Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Summer In Central Park - The Traveling Tote and a Giveaway!

In mid-August, I took a break to get away from the stresses of work and went to the queen of all parks. With 843 acres of parkland, rolling hills, shaded paths, lakes and the Bethesda Fountain, it was a perfect place to stroll on a hot, summer day. The temperature was over 90 and the city was feeling like one massive sauna. I felt the temperature drop at least 10 degrees once we got to Central Park. 

I am joining Celebrate and Decorate with this post. Lots of inspiration at this blog!
In Central Park, almost before you become aware of the subtle transition, the city leaves you. We filled our tote, set up a table cloth on the grass and indulged ourselves on Trader Joe's New York style cheesecake and a bottle of water. If you're curious about the story of Courtly Check, you can read about it here. 
You can see the picturesque and recognizable Bow Bridge which is a great spot for a picnic in Central Park. It has been the setting for many movies and is one of the most romantic spots in the city. Do you remember seeing the Bow Bridge in the movie "You've Got Mail"?
 The popular Bethesda Fountain.
 The Bow Bridge links Cherry Hill to the Ramble. It's best to picnic on the gentle slopes of Cherry Hill overlooking the bridge.  The bridge is located mid-park around 72nd Street.
Boy was I hot and sweaty in this photo. We went to Tavern on the Green to have lunch and cool down.  
Always a fun statue to see in Central Park and don't you think that Alice needs a tote? 
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it from New York!
--Alicia Keys--
 Miss MacKenzie Joy went with my friend Colleen to the Thornden Park Rose Garden in Syracuse, NY.  I look forward to checking this park out next year.
Below are links to more park adventures shared by Miss Aurora's tote friends:

Linda with Miss Rosie @ More Fun Less Laundry
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Samantha with Christabel @ Samantha Stone
and our non-blogger friends:
 Colleen with Miss MacKenzie Joy
Tami with Miss MC la Mer

Enter to win this set of MacKenzie-Childs padded hangers. Click here. 
More Fun Less Laundry
If you are enjoying the Tales of the Traveling Tote, I hope you'll visit again in October when Miss Aurora shares her tales of The Gold Days of Fall.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

I've posted this before, and it's so worthy of a repost.  If you're like me and get a craving for the taste of pumpkin pie spice, you will love this fudge. I'm not trying to rush summer, but have been thinking of fall splendor accompanied with crisp apples, cider slushies and pumpkin everything, Tomorrow we are going apple picking. And tomato picking. 

This is amazing stuff that I make every fall.

PUMPKIN PIE FUDGE (from my friend Leslie)
(Makes about 3 lbs.)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup butter (1 and 1/2 sticks)

5 oz. can evaporated milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 and 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2 cups white chocolate chips

1 7oz. jar marshmallow cream

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving some hanging over the sides for easy removal. Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and pumpkin pie spice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees to 240 degrees. Quickly stir in the white chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, pecans and vanilla. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until the chocolate chips are melted. Immediately pour into the prepared pan. Let stand on wire rack for 2 hours or until cooled. Refrigerate tightly covered overnight. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

We Have A Winner

High praise to those of you who can make bread without having flour everywhere in the kitchen. A new cookbook arrived, and after thumbing through it, I decided to make the Grilled Flatbread with Rosemary and Garlic Oil. It was a Sunday morning, and we would get to enjoy veggie flatbread sandwiches for lunch.
I rarely buy cookbooks these days...there are so many wonderful recipes right here in Blogland. This cookbook is my style....good food....good life.  And I love the photos in the book, especially Curtis Stone, his wife and adorable children. 
The summer heat has returned, and this week it will be in the 90's. The mornings are lovely for breakfast on the deck, and the flowers are loving the rain we finally got.
The winner of the Voyage of Life giveaway is: Bev Sunderman. Bev found my blog several years ago when she was planning a funraising event and looking for tablesetting ideas. She doesn't blog but does email me on a regular basis. Congratulations Bev!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunflowers For The Birds

 of us.

We stopped at a local farm to get corn and enjoyed the field of happy sunflowers which are being grown for bird seed. I love this time of the summer, and Dunkin Donuts will have their pumpkin coffee on August 31. LOL, it's my favorite.
Sunflower plates were blooming at Wegman's several years ago and are paired with Courtly Check placemats from the MacKenzie-Child's barn sale. 
I am a sunflower junky, and every vase in my home is filled with cheery sunflowers during August and September.
I'll leave you with this very easy summer dessert. I'm starting to crave pumpkin desserts, but this is really nice. 

Crunchy Peanut Butter
 and Vanilla Ice Cream Brownies

Start with Vanilla ice cream. Store bought is fine. I swirled the ice cream with crunchy peanut butter and spread it on thin fudgy brownies. Top it with another brownie, and then freeze. 

To make the brownies, I used a boxed fudge brownie mix and followed the instructions on the box. 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment, spray with Pam, and pour brownie mixture onto cookie sheet.

Bake for about 15 minutes and let cool. Cut into 4" squares, and remove using a spatula. Spread your ice cream mixture onto a brownie square and top with another brownie. Repeat until all sandwiches are complete and freeze. (I used freezer wrap)

This is a nice dessert to have on hand for summer visitors.
I served with whipped cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. You can sprinkle crushed peanuts on the whipped cream if desired.

I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer on the Deck and a Giveaway

This past weekend I had a little cookout and snapped a few hurried pictures before we ate. The weather was so great this evening....perfect for dinner on the deck. I brought the docking station outdoors and turned up the music. Summers are short and blooms are plentiful. That adorable cake server was a gift from a friend, and the artist is Molly Hatch. I will use it often!
I've been making Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot Potatoes since 2008. We typically serve it with steak, corn on the cob and a tossed salad or zucchini dish. We recently served it with venison and enjoyed it. 
It's still very much summer here but fall is just around the corner. I ordered the striped rug two months ago from Williams Sonoma and it just arrived last week. They agreed to deduct the shipping charge of $35 due to the delay.
I scored the burlap utensil holders at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY. 
I am joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday, and Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday. Thanks so much for your visit!

Before you leave, anyone who leaves a comment with an email link on this post will be entered in my Voyage of Life giveaway. Winner of four photo cards and a surprise gift will be notified on August 14, 2015.