Gallery

Gifts from the Garden…Yes Please!

I¬†have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..

So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.

My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are ūüėė and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.

ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS

Makes 4 servings 

SHRED:

  • 4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
  • 1/2¬†C.¬†shredded onion
  • 1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

WHISK:

  • 2 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning¬†
  • 1/2¬†tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)

HEAT:

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

ASSEMBLE:

  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced¬†1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe‚Äôs‚Ķcheap + fresh)
  • Basil sprigs

Shred zucchini and onion

Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. 

Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.

Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco. 

Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.

Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella. 

Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate. 

Assemble Napoleons by layering

  • fresh mozzarella slice
  • a tomato slice
  • 2 T. pesto¬†
  • ¬†Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig;¬†serve immediately¬†

Dear Friends,

Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.

Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals¬†in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.

Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…

ūüćłLaura

PS..Check out my latest obsessions…

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner $29.95 + FREE SHIPPING

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Ninja 4-in-1 Blender and Food Processor System, 1200-Watt Auto-iQ Base with Blending, Processing, Spiralizing, Mixing, and Dough (AMZ012BL), Black $226.99 + FREE SHIPPING

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Chef’s Medal Food Serving Tray Set: 3 Tier Metal Display Stand with 3 White Rectangular Stoneware Platters | Perfect for Party Foods, Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes $29.97 + FREE SHIPPING

SERVING TRAYS

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To Cook or Not to Cook….That is the ???

Well, as they say, “When in Rome…,” but in Naples…….Florida, it’s great fun to do as the Naples’ Floridians do….enjoy¬†dining out on Fifth Avenue South! The epicurean choices are so incredible that dining in doesn’t always cut it. I try to justify it to myself, and Steve, by convincingly insisting that amazing meal ideas can be born from amazing restaurants.¬†

Actually, it’s devastating…..(slightly dramatic, I know) to eat a mediocre meal in a restaurant and know that you can have a much better dinner at home. Dining out is a treat and I’m committed to duplicating and sharing some of my faves from my recent travels to Naples, Florida.

Sea Salt is one of our favorites and the chef  nailed it on creativity and taste with his Caesar Salad Sushi Bites.

CAESAR SALAD SUSHI BITES

The first time I made these, I over filled them. Less is more, so that they are able to roll up and sit on the plate for a delicious presentation.

Caesar Salad Sushi Bites

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 romaine leaves
  • Caesar Dressing (store bought or home made)
  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • Small jar of red lumpfish caviar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash, dry and lay each romaine leaf flat.
  2. Spread 1 T on each leaf.
  3. Sprinkle 2 T Parmesan cheese on each leaf.
  4. Carefully and tightly roll each romaine leaf up lengthwise.
  5. Cut off loose ends and and slice evenly down the middle. (Each leaf makes 2 rolls)
  6. Repeat with remaining leaves.
  7. Turn each ‘sushi roll’ flat and top with 1/2 t. dressing and a sprinkle of caviar.
  8. Serve with chopsticks!

CAESAR SALAD DRESSING

Combine + Serve
  • 6 cloves garlic, mashed and minced.
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar.
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil.
  • Lemon juice, for seasoning.
  • Minced anchovy fillets, optional.

One of the new kids on the block in downtown Naples is The Bevy; a delightful, open air restaurant featuring a living wall, beautiful bar and a retractable skylight ceiling. The food and drinks here insight the senses with every sip and bite.

Steve was more than delighted with his appetizer of Deviled Oysters which include yellow conrmeal oysters, deviled eggs and candied bacon. fullsizeoutput_4113

Our friend, Bob, loved his craft cocktail, The Cedar Fire Old Fashioned which features bastille 1789 whiskey, orange bitters, maples syrup, smoked glass and candied bacon.

 

DEVILED EGGS

DEVILED EGGS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallot¬†or¬†onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil the eggs in water 10-12 min.
  2. Peal the eggs, cut the in half lengthwise and remove the yolks.
  3. Mash yolks with mustard, mayonnaise, onion, Tabasco, salt, pepper. (For finer consistency, place in a food processor.
  4. 4 Pipe or spoon mixture into egg white halves: Pipe through a piping bag (star tip) or simply use a spoon to put the egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves. 
  5. Serve as is, or top with your favorite toppings: candied bacon, smoked salmon, caviar, jalape√Īo

CANDIED BACON

CANDIED BACON

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • Mix brown sugar, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  • Place bacon slices on cooling rack set over a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, turn slices, and bake another 5 minutes.

 

 

CORNMEAL FRIED OYSTERS

  • Heat deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  • Combine cornmeal, garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, black pepper and seasoned salt in a large plastic bag.
  • Place oysters in bag and shake until well coated.
  • Cook oysters¬†3 or 4 at a time in hot oil.

 

Dear Friends,

Recently I read a great article on happiness……stating simply that: if your happiness depends on just one thing, you are setting yourself up for unhappiness. So, for example, if your happiness depends on sunshine and warm weather, and you live in Northeast Ohio, many of your days will be unhappy. In sunny Naples, Florida, even when it’s chilly, the sunshines which is a blessing.

Walking in sunshine and sharing delicious recipes are two of my favorite things, so thank you for swinging by and I hope you enjoy these nuggets of yum! Be sure to check out some of my fun finds in The Sunshine Shop!

Until¬†next time…

ūüćĻCheers!¬†Laura

THE SUNSHINE SHOP

WOMEN'S MAXI DRESS

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Gallery

ONE GREAT RECIPE WHEN YOUR FRIDGE BITES THE DUST!

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One of today’s nightmares….YOUR FRIDGE DIES!

As you open your refrigerator and there is a distinct dark quiet that overtakes you, you begin to cringe. No hum, no lights…… and you think, “Shit.” Sticking your nose in to hopefully smell nothing, ¬†you immediately feel the carton of milk to gage the temperature. While quickly reaching for the freezer and opening it, you notice that the seafood, steaks, and everything else has begun to defrost….all at once! Quickly surveying the damage, you resort to throwing out the spoiled and attempting to salvage what is left.

Always stocking up on frozen shrimp, I had quite a bit in the freezer as well as a HUGE bag of scallops, a package of andouille sausage …and OKRA! With the help of a small trip to the grocery store, I came up with this delicious recipe.

SEAFOOD GUMBO (SERVES 8) 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 C. diced onion
  • 1 C. diced green pepper
  • 1 C. diced celery
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed shrimp
  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen and thawed scallops
  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.
  • 1/2 C. flour
  • 2 C. fresh or frozen and thawed sliced okra
  • 1/2 C. chipped roma, fresh or canned & drained
  • Chopped scallions & parsley as garnish
  • Cooked rice

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a large dutch oven, saute in 3T olive oil:
  • 1 C. each: diced onion, diced green pepper, ¬†& diced celery¬†

IN A SEPARATE SKILLET SAUTE:

  • 1 lb. andouille sausage and add to the dutch oven.

STIR IN:

  • 2 C. each of fresh or frozen sliced okra
  • 1 C. sliced Roma tomatoes, fresh or canned, drained.

ADD:

  • 1 lb. thawed shrimp & scallops and sauce until pink and tender.

SPRINKLE:

  • 1/2 C. flour over top and blend in the mixture, cooking for 1 min.

POUR:

  • 3 C. prepared Chicken broth over top.

SEASON:

  • 1 t. salt‚Ä®, 1 t. black pepper‚Ä®, 1/2 t. white pepper‚Ä®, 1 t. cayenne pepper, ‚Ä®1 bay leaf

GARNISH:

  • T. scallions, minced T. parsley

SERVE:

  • With Cooked rice

 

Dear Friends,

It would have been easy to cook up the thawing food and freeze it for another day, but it was fun to get creative. The flavors in the recipe blend beautifully and after purchasing a new fridge, I was able to freeze what we hadn’t eaten for another day. ¬†Serve this dish with an ice cold beer or a crisp sauvignon blanc! If you don’t like seafood, chicken is a great substitute.

Stay tuned for the delicious dishes I made with the thawing steak, chicken and other goodies from my freezer.

Cheers to knowing that if this is the worst thing that happens in a day, life is good. Keeping our thoughts and prayers for victims of the hurricane and our soldiers defending our country is so important.

PLEASE remember to thank our police officers, fire fighters, soldiers and anyone else who provides a service to our country and our safety. In an uncertain world, I do try not to take anything for granted.

Every day is a gift.

Thanks for swinging by & Cheers to you!

ūü漬†Laura

PS: Check out these great finds for your kitchen:

Le Creuset

Le Creuset White Signature Enameled Cast Iron 4.5 Quart Round Dutch Oven $299.95 with free shipping (Comes in a variety of colors)

 

 

 

 

CLAMBAKE POTGranite Ware 6194-1 Enamel-on-Steel 2-Tier Decorated Clam-and-Lobster Steamer with Faucet, 19-Quart $47.70 with Free Shipping

 

 

Seafood Boil Party Plates and Bibs – Bundle of 2 Items: Pack of 4 Plastic Plates and 4 Plastic Bibs (Red Lobster) $18.95 with Free Shipping

LOBSTER PLATTER AND BIBS

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great time of year to cash in on those summer favorite sales! Check out these adorable flip flops!

 

GUESS FLIP FLOPSGUESS Women’s Tutu Flip-Flop in black, navy & pink. $17.99

 

 

SILVER SANDALSSPARKLING BOW SANDAL – SILVER $17.95 with Free Shipping

 

 

 

 

 

TIGER FLIP FLOPSGuess Women’s Titaney Flip-Flop $17.36 with Free Shipping

Gallery

Mother’s Day Calls for Mom’s Chicken

Cookbooks, recipe cards, recipe files, have all been replaced by Pinterest, online cookbooks and online recipe sites such as Cooks, Epicurious, Delish, ¬†All Recipes, Cooking Channel, Taste of Home and more. It’s not a bad thing, but for sure, you will find a multitude of variations on anything you want to cook.

Wedding showers were the best. Often times, the gift was to include a recipe card for the bride’s recipe files. I vividly recall attending a friend’s wedding shower more years ago than I like to remember. As Connie opened her gifts with the attached recipe card, her mother proudly announced, “The next grease mark on any of my cookbooks will be the first!” ¬†We all politely smiled and nodded in agreement.¬†

How things have changed. Cooking is now an ‘in thing,’ whether created by television cooking programs like “The Chew,” or perhaps drinking too much wine in a restaurant became hazardous to your ability to drive home safely. In any event, it has changed, and the new customs of sharing great memories of food with friends and family is deep-rooted in the days long ago when it was customary to many ethnicities.¬†

My mother, Marilyn, an artist, created a cookbook with matching bookmarks, many years ago and sold them at a local gift shop with the help of her sister, Dorothy, and Polly Paphilous, the food editor for the Akron Beacon Journal. It never made the best seller list, but I can assure you that anyone who purchased a copy was privy to some delicious recipes. One of my favorites and super easy is “Mom’s Chicken.” I typically use boneless, skinless thighs which I find more flavorful and moist. The Parmesan cheese forms a delicious crust. Remember to grease your pan.

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Dear Friends,

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to you, your mom, or any woman in your life who has provided the unconditional love and caring that it takes to be a great role model and give children the ability to reach for the stars.

My mother is 87 this year and still loves to bake cookies for my father turning 90. I’m blessed, not only with still having them in my life, but also for the wonderful memories I will cherish forever. Watch for my next blog post, “Cookie¬†Nirvana,” where I will feature some of my mom’s most delicious cookie recipes. Until next time….

MOTHER'S DAY¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†ūüć∑Cheers! Laura

P.S. Swing by my online store for great gift ideas!¬†FOLIO TRENDS! Great women’s clothing and accessories at incredible prices!¬†fullsizeoutput_1ddd

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Spring Break with a Side of Fries

Today was enlightening. My first day of vacation and not only did I wear my usual two piece bathing suit, skirted and high waisted, of course, but I noticed a distinctive sign that I needed to lose weight. The sign wasn’t as blatant as you might think. The scale this morning didn’t yell, “GET OFF OF ME!” ….no one tried to harpoon me on the beach……but the sign was there. You see, every chaise lounge at the pool is equipped with a numbered flag that you raise in order to let the server know that you would like to order food. Yep! You guessed it, mine had no flag.

So, my daughter, Jodi and I decided to have a late lunch of blackened mahi tacos with a mango salsa; healthy, and flavorful. It was happy hour, and we were happy, ¬†so we enjoyed a skinny margarita. Suddenly, our server delivered these amazing french fries to the next table. Jodi and I shot each other a glance and beckoned the server to bring us an order. This little diet destructor was well worth the calories; …….thick cut french fries served with a fresh raspberry mayo on the side. We¬†IMG_7567quickly justified consuming these fat fried bursts of flavor by reminding ourselves that we did water jogūüôÉ. ¬†So, essentially, the moral of this story is “calories in and calories out.” There are, however, good calories and not so good calories, but an occasional splurge isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, I often justify these binges by thinking, “If this were my last meal, it would totally be worth it.” It was.

This trip, I decided to create healthy and delicious meals using all of the fresh fish Florida has to offer. At the local fish market, grouper was recommended as a hearty fish that could easily be made into a piccata dish. Wikipedia¬†explains piccata as ‚Äúmeat or fish sliced, saut√©ed, and served in a sauce containing lemon, butter and spices‚ÄĚ. ¬†Often prepared with veal or chicken, this recipe proved to be a keeper. Enjoy!

GROUPER PICCATA

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  • 4 grouper filets about 4 oz. each, ¬†blotted dry and seasoned with 1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • thinly sliced lemon slices

Dredge fillets in flour.
Heat 2 tsp. oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high until it shimmers. Add half the fillets and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer fillets to a platter; tent with foil. Repeat heating and cooking with remaining oil and fillets.
Add wine, lemon juice, and capers to skillet; cook 30 seconds. Off heat, swirl in butter until it melts; season with 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt, add lemon slices until softened.  Serve fillets with sauce over rice or angel hair pasta.

Dear Friends,

On the plane ride home from vacation, we hit a bit of turbulence. The kids on the plane clearly coming home from spring break, squealed with excitement at the sudden dips and turns. The parents, on the other hand looked horrified. Looking for a diversion, I noticed the cloud formations outside of my window and admired the unusual landscape the sunlight created as the rays bounced off of the sloping hills and valleys of the thick clouds.

Snapping a photo of this unusual scenery, placing it in the archives of vacation memories, it occurred to me the way in which this is a reminder of our need to “take time and smell the flowers” as we get older. ¬†For so many years, we simply hurried to our next destination either not knowing or not realizing that life itself is a journey filled with moments worth pausing for celebration.

As always, thanks for stopping by and cheers to enjoying the journey. 

ūüćĻ Laura

P.S. Check out my new store FOLIO TRENDS where you find great styles and incredible prices! Sign up for email alerts to get great savings!

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3 ROCKIN RECIPES TO RALLY FOR A WIN! GAME 7!!

Cleveland fans are amazing. No matter what the weather, they are out there showing support….even for the….Browns. But tonight is an amazing night for baseball fans! First pitch at 8 tonight…73* and even if you aren’t from Cleveland, the enthusiasm is contagious and well worth the visit!¬†

Here are some delicious dishes for your rally party! These are great do aheads, so your guests can help themselves and you can enjoy the game! Enjoy and GO TRIBE!!

REUBEN STRATA WITH THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING

If you don’t have any leftover corned beef, buy about 1 pound unsliced corned beef from the deli counter at your local grocery store.

Makes 12 servings
COAT:

  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

COVER:

  • 11/4 lb. sliced pumpernickel bread, staled
  • 3 cups diced corned beef
  • 3 cups sauerkraut, well drained
  • 4 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 11/2 cups Thousand Island dressing
  • Salt and black pepper

BLEND:

  • 10 eggs
    21/2 cups whole milk
    2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Coat bottom and sides of a 9√ó13-inch baking dish with butter. Cover bottom of dish with a layer of bread slices. Top with 1 cup each corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese. Drizzle 1/2 cup dressing over top, then season with salt
and pepper. Repeat layering two more times.
Blend eggs, milk, and Dijon until combined; pour over layers in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining
1 cup cheese over top. Cover strata with plastic wrap and press down. Refrigerate strata at least 1 hour
or up to 24 hours. Remove plastic and preheat oven to 350¬į.
Bake strata, uncovered, until
puffy and cooked through (160¬į), about 1 hour. Let strata stand
10 minutes before serving.

SIMPLE ROMAINE SALAD WITH RED WINE VINAIGRETTE

This is quite possibly the most delicious dressing I have ever made! Serving small individual salads makes entertaining easy so you can enjoy your guests and the game! 

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For the Salad

Layer cut up romaine lettuce and top with shaved parmesan

 For the Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp minced shallot
2 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe I found on pinterest (and borrowed the beautiful pic) and is soooo easy and delicious. Perfect for a game! (You definitely want to double this recipe!

ORANGE MARMELDE-SIRACHA WINGS

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Ingredients

2 lbs chicken wings & drummettes (separated)
1/4 cup salted butter
2 Tbsp siracha sauce
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp orange marmalade
optional: sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water. Boil wings for 8 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain wings and use a paper towel to dry them completely. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place wings on foil and bake for 20 minutes. Turn wings over and bake for 15 minutes longer. Meanwhile melt butter in a sauce pan. Add marmalade & siracha sauce. Mix and cook over medium/low for 5 minutes. After wings are finished baking, toss them in the sauce and place back on cookie sheet to broil for 2 ‚Äď 3 minutes until the sauce on the wings start to crisp up. Garnish with sesame seeds¬†

Dear Friends,

As always, thanks for swinging by! Even if you aren’t going to rally tonight, I hope you enjoy these simple and delicious recipes. The magic to great entertaining is making it simple but making it look like you put a lot of effort into everything.

Food, family and friendship all go hand in hand so cheers to making time together special.

GO TRIBE!

ūüćļLaura

 

 

 

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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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SURPRISING DOLLAR STORE TRICKS (AND TREATS) FOR ENTERTAINING

So, you are invited to holiday parties for every holiday, and the worst thing is when you forget to label your dish with your name, or it gets washed off, and you either never get your dish back, or its months, and yes, maybe a year or two. And when the next occasion arises to use that perfect dish, ¬†you ¬†insanely look everywhere. After every cupboard, drawer, and storage bin has been ransacked (that’s an extreme word, but true) you realize that you took an appetizer to Sally’s house, and never got your dish back. SOLUTION: THE DOLLAR STORE.

I know, I know, your mother always told you to watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. However, can you put a price on your favorite pumpkin platter or your divine deviled egg dish? NO. The seasonal serving opportunities await your dollars at the dollar store. By the way, I am not making any money endorsing this retail establishment, although, not a bad idea!

Today, we are going to a fall clambake and my $2.00 purchase created this fun seasonal serving idea for a delicious desert that I call PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES. I have two favorite versions for this dip.

Normally now, I just leave the serving dish with the leftovers at the party, but this one came out so cute, I’m conflicted, so I may bring it home ūüéÉ

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES

RECIPE 1 (a little sweeter than recipe 2)

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Ingredients

¬ĺ cup International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer
1 3.4 oz package pumpkin spice instant pudding
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
Graham cracker crumbs for garnish

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, whisk together the International Delight Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer with pumpkin spice instant pudding. Set aside for about 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sugar.
Add in pudding to cream cheese mixture and beat.
Once well combined, fold in the 2 cups of thawed whipped topping and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, fill bowl with Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Dip topped with graham cracker crumbs.

If you can’t find pumpkin spice instant pudding (it’s¬†pretty ¬†seasonal), you can use either vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE BITES

RECIPE 2

INGREDIENTS

1 -15 oz. can pumpkin puree
1 -8 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed
1 package 1.5 oz. Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 

Directions

Cream together all ingredients with an electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Serve with Vanilla Wafers, Cookies, or Graham Crackers.

img_6499Dear Friends,

Celebrating something every day helps to create the happiness we all deserve to have. For me, its difficult to overlook the inevitable snow, but I love enjoying the beauty of this season and everything that comes with it.

Cheers to you! Laura

 

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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

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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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