Take A Walk On The Spicy Side

Day 38 – #100HappyDays Challenge

It’s Tuesday. Already. The days are slipping by here in the heartland. At least for me. Beau had today off which we spent together shopping. He took me downtown to this wonderful spice shop  All Spice, where you can find just about any seasoning you can think of. We picked up this smokey salt that smelled like it might work great with the maple glazed turkey planned for Thursday. I’ll let you know how it goes. But if you cant get to Des Moines check out all the spices you could ever want here.

The day was bright and sunny but the wind was bitter, cold. I was grateful I brought my warm coat with me for the walk downtown. It was a balmy 35 degrees. Bbbrrrr

I’m horrible at selfies but it doesn’t stop me from trying. LoL. My kid is so patient with me. He’s a good sport while I try.

Next stop was the greatest store in the universe. Really. The sign even said so.

I almost forgot to mention popping into this gourmet kitchen shop. It had beautiful things at beautifully expensive prices. It’s a fantastic shop for inspiration but a bit beyond what I can afford. Needless to say, I’m so grateful for HomeGoods where I can purchase a mug for under $88 dollars. 😳

What can I say… it was a good day. My whole day – this whole week – has been happy. I’m grateful for the time I get to share with my family. I just hope I’m not driving them too nuts.




Small Blessings

Day 37 – #100HappyDays Challenge

Last night I pulled out a package of croissants from Trader Joe’s to rise over night and then baked them before my son headed out to work. When I was browsing at Trader Joe’s, I chatted with a lady who had 4 boxes in her arms. She raved about them so I figured I’d try them just to see what the fuss was all about.

Run, don’t walk to Trader Joe’s while you can. They are decadent. They bake up light and airy oozing buttery goodness in every delicate layer. The first bite took me back to France. These heavenly croissants that will make even the Parisians fall in love with them.

I’m enjoying my visit here with the guys. Gregg surprised me by bringing home the cake platter I had deliberated over along with a bouquet of flowers. I’m so blessed.

Today’s baking adventure began and ended with a brilliant, festive cranberry quick bread. This decadent loaf is made with cream cheese with a hint of vanilla which softens the tangy cranberries. This will make a perfect Black Friday morning treat for all the hard working staff at Gregg’s work.

By the way, don’t forget to pull your turkey out of the freezer and put in the fridge to defrost if your cooking Thursday.

Happy baking!



For The Bell Tolls

Day 36 – #100HappyDays Challenge

I wish the sound of bells was something I could take a picture of. At 6pm bells began to ring. The notes rang so softly I thought I was imagining it as I completed cooking dinner for the guys. I turned off Hulu. The bells continued to ring. I closed my eyes enjoying the melody. What a great way that end the day and greet the evening.

I’ll admit that while the guys were off to work I enjoyed a day at home with Mr. Abraham and Lily. They kept me company as I baked cookies. Lots of cookies.

Can you guess what kind?

  1. Ginger Crack Cookies
  2. Peanut butter Cookies
  3. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I tucked most in the freezer for later to enjoy or gift. I admit I forgot how much butter I go through when I’m baking for the holidays. Tomorrow I’m back to the store tomorrow to pick up more since I’m not quite done adding to the cookie collection. And cake. There a few cakes I will try. Oh – the apple tart too. LoL yes, I’ll need some more butter.



Home Goods

Day 35 – #100HappyDays Challenge

Mr. Abraham was thrilled when Beau came home from work. He’s such a happy little dog. Especially with all the belly rubs and head scratches.

Today was Gregg’s day off which he graciously shared with me. We headed out this morning to pick up all the things I forgot yesterday. Then we went to HomeGoods. Cue the music and the lights, clouds part, and doors open. I just love the HomeGoods here.

The store is neat. There isn’t combat shopping carts careening down aisles littered with broken product. Every time I turned a corner there was more items to admire. More to add to my cart while Gregg patiently put up with my wandering.

I did take some time to admire a stunning cake platter, pondering on how I could get it on the airplane in one piece. Not that I need another cake platter but I did think about it for quite a bit, before deciding against it. Instead I picked up a rolling pin that will come in handy for the apple tart in our near future.

We made it home just in time for me to gently push down the bread I had put on to rise before we headed out in the morning. It’s always a new adventure when baking in an unknown oven. But over all, even though I think the bake could have used a few more minutes in the oven it turned out pretty good.

I love using a mix of fresh and dried cranberries in this hearty cranberry walnut bread. The tartness of the fresh cranberries lend a brightness to the hearty loaf. I really enjoy it toasted, slathered with butter and honey in the morning with coffee. Try it. You’ll love it!



Garden Fresh Basil

Day 27 – #100HappyDays Challenge

Happy Friday! I’ve enjoyed my work week. I ended it on a positive note. And then my thoughts fly to the end of next week thinking I had better start thinking about packing for my trip to Iowa to visit my son. It’s going to be sweater and boot weather there instead of sandals and little dresses. A vast difference between the cruise last week.

I’m trying to live in the present moment but I’ll admit it’s hard at time, especially with Thanksgiving just right around the corner. It’s been years since I’ve spent Thanksgiving with the guys. They both work retail and it’s the start of a very busy season for them. I’m happy they agreed to put up with me for a week!

My happy moment for today was picking some fresh green basil from my garden bed. I love the weather here. It’s so easy to grow wonderful healthy herbs.

I put a few leaves in my water along with lemon and blueberries. Infused water is a favorite of mine. How about you?



Making Chutney

Day 9 – #100HappyDay Challenge

My search for soft easy food to enjoy has turned up chutney. There’s something comforting about a bubbling fruit chutney. Today I made an apple cranberry chutney – perfect for a fall morning. What’s wonderful about chutney is how simple it is to make, plus it makes a wonderful spread on toast or makes a tasty side to a savory chicken dish. Yummmy!

Happy Fall!