Thursday, July 31, 2014

Outlander Series Coming Soon




I can barely contain my excitement that the Outlander series on Starz, starts next Saturday, August 9th. My love for this series of books started many years ago when I read the first book, Outlander when I was on vacation in Florida and has only become stronger, as each of the eight books have been published. To see these characters brought to life will be amazing. And from the previews I have seen, they have done a wonderful job telling a unique story that involves time travel and much historical accuracy.



It is always interesting to see characters you only once imagined, brought to life and it can be a tricky business to get things right. Imagine Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler as anyone other than Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable and you will understand what I mean. The millions who read these books, all have a picture of Jamie Fraser and Claire Beauchamp in their mind, me included. And for me, these two unknown actors look exactly like I imagined them to be.


To me, this is Jamie, come to life, with strong, handsome features and of course, that red hair. He is tall, broad shouldered and since the actor is a Scot, the brogue is perfect.



Claire looks like I always pictured her, with curly hair and a beautifully English complexion. She is delicate looking, but that is a facade, since she is strong, resourceful and very intelligent.

Soon, this wonderful romance will be brought to life and all the characters as well as Castle Leoch, Lallybroch and the beautiful Scottish countryside will be seen right on our television screens. To make things even more exciting, one of my friends is organizing some viewing parties for those of us in my book club who love the Outlander books, as I do. It will be interesting to discuss the show's treatment of the book with others who are Outlander fans.

I can't wait :-)

Happy Thursday!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Cookies




July seems to be cherry month for me, since this is the second recipe I have used with fresh, local Michigan cherries. With the cooler than normal temperatures we have been having, there are no worries about heating the house with the oven and cool weather always puts me in the mood to bake something.

After making and enjoying this Cherry Coffee Cake last week, yesterday I decided to try these Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Cookies. They seemed the perfect treat for an afternoon snack, served with a glass of tea or lemonade and the flavors of chocolate and cherries together, are one of my favorites. Instead of using chocolate chips, I decided to chop up a good quality chocolate bar and the chunks of chocolate, paired with the sweet cherries, make these cookies special. I think they are the perfect summertime cookie.


Vanilla Cherry Chocolate Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick butter; softened to room temperature

1/2 cup sugar ( I used Spenda for baking)

1/4 cup light brown sugar ( I used Splenda)

1 T vanilla

1 egg

4 ounces chocolate chips ( I used a chocolate bar cut into chunks)

1/2 cup chopped sweet cherries ( I used local Michigan cherries)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder an salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugars at medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate and cherries by hand.

Scoop the dough using a cookie scoop onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until the edges are brown, about 12 minutes. This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies. Enjoy!

Happy Tuesday!


{Linking with these friends}

A Stroll Thru Life

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Mostly Homeade Mom


Monday, July 28, 2014




Lately, since I got back from a family vacation, life has been calm and quiet, just the way I like it to be.



Around the house and garden I have been keeping busy every day, just watering, weeding and creating bouquets from the flowers blooming now. I also made a little change to my kitchen window sill and added a couple green ball jars and a ceramic vegetable. A simple change, but I love how the summer sun shines through the color of these jars.



Lately in the garden, for the first time in years, the deer have left alone the daylilly buds and I have such pretty blooms to enjoy. When you are a gardener, there is a constant battle with nature, including the bugs and animals that like to destroy the flowers you take so much time nurturing. So far this season, the deer have stayed away, but the bunnies are winning in other places.



Lately, my new favorite tea is the Comforting Tea from Aveda. Since I go to an Aveda salon, I always ask for their tea when I am offered. This last time I decided to purchase some to enjoy at home and I love it. I discovered that this is a licorice mint herbal blend and have been having a cup late at night, since there is no caffeine to worry about.



Yesterday was an exceptionally relaxing day. My daughter, Melissa came home to go to a concert, so we spent some time together having a girl's day - lunch and a pink pedicure. It is always fun to spend time with her. She is full of plans for a trip to Cape Cod with her Pom team and her upcoming 21st birthday. I still can't believe she will be turning 21 soon!



Lately, I have started watching Friday Night Lights on Netflix and while I wasn't too enamored at first, I am slowly beginning to see what people love about the show. I am almost finished with season one and while football is central to the storyline, it seems to be less centered on the games and more on the relationships, as the season has progressed. And, I love the relationship between Tim and Tami Taylor.

Finally, The Bachelorette finale is tonight and while it hadn't been my favorite season, it's been fun to watch. Andi makes her pick tonight and the live, After The Final Rose show is always the most interesting of the season. I had hoped to have my Bachelorette watching friends over for a viewing party, but it was not a good night for most, so I will be texting Megan in Pittsburgh, as we watch this silly show together, but long distance.

Happy Monday!


Friday, July 25, 2014

An Afternoon Walk




It was the kind of afternoon that you just have to take advantage of every summer. The kind of weather that doesn't come around often in July, but was that perfect blend of blue skies, puffy white clouds and mild temperatures. The perfect day for venturing out from my usual path and taking a walk by the river.



This path by the river runs very close and changes scenery as you follow along. There is grass along the edges in spots and then beautiful flowers will begin to appear.



The further you venture along the path, away from the crowds, the more wild looking the river becomes. Would you believe this is all found just minutes from a bustling downtown?



My puppy, the best walking buddy around, was brave enough this time, to walk right to the edge of the shore and take a sip of the crystal, clear water.

Walking is therapeutic for me; both physically and mentally. I walk every day, rain or shine and am lucky to have beautiful trails in my neighborhood that do give me variety. But, sometimes, jumping in the car and exploring new sights on a beautiful summer afternoon can be just what the doctor ordered :-)

Have a wonderful weekend!


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