cooking · friends · thanksgiving

Thanksgiving requests

What does celebrating Thanksgiving represent or symbolize to you?

Our Thanksgiving is about family, and our menu is always a family affair. I start thinking about the menu in September, asking family members what they would like this year, I love taking special requests, and my family enjoys having their requests served.  I just spent a wonderful evening with two of my favorite ladies discussing the menu.

I love the holiday; it’s on my top 2 list, Christmas being number 1.   I am totally, 100 percent in it for the turkey, and I look forward to the leftovers.  I tend to overdo, so I was thinking about a simpler menu, but who am I kidding,..  We always had an open door policy for the holidays, so I always make extra.

 Our Menu

 Appetizers – by request

 Main Meal

 Desserts – by request

And more than the food, I am looking forward to spending time with my family and loved ones on such an important day of the year. We have so much to be thankful for, and there is nothing in life like your family.

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu?

I’m excited to be a part of this edition of Collectively Creative! The theme for this month is, appropriately, being Thankful.


cooking · DIY · friends


Once a month my girlfriends and I get together and play a game called Pokeno.  Pokeno is a combination of poker and bingo, played like bingo. There is always a ton of food, everyone brings something to pass, and there are some amazing cooks that attend.  Some of my favorite appetizers and baking recipes have come from these friends.

I take pride in cooking from scratch, but I saw this recipe the other day and just had to try it, Cake Mix Snickerdoodles.  I had everything in the house and the recipe was super easy, so why not try it?  I have to admit, we loved the taste, and I will probably make these again.  Just don’t tell anyone that they aren’t made from scratch 🙂


cooking · DIY

rose cupcakes

My sister-in-law was at a party last weekend and couldn’t wait to send me pictures of a display of cupcakes that she saw.  When I saw the pictures, I was amazed at how realistic they looked, almost looked porcelain to me. I love to cook and bake, and I can only dream of being able to make an arrangement like this.

Just had to share 🙂

bridal shower · cooking · craft · crafting · DIY · french macaron · friends · macaron

A beautiful day for a shower…..

I have a wonderful friend that has 2 adorable daughters, and we have stayed very close for over 17 years.  Her youngest daughter Sarah is going to be the maid of honor at her sister’s wedding and asked my 3 weeks ago if she could have a shower for her sister at my house.  I jump at any opportunity to entertain, and we started surfing Pinterest for ideas.  Sarah is a young woman with a great sense of style and had a clear vision of what she wanted the outcome to be, and I was more than happy to help.   Pinterest became our Bible and the 3 weekend adventure was amazing.  We made a swag out of sheet strips with the words “Love Birds” under it.


The menu for the shower was finger foods from blueberry coffee cake to mini quiches, with finger sandwiches in heart shapes and lemonade served in bell jars with straws.  We had traditional wedding cookies and of course french macarons, as well as fresh fruit salad made with hand-picked blueberries.  We chose to do a cupcake tree instead of cake with lace covers made from paper doilies.  The country cottage theme worked well and the guests loved the food.

ImageSarah putting the final details on the table

ImageThe food….I can’t believe I forgot to take a picture of the cupcake tree with the doilies and the finished rag swag !!

The day was spent with close friends and family and the bride to be was very happy.  I was honored to be part of the day and host it at my home.

ImageThe happy Maid of Honor and hostess

ImageThe bride to be Christina and her future mother in law.

The guests went home with hand-made “save the date” candles.

Congratulations to Christina and Ross

cooking · friends

Lunch with friends….

Lunch with friends is always wonderful, but today’s lunch was nothing short of amazing.  Thanks to Pinterest, I was able to see what my guests posted on their “to try” lists and their “favorite food” lists, making it easy to create the menu.  I also thought it would be a great opportunity to try a few new recipes, and to share some of my favorites as well.

Val arrived with a fresh lobster salad dip, wow, I must have that recipes, and Liz and Cathy shared ideas with wonton wrappers and lobster salad and artichoke spinach dip.  I can’t wait to try them, I have never worked with wonton wrappers, so I am excited about the possibilities.  Liz and Cathy arrived with Uncle Sam’s Candy, which is made locally.  I have never tried the chocolate, and I fell in love at first bite.  If you have never tried it, here is the website, I know I will be going there.

Cathy had posted on Pinterest that she wanted to try meatloaf cupcakes, and I make those often.  I always use Kraft’s recipe, it is super easy and I just love it, the secret is Stove Top stuffing.  The cupcakes were a big hit, served with a salad from my garden.


The meal was served with bread baked in a slow cooker, and yes, it really works !!!  This is my third attempt, using 3 different brands, and they all came out well.  Today’s bread could have used another 5-10 minutes in the cooker, but was crunchy and tasty and tasted great.  All you need to bake bread in a slow cooker is parchment paper, premade dough and a slow cooker.


Liz had posted a keylime pie on her Pinterest.  I have made several keylime pies, but had not tried this recipe.  The recipe was easy to follow, I added a bit of lime zest to the pie, and everyone loved it.  I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of it !!

Thank you Val, Liz and Cathy for a wonderful afternoon filled with laughter and  great conversation, I look forward to doing it again 🙂

cooking · french macaron · macaron

French Macarons, where have you been all my life?

I am proud to be part of a bridal shower next weekend at my home.  We have a clear vision of the theme,  french country tea party.  While surfing around Pinterest, I saw the most amazing table setting and it was adorned with French Macarons, in a variety of gorgeous colors.  I read many articles on the art of making these Macarons and how difficult it was, and I was ready for the challenge !!  I went to 3 grocery stores, remember, I live in the middle of nowhere, looking for almond flour and struck out 3 times.  While at the grocery store, I binged how to make almond flour, looked easy, challenge continues.

I started with the recipe  It was well written and easy to follow, and the site has a video !!  I am very happy with how they came out, and the taste was amazing !!

The color is off, that is going to take some work.  They didn’t have blanched almonds in bulk, so it has brown flecks throughout from the skins.  I was shooting for sage green and as you can see, I didn’t achieve that color.  Thank goodness this was a test run and not the actual bridal shower.  They came out light as a cloud with the perfect shell, and they just melt in your mouth.

I can never stop with 1 recipe, I had to try Martha’s recipe.  Her recipe just never came together, and the final product was not even close to the first recipe.  I can’t wait to make these again, practice makes perfect and I need to work on the colors.

If anyone has any  tips on coloring,  I would appreciate your feedback.