box for easy identification.  I actually have made a picture copy of knife, fork and spoon color to tape to the front of each box to aid in identification, but I have found that being able to see through the plastic boxes, I haven’t really needed them.
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I have linens and cloth napkins stored in a chest of drawers which I am planning on moving to my entry…this is a work in progress at the moment.
 
Being organized with dishes, etc makes it so easy to keep my decorating down to a science.  Really! And it is so much fun to decide which dishes I will mix and match for a vignette or dinner party.  (I have a category for tablescapes on my home page, although it is a work in progress…there are many photos which still need to be edited and added).  
 
If you are interested in making a Summertime Vignette…I will tell you how mine came together.
 
I started with a rectangle white-washed tray, but I have also used flat baskets.  I then draped a blue and white hand towel over part of the bottom, followed by red cloth napkins, along with folded up hand towels.  Using cloth napkins softens the look as well as bringing colors together. 
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