Peak Into My Life…Coffee Shop Photo Journey

Life has a way of moving at lightning speed! I thought today I would simply give you a picture journey into my life this past week. I had the privilege of going out for coffee with two friends. One on Monday and the other on Saturday. What is better than a cup of coffee with a good dose of girlfriend connection?

An elegant coffee shop in the heart of a historic town.

Which would you choose?

The coolest Asian lady owned this shop! She came bouncing in while my friend and I were there. Although she was quite disheveled, appearing as though she had just hopped out of bed; she had a dynamic personality. She spilled sunshine on everyone she came in touch with! I want to be like her! ūüôā

My coffee fix-organic, single-origin, french-pressed coffee from Sumatra! It had a 95 rating out of 100 so it was considered a specialty coffee. Did you know Starbucks is rated at a 44 out of 100?! French pressing the coffee gives it a very smooth taste. Try it some time!

The morning chocolate cravings-fulfilled! ūüôā

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Garden Party-40th Anniversary Celebration

Hi there friends! This week has been crazy for me. We had around 70 people for dinner three different times in the last week. I thought I’d invite you to see what I’ve been up to through this photo journey. The third and final large dinner for a while was a celebration for my husband’s parents who just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary.

The Drink

Individual herbal and fruit infused water in glass mason pint jars. I did citrus and pineapple and mint. They both had their distinct flavor. Conrad thought that it might taste too “healthy”. ūüôā

Marinated, grilled chicken breast tenders on skewers

Red-skinned potatoes in rivers of browned butter and  crumbs.

Fresh corn on the cob rolled in butter and topped with chives.

Baguette with veggie strips and dip

I’d lined the walk with candles in the sand. The tables had fresh flowers.

~DESSERT~

Angel food cake wrapped in wafers and topped with fresh strawberries or blueberries (middle picture).

We also had fresh fruit salad.

We spent much of the evening chatting around the fire.

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I think it will be awhile again till we have company even though we enjoy being surrounded by friends and loved ones. I am curious if my readers have tips on hosting get-togethers. I’d love to hear from you!

Summer’s Abundance-Photo Journey

Ahh! Fresh homegrown peaches!

A wayward butterfly bush root that took up residence by the front walk now blocking it’s path!

Tomatoes straight from the garden! Fresh salsa, anyone? By the way, those yellow cherry tomatoes are prolific producers and are as sweet as candy!

My rose bush although buggy and disease ridden continues to bloom. FYI I don’t happen to be a green thumb! In fact, my husband kids that when I pay for a plant it begins to die ūüôā

The scary, hairy old “men” I’ve been hanging out with ūüôā They so happen to be cattails and it reminds me of aged colonial era men with wispy hair going everywhere!

Growing baby and great-grandpa who is now in full-time nursing care due to dementia.

$5.00 slip and slide that healthy childen enjoy

And growing baby!

How was your summer? Our’s flew by on wings!

Taste Tester Thursday

“Blueberry Cheese Braid”

Dissolve and let stand five minutes:

2 pkgs. yeast & 1 c. warm water

Add and beat on low for 3 minutes:

1/2 c. softened butter or margarine

5 tbsp. sugar

2 eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

4 1/4-4 1/2 c. all purpose flour (just enough to make a soft dough)

Let rise till doubled, about 45 minutes.

For the cream cheese filling:

2-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese softened

1/3 c. sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat well.

1 can Lucky Leaf Blueberry Pie Filling

Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 15 by 9 rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets. Spread half of the cream cheese filling down the middle third lengthwise. Spread half of the blueberry filling on top. Cut one inch wide strips about three inches in length to center third. Braid. Seal ends and let rise 20 minutes. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes till golden brown. Cool and ice with glaze.

Glaze:

1 c. confectioners sugar

2-3 tbsp. milk

I love this recipe! It’s so yummy! While it looks difficult, in reality it is quite simple. This makes two huge braids enough for 20 plus people. So what I like to do, is freeze the one so I’ve got it handy for when company drops by unexpectedly.

Enjoy!

Tippy Tuesday

“Stretching Your Meat While Stretching Your Dollars”

Meat is expensive these days and since I’ve got a grocery budget to honor I need to find creative ways to stretch my meat. How do I do this?¬† For most meat dishes you will not be doing it a disservice to add diced onions and garlic, this adds flavor and bulk. Another easy and nutritious way to stretch meat is to add rice or oatmeal to ground beef in dishes like meatballs, poor man’s steak, Salisbury steak, meatloaf, and I’ve also tasted it (oatmeal) in burgers as well. This helps keep the mixture moist and juicy. One of my personal favorites is adding black beans to my ground meat mixtures. Black beans add nutrition, protein, and bulk.

How do you stretch your meat? I’d love to hear from you!

Taste Tester Thursday

For all fellow coffee connoisseurs , here is a perfect recipe for you to try. My maid made these bars and their taste is exquisite!

“Espresso Brownie Bites”

1/4 c. butter

3 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate

1 1/2 c. sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 c. flour

Heat oven to 325*. Line bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Melt butter and chocolate in a two-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla and flour with a spoon until smooth. Spread in pan and bake for 15-17 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Remove brownie from pan. Cut in half and spread filling over 1/2 and top with remaining half. Cut into bars and drizzle with white Betty Crocker cookie decorating icing.

Espresso Filling

1/3 c. butter, softened

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. instant espresso coffee/ 3 tbsp. regular instant coffee

1 tbsp. water

1 tsp. vanilla

You will notice in ¬†my picture I didn’t bother with the drizzle. They are rich enough without it:)

Smorgasbord

The last couple of weeks has been one delightful smorgasbord¬†of food. Loving friends and family have brought in top-notch¬†meals that were put to use since Kristyn’s birth. Here is just a sampling of the food. I’m just listing single items of their individual meal menus that stuck out to me.

“AnaLisa”; a¬†diligent mom of three preschoolers,¬†¬†brought baked oatmeal with apple pie filling. Have you ever tried that? It’s almost like apple goodie but lots better in my book. One thing she did was bring disposable place settings which is excellent for moms recovering from recently giving birth.

“Deandra”;¬† with a career, ¬†brought homemade chicken noodle soup.

“Mila”; an industrious¬†mom of five and pregnant with her sixth,¬†brought easy mac and cheese with turkey ham.

“Desiree”; an active mom of two under 5¬†years old,¬†brought barbecued burgers with all the fixings.

“Memaw”; with many irons in her fire, ¬†brought a “bunny” salad. One with fresh garden lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, and onions.

“Wanika” a full-time career woman and single mom of two, asked me if I was hungry for anything and I said “doughnuts”. She made a special stop just to bring me one.

“Jana” a home school mother of five, brought delectable homemade caramel pudding.

“Cindy” an employed manager drove three hours, and brought my husband and children’s favorite pie-pumpkin.

“Kelly” a busy mom of one, brought a casserole for my freezer.

“Kara” an enterprising career woman, brought chicken pot pie with flaky biscuits atop.

“Katie”, dedicated mom to one new baby, brought wine chicken. That’s a five-star dish!

“Cadence”¬†untiring mom of two under two years of age, brought some of the chocolate chip and peanut butter bars I’ve ever tasted.

“Elena” diligent mom of two and fellow blogger, brought a full course picnic and drove an hour to bring it!

“Missy” industrious mom and grandma, brought homemade strawberry pie and ice cream! Bless her heart, when she got to my house she accidentally locked the keys in her vehicle!

“Mahala”, busy as a beaver, brought chicken and rice.

“Deidra” industrious mom of two under four years old, brought a five-star¬† creamy chicken over rice.

“Nicole” mom of ten brought fresh red potatoes covered with brown butter and crumbs.

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A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL WHO BLESSED OUR FAMILY IN THIS WAY!

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And to each of you my readers, if you have someone in your life that has recently given birth a meal is a HUGE blessing!

Galations 6:2 NLT~ “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”