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HOW TO PLAN THE ULTIMATE TAILGATE PARTY

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If you want to know what a ‘thing’ tailgating is, just take a walk through the UK Stadium, or the muni lot outside of Cleveland Stadium before a football game. Being raised by parents from Brooklyn, New York, the concept of eating food served from the back of a pick up truck was bizarre yet fascinating. Actually, tailgating is a serious thing.

Googling the ultimate tailgate supplies was amazing and for many people its much more than a thing….its a huge investment in time and dollars. Check out these rare and unusual finds……

Tailgater Dual Tank Backpack Drink Dispenser 210oz $39.95

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Backpacks aren’t just for books!
Backpack beverage dispenser serves up shots, your favorite brew, or most delicious tailgate kool-aid in style
Lightweight nylon, padded shoulder straps, mesh bag for extra cups
Two 24″ in canister hold a whopping 210 ounce capacity; measures 25¬Ĺ‚ÄĚx12‚ÄĚx4‚ÄĚ

Deluxe Six-Pack Beer Belt Holster

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Really………

Hiding that six pack around your waist has never been so easy
It even has a hidden zippered pocket on the back keep your money, license, and credit cards safe
Featuring a classic camo appearance
Measures 43‚ÄĚx4¬Ĺ‚ÄĚ and adjusts to accommodate waistlines between 28‚ÄĚ and 43″

 

The Grill Sergeant BBQ Apron $19.99 and free shipping for Amazon Prime Members

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Get your grill on
Our unique camouflage grilling apron holds everything a real man could want or need for an afternoon of fun.
One size fits all with adjustable strap
Makes a Great Fun Gag Gift
Great for parties

 

Instagate Tailgate In A Box: $19.99 + $6.49 shipping

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#1 game day solution for tailgaters
More than 50 tailgate items in 1 over $50 in value
Includes foldable tailgate grill, 3 bbq tools, minit-lite¬ģ charcoal and party supplies
2016 Tailgater magazine game ball award winner
New and improved value and performance

 

And last, but not least….this is¬†actually a good one….

NFL Wooden Tailgate Toss Cornhole Football Field $74.86 and free shipping for Amazon Prime Members

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Choose your NFL team

Size: 24 x 48″
Two 24″ x 48″ all-wood target boards
Vinyl shield with a Football field design and your teams favorite colors proudly displayed
Foldable legs for easy storage
Eight 16oz bean bags included

Here’s the million dollar question: Tonight is a gigantic nite for Cleveland sports, ¬†having both the Cavs game after the official Ring Ceremony AND hopefully the last World Series game for the Indians, so do we call it a tailgate party, or is that just a football thing? If we had to rename the snack attack for these sports, we could call it “BASE ‘N BASKET BALL SNACK PACK!” Hmmmm.

Here’s an easy and crowd pleasing appetizer:

PIZZA CUPS

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Ingredients

1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (8 oz)
36 wonton skins

Directions

1 Heat oven to 375¬įF. Spray 18 muffin cups with cooking spray.
2 In 10-inch skillet, brown beef with pizza seasoning and salt over medium-high heat until beef is browned; drain. Return beef to skillet; stir in pizza sauce.
3 Place 1 wonton skin in each muffin cup. Divide half of ground beef evenly among muffin cups. Top each with about 1 tablespoon cheese. Repeat layers starting with second wonton skin.
4 Bake 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

PEPPERONI PIZZA FOOTBALL CHEESE BALL

This Pepperoni Pizza Football Cheese Ball is easy to make, delicious, and perfect for a tailgate party!

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Ingredients
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp Italian seasoning
8 oz finely shredded mozzarella cheese
¬Ĺ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 5 oz bags mini pepperoni slices
3 green onions, thinly sliced
¬Ĺ cup chopped bacon
1 4 oz jar diced pimientos, drained and patted dry

Instructions
Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Beat in the Italian seasoning, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Mix in half of the pepperoni slices, green onions, bacon, and pimientos.
Line a small bowl with plastic wrap. Spoon cheese mixture into bowl. Press mixture into bowl so that it takes on the shape of the bowl. Use the ends of the plastic wrap to wrap up the cheeseball firmly. Transfer the wrapped cheese ball to a cutting board and use your hands to shape it into a football.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Remove the cheese ball from the fridge and cover with remaining pepperoni, pressing gently to adhere.
Serve with pretzels, bread sticks, crackers, and veggies.

Dear Friends,

Thanks for popping in! If sports is your thing and you love tailgating, I hope you enjoy these recipes and reading about these unusual supplies to complete your tailgate! 

Cheers to celebrating enjoying all that each season has to offer with friends and family!

Until next time…

ūüćłLaura

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Great Back to School Tips

As a teacher, I always wished that summer could last just a little longer, actually a lot longer, but as a mom, I couldn’t wait for school to start! Summer had run its course and it was time for someone else to take over! The lazy days of summer aren’t lazy anymore! The days are so packed with baseball, tennis, golf, swim team, lacrosse camps, band camp… to name a few. The few weeks and even days before school can be a great opportunity to wind down and focus on what’s important, and that would be getting ready to be in a school routine that promotes success and happiness for all ages. So, essentially it’s important for both kids and parents to get into this routine together. It’s no longer the 3 Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic, It is the 2 Rs…resting and readiness.

STEP 1: STEP INTO A ROUTINE! Structuring the days before school starts eases the transition and makes mornings bearable! Have a balanced breakfast to start the day and a set dinnertime helps! At dinner, spend some time talking about what was great about summer and what to look forward to in the coming school year. After dinner, take advantage of wind down time to the day, set an earlier bedtime, and have a quiet time an hour or so before bed. Reading a book or magazine as a family limits distractions and sets a great example. 

STEP 2: GET A JUMP ON SCHOOL SUPPLIES AND SCHOOL CLOTHES! The before school sales are a great way to stack up on supplies and save money. Get the supply list from your child’s school and shop it out! This routine gets kids excited about the new year…new clothes and new stuff. When shopping for clothes, keep in mind dress codes. That will prevent problems later.¬†

STEP 3: GET ORGANIZED! Make it a before bedtime habit to get ready for the next day. Lay out clothes and pack up the back pack! This will save time in the morning and make the mornings run more smoothly. Some kids enjoy making their own lunch for the next day. Fill out necessary papers for the school such as emergency medical authorizations, etc. 

STEP 4: GET READY FOR HOMEWORK! Establish a regular homework time, whether after school, or after dinner, let your child decide, but stick to it. Some kids need a break from school and others may enjoy having a snack and getting the work behind them.

STEP 5: SET UP SCHEDULES AND THE FAMILY CALENDAR! Stay ahead of the game by staying ahead! Display a family calendar where everyone can list their activities and appointments. Each family member can have their own color marker and be responsible to keep it up to date.

STEP 6: DON’T FORGET FAMILY TIME! Whether it’s dinnertime, ¬†homework/reading time, or trips to the ice cream store, take advantage of sharing successes, thoughts and concerns. It’s easy to get caught up in everyday activities and adhering to schedules. Being a parent is being a support system and advocate for your child. Being alert to concerns can prevent them from escalating into problems later.¬†

STEP 7: MAKE MEALTIME ENJOYABLE! Plan ahead simple and flavorful meals that the kids enjoy can turn every meal into a special one. Healthy, kid friendly menus can be anything from french toast wrapped sausage (pigs in blankets), to a simple build your own taco. Ask your kids to offer some ideas of their own. Ownership is a great key to confidence building!

This is a delicious breakfast muffin that your kids will ask for over and over. It also makes a memorable teacher’s lounge treat for the first week classroom warriors, aka your child’s teachers!

                                           Caramel Banana Upside Down Cake Muffins

IngredientsIMG_5749

1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
About 2 bananas, sliced in ¬ľ inch rounds
1¬Ĺ cup whole wheat flour
¬ĺ cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¬Ĺ teaspoon salt
¬ľ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup mashed overripe bananas
2 large eggs
‚Öď cup coconut oil or melted butter
‚Öď cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions IMG_5750
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the muffin pan. Melt the butter in the microwave and add the brown sugar.Place 3 pieces of cut up banana in the bottom of each muffin tin. Melt 6 T. of butter in the microwave and mix in brown sugar. Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly on top of the bananas.. 
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add all the remaining wet ingredients and beat just until combined. Do not over-beat.
Pour the batter over the sliced bananas/brown sugar mixture in each muffin tin..
Bake for 40 min. or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean but moist.
Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting it onto wax or parchment paper.

GENIUS IDEA FROM AMAZON! CHECK IT OUT!

Parents: Get all your child’s school supplies delivered right to your door Teachers: Create and share supply lists easily, year after year

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Simply type in your school name, teacher and grade level and up comes the list delivered to your door!

Cheers to a great school year and to setting the stage for success for our kids!

xo Laura

 

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SUNSETS CHICAGO STYLE

I spent this past weekend visiting my daughter, Jodi and her boyfriend Neil. While Steve had a seminar, we galavanted around the city, making most of the little time we have together.

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Vitamin D Room at the Summerhouse

Visiting Chicago, or any city for that matter, with Jodi is always an experience! Some people take the time to smell the flowers, but with Jodi we take the time to….(just a little photo journey of our time together)…..

 

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CAPRI AT THE RITZ

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This beautiful display beacons you as you enter the restaurant and wait for your table….

Lunch was an assortment of creative and healthy salads. The most amazing was the cauliflower with jalape√Īo and parmesan pesto.

 

 

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This little number kept calling to us….and we succumbed. Well worth it!
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We then embarked on a Chicago sunset cruise. It was a little cloudy, but with the little cocktail lounge on the ship, it made for a lovely evening…followed by....

 

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this….amazing lobster roll dripping with huge chunks of lobster on a buttery grilled bun….oh my!¬†

MINI LOBSTER ROLLS WITH HERBED MAYO

Makes 15 rolls

FOR THE ROLLS

  • 2 ¬†lobster tails, thawed if frozen (8 oz. each)
  • 3 ¬†cups water
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced (zest reserved)
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 5 hot dog buns, sliced length- wise and cut into thirds
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE MAYO

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. each minced celery, fresh chives, tarragon, and¬†parsely¬†
  • 1 ¬†Tbsp. minced shallots¬†
  • 2 ¬†tsp. fresh lemon juice¬†
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Combine water, juice of 1 lemon, and 1 tsp. Old Bay in a large sauce- pan. Insert steamer basket in pan, bring water to a boil, place the tails in steamer, and cover.
  2. Steam tails 8‚Äď10 minutes until shells are red and meat is cooked. Remove tails from pan and cool slightly.
  3. Cut shells lengthwise with kitchen shears. Chop meat into chunks. Preheat broiler with rack 5 inches from the element.
  4. Mix mayonnaise, celery, chives, tarragon, parsley, shallots, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. Old Bay, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a bowl. Fold in lobster meat.
  5. Brush rolls with melted butter and broil until toasted, 1‚Äď2 minutes. Spoon filling onto toasted rolls and garnish with reserved lemon zest.

Then, of course, on our way to the airport, we HAD to stop for the one and only Shake Shack burger! A delicious patty of perfectly cooked beef topped with cheese and a FRIED CHEESE PORTOBELLO STUFFED MUSHROOM!!! One bite into this massive deliciousness is what I think heaven would be like as the lava fountain of cheese oozes out with each bite….ok. I’m done…ūüėč (Shake Shack…put it on your bucket list!) People say the secret’s in the sauce, but I say its in the mushroom!

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It’s hard to believe that a little food stand in NYC made its way to major cities with lines blocks long

Here is a

FAKE SHAKE SHACK HACK RECIPE FROM SERIOUS EATS! (It has everything but the portobello.)

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INGREDIENTS
8 ounces beef sirloin, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces well-marbled beef chuck, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces well-marbled beef brisket, fat cap intact, trimmed of gristle, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 Martin’s Sandwich Rolls
4 tablespoons Shack Sauce (recipe follows)
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese
Sauce Ingredients
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
DIRECTIONS
1.
Place feed shaft, blade, and 1/4-inch die of meat grinder in freezer until well-chilled. Meanwhile, place meat chunks on rimmed baking sheet, leaving space between each piece and place in freezer for 10 minutes until meat is firm, but not frozen.

2.
Combine meat in large bowl and toss to combine. Pass meat through grinder twice. Form into four disks, about 2-inches tall, and 2.5-inches wide. Refrigerate until ready for use.

3.
Open buns but do not split hinge. Brush lightly with butter, then place under broiler or in toaster oven until golden brown, about 1 minute. Spread 1 tablespoon Shack Sauce on top half of each bun (for true authenticity, squirt out of squeeze bottle into three lines, three passes on each line). Place 1 leaf lettuce and 2 slices tomato on top half of each bun.

4.
Using wadded-up paper towel, rub inside of heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season beef pucks on top side with salt and pepper, then place, seasoned side down, in skillet. Using back of heavy, flat spatula, press down on beef pucks firmly to form 4-inch round patties, being careful not to let it stick to bottom of spatula. Season top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp brown crust has formed, about 2-minutes.

5.
Carefully scrape patties from skillet, and flip. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer patties to burger bun bottoms, close sandwiches, and serve.

6.
Shack Sauce: Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary. Makes about 3/4 cup sauce.

Cheers to sunsets, birthdays, and just about anything you want to toast to….burgers, lobster…anything. Thanks for stopping in and I hope you enjoyed todays read.

xo Laura

PS….I FOUND SOME GREAT THINGS TO SHOP FOR…..

The Summer House Cookbook: Easy Recipes for When You Have Better Things to Do with Your Time $14.94
+ $3.99 shipping

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America’s Most Wanted Recipes: Delicious Recipes from Your Family’s Favorite Restaurants (America’s Most Wanted Recipes Series) $13.18 Amazon Prime

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EVERYTHING BIRTHDAY CAKE

Today I’m 61….. ¬†So, let’s talk birthday cake! And cocktails…ok…

BOOZIE BIRTHDAY CAKE COCKTAILS!

There are so many theories about where birthday cakes originated, and even when the first birthday candles were blown out, but the tradition has survived the test of time with newer variations popping up daily. Just check out the Pinterest Birthday Cake board!  So many cool ideas from so many amazingly creative people! 

Click here to see why you get to celebrate your birthday every year!  Go figure that the ancient Romans were the first to celebrate birthdays but only for men! Yikes!

SO MANY CHOICES!! TOO MANY CHOICES? NOPE.

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CHEERS TO CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS! recipelarge_uvbdaycake

THE SIGNATURE PINNACLE BIRTHDAY CAKE

birthday-cake1 PART Pinnacle¬ģ Cake Vodka¬†
1 PART DeKuyper¬ģ Vanilla Liqueur
1 PART Half and Half
Rim martini glass with multi-colored sprinkles. Shake with ice and strain into prepared glass. pinnacle-cake.jpg

 

 

 

THE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

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2 OZ SMIRNOFF¬ģ ICED CAKE
1 OZ ORANGE JUICE
1 OZ PINEAPPLE JUICE
TOP OFF WITH CLUB SODA
GARNISH WITH SPRINKLES + CHERRY AND AN ORANGE SLICE.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

recipelarge_pineappleupsidedowncake
1 part UV Cake Vodka
3 parts pineapple juice

Blend with ice and serve.‚Ä®

THE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE MARTINI

DRINK-GRID-0046-ICED-STRAWBERRY-SHORT-CAKE-MARTINI12 OZ SMIRNOFF¬ģ ICED CAKE
3 FRESH STRAWBERRIES
2 OZ LEMONADE
0.5 OZ AMARETTO LIQUEUR
MUDDLE STRAWBERRIES AND VODKA + ADD THE LEMONADE, AMARETTO AND A LITTLE ICE TO A COCKTAIL SHAKER + SHAKE BRIEFLY BUT VIGOROUSLY +

STRAIN INTO A CHILLED MARTINI GLASS + GARNISH WITH A STRAWBERRY

BIRTHDAY CAKE SHOT
All you need to do now is make a wish.birthdaycake_101ds2

  • 1 OZ Baileys¬ģ Vanilla Cinnamon Irish Cream
  • .5OZ Smirnoff¬ģ¬†Iced Cake‚ĄĘ Flavored Vodka
  • Whipped Cream & Multi-colored Sprinkles
  • Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Strain into a shot glass.
  • Add whipped cream and sprinkles.

And…my favorite one….THE EXPRESSO MARTINI that my daughter Jodi surprised me with after an amazing sunset cruise around Chicago last week!

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2 OZ Baileys¬ģ Espresso Cr√®me Liqueurcocktails_baileys_espresso_martini

.25OZ Smirnoff¬ģ vodka

 25OZ Espresso

Shake over ice and Strain into a martini glass.

Thank you for swinging by today and I hope you enjoy making these boozy birthday creations or some of your own! Cheers to many more birthdays, big and small!

Laura

CHECK OUT MY SUNSET’S SHOPPING…..

Lilly Pulitzer Women’s Carmel Dress $98.00 & FREE Returns.

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Rebecca Minkoff Avery Cross-Body Bag $150.46 Free Shipping for Prime Members & Free Returns.

 

 

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Rebecca Minkoff Women’s Georgina Gladiator Sandals $63.49 sale price & FREE Returns.

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JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER…FROZEN PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA DOGGIE TREATS!

My obsession with my two granddogters (yep, you read that right) ranks right up there with all of my other obsessions. Why not get your own dog, you ask? It was kind of a ‘Marlie and Me’ moment…..¬†

Britty was the love of our life. A chubby, 16 year old terri-poo rescue who loved to chase rabbits, cats, squirrels and just about anything else that moved. We’re not sure where this hunting instinct came from, perhaps the terrier in her, although she looked every bit a poodle. Her sense of smell and her intense hunting instinct made her crazed when Steve would yell, “Mr. Squirrel, Mr. Squirrel!” We could barely open the door when she would dart out to make chase! She lost a few front teeth on one of her ‘hunts.’ Living close to a wooded area, we would acquire an occasional field mouse houseguest in the garage. Britty could smell the rascal and when I opened the garage door to the house, she dove into the wall to grab the mouse, missed, and left a few front teeth behind.

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God takes these wonderful creatures from us way before he should. The love and happiness they bring is unmatched and unparalleled.

It was a snowy Saturday morning when Steve showed up at my aerobics class and frantically blurted, “Something’s wrong with Britty and you need to come right now!” I quickly grabbed my jacket and when I opened the car door, I saw my little old lady lying on the front seat barely breathing. I took her limp body onto my lap as we raced to her vet. I kept talking to her telling her how much we loved her and wanted her to stay alive. Choking back the tears, I whispered, “It’s okay, Britty. It’s okay to let go….” By the time we walked into the vet’s office and layed her on a blanket covering the table, she took her last breath. But before she did, she turned her head towards us as if to say goodbye. Steve and I fell into each other’s arms sobbing.

My heart was broken as was Steve’s. Never wanting to experience that pain again has prevented me from getting another puppy…..


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But now I have granddogs !

So…..meet out granddogter Capri; Jodi and her boyfriend, Neil’s doggie.

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 Jodi & Neil found Capri in an abandoned house at the University of Kentucky where they went to school. She had a brother that Jodi wishes they would have kept, but is in a good home. Capri, 8 years old, is part of a lot of things, and mostly cute. Quite honestly, I think she could talk if she tried hard enough!

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And, meet Harper….Jeffrey & Alexandria’s puppy.

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Harper is a two year old Australian Shepard that was bred on a farm in southern Ohio where Jeffrey & Alexandria chose her from the littler of puppies. Unfortunately, and to their dismay, she no longer had a tail when they picked her up, which is common for Aussies! When Harper was little, they left her with me while they went on vacation. She was such a bad girl! Harper would bite through the leash and take off running. I hired a dog trainer, but thought he was so mean, I asked him not to come back. With lots of patience, Harps has turned into a super loving and well trained dog…Thank heavens!¬†

This is a delicious summertime treat I found on Pinterest. Healthy & flavorful for you pooch and a perfect treat for a hot summer day.

Frozen Peanut Butter and Banana Doggie Treats

The name says it all!!66d22b4b6d33e1b6505e6e7442c99ebf

TODAY’S SUNSET’S SHOPPING FINDS!

Oval Shaped Pet Magnets: DOG GRANDMA (Dogs) | Cars, Trucks, Refrigerators Price: $5.99 & FREE Shipping

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PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain – 1 Gallon by PetSafeWas: $37.59 Price: $35.02 Free Shipping for Prime Members

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Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, Orange Oxy, Trigger Spray by Nature’s MiraclePrice: $9.79 Free Shipping for Prime Members

Seriously….this is an AMZING PRODUCT!! It even removes red wine from carpeting and clothes without damaging the material…trust me, I know!! It makes the product ‘wine-out’ look worthless!! If you have kids, dogs, and messy friends…you’ll love this!!

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Have a wonderful day and I hope you drop in again soon!

Cheers, Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MY MONDAY WORKOUT

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LOVE MY STEP CLASS GIRLS!

I¬†setpped on the scale this morning, reluctantly, knowing how bad I was this weekend…wait….awful this weekend, but it was soo worth it. It began with dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant with those ooey, gooey, amazing garlic rolls dripping with sinful Parmesan dipping oil to start, zucchini fritt√© (my veggie…and friend), veal Parmesan (fried of course), pasta with spicy diablo sauce, and lots of wine…LOTS OF AMAZING WINE…..that was one out of three nights. Enough said.

So, needless to say, the girls in my step class on Monday can always tell if I overate and was¬†over served ūüć∑ during the weekend by the intensity of the class. Today’s step class was a big one ūüėĀ. We did a class called ‘double step’ and it’s intense but crazy fun.

After class I was starving, but decided to start the week off right with a light lunch. LOVING salads, which can be totally fattening, today’s lunch was a simple spinach salad with blue cheese crumbles, red onion, sliced fresh strawberries and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar. I chose cheese over dressing and it was delicious! A little watermelon for desert and I feel satisfied. I’m practicing ‘eating with my eyes,’ which is making the salad pretty enough that my mouth and stomach will like it as much as my eyes do. I’ll let you know if it works!¬†IMG_5368

We have lots of choices which gives us control. Finding variety of fresh goodies in the produce section makes it enjoyable. There are even so many pre-cut choices to save time, just watch the expiration date on the bag.

 

CHECK OUT THIS NEW GADGET!! YOU WILL NEVER BUY PRE-CUT WATERMELON AGAIN!

Watermelon knife Slicer, As Seen on TV Stainless Steel Server Corer Cutter for Watermelon Cantaloupe or Honeydrew,Sharper & Sturdy & SafePrice: $9.99 Free Shipping for Prime Members

 

Thanks for popping in! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Cheers!

Laura

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SUMMER SALAD OBSESSION!

IMG_5326Balmy summer nights and all of the wonderful fresh produce have made me hungry for a variety of savory dinner salads. This whole obsession began with Steve, my husband of ten years this month! Steve decided that WE¬†are getting a little chubby……(we???), so he would like to have salads for dinner. Most salads aren’t exactly low cal and diet friendly, however, loving fresh salads and vegetables (we could easily be vegetarians except for and occasional big ass burger:) I accepted the challenge!¬†

Last night, Steve and I were having a refreshing cocktail on the deck while I grilled the chicken to top our Greek Cobb Salad. So light and flavorful, it was a hit! I plated it on an oval serving dish and we each had our own side. I am not a big egg fan, and Steve isn’t a big cucumber fan, so we each had our own side of the dish! It was perfect! So perfect, in fact, that we ate to the middle and he took the middle for lunch today:)

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On Pinterest this morning, I went a little wild in the salad department. I counted 21 pins on my SALAD BOARD! I decided to hold off until I had time to try a few of the recipes. 

Here’s the favorites!

Greek Cobb Salad

Serves 6 servings 

 

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE, WHISK:

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. each fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • FOR THE SALAD, TOSS:
  • 12 chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and black pepper (11/4 lb.)
  • 4 pitas (6-inch), brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and black pepper

Chop:

  • 5 cups chopped hearts of romaine (about 1 head)

ARRANGE:

  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil.
    For the vinaigrette, whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. oil, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. For the salad, toss tenders with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette, then grill, covered, until cooked through, 3 minutes per side. Transfer tenders to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Chop tenders, then toss with any residual juices. 
  • grill heat to medium.
    Grill pitas until marks appear,
    1 minute per side. Cut pitas
    into 6 wedges.
    Arrange romaine in a large serving dish. Arrange eggs, tomatoes, feta, olives, red onion,  cucumber, chicken, and pitas on same dish; drizzle vinaigrette over the top.

I am ALL OVER this one for tomorrow night from  Pinterest!

BUFFALO CHICKEN SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE CILANTRO RANCH DRESSING (Adapted from Carlsbad Cravings)IMG_5334

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Does this look amazing?????

INGREDIENTS

Buffalo Chicken Salad
1 recipe Buffalo Chicken (see below), sliced or chopped
1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 8 cups)
Fresh corn kernels from 1 ear of corn
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large avocado, chopped or sliced

Blue Cheese Cilantro Ranch
1/2 cup real mayonnaise (I use lowfat)
1/2 cup sour cream (may sub Greek yogurt with a pinch of sugar)
3 tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup cilantro, packed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dry parsley
1 teaspoons dry chives
1/2 teaspoons dry dill
milk (as needed)

An easy shortcut would be to use purchased ranch dressing, seasonings & blue cheese crumbles.

Garnish
Blue cheese crumbles
freshly squeezed lime juice
bacon crumbles (optional)

Easy Croutons
1/2 loaf garlic/herb French bread
olive oil

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Buffalo Chicken: Prepare Buffalo Chicken according to directions (see below)
Blue Cheese Cilantro Ranch: While your chicken is marinating, add all of the dressing ingredients to your blender and chop then liquefy until smooth, adding milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Chill until ready to use.
Croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cube bread into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread bread in an even layer onto baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden.
Assemble: If not expecting leftovers, add all of the Salad ingredients to a large bowl and drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to combine. Garnish with blue cheese crumbles and croutons. If you are expecting leftovers, toss all of the salad ingredient together in a large bowl except avocados. Garnish individual servings with avocados, croutons and dressing.

 

BUFFALO CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS
2-3 chicken breasts (approx. 1 pound), pounded thin
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Buffalo Marinade
1/4 cup Frank’s Hot WINGS Sauce for more heat OR Frank’s ORIGINAL Hot Sauce for less heat
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Buffalo Glaze
Reserved marinade (in directions)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
INSTRUCTIONS

Whisk together all of the Buffalo Marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Measure out 1/4 cup and add to a shallow dish or freezer bag, along with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken and toss evenly to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 hours up to overnight.
To the remaining marinade, make your Buffalo Glaze by whisking in 1 tablespoon honey and 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
STOVETOP DIRECTIONS
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned (or blackened if you prefer) on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5-7 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Brush chicken with desired amount of glaze – for more heat, more glaze; for less heat, less glaze.
GRILLING DIRECTIONS
Let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes (time permitting).
Meanwhile, grease and preheat the grill to medium heat, 375-450¬įF.
Grill chicken undisturbed for 5-7 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through. (An inserted thermometer should read 155 degrees F.)
Remove chicken from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Brush chicken with desired amount of glaze – for more heat, more glaze; for less heat, less glaze.
NOTES
*The chicken is flavorful but not very spicy without the glaze. You can completely customize the heat of the chicken by adding more or less glaze. The more glaze the spicier the chicken
*Try tossing the chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce – amazing!
*Chicken is incredible on sandwiches, in wraps, salads, tacos, etc.
*Total time does not include marinating chicken as this time will vary per individual.

I hope you enjoyed today’s read and have a chance to try these amazing main course salads. I always aim for little fuss, and great flavor, so these two have definitely nailed it!

Don’t forget to check out todays shopping!

Cheers! Laura

IT’S AMAZON PRIME DAY! CHECK IT OUT!

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#Summertime! Grilled Caprese Salad w/ Basil Vinaigrette, Marinated Flank Steak & Frozen Peach Margaritas

Ahhhh Summer. Sun shiny days and warm balmy nights are the memories we cherish. And the songs of summer….keeping those memories alive throughout our lives.

So many songs sung about summertime…to name a few:

  • Summer Nights (1978)
  • Hot Fun in the Summertime (1969)
  • Summer Breeze (1972)
  • Summer in the ¬†City (1966)
  • Summer of 69 (1985)
  • Summertime (1991)
  • Summertime Blues (1958)
  • Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer (1963)
  • Summer Love (2007)
  • A Summer Song (1964)

“In the Good Old Summertime,” is perhaps the song that resonates with me; conjuring up memories of lemonade and the days spent during my summer vacation in middle school ¬†when I would volunteer at a Rockyknoll Nursing Home. We wore an apron of red and white stripes with pockets and were called ‘candy stripers,’ but the residents referred to us as ‘friendly visitors.’ 41ox8lxm0OLIt was my first experience that instilled my looming fear of growing old.

Candy stripers or friendly visitors had jobs: read mail to the patients, wheel them into the group areas for bingo, and just be ‘friendly.’ ¬†I vividly recall my first day;¬†carefully unfolding the crisp uniform and placing our name tag on, we were sent out to roam about the fourth floor. We were only permitted on certain floors. I heard screams coming from one of the rooms. It was an elderly woman screaming, “I WANT TO DIE! D-I-E DIE!” over and over. We were told to ignore her and not enter the room.¬†Curiosity got the best of me, as it often does, and I entered the room where I was met by a flying tissue box. I quickly decided to not be so curious.¬†

The group sing alongs were the best. Lead by a retired music teacher, playing songs on an old oak spinet piano, I saw new light and life coming into the eyes of people who would be slumped and sleeping in their wheel chairs throughout the day. It reminded me of the song, ” When I grow too old to dream, I’ll have you to remember…” I quickly noticed that some of these people who couldn’t remember what they had for breakfast, were singing words to these songs with great enthusiasm. Amazing.51xGqKIyFjL

Life Lessons are just that. The realization that growing old is inevitable. The fear of growing old pales by comparison to the thought of not growing old. Celebrate the little things and make the most of every day.

Let’s add a little flavor to our

SUMMERTIME SUPPERS!

GRILLED CAPRESE SALAD with BASAL VINAIGRETTE  img_5102

This is a delicious dish I adapted from the blog, ‘Steamy Kitchen.’ Fresh and simple to prepare and beautiful presentation. No one will know it took very little time.¬†

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  • 2 C. fresh basil leaves ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
  • 1/2 C. olive oil
  • 1/2 C. white wine vinegar
  • 3 T. Parmesan grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced horizontally into thirds
  • 6 oz. fresh tomatoes cut into 8 slices
  • Process basil, 1/3 C. oil, vinegar, parmesan, salt & pepper in a food processor until smooth.

Coat tomato slices with remaining oil, season with salt and pepper & grill on 1 side for 1 minute then flip (do not flip the tops).

Place cheese on tomato slices and grill until it begins to melt, 1-2 min.

Assemble stacks with 2 cheese topped slices and 1 top. (Add fresh basil leaves to each layer and on top if you wish) Serve with basil sauce.

GRILLED MARINATED FLANK STEAK

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This delicious flank steak recipe I found on Pinterest from Elyse at Simply Recipes takes little time to prepare and is a crowd pleaser!

Combine marinade in a bowl and add your flank steak making sure the flank steak is evenly coated on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

For the Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Steak:

2 lb. flank steak & 1/2 C. cracked whole peppercorns

Combine marinade in a bowl and add a 2 lb. flank steak making sure the steak is evenly coated on all sides. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Heat grill on high. Spread peppercorns on both sides of the flank steak and place it on the hot side of the grill. Grill for 1-2 min. on each side to get a good sear. Move the steak to the cooler side of the grill until its done to your liking. (125 to 130¬įF for rare, 140¬įF for medium rare, and 150¬įF for medium)

Cut the meat across the grain in thick slices and serve!

FRESH PEACH MARGARITAS

This fresh delicious drink pinned to my Summertime Board on Pinterest came from Bakerbynature.com. 

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6 Ripe Peaches
1/4 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
1 Tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar
1 Cup tequila 
1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice 
1/2 Cup Triple Sec
1 lime, cut into wedges

Peal, Pit & slice peaches. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Garnish with fresh peach slices.

To make frozen peach margaritas, freeze the oj and lime juice in ice-cube trays. Add to the blender and divide evenly among the glasses. 

SUNSET’S SHOP

 

 

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Norpro 5113 Grip EZ Peach Wedger and PitterPrice: $8.19 Free Shipping for Prime Members

Do you  have an upcoming wedding and want to build the registry of your dreams?

Try¬†try Amazon’s new Wedding Registry!

Thanks so much for popping in. I’d love to hear from you! If you would like my posts to come to your inbox, scroll down and click my follow link! Until next time…

Cheers! Laura

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IT’S THE PLAYOFFS! Game on! All in! Menu… Cavalier’s Cocktail, Mini Chicken Pot Pies, Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Spicy Slaw

CAVS VS WARRIORS

At our house, if there is a ball involved, we will either be at the game, or it will be on our television…our 75 inch television. So, “Why, ” you ask, “do you need to be at the game with a television that large and in HD???” I have once answer: my husband Steve. So tonight, the Cavs are playing against the Warriors, and this is an important game. Steve decided to watch the game at home tonight with a few friends, so I thought I would throw a few appetizers and a …Cleveland Cavaliers Cocktail!

Here are a few do ahead appetizers that won’t keep you from center court! GO CAVS! (I guess I get a little excited about it too :))

CLEVELAND CAVALIER COCKTAIL aka my favorite:

THE SUNSET 

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  1. 1/2 ounce Coconut Rum
  2. 1/2 ounce vodka
  3. 1/2 ounce crushed fresh watermelon or tiny melon balls.
  4. 1/2 ounce Pineapple Juice
  5. Scoop watermelon into a blender and blend till smooth.
  6. Chill ingredients prior to use.
  7. Place small scoop of watermelon  or small melon ball in the bottom of a small glass.
  8. Combine rum, vodka and juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a shot glass. 

MINI CHICKEN POT PIE BITES

MINI CHICKEN POT PIES

Ingredients

2¬†cups Green Giant‚ĄĘ frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury‚ĄĘ Grands!‚ĄĘ refrigerated biscuits

Steps

1¬†Heat oven to 375¬įF. In medium bowl, combine vegetables, chicken and soup; mix well.
2 Press each biscuit into 5 1/2-inch round. Place 1 round in each of 8 greased regular-size muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up side, forming 3/4-inch rim. Spoon a generous 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each. Pull edges of dough over filling toward center; pleat and pinch dough gently to hold in place.
3Bake at 375¬įF 20 to 22 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan.

BOURBON BBQ MEATBALL SLIDERS with HORSERADISH COLESLAW

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FOR THE SLIDERS

  • 1 lb. each ground turkey & ground beef
    Salt And Pepper
    3 Tablespoons Butter
    1 whole Large Onion, Diced
    1/2 cup Whiskey
    ¬Ĺ cups Ketchup (Heaping)
    ¬Ĺ cups Brown Sugar, Packed
    ¬ľ cups Bourbon Whiskey
    1 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce12 whole Slider Buns Or Dinner Rolls, Split
  • Form the meat into 12-2″ meatballs and flatten into small patties.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook ¬†about 3-4 min. per side.
  • ¬†Remove the patties from the skillet and set aside.
  • Drain off grease, leaving about 2 T.
  • Salute onions 2-3 min.
  • Add ketchup, brown sugar, whiskey, lemon juice & Worcestershire.
  • Cook 2-3 min.
  • Place patties in sauce, turning to coat, and simmer till hot.
  • Place the patties on buns spooning sauce over top.
  • Top with spicy slaw & top of bun. Serve!!

FOR THE SLAW

WHISK TOGETHER:

  • 2 T. prepared horseradish
  • 2 T. olive oil mayo, & cider vinegar (may use play yogurt)
  • 1/2 t. each black pepper & kosher salt
  • 1/4 t. cayenne pepper

Add 4 C. coleslaw mix & refridgerate.

FUN SERVING IDEAS!

CAVS GLASSES

NBA Rocks Glass & Square Shot Glass Set -…