Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Pistachio Pound Cake



Looking for a quick & easy St. Pats dessert? Found this on Pinterest and made it last night, the link didn’t go anywhere which I hate but the directions were posted under the pic. My version is pictured here …..

It was easy and came out really yummy and moist. I baked it for about 45 min. on 350 degrees.

The weather is kind of crappy here on the East Coast this St. Patrick’s Day so the Cabin Fever continues, I really can’t wait to get into my garden but that will have to wait.

Trying to figure out what to do today……maybe a little Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee……



Cabin Fever

Garden Graveyard

Garden Graveyard

I sit here pondering the day after the “Big Snowstorm” that wasn’t……I almost feel sorry for the weatherman who put their reputations on the line on a constant basis. It’s like a crap shoot, 9 times outta 10 you’re not gonna hit it on the head! Then the poor shmucks go on the air or the social media outlets declaring how their forecast was a bust, but they take full responsibility for how they misread Mother Nature…..guys she’s a Woman, don’t you know by now that you will never understand her, she’s playing with you…What’s worse are the comments that ensue from the public, blaming them for the lack of snow, I would have liked a nice Snowstorm to close out the Winter but hey it is what it is.

Back to my pondering….as you can see in my garden pic, my green thumb is a little rusty. This time of year is always the same for me. I get the urge to be outside with my hands in the dirt, planting re-arranging, getting the screened porch ready for the season, but I need it to be at least in the 60’s to tackle outside chores. So here I sit Pinning and going through magazines, planning transforming my yard into an oasis. I love the change of Seasons this is why I could never live in a place like Florida, this does however require me to endure the “in between” times. The times when it’s just too cold to do anything outside and the times when it’s too damn hot to do anything outside.  Maybe I need a new hobby for these lulls in between.


Now that my kids are grown this is the extent of my Easter decorating….I did however re-do a little area of my kitchen into a reading nook.

004I removed my Oak pedestal table since we never use it , and added some chairs and a table my Hubby made. It’s a great place for coffee or Wine, to read or watch TV. I spend most of my waking hours in my Kitchen, it is literally the hub of the house.

So here’s to Spring and to “Bud Break”! To getting dirt under your nails, and oh of course to more daylight, don’t forget to turn back your clocks this weekend.



Duck Dynasty VS. Honey Boo Boo

Why do I find scruffy beard wearing, squirrel eating, redneck to the core men so charming?

I find it very curious that I have no problem watching endless marathons of Duck Dynasty and can’t stomach 5 seconds of that strange enigma they call Honey Boo Boo. I am not a Redneck by any means, I don’t hunt nor does any of my kids or my husband, now I did grow up in a hunting family. My Dad and brothers were avid hunters during my childhood but trust me the few times they took me the clay pigeons were safe! 

Some can argue that both reality shows lack class but I beg to differ. There is more class and integrity in the Robertson Clan’s dirty boots than will ever exude from freaks of nature that reside in the Boo Boo household. Who thought that was a good idea? They represent the deterioration of the white picket fence….and have replaced it with a rickety set of low values and poor hygiene.

I was a reluctant viewer of Duck Dynasty at first, but like anything else sometimes you just want to see what the hype is about, but Si had me at “Hey”….I must admit I do have just a little crush on Jase….the whole clan has mastered the camera and are surprisingly witty. The kids have manners, and I really don’t think that’s an act, they seem very genuine. The wives are beautiful and definitely break the mold of a Redneck woman. 

I can’t say that I have actually watched a full episode of Boo Boo…..but I have caught snip-its while channel surfing…and let me tell you needing subtitles to understand their gibberish astounds me. Please people wear some clothes that fit, take some of your new-found money and get a dentist and by all means put the fork down! 

No contest……I would hang out with the Robertson’s anyday…So I am looking forward to the return tonight. They make me Happy, Happy, Happy!!

Has anyone considered Wife Swap with these two families? Now that would be insane!!



Norton Wine Reception

I have to admit sometimes I miss catering……not enough to go back into the restaurant business mind you, but I sometimes get the urge to whip something up for the masses. Working at a Winery occasionally gives me the chance to tap into my love for food. I had that chance today trying to pair some light fare to go with a Norton Wine our Wine Maker released today. The limited supply  gave cause for a small reception for our Wine Club members to taste and buy. This particular Wine was interesting to me and has become a prime example of how aging of a Wine can totally transform and enhance its flavor. It is a 2011 vintage which may not really be that old but let me tell you what a difference in taste from the first time I tried it. Over the past year we have sampled it at Tasting Trials and all I could think was “This tastes like dirt” to put it nicely……Wanting to be more diplomatic I changed my description to “Earthy“….much more acceptable.  This Native American  Earthy Red has grown on me, after tasting it today  I am a true fan!!!  The Norton Grape has a interesting story to tell if you get the chance check out it’s origin…..great story.

027 This is our Wine Maker, William Layton                       Layton’s Chance Winery


021 018 017 016 012 010 This Norton Wine proved to be a bit of a challenge to pair: I went with Pulled Bison, Brie with Honey Walnut Sauce, Garlic Herb Bread with Unfiltered Olive Oil, Caprese Bites, Smoked Summer Sausage, Hard Salami, Smoked Almonds……and yes Red Velvet Truffle Brownies from a Pinterest Recipe. If you are looking for a Valentine’s dessert these are scrumptious and look quite dramatic.




Ravens In The Fog

67970_10200557668248624_1644720583_nWhat a sad world we live in….my son who lives in San Francisco and of course is a die-hard Raven’s fan has become part of a fan group called… Raven’s In The Fog. They have been meeting at a local Bar to watch this year’s amazing Raven’s ride.  Recently they have become national news including yesterday’s article in the Baltimore Sun.


Me in my own Raven’s fog has been enjoying seeing him in the paper and seeing other news outlets reporting on the story, they were also featured in an online story on WBAL.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I have to admit I had some concerns about my son being in “enemy territory” watching the Super Bowl. Well here comes the sad world we live in…..the group was forced or strongly encouraged by the San Francisco police department to cancel the event, they can not guarantee their safety.

I have mixed feelings about this….of course I worry that his good-natured “rooting for his team” may rub someone the wrong way, but really people? IT’S A FOOTBALL GAME!!!!!! When did cheering on your team become something that needed protection? Now I am as avid a fan as anyone, but it has never crossed my mind to hurl obscenities or punches at an opposing teams fan. My god we have a Redskins fan in the family. The transplant Raven’s fans living in San Francisco live there because they love it, they were not sent to destroy the 49ers fan base.

Can’t we all just get along?  I understand the strange predicament that the SF Police are in and I surely do not want any harm to come to my Son or any of the Purple contingent that call SF their home. But why can’t we have the freedom to cheer our favorite team on without worrying about our safety. Don’t we have bigger issues?

So here’s to you Raven’s In The Fog…..sorry your Event was taken away….I admire the passion you show your beloved Baltimore Raven’s ……Be Safe!!!

Pinterest Passion

Oh how I would love to Pin my day away……I do admit I am quite jealous of the scant few who get to do this for a living. I have on occasion checked out the careers board on Pinterest and daydreamed of living out the second half of my life on the West Coast….sippin California Wine, doin a little Pinnin. Who gets to do this and get paid? It must be illegal!

  It’s intoxicating, strategically pinning the hours away wondering what pins will get the second look and have the almighty REPIN. I don’t have many obsessions but this is one, I can get lost in the endless boards of things I will never make and foods I will never cook, exercises of skinny people that will never be done, and let’s not forget all of the witty sayings that I wish I had the nerve to say. But hey, my boards are a window into the life I dream of, they hold images of all the things I wish I could do or be……what? wait a minute….that’s a waste….I can do these things. Why just Pin my dreams? Let’s look at this a different way.

Although I  don’t crave making every Nutella recipe known to man (what is it with the thousands of Nutella recipes anyway) I can try the Recipes that interest me, I can do the crafty things that I think I would like, I can paint my walls that awesome color I just pinned, I can live all those cutesy witty sayings that everyone thinks but never has the guts to say out loud, I can do all those exercises and have that rock solid body like that non-existent girl in the picture……ok the last one is a bit far-fetched but I can compromise and try the body cleanse drink recipe at least.

As with most things in my life I tend to always preface all my thoughts with” someday” the problem with this method is that you can spend your whole life never really living you just coast on fumes, never really being a participant. Now don’t get me wrong I have been blessed with lots of great moments, but sometimes I anticipate more than I participate if that makes sense, wow….that was deep….can I pin that? Sorry….back to my point. I refrained from making any Resolutions this year because quite frankly  I suck at keeping them, so why set myself up for failure. When I started blogging last year I was all about ” I am going to do this and I am going to do that, I am going to change this or be that….” I was so full of shit. I am the queen of good ideas, just don’t expect me to see them through. So this New Year I simply promised myself to be more “In the Moment” to try to DO not just BE.

Baby steps people…..my tangent has steered me way off course, my initial intention of this post was to talk about some of the things I have tried off of Pinterest …some successful, some …not so much. I don’t know about you but I have been much more aware of people’s reviews or remark’s on Pins in general. They can be quite helpful in deciding if I want to invest the time and money in trying something.

So here goes some basic easy peasy Recipe winners that I have actually tried and liked.

First up you can’t get any easier than these 2 ingredient dessert recipes, I have tried 2 and they are both hits with me….

Pumpkin Muffins- 1 box yellow cake mix 1 can of pumpkin…that’s it, mix them together and bake….they are moist and great for a quick Breakfast.http://sweet-verbena.blogspot.com/2011/08/pumpkin-muffins.html


Pineapple Angelfood Cake-1 box Angelfood Mix- 1 can crushed pineapple in juice , mix together and  bake….http://www.dawnsquiltcorner.com/2012/09/make-this-cake-today.html


Now the reason I love these is because how much easier can it be than to have just these few ingredients on hand at all times for a quick last-minute dessert or snack.

And here is another easy winner….



This cake was easy and awesome!!! Big hit at my house!!

I have tried to post the original links for these so I hope I am giving correct credit….

These are just a few samples I hope to post some more Pinned success projects but don’t hold me to it, I am trying but I am a work in progress……

Pam and I am a Pinnaholic!

Any Given Sunday…..

f4ca2524002211e2b2c322000a1e9e1f_5025I wake this morning…..nervous, excited, and psyching myself up for tonight’s Ravens game. I so look forward to September and the start of Football, in our neighborhood it is a religion. we come together in the “Man Cave” and live and die on every play. We all have our “assigned” seats, which we can not change for this may knock the stars out of whack for our team. We wear our jerseys proudly, we eat, we drink, we cheer , we cuss, we high five, we hug……we coach. This emotional roller coaster at this point in the season comes with lots of ups and downs, one game away from the Super Bowl. We sat here at this same time last year, same opponent (and I hate that stupid cut off sweatshirt their coach wears…just sayin ). So we gear up today for the rematch, we have done our trash talking, said our prayers, hoping we can ride the wave from last weeks amazing game against Denver. No matter the turn out, I am sad the season is winding down I will miss the weekly 3 hours that grown Men and Women can act like fools.

So good luck Ravens! It’s been a great season and thanks for the memories Ray Lewis, love him or hate him he is football, I hope today is his second to last game! I will wear #52 today proudly……..now let’s go kick some Patriot ASS!!!!!!!

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Truth Be Told……

Wisdom is wasted on the old.
Forgiveness is the greatest gift….to yourself.
Wallpaper is evil.
Diet Soda is the biggest lie ever told.
Worry is a useless emotion.
Reverse Psychology is underused.
First impressions are usually almost always correct.
Hunches should be trusted.
Champagne should always be on hand.
People who think they are better than you have something to hide.
Judging someone is a sure bet for karma to visit your doorstep.
Laughter cures most ills.
A good cry can cleanse your soul.
Learn from regret.
Being right does not always bring satisfaction.

Sometimes I think I am the sanest person I know.
Happiness doesn’t just happen, you have to work at it.
Loneliness is the start of many failed relationships.
“No” doesn’t require justification.
It’s better to ask for directions than to wander aimlessly.
Insomnia sucks.
If you have a fireplace, use it.
Never count on someday.
Target is awesome.
Walmart is a stage for all that is wrong with America.
Singing loudly in your car is therapeutic.
Dancing in your kitchen is cool.
No one’s perfect.
Wine is good.

Just some random thoughts…..

Let The Pre-Gaming of The Holidays Commence

It begins this time every year…….

Packing away the spooky decor of another Halloween I am beside myself with eagerness to unfurl my paper Turkey and proudly display my Woodland  Tree.  I like to slowly transform my home from Fall to Christmas starting right after the last pack of Smarties hit my husbands mouth, which is usually the day after Halloween.
It’s no surprise to anyone that knows me that I live for this time of year. I love the sappy movies, the decorations, the weather….all of it just makes me giddy! As I write this I am enjoying the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas  and let’s not forget the “Countdown to the real Countdown to the 25 days of Christmas” movies which will begin on November 19th on ABC Family. Unfortunately the time of year which is supposed to bring us together separates my husband and I to different rooms of the house, he can only stomach so much of the holiday drama that I can watch over and over again, I just can’t help myself.

I don’t attach a lot of sentiment in very many objects but I can’t help but smile when I take out my huge Pottery Barn Turkey plate that I bought in New York for $14.00 and lugged on the subway back to our hotel much to the displeasure of my daughters and best friend( hey this girl knows a good deal when she see’s it). The pine cone turkey that one of the kid’s made in grade school must take its rightful place on the jelly cupboard or it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving.

This time of year never lasts long enough for me, I am just not a Summer girl, it seems as though I live the entire rest of the year preparing for this season….At the first smell of a fire I feel like I come out of hibernation, mulled cider or wine for that matter even better,  beautiful leaves that  turn unbelievable colors, the sunsets and moon even take on different personalities…..

Even though the whole family being together at the same time is becoming quite the rarity with the kids starting to develop roots in different area codes, my motherly instinct needs to keep the status quo here on the home front.

So coffee in hand I will make the Cranberry Lime Vodka, line up my recipes for Thanksgiving and holiday treats, lose sleep over where the tree will go this year and relish in just breathing in the Autumn air.

In this time of turmoil for so many of our northern neighbors ravaged by the recent storm, and the vast population hoping for a brighter future I am hoping this season brings comfort and shelter and promise of better things to come…..

West Coast Travels

This is my first try at a travel blog, I am no expert but my recent trip out West was worth writing about!
I started out on a thursday leaving from Dulles, not my first choice of airports to leave from but I got a decent price that made it worth the extra mileage and traffic. I went through Priceline  , my first bid was not accepted but they countered with $300.00 which seemed reasonable and less expensive than the advertised price. I don’t use the “name your own price” option much but it is a great way to get a good deal on a hotel if you aren’t married to staying in an exact location.  If you put in the star level you want and the general area you can get some great deals, this works well in New York.

My flight was uneventful, thank you God because I have had some crazy experiences with flying but that’s a story for another day. I sat next to this 20 year old who was on his way back home from visiting his girlfriend in Washington, they met at college in Nebraska, he was so adorable he told me all about his trip and his plans, his parents should be proud. So Mark from Nebraska, thanks for the chat.

My layover in Dallas was a couple of hours so whats that mean? Yep, airport bar…Had a couple of great Margaritas. I love airport bars, I love to watch the unfolding stories and imagine where there going. My flight from Dallas to San Francisco was awesome 3 seats to my self and a movie!….and some Wine!

I went out to visit my oldest son who recently relocated to Palo Alto for a job at a start up (his lifelong dream). His office is actually located on the Google Campus, tech heaven….


After landing in San Francisco thursday night, my son drove me to my first stop Dinah’s Garden Hotel

Dinah's Garden Hotel Palo Alto

What a great hotel, it was clean and my room was great overlooking the pool. The best part was it was only $100.00 a night. Rated at 3.5 stars on most travel sites I thought this was a great deal. It is located close to Stanford and to all of the Tech stuff. Trader Vic’s is on site, which I never stepped foot in but I we had breakfast by the pool Friday morning and had one of the best omelets ever! Kinda pricey but I figured the room was a steal so what the heck…

Friday we set out to Half Moon Bay on the instruction of a friend of mine. (shout out Tina Collins!) She gave us some great tips that we would of never found out on our own. First we set out to find the Ritz Carlton, www.ritzcarlton.com/halfmoonbay there are no signs so we used our navigation, we approached a gate so we figured this must be it, fully expecting to get turned away since we weren’t guests I was pleasantly surprised that the attendant waved us in and even allowed us to park in the garage …..for FREE! There are signs for public beach access that also suprised me. This place was unbelievably gorgeous, the golf course sits on cliffs that overlook the Pacific, the beach was also stunning. After some picture taking and stroll to the beach we decided to check out the outside bar, what a backdrop. Adirondack chairs and couches everywhere with crackling firepits ….what more could you ask for, I could of sat there all day. But hunger calls so on another tip we headed up the coast a bit and had a great dinner at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.

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Saturday we met up with our tour guide for the day my friend Tina. She was kind enough to give us a great tour going south , Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel and the highlight for my son Pebble Beach and Spanish Bay. It amazed me we could see so much in a day , we checked out the pier in Santa Cruz had breakfast out by the water, drove through Monterey and walked out on a beach in Carmel, had a drink at the Highlands and then headed onto Seventeen Mile Drive to Pebble Beach and Spanish Bay.

The day didn’t end here, we headed to a Winery in Los Gatos. Testarossa Winery sits up on a hill and looks like it’s been there forever, very old world. We ended our day with a great dinner back at Tina’s, she whipped up some pizzas on the grill, perfect ending to a perfect day!

Sunday we headed North to San Francisco. We drove over the Golden Gate, had brunch in Saulsalito which is a cute little town on the Bay right off the bridge.

Brunch at Cafe Tutti!!

Here’s a great tip, parking rates are extremely outrageous in the City, so since my hotel was in the Financial District (Omni) and it was a Sunday there was plenty of free parking at the meters on the side streets, they didn’t start charging until 7am the next morning so what a deal that was. The Omni was nice and staff were awesome. My air didn’t work so they gave me a comped Town Car to take me to my airport hotel the next day ($80.00 value) so that was worth the being slightly uncomfortable.  My son of course being on the cutting edge of new apps showed me how Uber works, Town Car service that is prepaid including tip, you just sign up and access it on your phone, the drivers have your GPS location and show up, how easy is that. The fares were reasonable and comparable to a cab ride but you don’t have to worry about cash or haggling over routes and fares. We used the Uber service to take us to a free Jazz Festival that was going on and to dinner at the Stinking Rose.


My son went to work Monday leaving me to do some shopping in the City. Union Square has it all, it was walking distance from my hotel and I am not really a shopper till you drop kinda girl but all my fav’s were there. Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel as well as all the biggies, Macy’s, Saks….

After my little spending spree I enjoyed a $17 Martini at the hotel, ( drinking in California will cure you of drinking too much) drinks out at any bar or restaurant are outrageous but the CVS sells popular brands dirt cheap! I bid farewell to downtown San Francisco and headed in my complimentary Town Car to my airport hotel the Hyatt Regency, very nice but the highest price of all three I stayed at on my trip. It had a nice little sports bar and complimentary shuttle to the airport which was great since my flight left early in the AM.

The flight home was long but I sat next to a very entertaining couple that had literally just met on the plane, he was on his way home from vacation and the girl was on her way to orientation at American University which just happened to be right down the street from him. Well let me tell you they learned eachother’s life stories, likes, dislikes everything to the dismay of the gentleman trying to sleep in front of them he even went so far as to tell them to shut up at one point. I was wondering to myself “will he get her number” or am I gonna waste 4 hours of my life listening to constant flirting. The answer is yes, he did make up some lame reason to look at her phone which led into “let me put my number in here in case you ever need anything because I am just down the street”. I wonder where that one will go.

Happy travels……..