My Absolute Favorite Summer Product--Tantalizer

Lorac's Tantalizer is one of the best instant tan products that I have ever tried.
The application is super easy and makes your skin look great.
It even has a little shimmer to it.

I absolutely love this product!!

One of my best friends and I found this on a girl's day full of shopping and we are both hooked.
In the summer, you won't find us without it.
It gives you a little bit of color without looking too "tan" if that makes sense.
I am really pale and she is really olive and it looks great on both of us.

Here's an example of how wonderful this stuff is---
(sorry for the horrible pic--I took it on my phone, but it does show the difference)

It's just a little bit of color, but just enough to make a spectacular difference in dresses and short-sleeve or sleeveless tops.
You just need to make sure that it dries really well before putting it next to clothing.
However, it does wash out if you get it on your favorite shirt.

Here's what they say about it...

TANtalize, mesmerize and moisturize with LORAC’s Body Bronzing Luminizer. This quick-drying, long-wearing body makeup instantly gives you a sexy, flawless, better-than-natural Red Carpet tan…without streaking!

Give it a try.
I would love to know what you think!!

Thirsty Thursday--Mango, Pineapple, and Banana Daiquiris

I am so wanting to take a trip to the beach.
We are trying hard to wait it out until early fall, 
but the sand and waves are calling my name.

I guess that's why I've been making so many tropical cocktails lately.

This one brings me back to my college days--Malibu Rum.

I can remember being on the beach dancing to "Baby's Got Back"
and drinking a malibu and pineapple.

Those were the days!!

Mango, Pineapple, and Banana Daiquiri

2 mangos, cut into small pieces
1 pineapple, cut into small pieces
2 bananas
1 cup Pineapple Malibu Rum
4 mint leaves

Place all in a blender and puree.  Pour over ice.  Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge. 


Panzanella Salad

I wish that you could have seen my Dad's face when I placed this salad on his plate the other night at dinner.

We had cooked a few chickens on the grill and I thought that this salad would be a perfect complement to the smoky flavor of the chicken.
Fresh vegetables, delicious bread, and a light flavorful dressing...
a great salad.

My  Dad couldn't understand that you could make a salad with bread instead of lettuce,
but he definitely gave it a try.

Panzanella Salad

1 loaf of french bread, cut into 1-inch pieces and toasted
1 cup cherry tomatoes, roasted
1 cup corn, grilled
2 tablespoons capers
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
20 basil leaves

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.



My husband absolutely loves Chimichurri.

(I like it too, but I'm usually more of a pesto kind of girl.)

We were making hamburgers and he asked me if I whip him up a little bit of his favorite sauce.

Chimichurri is kind-of like pesto,
but instead of using basil as the base, you use parsley and a few other ingredients.
It's mainly associated with Argentinean food and pairs really well with meats.

It really is a delicious condiment and can be used in so many ways.

Usually we buy it,
but this time I decided to use some of the herbs growing in the backyard.


1 cup fresh parsley, tightly packed
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1 poblano pepper, roasted and chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor combine the parsley, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, shallot, and poblano pepper.  Chop the ingredients well, but do not puree. Add the salt, pepper, red pepper and mix well.  Place in a small bowl and add the lime juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.  Mix well.

Perfect on a hamburger!!


Banana Split Pie with Pecan Graham Cracker Crust

I usually work most holidays, 
(someone's got to be with my sweet patients)
but I thought that I would take this one off.
It's so nice to have a long weekend followed by a great day of cooking out with friends and family.

Just in time for this wonderful Memorial Day, 
I wanted to share my favorite ice cream dessert---
Banana Split Pie

There is almost no better dessert for a hot day.

This time when I made it,
I gave the crust a little something extra--pecans.

Banana Split Pie with Pecan Graham Cracker Crust

For the crust:
1 package graham crackers (about 9-10 crackers)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

For the pie:

1 1/2 pints vanilla ice cream
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries, divided
2 bananas sliced, divided
1 can crushed pineapple, small
whipped topping
chopped peanuts and pecans
caramel sauce
hot fudge sauce

To make the crust:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the graham crackers, pecans, and sugar in a food processor and process until well blended and fine.  Add the melted butter and combine well.

Place your graham cracker mixture into a prepared pie crust and cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

To make the pie:

In a large bowl, combine the ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, 1 cup strawberries, 1 banana, and pineapples.  Mix well.  Pour into the cooled pie crust and freeze overnight (at least 6-8 hours).

To serve:

Once the pie is frozen, remove from the freezer and top with the remaining bananas and strawberries.  Add whipped topping and nuts.  Garnish with caramel and hot fudge sauces.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day!!


Thirsty Thursday--White Wine Peach & Strawberry Sangria

I made this sangria for a pizza party at our house and
no one could get enough.

It is the perfect amount of sweet and tart.
It is also refreshing and not too "alcohol" tasting
(if that makes sense).

I'll definitely be making it all summer long.

I adapted the recipe from 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks
(my fabulous friend Lannie gave me this book for my birthday--she knows me well).

White Wine Peach & Strawberry Sangria

4 peaches or nectarines, halved, pitted and sliced
1 pound strawberries, quartered
3 cups peach nectar
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
2 bottles Sauvignon Blanc

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and place in the refrigerator.  Allow to sit for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Serve over ice. 

 (**I made ice cubes from wine so that they wouldn't dilute the sangria).


Lemon Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

We just had a breakfast baby shower for one of my co-workers and I found this recipe on one my favorite food sites-- What's Gaby Cooking.

I absolutely love her website and her recipes are amazing!!!

(She also has a new cookbook--Absolutely Avocados.
I am currently reading it cover to cover.
The photos and recipes look amazing.)

I decided to make these scones and they were wonderful.

Lemon Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze
(slightly adapted from What's Gaby Cooking)

For the Scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, grated
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 1/4  cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter, melted for brushing the scones

For the Lemon Glaze:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar and gently whisk together.  Add the graded cold butter tot he dry mixture and toss to combine so the butter is evenly distributed.  Fold the blueberries and lemon zest into the dry mixture.  Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream.  Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.  Using a 3 tablespoon scoop, form 15 mounds of the dough.  Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with the melted butter.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 16-20 minutes, or until the top just barely turned golden brown.  

Once the scones are cooled, combine the lemon juice, powdered sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl and whisk until no clumps remain.  Drizzle over the scones.


A Pizza Party

Last weekend we hosted a pizza party for our 
"Dinner for 8" church group.

It was so much fun and the pizzas were so delicious.

To make this party super easy,
I made the pizza sauce, and dough ahead of time.
I also added lots of toppings that everyone could choose from.

The toppings that I made available were roasted peppers, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, brandy poached figs, roasted garlic, homemade ricotta, buffalo mozzarella cheese, fontina cheese, parmesan cheese, asiago cheese, pepperoni, prosciutto, shredded chicken, and spicy Italian sausage.

Then, lucky us, we had our daughter Paige and her sweet boyfriend, Wayne
(both culinary school graduates) over to make the pizza and serve the food.

I keep telling them that they should start handing out business cards, 
because they could make lots of $$$.

Here are some of the pizzas we made.

Fig and Prosciutto with Homemade Ricotta

Margherita Pizza with Buffalo Mozzarella

Chicken and Artichoke Hearts with Fontina, Asiago, and Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese

Pepperoni, Spicy Italian Sausage, Prosciutto, Roasted Peppers, and Parmesan, Asiago, and Fontina Cheese

We cooked all of the pizzas on our Big Green Egg at 650 degrees.
They all took approximately 6-7 minutes and were crisp to perfection.

Everyone Does Karaoke

Have you seen this video?

I just had to share.
It's definitely one of those videos that really makes you smile.

Looks Like We've Got A Lot of Work To Do...

Yesterday we were thankful to have a house to go home to.
A tornado came through our home town, 
specifically in the area in which we live.

Our house survived the tornado and so did all of my friends and family.
I haven't heard the extent of the damages, 
but I've heard that they are pretty bad throughout our city.

We lost most of our landscaping and now have some extensive cleaning to do.

Here are a few pictures of the destruction.
We mainly had hail damage.

Our front flower bed.

The back yard vegetable beds and our fence.

These were peppers.

The hail in the front flower beds.

Our magnolia tree.

A sad little magnolia flower.

This is our flagstone patio.

The patio.  Most of the pots were turned over, but the glass table survived.

Loquat tree

Leaves look as if they are glued to our house.

 These were beautiful tomato and basil plants.

One of the front flower beds.

I'm very sad about our yard, but am so thankful in every way that our home was spared.
I know we are extremely blessed and "lucky" beyond words to have only had yard damage.
I am also so thankful that there have been no reports of anyone losing their life from this storm.
God is good.

I do have one kind of funny thing that happened with this storm.
I was at work, at the nursing home, when the storm came through.
Our gym is full of windows so we had to evacuate and move all of the patients to the long term care portion of the building.  
All of the patients had to be moved into the hallways.
I was sitting by a really cute little lady who continually asked me,
"When can I go back into my room?"
I told her that it might be a little while because there was a tornado and we needed to sit in the hallway so that we would be away from windows.
She said "That sounds really bad".
In about 1 minute, we had the same conversation over again approximately 20 times.

Gotta love nursing home patients!!

Thirsty Thursday--Red Wine Sangria

My husband and I belong to a dinner group called 
"Dinner for 8".
It is a great club started in our church that pairs 4 couples, 
usually that don't really know each other.
Every few months the 4 couples get together for fun and fellowship at one of the member's homes.
It is great fun.

It was our time to host and we decided to have a pizza party with
red and white sangria.

 I thought that it would be a lot of fun to have both red and white.
It's such a great cocktail for hot weather.
The fruit and cold wine are so refreshing and pairs well with most food.

Red Wine Sangria
(adapted from 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks)

3 bottles of red wine (I used Chianti and a Spanish wine)
1 cup Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup brandy
1/2 cup simple syrup
3 oranges, sliced
2 cups blackberries
3 apples, sliced

Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and stir well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Serve cold over ice.

Make sure to check back for next week's Thirsty Thursday...


Spinach, Strawberry, and Pomegranate Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

I am not a huge salad fan.
I take that back--I really like salad, just not "white" lettuce
You know what I'm talking about, right??

White lettuce, otherwise known to me and my family as iceburg lettuce.
I really can't stand this type of lettuce.
The problem is though,
that is pretty much what you get in restaurants.
Unless you are in a really fancy restaurant...

Then you ge the kind of salad that I do like--
Spinach Salad

This salad recipe is one of my all time favorites and is inspired from a popular New Orleans' restaurant.

Spinach, Strawberry, and Pomegranate Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette

For the salad:

strawberries, cut into quarters
1 pomegranate, seeded
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted

For the vinaigrette:

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 dashes Tabasco or hot sauce
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients ingredients, saving the olive oil til the end.  Once everything is mixed, slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified.