Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Favorites: Bandwagon Edition

\ˈbandˌwaɡən/ noun: a particular activity or cause that has suddenly become fashionable or popular.

"the local deejays are on the home-team bandwagon"

Happy Friday!  I am jumping on the fall bandwagon today.  Want to join me?  Here are five thing I'm all about right now...

First, you know one bandwagon I can NOT get on?  The Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte bandwagon!  See, I had a root canal once and they packed it with clove to soothe the root.  Now, every time I taste the all-famous PSL, all I taste is clove...and a root canal, therefore I am NOT a fan.  However, I am a fan of all non-clove pumpkin flavored things, like Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Spice Coffee!  Yum!  I may or may not be sipping some right now.  

You know what goes really well with pumpkin spice coffee?  Pumpkin bread, duh!  I made two different options of pumpkin bread yesterday for my kid's preschool teachers (and a little for our house, too).

 I made the Pumpkin Banana bread on the left for two special preschool teachers, that also happen to be fellow Trim Healthy Mama's (low carb & no sugar).  If you're interested, check out Mrs. Criddle's recipe.  

I also made my pal, Johannah's pumpkin bread recipe for three of my daughter's teachers, as well as my family.  Thanks for sharing Johannah!

A delicious First Day of Fall Treat for some special teachers!

Fall decorating is another bandwagon I've jumped on this week.  Although I have scaled it down the past few years, I still like to make it festive and cozy around here.  Here's a peak at a few of my favorites...

I haven't decorated too much outside yet, due to the fact that it's still in the 90's here and no one likes the look of wilted mums and rotten pumpkins, but I do like this wreath that I whipped up on a whim.  This was a *free* wreath, meaning I just took apart some old wreaths and decorations and re-purposed it for a new and improved wreath.  

I was a HUGE fan of Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, so of course I jumped on the This Is Us bandwagon!  If the first episode is any indication of how this show will play out...This Is A Keeper!!  I can't wait to learn more about these likable characters!  

 (Photo from NBC)

But, my favorite character....Major Dad!  I definitely hope he has a reoccurring role, but I'm not getting my hopes up, as it seems he had one purpose and it's over.  Yes, I'm being vague in case anyone hasn't seen it yet.  If that's you, go watch it NOW!

(Photo from when Gerald McRaney stopped by the house the other day...or possible from NBC's website, I can't remember)

If you want to jump on the Simply A Rough Draft bandwagon, here's what we've been up to this week...

On Monday I continued my Meet & Greet series with the fabulously charming and witty Katie from The Preppy Empty Nester.

On Tuesday I shared the cliffhanger story (please note sarcasm) of how I almost had to rescue from daughter from a bathroom using a sledgehammer.  Spoiler alert: she made it out.

Wednesday I linked up with Johannah and Heather for their Recipe Club and shared my recipe for Z.S. Gratin.

That's all I have for you today!  Have a blessed weekend!


Linking up with the Friday Regulars...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Recipe Club: Z.S. Gratin

Today I am participating in one of my favorite linkups of the month; my pals Johannah and Heather's Recipe Club.  If you're looking for some new recipe ideas, be sure to check out this linkup!

I had originally planned a comfort food recipe for today, BUT seeing as it's currently 97 degrees here in Texas, I decided at the last minute to opt for something a little more light.  Call it an end of summer hoorah, if you will.  

I found this recipe via Pinterest on the website BudgetBytes a few months ago.  The original recipe calls for potatoes, but as most of you know I try to watch my carb intake...atleast during the week, so I modified it a tiny bit and came up with my own creation.  I thought about naming it Cheesy, Zucchini, Squash Gratin (even though it's not a true gratin), but that seemed a bit wordy, so I decided on Z.S. Gratin.  I think it sounds a law firm or something.  ;)

Here's what you need: a yellow onion, chopped garlic, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash, 1 medium tomato, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, salt and pepper, 1 cup of shredded Italian blend cheese, 1 Tablespoon oregano.

Would now be a good time to tell you, if you told me a year ago that I would. not only like, but share a recipe containing squash, zucchini, onion and tomato I would freak?  Those are not some of my cherished favorites, but I decided a few years ago to clean up my act and start eating like an adult.  (Much to my Dad's dismay I still order my cheeseburgers, meat, cheese and mayo only, no veggies).  Adulting is hard, y'all!

First, saute the chopped onion (I only used about a third of an onion, but use however much you like), with the chopped garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent.  I know that's not a great picture, but it's onion and garlic, what do you expect?

Once the onion and garlic are tender, distribute it evenly along the bottom of an 8x8 greased pan.

Next, chop the squash, zucchini and tomato into 1/4 of an inch slices.  Please note, a Roma tomato would be easier, but I totally forgot and bought a regular tomato, so I cut it into fourths.  

Then, stack them up in your casserole dish on top of the onion mixture.  Liberally sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. 

Bake at 400 degrees COVERED WITH FOIL (picture provided for my visual learners) for 30 minutes.  

After the 30 minutes, sprinkle one cup of Italian Blend cheese on top, and bake UNCOVERED for another 15-20 minutes.  

When it comes out of the oven, marvel at the beauty, then sprinkle a little oregano or parsley on top.  

As my husband would say, "You can't make this stuff up..."

It's the perfect end of summer side dish!   


Don't forget to stop by the linkup for more delicious ideas!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Daddy To The Rescue!

We had a bit of a traumatic day around our house yesterday.  Well, if I'm being honest, it was only traumatic for about 40 minutes or so.  You see one of my sweet, little darlings locked herself in our guest bathroom.  Thankfully, we have a key for this particular door, so I grabbed my keys to rescue my princess...only to find I didn't actually have a copy of this key on my key ring.  In fact, the only key that we had to this lock was at work with my husband.  We called Daddy, I put the phone on speaker and he instructed our damsel in distress on how to unlock the door (like I hadn't already thought of that).

After that was unsuccessful, my husband decided to drive home to free the shut-in.  He instructed me to use the sledgehammer on the door if there was an emergency before he could get home.  The thought of my lack thereof sledgehammer skills worried me, as I pictured my sweet little angel on the other side of the door wondering why Paul Bunyan was pounding down the door.  I thought about asking one of my neighbors for help, but we live in a decent neighborhood, and I can't imagine any of my neighbors having the kind of past that would have included lock picking.  So, we opted to wait for Daddy.  All the while I wondered when we got a sledgehammer, why we had a sledgehammer, and what was said sledgehammer's purpose?  We waited what seemed like hours (it wasn't) for my husband to arrive home.  Meanwhile, he stopped by the dry cleaners (because isn't that what all the Knights in Shining Armor do before they make a great rescue), and my son slid books under the door to keep his sister occupied.  He also made up a catchy tune that would make Phoebe Buffay proud entitled, "Why Did You Lock Yourself In The Bathroom?"

(The Aftermath)

So, the traumatic part...that was me.  To be honest, I was fine until the sledgehammer came into the story, then I started to worry what if something did go wrong.  Yikes!  The Damsel in Distress, she wasn't worried at all!  No, she was fine.  I told her Daddy would be there to rescue her and she was content with that!  That's because she has faith like a child!

Matthew 18:3 says "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

That tells me: Emily, stop stressing out about things you can't control.  Your Heavenly Father has got this.  Trust me that I will provide all of you needs!

The next time you find yourself trapped in a situation...that often times, we've put ourselves into, remember, sometimes the solution is just to wait on our Father to help us out of it.

Don't you just love a happy ending?

Have a terrific Tuesday, friends!  I'm linking up with a few of my favorite bloggers for Tuesday Talk!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Meet & Greet Monday

After taking a little bit of a blog hiatus last week, I'm back today for Meet & Greet Monday to introduce you to (or help you get to know a little better) Katie from Preppy Empty Nester takes boston.  She is one of my all-time favorites, and makes me laugh with each post she writes.  I just know you're going to love her, too...

My name is Katie Clooney.  The name of my blog is Preppy Empty Nester.  I was born and raised in Connecticut.   I met my Mister in my early 30's after my dear departed Mother spent hours on her knees saying countless novenas to St. Jude.  For those of you who do not know who St. Jude is, he is the saint of hopeless causes.

The Mister and I have been married for over 25 years.  He is a former chef who has gladly taken on the culinary duties in our home.  It was either that or check himself into the ER with salmonella poisoning twice a week.

We have two beautiful daughters who are my style consultants, technical advisers, and pop culture gurus.  My #1 lives in Dallas and my #2 is in graduate school at Duke.

We also have a certifiably crazy hyperactive Goldendoodle, Chowdah, and an ego-driven moody Maltipoo by the name of Chili.

Our family has moved seven times, from Florida to California.  For fifteen years I considered myself a native Texan.    

1.   How long have been blogging and what inspired you to start blogging?

I sat down at this table in McKinney, Texas four years ago and wrote my first blog post.  My #2 daughter was leaving for college a few weeks later and I wanted something to fill my time.  I had my challenges because I'm not the brightest bulb in the toolbox when it comes to technology.  It took me about 4 days to learn how to hyperlink.  I still call my girls to help me remember how to do it.

Writing a blog was one of the best decisions that I have ever made.  I am fortunate to have met many wonderful friends in person as well as virtually.

2.  How did you come up with the name of your blog?

My girls helped me choose the name.  I added takes boston when I moved from the great state of Texas.  I wanted to convey as much as I could about myself in the title.

And besides... Supermodel Trophy Wife was taken.

3.  Of all your posts, which one was your favorite and why?

Good question.  I thought about this one for awhile.  My biggest problem is that I can't remember most of them.  

I would have to say that I really enjoyed the before and after posts featuring our present new/old home.

4.  What's the best piece of advice you have ever received?

When writing a blog, speak in your own voice.

5.  Let's pretend a big TV executive called you up and wanted to feature you on a popular talk show each week.  Who's talk show would you want to appear on and what would your segments be about?

I would like to squeeze in and take a seat between these ladies, sip chardonnay, and cover Hollywood gossip.   

6. What are your go-to's?  In other words, I'm going to give you a scenario when you might find yourself in a time crunch... tell me the first thing that pops in your head.

OK, I'm ready.

7.  You need an outfit and you only have an hour to find it.  What store is your go to?

This is me.
It's amazing what photoshop can do.
When Marshalls and TJ Maxx do not have what I am looking for, my go-to stores are:  Talbots, Loft, Ann Taylor, JCrew, and Bananna Republic because they all carry petites.  Unfortunately, the inches that I lack in height are compensated in the weight department.

It's not easy being me.

8.  Friends are coming over for dinner tomorrow night.  
What's your go-to entertaining meal?

I don't have a go-to meal, but I do have a go-to man!

9. You're cleaning your house on a Saturday afternoon.  
What's your go-to CD or Pandora station?

Wait... I'm doing what on a Saturday afternoon?

10.  You need to stare mindlessly at the TV to unwind.  
What's your go-to TV show?

Any one of these crazy shows is my drug of choice.

11.  You're planning a date night or a girls night out.  
What's your go-to restaurant for a fun time?

We live fairly far away from Boston, where a couple of our favorite restaurants reside.  So instead, our date night usually consists of staying home, enjoying a glass or four of wine, and one of the Mister's signature cheeseboards.

12.  You need some encouragement.  
Who's you go-to person for a little pick me up?

My picker uppers in a nutshell.
#1 and #2
Chowdah and Chili 

and if that doesn't work...

Thank you, thank you Katie, for letting me put you on the hot seat today!  You see why Katie lifts my spirits with her fun sense of humor!  Incase you missed any of my other Meet & Greet's be sure to check them out!

Meet Beth from Our Pretty Little Girls
Meet Johannah from the Sirois Family
Meet Shelly from The Queen in Between 
Meet Amanda from A Brownie World
Meet Jessica from Life.Love.Reality
Meet Jill from Pharr Out Creations

Meet Jenny from California

Have a great Monday!


I'm linking up with Johannah for Hello Monday.

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