The BEST Apple Cider Ever!

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I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with apple cider. I love the seasonal aspect of it but the flavor usually disappoints. It’s frequently way too cloyingly sweet. Not this recipe. I swear! It’s delicious, smells great, and is a delightful mix of sweet and tart flavors. Also it’s the perfect drink to make when you (or a friend) have a cold or a scratchy throat. I serve it at Fall and winter parties during cold/flu season. It’s just the ticket when you know some loyal friend has dragged herself to your house for a function when you know she’d rather be home! Offer this up and she’ll be grateful and comfy. This recipe is based on a recipe from my good friend Carol. She taught me this in college many years ago.

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Today I had 25 ladies over for a garden walk, so I served the cider in this punch bowl. I used a Crate and Barrel glass bowl, clear cider cups and a METAL ladle. The metal ladle is key because the cider will be hot and pouring it SLOWLY over it will minimize the chance that the hot liquid will crack the bowl. I then took a fall garland from Michaels and made a wreath around the punch bowl. Lastly I plugged in a strand a white light for fun fall ambience.

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Here are the two darling cakes one hostess brought. They’re from Whole Foods and we’re delicious. The white mummy was a white cake and the orange monster was chocolate. They were 5 inches in diameter but easily served all the 25 guests.

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Apple 🍎Cider Recipe:

Ingredients:

-I gallon old fashioned apple cider

-One orange 🍊,sliced crosswise into 5-6 slices 

-30 whole cloves

-2 whole cinnamon sticks

-Canned pineapple 🍍juice, 36 ounces (4 1/2 cups) (I use a 6-pack of canned Dole pineapple juice)

-Fresh orange 🍊juice, 2 cups

-Lemon 🍋juice (3-4 cups) (I use bottled “Real lemon” brand juice)

Steps:

  1. Take a large pot and pour the cider into it.  Save the container for step 9 below.

  2. Stud each slice of orange 🍊with 5-6 whole cloves.

  3. Float the orange slices in the cider.  Add the cinnamon sticks.

  4. Add the pineapple 🍍, orange 🍊and 3 cups of the lemon 🍋juices.

  5. Over a medium heat bring the mixture to a soft boil.

  6. Summer for 20 minutes on low.

  7. Taste the cider.  It should be a nice mixture of sweet and tart flavors.  If it’s too sweet add another cup of the lemon 🍋juice.

  8. Enjoy!

  9. Once the party is over,  take the cooled leftover liquid and pour it back into gallon container that the cider was in originally, using a funnel.  Then if you want to enjoy it again, just pour yourself a cup in a mug and microwave it until hot! Yum!🍎🍊🍍🍋🍁

His and Her Salad for Supper

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The other night was warm when Mr. G.Q. requested salad for supper.  I frequently order salad when I go out for lunch but somehow I find making salads at home to be somewhat challenging.   I decided to carry on and make His and Her Salads for Supper.  I picked up a Costco cooked rotisserie chicken (huge, delicious and economical), and found every thing else in the frig.  

My hubby likes hard-boiled eggs and I don’t.  I love avocados and he does not.  Lastly, he likes bacon but not in a salad.  

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Ingredients: (Quantities are for one salad)

-1/4 medium sized head of iceberg lettuce (torn into bite-sized pieces) 

-6-7 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

-1 hard-boiled egg, chopped into small pieces 

-I/2 ripe avocado, diced into 1/2 inch pieces

-2 T shredded cheddar cheese

-1 1/2 T blue cheese crumbles

-1 cup rotisserie chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces 

-2 pieces of center cut bacon, fried until almost crisp, drained on a paper towel, and cut into bite-sized pieces 

Steps:

  1. Arrange the lettuce on a dinner plate.

  2. Arrange all the ingredients you prefer in rows.

  3. Prepare any dressing and serve in a gravy boat or glass carafe.  We usually have Good Seasons Italian dressing made from the dry mix, combined with red wine vinegar and olive oil.

  4. Enjoy.

As you can see from the photos, the salads are appetizing and delicious.  It’s actually a fun thing to make for friends as everyone can personalize their meal.  You could also make these salads early on the day and then put them in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.

This is a surprisingly fun meal to make and one that cleans out lots of items from the refrigerator.  Try one tonight.  Let me know in the comments below what items do you enjoy when having a home-made salad.  Thanks and happy salad eating 🌶🥒🥗!

Fun Spot to visit in NYC

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This week Mr. GQ and I decided to spend a few days in New York City. For our adventure we headed to the Chelsea Market. This was originally the home of the Nabisco company that invented the Oreo cookie.

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Inside the market there are multiple cute murals which present fun photo opportunities.

The Market is one block wide as well as one block long. It’s an indoor shopping mall, collection of delightful shops and many food establishments. In fact last fall we went on our first food tour at this very locale!

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There are places to purchase gift baskets, books, cheeses, meats, spices, seasonal items such as pumpkins and much much more.

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Sarabeth’s is a restaurant and bakery that makes delicious jams and preserves that you can purchase. There are several Sarabeth’s restaurants around town and they’re especially known for their weekend brunch.

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For the trip I wore a cute black window pane pant, a white cotton shirt with a cranberry V-neck boxy pullover sweater, all from JJill. Since on a typical day of site-seeing we walk 6-7 miles (!), I chose black Brook’s sneakers as my shoes. Sadly they’re not very fashionable, but I still have many miles of walking ahead of me this trip and tender feet won’t cut it for me. My usual fashion concession is to wear sneakers or other very comfortable shoes by day (when most of the walking occurs) and then switch into booties or other heeled shoes for our dinner destinations.

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The Market attracts six million visitors per year. It was originally built in the 1890’s. It was redeveloped into its a retail format in the 1990’s. It’s a fun spot to visit in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

Here are a few more images from our day trip to this treasure.

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The next time you’re looking for an enjoyable spot to check out, head to the Chelsea Market. You won’t be disappointed.

How to Style a Black Shirt Dress Three Ways

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Since I’ve recently become a blogger I’m making a consistent effort to look at clothing basics in a more strategic way. A basic is an item, frequently solid in color that is usually necessary to an outfit but by itself might seem boring. The key to a great and flexible wardrobe is having basics that stand up to the tests of time, ease of wear, high quality fabric, and straight-forward care. Basics can be worn multiple ways, with various accessories and look quite different.

As I’ve learned more about fashion these last months, several bloggers and multiple ads have mentioned a newish company called Everlane. If you go to their online site you might notice that every thing is basically a basic! The models just show the items, devoid of accessories and “looks”. And this can be frustrating to the purchaser. But I decided to put my toe into Everlane’s water with my virgin purchase of this black cotton shirt dress.

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The website is easy to navigate and the order arrived promptly. On the hanger the dress looked stiff and frumpy. I had ordered it one size larger than I usually do in a dress because I wanted to be able to belt it. So when I first saw it I thought it looked like a sleeping bag! But I carried on and gave it a whirl. I buttoned it up, popped the collar, added a wide woven Ann Taylor belt and a JCrew tortoise shell necklace, little gold hoop earrings, a gold watch and a tortoise shell glass link bracelet. My shoes were Stuart Weitzman nude laser cut block heeled sandals as the evening was warm. Honey colored booties would have worked as well.

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Then to point out other fun ways to style this dress I put together two other looks.

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Here I put a JCrew tissue tee in black and white stripe under the dress and then belted it with a JCrew zebra print belt. I added black opaques, black Aquatalia suede booties and a black Kate Spade “doctor’s bag purse”.

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Next, I put a hot pink Beloved tank under the dress, an old pink, leopard brown and black scarf at the neck, tortoise shell earrings by JCrew outlet, a JCrew bronze bracelet, and a tortoise shell bangle from Ann Taylor. Again I used black opaques, brown Via Spiga booties, and a black Coach cross body bag.

I think all three ways to style this dress are cute and distinct. Do you agree? Let me know what you think. Hopefully you agree that this basic has been successfully styled three different ways!

How to Have a Fall Party (Part 3)

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The party was a big success! Here is a closeup of the food island. In the foreground are salami bites which were easy, delicious and successfully prepared the day before the party. In addition you can see that to add interest to the display I took several Amazon boxes and placed them on the island. I purchased a piece of dark brown cotton from Hobby Lobby that I draped over the boxes. These served as platforms for the various foods. I plugged in a strand of white lights and placed two hurricanes on an angle as well.

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For the flowers I took a soup tureen and made a grid over the opening with Scotch magic clear tape. Then I cut a Costco bunch of mums all at the same height and popped them into the grid. To fill in the edges I cut some hydrangea leaves from my yard and to finish it off I added some yellow goldenrod flower sprigs (also from my yard). I added the tureen’s decorative lid to the island display as well.

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One appetizer that was particularly well-received was this plate of deviled eggs. I put a small bud vase filled with orange zinnias and tied with raffia in the center of that platform.

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These ginger cookies were displayed in an orange pumpkin bowl. They were my favorite. Several guests have already requested the recipe.

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This yellow and red cherry tomato bruschetta was a big hit. I displayed it on an old pumpkin platter from William Sonoma.

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These bacon wrapped dates were delicious. I whiffed on an “after photo”, but they were great! Chewy, salty and sweet. Perfection! I displayed them in this Nora Fleming divided piece with a candy corn “charm” attached to the corner.

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For a fun fall touch I put some candy corn in an old pewter dish.

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Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves!

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The last item was a fun fleur de lis sugar cookie. It was decorated with pink sugar (my favorite color) and it comes with a story. Since the party was to celebrate the kicking off of my new blog I thought I should harken back to my “Dr. Julie” roots. Well when I was in private practice this fleur de lis symbol was my logo. I love French food, style and decor, so it was a natural choice.

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To all my faithful blog readers thank you from my heart for taking the time to read my blog. Your comments mean so much to me. I love knowing that some of my musings resonate with you. Happy Fall parties to all of you🍁🎃🍂!