Thursday, June 27, 2013

Making Strawberry Oatmeal Jam Bars

I love granola bars. They are great when I need a snack or don't have time to eat breakfast in the morning. But many of them are loaded with ingredients that really aren't very healthy for you, and the ones that truly are good for you can be expensive.
These very yummy Strawberry Oatmeal Jam Bars are a perfect alternative for me instead of granola bars. They are made with healthy ingredients and are quick to make. And if you keep them in a tightly sealed container, they stay moist and delicious for a few days.

These are made with oats, honey, and brown sugar. They also taste great made with other jam flavors, like raspberry.

These only take less than forty minutes to whip up, from start to finish.

Recipe for Strawberry Oatmeal Jam Bars :


6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup strawberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x8- inch pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and honey, mixing until blended.
Stir in the oats, the flours, the baking soda, and salt. Batter will be slightly sticky.
Using floured hands, press 3/4 of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam evenly over the top. Crumble the remaining 1/4 of the batter on top.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool in the pan before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sewing An Apron and Getting Back To A Craft I Love

The other day I finally started sewing again. It's been awhile. I think the last thing I made was a dress for my then four year old daughter for her birthday. That same daughter in the picture above is all grown up now, as you can see, and has a daughter of her own.
I have loved sewing since I was about twelve, but when my kids came along, there just didn't seem to be time for it anymore. But there is now, and I'm very happy about that. I thought it might take awhile to get the hang of it again, but it all came back to me when I made this flowered apron a couple of days ago.

I haven't even looked at patterns in all these years, but this one is an 'It's So Easy' pattern by Simplicity. I had so much fun looking at everything in JoAnn's Fabrics, and it took me forever to choose my material.
I love this flowered cotton print fabric, and it was 30% off!!

This is actually a sweet pattern for Mother/Daughter aprons. I'll be making a set for my daughter and granddaughter for Christmas this year.

I'll be sewing some projects again, and I'll share them here on the blog. I'm really excited to start doing something again that I used to love so much.
My three daughters don't sew, but I'm hoping they will want to learn how, and I would love to teach them.

How about you, do you sew? And if you do, I would love to hear about it :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Weekend In Pictures

I had a wonderful weekend, with a birthday celebration, my family, and perfect, sunny blue skies.
I'm hoping to make a great week too!!!

With my daughters Samantha and Megan.

This baked and spicy chicken dip is simply fabulous, and so hard to resist!!!

My granddaughter Ashley figured out how to make her party blower work, and was pretty darn proud of herself!

I love the sweet vintage look on one of the birthday cards I received. I keep all my cards and love looking through them as the years go by.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cascade Platinum Cleaning Packs #myplatinum #sponsored

*I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

As a mom of three small children it seems I am ALWAYS doing the dishes, every night and sometimes once during the day, I run the dishwasher. It doesn't matter if I encourage the children to use the same cup for lunch that they used at breakfast time, they always seem to use all of the cups in the house daily! 

I am not a fan of doing the dishes, I mean who really is? But they have to be done and I having a dish washing product that is efficient is always the goal. There have been numerous times where the dishes were ran through the washing cycle, only to pull them out and see traces of food or film on my dishes. I don't have the time or the dishwasher space to redo them, especially if I want a clean kitchen. There is a small feeling of accomplishment when the dishes are done and put away.

Recently we had a family party with lots of yummy food and great dishes, but along with the food and fun is the clean up. I loaded all of the dishes and platters into the dishwasher and popped in a Cascade Platinum Cleaning Pack. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled out the dishes that not only were they clean but the platters were shiny and clean!!

As someone who likes to entertain (and take lots of photos during the party) it is so important for my dishes and platters to look clean and streak free, I want to represent my food in the best way possible so this is a must!

How about you? Do you like to entertain and take pictures of your food? Now you can show off your food photography skills for a chance to win prizes from Cascade and KitchenAid in the My Platinum Instagram Contest!
Enter here: 
Be sure to include both the #MyPlatinum hashtag and tag @MyCascade in your entries to this contest!
You can also learn more about Cascade Platinum on their Facebook Page.

Guess what? Gail Simmons, the Top Chef Judge and Food + Wine magazine editor uses Cascade Platinum too!

*This is a guest post by Sam

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Day Of Summer Celebration and Making Cocktails

Today is the first day of summer and that has put me in a great mood!!!

And we are celebrating my birthday this weekend so that is always a wonderful time with family and friends. I have much to be thankful for, and am not dwelling on getting older but getting better lol.

I am experimentally a little early in the day (hey, it's five o'clock somewhere, right?) with mixing up some new cocktail recipes.

I just made up a drink I'm calling Strawberry Vodka Sour. It has strawberry lemonade, vodka to taste, lots of ice, and sliced fruit. And it tastes great!!!

I was never big on cocktails, I am a wine drinker. But with all the beautiful cocktails photographs on Pinterest, I have starting making a few for friends. You can take a look at my own Pinterest board if you like, with of some of the cocktails I would love to try making.
 I've named the board 'I'll Drink To That', because, really, there is so much to celebrate in life if you try finding it.

Have a great weekend and Happy First Day of summer!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dinner: A Love Story, Written By One Of My Favorite Bloggers!!

There are so many wonderful cooking blogs out there, that I have had to restrain myself from adding anymore to my 'favorites' list. I seriously love all the wonderful cooks that give us such inspiration to become better cooks ourselves.

One of my favorite cooking blogs is called Dinner: A Love Story, written by Jenny Rosenstrach.
Jenny has been blogging since March of 2010, and her website is devoted to the cooking and sharing of family dinners.

Jenny's book is also called Dinner: A Love Story, and in it, she has put together some of her best, and most inspiring recipes. She puts dinner on the table every night for her family, regardless of what is going on, because Jenny has come to believe that there is nothing more importance than sharing a meal with those you love.

There are so many great recipes that you will be inspired to try, and all of them are family friendly. With recipes like Apricot Mustard Baked Chicken, Tomato and White Bean Soup, Chicken Pot Pie with Sweet Potatoes, you will find this book will help you to create your own family meals to enjoy.

I really enjoy this book because it isn't just a cookbook, but a look inside of a woman's life and how she brings the importance of family dinners to life.

This Pork Shoulder Ragu with Pappardelle is perfect for a fall or winter dinner.

I am so happy I found this cookbook, and Dinner: A Love Story, will be one that I will turn to again and again for delicious and comforting family meals.

*This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fabulous Friday

When I was out shopping last week I saw this sign and it rang true for me. It certainly is true that the people we know can indeed dull our sparkle, and sometimes it is best to avoid the people that don't have our best interests at heart.

But lately it is me who is dulling my own sparkle, it is me who is not always acting in my own best interests, and it is me who is choosing to look on the not so bright, bright side of things.
Why are we sometimes our own worst enemy, instead of being a best friend to the most important person there is, which is ourselves?  I don't think it is selfish to say we are the most important because unless we take care of ourselves, we have nothing to give to our friends, our families, or the world.

But I do recognize what is happening in my own mind, and that is half the battle. I think we can choose to be happy, or choose to be unhappy.
Overthinking is one of my worst traits, and tends to make me see more into a situation than is really there. And of course, I see the bad, never the good. But I am trying to change that, and that is progress.

It is going to be a gorgeous weekend here in the Seattle area, and I have chosen to make it a good one.
Here are some things or ideas that I have found and wanted to share with all of you. Have a fabulous Friday and a wonderful weekend!!

Still need a Father's Day gift to give to the Dad in your life? These great make-it-yourself gift ideas from Martha Stewart will be sure to bring a smile to his face.

These sparkly and fabulous sandals from Payless look a lot like the ones I have been seeing on Pinterest for hundreds of dollars. The price for them? Only $16.99!!

Do you need a yummy tasting summer inspired dessert for a party or gathering? I so want to make this Summer Strawberry Cake from the Baker Upstairs blog.

I was super inspired to get working on some projects when I saw this great filing cabinet make-over from Apartment Therapy.

Can a toaster be glamorous? Take a look at this one from Michael Graves Design for JCP. He has come up with a way to make kitchen appliances look stunning. 

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Simple Suppers - Spicy Italian Sausage and Veggies Pizza

Lately I have had a huge craving for pizza. But not the kind that comes in a cardboard box and is delivered to your door.
I'm talking about the kind that you make yourself, that you choose the toppings, make the dough, and then anticipate how delicious it's going to taste while the heavenly aroma comes from the oven as it cooks.
Pizza making can be fun, easy, and a great way to get friends and family in the kitchen to make their own pizzas along with you. Everyone can learn to make pizzas, and the dough I used for this recipe was very simple, with no kneading or rising.

The main ingredient for this pizza is the hot and spicy Italian sausage I used. This package of sausage is enough for two pizzas, so I used half, and froze the other half for later use on another pizza.
I experimented with Philadelphia Cooking Crème as a white sauce and I loved it. It wasn't as thick as cream cheese is, and it spread easily on the dough.

I love this super easy dough recipe. It's a great one to use if you don't have lots of time, or are making pizza with kids.

I often put a nice layer of spinach on my pizzas because I honestly don't taste it, and it's so healthy for you. And of course, I add lots of cheese as a finishing touch before I pop it in the oven.

Next time I'll slice my onions a little thinner, but I absolutely love red onions, so this was delicious.
The  Italian sausage does go well with other veggies too, but I thought this was the perfect pizza combo.

Recipe for Spicy Italian Sausage and Veggie Pizza


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 package all purpose yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups of cooked and crumbled hot Italian sausage
1/2 container of Philadelphia Cooking Crème, savory garlic flavor
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1 medium red onion cut into rings
3 cups of fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese


Makes one 12 inch pizza.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, and oil. Stir until smooth. Let dough rest 5 minutes.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust onto a lightly greased pizza pan.
Spread with desired toppings and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let pizza set 5 minutes before slicing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Martha Stewart Subscription Giveaway

I have been awed and inspired by Martha Stewart for over 30 years. She is an amazing woman is so many ways, and she can truly be credited for bringing chic and talent back to the domestic arts of home.

I am happy to be giving away a one year subscription to Martha Stewart Living. This is such a gorgeous magazine, filled with big, beautiful pictures, and great features every single month.

There are so many delicious ways to use all the different fruits that are coming into season. Enjoy seeing some very yummy desserts, like this berry galette.

There is always lots of kitchen wisdom in the magazine from Martha and her amazing and talented staff.

I loved reading this article about this California farm in the June issue of Martha Stewart Living.

I'm always so inspired by the magazine, and the June issue is filled with so many great recipes. I love almost every kind of pudding, and this recipe for Coconut Rice Pudding With Raspberries is one I have to try.

Do you love Martha, too? Please tell me your favorite thing about Martha Stewart or Martha Stewart Living.

And be sure to enter the giveaway for a one year subscription to Martha Stewart living for one of Popcorn and Pearls' readers.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts June 10, 2013 and ends on June 24, 2013 at 12:01 am EST. Winner will be emailed and has 72 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. This is a giveaway from

Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy National Donut Day!!!

Today is National Donut Day, and one of my favorite days where I can indulge in my secret love without feeling bad.
I mean really, aren't you almost obligated to eat donuts today???
There were a few years back when I was a kid that I couldn't even look at a donut. The reason?
When I was nine, my parents went on a trip and left my teenaged sister in charge of me. I asked her if my best friend and I could make donuts in the kitchen. Since my sister's real interest was talking on the phone and watching TV, she casually gave me the go-ahead.
To make a long story short, my donut making involved a big pot of oil that caught on fire, putting water in that pot, and me ending up with singed hair and eye brows.
It wasn't pretty.
Obviously, I have put that behind me, and now eat donuts as often as my waistline allows. I would say I have more of a 'donut top' than a 'muffin top', ha-ha.
If you are ever in Seattle, you must visit one of my all-time favorite donut shops around. these people know how to make donuts!
Top Pot Doughnuts has several locations in the Seattle area, and after you visit one, you will think you have died and gone to donut heaven :)
Happy National Donut Day!!
P.S. I'm curious, what is your favorite kind of donut??

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Making Chicken and Avocado Salad Sandwiches For A Quick and Easy Lunch

Summer is my favorite time to cook and entertain family and friends. I just love the fact that you can make entertaining as elaborate or as simple as you please, and the fact is I am a big fan of simple!!

That's why summer salads are one of the things I like serving because so many of them can be made ahead of time, and put together just before your guests arrive.
This chicken and avocado salad is super easy to make and I love it. It makes a terrific sandwich on yummy bread, in a pita pocket, or even as a wrap with tortillas.

I needed to use up a few avocados I had, and this salad is a yummy way to do that. The lime juice really gives it some zing. I recommend tasting it and adjusting the seasoning to your liking.

The red bell pepper gives this some healthy crunch. If you are a big bell pepper fan, you can easily add more than what the recipe calls for and it will taste great.

I love this chicken avocado salad on healthy, whole grain bread. I let the salad sit in the refrigerator for about an hour so that the flavors have a chance to deliciously blend.
I'm sure you and your guests will love this easy, great tasting salad, and it's also a great way to use up leftover chicken, too.

Recipe for Chicken and Avocado Salad Sandwiches


2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 large avocado, cut in to pieces
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder


Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, refrigerate for about an hour, so that flavors can blend together.
Give it a big stir, than use it for a filling on bread, pita bread, or tortillas.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Books, Books, Books, and What I'm Currently Reading

I am a big lover of my local library and make a trip there every week. As much as I would love to buy and own all of the great books out there that I like, of course my budget doesn't allow that.
But I can check out as many books as I like, and that makes my heart sing.

I love this great book called Books Make A Home. For me, books really do play an important part of my life, my home and myself. The book is filled with great ideas and beautiful pictures of how to store and arrange your books. If you love books and love having them in your home, this a beautiful and inspirational guide.

Flea Market Chic is one of the best books I have ever found about collecting and decorating with vintage or thrift store and flea market treasures. I love shopping for household items and clothing, and love the thrill of the hunt. Flea Market Chic is a beautiful book that will inspire you to make the most of your thrifted items, and will definitely make you want to hit up your local flea market.

It's not that I really believe in astrology, but I do enjoy reading about what is supposed to be coming for me in the future.

I always enjoy any book written by Andrew Weil. He is a Harvard M.D. who has taken a rather alternate and holistic view of maintaining a healthy mind and body.
The Healthy Kitchen is filled with wonderful information about healthy eating and dozens of delicious recipes.

This is my own book and I read Diane Keaton's Then Again when it was first released. It is a truly lovely book with insights into the actress's life and her mothers.
If you like Diane Keaton, this is a wonderful autobiography to read, and it made me happy to read it again and it was even more enjoyable the second time.