Happy Shopping List

Day 54 – #100HappyDay Challenge


Pop over to visit Camellia’s charming blog, Camellia’s Cottage, to read her recent post “Cheerful Cherries” which is an artfully crafted and informative post about one of my all time favorite ingredients – cherries. Here you will discover a little history about Maraschino Cherries and a grownup recipe that will make you want to run down to the local grocer to pick up the ingredients to make your very own cheerful cherries! I’ve already made my shopping list.


Speaking of another happy discovery that is on my shopping list  (which I mentioned before but it’s worth repeating) is a box of  Trader Joe’s croissants. Bake a few up to enjoy with your favorite cup of tea.  You can find three varieties in the freezer section; plain, chocolate and almond. I think my favorite is the almond. And, yes, I’ve indulged in all three. I know, I know, but it is the holiday season and I figure a little indulgence is good for the soul.

If baking up a whole box is a bit much at a single time, then take out as many as you like, store the others in a friendly freezer bag and toss them back in the freezer for another time. Honestly, my freezer is a godsend as a single person. Now these do have to raise overnight so remember to pull them out the night before, place them on a cookie sheet uncovered overnight and bake when you’re ready

Voila, croissants for one lovely breakfast.

Sending you happiness.





Happy Black Friday. Are you shopping?

Day 41 – #100HappyDays Challenge

Today is Black Friday. It’s the day when the holiday shopping madness officially begins. It’s a scary thought. Are you out there shopping? Or, like me, do a little online shopping? It’s a great time for deals even online in the comfort of your home over a cup of coffee.

The guys were up early and out the door. I packed them both bags of baked goods, complete with cinnamon rolls, to share with their early morning teams. I’m hoping the treats keep them motivated throughout the shopping madness.

Today is my last day in Des Moines. I head home tomorrow morning on the 6am flight. 😳 I’ve enjoyed my visit but I can feel it’s time to get back to my real life and give my son and Gregg back their time. I’m sure they are ready, but I’ll miss them.

We took some cute pictures on Thanksgiving in front of the Tree Beau put up. Picture almost perfect memories. LoL. You should have seen us trying to get Mr. Abraham to look at the camera with his ears up. Oh well. A few of my happiness moments.



Day 7 – One Week #100HappyDay Challenge

“Don’t lose yourself in the temporary.”

I heard that quote earlier today and it struck a cord. How many times have I let the temporary chaos of the daily grind bury me in noise, making me lose sight of what’s really important?

This happiness challenge has made me pause every day to reflect on my life, the little moments that tend to be the big moments, all sparkly and shining nuggets of happiness hidden amongst the ordinary. Sometimes those nuggets are buried deep, so deep I have to do a bit of mining to discover the jewel. But it’s always there somewhere.

I’ve been a bit under the weather. I’m not a fan of taking prednisone but the doctor recommended a low dose over 3 days. 3 -2-1. Alrighty then, anything to snap me out of this. So I started it yesterday and had the worse sleep of my life last night, but it gave me lots of time to think about things. One thought led to another until memories of the most delicious cranberry-orange biscuit I had from the The Silos Baking Co. in Waco began to haunt my sleepless night. And that biscuit-cross-scone was a warm happy memory but Waco is way too far to drive for a treat, especially at 4 in the morning.

Grabbing my iPad I scoured the web for a recipe. I know, I know… but baking makes me happy. As luck would have it I found one copy cat recipe here at cookingwithJacque. Looks like she loved visiting the Silos as well! Check out her blog. Great tips and recipes.

I popped up and decided that I’d rather bake than toss and turn. I have to be honest, I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter. I used fresh oranges and juiced them since I didn’t have orange concentrate. Same goes for the cranberries. Other than that I had the supplies on hand.

Like all biscuits, when putting the dough together the less you handle it the better. Be gentle. And don’t over bake. Pull them out as they turn a light golden color… over baking will turn your biscuits into hockey pucks! LoL!

This really was a wonderful way to start the morning. Just the wafting scent of citrus, flour and butter magically floating in the air seemed to make me feel better. Add a warm cup of tea and my morning shaped up much better than my night.

I’ll definitely makes these again but I would cut the sugar to a tablespoon or so. Especially when drizzling them with the yummy orange glaze. I found these just a tad too sweet for me but it’s almost sacrilegious not to eat them without the glaze. And I loved the fresh tart contrast of the cranberries. This helped cut some of the sweetness. I was only wishing I had added more of the cranberries. If you like the sweeter side of things then stick to the recipe. If not, toss in lots of fresh cranberries and cut the sugar. Either way… it’s a melting-buttery-mouthful-happiness bite.



Breakup Is Here and Its Beautiful!

“Flour and butter, cream and sugar, words and images — all the ingredients for a rich, tasty story.”
― Rona Simmons, The Quiet Room

Oh my goodness, I’ve been busy. The days are speeding by and I am getting less and less done. On the bright side its getting brighter and warmer and muddier out…Hello, Breakup! The very last one that I will experience. After 25 years I think I’m ready for a real spring.

But Sunday is for baking and I’m taking a few minutes to share pictures from my trip to Iowa (no time to bake this weekend). I just had to test out my son’s kitchen and what better way to do that than bake some cookies for the guys. After being pried out of Trader Joe’s (LOVE that store!) we made it back home, supplied for the next decade or more with pantry staples.

I baked. And fed the guys piping hot cookies straight out of the oven.

Cookies = Love


Tip: Freeze extras! I made an extra batch to freeze. Wrap the cookies in freezer Ziploc baggies to pull out to enjoy later. Yum!



Sparkles, A Pinch of Richness and Lots of Laughter

Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne! ~ Winston Churchill, WWI

A Good Match: A Photo Challenge 

Over the years my very dear friends and I continue to celebrate with a very good match; champagne, a pinch of richness and lots of laughter.

Like all of you, everyone leads busy lives.  The years move on, many have scattered around the country, families grow and it’s not as easy to come together as we used to do.  But, near or far, our friendship continues and is typically celebrated with something sparkling paired with decadent culinary surprises.

For those interested in learning more about how to select and serve your choice of bubbly you can read more here at WikkiHow.

Looking forward to our next get together!

Cheers, Ladies!


I reached out to my very good girlfriend for sparkly glasswhere (she always has the prettiest table settings!) and she recommended Roost Brand. She even gave me a beautiful website where you can purchase some lovely items- Scarlett Alley.  Happy Shopping! 

Sunday Tomato Basil Pasta

“The most essential part of my day is a proper dinner.” – Rachael

Don’t be intimidated by making this scrumptious, yummy fresh pasta dish. Best of all, it doesn’t take hours and hours of simmering away. In under an hour you too can be enjoying this easy, yet satisfying dish.

Cut up 6 tomatoes – chopped is fine or if you want a smoother sauce toss them in a food processor and give it a spin.

Heat  olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. I like adding a few cloves of garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes, salt, and chopped basil.

Use a potato masher or large fork to mash the tomatoes until they are in chunks. Be sure they are chopped and crushed fine, for a semichunky sauce – the liquid from the tomatoes will bubble beautifully. Simmer for 25 minutes over medium heat.

While the sauce simmers, heat the water for the pasta. Cook the spaghetti in salted water about half of the way cooked. Drain, reserving some of the water.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the pasta is al dente. If the sauce is over-reduced, use the pasta cooking liquid to adjust it.

Bon Appetite.