Summer Clothes: Six Easy Ideas To Update Your Wardrobe

Beauty and Fashion
summer clothes
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If you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been on a cleanout binge lately. It was looking a little dicey at first but don’t worry. I survived the Great Office Cleanup of 2019 and made it out alive.

Spring cleaning is always on my mind this time of year, and the office isn’t the only room that’s undergone a purge. I’ve done a major clean-out on my closet too. Good thing because I’d almost forgotten what color the carpet was in there. (I’m kidding. Mostly.)

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DIY Flower Arrangements for Mother’s Day

Creativity and Crafts
DIY flower arrangements
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If the Mother’s Day Gift Guide or the Mother’s Day Pistachio Bundt cake didn’t tip you off, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th.

Yes. This weekend.

You’ve still got time to Amazon Prime her a copy of my latest book, but why stop there?

Wouldn’t it make your mother feel special if you arrived with a DIY flower arrangement in hand in addition to a little gift, a few hugs, and a card? (Seriously, Fierce friends, don’t forget the card!)

Nod your head. The answer is yes. Though some of you may be saying, “Yes. But how?”

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Mother’s Day Dessert Idea: Citrus-Scented Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cake

Food for Grownups
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My mom has always had a sweet tooth. I luckily inherited this trait from her, among many other things, like my curls, my gait, my love of storytelling, my resourcefulness, my love of crafting. So many good things. I’m so thankful and am extremely excited to be taking her on a camping adventure soon, one of my goals that I’ve been working toward this year.

Many of us cook for our moms for Mother’s Day, or we end up handling most of the meal with a few helping hands. No matter what, a Mother’s Day table should be graceful, feminine, pretty, delicious, and full of the familiar laughter of our closest family and friends.

I tend to think of Mother’s Day as a great brunch opportunity. Bring in the quiche, the green chile egg casserole, the healthy corn frittata, the sparkling peach Bellinis.  Roll out the pressed linens, the fresh flowers, and tablescape decorations and make it an experience instead of just a meal. This is the perfect time to go the extra mile to make something extra special and to bestow upon the meal a sense of occasion that leaves guests feeling loved.

I’ve been on a bit of a pistachio kick (hello, pistachio ice cream!), so when I saw a recent recipe for a citrus, pistachio and chocolate chunk bundt cake, I knew I had to try it. I ended up changing the recipe quite a bit, so this is what I came up with. I can’t even tell you how good this smelled, or how good the batter tasted (shhhh), or how it got better day by day. A leftover slice with a cup of coffee in the morning might not be the smartest Weight Watchers choice but oh, did it bring me joy.

Here’s the recipe. It definitely has an Italian flare, and since I think I might have been Sophia Loren in another life, this really hit the spot. Ciao Bella!

Print

Mother’s Day Dessert Idea: Citrus-Scented Pistachio Chocolate Chunk Cake


  • Author: Marie Bostwick
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x

Description

Serve with Peach Bellinis and fresh fruit. Would look pretty all dressed up with some fresh flowers arranged on the cake plate.


Scale

Ingredients

Butter to grease the Bundt pan (I used a combo of olive oil and butter here, followed by a bit of flour to coat)
2 cup white sugar
Finely grated zest from 2 oranges
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
1 cup good quality olive oil
4 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 eggs
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini-chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped up tiny


Instructions

Heat oven to 350°F. Butter the nonstick Bundt and dust with flour.

Place sugar in a large bowl, add zest. Stir with a whisk and inhale the delightful citrusy aromatherapy. Apparently it gives you energy.

Whisk in olive oil, wine, ricotta and eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Slowly stir in dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

Scrape batter into the Bundt pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes in pan, then hold your breath, say a prayer, and turn over, lifting the Bundt pan away from your masterpiece. Pat yourself on the back. That was the hard part.

Dust the top with powdered sugar. Pretend it’s fairy dust.

Slice and serve and send the leftovers home with your family and friends. This cake is great the first day and even better the second and third, as long as you keep it wrapped tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature.


  • Category: cakes

Keywords: pistachio, bundt cake, brunch

 

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide: Experienced Mom Edition

Cherish Relationships
mothers day gift guide
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As I told you back in January, every year I spend a lot of time thinking through and writing down my goals for the coming year.

This year, one of my highest priority goals, involves my mom.

When I was a kid, she would come home from work on Friday, we’d load up the car with tents, sleeping bags, a cookstove, and the dog, and drive to one of many state parks. We usually arrived after dark and had to set up the tent by flashlight.  Since we were residents of the Pacific Northwest, we frequently found ourselves trying to build campfires with wet wood and or spending the weekend playing cards inside the tent as water dripped from the rainfly.

But rain or shine, off we went. And rain or shine, we always had a great time. Many of my very best memories with my mom were made on those camping trips. My mom’s enthusiasm for camping and love of the great outdoors was infectious, a love she passed on to me.

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What to Read Right Now

Books
what to read right now
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One of the main questions I hear as a writer from my readers is what books I’m reading right now. It’s sort of like they think I should be an expert in this sort of thing, just because I am in the business!

While I don’t think of myself as some fancy book critic, I will say I am a total reading enthusiast and usually have several books going at once.

I try to find a balance between fiction and non-fiction, books that stretch my imagination, books that simply make me sigh out of happiness at the end, books that teach me something new, or books that open doors to whole new worlds that I’ve never thought about before.

I know it sounds like I’m trying to confuse my brain, but trust me, it works for this girl. It works wonders. continue reading

Roasted Radishes with Feta Mint Sauce from My New Favorite Cookbook

Food for Grownups
roasted radishes
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Someone recently wrote to ask an important question, “Marie, what’s your very favorite cookbook?”

Answer: “Whichever one I just bought.”

When I buy a new cookbook, I immediately race into the kitchen and start rattling those pots and pans, eager to try out those fabulous new recipes.  Every now and again, I end up being disappointed but usually not. As an experienced cookbook buyer (and experienced cook) a few minutes spent perusing the page is usually enough to tell me whether the recipes will end up tasting as good as the pictures make them look.

Like a lot of people, I do look for recipes online. When it’s five o’clock and I’m staring into the refrigerator and wondering how I can turn a particular ingredient into dinner, online recipes can be lifesavers.  But, at the end of the day, I still love a big, beautiful cookbook with pretty pictures and pages I can touch, feel, flip through, and scribble notes in.

I also tend to drip a lot of stuff on those pages while I’m cooking. That’s a big clue as to how much I liked a particular cookbook. The more drips and spills, the more I’ve used it, and the more I’ve loved it.

Earlier this month, while participating in a charity author luncheon during my Hope on the Inside book tour, I met Alana Chernila, a cookbook author. I’d been drooling over her gorgeous cookbooks even before I met her and absolutely knew I had to have one but hearing her speech and chatting with her really cemented the deal. She’s delightful!

Alana has written three cookbooks so far. Honestly, I’d have loved to get them all. But since my suitcase was pretty full, I could only bring home one. I went with her newest, Eating From the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables.

I chose this book because I think vegetables are too often overlooked in cookbooks and, indeed, on dinner plates.

Vegetables tend to be relegated to the status of “sides”, which is another way of calling them a culinary afterthought, playing a very distant third fiddle to what are usually considered the stars of the meal – entrees and dessert.  That’s such a shame because vegetables are not only good for us, they’re just plain good!

But I’m not sure I knew how truly, amazingly, mouth-wateringly good vegetables could be until I bought this cookbook!

It is fabulous and I’m simply obsessed with it! Not unpredictably, my copy of Eating From the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables is now my favorite cookbook. I have a feeling it will stay in that top spot for a very long time.

The recipes are terrific and the pictures of inspiring, but I also appreciated the little commentaries and essays that are included with each recipes. Alana Chernila is an excellent writer as well as an excellent chef. I enjoyed her conversational writing style and getting to know more about the background behind the creation of each recipe.

So far, I’ve made….

Roasted Asparagus with Yummy Sauce (she wasn’t lying about the sauce. Yummy!)

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shallots and Pecans,

Swiss Chard Stem, Fennel, and Salmon Fried Rice,

Cauliflower Cheese,

Napa Coleslaw with Pecans and Peas

Every one was a winner. But even more exciting is the fact that I’ve only scratched the surface. There are SO many more recipes I want to try here!

Today I want to share a recipe that really intrigued me, starring the humble radish.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had many ideas about what you could do with a radish. Sure, you can slice it up and put it in a salad, or maybe spread a little butter if you’re feeling all fancy and French. But…apart from that, what else is there?

Plenty, as it turns out.

Did you ever consider roasting radishes? Neither did I. But after making Roasted Radishes with Feta Mint Sauce, I know that radish roasting will be a frequent addition to my culinary repertoire.

Radishes have a whole different flavor when they’re roasted. They’re much less sharp cooked. The taste is rich, mellow, and even a tiny bit sweet. The mint feta sauce is really a refreshing compliment to the radishes. On top of that, they are beautiful to look at! Put a plate of these in front of your dinner guests and people are going to sit up and take notice. Not bad for a humble “side”.

Here’s the recipe.

Print

 Roasted Radishes with Feta-Mint Sauce


  • Author: Marie Bostwick
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x

Description

Recipe is reprinted from “Eating from the Ground Up: Recipes for Simple, Perfect Vegetables.” © 2018 by Alana Chernila. Photographs © 2017 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

“Roasted radishes are surprising — they get very juicy in the middle and sweet on the outside. Cooking radishes brings out an entirely different side of the vegetable, much mellower than the punchy bite of a raw radish. This is wonderful with standard cherry belles or French breakfast radishes, but it’s also a great way to work with mixed bunches of all different colors. Amethyst, a bright purple variety, is especially beautiful roasted. This recipe makes more sauce than you need, but you’ll be happy for the extra. Use it as a salad dressing, on other roasted vegetables or on grilled beef or lamb.”


Scale

Ingredients

1½ tablespoons olive oil

3 bunches radishes (about pounds), greens removed, halved lengthwise

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Sauce:

6 ounces cubed or crumbled feta

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

Freshly ground black pepper

Chicken or vegetable stock or water


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Roast the radishes: Pour the oil onto a rimmed baking sheet, tilting the sheet to spread it evenly. Place the radishes in the oil, turning to coat them, and then arrange each radish, cut-side down, on the sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast until the radishes are deeply golden on the cut side, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. While the radishes roast, make the sauce: Combine the feta, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mint and several grinds of pepper in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding up to 3 tablespoons stock to make the sauce pourable.
  4. To serve, puddle the sauce on a platter or four individual plates. Top with the radishes.


  • Category: spring sides
  • Method: roasting

Keywords: healthy sides, spring vegetables, weight watchers freestyle

A Holy Week Playlist

Nurture Your Soul
Holy Week playlist
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I listen music almost all the time; when I’m working, when I’m running or biking,
when I’m sewing, and definitely when I’m cooking. Making dinner after a day of
mentally wrestling with characters and plots absolutely requires a peppy playlist. And
possibly a few equally peppy dance moves? It’s been known to happen.

My musical tastes are wide and varied. I like Gilbert and Sullivan, Rogers and
Hammerstein. I also like Yo-Yo Ma and Mozart. And the Beach Boys. And Queen.

You’ll find a lot of Christian contemporary music on my Spotify playlist as well.
That’s something I tune into often when I’m working out. Those joyous, hopeful
lyrics lift my spirit as well as my feet.

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A Dozen Deviled Egg Recipe Ideas to Try Right Now

Food for Grownups
deviled egg recipe ideas
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Deviled eggs. You either love ’em or you hate ’em. I am both feet in on the former.

I remember the first time I had one. It was one of those bustling church picnics where everyone brings a blanket and a pot luck dish and there’s children and ants running around everywhere. My sisters dared me to try it, and by the looks of it, I proceeded with extreme caution and suspicion. (Some of the things my sisters dared me try to weren’t exactly in my best interest. Bless their hearts.)

But it was love at first bite. And the rest is history.

My husband prefers the classic rendition – a hint of celery salt, a bit of mayo and mustard, a splash of vinegar, and a dash of paprika.

That’s fine and all.

But I say live a little. continue reading

Easter Crafts Abound!

Creativity and Crafts
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Easter crafts are just plain cute.

All crafting is fun. The fun is built in whether you’re quilting or painting or decoupaging or glittering or…you get the idea.

But in addition to being fun, Easter crafts are cute. Bunnies! Baby chicks! Flowers! Pastel colors! Little girls wearing bonnets with bows bigger than their heads!

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SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD TO BE LOST

Adventure and Travel, Grow in Wisdom
getting lost
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In case you hadn’t picked up on it by now, I am a planner.

I love a good to-do list and am utterly devoted to my schedule.  Seeing my Living Well Planner with my daily tasks time-blocked and color-coded, fills me with the satisfaction and the comfort of feeling in control of my circumstances. People frequently ask how I’m able to get so much done. Organization is my secret weapon, making a plan and sticking to it.

Take my workout routine. Even when I’m traveling, I block out time in my schedule for exercise.  It’s a good plan when it works, and sometimes even when it doesn’t.

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