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Category — tips

4th of July dessert bar

flowers

At last, the final post from the 4th of July Pot-Luck Pool Party. It only took two weeks to get all the recipes posted, that’s not so bad.

dessets

If you want to see the menu in its entirety, you can always go to the link over on the left column of this page, click on the “Menu and Party Ideas” page and you’ll find not only this party but many others.

dessert bar

The good new is that the recipes for all the desserts we served at the party are already posted on this site. There is one more fun idea though, so don’t go running off.

key lime pies

First up is Tram’s Famous Key Lime Pies! Tram brought the pies to my 4th party two years ago, so the recipe is posted HERE.

Tram's Key Lime Pie

It’s fun to go back and read that post since Zak & Zoey were only 4 months old at that gathering.

Z&Z

So sweet! As is Tram’s pie.

flag pie

Next, I baked my super easy All-American Berry-Cherry Flag Pie. It is going to be at every 4th party from here on out. Maybe next time I can convince someone else to make it though.

hand pies

I posted the recipe for these Mason Jar Lid Hand Pies on July 3rd. But how cute is this bakery display stand? I found it at The Painted Fox, one of my favorite shopping websites. Love it!

sprinkles

Lastly, we have the Mason Jar Ice Cream Bar. Above you see the cute sprinkles and toppings displayed.

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July 19, 2016   No Comments

Dad’s Lemon Pie

Meyer lemon bunch

This is the recipe for the lemon pie that my dad requested as his birthday dessert. The recipe for the second, a bananas foster pie, can be found HERE.

lemon

I used Meyer lemons for his pie. Once Meyer lemon season has passed, regular Lisbon lemons can be used. I give you that variation in the NOTE at the bottom of the recipe.

Meyer juice

I wasn’t sure how many Myer lemons I’d need for the juice, so I picked four off my tree. My Meyers were so large, I only needed 1 ½ lemons for 3/4 cup of juice! Depending on the size of yours, you might need 2 to 3 Meyers. I know the ones they sell in grocery stores are not nearly as large.

Since the Meyers were huge, I used small lemons of my Lisbon tree for the sugared lemons, either variety will work, just use lemons on the smaller side.

TIP: Since the pie is blind baked, you’ll need to cover the edge with foil to prevent it from over-browning when the lemon filling is being cooked. That is traditionally done by cutting long strips of foil and covering the edges with the strips. It’s harder than it sounds, since the strips are difficult to keep intact.

10 inch

There is an easier way – if you have a 10-inch tart pan you can use this new tip I devised while baking this pie:

tart pan

Remove the ring from a 10-inch tart pan and turn it upside down.

tart ring cover

As you can see, it sits perfectly on top of the pie crust, but it needs some foil strips added to really cover the crust.

slip over crust

The advantage is that the strips hold together easily when attached to the ring. It can then be easily slipped right on top of the pie. It holds together so much better than the old method. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

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April 20, 2016   1 Comment

success and failure

What should I share first? The good or the bad? I think we’ll start with the bad/ugly, that way we’ll end on a good/pretty note.

love book

Even the bad craft starts out pretty…

I do book

I spotted these adorable folded book art pieces in the San Francisco Nordstrom’s Wedding Suite, while dress shopping with Marissa and Kaley, back in November.

heart book

I knew that I wanted to make one for Marissa, so when the theme was set for the shower, this was a no-brainer.

I went online to find out how but since I could not find any step-by-step instructions, I had to wing it.

pencil heart

I found a cool vintage hardback book and decided to go with the easiest design, a heart.

fold

As I folded back the pages, it quickly became evident that this is harder than it looks. Plus, the book I chose was too vintage, the pages were delicate and would tear as I folded.

pages tear

Stupidly, I kept at it far too long. It was very clear that this was not working, long before I threw in the towel.

try again

I grabbed another, not-so-vintage thicker book, and started over.

give up

Then, for obvious reasons, I gave up! My gut feeling is that there must be math involved in this project. No wonder it was too difficult for me … I do not “do” math!

I still wanted Marissa to have a book like this, even if not in time for the shower. So, I have purchased one from a professional folded-book artist from HERE.  I am not going to share which book, since I haven’t given it to her yet, but rest assured, it is pretty!

I had much better results with this next project:

four succulent book planters

My favorite craft/decor item for Marissa’s bridal shower were these succulent book planters! Of course, I found the idea on Pinterest!

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May 15, 2015   2 Comments

Sweet ‘n Spicy Meatballs

Some people may think I was crazy to host two bridal showers in as many weeks. Crazy like a fox is what I say!

brides to be

The shower that Abigail, Kaley, Alyse and Marissa threw for Lindsey left me with a bounty of items and ideas to use for Megan’s shower, two weeks later.

signs

Kaley did such a beautiful job with the chalkboard art that I immediately knew I’d be using it again!

perfect signs

Abigail left behind a wonderful bulletin board that she had guests write words of sage advice for bride-to-be, Lindsey.

advice pinboard

I just had to recycle it for Megan’s shower, as seen on the left edge of the photo below.

present time

Then there was the “Welcome” and “Presents” banners that Abigail made.

presents

entry

Yes, I reused them as well.

IMG_8349

So, as you can see, hosting two versions of the same sort of party in a short amount of time is easier than hosting just one!

Here is another appetizer from Megan’s shower.

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February 11, 2015   3 Comments

this isn’t your Grandma’s dishwasher

I’m still in Chicago. The NYE wedding of our gorgeous niece, Maureen, to the handsome, Brandon, was beyond beautiful and the reception was the best NYE party ever!

Marissa and I felt like we were on a reconnaissance mission – as we were stealing all sorts of creative ideas – for her upcoming nuptials in October.

Dave and I are staying on for a few days with Dave’s mom, while Connor and Marissa fly back to Arizona and California.

In the meantime, I found this great article in Good Housekeeping … it is to good not to share.

Here’s to a Clean, Happy and Healthy New Year!

dishwasher plus

10 Surprising Things You Can Clean in the Dishwasher

Your dishwasher has been holding out on you. Sure, “dishes” are in the name, but this machine can clean so much more! Before you dive in and take these tips for a spin, make sure that the dishwasher you have is up to scratch. You don’t want to start these ideas off and then have to stop just because you need some dishwasher repair work done. It can be an absolute nightmare to handle, as well as a little dangerous with the water everywhere. You might want to google Dishwasher India, or something similar, to compare brands and makes in your country. The last thing I’d want you to do is try one of these tips and it to go horribly wrong!

stove hood

1. Kitchen exhaust filter
Avoid getting messy, gunky oil buildup on your filter by cleaning it in the dishwasher once a month or as often as your range hood manufacturer recommends. The high temperature combined with a good detergent should be sufficient to cut through tough grease without any effort on your part.

sponges

2. Dish sponges
Bacteria and mold love a moist environment, and your dish sponge is a perfect setting for them to thrive. We’ve found that using the “heated dry” setting is an effective way to kill most of the germs.

3. Plastic toys
This should wipe out germs from that last play date fast. Warning: Don’t place any toys with electronic component in the dishwasher. You might get shocked or short them out.

4. Toothbrush holders and soap dishes
Have you ever looked down into your toothbrush holder’s holes? Yeah, it can get pretty gross. Place them on top rack since they tend to be delicate.

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January 2, 2015   No Comments

so many scarves

Soon after Christmas, we’ll be going to Chicago for a our niece’s wedding.

It’s cold in Chicago! I’m going to be wearing scarves, a lot!

I don’t wear scarves all that often in Sunny AZ, so this video is going to be my go-to guide!

This next video makes it even easier with, step by step directions…

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December 23, 2014   2 Comments

helpful hint and lots of hair

I was overdue for a haircut and color. Long overdue!

hair frizzers

People with straight hair don’t always understand why people with curly hair don’t EVER let a comb or brush touch their dry hair. You’ll also likely find them constantly searching for The Best Products for Dry Hair, just to keep it in good health.

Curly wet hair may have a comb, brush or even fingers run through it.

Curly dry hair…. NO!

lions mane

Here is why! It turns into a lion’s mane! The erased face belongs to me. The colorist/stylist has to comb out the hair to apply the color, so this is what happens. She was so patient when it came to managing all this hair! I know for sure I wouldn’t have been able to cope if I did it myself. Everyone should be like the hair stylist I had. She looked after me a lot and my hair was way better than it was before. It’s as easy as looking into a company similar to Salesforce, just so you get a better understanding of why customer service is important in any business. You always feel so lucky when you get a pleasant hairdresser and I’m sure they think the same about their customers too.

Lovely! Nothing as wonderful as looking in the mirror and seeing Roseanne Roseannadanna staring back at you!

curly

After the color and cut, this is the more manageable and less scary effect. As you can see, I really needed that color. The summer’s highlights had grown out and the result was bad! Welcome winter and warmer color.

That’s it for the “hair” part of the post. The “helpful hint” part is next and was such a revelation that I just have to share.

I was talking to my stylist about how it is possible that she doesn’t get hair dye all over her clothes and what sort of dye she uses. I used a natural hair dye on my hair this time and I love the final result, it looks amazing…even if I do say so myself! She was telling me that back in school, she got dye on her all the time. But the school uniform was black, so thankfully it didn’t show. She said that the real problem was when bleach got on the black uniform. Then she shared with me the way to fix that was to just dab on a bit of black hair dye to cover the bleach stain.

What? A stain to cover a stain. Brilliant!

bleach splatter

I told her how Connor has two pairs of black chef’s pants, that weren’t cheap, that he wears to work and that he’s splashed or splattered bleach on.

bleach splash

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December 18, 2014   3 Comments

my hotel must-haves and a travel tip

Peggy and I are back from California. Summer travel is pretty much finished for me.

peggy on the patio

After living in hotel rooms for three of the last four weeks, I would like to share with you my top three hotel room must-haves:

free wifi

1.  Free WiFi. In the room. Not someplace “in the lobby.”

light mirror       2.  A well-lit bathroom, preferably furnished with a lighted magnifying make-up mirror.

pillows

3.  A minimum of two pillows per person, preferably with an extra one or two.

Obviously I’m not counting clean and comfortable rooms and a courteous and helpful staff as must-haves, those are “you better have that or I’m not staying here.”

My three “must-haves” are the things that really make me happy that I picked a particular place to stay. If they are missing, it makes me sorry I didn’t find someplace else to rest my head.

bottles

As for my travel tip, it involves your bottles of liquids. I’m sure we all put our liquids in zip-lock bags to prevent them from leaking on our clothes, luggage and other valuables. Mine still often oozed a bit and leaked in the zip-lock bag.

No more!

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August 10, 2014   5 Comments

colorful summer salad and a tomato tip

tomato halves

I’ve seen this cool tip for cutting a bunch of cherry tomatoes at one time all over the internet and on Pinterest. I’ve used it for sometime now, but keep forgetting to share it with you. It not only comes in handy for this salad but is especially fabulous for THIS RECIPE and any other recipes calling for roasted cherry tomatoes.

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

Summer Squash and Salmon Salad

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed and then thinly sliced
2 tablespoons pepper jelly
3 pound salmon fillet, skin on
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
6 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/2 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 avocado, diced
1 cup chopped pecans

zuchinni

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Add the zucchini, toss to coat and let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

coat salmon

Spread the pepper jelly on the flesh side of the salmon. Heat a grill or broiler to high.

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June 30, 2014   4 Comments

cooking resource center

I received an email yesterday from a woman who lives in Alpharetta, GA.

Caroline was thanking me for my “Glossary of Cooking Terms” which can be found under The Basic Kitchen tab, over there on the left side of the page.

baste

She waxed poetic about how educational and informative she found it and that she loved my daily posts as well and how her morning hasn’t truly begun until she has seen my most recent post. It was very sweet and it is the sort of thing that motivates me to keep doing what I do. The fun part is how she came to find my site. It was sent to her by the management office of her apartment complex.

I’ve noticed, for the last 4 months or so, that several different apartment management companies have been linking to my “Glossary” page in their communications to residents. The links have been posted on resident community online newsletters in more than a dozen states, including AL, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, KY, KS, MD, MO, NC, OK, PA, SC, NC, TN, TX and VA.

crimp

The best part of getting the links is reading how the various newsletters from around the country entice their residents to check out my glossary:

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June 12, 2014   7 Comments