Monday, March 19, 2018

Strawberry rhubarb crisp ♥

Hello Friends! It's Monday again.....♥
I hope you all had a nice weekend! Mine was lovely. I did errands, housework, had a special lunch date with John, and celebrated St. Patrick's Day with my family over a traditional boiled dinner! 
 Sunday morning I organized my date book so I'm feeling very content stepping into a new week.  Plus, there are no snowstorms in the forecast this week which is making me very happy!  Tomorrow is the first day of spring! Let's start feeling it!  ♥
I thought I would start off this week with something pretty and delicious! 
Strawberry rhubarb crisp!
  I was inspired to make this after seeing all the rhubarb at the grocery store last Sunday. It was everywhere!  I couldn't not bring some home!  Why not a crisp? And why not add some strawberries?  They are match made in heaven ♥

I've never had rhubarb in anything other than a dessert.  Have you?  I don't think I've even ever tasted it raw.  I just know that when it's cooked it's sweet and near perfect ♥ 
Seeing the rhubarb and strawberries together have me missing the farmers markets! I can't wait for them to start up again....which is usually late April/early May. Not that far away!
I'm picture myself on an early Saturday morning in flip flops, messy hair, holding an ice coffee...drifting up and down the rows of fresh fruits and veggies, herbs, plants, & handcrafted goods. I can't wait! : )
Here is the recipe in case you want to try it.  It served 5 people perfectly. If you a baking for a bigger crowd I suggest doubling the recipe ♥ 

*Recipe from Martha Stewart ♥

2 cups strawberries - hulled and cut in half (quarters if large)
2 cups rhubarb - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
For the topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In an 8 inch baking dish combine fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Toss until all the fruit is coated.

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt.  Stir until combined and sprinkle over fruit. 

Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. 
The juices will be bubbly and yummy!


Let cool and serve. 
Wait. We are missing something...

That's better!
I served mine with strawberry ice cream and whip cream!
It's so good! And not overly sweet, so don't worry about that : )
Apple crisp has big shoes to fill around here.  This crisp is giving apple a run for her money! ♥
YUM! ~
Wishing you all a happy first day of spring! We still have snow on the ground, but hopefully not for long!  I'm keeping the faith! ♥

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lemon rice pudding and a few other Spring favorites ♥

   Hello lovely friends!
I am typing this post late Monday evening from my comfy, cozy bed.  School and work has been cancelled for John & Rob and I am working from home tomorrow.  Why? Because another storm is on the way.  It's supposed to start around 2am and snow all day tomorrow.  My area is expected to get about 18 inches of snow!  Just when I thought Spring was knocking at my door.....ugh.
Well, it may be snowing outside, but inside I'm feeling the change of season.  And nothing says spring more to me than fresh lemons! I saw a recipe for lemon rice pudding on an episode of The Pioneer Woman on Sunday morning and I knew I had to try it.  I love anything with lemon in it!  And rice pudding is one of my favorite desserts. 

I enjoyed making this recipe.  It was easy and required a lot of stirring.  I like recipes where I have to stand and stir.  It feels old fashion to me.  Crazy, right?

*There is sweetened condensed milk in it.  Liquid gold! 
This stuff is so good! ♥

Ree Drummond put hers pudding in pretty little cups and topped it with lemon zest.  I added the whip cream!  Served slightly warm.  YUM!

Here is the link to the recipe in case you want to try it. (click here) 
It's really delicious and very springy!

(I say as I try to ignore the sound of ripping wind against my windows - snow is coming soon!)

"when life gives you lemons, make....rice pudding" ♥
As spring approaches I have a few other things I'm currently loving:
The other day I noticed a little bud coming up from this plant.  I nearly cried because I literally kill everything!  I am so bad at taking care of houseplants!  I either forget to water it or over water it - it's bad.  But look! 
A Sign of life!   

I was so happy about it that today I bought 2 more plants!  Now it really feels like spring in here!  I'm looking forward to the trees blooming and all the tulips in the yard coming up.  I can see the buds but after tomorrow they will be buried again. 

Hang on tulips! Your time will come ♥

I hope I don't kill you....xx
I was going to wait until after St. Patrick's Day to put this out but I changed my mind.  I love these diffusers, especially in the bathroom because I don't have to worry about leaving a lit candle in there and I like my powder room to smell pretty. 

The lilac scent is so dreamy!
In the beauty department I am loving this facial spray by Mario Badescu!  It has aloe, chamomile, and LAVENDER in it!  I have been using it as a setting spray for my makeup but you can also use it on bare skin as a hydrator.  It's Ah-mazing!!!!  I kid you not, it smells like a day at the spa and leaves your skin feeling fresh and dewy.
  So wonderful!!!   
I also picked up some strawberries and rhubarb (funny word) at the market on Sunday.  I want to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp for dessert this week.  That sounds quite spring like, don't you think? 
Stay tuned for that! ♥

So cheers to spring and all we are looking forward to in the new season ~
But first, I better go check the snow..... oh dear, it's' starting! eeek!
Thanks for stopping by today!  Please tell me what your spring favorites are.  I would love to hear!
PS can we just take a minute and notice how cute Lucy looks in her back and white polka dot scarf and pearl earrings?  I love it!!! 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Irish bread ♥

Happy March Everyone!  As I type this we are in the middle of a huge storm.  I see on the news that some areas north of me are getting snow.  Luckily all I'm seeing is rain and wind, but wow - this storm is raging!  What a way to welcome March!
Well, they say in like lion out like a lamb.  Light the candles, turn on the kettle. 
This is the lion! ♥

The river in the back of our house is so high! And I wish you could see the trees! It looks like they are dancing!  Either way, I'm glad I'm cozy inside. 
I took the day off from work today because John had a half day.  We had intended to go out after school but because the weather is so bad we decided to stay home. We are both in our jammies and have been lounging and watching movies all day.  It's been heaven! When Rob gets home I'll make pancakes for dinner and then we are going downstairs for (another : ) movie with Nana & Grampy. 
I haven't had a day like this in a LONG time.  It's been nice!
This morning while he was at school I did a little baking.
It's March and that means one thing....Irish Bread! 
All of my Valentines have been neatly stored away and little touches of St. Patrick's Day have been scattered around. 
I'm aware that Easter is early this year, but I'm not about to let a holiday pass me by! 
Every March I make my friend Eileen's Irish bread.  It's literally the best Irish bread I've ever had.  If you are remembering the Irish bread of your childhood that is dry and tasteless - well, this is not it. This is more like a moist cake!  It has a cup of sour cream in it which makes all the difference!   

Once a year I break out the caraway seeds!
I've had the same jar for I don't even want to tell you how long!  Seriously, what else do you put Caraway seeds in? 
Only Irish bread! ♥
I've posted it before, but here's the recipe if you want to give it a go:
1 cup raisins
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 10 inch round baking pan. 
Soak raisins in a small bowl of boiled water and put aside for about 5 minutes.  Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Mix in the caraway seeds.  Drain raisins and add to the flour mixture. 
In a separate bowl mix the melted butter, sugar, sour cream, and eggs.  Blend alternately with flour mixture until everything is combined into a smooth, creamy batter. 
Pour batter into pan and sprinkle the top generously with sugar.
Bake for one hour.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn onto rack to cool.
So good with coffee or tea! 
I like to spread cream cheese on mine.  John likes a little butter on his. 
Rob (who is 100% Italian by the way :) loves this bread just as is! 
 It's so moist you really don't need anything!
Happy Friday my friends!  I hope March is treating you well so far!
Bake up something yummy this weekend and stay cozy! If you need us we'll be hiding under the blankets until the storm passes.
The lamb will be here before we know it!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Natural beauty ♥ 2 ingredient face scrub

I am lover of DIY's.  Especially beauty treatments.  Face scrubs and exfoliators can be so expensive and what gets me is the main ingredients are usually products you already have at home.  Either that, or they are chemicals that you can't even pronounce.  For the past few years I've been making my own and my skin has never felt so good!  

As I get older I'm really trying to focus more on the health of my skin.  Makeup is fun, but you've got to protect what's under the makeup.  Am I right?  

Three very important rules that I follow are: 

#1. Stay out of the sun/wear sunscreen.

#2 Wash and moisture my face every night/don't sleep with makeup on! 

Sometimes it's hard (especially #2!) but I push myself, half asleep, into the bathroom and to wash my face.  It feels so good!   


#3. Drink water!

You already know this : ) 
Water is hands down the the best thing for your skin.  Take a look at the cleanser or moisturizer you are using.  Chances are one of the main ingredients is water.  Sometimes I have to push myself to drink it, but I'm getting better.  I always have a big bottle of water close by.  If it's there, I'll drink it.  
If I add lemon slices I feel fancy. 

If this winter is doing a number on your skin -OR- you need something to bring a little radiance back into your complexion I suggest this quick treatment.  I've been doing in a few times a week for the past month and I love it! 

It's like a 5 minute spa treatment at home! ♥ 

All you need is 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and one tablespoon of baking soda. 

I've spoken about my love for coconut oil (here) when I posted my favorite skin care products for winter, back in December.  I've been applying it to my skin daily for the last several months. And naturally, I'm by no means and expert on this, I only speak from my own experience ♥ 

Coconut oil is healing and nurturing to the skin.  It's naturally antibacterial and antifungal.  
Coconut oil is used as an ingredient in many moisturizers because of its anti aging properties.  It's rich in proteins that will keep your skin healthy and rejuvenated! 

Baking soda is a very gentle exfoliater that works wonders and won't harm your skin. It's also .69 a box and how can you go wrong with that! 

Mix them together in a bowl and apply to your face and neck. 
I also like to rub some on my lips for a little lip treatment 
Leave it on for 5 minutes and then wash it off with warm water. 
I suggest applying the mask over your bathroom sink because you will want to wash the excess off your hands.  

Lately, what I have been doing is applying it right before I get into the shower.  Let the water run and once I'm in there wash it off.  Your face will feel incredibly smooth and hydrated.
Pat dry and apply your moisturizer ♥ 

If your skin is extra, extra dry I suggest you try this scrub (here).  I make this one with olive oil, honey, and sugar.  It's amazing!!!  You use it on your face, neck, elbows, knees...just take the jar into the shower with you! You'll come out feeling like a new woman!  

Taking care of my skin makes me feel good. Especially in a natural way. What ways do you take care of your skin? I would love to hear some suggestions of other things I could be doing.  

Have a wonderful day and happy last day of February!  


Monday, February 26, 2018

Rustic fruit tart ♥

Hello Friends! It's the last week of February.  How did we get here so fast?
I am totally excited that it's almost March because it means we are getting closer to Spring.  This past week we had temperature well into the 60's. I saw people walking around town in shorts.  Even I'm not that crazy.  I know better, because 2 days later it snowed.  Go figure. 
I have the day off from work today and after I do a quick grocery run I am planning on some light housework and (sadly) putting away all my Valentine decorations.  I need to give St. Patrick's Day some equal showing time because before we know it  Easter will be here. I already saw the candy in the stores before Valentines Day! I'll never understand the rush.  Seriously, if I bought Easter candy this early, it would never make it to Easter....if you know what I mean.  I would eat it all and then have to buy more.  Maybe that's what the stores are hoping for! : )

Speaking of candy, may I interest you in something fruity to wash down all that leftover Valentine chocolate?
I discovered that I have a new favorite dessert and I'm dying to tell you about it.
  I noticed that I had a sheet of puff pastry in the freezer and I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out what I could do with it.  I thought about making an apple tart but when I went to the grocery store to get the apples (and the rest of my dinner) I came across frozen mixed berries, which were on sale! Bingo!
I've never made one of these tarts before.  This was my first time.  But I really love the word "rustic" because we all know that means it's pretty impossible to mess it up. 
Rustic.  Yes, I like that ♥
The recipe is very simple :
1/2 lb frozen puff pastry (one sheet), thawed
3 cups frozen mixed berries
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. flour
3/4 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. butter
powered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out the pastry to about 14 inches.  It's supposed to be rustic so don't worry too much about the shape.  Just make sure it's big enough to hold the fruit.
I rolled out my dough right on a piece of parchment paper.
I recommend doing this because after this step you need to chill the dough. 
I was able to slide the paper right onto a cookie sheet and pop it in the fridge ♥
While the dough is chilling you can prepare the fruit.
I used Wyman's frozen mixed berries.  So good!  (and 2 for $6.99)

Pour 3 cups of fruit (which is about a bag and a half) right into a bowl.
Add the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter.
 Toss it up!
Take the dough out of the fridge.
Now dump the fruit right in the center. 
Pull up and fold all the edges around the fruit.  Leave a 4-5 inch opening in the center.
Brush folds with a little water and sprinkle with sugar ♥
Bake for 40 minutes~ 
Let cool and sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar!
Cut pie wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream!
 This is truly my new favorite dessert!
While eating it my mother and I were discussing how delicious this would be with summer peaches!
I can not wait to try that!
 Ok, so I probably should have slide it onto a pretty plate once it was cooled....but hey, we're all family.  No need to be fancy! (actually I was just too eager to cut into it that I forgot! : )
And there you have it.  Enjoy! ♥
Well, I'm off to make the most out of this day.  One my coffee and I'll be perfectly caffeinated for a Monday!  Grocery store, here I come!
Have a good day, my friends! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Homemade granola bars ♥ (nut free)

Hello everyone!
Before I start talking about granola bars I have to just tell you how weird the weather has been this week.  On Sunday morning I woke up to a winter wonderland.  All the trees were snow covered and it looked like Christmas out my front window. 
And today.....

64 degrees! Boom!
 It literally felt like spring.  I took this picture during my lunch break.  I went for a  walk wearing just a sweater.  It was so nice to breath in the fresh air! I came home tonight thinking about the crocus in my old yard.  I wonder if they've come up yet.  They are always the first sign of spring!
Anyway,  I won't get too excited because I heard the temps are going to drop and we may get snow again on Thursday.  Whaaat?   Like I said.  Weird ♥
Well, it was good while it lasted! 
So since Sunday was a snow day I decided to bake.  I've had this recipe for granola bars for a while now and have been dying to try them.  Since John's nut allergy was diagnosed 2 years ago I've had the hardest time finding him snacks that are peanut & tree nut free.  He always loved granola bars and really misses them.  That's the thing about discovering you have a food allergy when you are 8.  You REMEMBER what all the good stuff tastes like.  It's not like he's never had it before. He's had it and remembers it.  It's really a bummer. 
For example: sometimes out of the blue he'll say....:I really miss Kit Kat Bars".  Can you imagine being told you can never have your favorite candy bar ever? I know there are way worse things in the world, but to a little boy that's pretty major : (
Anyhow...back to the granola bars (which are no substitute for a Kit Kats by the way, but still very good♥!)
I found the recipe on
It's super easy and you can add in whatever "extras" you want.  John wanted straight chocolate chip, but I think dried cranberries, coconut, raisins, or nuts (if you can eat them) would be so good in these bars!
That empty spot is where I taste tested! LOL
Here's the recipe if you want to give them a try:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and spray the paper with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl combine:
4 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups mini chocolate chips
 (add in any extras you like.....)
Mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon and press firmly into the pan.  Bake 18-22 minutes.  The edges will be golden brown.  Let cool for 10 minutes and then carefully cut into bars.
 *Don't try to pick them up at this point or they will fall apart.  They will set as they cool.
Let cool completely and store in an airtight container ♥
I have two quick tips for you.  One: cut them very gently with a serrated knife.  Two: don't try to pick them up while they are still warm or they will crumble on you.  After I carefully sliced mine, I slid the parchment paper on a cookie sheet and put the whole tray in the refrigerator.  Once they got cold they were much easier to handle. 

John loved them!
Also this photo was not staged at all...: )
Neither was this one!

Store them in a Tupperware container in your pantry or cabinet.  I've been having one with my coffee every day.  They are really delicious!

Much better than store bought! ♥

Enjoy! ♥
Have a great week my friends! I don't know if I'll be in shorts or a sweater tomorrow, but that's New England for you! 
Thanks for stopping by! Xx