Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011 Friends!

In the New Year,
we wish you the best year you’ve ever had,
and that each New Year
will be better than the last.
May you realize your fondest dreams
and take time to recognize and enjoy
each and every blessing. 
Happy New Year,
And many more!
By Joanna Fuchs

Wouldn't it be nice to greet your New Years Eve guests with the special house drink?  How about a "Chocolate Blitzen Martini" to kick off the get together!


2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/3 c. chocolate-flavored sprinkles
1 c. chocolate ice cream
2 oz(1/4 c.) Bailey's
1 oz. (2 tablespoons) dark cream de cacao
1 oz. (2 tablespoons) vodka
Chocolate curls 


1. In a heavy small saucepan, heat chocolate over low heat until melted. Dip the rims of eight 1-ounce mini martini glasses or shot glasses in the melted chocolate and then dip in the sprinkles. Chill until serving time.

2. In a blender, combine ice cream, Bailey's, cream de cacao, and vodka. Cover and blend until mixture is smooth.

3. Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with chocolate curls. Serve immediately. Makes 8 (1-ounce) servings.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas, especially to our friends and families near and far.  True wishes for Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Party at Aunt Mae's . . .

Last night we went to my Aunt Mae & Uncle's annual Christmas party!  A fun time was had by all.  The dining room table which seats 10 was filled with appetizers - you name it and you'd find it! Deviled eggs to die for, shrimp cocktail, chicken on a stick, teriyaki chicken wings and drumsticks, buffalo chicken dip, egg rolls, scallops wrapped in bacon, beef wrapped in bacon, veggies and dip, there was something for everyone!

A little embarrassed . . . 

Upstairs in the family room Santa arrived and low and behold he had a gift for all the little kids - even if they were naughty!

Cooking for a crowd!

Meanwhile in the kitchen there was a pasta station - you name it and it was there!  You had your choice of sauce, red or Alfredo, meatballs & sausage, chicken, shrimp, ham, artichokes, olives, onion, basil, green peppers served over cheese tortellini or rotini - yum, yum, yum!

Sisters & a beau!


Third cousins . . . 

Engaged - for 4 years!  When's the wedding!

The mantle decorated by Aunt Mae
A table-top boxwood tree!

Relatives and friends, young and old were relaxing and having a great time!  Can't wait until next year's party!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pomegranate Glazed Pork Tenderloin

This evening I made pomegranate glazed pork tenderloin - I was feeling a little guilty about not making hubby a grand dinner for his birthday.  We did go out to dinner, but somehow it wasn't the same - for me!  This pomegranate dish sounds exotic (to me anyway), it really isn't.  All I did was coat the tenderloin with about 3 tablespoons of pomegranate jam!  It was was melt in your mouth delicious, flavorful, juicy and tender! This would also be great brushed on a crown pork roast (which I happen to love) and served for Christmas dinner!

Along with the pork I served a roasted veggie medley of cauliflower, asparagus, and carrots. I roasted everything at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

Here are the roasted veggies, (the photo didn't come out that well) they were tossed with a little bit of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and fresh ground pepper, then roasted for about 30 minutes.  They were just delicious!

For dessert we ate cake and drank tea!  I ordered a cake from my favorite baker, Creative Cakes by Debby.  It was a white almond cake with butter cream frosting - again, delicious!  All in all we had a lovely dinner and I feel vindicated!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday's past . . . some fun times!

 Here are some fun shots of our 2009 family pre-Christmas.  We had to have a pre-Christmas party because my brother, sister-in-law and their two daughters were going to be in Florida visiting my sister-in-law's family. The good news is they said they'd never do it again!

On of my nieces, recently home from college pointed  out that "girls rule" in our family.  We have more females than males, and we usually have a lot of fun.  This photo started out originally with two people, and people kept jumping in!  

 This was early in the evening, not much wine had been consumed at this point, my mom even jumped in for this photo shoot, and yes, one of my nieces was laying on the floor looking up at us!

Here's a pic of my sisters Christmas tree, it was huge!  It was so huge that her husband had to fasten it to the wall!

I'm looking forward to posting this years Christmas photos!  I'm also thrilled to be finished with one of my graduate classes and my student teaching - one more to wrap up!  And I'd like to wish my hubby a very Happy Birthday (Dec. 8th) this past Wednesday!  He's a wonderful guy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree . . .

Oh Christmas Tree . . .

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here . . . this morning I was out and about with one of my girlfriends and we stopped at a local farm stand - oh the greens, the boxwood trees, and beautiful wreaths!  I can't wait to decorate the outside of our home.  I'm looking forward to attending Aunt Mae's annual Christmas party, but most of all I'm looking forward to spending time with good friends and family.  

Even Duke's ready!

I saw a recipe for an egg-nog bundt cake on someone's blog (sorry I can't remember who had it) and I though it would be a fun recipe!  So I went to and found this one!  And would you just look at the nutritional information, now how's that for a gift - LOL!!!  Enjoy!


1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 cup eggnog*
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped
1.In a mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Beat on low until moistened, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack. Remove from pan; cool completely. For sauce, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan; gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Blend a small amount into egg yolk. Return all to the pan; mix well. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool for 15 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Store in the refrigerator. Serve with the cake.
Servings Per Recipe: 16
Calories: N/A
Amount Per Serving
  • Total Fat: N/A
  • Cholesterol: N/A
  • Sodium: N/A
Amount Per Serving
  • Total Carbs: N/A
  •     Dietary Fiber: N/A
  • Protein: N/A

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our new front door . . . Welcome, please come in!

Hubby and I have been talking about getting a new front door since we moved into our home some 15 years ago!  We finally ordered one last evening!  We decided to take advantage of the tax credit and improve our energy with a new door.  Truthfully, on a windy day I could probably blow-dry my hair from the draft that comes from that door!  So, what do you think about my new door?  I really love it!  

This is what the glass looks like up close and personal - what do you think?  I fell in love with it! I also liked the privacy rating on this glass, it was a 9 out of 10! 

Next we'll order the lock set, we have some time, the door will take two weeks to arrive.  I think we'll order a brushed nickel or pewter, what do you think?  I'm so excited about my new holiday home improvement!  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's Pie Day!!!


Today, the day before Thanksgiving is what we refer to as "Pie Day" in my family!  It's become a family holiday!  It is a much awaited for event where multiple generations of the women, girls and sometimes the guys, get together and make pies!  We gather at my Aunt Mae's and we bake from about 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The most pies ever made in one year - 45!  You could say it's a regular work day!  LOL!!


Everyone brings their own ingredients, pie plates, rolling pins, fillings and specialty tools.  What makes this so much fun is now the young girls are useful - they peel the apples! We also each bring a bottle of wine.  The wine isn't uncorked until the last of the pies are in the ovens.  The running joke is we make pies, they we get pie-eyed!

Lemon Meringue

The tradition started about 10 years ago, Aunt Mae was the only one who had nana's pie crust recipe and who could make her pies.  So, she told us to bring our stuff the day before Thanksgiving and she'd teach us how to make pies - we are now a family of pie makers!  There are at least 25 of us making pies!

The Queen of Pies - Apple

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Remembering JFK

Today marks the 47th anniversary of the death of our 35th President, John F. Kennedy.  I just wanted to take a moment to remember him.

Below are some of his great quotes. 

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. "  - JFK Inaugural address

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered at the White House - with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
John F. Kennedy

I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President, who happens also to be a Catholic.
John F. Kennedy

I am sorry to say that there is too much point to the wisecrack that life is extinct on other planets because their scientists were more advanced than ours.
John F. Kennedy

I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.
John F. Kennedy

I don't think the intelligence reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of the New York Times.
John F. Kennedy

I hope that no American will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me solely on account of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant.
John F. Kennedy

I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; Dear Jack, Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide.
John F. Kennedy

I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.
John F. Kennedy

I think 'Hail to the Chief' has a nice ring to it.
John F. Kennedy

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
John F. Kennedy

In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.
John F. Kennedy

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.
John F. Kennedy

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beef Stew & Books . . . hmmm

It was good!

As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near I find myself wanting to toss everything aside and work around our home painting, cleaning and cooking! Unfortunately the text books are calling - loudly! This past weekend I wanted to make a beef stew, needed to finish a lesson plan, wanted to bake a loaf of bread, and needed to take a trip to the local library!

I think taking Fall classes, especially two with a 200 hr. practicum, is the worst thing to do to ones self - for me. Thankfully this time next month my agony and anxiety will be over and I should be able to put up the tree without the books calling - if they are still calling this time next month they'll probably find themselves in the fireplace!

A pile of books used for my lesson plan and to answer some questions

With the completion of these two classes and my 200 hr. practicum I'll have my library media specialist license - yeah! What does that mean? I'll be able to be a school librarian - yeah! That will leave me with 4 classes left to take to complete my masters in library - yeah! Those will be taken one at a time! My January class is lined up already!

So, without further adieu here's my beef stew! In case you were wondering, I went to the library, finished the lesson plan and I bought the bread!

Would you like some?

Balsamic Beef Stew


  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to
  • 2 lb. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat
    and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 lb. red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1 1/2-
    inch chunks
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar


Brown the meat
In a resealable plastic bag, combine the flour, the 1/2 tsp. salt and the 1/2 tsp. pepper. Add the beef, seal the bag and shake to coat the beef with the seasoned flour.

In a heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches if needed to avoid crowding, remove the beef from the bag, shake off the excess flour and add the meat to the pot in a single layer. Cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate.

Add the onion to the drippings in the pan and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, wine and broth.

Braise the meat and vegetables
Return the meat and any juices from the plate to the pot. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and braise until the meat is nearly fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add the potatoes and carrots, re-cover and continue to braise until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more.

Finish the dish
Season the stew with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, divide among individual shallow bowls and serve immediately. Serves 6.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is November 11th and I would like to open this post by thanking all veterans from all countries who are serving and who have served their country and have fought for freedom. I'm sending special thanks to the U.S. Veterans that I personally know and have known during my lifetime. Whether they served in the Great War (Grampa) or World War II (Uncle William, Uncle Peter, Uncle Jimmy, Tony), or the Korean Conflict (Uncle George, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Danny, Pete, Dick, Bobby, Tommy, Joe) or the Cuban Missile Crisis (brother-in-law Cy) or the Vietnam War (George, Dick, David, Al, Mike, Tom, Walter, Normand) or Desert Storm (Amy, Joyce, Rich ) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (Stephen, Matt, Scott) or whether you have simply served during peace time (cousins Kathy, Doug & BettyAnn, friend Mary). I also want to thank two who couldn't serve but wanted to serve (Dad, Uncle Connie) and to those who served in conflicts that were not mentioned. It is because of these soldiers and marines that we are able to enjoy our freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.

Below is a history of Veterans Day, and a collection of patriotic flag photos that I have taken over the past few years.

(Mast from the USS Portland, now a memorial)


World War I, then normally referred to simply as The Great War (no one could imagine any war being greater!), ended with the implementation of an armistice [temporary cessation of hostilities-in this case until the final peace treaty, the infamous Treaty of Versailles, was signed in 1919] between the Allies and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, 1918.

(Portland Head Light - commissioned by President George Washington)


November 11: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public mettings.

(Civil War Soldier who fell at Fredrickburg buried in Massachusetts)


On the second anniversary of the armistice, France and the United Kingdom hold ceremonies honoring their unknown dead from the war. In America, at the suggestion of church groups, President Wilson names the Sunday nearest Armistice Day Sunday, on which should be held services in the interest of international peace.

(Cape Porpoise Maine)


Congress passes legislation approving the establishment of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. November 11 is chosen for the date of the ceremony. According on October 20, Congress declares November 11, 1921 a legal Federal holiday to honor all those who participated in the war. The ceremony was conducted with great success.

(Cape Elizabeth, Maine)


Congress adopts a resolution directing the President to issue an annual proclamation calling on the observance of Armistice Day. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, most states establish November 11 as a legal holiday and at the Federal level, an annual proclamation is issued by the President.

(Old Glory with 45 Stars & Stripes - Freeport, Maine)


Congress passes legislation on May 13 making November 11 a legal Federal holiday, Armistice Day. The United States has no 'actual' national holidays because the states retain the right to designate their own holidays. The Federal government can in fact only designate holidays for Federal employees and for the District of Columbia. But in practice the states almost always follow the Federal lead in designation of holidays.

(Kennebunkport, Maine)

1941- 1945

(Biddeford Pool, Maine)

1950- 1953

World War II and the Korean War create millions of additional war veterans in addition to those of the First World War already honored by Armistice Day.

(Hollis, New Hampshire)


On June 1, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day.

(Portland, Maine)


Congress passes the Monday Holiday Law which established the fourth Monday in October as the new date for the observance of Veteran's Day. The law is to take effect in 1971.

(Kettle Cove, Maine)


The Federal observance of Veterans Day is held on the fourth Monday of October. Initially all states follow suit except Mississippi and South Dakota. Other states changed their observances back to November 11 as follows: 1972- Louisiana and Wisconsin; 1974- Kentucky, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, South Carolina, West Virginia; 1975- California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

(So. Portland, Maine)


Legislation passed to return the Federal observance of Veteran's Day to November 11, based on popular support throughout the nation. Since the change to the fourth Monday in October, 46 states had either continued to commemorate November 11 or had reverted back to the original date based on popular sentiment. The law was to take effect in 1978.

(Old Orchard Beach, Maine)


Veteran's Day observance reverts to November 11.

(Kennebunkport, Maine)

I hope you enjoyed my tribute to our brave men and women.