Friday, May 31, 2013

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

by Sheila

It's summertime and we all know what that means; picnics, BBQ's and of course, that All-American pastime; baseball.  You don't have to be fanatical about the sport to enjoy an afternoon at the ballpark, but it's way more fun if you are cheering for your team.
On a recent outing to Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ to watch the Diamondbacks, we enjoyed the evening, shared some indulgent baseball food and cheered for our home team.  The stadium has a retractable roof (we need the a/c here in the summertime) and it was open to a beautiful night sky this early in the season.
David with his ticket ready for the game.
Our Granddaughter, Camryn is learning to like baseball.  What's not to like when your Papa buys you hot dogs and cotton candy and you can throw peanut shells on the floor?  She likes to cheer loud.  Sometimes it's even for the right team.  She proudly wears her D'Backs hat and wants to know when she is going again.  
Camryn on her Uncle Tyler's shoulders with her Mom, Liz

When we have traveled to different cities over the years in the summertime, we have often taken in a game at the local stadium.  We have been to games in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, to name a few.  One of the fun things about visiting different stadiums is seeing the architecture, new and old.  We have met people who are checking every stadium in both leagues off their (bucket) list.  Fun!
Chase Field with the roof open.
Me, I like an occasional ballpark hotdog, a home run with the bases loaded and my favorite part of all - the Seventh Inning Stretch...
Some baseball action...
"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out,
At the old ball game."

Author:  Jack Norton; Composer:  Albert Von Tilzer 1908

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Our Blogging Adventure Venture

by Ann 

The two similar words in today’s title, as defined by will sum up my post for today:

Adventure:  1) an exciting or very unusual experience; 2) a bold, usually risky undertaking.
Venture:  1) an undertaking involving uncertainty as to the outcome; 2) a business enterprise or speculation in which something is risked in the hope of a profit.

Sheila, Heather and I have certainly had lots of wonderful adventures together in the past twenty five years, and we view our blog, Friendship, Life and Style as the most significant one that did not include a road trip or air travel.  (Come to think of it, the conference we attended in January DID necessitate a road trip…)

The blogging process has been a venture for us as well; one that is evolving.  We were not certain of the outcome, but we thought it would be a fun project to work on together, which has been true.  Other than reading blogs written by others, we didn’t know anything about blogging this time last year.  We now have a better idea about what it will take to grow our blog and ideally work it into something that is more than just a fun hobby.

We started Friendship, Life and Style on the first Monday in November, and have posted every week day since.  Although each of us would say that we enjoy sharing our insights and writing our posts, we decided that sometimes less is more, and that rather than feel obligated to post five days a week, we will cut down to three. 

Starting next week, the new format will be:
  • Monday – Fashion and style; of both wardrobe and home furnishings, written by Heather.
  • Wednesday – Sheila will share her DIY, travel, money management and entertaining tips.
  • Friday – Food Friday!  Yippee!  My turn!  (Am I making mine sound the most fun?  Look at all those exclamation points!)  ;-)

There will be flexibility in our posts, but we are committed to writing on M/W/F.  If any of us has something extra and fabulous to share, there might be an occasional T/Th post, but no promises.  When either of my partners in crime wants to write about food we will swap days.  In fact, next week Sheila and I will already be trading. 

The time traded for the no longer existent T/Th posts will be spent trying to grow our readership and improve our blog.  Heather taught Sheila and me how to “link up” with other similar blogs to reach readers of our genres, which we will do more often.  We now have a “Pin it” button that you’ll see when the mouse hovers over our photos to help us in that regard.  We appreciate you, our readers, and hope that you can notice our improvements as we progress with our undertaking.

Adventure or venture?  
We’d have to say with no uncertainty that it has been both! 
Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Cheers to keeping the adventure alive!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freezer Meals: Twice Baked Potaotes

by Sheila

I know that a twice baked potato doesn't technically qualify as a meal, but on nights that I am home alone. sometimes it's all I need.  Regardless, it is a tasty side dish to jazz up an otherwise potentially boring piece of grilled chicken and it is easy to make in quantity and freeze.  Here is my recipe and process:
This is the dinner my son Tyler and David cooked for me for Mother's Day.  They got the bonus of using a twice baked potato out of the freezer :-)

Freezer Twice Baked Potatoes

5 Large russet potatoes
½ cup butter, melted
1 to 1 ½ cups skim milk
4 oz low fat cream cheese
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
4 oz (1 cup) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 slices of crisply cooked, chopped bacon
Yield:  10 servings
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

1.       Wash potatoes and pat dry.  Place on large baking sheet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Lightly sprinkle with salt.  Bake 1-1 ½ hours until done.

2.      2.  In large mixing bowl, add butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper; mix well.

3.      Using a serrated knife, cut baked potatoes in half lengthwise, using caution to leave skins intact.  With large spoon, scoop out the insides of potatoes, leaving just a thin layer of potato attached to the skin. 

4.      Add scooped out potato to butter mixture.  Add skim milk as needed to make filling the consistency of stiff mashed potatoes.  Stir in cheese and bacon.

5.      Fill potato skin shells, supporting the shell in the palm of your hand. 

6.      To serve immediately; Return to oven and bake about 20 minutes, until hot throughout.

7.      To freeze for later; Wrap potatoes individually in plastic wrap.  Carefully place in freezer baggie and freeze flat.  Label baggie with date – use within 3 months.

8.      To cook frozen potatoes; preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place potatoes on baking sheet and cover loosely with foil.  Bake 40 minutes.  Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until potatoes are hot.  Can be microwaved, but skins will not be as crisp.

Note the use of a (clean) garden glove.  The potatoes are HOT and this helps.

Scooping out the middle

Adding the melted butter.  Don't worry - it's not that much when you consider how many potatoes you are making!

Just add potatoes!


Packaged, labeled and ready for the freezer

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roasted Garlic Compound Butter

by Ann

Doesn't it seem that one thing leads to another in most aspects of life?  My blogging process has proven this once again to be true.  When I decided to make the Extreme Macaroni and Cheese for last week's post it called for an entire head of roasted garlic; hence this week's post on roasting garlic and making compound garlic butter.

When garlic roasts the flavors mellow out tremendously and become sweet and nutty. While I would never consider using an entire head of raw garlic in a recipe, its roasted counterpart was not overwhelming at all.  

Roasting garlic was oh-so-trendy about ten years ago.  Jumping on that bandwagon, I actually purchased a domed ceramic garlic roasting vessel that I never got rid of because I felt guilty that I'd never used it!  Just last week I was at a Pampered Chef party where pictured in the catalog was the same garlic roasting device.  My friend Judy even pointed it out to me with a comment along the lines of "Who on earth would think they needed one of those?"  I am here to verify that you do NOT need one to successfully roast garlic.  When I roasted the garlic a week ago for the mac and cheese I didn't even consider climbing up on a chair to get it down , where yes, you guessed it, it was in the little cupboard above the refrigerator.

The ingredients and processes are simple, but not quick.  You will need to have the oven on at a 400 degree heat for an hour, so if you're like me, you will want to roast your garlic when you are cooking something else (especially in the hot months in Arizona!).  I made a spinach pie, which will be next week's post; once again, one thing leading to the next!
Even though you'll only need 4 heads of garlic, I did 6 - Four in the garlic roaster and two in the foil to see if there was any difference in the end product (there wasn't)
Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic - leave them in tact after that step.

Generously drizzle olive oil over the cut edges of the garlic heads.
On the two I cooked in the foil I also added some thyme.  Add salt and pepper to all.
Cover, and then place in the oven at 400 degrees until tender; for about an hour. 
Once cool enough to touch, squeeze the garlic out of its papery casings.
(Imagine the amazing aroma at this point!  It lasted a couple of days in the house...)
With a fork, mash the butter and garlic.  Salted or unsalted butter?  Your choice.  Chefs always use unsalted because it is fresher (salt is a preservative).  With that said, if you don't use a lot of butter, buy salted because the unsalted will get rancid much faster. I added a couple of grinds of sea salt at this point.
Form into a log shape on waxed paper.
Roll into a log and refrigerate for slicing.  This will be good for a couple of weeks.  (If it lasts that long!)
Ok -- So I couldn't wait until it was hard!  It made AMAZING hot garlic bread!

Roasted Garlic Compound Butter


4 heads of garlic
olive oil
dry thyme or other herb as desired
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
sea salt (if desired, and if you use unsalted butter)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut the tops off of the heads of garlic.
  • Drizzle generously with olive oil, making sure that all open cloves are covered
  • Generously sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme (if desired)
  • Roast the garlic covered until tender, for about an hour.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool until it can be touched comfortably.
  • Cut butter into pieces into a large bowl.
  • Squeeze cloves of roasted garlic into bowl with butter, mash together with a fork.  (I added a couple of grinds of sea salt, and was glad that I had.)
  • Form butter/garlic mixture to a log shape on a piece of waxed paper.  Roll paper to refrigerate to harden.
Once firm, butter can be sliced and used in mashed potatoes, on  hot bread, a grilled steak, cooked vegetables, or whatever you can imagine!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Navy and Mint - My New Favorite Color Combo

by Heather

Memorial Day, May 27th, 2013

Our flag is flying today as Americans remember those brave men and women who have given their lives for our country. We're starting the day with a 6:00 a.m. Memorial Day Rally "Flags for Our Fallen." We line Cave Creek Road with 150+ American flags on 10' tall flagpoles, put our 200+ motorcycles between them, and salute the family members going into the National Cemetery for the 8:00 a.m. state sponsored event. It's a heartwarming tribute and something we've been honored to be involved in for many years now. 
You can probably guess that the outfit you're seeing below is not my attire for Monday morning. Those wedges are just too hard to wear when I'm riding the bike! 
J Crew Factory sweater and shirt; Coach crossbody bag; Chico's jeans
This outfit started with my growing interest in the color "mint" and with what color it would pair well -- a new navy with mint polka dots sweater from J Crew Factory and I was set. My hunt for the perfect mint shoes ended happily with an online purchase from Nordstrom's. I like getting packages left at the front door -- a little like Christmas for grown-ups (only Santa arrives in a brown UPS truck instead of a sleigh). The mint flower necklace from Brina Box ( provided the perfect accessory. Online shopping sure is easy which makes it so much more dangerous!

The mint and white striped shirt was already in the closet and is a nice addition if the weather is cooler. We're getting down to 92 on Monday but still not quite cool enough to wear this outfit outside so I'll save it for summer travel to cooler climes. The sweater is lightweight and works well by itself for our hot summer days with cool air conditioned buildings.

BC wedges from Nordstrom's
Brina Box necklace
Michael Kors watch and gold ring; gold and silver link bracelet; Chico's gold bracelet;
 Nordstrom's three gold bangles

You can see that I finally got up the courage to switch from my favorite orange nail polish to mint, but the next time I get my nails done, I'll probably be back to my usual. 

Happy 60th (!!) birthday to Gillian, my little sister, on Memorial Day!