Monday, August 29, 2011



Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar
All for FOOTBALL, stand up and holler!

More least around our house...


Bodda Getta Bodda Getta Bodda Getta Bah!
Rah Rah Rah!
Sis Boom Bah!
Weegle, Weegle
War Dam Eagle
Kick 'em in the butt Big Blue!

Can you tell I am excited? Around here, my husband has been giving us all the Auburn stats...who's the starting QB...who's the fastest...which high school recruit is showing the most promise...and so on, and so on.

Track 'em Tigers

Just like beagles!

Give 'em hell

You War Damn Eagles!


Our flag and banner are waiting to be hoisted onto the house and into the trees (we're even taking one to St A!) and blue dishes have been washed and are ready to hold their goodies...

And I already have a bet going on with "Constant Chatter..."

Now, all I need are some delicious "tailgating" recipes...
If I could figure out this "link" thing, I'd start a "Tailgate Recipe" party. But, I am here's the deal...
If you have any special tried and true, favorite recipe that would be a great addition to a football tailgate, please send it to me. I promise, I'll post it...and I'll share my recipes, too.
Email is fine.

Here's one of our favorites:

Jalapeno Popper Spread

2 blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 jar diced jalapeno peppers*, plus some of the juice (more or less, to taste)
Parmesan Cheese, shredded (I use freshly grated cheese, adding some to the spread and enough to cover the top.)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (actually, I just sprinkle on top until the spread is covered)

Fold the peppers and juice into the softened cream cheese. Put the mixture into an oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan Cheese on top, to cover. Sprinkle the Panko crumbs on top. Bake at 350 degrees until warmed through. Serve with pita chips, baguette slices, tortilla chips, etc.

*I use Mt. Olive Diced Jalapenos.
**There are many versions of this dip online...some call for mayo and green chilis, some add cheddar or Mexican cheese blends. They're all very good. Since I am not a big fan of mayo in spreads, I try to leave it out. The result is a lighter version of the spread. Just play with this recipe...make it your own.


(Can you tell I was a cheerleader...)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The World of Robyn Story...

Enter the world of Robyn Story Design and Boutique...

It's a magical place, filled with treasures to make your heart soar...and inspire your creativity.

Robyn and her staff go out of their way to ensure that you have a wonderful experience...

From the moment you enter, they are ready to assist you in any and every way. Both times I have visited, a cool beverage was offered, and there were things to nibble all around the store (Robyn loves to cook!)

And if you are not sure how or where to use something you see, Robyn and her incredible staff can advise...
Every direction you turn...
look up, look down, look behind and under...and you will see beautiful accessories for your home.

Robyn is already getting into the Christmas spirit...after all, it's August and retail.  You have to be ready...

Speaking of florals, this is just ONE room of flowers. I was totally in awe of the varieties. The photo does not do it cannot see the depth of the room!

As someone who has taught floral arranging, I was enthralled by the sheer amount of flowers, not to mention the unusual assortment...
My hands were itching to arrange a bouquet...or decorate one of the trees.

Here is one of the Christmas trees...
Can't you just see it gracing a table in your foyer, or in my case, the piano...

Santa was holding court...making sure the customers were being Nice, not Naughty...
I fell in love with these bookends...They were hiding on a table filled with...EVERYTHING!

(I really love the use of burlap throughout the store... You know how much I love burlap!)
As I turned another corner, this is what I saw....

A group of bloggers, playing with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paints!!! (and lots of food!)

It was one of Robyn's "Luncheon Functions". These bloggers came from all over central Florida...many met in person for the very first time. 
And all had a wonderful time...

I even got to play with the paints...
This is my practice piece...and the color I purchased...
Emperor Silk.

I have read of the love for this paint in so many blogs, but I was still skeptical....that is, until I tried it. As the old Monkee song says...
"I'm a believer". 

(I just finished my first old dresser mirror. I'll share it with you soon.)
If you are in the Tampa sure to visit Robyn Story and her boutique. You will have so much fun!!!

You can visit Robyn's blog here:


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Living here in a major vacation destination for both domestic and international tourists, we often overlook some really interesting activities. We have busy lives and often get caught up in the "catch-up around the house and yard" mentality and we forget to appreciate the beauty of our city...

This day, MacDaddy and I had breakfast at one of our favorite joints...Lenny's (this place gets its own post!), then headed toward the beaches. They're just a short hop from here...We began driving in and out of the streets of an old neighborhood along the sound and discovered...

This pier in Bellair...It juts out from the shore into the bay. It was a favorite spot for many fishermen this morning...

There's something special about these crusty ol' fishermen...they just LOVE to talk with you about their casting techniques and about the "one that got away". This man had some great shark stories!!!
This is the view across Clearwater Harbor to Sand Key (on the barrier island, just south of Clearwater Beach)...Sand Key is primarily condos and private homes. There are two major hotels there, but they really blend in...the Sheraton Sand Key, which faces the Gulf, and the Marriott, which is bayside. Both are wonderful properties. There is also a county park with lots of beach access, pavillions, dressing rooms, and parking. (Pinellas County has some of the most beautiful parks!!!) The buildings in the above photo are all condominiums. The one in the center is where my brother has a beautiful hideaway. Although he lives right across Tampa Bay, he and his sons spend as much time as possible in this apartment...It's a wonderful respite from the stresses of the work week...
And this is what he sees from his balcony... Ahhhh...... 
Looking from the pier to Clearwater, condos and private homes. 
All along the sound are boats...huge and small.

From the pier, we spy a private island enclave...never noticed it before! The only way to get into this neighborhood seems to be through a guarded gate/bridge.

Here in Bellair and Clearwater, there are mansions which rival those found in Palm Beach. Many are behind huge walls...for privacy. And yes, there are many celebrities who live (or have lived) behind those walls...

We headed north, to Dunedin. It's the community just north of Clearwater...Lots of marinas, restaurants and shops.  Our destination is the fish market...for tonight's dinner.

 Right next to the fish market is a delightful open air restaurant. We thought we'd sit awhile, and enjoy a coffee., but.....
there was a tremendous clash of thunder. And we noticed the skies to the east were BLACK and rolling.  Imagine...BLACK clouds on one side, gorgeous blue skies with billowy white clouds on the other. Which ones do we pay attention to? BLACK!!! Head for the car...lightning strikes a short distance away, and the skies open up.
It was our typical summer storm...and time to head home.

Come down for a visit!

I will be linking with Susan for Outdoor Wednesday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

M is for MUFFINS

There is nothing MacDaddy and I love more than muffins for breakfast. They're quick, easy, and delicious!
This time of year, with all the fresh blueberries available, I make LOTS of blueberry muffins.

My absolute favorite, versatile muffin recipe is straight from the old red-checked Better Homes and Gardens cookbook I received as a wedding present in 1976. The muffins are crumbly, slightly dry, not too sweet, and have lots of crannies just waiting to hold melting butter....the way muffins are supposed to be!  Mmmmmm......

Using this recipe, I make not only fresh blueberry muffins, but date-pecan muffins, apple muffins, cinnamon-struesel muffins, and more...

Jane's Favorite Muffins

1 3/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup oil (I use "Best Blend" or vegetable oil)

Sift dry ingredients and put into a medium bowl. Add slightly beaten egg, milk and oil. Gently stir until ingredients are moistened. (DO NOT OVERWORK THE BATTER). Gently fold in desired fruits or nuts*. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees. Yield 1 dozen standard-sized muffins or 3 dozen mini-muffins (reduce the baking time for the minis) .

*For Blueberry Muffins:
    Fold in 1 cup or more fresh blueberries (I use almost a whole pint. I LOVE blueberries!!!)

*For Date-Pecan Muffins:
    Fold in chopped dates...about a cup (or more if desired) and chopped pecans...about 1/2 -3/4 cup. (I use the Dole Chopped Dates, found with the dried fruits at your grocery store)

To complete our breakfast, we often add a bowl of fresh fruit with Greek yogurt, a cool beverage, coffee, and the Wall Street Journal. And of course, sitting poolside makes a simple meal, an experience!

I am linking with Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum. Be sure to stop by to check out the wonderful recipes there.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"For the War Effort"

Today, I visited the blog of one of my young TX friends.. Her mother and I have been friends for many, many years, and I have watched this young woman grow from a child into a beautiful wife and mother.
Her post was interesting, as usual...

This is the photo that captured my attention...
At first I though Anna's 4 children were preparing for an onslaught in their back yard...maybe water balloons or flour bombs (I wouldn't put it past them to do this!). 
But, no, they were preparing for an even greater war...

They were readying to do battle FOR the Lord!

The children were making parachutes for a Bible drop to guerilla controlled areas in Columbia! Each parachute had the message "Dios es Amor" (God is love.)

"I imagine a young soldier in fatigues looking up to the sky and seeing this billowing gift. As the spiritual war rages, God gave us this unique chance to send his message of love to the war weary. " (Anna)

If this intrigues you, you can find more information on this project/mission at the link below. There is a short video on the link that demonstrates what these missionaries do. 

What a wonderful project this is for the young people in your church!

"Put on the armor..."

Thursday, August 4, 2011



But we still love to entertain our friends...
Here's one of our favorite company meals...

    with Basil and Garlic Dressing
Chilled Asparagus Spears
Chilled French Green Beans
Fresh Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella slices
Assorted crackers and garlic toasts* 
Lemon Basil Sorbet and Shortbread (from Fresh Market)

The recipe for the Shrimp and Pasta salad was given to me by my wonderful sister-in-law. It's simple, make ahead, and super delicious...perfect for a hot summer's day! It's even easier when you purchase cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp from your local grocery or fish market!

   (makes about 1/2 cup)

   2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
   1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
   3 large garlic cloves, minced
   1/2 tsp. salt
   Pinch of freshly ground pepper
   1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
   1 heaping tsp. fresh basil, minced
   1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

   1 4oz. jar/can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
   1/2 cup sliced ripe (black) olives
   6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
   1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
   1/2 tsp. salt
   1 pound small shrimp, boiled, deveined, and chilled
   1/2 pound Penne Rigate, cooked (al dente), rinsed and chilled
   1/2 cup grated Parmesan
   Red-tipped leaf lettuce to line the plates...

Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients except the olive oil in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.Process until smooth. With the processor still running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube. Process an addition 15 seconds to form a strong emulsion. Refrigerate.

To prepare the salad, combine all ingredients except lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Toss to blend well. Add the dressing and stir to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve the salad on individual serving plates lined with the lettuce leaves.
Serves 4-6.


The Lemon Basil Sorbet was made with my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker...the recipe was from the accompanying cookbook. It was quite TART...which may be due to the fact that I don't think I added all the suggested sweetener. (I experimented with using a sugar substitute. OOPS!) Thanks to our innovative guests, we learned that the sorbet was delicious when added to our glasses of water. It made a refreshing lemonade-style beverage. (Thanks for experimenting, Becky!) 

Remember...even when you goof up a recipe, you can laugh about it with your guests. It just adds to the fun and the stories...and the teasing! (One day, I'll live this one down...)

Especially when it's HOT, I like to purchase parts of the meal. Not only does it keep the kitchen much cooler, it keeps me more relaxed and allows me to truly enjoy my guests. (There was a time when I wouldn't be caught dead doing this...I finally got smart!)

* For this meal we served flavored Triscuits (Olive Oil and Rosemary, and Fire-roasted Tomato) and garlic toast rounds purchased from the bakery department at our local grocer. (Both Publix and Fresh Market always have these on the shelves.)

Our table design was simple...

My favorite burlap fabric
Rattan chargers (WM)
Coral plates (C&B)
Rattan candle holder (hg)
Asst. Shells and Starfish
Fishing Floats (found on various beaches) 
Coral printed napkins (The Fresh Market)
Starfish Dessert Plates (TJM)
Dessert Dishes (C&B)*

We kept everything very simple...ate in the breakfast room, overlooking the pool. Lots of wonderful Quinta da Aveleda Vinho Verde (wine) accompanied the meal...mmmm.
(This is my new favorite...and it came in pale blue bottles...they're already on my bottle tree!)

*In case you are looking for a very versatile dessert dish, check these out... They're from Crate and Barrel...$2.50 each or 12 for $24.95. I think I have used these dishes MORE than anything else in my cabinets. They can be used for so many things...and they hold just the right amount of dessert.

I am connecting with Foodie Friday! See you there...

Have a wonderful weekend...and stay cool!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011



We're already gearing up for gamedays...checking out tailgating recipes to try...planning trips to Alabama for a few games...getting our flag ready for mounting on the tree...practicing our cheers... COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS!

Will we have another season like last year's? Who knows. But will we have FUN?  Heck YEAH!
Get your voices ready....
    Waaaaaaaaaar Eagle, HEY!

Do you have a favorite college football team?
What are some of your traditions?


Tuesday, August 2, 2011


This lovely lady joined our family....our first "daughter".  


May you celebrate many, many more years of happiness, joy, and love.