Another Fun Filled Saturday Night

Sunday, January 8, 2012 | | 11 comments

While it may not really feel like winter here {highs of 63 this weekend} our entertaining has taken on the quiet, laid back, comfort food, feel the season beckons. I really enjoy this after all the fuss of the holidays.

On Saturday evening we had our friends over for one of my favorite meals ... comfort food! The best part was that Kevin did the cooking. He recreated a meal, from a restaurant in our area, he had a couple of years ago. Braised short ribs in birch beer with garlic mashed potatoes were on the menu. Yum!

My only task was to come up with something to nibble on while he was finishing up dinner. I made my stuffed gouda wrapped in puff pastry. This was something I thought up many years ago and it's my go to for something cheesy and savory.

Recipes 038

1/3 cup kalamata olives chopped
2 (or more) cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup roasted red pepper roughly diced
4 sun dried tomatoes roughly sliced
1 heaping teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Recipes 048

Slice the gouda round in half and layer the filling. The order isn't important.

Recipes 051

Wrap the gouda round in one sheet of Puff Pastry. Bring the corners together and seal them by pinching together.

Brush with a simple egg wash.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Recipes 065

Serve with a fruit selection of your choice or with thinly toasted baguette slices. We were already having a heavy meal so I decided to for go any additional carbs.

Picnik collage

This is basically my husband's way of appeasing {teasing} me for my endless requests {nagging} of taking pictures. He was being quite the ham behind the camera. At one point I was laughing so hard I was actually crying.

Recipes 075

We had a great evening together. The guys talked about boring guy stuff ;) and Courtney and I caught up on really important matters like new phone apps, Pinterest, sales and new nail colors. These are life altering topics of utmost importance! :)

Leave A Comment

Chocolate heaven

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 | | 11 comments

I've had several requests for this recipe and I'm happy to share.


Christmas 011

Kahlua Cake

1 dark chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup oil
3 eggs
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup Kahlua
3/4 strong black coffee
2 teaspoon cocoa

Mix all cake ingredients together and beat 4 minutes on medium high. Pour into 2 greased and floured cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool.

Once you are able to handle the cakes, cut them in half so that you have a total of 4 cake rounds.

*Helpful hint ...
I put mine in the freezer and let them harder. They are much easier to cut and less crumbly.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips ~ use a good quality brand
8oz. cream cheese
1/2 powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whipping cream

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. In a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Pour the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture and combine. Set aside. Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the chocolate and cream cheese mixture. Spread on the layers of each cake round.

Once this step is completed, I place my cake in the frig to firm up a bit.

1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Heat all the ingredients, except chocolate chips, in a pan and increase heat until it is just beginning to boil. Add Chocolate chips and stir until melted.

Drizzle over cake.

Christmas 090

Leave A Comment

Holiday Favorites

Monday, January 2, 2012 | | 13 comments

I think I may be on to something ...

less stress
more enjoyment

that's what my holiday decor was all about this year.

Guess what ...

it worked!

By this time {every other year} I'm climbing the walls with anxiety to get it all down and put away so I can have a fresh squeaky clean slate. I don't like going back to school with my house messy and in disarray.

Yes, I realize I should seek therapy for this "issue" but I don't want to waste the money when there are great end of the year sales to be had! :)

Well, this year the scenario is different.

Very different.

I am actually still {very much} enjoying my simple decorations and plan to leave them up the rest of this week.

I rather enjoy all the gold, silver and candle light.

So much so, that I plan to leave my mercury glass and extra candles out for the entire month of January.

Christmas 2011 (5)

This is what we've been snuggled up to every evening for the past few weeks. Comfy and cozy ~ I love this time of year!


Picnik collage

When I spied these angels I knew I had to have them! They are moss covered and will probably lose their soft green color but no worries, I can re-cover the wire frame them next year with ease.

Not only to they add height to my table but a special beauty. Oh, and my husband just L O V E S them. In fact, he wishes I had been able to bring a few more home. Well, that's how I remember his response when they arrived. :)

 The paper whites are just now blooming ~ so pretty.

Christmas 2011 001

A small sampling of my nutcrackers. To along with my theme of the season, I didn't bring them all out this year. Only a few of our favorites. The baker is my all time favorite ~ a  gift from my husband.

Picnik collage

Just a few more little goodies that brighten my home.

I grew up ice skating ~ lessons at MSU, skating on our lake in Michigan, and the ice rink my father made for me and brother each winter in our backyard. We have a new outdoor rink near us but it's been so warm that the ice is a bit gummy. If it ever gets cold enough, I'm grabbing my skates and heading over.

I made a few ivy topiaries which I plan to share with you as well.

Recipes 104

On my last trip to Trader Joe's, a very sweet sales person struck up a conversation as I was getting ready to check out. I don't really remember how it began or all that we talked about but it was fun and a gentle reminder that there are some really nice people left in the world. Anyway, as I was about to leave the store, she came up to me and gave me this sweet little evergreen and wished me a very Merry Christmas. It's been sitting proudly on my island all season. Each time I pass my special gift I'm reminded of my encounter with kindness and the need to pass it on daily.

That's one of my goals for 2012
~ Pass on a bit of kindness each day ~

Leave A Comment

Holiday Time

Sunday, January 1, 2012 | | 17 comments
I can't believe how quickly Christmas arrived {and left} this year. I was actually doing really well until the last week before the holiday when I was "gifted" the tummy bug and a cold with barky cough ~ these were not on my list to Santa this year.

If that wasn't exciting enough, on Friday before Christmas Eve, after school let out for Christmas break, I was driving down 95 to finish my shopping {delayed due to illness; not insanity} when my transmission went out ~ not the shiny bling I was hoping Santa would bring me this year :(

We rallied {thankfully, Kevin was home and not at sea ... whew!} and enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Eve at our friends. Sadly, I forgot my camera so I have nothing to show of the evening. It was fun getting all dressed up. I bought a great dress for the evening and Kevin looked so handsome. Everything was picture perfect and I have to say that Brenda is a fabulous hostess who remembers every tiny detail and welcomes her guests with such grace and ease. It was an intimate dinner of 17 {her words} with a wonderful group of friends. With amazing talent, she pulled it off in grand style. The evening began with cocktails at their full bar station and then we were escorted to a candle lite dinner. Amazing! Kevin and I are still reliving the night :)

Christmas morning began with a nice slow pace of opening stockings, gifts, followed by a light brunch. It was really nice not to rush around this year.

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

The pink fleece is a gift from Bentley. He "rearranged" the zipper on mine one afternoon when I wasn't looking. He was very proud of his gift ... hoping to get his paws on this one too, I'm sure.

After a brief clean up, we headed to our friends for Christmas dinner. This was a much more relaxed affair and the best part ... the men do the cooking! How neat is this tradition of theirs?! They wanted to try deep fried turkey so we let them borrow our turkey fryer. Kevin manned the boiling pot of oil ~ he fried two turkys and both were delicious. 

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

It's the end of December and we have green grass. Crazy! This has been such an incredibly mild winter. I'll be honest, I'm ready for snow. Yea, you heard me correctly. I can't believe I'm saying that after last years never ending snow storms.


We ladies had time to chat and enjoy a glass of wine while the guys were prepping in the kitchen.

Courtney's birthday is on Christmas day. Since we had to arrive before all the other guests to get the fryer ready, I gave her gift. I made soft faux fur scarves this year. I'll post more about that later.

Picnik collage

My husband is rather handy around the house which has provided many great additions to our home. This past year he helped Mike with a few of his projects in their home. As a thank you gift they gave Kevin a beer making kit. The best part of the gift was the mustache they drew on the box. I'm sure I posted about this but Kevin decided to exercise his facial hair ability this past summer and grow a mustache while at sea. Let's just say that I'm glad this "phase" has past :)

I was asked to bring a dessert with a request it be something in the  chocolate food group . Always happy please, I made my Kahlua cake. It's easy to make and soooo yummy! It's great for breakfast the next morning as well ;)

Picnik collage

We had a great day filled with fun, friends {their families} and {way too much} fabulous food! It is really dangerous to have a circle of friends that enjoy cooking as much as we do.

My word for the new year ... d i e t  ... my jeans are screaming for some relief!


I hope you were all able to enjoy some special time spent with family and friends over the holiday as well.

We are very blessed and being surrounded by the people we love is a great reminder.

Leave A Comment
Newer Posts Older Posts Home