Wednesday, March 21, 2012

To Endings and New Beginnings...

So... my original plan was to write about the awesome weather we have been having.  I have been planning this for several days now, but just hadn't gotten that far.  However, when I finally sat down to blog last night about something so blatantly cheery as sunshine and rainbows, I learned some sad news.

An Ending:
My 12 year-old companion and friend, Porter, had to be put to sleep this morning.  There were many tears last night, as well as today. Some were tears of sadness and some of regret. Porter came into my life 12 years ago when living with an ex.  Although the relationship did not work out, Porter eventually ended up coming to live with me at my parents' house. I bopped around from place to place, as young adults do, finishing a year of college and then off to my first teaching job in southern Ohio. I then ultimately ended up heading into the unknown of Colorado. None of these places or circumstances were exactly conducive for a dog, so she "stayed" with my mom and dad.  By the time I was settled in Colorado and could even think of having a dog, I could not bare to take her from the home she knew and was now comfortable with.  Her and my parents had grown attached and well- it was home.  Although I did not see her on a daily basis or even as much as I would have liked to, I am happy that she lived a fine-and very spoiled- life.

I somehow knew that when I was in Ohio last month, that this would be the last time I would see her.  She knew it too. She kept me from leaving by following me to the door, and I spent some precious snuggle time with her before I departed.  (She was always a little camera-shy.) The picture above was taken just after our snuggles, and as I was leaving. She will be greatly missed.

And New Beginnings:
Spring is in the air! As many of you know, the weather has been phenomenal! I will take two-weeks of 80 degrees in March any year!   I spent some great time in Colorado soaking up the sun for a week (Read about it here at my previous post.) And now the glorious weather has followed me back to Iowa.  The grass is a vibrant green.  Trees are blossoming. Daffodils blooming. And I was sitting on my back porch reading The Hunger Games all weekend while drinking a cold home-brewed beer.  Life is good.

On Sunday, I thought it was high-time for some summery goodness.  I wanted a light meal to make me believe it was actually June, rather than March.  Instead of a typical heavy meal, I opted for a fresh fruit salad made with sliced strawberries, cantaloupe (aka "Muskmelon"- thanks to Muscatine!), and grapes.  I bought more than enough.  We ate it for dinner, and then I portioned it out into individual containers so I could easily take it to work this week for either breakfast or lunch.

I also had a hankering for some deviled eggs. Yum!  I found a recipe for some classic deviled eggs on Pinterest, but added some horseradish mustard instead of yellow mustard for a little extra kick.  They were awesome.  Along with the fruit and deviled eggs, we had some sliced cheese and crackers and we had ourselves quite a little picnic! 

Strawberries.  Strawberries. Turns out that I bought way more strawberries than I needed.  I was trying to find something fun I could do with them before they went bad.  Pinterest saved the day again!  I found this spectacular recipe for Strawberries and Cream Muffins.  Check these out:

The recipe is a bit more complicated than my usual attempt.  I have to admit that although I cook a lot, I am not the best baker.  (Just ask my husband.)  So I have to say I am rather impressed with myself!  Definitely check out this recipe HERE- it is SO worth it!  The only change I made was instead of  adding 1 cup of whole milk, I used 2/3 cup of 1% milk and 1/3 cup of sour cream.  

Seriously. Need. To. Make. These. Sam and I have discovered they make a great breakfast. (I froze several in individual portions to take to work for a quick breakfast.) They also make a killer strawberry shortcake dessert warmed up with a little vanilla ice cream.  


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