Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spring April



credit

In April
I will go away
to far off Spain
or old Bombay
and dream about
hot soup all day.
Oh my oh once
oh my oh twice
oh my oh
chicken soup with rice.

a poem from one of my favorite authors
Chicken Soup with Rice ~ A Book of Months
by Maurice Sendak

Monday, March 30, 2015

Creamy Mushroom Soup

 
There's a little local Italian restaurant that we absolutely adore.
It's called Vito Provolone's.
It's small, quaint, family-owned & operated with an interesting history to boot, 
has a bit more of a refined crowd, & always has Frank Sinatra playing through the speakers.
And as if that isn't enough ... we love their authentic Italian fare!

But what we are really nuts about their mushroom soup!
It's only served on Tuesday & Wednesday ... 
so when we go there, it has to be on one or the other of those nights.
I promise, it's a struggle to remain calm while eating it!
It's just that good.
A few weeks ago, I wanted it so much that I decided to see if I could find a copy cat recipe for it ...
but no such luck.
I did, however, find plenty of recipes to choose from on the internet.
After deciding on a few that sounded similar, I made my list, picked up all the ingredients,
& made my own pot of Creamy Mushroom Soup.
It wasn't exactly like the one from Provolone's but it was completely delicious!
It took care of my mushroom soup craving.

The one at the restaurant is lighter in color & less mushroomy.
We really like mushrooms, so I added quite a few ... that probably made a difference.





Ingredients

4 cups fresh mushrooms {2 cups button, 2 cups crimini}2 garlic cloves, minced
1 med. onion, diced
1 Tbsp. butter + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. chicken base
1 Tbsp. parsley, fresh or dried
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
4 cups water
3 cups milk
1 cup greek yogurt



Instructions

In large kettle, saute the onion in butter + olive oil til softened.
Add garlic & all mushrooms, finally chopped, & saute for another minute or two.
Add in the water & all the spices & bring to a simmer.
Reduce to low & cook for at least 30 minutes.
Add milk & greek yogurt.
Heat for another 10-15 minutes.
Serve with croutons or buttered crackers.

*My recommendation, use an immersion blender after soup has finished cooking.
This will make it more smooth & creamy.




If you are in the mood for a delicious pot of soup & want to try something a little different,
give this recipe a try.
It will not disappoint!






Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday           C.R.A.F.T    Amaze Me Monday  The Dedicated House
                     I Should Be Mopping the Floor     The Hankful House     The Modest Mom
Tuesday        A Delightsome Life    A Bowl Full of Lemons   So Much At Home
                                    Titus Tuesday  A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                              The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully    Katherines Corner   Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
                                French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things  Sew Many Ways

Monday, March 23, 2015

Banana Blondies with Brown Sugar Frosting



Banana wana fo fana be by bo bana ... banana!

I've said it before & I'll say it again ... I am always looking for new ways to use extra bananas.
You know, the ones that are getting soft & brown & are just begging to go in a banana bread.
You know the ones.
And while I love a good banana bread & truthfully never tire of it, I do like to mix it up a little.

In fact, on this very blog, I've shared more recipes that involve using bananas than any other kind!
And guess what?!
Today is your lucky day!
Not only am I about to share another amazing banana dessert,
I've rounded up all the previously posted recipes right here in one place, just for you!


Creamy Pumpkin Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins {gluten free}

Banana Rum Coffee Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Walnut Cookie Cake


Without further ado, now back to the new delectable Banana Blondies.
I'm telling you, these things are over-the-top good!
I think it's partly due to the blondie ... and partly due to the brown sugar icing.
Oh my.


Here are the ingredients.
One thing I liked, they are standard ones that I always have in my fridge/pantry.


Banana Blondies
  • 1 cup butter, melted and if desired, browned*
  • 1 1/2  cups brown sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 cup mashed banana (2 bananas)
 
Brown Sugar Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

And here are the easy instructions.
For the blondies:
Preheat oven to 350°. 
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. 
In a bowl, combine melted (or browned) butter and sugar. 
Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until incorporated. 
Stir in salt, flour and bananas until batter is smooth and even. 
Spread in prepared pan & bake for 20-25 minutes or until center is just set.
Frost the blondies when they have completely cooled.
 
 
For the brown sugar frosting:
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. 
Add brown sugar and milk, stirring until mixture comes to a boil. 
Remove from heat, allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk in powdered sugar.
Spread on top of the blondies and allow frosting to set completely before cutting into squares.

*If you choose to brown the butter, melt it in a saucepan.
Once it's melted, swirl the butter in the pan until it reaches a deep golden brown color.

You can halve this recipe & bake in an 8x8 dish.



I say, drop what you are doing & go make these sinfully delicious things!
You won't be mad about it, trust me.



 Be sure & share the recipe ... and pin on Pinterest!




Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday           C.R.A.F.T    Amaze Me Monday  The Dedicated House
                     I Should Be Mopping the Floor     The Hankful House     The Modest Mom
Tuesday        A Delightsome Life    A Bowl Full of Lemons   So Much At Home
                                    Titus Tuesday  A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                              The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully    Katherines Corner   Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
                                French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things  Sew Many Ways

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mad March



credit


In March the wind
blows down the door
and spills my soup
upon the floor.
It laps it up
and roars for more.
Blowing once
blowing twice
blowing chicken soup
with rice.


a poem from one of my favorite authors
Chicken Soup with Rice ~ A Book of Months
by Maurice Sendak



Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday           C.R.A.F.T    Amaze Me Monday  The Dedicated House
                     I Should Be Mopping the Floor     The Hankful House     The Modest Mom
Tuesday        A Delightsome Life    A Bowl Full of Lemons   So Much At Home
                                    Titus Tuesday  A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                              The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully    Katherines Corner   Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
                                French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things  Sew Many Ways

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Birthday Trip || Jan. 2015 || Smoky Mountains

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
Albert Camus

There's something about the peaceful mountains ...
a small & cozy cabin overlooking the hills ...
the draw of the quiet serenity after the hustle & bustle of the holidays.
That's what we've been unable to resist it for two Januarys now.
We are so grateful for the get-away at the end of the month to celebrate my birthday.
Makes getting one more year older not so bad at after all ;)

Here is my love & me standing in front of our little cozy cabin in Tennessee.





We had no specific plan, other than to connect with each other & relax.
Check & check.




Sitting in this hot tub, overlooking the mountain ... not ganna lie ... that played a big part in the relaxation.
On the first morning {when I took these pics}, the snow was gently falling down.
It was pretty much picture perfect.





We definitely got our money's worth with the hot tub.
And with the pool table.
That's right ... James taught me how to play pool ... & I even won one game ;)
He was taking it easy on me.

Now, we didn't stay in the cabin the whole weekend, y'all.
Course, being in Pigeon Forge & Galtinburg, there's no shortage of places to visit,
activities to take part in, & yummy food to eat.

Here are a few of the things we did this trip:


We drove up to Ober Gatlinburg ... hadn't been up there in years.
The sun was out & the skiers were everywhere.
Some decided against the slopes in favor of the rink.
Either way, a good time was had by all ... even the observers.


We wanted to eat at some places that we've never been & this was first on the list.
Troy & Lisa, thanks for the recommendation.
We loved our lunch here!
The food was delicious ... & the restaurant & decor was perfect.






I am in love with the checked chairs & pillows.




James & I both had the salad bar {over-the-top} & we shared a bowl of smoky shrimp & crab bisque.
And, trust me, if I started talking about HOW AMAZING the bisque was, I'm sure I'd run out of space.
Yep, it was that good.
{almost as good as she-crab soup in SC!}


After lunch, we walked next door to a neat store, full of outdoorsy stuff.
It had a killer fireplace too.
I'll take one of these in my next house.


It even had a swinging bridge!
I had to cross it ... it reminded me so much of walking across swinging bridges when I was a kid
in Pennington Gap, Virginia.
They kinda freaked me out ... then and now!




We set out to walk from one end of Gatlinburg {the restaurant was at one end}
to the other {the Aquarium} ... & we did just that.
The weather was warm & sunny & we could not have asked for better!!



I had to snap a pic of this fountain & ivy ... it reminded me of something we'd see in Charleston, SC.
Sigh.


We were hoping for some live music again this year ... and just as we walked up,
the same fella from last year was starting to sing.
How perfect was that?!


We wrapped up our afternoon with lots of laughter & silly faces.
This always happens when we take selfies.
James makes it hard to be serious ;)



And we had to stop & take a pic in front of this dinosaur ...& message it to our boys ;)
It's a tradition started many years ago!



We started taking a pic of the boys in front of this when they were very little ...
I need to get out the ones when they were even younger than this,
but this one happened to already be on my laptop.
Fun times.



When we got to our truck, it was still so beautiful & sunny ... & warm!!
The register said 61 degrees & just as I got ready to snap the pic, it switched to 60.


We decided that it was too nice to conclude our day, so we decided to drive to Cade's Cove,
another place we hadn't visited since the boys were very little.
{We have some of the sweetest memories & picture of that particular trip.
Here's one of my favorites.}


As we were driving through, I couldn't help thinking of our previous visits with all our boys.


This is one of my favorite pictures from our whole weekend.
I LOVE this man like crazy.














































We saw SO many deer throughout the park!
Check out this video of them frolicking around.
{AND, we even saw a bobcat/lynx -- it ran across the road right in front of our truck
& of course, was way too quick for me to snap a pic.}


The next day, we spent some time shopping in Pigeon Forge.
We love the new area called the Island.
We rode the big ferris wheel last time ... so fun.



This multi-tiered show fountain is fun to watch.
It features a stunning presentation of water dance and lights, all perfectly choreographed to music.



We indulged in some fudge from The Fudgery ... & even had a praline, freshly made, still warm.
Reminded us of the pralines from River Street in Savannah, Georgia.




There are neat shops here ... & I especially loved these letters cut from books!



There was another group playing music here, one of my favorite things about visiting the Smokies.
There's always live music playing here & there.









Another couple restaurants we visited for the first time was The Alamo and Mama's Farmhouse.


We definitely liked The Alamo.
We went at lunchtime & they had a special ... buy one lunch, get one free.
I had a Parmesan horseradish crusted sirloin, creamed spinach & house fries ... all very good.


As for Mama's Farmhouse, we didn't care for it so much.
We went for breakfast ... & to be honest, it tasted like hotel continental breakfast food.
Pretty sure everything was microwaved.
It just wasn't quality food & we won't go there again.
I did like their fresh flowers on the table, however, & I especially liked the 'dish towel' napkins.




We went to the Hatfield & McCoy dinner show again this visit.
The show & dinner just as good this time around.
And we had Mellow Mushroom Pizza for the first time.
It was quite tasty.
We got carry out & a movie from the Redbox.



All in all, we had a wonderful trip!
We are grateful for every opportunity to get away together.






 Who doesn't love a good party?!
You can find me here linking up with these great blogs.

Monday           C.R.A.F.T    Amaze Me Monday  The Dedicated House
                     I Should Be Mopping the Floor     The Hankful House     The Modest Mom
Tuesday        A Delightsome Life    A Bowl Full of Lemons   So Much At Home
                                    Titus Tuesday  A Stroll Through Life
Wednesday   Raising Homemakers        Savvy Southern Style         Adorned From Above
                              The Thrifty Home   A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Thursday    Between Naps on the Porch   Serving Joyfully    Katherines Corner   Lamberts Lately
Friday      Rooted in Thyme  The Thrifty Groove   Farm Blog Hop  Best of the Nest
                                French Country Cottage  The Girl Creative
Sunday    Nifty Thrifty Things  Sew Many Ways