Monday, July 24, 2017

Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

Good morning! How was your weekend? It was a scorcher here, add the humidity and it was a bit unbearable. Lucky for me I was inside cleaning and baking for my upcoming guests.

I make this cherry almond coffee cake and it was delicious. Cherries and almond are a classic pairing but if you do not like the cherries you could always substitute the berries of your choice, or maybe even some apples come Fall.

The cake has a little almond flavor in every layer, from the cake to the streusel, to the glaze. It is very versatile and could be served for breakfast, brunch, tea or even dessert. 

Cherry Almond Coffee Cake
Recipe from: Sifting Focus

Cherry Filling

2 15 oz cans tart cherries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
pinch of salt

Bring Cherries and their syrup, cornstarch, sugar and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mash cherries with a potato masher and cook until thick, about 25 minutes. The mixture should measure about 2 cups. Pout into a shallow bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes. 

Streusel Topping:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
1 7 oz. tube almond paste crumbled into pieces
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Whisk 11/4 cups flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Using a fork, stir in melted butter until mixture forms pea size pieces. Stir in 1/2 cup almond past set aside 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch pan. Combine remaining flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowll. Whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts together in a small bowl.  With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat remaining almond paste remaining sugar, and softened butter until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes; Add sour cream mixture and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined, about 1 minute. Return mixture to medium speed and beat until fluffy, an additional minute. 

Pour batter into a prepared pan and spread evenly. Dollop the cherry mixture over the batter and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the streusel over the cherry mixture and bake until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. About 30-33 minutes. Cool cake in the pan about 2 hours. 

Almond Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt

Combine sugar, salt and extract with two tablespoons of water. Mix well and then drizzle over the cake. Cake can be kept for 3 days at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap. 

Have a great day! Stay cool!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday Picks from Thristystone

Happy Saturday! This week we are having 6 friends to visit, as I said before there will be a lot of sun, fun drinking and eating. Which had had me thinking about what to serve and how to serve it. 

I love beautiful serving pieces and typically stick to white so that the food can add the color. I also use lots of vintage cutting boards

These beautiful wood, marble and metal pieces by Thirstystone are just the sort of pieces that I like. They are classic, with a twist, elegant and looks fabulous with or without food!

The good news about these pieces is that they are all from Nordstrom and many are on sale for their Anniversary sale.

Have a great day!

NOTE: Post contains affiliate links

Friday Favorites from The Cookie Rookie, Curvy Carrot, Christiann Koepke, Centsational Girl and More

Good morning and a very happy, happy, happy Friday to you!. Can you tell that I am excited it's the weekend? I have had a crazy busy week, and frankly I am ready to relax. We have 6 guests coming next Wednesday-Monday and it is going to be a fun but busy few days. I am actually looking forward to being a tourist in my own town but I need to relax this weekend and get ready for non-stop fun next week, with lots of food, drinks, time at the ocean, kayaking, boarding, hiking and more. 

Image CK

It has been very hot here with more steamy weather to come. When it is like that I have to admit I am really lazy when it comes to cooking(oddly, I can always muster the energy to bake) and typically I fall back on scrambled eggs, grilled cheese or a salad. I will be adding this beautiful and delicious Grilled Moroccan Chicken Salad from Christiann Koepke to my repertoire. 

Image from Rasamalasia

Hot days call for a cool, refreshing drink. Instead of your traditional lemonade why not try this Watermelon Limeade from Rasamalaysia?

Image Pinterest via The Curvy Carrot

I cannot wait to make this gorgeous Coffeecake with Cream Cheese Filling from the Curvy Carrot, in fact I will be making it next week for my guests, so I will let you know how it is. 

Easy Restaurant Queso The Cookie Rookie

I want to make this Easy Restaurant Queso from the Cookie Rookie as well but I do not want to share. I seriously could eat this entire pan. In fact I have been known to go out for Mexican and eat nothing but chips and a big bowl of queso cheese. 

Image Vintage Refined

I love this beautiful bathroom redo with the addition of this classic wallpaper and statement mirror from Vintage Refined.

Are you a Nancy Meyer fan? If so head over to Cote de Texas where Joni gives the low down on the new Nancy Meyers movie Home Again. Make sure to get yourself a coffee or a drink because Joni does a thorough job detailing the original house(when Cindy Crawford lived there), the real-estate images and the movie set. 

Image Centsational Girl

Isn't this Cris Cross Wall Trellis from Centsational Girl cool? If you are handy with a saw and like DIY projects Kate gives instructions on how she built this beautiful addition to her patio. 

Image In Good Taste

Have you ever wondered what your favorite movie poster would look like if it was painted by a famous artist? If so, check out this post 6 Famous Movie Posters Re-Imagined as Painting by In Good Taste.  By the way, In Good Taste is the blog for my favorite auction site Invaluable.

Did you find anything interesting this week to share,  a fascinating book or movie, or a delicious recipe? If so please tell us about it the comments. 

I hope that you have a great weekend. Stay cool and safe. 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

Good morning! Unless you have been living under a rock this week you have surely heard of the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.? It actually starts tomorrow but if you are a card holder you can get early access to your favorite finds. 

As I perused the virtual aisles I put together a selection of casual and classic pieces that suit my lifestyle; a few new things for yoga, a classic black dress, boots for winter, a couple comfy sweaters, and I even threw in a few candles to use while soaking in my bath as the cool weather sets in.

There are some great things on sale so if you are looking for something for your Fall wardrobe or perhaps even to do a little early Christmas shopping you should check out the sale. 

Happy shipping and have a great day!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Just Curious...How is Your Summer 2017 Bucket List Coming Along

Good morning! Happy hump day to you. I hope that you are having a great week, mine is busy and seems to be going by in a blur.

As it is already the 3rd week of July and on a daily basis I see people pinning Fall recipes, decorations and inspiration, I thought I would revisit my Summer 2017 Bucket List and see if I am making any progress.

I am actually doing pretty good and I can cross off all but 3 items.

1.  I played with sparklers, poppers, snaps and more, not with my nieces and nephew but with my grand kids who were visiting from Argentina.

NOTE: For those that asked. I do not have children of my own. I am a step-mom to my husbands son and daughter and a grandmother to two adorable little boys, aged 3 and 5. They live in Argentina with their mother and my step-son.

2. I watched the fireworks with my husband on the 4th of July.

3. I have gone on a road trip with my husband and pups and we ate a lot of BBQ, peanuts and scrumptious treats from Buttermilk Bake Shop. If you are on Instagram you can follow me and all of my foodie adventures.

4. June was very rainy here so I had the opportunity to spend not just one but two afternoons watching a few of my favorite movies.

5. I have so many fond memories of catching fireflies as a child. For many years I have not seen any in the summer but last year they reappeared and so I sit on my porch each evening and watch their magical lights zip around my yard. While I was in the mid-west with the grand kids we would watch them each evening, actually I watched them and the grands ran around the years trying to catch them.

6. Be a tourist in my own town. I actually have not done this yet but I will be soon. 

7. Visit a national park. Not yet, but soon. 

8. Go on a picnic. I was lucky enough to go on a picnic and a camp out with my grand kids, of course we were roasting make believe weenies and marshmallows but it was still fun. Even better, my grandkids love donuts and sweets so each morning we would munch on our donuts while watching the squirrels and rabbits frolic in the the yard. I can tell you that a donut tastes so much better when you are eating across from someone enjoying it so much it is all over their face. 

9. Do something I would never do. I have not done this and I am actually having a hard time thinking of something, perhaps this summer I will try surfing or yoga on my board?

10. Unplug from Social Media for the weekend. I actually was pretty successful at this while celebrating my mother in laws 90th birthday. I was able to relax and enjoy not only my own mom, but the grand kids, my mother in law and all of the people that came to celebrate. 

What about you? How is your summer shaping up so far? Have you been able to get to the beach, maybe go on a holiday, read that pile of books you have had for months? Are you finding time to relax and rest? I sure hope so because summer is short and Fall and Winter are not too far away. 

Have a great day! 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Fun Finds from Baublebar

Good morning! I discovered Baublebar this week, are you family with them? It is a line of inexpensive, stylish jewelry that will add a little color, pizzaz to your outfit!

I love their necklaces.  I think any one of them would look great with a simple t-shirt, a cashmere sweater or a dress on a night out.

As for the earrings, a pair of these interesting pieces are a statement all of their own.

Baublebar sells rings and bracelets as well. But I liked the earrings and necklaces the best.

Have a great day.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to My Sister

Good morning! Today is my sisters' birthday and I wanted to take a minute to let her know how special that she is to me.

She is my best friend, my rock, my sounding board, my should to cry on, my "go to" person to talk about my frustration, happy news or whatever is in between and my companion on many of my favorite adventures. 

Cue the music, "Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday to youuuu, happy birthday to you!

Happy Birthday! I love you and hope that you have a fabulous day!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Friday Favorites From Messy Nessy, My Little Paris, Carlsbad Cravings, Mels Kitchen Cafe and More

Good morning and a very happy Friday to you. I must admit that I am happy it is the weekend because as much as I love to travel I love to be home even more. 

Image Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Today it was 100 and let me tell you that it was hot and steamy, almost too hot to eat, I said almost. It was definitely too hot to cook but this beautiful Southwest Cobb Salad from Mel's Kitchen Cafe would have been perfect if I hadn't eaten a huge barbecue lunch.  

Image Carlsbad Cravings

I love tacos especially in the summer when I am looking for an easy dinner. These Honey Chipoltle Chicken Tacos from Carlsbad Cravings are next on my list of tacos to make, don't they look delicious?

Image Lemon Stripes

If you are looking for something a little more healthy check out these 3 Protein Packed Smoothies from Lemon Stripes.

By the way if you like smoothies I read a suggestion this week on Instagram to add frozen cauliflower to your smoothies to add fiber, extra thickness and goodness. Have you tried cauliflower in your smoothies? 

Image Coastal Living

If you are looking for something a little less healthy to start the weekend you might want to try this Frosty Lime Margarita or 13 other pink cocktails from Coastal Living Magazine.

Do you like ice cream?  This past month I made a rich decadent chocolate ice cream that is so creamy, fudgy, chocolaty and delicious that you really only need a tiny scoop to satisfy your chocolate cravings. The recipe is on my other blog Once Upon a Chocolate Life. The best part is, its no churn. Now if you want to churn it in your machine by all means go ahead but it is just a good if you don't have a machine.

Photo Pine Cones and Acorns

Do you read My Little Paris? If not you might enjoy this newsletter that offers one little nugget in each email about Paris, be it the best rooftop bar with a view of the Eiffel Tower, or a great story about fashion, if you are a Francophile you will love this newsletter. 

Image from Messy Nessy

Check out this fabulous library designed and made by Jim Cardon which I read about on Messy Nessy this week. If I had a library like this in my house I would never leave. 

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy summer because before we know it is is going to be Fall! 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fun Finds for Dachshund Lovers

Good morning, I hope that you are having a great week! I am busy trying to catch up on all of the things I did not do while away like work and taking care of the things that one does when they return from a trip, like laundry, unpacking and of course playing with the pups. 

If you do not know I have two dachshunds, Paris and Pisa, sisters from different litters. I had another named Munchen for almost 15 years but she passed away almost two years ago, I still miss her sweet little face. 


Lately I have seen dachshund related things everywhere, cutting boards, art, pillows, cup, etc. So I put together this little collage of things that I found to be amusing and some even useful. 

Munchen my heart. 

Are you a dog lover? A dachshund lover perchance? Do you have any pets? Please share if you do! 

I have the water bottle and I love it and a friend gave me the ice cube tray, the cubes are cute but sometimes the legs break off while trying to get them out.

If you are dachshund lover I hope you found this post amusing. If you do not like dogs or dachshunds, I am sorry.

Have a great day!

Note: Post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Living in the Present and Making Memories

Good morning! I am sorry that I have not posted in a few days but I have just returned from a week in the  "heartland of America", visiting my husbands family and celebrating my mother in laws 90th birthday, which coincidentally is today.

Available here

I had originally planned on posting as I usually do but once I got there I decided to just be present and enjoy my time with family.

I spent my mornings, which started at 6:00 am, with my two grandsons who are 3 and 5 and are visiting from Argentina.  Each morning we would start with a "healthy breakfast" of donuts and then were off on our adventures. Some mornings we played baseball, walked in the Amazon rain forest, made pretend bonfires with all of the twigs found in the yard and then roasted weenies and marshmallows.

Other days we picked wild strawberries, played with confetti poppers and snaps, searched high and low for the family cat and when we found him we had to stand guard where he was hiding in the hopes he could be coerced out to play with two little boys. Needless to say that did not happen.

 It was wonderful to see the world with fresh eyes because to two little boys, everyday is a new and exciting day, everything is interesting and an adventure and every day there are so  many things to laugh and smile about.

The rest of my days were spent with not only my mother-in-law but my own mother who came to celebrate as well. The three of us spent hours alone or with other family member laughing, telling stories and reminiscing about life, travels and our adventures together.

The trip culminated in a beautiful dinner for 30, including my mother in-laws' only 2 remaining relatives, her best friend, her 2 kids, 4 grand kids and 5 great grand kids. She was roasted and feted and the smile and happiness that shown from her face lit up the room. It was a fabulous celebration of a wonderful woman and a long life.

I spent my time making memories and I enjoyed every minute!

Have a great day! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Red Coral for You and Your Home

Hello! Did you have a nice 4th of July? I have had a great stay- cation since Friday, lots of sun, fun and food. Maybe a little too much food. I don't know about you but I tend to go a little overboard during the holidays, I eat a ton of food that I do not normally eat, like chips, dip, M&M's, bread and more.

Red Coral Kaftan on Etsy

But now I am back on track with a moderately healthy diet, that is until the weekend. Over the weekend in addition to all of the fun I had I did peruse the sales, not looking for anything specific, and one thing that I kept finding was coral, coral the color and coral designed articles for you and your home.

I personally love coral, it is sculptural and beautiful and I think a pop of the red color goes a long way. Any one of these pieces would look wonderful on your summer table. I especially love the coral napkin rings, and the lamps.

As for fashion I have only just embraced a pop of color in my wardrobe the last few years but I do have coral separates, like pants and shorts that I think look great when paired with a crisp white shirt or even navy blue.

As for jewelry, I typically wear bracelets and I love statement necklaces. I think any of these beautiful piece would definitely make a statement in your summer wardrobe.

Tell me, are you a fan of coral? Do your wear it or do you have any in your home design? Did you find anything great at the "fabulous" summer sales?

Have a great day!

Note: This post does contain affiliate links.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Classic Italian Sub Sandwich

Good morning! How are you? Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was busy and I managed to eat my weight in burgers, coleslaw, baked beans and other barbecue foods. Thankfully I am home today and taking a little break from the festivities.

Are you one of those lucky enough to have today off? If so I hope that you are relaxing and having fun. If you have to work, enjoy your day  and don't work too hard. 

If you have followed along here for any length of time than you know that I primarily like sweet foods, but that I also like macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, pasta and pizza and sandwiches.  My favorite sandwich to eat is the Italian Sub/Haogie

In progress.

 Now before everyone who is Italian tells me that I am making it wrong, I will tell you that this recipe is the one that was made in the Italian deli's where I grew up in the Mid-west so it may be different from your favorite if you grew up in New Jersey or Philly or NY and guess what, thats ok. We all have our favorite way of making what we like. 

In any case, I  think it is a great sandwich to make ahead to take on a road trip or a picnic or tomorrow to the fireworks.

Italian Hoagie Recipe 

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 hoagie rolls
1/4 lb. hot capicola
1/4 lb. genoa salami
1/4 lb. sopresatta salami
1/4 lb mortadella 
1/4 lb. ham, thinly sliced
1/4 lb. sharp provolone cheese
1 large tomato, sliced thin
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup ice burg lettuce shredded
salt & pepper
1/4 cup hot cherry pepper sandwich spread

Mix together the vinegar, oregano and olive oil, set aside. Use a serrated knife to cut the sub roll in half, scoop a little of the bread out of each half of the roll. Place the sub roll in the middle of a sheet of wax paper and drizzle the inside of the bread with vinaigrette. Next, add the provolone, ham, mortadella, Genoa salami, soppressata, capicola, tomatoes, onion, lettuce and the cherry pepper spread. Drizzle with a little more vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the sandwich tight in the butcher paper and tie with butchers twine.Place in the refrigerator and let the flavors melt for at least an hour but preferably 4-5. 
Have a fabulous day!

If hoagies are not your thing you could always make this delicious Dark Chocolate Ice Cream!

Linking to:
Savvy Southern Style

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fun Finds from Jack Wills

Good morning. A good Saturday morning to you! It is a little cloudy and grey this morning, hopefully the sun will come and a little later. I have been reading blogs and I have seen a of fabulous sale posts on everything from mattresses, to appliances, and of course clothes, So I thought I would share a few of my favorites from Jack Wills. 

Jack Wills Arkendale

Jack Wills Alverton

Ailvey Scarf
Jack Wills Jasmin

Jack Wills Constance

Jack Wills Cardigan

Jack Wills has a sale for 25% off until the 4th of July is you see anything here that your like click this the description link.

Note this post contains affiliate links. If you click them I will earn a few cents.

Have a great day! 

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