Monday, May 31, 2021

Red, White, and Blue!


Red, White, and Blue!

Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season and time for the red, white, and blue to come out of storage.  I usually keep the patriotic items up until after the 4th of July.  Have had this wreath for a few years...recently added a few more flowers and the hat that I picked up at Dollar Tree.
Dining room table has a silver charger, some wicker stars from Williams Sonoma, and a candle with red/white/blue crystal filler from Dollar Tree.

The foyer gets a bit of patriotic pride with the red lantern and the pledge...

Thanks to Ann of On Sutton Place for the great printable!

I tied some red/white/blue ribbons to star cookie cutters and spread them throughout the house - and have a few stars and stripes dishes that I use for the season.

The candle on the porch is on a time and sits on a patriotic plate...

I stick flags in plants wherever I can and pull out the flag coasters...

Coffee table gets some festive napkins - display is an old, faded flag twisted around a candle holder and some picks from JoAnn Fabrics.  I found the picks last year at a great sale and knew I would find a place for them this year!

Another plate...and the last of my Boyd's Bears - this one sporting a flag sweater.  I had quite a few stuffed and resin Boyd's Bears that did not make the move when we downsized.  I was amazed at how they did not sell at our moving yard sale...I ended up giving them away to children who came with parents to the sale!

Some more stars scattered around make it feel festive!
Also did a bit of moving art around the apartment.  When we moved in we had the grandfather clock on this wall, but we could not use the chimes because it was too loud and drowned out the television.  We moved the clock to the foyer and put another print in that place, but it was way too small....this Cafe at Arles was in the dining room....
So we moved it and put Starry Night in the dining room and it is much better!  See the hole in the wall ?  Originally each room in the apartment was slated to have a fire alarm, but then the builder decided not to install them, but left the wiring covered by a tan, solid switch plate in case they were needed in the future.  Those shiny plates reflected the light and always bothered

We removed them, painted them with the same, flat paint as the walls...

After they dried we up them back up and now you hardly notice them!

Finally tried Impossible Burgers...since we are not eating beef since my honey's heart attack.

They grilled up really well on our little outdoor George Foreman grill....I added some cheese and toasted the buns...

and they were DELICIOUS!!!  I really could not tell the difference between the impossible and a beef burger.  This will be on our menu many times for the summer!  You can find the recipe for the salad that accompanied our meal here 
Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day Weekend! Do you decorate with red/white/blue for the summer months?  Please share your ideas, I would love to see them!  Leave a comment below - I love hearing from you!  Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista!

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Simple Side Salad

 Simple Side Salad

We are trying very hard to eat a more healthy diet...without giving up the food we love.   After John's heart attack, the diet recommendations were to limit fat, sugar, etc.  As summer approaches I wanted to experiment with some side salads that would be a bit healthier than the side salads I always purchased at the grocery store deli.   I love a good macaroni or potato salad - our deli has a great red potato salad - but I realized that the macaroni was not whole wheat, the diet suggestions say to veer toward sweet potatoes instead of white, and I felt the mayonnaise used in the store bought salads were filled with fat, salt, and preservatives. So, I am on a quest this summer to make side salads for our burgers ( no more beef...turkey and maybe impossible), chicken, and salmon on the grill!

Here is what I came up with today to accompany our pulled chicken barbecue sandwich.  I purchased the sandwich filling at Aldi...feeling the chicken was a better choice than the pork.  In the future I plan on making my own version with sugar free barbecue sauce and skinless chicken - but we had this in the freezer and it was enough for lunch. So...In my last shopping trip I purchased this cole slaw mix - 

It was called "broccoli slaw" and is a combination of shredded broccoli stalks, red cabbage, and shredded carrots.  I chopped one small Gala apple into bite size pieces, and added some low sugar "Craisins"...and added enough slaw mix for two into a bowl.
Then I put one tablespoon of Duke's LIGHT may in a measuring cup and added a dash of salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar, and a little pickle juice - and mixed that up.

I poured that over the slaw/fruit mixture, tossed it together, and put it in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes while I heated up the chicken.  I also spread the buns - and I use Schmidt's 647 buns- (they have more fiber and less calories) with Benecol Light Spread

and put the buns on the grill for a few minutes.
Served the sandwiches with the salad, some pickles, and a few BAKED potato chips...
And took it all outside to enjoy on our screen porch on a beautiful May day!
Do you have any recipes for healthy side salads ?  Please share!  And leave a comment below - it makes me so happy!  Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Mid May Musings

Mid May Musings

May is flying past !  As everything blooms outside this book was the perfect read for those who love gardens.   The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly tells the tale of several gardens at old, historic English homes, and the lives of the people that created them...and lived with them.  I had to enjoy it with a cuppa and a scone.   These scones are so easy to make - you can find the recipe here  Apricot White Chocolate Scones

I have been enjoying several good books this month...

I really enjoy Stephanie Dray's books...she seems to do so much research for her historical fiction novels and you can learn SO much about different periods in history.  This one tells about the ancestral home of Lafayette through the stories of his wife, the chateau and the women involved in the chateau during WW One and Two.  I loved it - and learned SO much about Lafayette!
So thankful for our local Public Library...they really feed my reading habit.  Some other titles I enjoyed this month are...

If you read The Lilac Girls and The Lost Roses, this completes the saga of the Woolsey family and the part they played in history.  Once again...this author does so much research that even though it is fiction, I learned SO much.

Another historical fiction about the Warsaw Ghetto...again, very well researched and I learned a lot about real life hero  Dr. Janusz Korcsak, who was an advocate for children before the war and tried to be a savior for children throughout the terrible times in the ghetto.

Getting out of my historical fiction genre and starting this today...I have heard so much about this book, so I suggested it for my Book Club that finally got together last week.   Everyone voted to read it, so I will lead the discussion next month and look forward to reading this!
Purchased the book from Thriftbooks and now have earned a FREE BOOK - Yippee!
Amazon purchases this month include these timers.  I love to have lamps on timers but my old timers are starting to make that clicking sound...they are the older, rotary type of timers and somewhat bulky.  Susan at Between Naps On The Porch recommended these on one of her posts so I am going to give them a try.
Ever in search of the perfect mascara, I have noticed a lot of bloggers and posts on Pinterest seem to love this Lash Princess.  A bargain at 4.99 I ordered the waterproof version.
I really love my FitBit Versa that it not only tracks my steps but also am able to see my email and texts right on my wrist...and reply to texts by speaking into it.  I feel like Dick Tracy and his watch in the old comic strips! (Wow, just dated myself!!!) But I did not like the bands that came with the Versa...used the navy blue during the winter and switched to the pink for the Spring...but the look was a little too casual for me. I found this mother of pearl looking band on Amazon...

I just love the way it looks...

It feels more like a bracelet ...

and it came with this handy tool that made it fairly easy to take out a link to make the perfect fit!
And...I don't have a recipe for this...just had some tomatoes that were left over from making a salad, some spinach that needed to be used before it turned bad, and had some shrimp in the freezer.  I sautéed it all together with some onion, garlic, and served it over was a huge hit.  Though next time I take a photo I have to remember to wipe the drops from the plate...a food stylist I am not!!!
Other good our 5th floor cafe reopened - over a year closed since Covid.  Our building includes a beautiful continental breakfast and one of the best parts of living here is having breakfast with friends and a great view!  It was SO good to be back today...still a limited menu and social distancing...but great to see our friends and neighbors and chat over a cup of coffee!
What have you been reading and buying this May ?   Please share your ideas in the comments below - I would be thrilled to hear from you!
Thank you so much for stopping by Our New Vista! Have a great day!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Cinco de Mayo Dinner Party

 Cinco de May Dinner Party

Now that we are fully vaccinated and our neighbors are as well we decided to get back to entertaining and sharing a meal.  Over a year since we hosted friends in our home...the longest time we have ever gone without having company.  Cinco de Mayo seemed the perfect time to celebrate life getting back to almost normal!

The centerpiece was a simple mirror charger that I found in the Dollar Zone at Target.  It was in with all the wedding items, but I thought it would be great on our dining room table.  I added our candles, a vase of faux flowers that I wrapped with a colorful napkin, and a maraca that I have had since high school days from Spanish class!!!

Place setting was very simple  - I used brown woven mats as background, colorful flower mats from Dollar Tree, and the napkins purchased from Kohl's a few years ago.  I think they look perfect for Cinco de Mayo and the Spring/Summer season.  The plates are my everyday white dishes, but I did pull out the better silverware to shine up the table.
I used the blue stemmed water glasses from Dollar Tree - and used these cute little cork coasters I found at Ikea to protect the table.  We have had the dining room furniture since 1979...and it is back in style and works perfectly in our more modern apartment.  We had the table top refinished when we moved three years ago.  It had taken a beating from all the dinners over the years.   I use the coasters now to keep the nice, smooth top staying that way.
What would Cinco de Mayo be without margaritas.  I found these cute glasses at the Cash & Carry sale that our community hosts every so often.  The last day of the sale is Dollar Day - fill a bag with as much as you can for ONE DOLLAR!  I snagged these cute glasses along with some other items.  The pitcher is from Ikea...I linked the tray with one of the napkins and tied another colorful napkin to the pitcher for some fun.
Simple appetizer of veggies and roasted red pepper hummus.
The dinner was Santa Fe Chicken - I usually make that recipe in the crock pot, but for a dinner party it presents better when prepared in the oven.  I use this recipe  Santa Fe Chicken and baked it in my Temptations baking pan that I found at QVC.  I forgot to take photos of the chicken....
But I did remember to take photos of the dessert - Red Velvet Cupcakes that are SUPER easy.  
1 box red velvet cake mix
12 ounces of Dr. Pepper ( I used diet Dr. Pepper)
THAT IS IT !  Mix together, put in cupcake tin, bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.
This could not be easier...
I used my new measuring cup - also found on my Target run - that you can view amount from above.  Game changer!
I use an ice cream scoop to fill the cup cake liners...and I had these liners that had the same colors as the napkins and looked festive!
Once baked I let them cool....
Then frosted them with cream cheese frosting...I used low fat cream chees and Smart Balance to make this a little bit healthier..
Once frosted I used colorful sprinkles to make them pretty...
and served them on my family's pedestal cake dish.  Family legend says my grandmother purchased this for my Aunt Ann ( who passed away when my father was 16 so I never knew her..) because she was a great baker and used to bake a cake for her family every week.  My grandmother ( who I also never met) thought she needed a nice plate for her cake.  Over the years we always used it for birthday I use it whenever I can!
The cupcakes were great and the dinner was a great success.  We ate, laughed, and talked until late in the night.  Like old times!
And going under the "you should never try something new when you have guests" theory - I did anyway and tried my new rice cooker that I found on Amazon.  I served brown rice with the chicken.  We eat a lot of rice and I like the idea of making it easy to prepare.  This worked out great - a good buy!  It also comes with a steamer basket to make veggies and fish - I will have fun playing with it this week.
Have you entertained in your home recently ?  Are you ready to get back to normal after this past year ?  Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo ?  Please leave a comment below - I would be thrilled!  Thanks for stopping by Our New Vista!

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...