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Happy Easter!

Easter

Happy Easter
by Don & Tonya Christner


If you’re thinking of making Quiche for an Easter Brunch, here’s an easy recipe that I’ve been using for decades.  The secret to keeping your quiche from coming out soupy or runny is to toss the grated cheese in a little bit of flour before baking (see recipe).

I also love the fact that you can use a variety of cheeses and a variety of fillings.  I’ve used Swiss, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Cheddar – most any semi-soft cheese. For fillings I’ve used ham, bacon, broccoli, crab and more. Just choose your favorites.

This link also takes you to a couple of other tasty brunch recipes.

Hope you have a wonderful day celebrating our risen Lord with family and friends.

 

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Hey there friends,  I have been staring at the last post for much too long and I’m sure you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, so here’s a little sumthin’ for your summer inspiration.

I know, it’s way past time to bring out the summer decorations.  It will be Independence Day next week, after all!  Can I confess that I still have my Easter decorations on my branch in the living room?  Yowzah!  Hopefully, I can switch them out for summer decor this weekend.

Things have been quite buzy around here with a bunch of changes happening, as well as more on the horizon.  Sadly, my time to concentrate on the transitions are limiting my time to post.  No worries though, there will be more news and posting to come.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of my Summer Centerpiece.  I happen to use mine in the guest bath.  Yes, a centerpiece in the bathroom!  As you know I try to trick myself into believing that I live near the water, especially in these hot summer months when our temperatures are consistently in triple digits (this week it was up around 113 degrees F)!

I keep this simple centerpiece in the bathroom where I get ready every morning.  It fills my mind with memories of sandy beaches, coastal breezes and the sound of waves lapping on the shore.  Which reminds me…I may have a chance to visit my little hometown on Lake Erie in September and I can’t wait to walk on the beach and hear the sounds of the waves as I drift off to sleep!  I never realized what a blessing it was to live just steps from the shore until recently.

For this fun candle arrangement, just find a rustic container, fill it with sand, shells, a candle (or 3) and things that remind you of summer.  Try one yourself and post a link here so we can all see it?

More ideas for your summer inspiration:

Patriotic Slipcover Transformation

4th of July Beverage Ideas

4th of July – Summer Recipes

4th of July – Patriotic Decor

Let me know your plans for the summer and have an awesome holiday!

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I thought I’d share a few favorite recipes and food ideas for your 4th of July gathering.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes and Nancy’s Baked Beans

When I think of Independence Day, a particularly memorable celebration comes to mind.  One of these holidays in my youth was enjoyed at my Uncle Allen’s house in rural Ohio.  My dad had a huge family – 10 siblings, each with big families of their own and would get together as often as they could, but especially on holidays.  Grandparents, aunts, and uncles gathered in the shade in their favorite lawn chairs to catch up on the latest news.  The cousins would all play croquet, badminton, volleyball and whatever else kept us busy.  The younger kids got to climb up in the tree house and everyone grazed on amazing food all day.  This particular year, one of my aunts made pineapple-upside-down cake, which I tried for the first time.

Now I’m not really a cake person, because I generally don’t like the sugary too-sweet frosting. But as you may know, Pineapple-upside-down cake doesn’t have frosting.  It just has scrumptious slices of pineapple, swimming in a brown sugar glaze…and I LOVED it!  Over the course of that day, I ate SEVEN – yes SEVEN pieces of that cake.  Not sure what everyone else had, because I ate so much of it myself.  It was heavenly!  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much cake in one day before or since then (thankfully).

So, in honor of that memorable Independence Day treat,  I’m posting this link to a recipe for Pineapple-Upside Down Cupcakes (pictured above)  Doesn’t that sound like a great idea?  I’ve never made these, but I love the cupcake idea for a potluck, picnic, barbecue or even a nice dinner with friends.  So much easier to transport and lovely to serve.  These are probably big enough for at least 2 people to share (unless of course, they love pineapple-upside-down cake as much as I do).  Let me know what you think.

And in looking through my old posts, I’m amazed that I’ve never shared my crock pot “Baked” Beans recipe, so here it is below.  This one  is so quick, tasty, colorful and easy.  It is the hit of any casual gathering.  I serve it all year long and often get requests to bring it to potlucks. This week, my husband was asked to bring something for an “All American” themed potluck at work, so I’ll help him make this recipe to share.

In case you’re wondering…the current most favored theory about the origin of Baked Beans notes that American Indians cooked beans with maple syrup and bear fat. Now how much more American can you get!

Since we don’t have bear fat, let me offer this variation of a baked beans recipe.  It’s much more colorful and has added protein to make it more filling as well.  The great thing about it is that it’s so flexible.  Feel free to experiment to find your favorite combination, then you can personalize it as “Amy’s Beans”, “Emma’s Beans” or ________________ Beans [Insert your name here].

Nancy’s Beans Recipe

  • 1 can Pork-n-Beans or Ranch Style Beans (do not drain)
  • 1 large can Baked Beans (Bush’s or your favorite brand) (do not drain)
  • 1 can butter beans (no need to drain)
  • 1 can black beans (drained), 1 can kidney beans (drained) 1 can Cannelini or Great Northern beans (drained), Navy or Pinto beans
  • 1/2 to 1 pound of cooked and chopped bacon
  • 1/2 to 1 onion (sauteed)
  • 1/2 to 1 pound of cooked ground beef (optional)
  • 1 Tblsp mustard
  • 1 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, molasses or maple syrup

Really you can use nearly any combination of beans in addition to the first 2 cans.  The more variety you have, the more colorful the dish is.

Empty the first 3 cans of beans into a large crock pot without draining.  The sauce in these adds to the flavor and thickness.

After you drain the liquid from the Black, Kidney, Cannelini, Great Northern, Navy or Pinto beans, add them to the crock pot.  Easiest is to pour all the beans that need to be drained in a colander and rinse with water.  This should also wash away some of the excess sodium that comes in canned products.

Add the cooked onions, bacon, and/or ground beef

Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar(or molasses or maple syrup)

Stir everything together and set to low for 4-5 hours or until hot.  Everything is already cooked when it goes in, so all you’re doing is warming it up and allowing the flavors to blend together.  It can even be warmed in a microwave if you’re in a hurry.  It does seem to taste better after it sits together for a few hours.  If you’re cooking it in a crockpot and it seems to be too watery, just take off the lid and let it cook for a while with the lid off. The sauce will thicken more the longer the lid is off.

This will fill a large crockpot and serve 10-15 at least.

I hope you try these out.  Let me know how you like it and if you have ideas for ways to make it better.

MORE JULY FOURTH RECIPE IDEAS:

Here are more recipes from some of your favorite magazines to check out for your Independence Day celebration:

Better Homes and Gardens: Festive Fourth of July Desserts and Cooling Cocktail Recipes

Bon Appetit: Fourth of July Picnic Menu or The Perfect Slaw

Cooking Light: Fourth of July Celebrations

The Daily Green: Delicious Summer Recipes

Food & Wine: July 4th Chef’s Celebrations

Good Housekeeping: Fun and Festive Fourth of July Recipes

Martha Stewart: Fourth of July Recipes

Taste of Home:  July 4th Entertaining

Happy Independence Day!

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In looking for some refreshing summer beverages for the 4th of July, I was reminded of a delicious pitcher of Sangria that we had recently with some friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Tucson.  If you haven’t visited El Charro Cafe in Old Town Tucson, it’s a place that’s well worth your time.  This is a view of the welcoming courtyard. When the weather’s nice (as it is for over half the year in this part of Arizona) it’s the most relaxing place to enjoy dinner or even just a drink with friends.

El Charro Courtyard - Tucson AZ

El Charro Courtyard - Tucson AZ

Ryans and Hanns

We happened to be in Tucson for Terry and Bob (aka The Catfish Hunters) to play at the Tucson Folk Festival and we had a chance to enjoy a wonderful dinner here with Bob & Helen.

But I digress.  This post is supposed to be about beverages and one of the sweet parts of the evening was our Summertime Blackberry Sangria. Doesn’t it look delicious!  I can taste it now.  Imagine washing down your chips and salsa with that colorful concoction.

So to bring this full circle.  I’ve been enjoying Sangria at a variety of spots this year and thought I’d share a patriotic version and eye-catching recipe for serving a group without having to make individual drinks for everyone.

Check out this Red, White and Blue Sangria from Recipe Girl!  (and she’s having a giveaway too)

She used pineapple for her stars, but I think I’d try star fruit since it already has the shape you need.   I LOVE the red strawberries, “white” (kinda) pineapple or star fruit, and blue-berries to carry through the patriotic theme.  Just imagine your giant glass beverage dispenser filled to the brim with all these summery ingredients.  It’s a party waiting to happen.  In case you haven’t seen it before, this is what star fruit looks like and here’s some more info about it too.  Hey, think about adding star fruit to your salads on the 4th as well!

…now where are the fireworks.

Let me know your plans for the 4th.  I’d love to hear how you celebrate.

Stay tuned for parts 2 (food) and 3 (DIY crafts and decorations) for the 4th of July series in the coming days.

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2011.04.02 Mingling2011.04.02 Patio2011.04.02 Hand in Hand Reunion attendees2011.04.02 Rand and friends2011.04.02 Party and White Tank Mtns2011.04.02 Denny and Bob
2011.04.02 God's gorgeous sunset2011.04.02 waiting for the concert to start2011.04.02 Dinner guests2011.04.02 Glory Road2011.04.02 Food tables2011.04.02 View of the party
2011.04.02 Hand in Hand Reunion_candle centerpiece

Hand in Hand Reunion, a group on Flickr.

Here are a few pics from the Hand in Hand Reunion that we held on Saturday night. There were about 70 people there, some from as far away as Delaware.

We had amazing food, wonderful fellowship, a gorgeous sunset, fun music and precious conversations all around.

Enjoy!

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Do you struggle with the dilemma of whether to spend a bundle on the eco-waste of printing and mailing those custom gorgeous paper invitations or saving energy and trees (plus quite a bit of money) to send something of lesser quality via email?

Well, now you can send a card with the same look of those custom printed ones for free or close to it!

Today I discovered the Paperless Post website and was very impressed by the quality and variety of paperless invitations that they offer.  The site is currently in Beta version, but I LOVE what I see so far.  Your guests can receive their invitation,  enclosed in a paperless envelope with their name on the front, complete with a matching envelope liner! Custom colors are available throughout the process as well, so everything can be coordinated with your theme.

What a great way to make every invitation feel extra special without blowing your budget on paper, printing, stamps, and all.  Plus think of all the time you won’t have to spend hand-addressing all those envelopes.

Sample Save the Date Card

When you set up your free account you automatically receive 25 free “Stamps” and 10 free “Customization Coins” which are used for additions such as envelope liners, logos, etc.  That means you can send 25 free cards right off the bat.  Additional “stamps” and “coins” can be earned by referring  friends to their site or can be purchased at a reasonable cost, which ends up being so much less than mailing physical cards.

And who knows…hopefully, at some point in the future, if they can get enough traffic, the site may be totally free.  So check it out and sign up today.

If you love good quality cards and stationary, I think you’ll love what they offer!

After you take a look, let me know what you think.  Are there other sites that you like better?  I’m always looking for new options for my big and small events.

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