Posted in Family, Holiday/Christmas

Christmas on Folly Beach

This year, we decided to take a trip to Folly Beach, SC for Christmas. We stayed at a beach house and got to enjoy the quietness of being in the small town during the off season. During the summer, there are people EVERYWHERE. Even though we see people, there is a lot less people. It’s nice because I can walk on the beach and see very few people. I don’t need to wear a mask because of lack of people. (I only do it on the beach.) It makes me feel as though I’m in pre-Covid times which is GOOD for the soul.

My mother-in-law made us matching Christmas shirts and pj pants. Since it was going to be windy and COLD on Christmas, we did our family photos on Christmas Eve. Oldest is now taller than his 19-year-old cousin – NOT pictured in this post. I didn’t realize Oldest had another growth spurt. Youngest has been the one to get taller during the pandemic. He’s grown at least half foot in the last year. He’s now taller than me.

So from my family to yours, Merry Christmas. As I listened to a Christmas Eve service yesterday, even though we say Jesus is the reason for the season, it’s actually Y’ALL that is the reason for the season.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Drinks, Holiday/Christmas, Recipes

Homemade Peppermint Mocha

I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to make a peppermint mocha that wasn’t full of a lot of calories.

Can I be honest? The ones from Starbucks are not my favorite. They add way too much chocolate. I would rather have the peppermint shine through. I love peppermint in my lattes so that makes sense.

Yesterday I found a peppermint mocha ground coffee at Aldi’s so that is what I’m using for the coffee part of the recipe. So good.

For the recipe:

  • ground coffee – I used peppermint mocha flavored coffee.
  • peppermint syrup
  • almond milk – I used vanilla unsweetened almond milk. You could use real milk or any non dairy milk. I just prefer almond milk.
  • cacao powder
  • whipped cream

Peppermint Mocha Latte

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. ground coffee (I used a reusable K cup pod for my coffee maker.)
  • 1 Tbsp. peppermint syrup
  • 1/2 c. milk (dairy or non dairy)
  • 1 to 2 tsp. cacao powder
  • 2 Tbsp. whipped cream

Steps:

  1. Add the peppermint syrup to the mug.
  2. Then brew the coffee. I brew my coffee using the bold setting.
  3. While it’s brewing, froth the milk and cacao powder.
  4. After the coffee is done brewing, top with frothed milk and whipped cream.
  5. Enjoy!

Note: You either need to use a frother or froth it without a frother. Place milk and cacao powder in a mason jar, place the lid on it, and then shake it. (Arm workout) Once it’s increased in volume, remove the lid carefully. Microwave it for 30 to 60 seconds.

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Holiday/Christmas, Recipes, Snacks

Christmas “Crack” Pretzels

I had bought some wreath shaped pretzels to use for my Rolo Turtles not realizing the Rolos would fall through the wreath. I used one bag of the wreath pretzels for my cinnamon sugar pretzels. Since I had another bag to use up, I found this recipe. Hubby had leftover popcorn oil from an event he hosted in November so this was a perfect way to use the pretzels.

Enjoy these at your Christmas get together or even on New Year’s Eve. Yum!

Oh and the best part of this is there is no baking involved. Sweet!

  • Servings: 16ish
  • Difficulty: extremely easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 15 to 16 oz. bag of pretzels
  • 6 oz. buttery popcorn oil, canola oil, or melted butter
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dry ranch salad mix (not the dip)
  • 0.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (I used a garlic Parmesan cheese powder.)

Directions

  1. Pour the pretzels into a deep dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and seasonings.
  3. Pour over the pretzels. Stir until all of the pretzels are combined.
  4. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese. Stir once again until the pretzels are combined.
  5. Continue stirring every 15 minutes or so for 3 hours or until the oil is absorbed by the pretzels.
  6. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Recipe source

Stay kind!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Family, Holiday/Christmas, local sights, photograph

Fourth of July Parade – 2018

This year I decided to sit at the beginning of the parade not realizing I was going to miss all of the cool floats.  Our town’s parade begins in 4 spots – a church and 3 entrances of a shopping plaza.  If a float or group started at the church or the one entrance of the shopping plaza, then I got to see it.  Actually I saw the fire engines/ ambulances take off from one of the other spots but that was because they had been parked behind where I sat for the parade.  I missed the floats, etc. . . that started at the fourth spot.  Now I know.

Oh, and the heat index was ridiculous.  It was in the 90’s and so very humid.  I had a shady spot to sit in but the end of the parade, my shirt was moist.  The Wee One, the Imaginative One, and I stopped at Burger King to get frozen drinks afterward because we were so hot.

Enjoy the photos I was able to get of the parade.  I think I got some good photos.

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Every year, there is a fly over.  This year, I was able to capture that fly over.

The two dogs are therapy dogs.  Their names are Spirit and Hairy or Harry.  They go to a local hospital twice a month to help people recuperate from surgeries, etc. . .

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I got a few shots showing you some of the floats that I missed seeing.  After a while, it was pointless to try to get a photo of all of them since I could barely see them even with my telescopic lens.

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My boys walked in the parade holding the big flag.  (Only the Imaginative One is shown in the photo.)  They started at that fourth entrance.  The people who were sitting next to me at the parade were kind enough to watch my stuff so I could run/ walk fast to get a photo or several photos of them before they started marching in the parade.

My niece was rollerblading with the Girl Scouts.  She went past me but was waiting by the Boy Scouts for the parade to move.  The Imaginative One had to take a photo of her and heckle her.  She responded back.  They have such an interesting relationship.  They are only 2 months apart in age.  She’s going to be a sophomore while he’s going to be a freshman.

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I absolutely love how this collage turned out.  They had a group of Marines and some trucks that were with the Marines.  These decals on the truck window were awesome so I took photos of them.

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You can’t forget the street cleaners.

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I hope you had a magical 4th of July!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Family, Holiday/Christmas, local sights, photograph

Fourth of July Fireworks

This year some kind soul paid for the fireworks display in our little city.  So we had a bigger and better fireworks display this year.  When the fireworks display was over with, you could smell the sulfur and see all the smoke.  

I was able to get a lot of good photos of the fireworks.  My plan was to bring my tripod but I had forgotten it in my haste to leave my house when my mother-in-law came to pick the boys up.  The tripod would help with long exposure shots which would have been cool.

However I love the shots I got of the fireworks so it all worked out in the end.

Without the further ado, here are the collages I created of the fireworks.

The sunset – It was gorgeous plus the boys waiting patiently or not so patiently for the fireworks.

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The fireworkscollage2collage3collage4collage5collage6collage7collage8collage9collage10

It was 10:30 pm.  I was attempting to get a photo of all of the smoke.
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The first video is from  sometime in the middle of the display.

The second video is from the finale.

I hope you had a magical 4th of July!

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Memorial Day, Recipes, Salad, side dish

Classic Coleslaw (V, GF)

Here is a vegetarian side dish for your Memorial Day dinner.

Here is what you need:
  • Coleslaw mix (14 oz.)
  • Mayo
  • Trader Joe’s seasoning salt or celery seed and dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Sugar

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Classic Coleslaw

  • Servings: 6 to 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. bag of coleslaw mix
  • 2 c. mayo
  • 1 to 2 tsp. seasoning salt or 1 tsp. of celery seed and 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the mayo, vinegar, sugar, and seasonings.
  2. Add the coleslaw mix to the mayo mixture.
  3. Stir until combined.
  4. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
  5. Enjoy!



I used coconut sugar instead of refined sugar in my dressing.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Posted in Fourth of July/Memorial Day, Lunch, Memorial Day, Recipes, Vegetarian

BBQ Tofu – A Vegetarian Memorial Day Recipe (GF, V, DF)

As we are getting ready for Memorial Day, it is tough being a vegetarian when the holiday focuses on eating grilled meat. Or is it really that tough?

Today I’m bringing you a quick and easy recipe for Barbecue Tofu. You can enjoy the tastes of barbecue while staying plant based. Win-Win.

Here is what you need:
  • Pressed, firm tofu – Since I’m new to cooking tofu, here is the method of how to press tofu.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Garlic Salt or Powder, Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt, or Penzey’s Galena Street Rub
  • Your Favorite BBQ sauce

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BBQ Tofu

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Pressed, firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garlic Salt or Powder, Trader Joe’s Seasoning Salt, or Penzey’s Galena Street Rub, to taste
  • ¼ c. bbq sauce


Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. In the meantime, cut the tofu into 32 rectangles.
  3. Gently add the tofu to the skillet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and other spice blend.
  4. Allow the tofu to cook for 5 minutes. Flip.
  5. Sprinkle the other side with the spices. Cook for additional 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the skillet. Place in a bowl. Pour the bbq sauce over the tofu. Stir until all the tofu is covered with sauce.
  7. Enjoy!



My favorite BBQ sauce is Carolina Gold. Yum!

Have a bemagical day,
Traci

Posted in christmas making and baking, Cookies, Gluten Free, Holiday/Christmas, Recipes

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossoms

I’ve been sick most of this Christmas season so I have not made ANY Christmas cookies.  Okay, I’ll take it back.  We made peanut butter blossoms and then we ate them.

I decided to update my peanut butter blossom recipes using gluten free flour.

I noticed that the dough does not stand up as well as the gluten dough so you will need to place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before forming it into balls.

Even with that little inconvenience, the cookies are absolutely delicious.

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossoms

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Blossoms

  • Servings: 3 to 4 doz.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 48 Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar

Directions

  1.  Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended.
  3. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
  4. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well.
  5. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  6. Place the dough in the fridge for about 15 minutes
  7. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  8.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges.
  10. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
  11. Cool completely.
  12. Enjoy!

Happy eating,
Traci

Posted in Family, Holiday/Christmas, Thanksgiving

What a Bunch of Turkeys – Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 was totally different than Thanksgiving 2016.  Last year, we were in Disney.  This year we were at home.

We started the day by sleeping in.  Both boys slept in which is typical for the Wee One but not the Imaginative One.  He must be going through a growth spurt because he complained about being tired even after sleeping in longer than normal.

After watching the Macy’s Day parade, we cleaned a little bit before heading to the Senior Center to help serve food.  I wanted to help but they told the adults to stand on the side and have a drink while waiting on the boys.

The boys helped clear tables and serve some of the seniors.  Then they helped clean off the tables.  I helped with moving the centerpieces off the tables so they could be put away.

While we were there, we were allowed to have some food which was very generous of them.  So I ended up with TWO Thanksgiving meals.

Here are some photos of our time at the senior center:

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Thanksgiving meal #1
The top photo was my plate of food.  The bottom photo was the Wee One’s plate of food.  Turkey, stuffing, rolls, and lots of gravy.

Some of the decorations

After we were finished with at the Senior Center, we went home, finished cleaning, and cooked the meal.

The Wee One and the Imaginative One helped get some of the food ready.  The Wee One set up the table.

After the table was set, the boys decided to watch Moana because we had watched it exactly the year before at Disney Springs.  The Wee One knew a lot of the lines of the movie.

I had gotten the plates and bowls at the Dollar Tree.  They were made in Canada not China so the dollar a plate is a good deal.  Both the Wee One and the Imaginative One are notorious for breaking plates, bowls, etc. . . so it is a good idea to have $1 plates and bowls.

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Then it was time for the big meal.

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Appetizers

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Family

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The food plus the burnt green bean casserole that went in the trash.

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Gathered around the table

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My meal

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Dessert

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After dinner – the Imaginative One was pretending to be his dad. 

 

I hope you enjoyed my Thanksgiving day.

What did you do on your Thanksgiving day?

Have a magical day,
Traci