Sunday, February 16, 2020

Spinach Tortellini Soup

Such a tasty and easy meal for us ' Apres Ski '. Joe absolutely loves it. One of our hiking friends shared it with us recently, and I bought enough ingredients to make it at least three more times this winter.

Spinach Tortellini Soup

Saute fresh garlic in 1 TB butter (I used 5 cloves since we love garlic).

Add to four cups of chicken broth. Add in 10 ounces of frozen spinach, 1 lb. cheese tortellini (I used mini cheese ravioli) 

Add one canned of stewed tomatoes.

Simmer until pasta is tender, and serve with grated cheese.

Bon Appetit!

I think most of you know that Joe and I got married in the winter. Unless we are in Key West, we typically hit the trails at least one day each week when there is snow. Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous and freezing cold but sunny. We do have the proper winter gear, and love fresh air. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

We have a tote winner!

Welcome again! I always appreciate your visit. Imagine my surprise when I dumped the Brach's conversation hearts into a dish and saw TOTES on one of the hearts. I am told that means "totally". Learn something new every day! Well that is enough entertainment for now. 

For everyone that entered the tote giveaway, I wish we could give everyone a tote. In eleven years of blogging, this was my favorite giveaway and the comments touched my heart. I also conversed with folks on Instagram about this giveaway, and enjoyed every minute of it. 

 Joe is certainly enjoying retirement, and has put up feeders to welcome birds to our yard. Birds need a steady source of food and water so they'll stay year-round. We keep the feeders well stocked; hang suet for woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, etc. Watching and listening as birds gather on a feeder add color and life to gray winter days. 

Joe made the birds a log feeder and puts peanut butter in the holes. 
 Hey, mind if I share this feeder with you?
I love the sweet chubby Juncos.
 I've never had a sour cream coffee cake like this. The cake is "custardy" and light. The recipe was shared with me by a good friend, and it belonged to his grandmother. He would rather that I don't give the recipe out, but wow is this a fabulous cake. 

We have a winner!!
Congrats to Rhonda !! And thanks to Patti @ Pandora's Box for coordinating this wonderful giveaway with MacKenzie-Childs. 

Patti posted the following:  Rhonda left the following comment on Jenna's blog,
"Such special ‘Toters” you all are! Lol! I always enjoy everyone’s tales. Thanks for the opportunity to perhaps have a MC special all my own."

Thank you to all who participated! We appreciate your interest in our tales of wanderlust, travels and adventures and our love of MacKenzie-Childs!

Hope to see you all on March 1st for our next post and giveaway!

Thursday, January 23, 2020


 I fondly remember a walk through the woods and discovering a great horned owlet with a broken wing. Although the owl was in my possession for only three hours, I will always remember "Hootie" and my desire to protect him and not leave him on the forest floor. 
You may have heard about the family that had an owl in their Christmas tree for over a week. The family had purchased the tree from a store about two days after Thanksgiving, and the family left their windows and doors open that night, hoping the bird would leave on its own -- but it didn't. The next day, they called the Chattahoochee Nature Center, and an employee there told them to leave the owl some raw chicken, concerned it may not have eaten in a few days.The owl was safely removed from the home the next day, was skinny and hadn't eaten in over a week. 
Hootie was taken from my arms by a wildlife rehabilitator in our area, and was later was transported to Cornell in Ithaca where his wing was repaired. After rehabilitation, I was told that Hootie made his permanent home at a zoo. As an injured owlet, he never learned survival skills to make it in the wild. Male and female owlets look alike, so for no particular reason, I decided to refer to Hootie as a "he". In the picture below, these fluffy owls look just like Hootie did when I found him.
from the internet

After the "rescue" of Hootie, co-workers gifted me with a book that I have enjoyed reading again and again. In the book, "Bubo" was a baby great horned owl that was found buried in the snow in the Vermont woods by a scientist, and he was able to get permission to keep the owl and study its development. If you can find the book, I know you will enjoy it. An Owl in the House - A Naturalist's Diary 

This is a table I set a while back using owl print fabric to make napkins and a small table runner for the table.  

The glass owl vase was filled with greens and branches, and then I added some red roses for our dinner. Whoooot loves ya Mr. Mountain Breaths! Happy Birthday to You!! 
Thank you for stopping by! We are heading to Lake Placid for a few magical days to celebrate Joe's birthday. The Mirror Lake Inn and Lake Placid are truly our "Disneyland". 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fifth Anniversary - Tales of the Traveling Tote.......A Surprise That Touches My Heart

Welcome friends! I am so happy to finally be able to share this with you. What's in the box? Here are some clues.
What's in the box you ask? It's a surprise that touches my heart. Each of us received a unique, hand made tote bag, designed especially for each of us. The designers did a little research on each member of the Tales of the Traveling Tote ladies, and chose fabrics to suit our personality! I sent a personal thank you to the designers in Aurora thanking them for choosing fabric that reminds of mountains! Also, a very special thank you to all my friends and readers who follow along on my adventures with "Miss Aurora". Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would be traveling and having this much fun with a tote bag. My hubby and friends have had so much fun joining in, and even strangers approach me which leads to a fun discussion. Let me now introduce "Miss Tassie". I love the happy bright colors! 

Whether I am visiting our beloved New York State mountains in Lake Placid, or am at the grocery store, "Miss Tassie" is my new friend that will be at my side. You will see more photos of "Miss Tassie" in upcoming posts. I am in LOVE. 

We took a survey to see how many states our totes have been to, and it was discovered (as you will see on the map above) that we only have a handful of states left to visit (the ones highlighted in grey). Joe and I are going to Colorado so that will take care of one of the states the tote has not visited. 

Our totes have been to the following countries:
France, Italy, England, So Africa, St. Kitts, Neves, Grand Cayman, Honduras, Mexico 
OK it's giveaway time! Thank you for visiting! Check out every blog and leave us each your comment. On January 27th, you could have a grand moment. Winning a one-of-a-kind tote OF YOUR OWN!
Debbie with Miss Tassie @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Lulu @ The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Tizzy@ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss  Hello Gorgeous @ The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Gigi @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Penny @ Panoply
Sarah with Miss  Poppy @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie with Miss Pansy @ Purple Chocolat Home  

RickiJill with Miss Square Peggy @The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay with Miss Waverly  @ Entertaining Women
Have a great winter, and our next tote post will be March 1st!  

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Snowy Owl and A Happy New Year

 We had a wonderful Christmas, and wanted to get outdoors on the mild winter weekend to hike so we did.  As you can see in the photos above, we have no snow left. We were lucky enough to see this beautiful owl sitting on a small patch of snow. A snowy owl, completely white with variable amount of black markings. In general, old males are the whitest, while immature females have the most dark markings. The owls favor lakeshores and coastal areas with fields, marshes, piers, and sand dunes in winter. 
Just two weeks earlier, we had a good amount of snow. We are starting 2020 with green grass, and fond memories of 2019. Noon Year's Eve was spent at the Utica Zoo sipping apple juice with Xavier and hanging out with the animals. A safe and happy way to spend the last day of the decade. Then we made pizza at home and put out a few appetizers for the adults. Joe cooked filets and served with my sister's potato pierogies.

New Year's day was spent organizing and hiking. The mallards were enjoying the sunshine, and on Friday our favorite bread (and chocolate croissant) baker is opening in a new location, and it's walking distance from our home (oh dear)!! Unless you're in France, one of the best chocolate croissants you'll eat all year is hiding out at this bakery.They just need to fill up the racks and they’re good to go. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2020. Love to all!


Appetizers (2) Birthday Week (2) Blog Anniversary (2) Bread (2) Breakfast (4) Breakfast; MacKenzie-Childs (2) Breville Pie Maker (3) Cannoli (3) Chicken (2) Chicken Riggies; Foodie Friday (1) CHRISTMAS 2011 (4) Come To The Table (4) Cookies (2) Dessert (9) Dinner Parties (3) Easter 2012 (2) Events (2) Fairy Garden (2) Favorites on the First (2) Filled Strawberries (3) Flashback Friday (6) Foodie Friday (20) Garden 2009 (3) Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars (2) Halloween (2) Kentucky Derby; Run for the Roses Pie (1) Key West (4) Kick-Off To Summer BBQ (1) Lake Life (2) Lemon (3) Lemon Berry Cake with Mascarpone Filling (2) Let's Dish (13) Let's Dish; Tablescape Thursday (1) MacKenzie-Childs (38) MacKenzie-Childs; Traveling Tote (4) Magazine recipes (2) MAGNOLIA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING (2) Martha's Vineyard (3) McKenzie-Childs (2) Miss Aurora; (1) Monday Mosaic (5) Monday Mosaic; Seasonal Sundays (3) Mother's Day 2012 (3) Mystery Ingredient; Halloween 2013 (2) National Bundt Day (3) Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan (3) Outdoor Wednesdays (2) OWLS (3) Pasta (2) PEONIES (4) Philadelphia Garden Show 2009 (7) Pier One (2) Pork (2) PUMPKIN PIE FUDGE (3) Rhubarb (4) Salads (2) Seafood (2) Seasonal Sundays (9) Showy Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium reginae) (2) Soup (4) Spider Web Pizza (1) St. Patrick's Day (4) Summer 2013 (2) Summer Dessert (3) Sunday Favorites (3) Sycamore Hill Gardens (2) Table For Two (2) Tablescape Thursday (17) Tablescape Thursday; MacKenzie-Childs (2) Thanksgiving (5) Tips and Tidbits; (2) Tybee Island; Georgia; Savannah; (2) Utica Greens; Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook; Escarole (1) Valentine (2) Valentine's Day (3) Vietri (4) Weekends (6) World Famous Paradise Bakery Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting (3) Zucchini Bread (2)