Monday, November 21, 2022

Things that followed me home....

 Things That Followed Me Home...



Quite a few items have made their way to Our New Vista in the last month.  I have been upgrading some of my cookware and am thrilled with the Blue Diamond pans I found. 

This was my first Blue Diamond purchase at Kohl's.  My frying pans that came with my Analon set several years ago were those no longer as non-stick as I liked.  I decided to try this medium size frying pan because it was on sale and I had a coupon...win/win.

I brought it home and made scrambled eggs and NOTHING STUCK.  You really don't even need any butter or other substance...I used a little Smart Balance, but it was not necessary.  You are advised to NOT use any cooking spray. This pan is completely toxin gree, and has no PFOA, lead  of cadmium.  It is dishwasher, oven , broiler, and metal utensil safe. The pan cleaned up so easily that I never put it in the dishwasher...and I used a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. So, I was on a quest to find some others.  I did not want to buy the entire set as my saucepans are still fine.

My next purchase was this - 
5 qt. covered skillet with helper handle.  I had a similar pan that I used for stir fry and other recipes, but it was also getting old.  I found this one at a great price at Walmart...and after using it several times I can say I love it.  Nothing sticks - really!
So...then I was making pancakes and my old griddle ( that cam with my Analon set ) was not really great.  The pancakes kept sticking.  I checked Walmart and Kohl's for a griddle but they did not have them.  
I found this square griddle on Amazon and it is also fabulous.  Pancakes don't stick, it makes the best toasted cheese sandwiches.  I am so glad I found these pans.  You can find them at stores like Walmart, Kohl's, etc. - and also on Amazon.  Interestingly on the Blue Diamond website most of these items are SOLD OUT.    I am very happy with my purchases...and am thinking of now upgrading my muffin and loaf pans!
Next up...a new item for my kitchen sink - 
Full Circle Bubble Up Ceramic Soap Dispenser & Bamboo Dish Brush
Found on Amazon

This sits perfectly on the counter near my sink.  There is a spring loaded removable insert.  You just put some dishwashing liquid and a little water in the container and then pump it a few times to make some suds.  I love it for quick clean ups without getting my hands and nails immersed in water.  

Electric Candle Lighter Plasma Arc Lighters with USB Rechargeable Battery Windproof & Flameless Retractable Head ... also found on Amazon.

I don't use matches any longer and was tired of buying those disposable lighter wands.  This works great for candles and it is rechargeable!


Last week I got together for Friendsgiving with my college friends.  We met for lunch and shopping - and we usually exchanged gifts.  Chatting early in the month, we decided to NOT give each other gifts.  We are so blessed in our lives and we have everything we need.  A decision was made to give to a charity of our choice - and then we shared the charity we chose.  And...even though we said we don't need anything, we did manage to do a little shopping at the Tanger Outlets in Hershey, PA.

I found some great jewelry - first at Talbots.


I picked up a simply tee shirt and was waiting to check out when I spied these cute earrings.  I did not need them...but they were so sparkly and looked so good for the holidays that they ended up in my bag!  In my defense, they were on sale and I had a 20% off coupon!

Also found some deals at the Loft Outlet

Wandering around the store I spied these necklaces on the 50% off rack.  I loved the navy/teal one and knew I had a pair of teal slacks and a navy sweater that would work great with that one.  I loved the delicate look of the other...



These were the price tags....but when I got to the check out I was told they had been marked down even more...and the price for each was 

$4.12 !!!

We had a party to attend over the weekend and I wore the teal pants, navy sweater, and that necklace - and got tons of compliments!

Last of all is this  - Bose Soundwave IV
Our new car does not have a CD player...we love music and have lots and lots of CDs, so we needed something to be able to listen to them.  We were putting them in the DVD player and running them through the television, but it was not the best.   This was a Today's Special Value on one of the home shopping channels and it was an amazing price.  So, we ordered it and set it up - super easy - and we LOVE IT.  The sound is amazing, it takes up such little space, and we can now listen to all of our music.
How about you ?  What has "followed you home" this month?  Are you upgrading any of your pots and pans?  What kind do you like?  Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you!  And to one and all - Happy Thanksgiving!  I feel so incredibly blessed and thankful for all the blessings in my life!  Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Cozy November

 


Cozy November

November has been a very warm month here in our part of Pennsylvania.  I enjoy bringing out all the Thanksgiving themed decorations and closing down our screen porch for the winter. The warmer weather made me think we could still use the porch, but today the weather changed and we are going to be getting November weather.  I am ready...for fires in the fireplace, hot chocolate, soup and stews for supper, and all things cozy!

I love the memories that the decorations for each season bring back.  The turkey was made by my dear Aunt Mamie ( of the Halloween ghost fame - she really enjoyed ceramics in her 90's!)

The cornucopia belonged to John's mother.  When it came into my possession it was painted a funny purple shade. It came with two matching candle sticks that were chipped and cracked, so they were discarded.  I used some dark brown paint to cover the purple and we have been enjoying it each November every year.
Simple things add a cozy touch...the Be Thankful pillow, a nice thrown, and I filled the candle vase with Fall colored filler balls from Dollar Tree.

The wine rack holds a pumpkin plate and a Pilgrim that was a gift from a teacher friend many years ago.


Some leaves, a little turkey, and of course the Eagles mug fill in the kitchen corner.

A very simple centerpiece....more of the filler from Dollar Tree, the mirror bas ( also from Dollar Tree ), and another little turkey.

I have to learn how to take a better photo of the "china closet" as we call it.  I just added some touches of Fall leaf plates and cups, and a turkey tureen that I found in a thrift shop.
Here is our table for a dinner with friends this past weekend.  I used the placemats I purchased at our community thrift sale, napkins from Kohls, napkin rings from Dollar Tree, our "wedding china" on top of leaf motif chargers from Ross, our "good silverware", and crystal wine and water goblets that were a gift.
Our church had a Saturday Night Mass that featured the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.  Every so often our wonderful contemporary music director gets a band together and our clergy works together to make a service that matches the music to the liturgy.   We have enjoyed services with music from the Beatles, John Denver, Leonard Cohen, Queen, Les Mis, Phantom, and more.  This worked around the theme of LOVE....and the band really did a great job.  "Love is coming to us all...."
My dear friend, old friend ( we met when we ended up in the same homeroom in 1971! - then went on to be college roommates and life long friends) came to attend the Mass.  
We came back to our home for dinner and I made an Autumn Apple Pie.
I did not make my own crust...used the Aldi pre-made pie crusts and they were great.

Used Aldi brand baking spray on the pie plate.

Put the dough in the pie plate...

Peeled 6 pretty big McIntosh apples...



Cored the apples and sliced them as thin as I could.

Mixed the apples with 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, some nutmeg, a dash of lemon juice..

Mixed all that together and put in the pie plate - I should have brushed the bottom with egg white to prevent soggy bottom...it was not too bad, but I have to remember that.

Dotted the top of the apples with some Smart Balance margarine,
Then, because I don't think you can have TOO much cinnamon, I added some more on top!



Used my little oak leaf cutter to make some vents.


Brushed everything with some half and half and then sprinkled some natural sugar on top.


Baked the pie at 375 degrees for about 40- 45 minutes...


And it turned out great!!!   We enjoyed it with some vanilla ice cream and lots of good conversation.
Do you decorate for Thanksgiving ?  Are you fan of apple pie?
Please let me know in the comments below.  I love hearing from you all - and hope you have a great week.  Here comes November weather...stay warm and cozy!

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Late October

 

Late October Fun
We recently returned from a cruise to Canada and the New England Coast.  The leaves were nice, but this gorgeous tree that is right outside our front door has them all beat!   We were blessed with a beautiful fall and lots of color this year!

We are all ready for Halloween here at Our New Vista.  This ghost was made many years ago by my dear Aunt Mamie.  She did not start doing ceramics until she was in her 90's....and had so much fun with it.  Many members of our family were gifted with these and each year we love posting the return of "Aunt Mamie's Ghost" !!!

Our neighbors were traveling to Spain and Portugal the same time we were cruising on our trip, so we got together for brunch to share our travels.  The charges are embossed with fall leaves - hard to see in this photo - and I found them browsing this week in Ross...on clearance for 3.99....so I could not resist.  The fall placemats were found at a "Cash and Cary" sale in our community on Dollar Bag Day.  Anything you can fit in a big, brown paper bag on the last day of the sale is just a dollar for the entire bag.  These placemats still had the price tags on them!  The dining room furniture is "vintage"...of just plain old.  We purchased this set in 1979...and it has been the setting for so many good times with family and friends over the years.   In 1991 we built a home and went with new "Queen Anne" style furniture in the living room - and kept saying we were going to get a more up to date dining room.  Well...this table has two leaves, I have 8 chairs, and we used it so much and never found a set that we liked enough to purchase.  As we moved through the years I switched out the pulls on the china cabinet and server, changed out the covers on the seats...and after this last move to our downsized apartment had the well worn parquet top refinished.  All the pieces fit perfectly in our apartment...and it has come back into style, so we are enjoying it now every day as our only dining table.
Simple centerpiece of a candle in some candy corn...the mirror is from Dollar Tree, and the ghost is one I made in 1977.  The napkin rings are also from Dollar Tree.  The water glasses were a wedding gift in 1977 - and have our initials engraved on them.  Sadly, over the years of using them and putting them in the dishwasher, they have a haze that I cannot seem to get rid off of them.  Once they are filled with water or a drink you don't notice it, but I wish I could somehow get rid of the haze.  Any ideas ?  I don't want to get rid or them...love that we have been using them for almost 46 years - and of the set of eight only one has broken.
The menu included a broccoli and cheddar quiche, coleslaw with apples, pears, dried cranberries, and topped with toasted ( a little too toasted ) almonds, pumpkin muffins, and bacon.  We served an apple cider/rose blended drink that we picked up at a local winery and it was lovely with the meal.
You can see the nice wood grain on our table in this photo...I love it.  I purchased some honey butter and used my mini cookie scoop to make butter balls.
This is the buffet piece from the dining set.  It has been many things over the years...when we first got it I used it as a room divider between the kitchen and dining room since it has a beautiful oak finish on the back side.   Over the years it has been a nice piece in a bay window in one dining room, and now serves as a nice table behind our sofa and a great dessert place.

I made M&M brownies that I also topped with ghost/pumpkin Halloween sprinkles.  Been making these for years...easy peasy and oh so good.  You can find the recipe here - 



We had a great time enjoying the meal and sharing our travels.  I made sure I had goodie bags with some muffins and brownies ready for our guests to take home and enjoy the treats on Halloween.
Do you entertain for Halloween ?  Are you a brunch person ?  I think it is SO easy to entertain at a brunch...and people are so busy that sometimes a daytime get together works best. Please leave a message below and let me know how you celebrate.  Thanks so much for stopping by Our New Vista - and have a 
Happy Halloween !!!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Aboard the Viking Star

 

Aboard the Viking Star

Finally all unpacked and laundry finished and time to reflect on a great journey on the Viking Star.  We enjoyed a wonderful "repositioning" cruise that took us from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale - with many wonderful stops along the way!  

We were happy to arrive in Montreal on time with no flight delays...hoped to interview for Global Entry at the airport but the office was closed and had been since Covid began.

Beautiful view from our stateroom.

Toured the amazing cathedral in Montreal...

Learned that the main aisle slopes downward to mimic the flow of the St. Lawrence river.

This was a first for me...I did see battery operated candles in churches before, but I never saw a way to pay for your candle with a credit card !
Quebec the next day....lovely old town.



Wonderful day exploring the historic city.
Next stop was Saguenay... a small town with great scenery.



Beautiful churches and this pyramid memorial to people lost in the terrible flooding in 1997.

Found a lot of Little Free Libraries along the way, but this one was "the coolest"!

We got to spend an extra morning there as our stop at Prince Edward Island was cancelled due to damage from Hurricane Fiona.  The island did not have power and was not accepting any cruise ships.  I was sorry to miss that stop and the Anne of Green Gables tour...but enjoyed the extra time to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Loved the spa pool with the warm water and great loungers.

Waffles !

Seemed like there was always a reason for the crew to pass our champagne...

and Afternoon Tea.  What bliss...with beautiful music and delicious treats.



The food on this cruise was AMAZING!
Next stop was St. John, New Brunswick 

I always seem to find the libraries and the bookstores...

Interesting area with "reversing falls" when the tide changes.
Next stop was Bar Harbor, Maine...and Acadia National Park.



Chowder and toasted cheese for lunch...

This shop sold lobster ice cream !!!


Back on the ship for a wonderful lobster dinner!
Then next day arrived in Portland, Maine - 
What a beautiful city.
Our tour out to the light house was not until the afternoon so we explored on our own -

The last existing watch tower in the U.S.

Another little free library where I found a book I wanted to read...will add a book to a little library in my neighborhood to keep the idea going.

Lovely walk along the bay and enjoying all the sea captain's homes.


We found the restored area near the docks with lots of shops and places to eat...

By the time we made it back to the ship my Fitbit said we walked over 15,000 steps....so I indulged in gelato and dessert...and wine at lunch!

We were lucky with weather the entire trip....rained a little as we visited the beautiful lighthouse.
The rocky coast of Maine was really gorgeous...then it was on to Newport, Rhode Island.

Trinity Church

Loved the stained glass


The pew where George Washington worshipped...

The kneelers are from when Queen Elizabeth visited in 1976 and worshipped there with President Ford.

We walked around the harbor and looked at some of the huge yachts.


Like stars on the water....a wonderful day!

Back to the ship for another Afternoon Tea time.

Cannot say enough about how great the crew was - they all wore masks to keep us safe. (We wore masks in the airport, on the plane, on any tour bus, and in the theater.)  Viking crew treated us royally...remembering what we liked to drink, our names, and our cabin steward took care of our every need.  

And once again...the food !  This was surf and turf...and both the lobster and filet were done to perfection.  The portions were huge...so much so that several times we asked for half portions.  We are usually very careful with our diets and try to eat healthy.  On this trip....forget about it!   We have vowed to be more moderate on the next cruise....we shall see.

The closer we got to Fort Lauderdale the warmer the weather became...we enjoyed the infinity pool and hot tub at the back of the ship.  


It was a fabulous trip - we saw so much nature and history, enjoyed fabulous food and wine, met a lot of interesting people from all over the world, and spent time just relaxing and watching the water!
Can't wait for the next trip...coming in March!

Do you like to cruise?  River?  Ocean?  What cruise lines do you enjoy?  Please leave a comment below - I love hearing from you!
Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista - have a great week!

Things that followed me home....

 Things That Followed Me Home... Quite a few items have made their way to Our New Vista in the last month.  I have been upgrading some of my...