caramel-apple sangria

as I mentioned in my last post, my oldest son and  Daughter-in-law Amanda were in town for 3 weeks. ( click Here for more info on why such a long visit )
Last fall she was telling me about a sangria recipe that she stumbled upon somewhere that required caramel apple vodka.  My son drove all around Jacksonville looking for it.  When she finally made it, she said she couldn’t wait to visit so that we could make it 
( she also makes a mean citrus sangria that’s usually waiting for me when I visit them ) 

For the first part of their visit, alcohol was off-limits, but near the end we were able to enjoy this 

She couldn’t find the actual recipe (I think?) so we improvised 

When we first made it, it was a bit strong… So we tweaked it just a bit
1 part white wine

1 part caramel apple vodka ( Denver friends, I found it at Target in Glendale on the corner of Colorado boulevard and Virginia) 

2 parts apple cider 

Sliced apples

Cinnamon stick (which we didn’t have, but I’d add one next time)
Add the liquids together in a pitcher.  Slice the apples and add the cinnamon stick. 
Refrigerate overnight. 
I rimmed a glass magarita-style with apple pie spice and filled with ice. 

This was sooo tasty! Another friend of mine was just telling me about a fall sangria that used fireball candies!  Doesn’t that sound fun?

I’ve been taking pictures and writing recipes down..  I’m trying to get better about sharing them with y’all.   I also have a few ideas for fun giveaways! 
fall is my favorite  time of year!  I come to life in autumn 😎

 Here’s some of my past apple recipes

Cream of butternut and apple soup

Apple pie
Easy apple butter 
And came across This which has me nostalgic for days gone by… 

So.. What’s your favorite thing about fall? 

family time~corn maze style

howdy friends! 
My oldest son Jason and daughter in law, Amanda Sue been visiting us from Florida for the last 3 weeks.  (you can read more about why they are here for so long in her blog as I know it

Yesterday we decided to go to a local corn maze..  We’ve done this in the Past, but it’s been awhile. 

The maze itself had 6 pictures of ‘lost’ farm animals.  We divided into teams of husband and wife. Our challenge was to find all 6 animals, take a selfie with each of them and be the first couple to do so And find our way out!

Let’s go!

I’ll spare you all 12 photos of us with the animals, but here are a few of them.  Y’all are super smart, I’m sure you can imagine the rest☺️

There was a SCARE pumpkin crow ~ looking thing and although it wasn’t part of our challenge, we both took a photo with it 

Great minds think alike!

My crazy kid…

Guess who won! 

But just by a few minutes 😎

If you have a corn maze in your area, I highly recommend! 

Next up…. Amanda made us a fall sangria.  

vacation recap


hello, friends!


If you are friends with me on Facebook   Or Instagram  then you know that I’ve travelled more than normal this summer.  We recently went on a cruise that was planned rather last minute.

Scott and Ali planned it and I honestly knew none of the details. Which was kind of cool!


Since we planned the trip so late, Scott told us that he couldn’t get 4 seats next to each other on the plane, so he had to buy 1 first class ticket and 3 coach.  We played board games every week and kept score to see which one of us would ‘win’ the first class seat. Ali won!

Side note.. This is our favorite game

as we were boarding the plane, Scott handed each of us our ticket. He used miles from work travel to book all of us in first class!  Wow.  It was amazing!




I could totally get used to this!



The view from the plane as we approached San Juan



The next morning, Scott and Ryan toured an old fort while Ali and I hung out at the hotel.  We boarded the ship around noon.


Our home for the next week.

As we headed to our stateroom, this was the chosen featured artwork in our halI was convinced that this guy was going to come alive at night.  I checked each and every time we walked by him. Trust me, he didn’t move.  By the end of the trip we were buds. He was my homeboy. We were tight. Rock on, buddy.. Rock on.




our first port of call was st. Maarten.

we participated in an America’s cup race.



Everyone on our tour was divided up into 2 groups with 3 crew members on each boat.  We were each given a specific job to do and the crew members directly us.  Ali was our captain!  I was primary winch.  I’ve never been on a sailboat before. It was hard work!





imageYes.. That’s a hockey stick ☺️





We ended with rum punch!


The next day we wen to st. Kitts. I chose our excursion here. Stand up paddleboarding!  I’ve been  dying to try this!  Ali and stood on one last summer at the river fest downtown, but this was my first time doing it for real.  I’m hooked!  It was so much fun!  I fell a few times, but that’s ok.  It was really windy in the cove and therefore it was wavy and challenging.


I don’t have photos of us actually doing it, but this is where we were{



could this be more beautiful?

Our guide was from Denver! Small world.


After paddleboarding the rest of the fam went snorkeling.





For or whatever reason, I felt claustrophobic when I put my snorkel gear on so I opted for this



When they were done snorkeling there was more rum punch!




in Antigua we did a cameraman ride and Ali and Scott did some more snorkeling



We we had some Boston folks on our boat, so it was cool to tall Boston stuff.

And ended with rum punch!





In in st Lucia we boarded a pirate-themed spanish galleon and sailed out to volcanos ans volcanic mud baths


We didn’t take  pic of the boat, but I found one of the boat we were  on that World Wide Web thing.



After ali and I coated ourselves in mud and soaked in super hot natural spring water, we had a buffet lunch , then boarded boat and began to sail back.  We stopped about halfway back for a swim


With noodles! (I’m not a strong swimmer, so I was thrilled with the noodles)


we headed back to the ship listening to reggae and yet again, more rum punch!


(Notice a theme here? 😎)


in barbados we just walked off the ship and did a tiny bit of shopping.


it is SO much fun hanging out with your adult children!


I’ll leave you with random photos in no particular order








Peace out, my friends!



Next up.. Homemade ramen!

how to poach an egg 

today I tried something a little bit different..  I attempted to make a video tutorial.

It  came out pretty shaky, so if you are sensitive to motion, skip the video and just look at the pretty pictures ☺️

Today is ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ at my daughter’s summer camp ( she’s a counselor)

She headed off wearing my chef hat and it got me thinking…

Random fact- a chef hat has 100 pleats. The pleats each represent 100 ways to cook an egg.

An egg is a perfect food. 1 egg boasts 7 grams of protein. It’s full of amino acids ( all 9 of them, btw) They are super- affordable, versitile and delicious!

I love to poach an egg and place it on top of a salad, then cut into the runny yolk as I’m ready to eat the salad. The yoke acts as a dressing and pairs Amazingly with dark, leafy greens.

Eggs got a bad rap a few years back🎧🎧🎧🎧 ( notice my rhyme? 😂😂)
Eggs, like everything are to be enjoyed in moderation. I usually will he 1 egg with 2 egg whites.  The fat is all in the yolk of the egg. And while it is fat, it contains necessary nutrients that we all need.  I find that by having 1 egg with 2 egg whites, I’m getting the lutein that I need and the extra whites really boost my protein intake!


(I don’t throw the other yolks out, I save them for making ice cream, or stir into my pups’ food )
So here we go….  Basic egg 101
How to poach an egg

A poached egg is made by cooking the egg in boiling water. It’s really quite easy if you have a few basics down.
Start by bringing a pot of water to boil

Crack your egg into a small dish

Note-  I made 2 eggs, one for the photos, one for the video.  If you were going to make multiple eggs, then opt for a wide-mouthed pan at least 3 inches deep.  The wider the mouth of the pan, the more eggs you can cook at once.

Once water is boiling, add a splash of white vinegar.  The vinegar helps coagulate the proteins, making for a nicer shaped cooked egg

Carefully use a fork, start in the center and begin to make a whirlpool

Once you have a whirlpool, slowly pour the egg into the center of the whirlpool.  You can see the egg start to take shape

Turn the temp down to medium-low

Here is where your timing varies.  I like a cooked white with runny yolk.  I have found that just over 2 minutes gets me exactly what I’m looking for.  If you are wanting a more solid yolk, cook for closer to 4 minutes.
Using your spider or slotted spoon

Remove egg from water

Carefully place on a clean paper towel to remove excess moisture

If you are making eggs for a crowd, ( like eggs Benedict on Christmas morning)  you can make mutiple eggs and get them to this point. You can prep everything else and right as you are ready to eat, drop all of the eggs back in the hot water briefly just to heat through.
This is where I like yo season them. I like to use a flavored sea salt.  Some of my favorites are truffle salt, chili-lime salt, or ghost pepper sea salt . And always, always, black pepper 😁

There ya have it!  My favorite perfect poached egg

Love this with arugula fresh from my garden!
SOO.. here’s the video I attempted.  If you get motion sickness, then skip it. I’ll come up with a better video system for future tutorials ☺️😁

😜😜. Everyone has to start somewhere!

starbucks’ mango black tea lemonade copycat

howdy friends!

Every summer I tend to find one beverage that I just cannot get enough of.  2016 is the summer of Michelle sucking down mango black tea lemonade from Starbucks.

But damn.. Those drinks add up!

I’ve spent the last 5 weeks driving my son back and forth to Boulder everyday for a class, and for a hot summer drive, there’s nothing quite like iced tea to have along side . ( that and some Springsteen music 😜☺️)

and although I’m pretty good about using my Ibotta money to buy Stbx gift cards, I knew I had to find a way to recreate this drink at home.

My daughter originally turned me on to this drink.  Essentially it’s black iced tea, lemonade and mango syrup.

I liked it when I tried hers, I just thought it was a bit sweet for my taste. The barista suggested I try fewer pumps of the mango syrup.

Bingo! We have a winner!

so I order it with only 1 pump of syrup now now and it’s perfect.  Just the right amount of sweet to balance the wonderful tart of the lemon.

I’ve been on the hunt for a mango syrup, ( ok, I looked in 1 store.. It still counts) and didn’t find one.

This past weekend I opened my fridge and discovered that someone had bought mango lemonade.

Um… Genious!



The combination of these 2 beverages perfectly mimics the $4 drink at Starbucks.

I use mostly iced tea then top it with a splash of the mango lemonade.  If you wanted it like the original, I would use 1/2 of each.  Play with it to find your preferred sweetness.

It’s not really a recipe, persay, just something I stumbled upon (happily) and wanted to share ☺️


Keep hydrated, my friends!




Other summer beverages

Iced chai tea

Watermelon hibiscus iced tea

Cucumber martini



spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho

whelp, here we are smack dab in the middle of summer.


I I hope y’all had a fun  and safe holiday weekend.  Mine was a welcomed quiet time.  After a little bit of long overdue retail therapy, I found myself craving gazpacho .

I dug out my Original gazpacho recipe

as well as my Roasted veggie gazpacho

and kinda played around and came up with

spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho 

it’s similar to my roasted veggie one, but I played around with the flavors just a bit


Spicy gazpacho ingredients

3 tablespoons coconut oil

4 Roma tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 sweet white onion, peeled and quartered

1 habanero pepper

1 red bell pepper, halved

1 garlic cloves, not peeled

1 lime, halved

small bunch each of flat leaf parsley and dill

1 can of whole tomatoes ( I used some I canned last summer.  Buy the best tomatoes that you can find. Where this isn’t cooked  you want the best tomato flavor that you can get.  San Marzano is a great choice)

1/4 cup good Olive oil ( same reason as the tomatoes)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

sea salt, white pepper, freshly cracked black pepper


place  cukes, salt, pepper and white pepper in a high speed blender and let sit.  The salt will start to draw the moisture out of the cucumber, making for a smooth base since the cukes will have started to break down.  Alternatively, you can use a food processor if you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll just have to make the soup in batches.



Preheat grill to medium  heat.  Place an oven safe stoneware dish on the grill with the coconut oil . Season with salt and pepper and coconut oil will melt. Remove from heat and place veggies on the grill using  a basting brush, brush the coconut oil mixture atop veggies




Flip the veggies after a few min and brush other side with oil mixture

Note~ each vegetable will cook at its own pace. Here, my tomatoes and habanero cooked first.  Once you see the carmalization ( those black lines are the sugars condensing and imparting a deeper flavor than raw vegatables). Transfer veggies to a plate .




Now, let’s build this!



Place the grilled veggies on top of the cucumbers. Add dill and parsley.


Purty, eh?


Next add the canned tomatoes with their juice




Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a handful of ice cubes.

Blend. ( or process in batches if using a food processor )


I had to use my food pusher to get it started.  If you don’t have one, take a break every few seconds and use a spatula to free up the veggies until they move freely




Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Squirt lime juice in as well.

Taste for salt and pepper.


Let sit covered in fridge for at least an hour ( if you can 😜)



You guys.  This soup is incredible! I started by only added 1/2 of the habanero, but found that I still wanted it spicier, so I ended up using the whole thing.  Start will small amount of pepper and add what tastes right for your level of heat.


I served it with a bit of Mexican crema, ( you can sub sour cream ) a bot of balsamic vinegar and lime juice



Enjoy !



brown sugar chicken 

I told myself I was going to post more.  I take the pictures, I think of what to say, and I never actually do it.  I made this recipe at the beginning of last month. While scrolling through photos, I came across these and decided to share.  This is perhaps the easiest chicken dish I’ve ever made. This simple dish has so much flavor.  My husband devoured it and I wish I had made more…

Brown sugar Chicken

Serves 2

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 shallot, peeled and sliced 

2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Salt and pepper 

Pine nuts for garnish ( optional)   

Start by seaoning chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

In a cast iron pan, heat the coconut  oil over medium heat 

    Sauté on each side for about 5 minutes.  


Add shallots and let cook for a few minutes.

Add butter and brown sugar;  stir together, turn heat to low and cover. 


Cook for 5- 20 minutes ( depending on thickness of chicken) internal temperature should be 165. 
Serve chicken with the sauce and pine nut garnish ( if using) 

It’s crazy how much flavor this dish ☺️
my neice had asked me awhile ago to share some simple recipes with great flavor.  I think this fits the bill perfectly!  
enjoy 😎

sewing room makeover~ thread storage

Drive~ by post here….


Part of my New Years’ resolutions was to organize my sewing room.  My neighbor came over right before Christmas and we some how ended up in my sewing room and she said, ” wow that is bad”. And she was right.  I could not even find the floor.



I have spent many hours cleaning and organizing this room.  At one point I showed Scott the closet and he responded, ” wait, you built shelves?” Then quickly said, ” no way, they were here all along? ”


yeah. It was bad.


Anyhoooo…  I’ve made a lot of progress ( which is good, because I’m still working on Christmas presents for a few people, and the nicer space makes it fast more enjoyable)


for years I have been looking for a creative way to display my thread.  I had a wooden rack, but it was pretty cheesy and would often fall and I’d have thread rolling all over the place and not so nice words coming out of my mouth.


I was at Joanns the other day and saw this garden thingy-ma-bobber.  I picked it up and quickly put it back down when I saw the $70 price tag.  Say whaaaaaaaat??



Later  that night I had a brilliant idea. I jumped online the next day and it was 50% of. I ran down to the store, and bought it. I also had an additional 20% off Presidents’ Day weekend coupon, bringing it to $30.



Friends, I fell in love. I went back and bought another and Scott hung them for me this morning.  while I wasn’t planning on spending $60, I’m so happy that I did.   Thread is not cheap, and it’s really nice to have it on display.
Sewing room



It makes me smile 🙂 Sewing room

Ciao, bellas xoxox

quilting retreat summer 2015

howdy folks!  Remember last year when I went on my quilting retreat? Whelp, I was lucky enough to do it again this past weekend. 

It was organized by the very talented Sandra Clemons and the founder of our guild, Liz. If  you are a crafter, you really should follow Sandra’s blog. She has some wonderful giveaways and is always teaching something new! 

We stayed at a lovely Inn, about 60 miles south of Denver. The inn is nestled in the woods and just being there was rejuvenating. 


They provide us with 3 meals a day, round the clock non- alcoholic beverages ( we provided those ourselves 😁), a designated room where we each set up our sewing areas and had round the clock access to sew as early or as late as our little hearts desired. 

There were about 20 of us that attended this year.  I was a bit intimidated by the talented women that were there, but really, that was silly. 

I had known a handful of them from meetings I’ve attended in the past. There’s always a bit of trepidation when you sign up to spend 4 days with people that you don’t know very well, or in the case of about 1/2 of the ladies, not at all. 

I had the very best weekend.  We checked in Thursday noon and I stayed until lunchtime on Sunday. I made many new friends, strengthened friendships with those who I didn’t know very well, and learned so much!!!

I cannot even begin to tell you how much this weekend rejuvenated me.  It was therapeutic in many ways and nourished my soul. 

We each brought along all of our own supplies and projects.  It took me a few days to get organized prior to the retreat.


I brought 3 projects with me.

Outdoor fabric to make cushions for our wicker set on our porch 


A scrap project ( yay! Free!) from a quilt challenge that I started 2 1/2 years ago!  (The dowel is just resting on the gate, that’s why the top looks a little funny) 



And a jelly roll that I had kicking around my sewing room for lord knows how long..  That I turned into this 


It’s always nice to get away from everyday life and just reconnect with yourself and others. We’ve already booked next years’ retreat and I’m seriously counting the days down ( 365 to be exact 😉) 


Here’s our group photo! 

Happy crafting and cooking!  

Ps…  I have a pretty tasty giveaway coming up in the next day or two, so stay tuned! 

Smooches- shel 👣👣👣

watermelon times three

From the archives… Because I just cut into my first watermelon of the season and.. These 3 recipes are pretty much amazeballs!

barefootgirl in the kitchen

Ya’ll may have given up on me posting tonight.. I mean it’s almost 9 pm .. where the heck has she been?

Training for a race, that’s where 🙂 🙂 🙂

So let’s talk watermelon. It’s a melon. It’s made of water. Lots and lots of water.

It’s fun to eat in the summer. It’s fun to have it drip all over you bbq shirt. it’s a BLAST to spit the seeds. It is summer in a food

It’s PINK!

I have always loved watermelon. As an adult I started to appreciate it back in the early 90s when I read the book Fit for Life .

(anyone else read it? show of hands? oh.. only me.. that’s cool  :))

Anyhoooo… The preface is that your body is made of mostly water so you should eat mostly food made of water. Also, you should never eat a protein and…

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