Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tri-Color Italian Pasta Salad

Even though this is the view out my windows....

...and Spring is no where in sight on this 33 degree day, I have been craving summer foods. I made potato salad and grilled (in the broiler!) sausage this week and tonight my guys are having Philly cheesesteak sandwiches with tri-color pasta salad, by request of my son.

What am I eating? Why, stir fry veggies of course, with a side of pasta salad!

This stuff is the best and my go-to salad all summer. I have been making it for years and years and years and it is great every time. It has a little bit of each food group, so you really could eat it as a meal (wink, wink).

Believe me, you will want a huge portion, or just have 6-8 small helpings. No calories after the first two.

Anyways, my son is funny because every time I am going to make this he comments on how bad the tri-color pasta salad is in the deli where he works. It has pieces of nasty ham in it and no taste. He is right, I tried it! He prefers mine over that 100%.

I promise there are no nasty pieces of ham in this recipe. Just pasta, broccoli, black olives, pepperoni, chunks of mozzarella, and grape tomatoes. I do not know where I got this recipe, nor do I measure the amounts too much. This is about what I used today. The cheese and dressing stays the same every time.

Tri-Color Italian Pasta Salad

1 pound box of tri-color pasta
4 oz. mozzarella cut in chunks (half a bar)
one small head of broccoli chopped
1/2 can black olives chopped in half
1/2 container grape tomatoes chopped in half
a handful of pepperoni slices cut in half
1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan
1/2 cup canola oil and 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed together

Cook the pasta till tender but not mushy. 
Drain and add in the rest of the ingredients.

**Please try not to cheat and use bottled Italian dressing...blech!
The combination of the grated cheese and the oil and
vinegar is really, really good**

This is the kind of recipe that tastes best if you make it in the morning for that evening's dinner.

It is even better the next day.



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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mid-Week Musings

Hi! Happy almost Spring!

I don't have a set schedule of posting here on my blog so it has been awhile since I visited with you all.

So, what have I been up to since my last post?

Musing about this and that. Planning some updates for my home. A little Spring decorating.

Because we are in the middle of another storm I can't seem to erase the Let it Snow sign. It will have to share the side of my dining room with the bunnies.

I was inspired to make this basket when an Etsy buyer bought a similar basket from me and recreated a Martha Stewart design she saved from a magazine years ago. She sent me the picture of hers in her new basket and it was fabulous.

This basket was still in my shop. It is a vintage Harry and David gift basket from Oregon. I quickly deactivated it so I could use it to create my own Easter basket centerpiece. I guess that's a perk of having over 640 items in my shop. No one will miss the ones I keep for myself!

The greens are a garland from Michaels all bunched up inside; I painted the ceramic brown bunny about 40 years ago in ceramics class; the ribbon is new and the eggs are ones I painted last year. Of course I had to change my "Winter" scrabble pieces to "Spring".

My dress form got a new look. I have been searching online for the perfect Spring dress but until I find just the right one, I decided to dress her in this vintage long dress I found at a thrift store in Rochester, NY. I layered some of my personal necklaces with some vintage ones and she's ready for the transition from Winter to Spring.

My window seat in the parlor got Springified too with some new pink pillows added into the ones I have had there for 20 years. Love my new bunny pillow.

My sweet girlfriend Colleen gave me the beaded candleholder for my birthday. She is all about the baubles and bling, and me...I am a little understated in that department. I didn't know where to put it in my home but when I stuck a faux fern in it and put it under my gallery wall, it added just enough elegance to the room. 

One of those updates I mentioned earlier will be done in my parlor. The walls are called Cranberry Cocktail and although I love the color I am tired of it after 21 years. My new rug does not match perfectly to them so I want a fresh look with a more muted color. I am 99% sure I am going with the top color called Portobello. 

I have to decide soon since my painter is coming to paint on the 24th!


A couple of things I have been musing about are toilet rugs and mug cupboards. Yup, you read that right!

For some reason in this house I have had a toilet "rug" on the seat in whatever color the room currently is. I match it nicely to the rug. 

My husband hates it. It prevents the seat from staying up on it's own and that can be a problem for him if you know what I mean.

The other update we are planning is for this bathroom. It will be pretty much a gut job. That ugly tile? Gone! That ugly floor? Gone! That ugly old thingamajig under the toilet? Gone! Actually the toilet itself will be gone too and now, so will the toilet rug.

My husband asked me why I even have it there. 

I could not answer.

I thought it was the thing to do. You know, match it to the rug. Toilet seats are plain and ugly. Anybody out there with me on this?!

Another thing I have been musing about is my mug cupboard. To clean it out or leave it be.

My kitchen cupboards are tall, narrow and deep with lots of shelves. One of them is filled with mugs. Almost every time my husband goes for a mug he asks me why I keep all those mugs in there.

Because I can.

What if I get a house full of people that all want coffee?!?

I am quite attached to most of my mugs although I only use three of them on a daily basis. I have two 4 cup coffee mugs in two different colors to interchange daily and my tea mug. I have to start my day with a large cup of coffee and I am so afraid of my 4 cupper breaking again that I now have two of them.

Gotta cover all the bases on things you love.


I went to Trader Joe's recently with my sister and she insisted that I buy myself this huge chocolate bar to stash away and have a piece every she does.

Since I do like a little chocolate every day, I gave in. 

She twisted my arm after all.

It is my new favorite Trader Joe's item! Really thick chunks of milk chocolate with huge almonds inside.

I decided to give a bar to my husband for our monthly (on the 13th) anniversary gift. It's his favorite kind of chocolate bar. For those that don't know, we exchange a small gift every month on our wedding date. We have been doing it for 21 years.

He surprised me with this book. I actually had it in my cart on Amazon but never ordered it.

I think the two go perfect together......

Having endured three nor'easters with snow still on the ground, I can only hope Spring comes our way soon and gives me lots of ideas for future posts :-)

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up to these great blog parties:

Friday, January 26, 2018

Valentine Roundup

Today my blogger friend Jemma at 
featuring some ladies from Etsy to show off
their Valentine's Day treasures.
I am one of the 
blessed ones!

Isn't she so sweet to do that? Here is a sneak
peek of the items I included
but click over to Jemma's blog
to see what's in her shop
and all the other 
pretties the ladies
are offering. There are
even some sweets!

Happy (early) Valentine's Day
Happy Shopping!

AnnMarie xoxo

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Frigid Weather = Comfort Food (Dessert!)

.....and comfort food includes desserts and sweets too!

While most of the country is in a deep freeze, there may be some of you that are still enjoying a balmy 80 degrees. You'll want to turn your oven on for these too.

We all have made the chocolate chip cookie bars from the back of the chocolate chips at least a hundred times, right?

Well, I am tired of those. The last time I made them they were too thin and too crunchy.

I searched for a new recipe and the one that I found is so good that I made two batches, one after the other while the oven was hot. I need one batch for an event this weekend and I could not bear to bring them all and not have any for home!

My new favorite word to describe something really, really good is Ridiculous.

These chocolate chip cookie bars are RIDICULOUS.

Delicious Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars
(they had me with this title)


2 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter ( 1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not over-mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into a prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.

Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from the sides of the pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Lift bars out of the pan with the foil edges and cut into squares.


I followed this recipe to a tee. I usually "cheat" and put everything into the electric mixer but I think the hand stirring is what keeps these so fluffy and light.

It took mine the full 28 minutes to be done.

A good baker has to test her goods. I trim the ends off to a straight edge and eat that slice of goodness. There are no calories in the ends.

Start your new year off with some comfort food and chocolate chips. You have the whole rest of the year to work the calories off!

AnnMarie xoxo

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Vintage Kitchen

In an effort to replenish my Etsy shop after a very good holiday sales season, I have been thrifting every chance I get.

It just occurred to me that out of the last 14 items I have found, 12 of them are kitchen items.


Is this the time of year to clean out the kitchen? I know it is the time to get new bedding and linens, clear out clutter and clean, clean, clean.

I guess the kitchen is a big part of that.

Good for me! I found some great vintage kitchen items and I have been furiously listing them in my shop.

Here they are in no particular order:

This pitcher makes me want to redecorate my kitchen in pigs! Or maybe pink and add pigs! I thought it was so cute when I found it. It is made by KMC and available here.

This classic kitchen icon is such a great find. Perfect to add a little whimsy to your kitchen. He is from 1988 and is available here.

You gotta love a good enamelware pot, if you are at all into vintage. I happen to have an obsession with it! I have a whole section of enamelware in my shop. This classic white pot with red trim is available here.

Another cookie jar, as five of my new found treasures are cookie jars. This one is from Hyalyn Pottery and has a pretty wildflower design on one side....

....and an orange and yellow floral design on the other. It is quite large and made of porcelain. It is available here.

Remember these cute little froggys? They are from the 70's/80's and hold your scrubby sponge at your kitchen sink. This one is large and has been hand painted with flowers and a butterfly. It is available here.

These two cookie jars are from the Pfalzgraff Treasure Craft collection. There are yellow pears on one and peaches on the other. The blue and white checks are the Hopscotch design. They are available here and here.

Oh, if only I had room on my counter tops for a sweet cookie jar or a nice vintage milk glass canister set like this one from Wheaton. I would have my pick, wouldn't I? It is available here.

Another item I do not have room on my counter top for but wish I did, is a paper towel holder. This one was made in France and is white painted cast iron. There is a cute rooster on top for that French Farmhouse style kitchen. It is available here.

This mason jar style canister is great for anything, as it's name La Cuisine implies.  How about cookies? It is available here.

Lastly, this enamel coffee pot has a retro look to it with it's collection of 60's style kitchen items on it. Fill it with cookies. Just kidding! It makes a great vase though. It is available here.

Oops, I just realized I said 12 kitchen items and I only showed you eleven. There is one more great milk glass Hamilton Beach Pyrex mixing bowl available in my shop, in case you are needing one to, you know, mix things in. Like baked goods that you will be making on these cold wintry days.

What will my next thrifting adventure turn up?

Stay tuned....

AnnMarie xoxo

I am sharing with these great blog parties:

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hearty Good Wishes!

I've enjoyed
and treasured my
blog friends
throughout 2017....
sharing with you,
chatting with you,
getting to know you.

Looking forward to 
starting the new year
with you and
new friends....

See you all in 2018!

AnnMarie xoxo

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Abundant Blessings

To all who have visited me and 
left lovely comments
throughout the year....

I have been blessed to 
to call you friend
and I wish for
you abundant
blessings for the
New Year

AnnMarie xoxo