Summer

Summer

July 23, 2014

A TUNA CASSEROLE FAMILY FAVORITE!

 
I'm in love......
 
with....
 
The new Casserole Crock Slow-Cooker!
 

Yes, it was love at first sight! A deep rich navy blue and a shape ideal for casseroles! This was a birthday gift from the darling! This is going to be perfect for breakfast casseroles that can be prepared the previous day and slow-cooked overnight! How about a lasagna or the cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving! I couldn't wait to get started, so first on my list, was one of our family favorites, Tuna Casserole! However, I prepared this one a bit different! Yum......what great additions these were to kick-it-up a notch!


I added chopped celery, a bit of mayonnaise for extra creaminess, Cream of Chicken soup, rather than Cream of Mushroom! I also used shell pasta, rather than macaroni. That's the best thing about casseroles....you can normally utilize what you have in your pantry and you just may come up with a new twist on an old favorite!


FAVORITE TUNA CASSEROLE
10 1/2 ounces can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 (6.4 ounces) packages of tuna
8 ounces cooked egg noodles, macaroni or shell pasta (just to al dente) 
1 can of drained peas
1 cup of fresh or canned mushrooms
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cut into large chunks 
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

 
Mix the cream of chicken, mayonnaise and milk together in a large bowl.
Add the diced celery.
Fold in the tuna, followed by the cooked pasta, peas, mushrooms and cheddar cheese.
Salt and pepper to your taste. Sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Place in a casserole dish. Cook at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes, just until the top starts to brown.

If baking the casserole in your slow cooker, cook on low for 4 hours.

 

 

July 22, 2014

AN AUSTIN VIBE!


The celebration continued.....we were off to Austin!


We decided to take a weekend trip down to Austin to visit #3 son and spend a few days seeing the sights of Austin! Of course, as soon as we arrived, it was time for lunch and decided to head down to Congress street to experience some of the local sights and sounds!



How cute......a tiny succulent cart!

Rob took us to Home Slice.....oh my gosh.....this place was so interesting! The boys shared a fantastic pizza, while I opted for their Greek Salad. So fun, so busy and so delicious! We highly recommend this local pizza joint!


Ok....y'all smile for me!


Time for our family selfie!


Would you believe they actually ate every slice of this huge pizza?


The darling treated me to a romantic stay at the Omni.....we stayed in The Governor's Suite!
Chocolate covered strawberries and champagne were part of our package!
 I could totally get used to being a princess!


We also decided to treat ourselves to a summer movie......this is one of our most enjoyable things to do with Rob......taking in a movie! We did this together on every trip he made to Maine! We really loved seeing, Dawn.....Planet of the Apes! They were both amazed I agreed to see this movie, but it was quite entertaining!


Perfect timing......Happy Hour at the Omni!


A toast to our birthdays and visiting the baby of the family!


           It's Five O'clock Somewhere....as the saying goes!


By this time, everyone decided on a steak dinner.
. We chose Austin Land and Cattle!
I will say, this was fantastic....my kind of fine dining!


When we can all arrange a trip at the same time, we will easily fill the
John Wayne room, directly in the background!
Rob said it was the best steak he ever had...a ribeye topped with crabmeat mornay sauce!


Breakfast the next morning.....this was my request...Sunday at I-Hop!



Before we headed home, we took a tour of Central Market!
I wanted to pick up some of those delicious Fredricksburg Peaches!


The darling was receiving a lesson on craft beers......
who ever realized there were so many details to learn about beer?
Thanks for entertaining the old folks Rob.....we'll be back!

July 21, 2014

CUSTARD BREAD PUDDING....A KEEPSAKE RECIPE



Want to turn on the charm? Southern Charm? Then Bread Pudding should be first and foremost on your list of specialties! This is going to be perhaps my “one and only” from now on. It certainly shows that you can always learn something new in cooking. In all of the years I have prepared a bread pudding, I had never used bagels before. What took me so long? I think you are going to absolutely love this recipe!
 
 

  
CUSTARD BREAD PUDDING
2 Cups milk
1/2 Cup sugar
A pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 T. vanilla
½ t. nutmeg
2 plain bagels, cubed
1/4 cup butter, melted



Cut bagels into cubes. Use two plain bagels, both top and bottom. Place bagel cubes into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Mix butter and eggs together. Add the milk , salt, vanilla and sugar. Pour over the bagels and press down with a spoon to have the liquid custard coat the bagel cubes.  Sprinkle with nutmeg. Place the loaf pan into a larger baking dish and add 1 inch of hot water to create a water bath. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes.

July 19, 2014

CELEBRATING HIS BIRTHDAY....MOMENTS OF HAPPINESS

 

Ahhh......just look at this! A rainy morning with cool temperatures in July!
Now, THIS my darlings, is a true blessing!
We were awakened during the night with bright flashes of
lightening illuminating the bedroom.
Thunder came next.....and then...the beautiful sounds of rain!


Maypole! Good morning precious!
Do you know that today is your Papa' s birthday?


She is fascinated by the raindrops hitting the swimming pool!
 Rainwater makes everything such a vibrant green.
 My Morning Glories continue to climb the trellis, but have yet to bloom.
The Mandevilla vine is doing beautifully, so once the Morning Glories bloom,
those vibrant pink blossoms are going to be stunning amongst the purple blooms!

 
Mae had an afternoon visitor!
It interrupted her naptime, but she misses seeing her Mr. Jimmy (her Maine squirrel),
 so any sightings of bunny rabbits are most welcome!
 
 
 We celebrated the darling's birthday!
This is the sweetest picture of him, along with his older sister.
She shared this on Facebook and I was so delighted as
 I had never seen this picture before!
They lived in Brandon, Mississippi at the time.
 
I should also mention, he was born on his Maternal Grandmother's birthday.
 
 
This is how Miss Abbie told me to take a picture in the mirror.
I wanted to ensure the darling still thought I was his trophy , I mean, adoring wife!

 
A toast to the Birthday Boy!
He declined my offer to take his picture.....
 
 
We had a fun-filled dinner with two of the boys and their lovely brides!
So much to talk about...Jenn's upcoming trip to San Antonio to attend the ordination ceremony of her cousin, Cat's Peach Peddle update last week in Weatherford, Nick's plans for the sailing lessons next month, Greg's tale of Bo finding a dead frog......
and our upcoming trip to Austin!
Fun times!
We are so blessed to celebrate yet another birthday and good health!
He is the love of my life!
 

This morning, it is a record 63 degrees F.
Oh my.....morning coffee on the patio sounds like a great way to begin the day!



Wishing you all a beautiful weekend!

July 18, 2014

BAKED BRIE WITH JEZEBEL PEACHES

 
While Miss M was visiting last month, her sweet husband decided to surprise her with a new addition to their beautiful deck! This ironwork gate had been on the side entry of their house, so he decided to add a touch of New Orleans by replacing up behind their fountain! WOW! He has such a visual eye for what looks good! She loved it!
 

She also said she made a fabulous appetizer for the adults at Luke's birthday party! It sounded like a divine appetizer for summer entertaining so I prepared this for our Sunday evening by the pool! Oh yes ma'am......you are going to love this one! It has a sophisticated taste and looks gorgeous when serving!


CREAMY BAKED BRIE WITH JEZEBEL PEACHES
1 tablespoon hot jalapeno pepper jelly
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large ripe peach, peeled and diced
1 Brie round (about 13.2 oz.), packed in a wooden box
Assorted crackers

 
 Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 4 ingredients; gently stir in peaches until coated.

Unwrap Brie; trim and discard rind from top. Return cheese to wooden box bottom, and place box on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Spoon peach mixture over Brie, mounding slightly. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Carefully transfer box to a platter, and serve immediately with crackers.
 
 
I am joining Food Friday today! More wonderful recipes to share!
 

July 17, 2014

A SUMMER DAY IN CHESTNUT SQUARE

It can be a really cool thing to do spending a day being a tourist in your own city or town!
 
The History of Chestnut Square
 
In November of 1973, Joan Palmer Hughston organized a small group of women to preserve a sample of McKinney’s historic heritage. Those in attendance at that first meeting were Joan’s mother-in-law, Margaret Hughston, Martha Schubert, Frances Caldwell, Nan Dyer, Irene Hay Thomas, Frieda Comegys, Lucy Burkett and Ethel Holt.
 
Their first project was to host a Christmas tour of homes.  Margaret Hughston's home on Howell Street represented A Children’s Christmas.  Joan Hughston’s home on Louisiana depicted A Victorian Christmas. Ethel Holt showed her farm house as A Farm Christmas.  Martha Schubert’s represented A Family Christmas and Nanette Boyd’s home depicted A Modern Christmas.  That first Christmas Tour was a huge success.
 
The financial rewards enabled the group to purchase the Dulaney home and the adjacent Dulaney cottage on Chestnut Street. These homes became the foundation of what we today call Chestnut Square Historic Village.
 
In 1974 the Heritage Guild of Collin County was formed to perpetuate the preservation of Chestnut Square Historic Village.

  

As I was looking back at photos of last summer, to remind myself of what we were doing one year ago, I came across our afternoon touring the historic center of our city, known as Chestnut Square!

For some reason, I don't think I ever posted about what a fabulous day this way with the grandchildren and Miss M as we visited this area for the very first time. One thing I vividly remember is how HOT, HOT, HOT it was this day!



Chestnut Square Historic Village is a collection of six historic homes, a replica of a one-room school house, chapel and store on 2.5 acres just south of the downtown McKinney square.  The grounds also include a blacksmith shop, smoke house, and beautiful chapel and reception gardens.  The buildings include period artifacts showing how people lived in Collin County from 1854-1920. 


There is an annual "ice cream crank-off" with a top prize awarded to the best homemade ice cream! This building welcomes you to the tour. They have a vast collection of ice cream makers! I think the children thought they would sit for awhile and cool off before heading out to complete the tour!


I loved that they allowed you to take pictures inside each home!
The children were well behaved and I think were amazed at how small and rustic homes were back in their great-great grandparents day!




They host various childrens camps in summer featuring different activites. Each camp will include a textile art such as weaving, knitting, cross stitch, pillow making and quilting. They also play period children’s games and practice home living to reflect the time period. The children learn to square dance, churn butter, make pies, cornbread and soap. They enjoy tea and scones mid-morning! Isn’t this a wonderful week to have children take a peek into the past, rather than sit inside with cell phones in their hands!


This is one of the camps being held last July!
Weren't these little girls just precious!


It was obvious to me they were having a ball as they scampered off giggling!


This tiny house was actually a former bed and breakfast for travelers!


Miss Abbie! 
She could not get over the fact that there was a bedroom
as soon as you walked in the front door.


We stopped at Dixie's Store to feed the babies....I adore goats....just love em'!


Would you believe, I would love to have a stove like this!
I remember my grandmother's icebox was very similar to this one!



What a treasure to have this period stove still in the house!


I love this shot......so Americana!


Hope you enjoyed the tour today!