Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Caramel Kiss & Nut Cookies Recipe

We live right outside of Hershey Pennsylvania and within a few minutes of the Hershey's Chocolate Factory. Every time we go down to Chocolate World, I like to pick up a few bags of the Hershey's Caramel-Filled Kisses and use them in this particular cookie recipe. If you are allergic to nuts, simply omit them from the recipe.

Tip: If you don't have any of the caramel-filled kisses, try some of the regular ones, the Hershey's Hugs, cherry-filled kisses, etc. They all work great with this recipe!

Caramel Kiss and Nut Cookies Recipe

15 caramel-filled Hershey's kisses, unwrapped
1 roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup chopped nuts
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease up a baking sheet or spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the sugar cookie dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. It will be easier to work with. Once it has warmed up, rip it a part into smaller pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine together the torn pieces of sugar cookie dough with the chopped nuts. The batter will be extremely stiff so use your hands! Separate the dough into 12 different piles. Take one pile at a time and form a ball with the unwrapped caramel kiss inside the center of the ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, grease your hands up with a little soft butter or shortening.

Place your cookie balls onto a lightly greased baking sheet at least 2 1/2" a part. They will expand during the baking process. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until they are done. Remove and let cookies cool on a wire rack. Store them in an airtight container.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Spiked Cranberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe

Looking for a great cocktail to make and serve to your party guests this holiday season? If so, check out this festive cocktail recipe from the great folks over at Sparkling ICE. I bet this would be equally as good with cherry juice or strawberry juice too! I see all kinds of great possibilities with this recipe!

Spiked Cranberry Lemonade Recipe

3 oz. Sparkling ICE Lemonade
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 1/2 oz. vodka
Fresh Cranberries and mint for garnish

Directions: In a shaker, combine Sparkling ICE Lemonade, cranberry juice and vodka
Pour into glass and garnish with fresh cranberries and mint spring.

Disclosure: This recipe and photo is courtesy of Sparkling ICE. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Poinsettia Punch Recipe for the Holidays

The holiday season is here and many of us will be attending a holiday party or hosting one in our own homes. I love all of the seasonal beverages during this time of the year...delicious cocktails, punches and then of course the famous eggnog! Today I am sharing a holiday punch recipe with all of you courtesy of the great folks over at Cascade Ice.

Poinsettia Punch Recipe

Cascade Ice Pomegranate Berry
Club Soda
Fresh Mint

Pour 4 parts of Cascade Ice Pomegranate over ice. Mix the Fresh Mint, Juice of one lime and 1 part of Club Soda together. Stir until everything is combined and serve immediately.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas 2014 Holiday Decorations Part 2

Two weeks ago I shared some of our indoor and outdoor holiday decorations with all of you. You can read that post on Christmas Decorating to refresh your memory. We are getting close to the big holiday and I decided to put out a few more decorations and wanted to share those with all of you today.

First up, My new holiday wreath which I hung on our front door. I just love this fresh wreath and it is full & lush! We got this wreath from Creekside Farms and just love it. Right out of the box you can hang it up and it welcomes all of your guests this holiday season.

About 10 years ago I picked up this handcrafted wooden snowman from a local craft show. He stands about 1 1/2 feet tall and while he is plain...I think he has a lot of personality. I usually place him indoors but this year he is outdoors on my porch near the front door. Before I put him out there, I sprayed him with 2 coats of clear sealer to make him weatherproof. I love where I placed him and all of our guests think he is adorable...I do too!

Last summer I found this adorable very large outdoor house flag at the local flea market for $3.00. I quickly snatched it up and brought it home. It features a design of penguins out playing in the snow. We have it hanging from a wooden flagpole right above our second porch (yes, we have two porches!). I had seen very large flags like this in the store but they were always $20 and up, so getting a brand new one for $3.00 at the flea market was a treasured find!

About 3 years ago I got a little wrought iron black shepard's hook and as the seasons change, I change out my garden flag on that. This year I decided to put a snowman garden flag on that so that I have something different than the penguin one listed above. This is near our smaller front porch and right beside it I have the solar snowman light that I featured in the previous post (see link above).

I really love decorating for Christmas and every year I like to move things around and add new things to my holiday decor. I hope you like the items I featured today!

Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Coconut Eggnog Recipe

Every year during the holiday season my daughter and husband go gaga for all kinds of different eggnog. Frankly, I am not a fan of it but they absolutely love it! This recipe for homemade eggnog is courtesy of Coco Joy Coconut Water.

Coconut Eggnog Recipe

4 cans Coco Joy Coconut Water
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces spiced rum
Coconut flakes

Bring coconut water to a simmer in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and pale. Gradually whisk half the hot coconut water into the egg mixture, then pour into pot with remaining coconut water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick and mixture nearly coats the back of a wooden spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in rum, and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to overnight. Pour into a pitcher, and serve over ice, garnished with coconut flakes and cinnamon.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pumpkin Cremeux Recipe

The holiday season is fast approaching, and there’s no better time to try out a new recipe. Audrey Enriquez, pastry chef at Scottsdale’s renowned Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, has created some sweet treats with an autumn twist, just in time for seasonal dinners and celebrations.

Pumpkin Cremeux Recipe

3 1/4 cups roasted pumpkin puree
5 cups cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
9 sheets gelatin, bloomed in ice water

- In a large sauce pot, combine puree, cream, salt and spice
- Place over medium heat and bring to a scald
- In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar
- Temper hot cream into yolks, then pour the mixture back into the pot
- Cook to 170 degrees, then add gelatin and stir until dissolved
- Pour the mixture through a chinois
- Pour the mixture into desired molds or glasses and place in refrigerator
- Let cool until completely

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christina Milian's Winter White Sangria Cocktail Recipe

I love sipping on a good sangria...especially during this time of the year. Now that the holidays are approaching I am gathering up all of my delicious cocktail recipes and making plans to mix them up & serve them at the various holiday parties we will be hosting this year.

One of the recipes I am looking forward to trying is Christina Milian's Winter White Sangria. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy too! What kind of cocktails do you enjoy making during this time of the year? Got any favorites?

Winter White Sangria Cocktail Recipe

2 Parts Viva Diva Peach Moscato
1 Part Malibu Coconut Rum
.5 Part Triple Sec
1 Splash Peach Orchard Punch

Stir Rum and Triple Sec in with Fresh cut Orange, Peach, and Apple Slices. Stir in Tropicana's Peach Orchard Punch. Finish with Viva Diva Peach Moscato. Add Ice and Serve.

Disclosure: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. The photo and recipe is courtesy of 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Protesting at Family Christmas Tree Lighting Events

Just like most people in the United States I have been following pretty closely the issues surrounding Ferguson and New York when it comes to these protests and outrage regarding white law enforcement officers and the black community. For the purpose of this blog post & rant...I won't state what my personal feelings are on that specific topic.

I first want to state that I am all for the Freedom of Speech and the Right to Demonstrate/Protest when it is done in a peaceful way and in a way that doesn't interrupt the lives of those who are not participating. With that said, let's get onto why I am pissed off and angry today.

Last evening we went as a family to a local tree lighting event. This was to be a happy occasion and something fun to do with the family.These types of holiday events attract people of all ages...from little kids through seniors. They are to be HAPPY events for the family and the community to enjoy.

However, after being at this particular outdoor event for 20 minutes a slew of protesters marched right on in with their signs, chanting and yelling. What the hell? They were frightening people, especially the little kids who were in attendance. That just isn't right!!!

As I stated, I am for FREEDOM of SPEECH and the RIGHT to DEMONSTRATE but come on now, bringing that bullshit to a family-friendly, outdoor tree lighting event is totally uncalled for. You have NO RIGHT to ruin a family-friendly event and to scare the little kids who were in attendance. This was NOT an all-adult event...tons of little kids were there and were frightened by your behavior and you totally ruined this holiday event for families who were in attendance. Shameful if you ask me!

Please get some common decency and go protest, march, yell, chant and do the things you do at locations where families are not gathering together for the holidays. You had NO RIGHT to ruin that event!!! NONE!

On top of that....get off the damn roadways! Go protest & march on sidewalks and in parking lots but you have NO RIGHT to disrupt traffic flow for others who are not participating. It should NOT take normal citizens 1 hour to go 2 blocks in their cars because YOU want to protest and march in the middle of city streets.

Well, I am stepping off my soapbox right now but damn it, that totally pisses me off that people can't have common decency and respect for their fellow citizens. Thanks for ruining our family night out!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Santa's Sparkler Holiday Mocktail Recipe

The holidays are almost here and many of us will be celebrating the season by attending a holiday party or hosting one in our own home. Today, I am sharing a delicious mocktail recipe with all of you that doesn't contain any alcohol so the kids can enjoy it too. It only takes a few ingredients and is super easy to prepare. The perfect "apple" mocktail for the season. The recipe and photo is courtesy of Cascade Ice.

Santa's Sparkler Cocktail Recipe

4 oz. Cascade Ice McIntosh Apple
2 oz. Apple Juice
Small Apple Wedges
Cinnamon Stick

In a glass mix together the Cascade Ice McIntosh Apple and apple juice. Stir in some ice. Garnish with fresh apple wedges and a cinnamon stick. Festive and delicious!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tips for Giving Your Body What It Needs to Fight Illness

Why are the Holidays So Hazardous to Our Health? Physician Shares Tips for Giving Your Body What It Needs to Fight Illness

It’s a sad statistical fact: The holidays, from Christmas to New Year’s, are a treacherous time when it comes to our health.

“There’s a spike in heart attacks and other cardiac issues,” says Dr. John Young, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic illnesses through biochemical, physiological and nutraceutical technologies, and the author of “Beyond Treatment: Discover how to build a cellular foundation to achieve optimal health,”

“The incidence of pneumonia cases spikes – in both cold and warm climates. And deaths from natural causes spike. In fact, more people die of natural causes on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!”

While those numbers are well-documented, the cause(s) are not.

“Stress plays a role, particularly if your immune system is weakened,” Dr. Young says. “If you look at how most of us eat from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s easy to see how the immune system takes a beating and otherwise healthy people become more susceptible to illness during the holidays.”

It’s basic biochemistry, he says.

“We eat a lot more refined sugar, for instance, which is a carbohydrate that’s been stripped of all the vitamins, minerals and proteins that make up a complete carbohydrate,” he says. “Our bodies can’t use that, so the cells in our digestive organs work overtime, burning up a lot of energy, vitamins and minerals to digest it, and they get nothing back. So, eventually, they grow weak.”

So – can we have a little sugar, and good health, too? Dr. Young says we can.

“The occasional slice of pumpkin pie is fine as long as you’re also feeding your cells with the nutrients they need – the minerals, vitamins, good quality protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids – to stay healthy.”
He offers these tips for staying healthy through the holidays and throughout the year.

• Get your vitamin D!
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and one of our best sources for it is sunshine. Unfortunately, many people work indoors all day, so they get little sun exposure. When they do go outside, they wear long sleeves and sunblock to protect against skin cancer. And, of course, in the wintertime, people in cold climes tend to stay inside. As a result, many of us are vitamin D deficient, and should be taking supplements.

“Vitamin D is crucial to many physiological systems, including our immune defenses,” Dr. Young says. “It helps fight bacterial and viral infections, including the flu. It supports our cardiovascular system; optimal vitamin D levels can reduce hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.

“If I feel I’m coming down with a cold, I’ll take 40,000 units of vitamin D at bedtime,” he says. “The next morning, I usually feel like a new person.”

• Eat your protein – 1 gram for every 2.2 pounds of body weight daily.
In this country, we think a healthy diet means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. We’ve forgotten protein, Dr. Young says.

“Our immune system is made up of proteins – our bones are 40 percent protein,” he says. “We need protein.”

When calculating your protein intake, consider: an egg has about 8 grams, and 8 ounces of fish, chicken, beef or pork have about 30 grams.

Dr. Young does not give any of his patients more than 100 grams of protein a day.

• Get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and manage your stress.
Yup, some doctors’ orders never change. Rest, exercise and finding effective, healthy ways to cope with stress are simple ways to pamper your cells.

“One of the many cellular benefits of exercise is that it increases the oxygen in our bloodstream. Every cell in our body requires oxygen, so consider exercise another means of feeding your cells.”

It’s also important to manage stress during the holidays. With unchecked stress, our body releases large amounts of cortisol which, among other things, suppresses the immune system.

“Take time out to meditate, listen to music, or take a walk in the woods,” Dr. Young says. “It feels good – and it’s good for you!”

About John Young, M.D. - Dr. John Young, (, is a medical doctor with more than 15 years’ experience working in emergency rooms and pediatric burn units. He’s the medical director of Young Foundational Health Center, specializing in treating patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes by addressing the physiological issues and not just the symptoms. He's also medical director of Young Health Products, which incorporate the latest biochemical, physiological and Nobel Prize-winning protocols for optimal cellular nutrition. Dr. Young is the author of “Beyond Treatment.”

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our Outdoor Christmas Lights for 2014

Every year we look forward to putting out various Christmas lights and holiday yard art for everyone to enjoy. There are a handful of us here in the neighborhood that do it every year and some of my neighbors go all out. We keep ours pretty basic and simple.

One thing we like to do is to change up the look every year. This year we decided to put lights around all of the front windows on the house, along the rooftop on all four sides and we used net lighting on the bushes out front.

We decided to move our Christmas garland this year and used it on our front porch and mixed in some pretty LED lights with it. We have lit door wreaths on 2 of our entry doors and then just a plain wreath on the third.

I picked up these adorable glass snowman balls at our local Christmas Tree Shop for $10.00 (they are made out of glass) and included very nice black shepard's hooks. They are solar and I picked up four of them and have them sprinkled around the front of the house. I love them!!! The lights inside each snowman's head morphs into different colors. I wish I would of bought more!

At Kohl's we picked up this adorable inflatable snowman family for $39.00 and they are worth every penny! I had been wanting inflatables but wasn't willing to shell out $100+ so I was pretty excited to pick up this set for less than $40.00 on clearance at Kohl's last month.

Every year we add a few new pieces and/or items to our outdoor Christmas lights display and we are pretty excited about our ever-growing collection. This year everything looked nice and once Christmas is over I will be hitting the stores for some additional items on clearance to add to our collection for next year.

Do you like to decorate outside? Do you do just a little bit or do you go all out and really light things up? I would love to know! Got any tips for us? Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Treat a Family Member with Dementia This Holiday Season

How to Treat a Family Member with Dementia This Holiday Season
World-renowned Expert Shares 5 Helpful Tips

Whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa – or your spouse – the “holiday quarter” can present special challenges for families with a loved one suffering from dementia.

“We have an expectation that loved ones should never change from the person we’ve perceived them to be for years, but everyone changes significantly over an extended period, especially those diagnosed with dementia,” says Kerry Mills, a sought-after expert in best care practices for people with dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s. November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.

“Dementia encompasses a wide range of brain diseases, which means it’s not the fault of a Grandma if she has trouble remembering things or gets flustered. Empathy for what she’s experiencing on the level of the brain will help your relationship with her. Do not expect her to meet you halfway to your world; you have to enter her world.”

Spouses have a particularly difficult time coping with their partner’s dementia, Mills says. A spousal relationship is a team and is central to the identities of both people. So, while you’re paying special attention to a parent’s or grandparent’s condition, extend it to his or her spouse, she says.

Families tend to have a hard time coping with a loved one’s dementia during holiday gatherings. Mills, coauthor with Jennifer A. Brush of “I Care, A Handbook for Care Partners of People with Dementia,” (, offers tips for how to interact with a loved one – say, Grandma – whose brain is deteriorating.

• Do not get frustrated. “First, do no harm” – the excellent maxim taught to medical students, is also a great first principle for those interacting with Grandma, who may be experiencing a level of frustration and anxiety you cannot comprehend adequately. She simply doesn’t have access to certain details, but she is still a conscious and feeling person who has plenty to offer. If you get frustrated, she’ll pick up on it.

• Dedicate someone to Grandma during the gathering. Of course, loving families will want to include Grandma in the group, but be careful not to overwhelm her with attention. Her brain, which has trouble processing some information, could use assistance – a liaison to help her process things. Grandpa could probably use a break; her son or daughter may be the best handler during a gathering.

• Give Grandma purpose; give her a task in the kitchen. Keep Grandma, who may’ve been prolific in the kitchen in the past, engaged! Simple tasks, such as mashing potatoes or stirring gravy, may be best. Engage her in conversation about the food. If it’s Grandpa whose suffering dementia, include him in a group. Give him a cigar if the other men are going outside to smoke. Engage him in a conversation about football, which may allow him on his own terms to recall details from the past.

• Use visual imagery and do not ask yes-or-no questions. Again, asking someone with Alzheimer’s to remember a specific incident 23 years ago can be like asking someone confined to a wheelchair to run a 40-yard dash – it’s physically impossible. Don’t pigeonhole her. Direct Grandma in conversation; say things to her that may stimulate recollection, but don’t push a memory that may not be there. Pictures are often an excellent tool.

• Safety is your biggest priority. Whether during a holiday gathering or in general, Grandma may commit herself to activities she shouldn’t be doing, such as driving.

“She’s been driving for decades, and then she develops a memory problem, which not only prevents her from remembering her condition, but also how to drive safely,” Mills says. “This major safety concern applies to any potentially dangerous aspect to life.”

“Currently, there’s a stigma with the condition, but I’d like to change the baseline for how we regard dementia,” Mills says. “As with other medical conditions, Alzheimer’s should not be about waiting to die – patients often live 15 years or more after a diagnosis. It should be about living with it.”

About Kerry Mills: Kerry Mills, MPA, is an expert in best care practices for persons with dementia both in the home and in out-of-home health care residences and organizations. She is a consultant to numerous hospitals, assisted livings, hospice, home care agencies, senior day care centers and nursing homes. In her twelve-year career in health care, she has served as executive director and regional manager for numerous long-term dementia facilities. She is an outspoken advocate for persons with dementia, lecturing in Hong Kong, Canada, China, Europe and the United States. Her book, coauthored with Jennifer A. Brush, “I Care,” (, is the 2014 Gold Award Winner of the National Mature Media Awards.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lance’s Toastchee Chicken Nuggets Recipe

For over 100 years, Lance® has been baking fresh, great tasting and wholesome snacks for the entire family. But did you know that some of your family’s favorite snacks can be used to create some delicious and easy dinner and lunch recipes. Kids, already love to snack on some of Lance’s® Xtra Fulls Toastchee but they may love this recipe for Toastchee® Chicken Nuggets even more. Crunchy and juicy chicken nuggets, made from their favorite snacks…this recipe is sure to become a family favorite and may be too good to be true.

This recipe will make 4 servings.

Lance®’s Toastchee® Chicken Nuggets Recipe

3 packs of Xtra Fulls Toastchee® with Peanut Butter, crumbled
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1 1/2 –inch pieces
1/3 cup of milk
1 egg
Honey mustard dressing

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg and set aside. Grab your food processor and blend the 3 packs of Lance® Xtra Fulls™ Peanut Butter Toastchee® into crumbles. Then pour crumbles into resealable sandwich bag. Take your cut chicken and coat both sides with the egg and milk mixture until fully covered. Toss the chicken into the cracker crumb bag, a few pieces at a time, pressing gently to stick. Once all the nuggets are ready, you can place them on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Serve with a side of honey mustard for dipping.

Disclosure: This recipe and photo is courtesy of Lance.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

5 Tips to Fight the Holiday Food Fiasco

Well, it’s almost that time of year again: the dreaded caloric nightmare that is the holiday season. You’ve got stuffed turducken with all the fixings, bacon-wrapped sausages, pumpkin pies topped with globs of whipped deliciousness and the sugary-goodness which somehow finds its way into every dish imaginable. Cranberry jam? Check. Casserole everything? Check. 10 lbs. of unwanted belly fat? Check!

Shane Griffin, a certified nutritional practitioner and CEO of Whole Life Balance – an international nutritional coaching company – has a few tips for all of us to say on the leaner side of the holiday table and still enjoy all the pleasures the season has to offer.

5 Tips to Fight the Holiday Food Fiasco

1. Snack before you attack: Time to head over to grandma’s for dinner? Prep your growling stomach before going to battle! If you remember to munch on a healthy snack like almonds, carrots or fruit, by the time you get to dinner - a.k.a. the battlefield – your brain will have registered that you are in fact not dying from hunger and don’t need to consume ALL the food in the house to survive. Trust me – your waistline will thank you later!

2. First is the worst: In this case, being first in line is not the ideal place to be. Never underestimate the visual power of food – specifically untouched food. A brand new, hot-out-of-the-oven casserole topped with fried onions looks a lot more appetizing when 10 people haven’t destroyed it trying to get at the best parts. If you let others go ahead of you, by the time you reach the most calorie-packed items they’ll have lost some of their appeal. Less appealing = less on your plate.

3. Remember #PlateGate: Controversial as your decision may be amongst loved ones, choosing to use a smaller plate than everyone else is not a crime against the Turkey gods. In fact, our brains equate a full plate with a full meal, and by reducing the size of your eating apparatus you can trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating more. According to the Calorie Control Council, we eat an average of 3,000 calories per holiday dinner. Swapping out your full-size dinnerware with a smaller salad plate can help you eat 40% less food, cutting out up to 1,200 calories. Not to mention, this just saved you a bunch of time spent coming up with a clever hashtag for when you inevitably post a picture of the glorious meal you just consumed! #stuffed

4. Stop, Drop the Roll: Easy to remember in case you catch fire and also for when you’re approaching the bread basket! The baked white bread roll is not your friend, and its companions are not your friends either (ahem, butter, jelly, etc.). Simple carbs like white breads are digested quickly by the body, leaving you feeling hungry faster and more likely to go back for a second helping. Instead, fill yourself up with more lean protein like turkey which there is bound to be plenty of and will keep you feeling full longer.

5. Fight the Bite: Slow and steady wins the race here, so resist the urge to engulf your food in less than five minutes. In fact, play a game with yourself to see if you can eat slower than everyone around you. Your brain takes up to 20 minutes to register the chemical signals from your stomach letting it know you’re full, so slow down and take note of how you feel. If you’re starting to feel full, you’re probably already there and should take a few minutes to let your brain catch up to your belly.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Quinoa With Pomegranate & Pistachio Recipe

In the Oct./Nov. issue of AARP The Magazine, Stanley Tucci shares his wife’s gluten-free Quinoa With Pomegranate & Pistachio recipe that makes a perfect side dish to complement the traditional offerings at this year’s Thanksgiving meal.

Healthy and full of flavor, the recipe is ideal for parents and kids alike who are following gluten-free diets and can easily be customized to add favorite cheeses (feta, goat, etc.) and/or spices:

Quinoa With Pomegranate & Pistachio Recipe
* Serves 6

· 2 cups quinoa
· Salt and pepper
· 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
· 1-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
· 6 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, plus 2 tablespoons for serving
· 3 tablespoons salted pistachios
· 3 scallions, chopped
· 1 orange, peeled and sliced into rounds (optional)
· Extra-virgin olive oil, for the orange

1. Rinse the quinoa in cold water to remove its bitterness.

2. Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Dress with the olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.

3. Gently mix the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and scallions into the quinoa. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. Serve with sliced oranges dressed with olive oil, if desired.

Disclosure: Recipe and photo is courtesy of AARP Magazine.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Delicious Cocktail Beverage Recipes for the Holidays

With so many reasons to celebrate this month, it's easy to see why November is dubbed the "unofficial" start of the holiday season. Kick off the season by incorporating Powell & Mahoney into your celebrations, such as National Happy Hour Day, Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Award-winning Powell & Mahoney vintage original cocktail mixers are the perfect way to celebrate National Happy Hour Day on Wednesday, November 12th. Each bottle comes with three recipes, allowing you to fill your glass with either your favorite standard or something new. No matter what you choose, Powell & Mahoney's all-natural mixers let you concentrate on raising your glass, no t cutting up ingredients.

This year's signature National Happy Hour Day drink -- the Agave Mango Mule -- comes to you from Powell & Mahoney's master mixologist Tad Carducci.

Agave Mango Mule:
Glassware: Collins glass or Cooper Mug. In a shaker: 2 oz. Powell & Mahoney Mango Passion Fruit Margarita an d 1 ½ oz. 100& blue agave blanco tequila. Shake and strain over ice. Top off with ginger beer of choice. Garnish: Lime wedge.

On Thanksgiving morning, toast the balloons while watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Classic Bellini or Perfect Bloody Mary -- breakfast cocktail staples as longstanding as the parade itself.

Classic Bellini:
Glassware: Champagne flute. 4 oz. chilled Prosecco and 1 oz. Powell & Mahoney Peach Bellini. Garnish: Slice of white peach.

Perfect Bloody Mary:
Glassware: Pint glass packed. In a shaker: 4 oz. Powell & Mahoney Bloody Mary and 1 ½ oz. vodka. Gently shake and strain over ice. Garnish: Celery stalk, slice of lemon, pickled long beans, olives, salami, grilled shrimp or a slice of crispy bacon.

For the Thanksgiving feast, give thanks for Powell & Mahoney's mixers for giving you one less thing to prepare. No need to go harvest all the individual ingredients for a delicious and festive cocktail -- all you have to do to make Powell & Mahoney's Pumpkin Smash is combine 1.5 oz. bourbon or rye whiskey, 1.5 oz. Powell & Mahoney Lemon Sour and 1 tsp. canned pumpkin (Libby's or Dole) in a shaker and strain over ice in an old-fashioned style glass. Then just dust with ground cinnamon and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

After slaving away in the kitchen for days and surviving the crazy sales of Black Friday, you deserve to put your feet up and rejuvenate yourself. Powell & Mahoney's Pomegranate mixer provides the anti-oxidants you need to pull yourself out of that food coma and start all over again on Monday. And the Pomegranate Martini is the perfect antidote to the cranberry sauce you just gorged on 24 hours ago!

Pomegranate Martini:
Glassware: Martini glass. In a shaker: 2 oz. Powell & Mahoney Pomegranate, 1 ½ oz. citrus vodka and ½ oz. of orange liqueur. Shake over ice and strain. Garnish: Lemon twist.

Disclosure: You must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. The recipes and photos are courtesy of Powell & Mahoney. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Nutmeg Noel Holiday Cookies Recipe

It is hard to believe but Christmas is just around the corner and many of us are already thinking about the delicious holiday cookies we will be making. Every year when the holiday season rolls around, I make at least three batches of these nutmeg cookies!

Nutmeg Noel Cookies Recipe

2 Tbsp. red colored sugar
2 Tbsp. green colored sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg, divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine colored sugar and 1/4 tsp. of  ground nutmeg. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine all purpose flour, granulated sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and 1/4 tsp. of ground nutmeg. Add the butter, the large egg and vanilla extract. Beat at low speed until well mixed for about 2-3 minutes. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls into 1" balls. Roll in ground nutmeg & colored sugar mixture. Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet 2" apart at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until done. Let cool and then store the cookies in an airtight container.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

5 Tips to Prevent Dry Eye This Winter

The winter season is fast approaching and that change in weather can affect muscle, bone, and even eye health. According to recent statistics, approximately 33 million Americans suffer from eye health issues like dry eye syndrome. Although there is no cure for dry eye syndrome, there are some effective treatment options available to keep your eyes healthy during the winter months.

5 Tips to Prevent Dry Eye This Winter:

1. Specialized Treatments

LipiFlow® is a revolutionary dry eye treatment that opens up and cleans out the inflamed, clogged oil glands by gently heating the glands in the eyelid then “milking” out the inflammation-causing, clogged oils. The treatment is painless and only takes 12 minutes to perform. Ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler explains how easy the procedure is and even says, “There is no downtime, just like having your teeth cleaned at the dentist.”

2. Warm Compresses

Dry eye is caused by a lack of natural tears, which are composed of water and a much-needed oily substance. Over time, cells in the glands may harden, keeping the oil from getting into the tear film. Without that oil, the water in tears evaporates too quickly, leaving eyes feeling dry. A warm compress can help liquefy those plugs so the oil can flow into tears.

3. Artificial Tears
Over the counter eye drops like Visine and Clear Eyes are excellent methods for treating dry eye, although short-term. These eye drops are synthetic chemicals that mimic natural tears, providing the eye with the lubrication they need to remain comfortable throughout the day.

4. Keep Distance from Fireplaces and Indoor Heaters

During the winter months, it is normal for fireplaces and indoor heaters to be regularly in use. What many people don’t tend to realize is their effect on the eyes. Standing or sitting too close to indoor heaters and fireplaces can alter the room’s humidity level and dry out the eyes dramatically.

5. Sunglasses

The sun and wind can be harmful throughout the year; during the winter months, the snow on the ground can double as a blinding reflection surface and the harsh wind can lead to intense dry eye. This reflection of the sun directs sunlight right to the eyes, so wearing sunglasses can help protect eyes from harmful UV rays as well as keep cold wind from hitting the eyes.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

3 Tips for Beauty Product Shopping with a Conscience

How many of you are savvy beauty shoppers? For those of you who buy beauty products, do you buy them with a conscience or do you just buy what you like? Do you put any thought into your shopping habits?

Today I am sharing a beauty article with all of you that points out some great things and gives you some great tips. The article is courtesy of Santosh Krinsky.

3 Tips for Beauty Product Shopping with a Conscience - Consumers Can Reinforce Good Ethics in the Cosmetics Industry, Says CEO of Cruelty-Free.

Irony is nothing new in the beauty products industry, says animal rights advocate Santosh Krinsky.

“Most women are aware that animals have been used to test products, but many may not realize that their current favorite makeup played a role in the torture of rabbits or mice, or that their favorite conditioner is not as ‘organic’ as packaging would have consumers believe,” says Krinsky, head of the international personal-care brand Beauty Without Cruelty ( -- the first to ban animal-testing for its products in 1963.

BWC’s products are produced with zero animal testing and contain no animal ingredients.

While vegetarianism, veganism and an overall concern for the ethical treatment of animals have experienced a welcome boom in recent years, animal rights advocacy has a long history, Krinsky says. Among the pioneering entrepreneurs were Lady Muriel Dowding and Kathleen Long, who recognized the plight of conscious creatures and led the animal rights charge in England, eventually launching BWC.

“They helped change the course of how we see other living things and ourselves, pointing out the cruel irony of animal torture as a means to feel beautiful,” he says.

Krinsky outlines three tips for consumers who want to support cosmetics manufacturers with shared values.

• Labels can be misleading, such as “not tested on animals.” While there are multiple organizations dedicated to animal well-being, there is no strict set of rules governing product labels that read, “not tested on animals” or “we are against animal testing.” The claims may simply mean that a third party does the testing, or they acquire raw materials that are being actively tested on animals by the raw material vendor to supply to the manufacturer. Or, companies may have a loose interpretation of “cruelty-free.”

Most chemicals in most products were, at some point, tested on animals. The certifying agencies, recognizing this fact, have set a “fixed cut-off date” (such as 1996), which acknowledges that no one can undo what was done in the past. “It deepens my joy that BWC, since its inception in 1963, has never commissioned nor accepted animal testing either on its own or by its suppliers for the ingredients used in its products,” Krinsky says.

Look for the endorsement of groups with high certification standards, such as the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, whose “leaping bunny” logo is an internationally recognized and trusted symbol. The Vegan Society of England is the stringent clearing house for vegan trademark registrations – look for the word “Vegan” with a flower forming the V.

• “Natural” and “organic” do not necessarily mean a product is cruelty-free. These buzzwords may fall short of certification from a reputable organization. “Natural” and “organic” doesn’t necessarily equate to cruelty-free and “not tested on animals.” Suppliers are required to assess safety for natural and organic ingredients just as for synthetic materials, and evidence may be gathered using animal tests, so those products are as likely as any others to have relied upon animal testing.

“Of course, most of these companies probably are doing their ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ product ethically,” he says. “I encourage conscientious consumers to dig deeper if it’s not clear.”

Also, it’s sometimes the case that ingredients not being tested by a company or its suppliers may still be actively tested for other purposes, or by other companies or in other parts of the world. That is outside the control of the company using the ingredient in a conscientious way.

• Look for the country where the product was manufactured. The EU agreed on a European ban on animal testing, but animal testing is still common practice in the United States, Asia and other parts of the world. American companies no longer test on dogs and cats, however, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice and other creatures are subject to various tests that constitute torture.
About Santosh Krinsky: Santosh Krinsky has been in the natural products industry since 1974. He has founded and built a number of companies that offer positive alternatives to the toxins and environmentally unfriendly ingredients found in many products, while focusing his attention on developing awareness about the issue of animal testing of cosmetics, which he opposes. Beauty Without Cruelty (BWC) products brand was founded in England in 1963 by BWC Charitable Trust, an animal welfare organization. Lotus Brands obtained the American rights to the BWC brand in 2010. BWC Features a complete line of hair, skin and facial/body care products and an extensive range of color cosmetics.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pennsylvania Fall Foliage

It is amazing at how quickly the autumn season is flying by. Halloween is just around the corner and Thanksgiving follows shortly thereafter. While I do enjoy the Fall season, I really dislike what is coming after it...WINTER!

Anyway, for my "almost" Wordless Wednesday post this week I wanted to share a photo with all of you of one that I took this past weekend while hubby and I were on a road trip. It features some of the gorgeous Pennsylvania Fall Foliage that we recently saw on a road trip up to State College.

If you have never visited the State College area or the Centre Hall area in Pennsylvania, we highly recommend it...especially during the Autumn season when all of the trees & leaves are changing color. You can really see some beautiful scenery while traveling through the area.

The photo was taken about 15 minutes outside of Boalsburg where several mountain ridges come together. We were down in the valley and I shot the photo while looking up. I love all of the pretty burgundy, yellow, orange, gold and green trees in that particular area. Luckily for us...we were visiting during the peak season!

Well, there you have it! Another "almost" Wordless Wednesday photo for this week! Next week I will share some additional photos that are really fantastic! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sparkling ICE's Apple Cider Recipe

Looking for a great beverage recipe for all of your upcoming Fall get-togethers, parties and events? If so check out this recipe from Sparkling ICE for a delicious apple cider. YUMMY! I think it makes a great beverage for any party you may be hosting!

Sparkling ICE's Apple Cider Recipe

3 bottles of Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE
1 bottle dry white wine
1 cup apple brandy
2 apples, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 pear, sliced

In a large pitcher combine sliced fruit with brandy and wine. Let this sit in the refrigerator for approximately 3 hours. Right before serving, top with Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

Disclaimer: Recipe and photo is courtesy of Sparkling ICE. Please drink responsibly.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Smoky Babaganush Eggplant Dip Recipe

Football season has been back in full swing and with that comes the continuous parties, burgers and brewskies. But...if you haven't been able to score tickets to the games this year and opt for a homegating alternative, don't let your stale last season recipes spoil it. This season try COOKINA's recipe for Smoky Babaganush courtesy of George Duran and we can guarantee it will be a sure touchdown among guest. In case you aren't familiar babaganush – it is a delicious and creamy eggplant dip that goes almost too well with some crisp pita chips. With all the robust flavors this dip has to offer guests will definitely be rooting for you.

** This recipe and photo is courtesy of Cookina.

Smoky Babaganush Eggplant Dip Recipe

2 eggplants
4 Tbsp. tahini (sesame paste)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp. Salt
Pita chips

Pre-heat broiler on high and place COOKINA® Cuisine sheets on baking sheet. Fork eggplants about 10 times and place on the baking sheet. Place in oven and broil about 5 minutes on four sides of the eggplant. The skin will blister and char.

Allow to rest for 20 minutes and carefully use tongs to remove burnt skin. Place pulp inside food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Pulse no more than 10 times, or until combined. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with pita chips.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cluck 'n Moo's Fiesta Burger Recipe

Now that Hispanic Heritage Month is under way what better way to celebrate than with a FIESTA!? With Cluck 'n Moo (the first and only half-chicken and half-beef burger) preparing a fiesta just a whole lot easier and little more unconventional. With Cluck 'n Moo's Fiesta Burger recipe, typical fiesta favorites are no longer limited to just quesadillas, empanadas and tacquitos. This tasty (and festive) meal can easily be assembled in just minutes, which allows you to celebrate even on your busiest nights.

Fiesta Burger Recipe

1 1/3 cups chopped seeded tomato
¼ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup taco sauce
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
2 pounds Cluck 'n Moo Ground
2 tablespoons low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon onion powder
8 green leaf lettuce leaves
8 reduced- calorie hamburger buns, split and toasted

Combine first four ingredients, cover and chill 30 minutes. Preheat broiler. Combine meat and next 4 ingredients; divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 4-inch patty. Place a lettuce leaf on bottom half of each bun; top each with a patty. Top evenly with tomato mixture, and cover with bun top.

About Cluck 'n Moo
Cluck 'N Moo™ is the first and only half-chicken (50%), half-beef (50%) burger, made from antibiotic and hormone free, humanely raised chickens and grass-fed cows. Cluck 'N Moo is unique in that it offers that same beef burger taste we all crave, but without the large amounts of artery-clogging fat. Cluck n' Moo's innovative "Smashed Burger" blend offers 52% less fat, 34% less calories and 57% less saturated fat than a regular all beef burger.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Some of My Favorite Halloween Decorations and Yard Art

Our Decorations During the Daytime
Fall is such a fun time of the year and Halloween is one of my favorite times to decorate our home for some spooky fun. When I decorate for Halloween I don't do anything evil, exceptionally scary, witches or devils. Sorry folks, I am Catholic and we just don't do that here.

I would call my decorations as a "Cutesy" Halloween style with a little retro-vintage thrown into the mix! I don't over-do it either because we have no small children at home. We do have a grand child, nieces and nephews who visit us often. Plus, the neighborhood kids like seeing it too.

In the top photo you will see some of our LED outdoor lighting on the bushes. We did an orange and purple color scheme this year. If you look close, you will see pumpkin and ghosts hanging in the windows, a pumpkin on the front door, lighted wooden ghosts & pumpkins on each side of the door on our porch, a small pumpkin stake & cement tombstone (near the walkway) and black spider hanging wind chimes.

Years ago when our daughter was 6 years old we purchased a big plastic lighted ghost and always put that in our front yard. Our daughter is now 29 years old so that ghost has been around for a very long time. Last year we got this little wooden pumpkin face yard stake and he is shown on the right in the photo above. Underneath him is a lighted scarecrow ceramic pumpkin that sits in our dining room window. I think he is adorable and I love putting him out every year.

Next is the wooden lighted ghosts that we purchased this year. We got them at the Christmas Tree Store and absolutely love them! We put batteries in them and their eyes glow a beautiful purple color. Not scary at all, but definitely cute! To the right you will see our hanging spiders wind chimes. When you walk by them they jiggle and make a creepy noise. The kids love them. Underneath that is my scarecrow flag which I think is cute...especially nestled among our fall outdoor flowers in the same colors.

Decorating for Halloween is so much fun! In the photo above is our stacking wood pumpkins that we also got this year at the Christmas Tree Store. Love those eerie glowing purple eyes, don't you? The wood pumpkin on the right is a new addition this year too! He is hanging on one of our doors.

A few years ago a family member who is no longer here with us (bless her sole) gave me this adorable fiber optic light scarecrow head which sits proudly on a table in our family room every year when Halloween rolls around. It is a memorable keepsake to us now.

Another new addition this year is this gorgeous Fall Harvest Pumpkin Wreath that I got at Kohl's which I absolutely LOVE! I have it hanging on one of our doors but when it comes to special Fall family dinners, I will put it onto the table with some LED candles in the center and use it as a table centerpiece. It is large and very pretty!

Finally, I picked up this adorable metal yard state featuring cute pumpkins at Kohls about 3 weeks ago and my little grand daughter loves seeing it every time she comes over. It's a great little piece welcoming guests to our home and sits proudly in our front yard.

We have several more Fall and Halloween decorations that we put inside and outside our home. For now, I thought I would highlight a few of our favorites! Do you have favorites that you put out every year? If so, what are they?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Chocolate Mint Kiss Cocktail Recipe

Halloween is a great time for food, family and fun! Now that my husband and I are empty nesters, we like to do Halloween a little differently. Every year we invite our adult friends over for a little appetizer and cocktail party...all Halloween theme'd of course!

Today's cocktail recipe is courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka. It looks delicious and I am adding it to my "must make" cocktail list.

Chocolate Mint Kiss Cocktail Recipe

2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka
½ oz. Crème de Menthe
½ oz. Chocolate Liqueur
½ oz. Cream

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a Peppermint Pattie candy wedge.

Disclaimer: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. Photo and recipe is courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tomato and Chile Pepper Salsa Recipe

We love to make homemade salsa and frankly, we rarely buy the stuff at the store. When you make it yourself, you are controlling the ingredients yourself and you can make it as spicy or as sweet as you would like it. One of our favorite homemade salsa recipes is one that I got from my mother-in-law about 20 years ago. It is delicious!
Tomato and Chile Pepper Salsa Recipe

28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/3 cup green Chile peppers, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine together all of the above ingredients in the order they are given in the recipe until well combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours to allow the flavors to infuse. Remove and serve chilled with your favorite snacks.

Note: If you like it less spicy, you can cut down on the chile peppers. If you like it a little more sweat, add in additional white or brown sugar. In addition, you can toss in some chopped up green peppers, canned pineapple or mangoes if desired.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sparkling ICE Sip Pink for the Cure Cocktail

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) upon us, I wanted to let you know about the efforts of Sparkling ICE, a bold-flavor, zero-calorie sparkling mountain spring water and the fastest-growing beverage brand in the U.S. As part of the Sparkling ICE mission to “Imagine a World Without Breast Cancer,” a Pink Ribbon is proudly displayed on its Pink Grapefruit flavor bottles all year long.

Throughout the year, Sparkling ICE donates a minimum of $25,000 to research facilities nationwide to help find a cure, in addition to aiding local affiliates and communities with more than $100,000 in donations annually.

By working closely with each community, Sparkling ICE allows them to select the charity right in their region that they would most like to offer the donations (i.e. Susan G. Komen Affiliates, Local/Regional Breast Cancer Research Foundations, etc.)

Sparkling ICE, a beverage of Talking Rain Company, is also a Susan G. Komen Puget Sound Affiliate Promise Partner, the highest tier of recognition awarded to corporations, foundations, and 3rd party fundraising organizations or events that provide exceptional financial or in-kind resources throughout the year to the Komen Puget Sound Affiliate. For more information, please visit

In honor of its support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sparkling ICE has also created a specialty “Sip Pink for the Cure” Cocktail using its Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE flavor.

Sparkling ICE Sip Pink for the Cure Cocktail Recipe

3 oz. Grapefruit Sparkling ICE
1 ½ oz. vodka
1 oz. lime juice
Fresh lime wedge
Sliced fresh jalapeño
Chili salt for rim of glass (Kosher salt mixed with chili powder)

1. Use a lime wedge to rub the entire rim of a chilled martini glass, and dip into chili salt mixture.
2. Combine vodka and jalapeno slices with ice in a shaker.
3. Strain and pour into the chilled martini glass.
4. Top with Grapefruit Sparkling ICE.
5. Garnish with a few Jalapeno slices.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Shutterfly Party Decorations Infographic

With holidays around the corner, now is a good time to brush up on the latest party tips. Let's face it, many of us struggle with what to do when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's rolls around.

Here are a few examples from the graphic:

Living Room:

Be neat but not too neat – it should look lived in

Create a theme – perhaps “Memory Lane” and have everyone bring their favorite picture

Dining Room:

Consider serving all appetizers – they’re easier to prepare and finger foods foster mingling

Create one-of-a-kind coasters


If using your bedroom for coats, make sure the bed is made and put recent photos of a trip on an end table as a conversation starter


Ask your guests about food allergies – this will make them feel safe and welcome

Party Prep Home Decor Party Tips And Ideas

This interactive is provided to you by Shutterfly, the leading online provider of photo books, cards and home decor.

Decorating your home for parties is easy thanks to Shutterfly home decor products. A living room gets cozier with pillows decorated with a favorite photo or saying. Custom plates with the family monogram make gatherings more personal.

The infographic above will give you a lot of great ideas and help you get started. If you are going to be entertaining guests this holiday season, now is the time to prepare. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

VOGA Italia's Spiced Sangria Recipe

Who is ready for the weekend? I know I am! It has been a long, hard week and I am ready for some rest, relaxation and a good cocktail. Today's recipe is courtesy of the great folks over at VOGA Italia. The recipe will make approximately 15 yummy servings!

VOGA Italia's Spiced Sangria Recipe

3-4 fresh figs, sliced (or 1 cup dried figs)
1-2 fresh gala apples, sliced
1 cup of cherries
2-3 oranges, sliced (not peeled)
1 lemon, sliced
2 bottles VOGA Red Fusion
3 cups sparkling apple cider
1 cup orange juice
½ cup brandy
½ cup dark spiced rum
4 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves

Slice apples and insert whole cloves directly into the fruit. Combine all fruit slices in a glass pitcher and slowly pour in brandy and wine. Cover and chill from 2-24 hours (the longer, the better!) Before serving, add sparkling cider and orange juice. Stir gently and serve over ice.

Disclaimer: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. You can visit VOGA Italia online to learn more about the product and to get additional recipes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coastal Home Decor Items for the Bathroom and Bedroom

I love decorating in a coastal style and a beach cottage style here in my home. I do like some "nautical" items but frankly, I consider nautical and coastal two different things. Here in Pennsylvania often times it is hard to find beach items for my home so every time we are down at our beach house at the Jersey Shore, I go on a shopping spree and bring items back up to PA. and vice versa.

Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite bathroom and bedroom coastal home decor items with all of you that I have here in my own home or down at our beach house. All of these items are what I call "affordable" home decor items.

First up, this beautiful framed "Blessings by the Sand and the Sea" wall art (picture) that I have hanging in our master bedroom. I just love this is framed in a wooden off-white rustic frame and matted under glass. It is about 15" by 20" in size and I just love it for its simplicity.

Next is the Hydrangea and sea shells framed and matted print that I made. I bought a cross stitch kit and spent 4 months stitching the design onto canvas and then took it in to a local framing shop and had it double matted and framed under glass. I have this hanging in our master bedroom too on another wall. Overall it, it measures about 14" wide by 20" high.

I love this next piece that is hanging in our one hallway leading to the bedrooms. Total cost was $20.00. I bought 4 white shadow box frames and filled them up with photos from various vacations we have taken to the beach. Often times our family members are with us on these trips so I got to show off many of them too. I took some genuine star fish and glued them onto the front of the shadow boxes and then laid a few seashells on the top edges. These sea shell accents turned it into a nice coastal piece. I picked up the shadow boxes at A.C. Moore's for $5.00 each and then used a 10% off coupon. The sea shells I already had on hand. It is a narrow hallway so I couldn't get a proper photo of how nice it really looks hanging on the wall.

Next is the white shadow box hanging in one of our guest bedrooms. I wanted to show off some of our best sea shells that we have collected over the years. I bought the shadow box at a flea market for $1.00. I brought it home and painted it white and then placed my shells into the cubby holes.  People like to pick up the shells and look at them when they visit us.

In one of my guest bathrooms I have a sea shell themed fabric shower curtain with matching sea shell shower curtain hooks. I picked up the shower curtain about 2 years ago at Kmart on clearance for $5.00 and the shower hooks for $5.00 for a total cost of $10.00. It is a beautiful shower curtain and I just love it!

In that same guest bathroom I have a wooden peg shelf in a coastal theme with 4 large wooden pegs so that my guests can hang up their wet bath towels. I love the variety of sea shells and sea birds that are within the print that decorates it. I picked this up on one of our trips down to the Jersey Shore for $10.00 a few years ago. It is very sturdy and can hold thick & heavy bath towels with no problem!

When you walk into the master bathroom there is a small wall space right above the entry door into the bathroom. I bought an arrow shaped wall hanging that says "Seaside Delightful Days!" on it for $10.00. I thought it looked too plain so I glued a beautiful real star fish on the left side and think it looks beautiful now!

Finally, on one of my smaller sized walls in the master bedroom I have another framed cross stitch picture that I did about 2 years ago. It measures 11" by 14" in size and is matted & framed under glass. I bought a cross stitch kit and the design features a star fish and 4 different sea shells with some sea grass. I had it framed in a vanilla colored wooden frame. On the side of that I have 2 resin square shaped wall plaques. One says "Sun Sand Surf" and the other one says "Sail Sand and Sea". Each one measures 5" square and they make the perfect little accents.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will show you some more coastal decor items that I have in my home and some of our coastal landscaping projects that we have recently completed. Do you like to decorate in a coastal or beach theme?