Food & Drink

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

One of my favorite plants and scents would have to be lavender. Last year, my lavender bush tripled in size and I harvested a ton of lavender from it. I really enjoying cooking with lavender. It’s not a super common herb used in cooking, but I love the unique flavor that it can add to any recipe.

If you love the taste of lavender like myself, these cupcakes need to be put on your “To Do List” to make! They were delicious! Here is the recipe for Lemon Lavender Cupcakes. (It’s actually quite simple and easy to make!)

Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes approximately: 24 Cupcakes                                                        Time: 30-40 Minutes

  • 1 box of Pillsbury “Lemon” Cake Mix

  • 3 Eggs

  • 1 Cup of Water

  • ½ Cup of Vegetable Oil

  • Dried Lavender (1-2 tablespoons, depending on how strong you want the lavender flavor to be.)

  • Pillsbury Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Muffin Tin

  • Cupcake Liners

  • (Pre-made Cream Cheese Frosting) or substitute with your favorite frosting

  1. Set your oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.

  2. In a large bowl, add your lemon cake mix, eggs, water, and vegetable oil. Beat and mix well.

  3. Add your lavender and gently stir into the mixture.

  4. Pour batter into your cupcake liners until about half full in your muffin tin.

  5. Place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 19-23 minutes.

  6. You will want to allow your cupcakes to cool for about 10-15 minutes so the icing will not melt on them.

  7. Finally, ice your cupcakes with cream cheese frosting or a frosting of your liking.

  8. Enjoy your Lemon Lavender Cupcakes!

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork Recipe

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork Recipe

apple cider and pulled pork (2)

Hey, all you pulled pork lovers…I have a new recipe for you to try! This recipe is a fun way to change the flavor of your average pulled pork sandwich. I love it for fall! It’s such a simple recipe and the best part is that its a slow cooker meal. Start it in the morning, hustle and get things accomplished during the day, and enjoy your dinner in the evening! Here is the recipe below.

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork


  • 4-5lbs Pork Shoulder, Bone In

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or 2 tsp of canned garlic

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • 4 tsp brown sugar

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 1 ½ c apple cider


  1. Add the yellow onions to the bottom of the slow cooker. (If you want an easy clean up, use the clear slow cooker bags. Place that in the slow cooker before adding the onions.)

  2. Next, place the pork on top of the onions.

  3. Then, add the salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

  4. Top it off by adding the apple cider. Pour it over the pork shoulder.

  5. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.

  6. Slowly remove the pork and shred the pork with a fork. (Remove from the bone.)

  7. If you want to get more flavor, return the pork to the slow cooker to absorb the juices. (Eat pork alone or add to your favorite roll.)

*In addition, add your favorite BBQ sauce, coleslaw, or pickles. Enjoy!!!

Let me know how you enjoy this awesome fall pulled pork recipe!

Pumpkin Spice Granola Bars


Let me tell you…when you bite into this granola bar, the fall flavors that you taste will leave a smile on your face! It also pairs really well with Stash-Pumpkin Spice Tea! These granola bars were quite simple to make and the best part, it didn’t leave a huge mess to clean up afterwards.

Here is the recipe that you must try!


  • 3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice

  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon cloves

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup brown sugar

  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin (small can)

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ cup pepitas

  • ½ cup pumpkin spice morsels

  • ½ cup chocolate chip morsels

(You can make a healthier version of these by not using the pumpkin spice and chocolate chip morsels and add dried cranberries, blueberries, and cherries.)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray and spread in an 8×8 baking dish and place it to the side.

  2. You will need two bowls. One large and one medium sized bowl. In the large bowl, add the oats, salt, and your spices. Whisk all the ingredients together.

  3. Next, grab your medium bowl. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla exact, honey, pepitas, pumpkin spice and chocolate morsels. Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk.

  4. Now, pour this mixture over the dry oat mixture in the large bowl. Stir and mix all ingredients well. If you see a lot of the oats are still dry, add a little bit more pumpkin and honey.

  5. Once all ingredients are mixed well and moist, pour everything into your baking dish and press firmly.

  6. Bake in the over for 40-50 minutes. Keep checking to make sure that it isn’t burning. I let mine bake for 45 minutes, but it depends on your oven. They should look golden and crisp near the end. The inside of mine, stayed moist.

  7. Finally, remove from the oven and set them on a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting and removing from your baking dish.

  8. Use a sharp knife to cut and remove to a plate so they can completely cool.

  9. Enjoy your delicious fall granola bars!

I love driving up to the mountains on beautiful, sunny days! What is better than the gorgeous sites and adventures? In my opinion, eating delicious fresh food outside at a lovely landscaped restaurant makes a perfect addition to any day! I’ve only stopped at Bittersweet Cafe twice, but I’ve enjoyed the food and my time there each visit.

Bittersweet Cafe is located in Farmington, PA. They use locally grown food and fresh produce in their unique dishes. Their pulled pork is tasty! A few weeks ago when I was there, I wanted to try something different and ordered their Harvest Apple Salad. It was amazing! Their homemade dressing was so good! I also always enjoy their Sweet Lemon Mint Tea.

I am in love with how they are always seasonally landscaped! I knew fall was right around the corner at the time I was planning on going there and on my drive up, I was hoping they would be decorated for fall. It was such a beautiful, warm sunny day, and I was so excited to see fall flowers and décor as I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. It was so peaceful sitting outside, breathing in the fresh mountain air, and enjoying a delicious meal surrounded by beautiful fall flowers, pumpkins, and sunshine!

If you are ever traveling to Ohiopyle, Nemacolin Woodlands, Fallingwater, or Kentuck Knob (those are a few of my favorite places in the mountains!) make sure to stop and eat or grab a drink at Bittersweet Cafe! You will not be disappointed!

Here are a few pictures from my day at Bittersweet Cafe!









National Coffee Day-Friday, September 29, 2017

(My old school espresso maker and espresso cups)

Happy National Coffee Day! I can’t start my day without coffee! It’s honestly the very first thing that I do in the morning. I wake up, get out a coffee mug and start my morning brew. Without coffee, I don’t function! I enjoy coffee so much, depending on the day, I may have another glass or two (iced by afternoon)! I try not to overdo it, but sometimes, I just crave the delicious smell and need that extra bit of caffeine.

Here are a few reasons why you should drink coffee!

  • The aroma in morning is warming and smells delicious (The smell can lead to less stress).

  • It provides you with antioxidants.

  • Coffee can help your brain stay healthier longer and reduce your chance of getting Alzheimer’s.

  • Coffee is good for your liver and can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

  • If you drink coffee before you work out, it can jolt your performance.

  • There’s a chance it can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Coffee Deals for National Coffee Day

  • Dunkin’ Donuts: Buy a medium or larger cup of hot coffee and get a medium hot coffee free at participating locations nationwide.

  • McDonald’s: For a limited time, get a small specialty coffee for $2 at participating locations. Also, there are coupons for a free medium McCafé with any purchase in the McDonald’s smartphone app. Plus, when you purchase any five McCafé drinks you can get one free when a QR code from the app is scanned at checkout.

  • Keurig:  From Friday through Sunday, get 20% off all pods and bagged coffee purchased at with coupon code CELEBRATE. Get free shipping with a $39 or higher purchase.

  • Sheetz: Get a free Pumpkin Pie Latte when you order it through the Sheetz smartphone app.

Attention: Coffee Fans in the Pittsburgh Area

Pittsburgh Specialty Coffee Week is starting October 2-7, 2017. Enjoy coffee at various coffee shops throughout the Pittsburgh area! You can find out information about participants, specials, and events at:

Pretty Coffee Products for that “All Things Pretty” Lifestyle of Yours!

If you know me, you know that I love anything copper! Here are a few coffee products that one day I would like to own, plus a few other fun items!

  • Macy’s-Bodum Classic Chambord Copper 8 Cup French Press Coffee Maker-$49.99

  • Macy’s-Bodum Classic Chambord Copper Milk Frother-$29.99

  • Macy’s-Bodum Classic Chambord Copper Sugar and Creamer Set-$29.99

  • Jessica N Designs-Must Have Coffee Spoon-$17.00

  • Old Navy-Mascara and Coffee Tee-$14.99

What type of coffee is your favorite? Espresso, Latte, Cappuccino, etc.? Comment below with your favorite coffee beverage! I’m always looking forward to trying something new!

S’MORES Coffee Creamer

I’m a huge fan of s’mores! Fall is right around the corner, the first day of fall actually starts this Friday, September 22. Normally, when you hear about fall, everything under the sun is “pumpkin spice.” Like always, I like to be unique and different, so here is an alternate fall flavor!  Although I enjoy a lot of pumpkin spice everything, when I think about fall and cooler weather, I also think of bonfires and s’mores!

(I will say this is the first time that I made this. A few little tips…don’t decide to make it when you are tired. Also, lesson learned, use a bigger pot than a saucepan. The heat, even though not boiling, may make your creamer expand more than anticipated. Let’s just say this little mistake left my kitchen smelling like a toasted marshmallow.  Smelled great… the clean up not so much fun. This recipe makes quite a bit. Next time, I will probably decrease the ingredients by half to only make a minimal amount since it’s only me that usually uses creamer on a daily basis.)

Give it a try and let me know what you think!


  • 1 ½ c coffee cream

  • 1 ½ c milk

  • ½ c granulated sugar

  • 1 (7oz) container of marshmallow creme

  • ½ c chocolate syrup

  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Place cream and milk in a pot and heat over medium heat, but do not let it get to the boiling point.

  2. Next, add the sugar to the cream mixture.

  3. Then, add the marshmallow crème (small amounts at a time) and stir until blended well.

  4. Stir in the cinnamon and chocolate syrup.

  5. Now, stir everything and remove from the heat.

  6. Finally, place in a container and let it cool before placing it in the refrigerator!

    Enjoy your Fall S’MORES Flavored Coffee!

Yesterday, I received some wonderful fresh produce from the Lawrenceville Farmer’s Market. I decided this morning that I would make a smoothie out of a few of the items. Here’s what I put together to make my Farmer’s Market Smoothie.

Farmer’s Market Smoothie

  • Milk

  • Protein Powder (optional)

  • Kale

  • Peach

  • Apple

  • Banana

  • Ice

First, I added the milk and kale and blended it together. Next, I added the fruit, protein powder and ice. Blend well, until all the ice is crushed. Enjoy your delicious Farmer’s Market Green Smoothie!


Mead Day

August 5, 2017

mead glasses

Today is National Mead Day! You are probably either thinking what kind of day is she writing about and why, or you may be saying, “I love Mead! I’m glad this day is getting some recognition!” Currently, and for over a year now, I’ve been working for a new, local meadery in Pittsburgh. My experience there ranges from production work, administrative work, to organizing, planning, and staffing for festivals and events, as well as setting up and working them. You may remember me writing about KingView Mead back in November, when I wrote a post about supporting small, local businesses on Small Business Saturday. KingView Mead celebrated their one year anniversary this past May! You may learn more about KingView Mead as a company, as well as our give back; first in the nation, “Mead for Bees” program. The website is:

Some of you may be wondering, “What is Mead?” Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, water and yeast. 51% or more of the alcohol must be fermented for this honey wine to be categorized as a mead. This delicious drink has many variations such as Traditional, Melomel: by adding fruit or fruit juice, Braggot: by adding hops, Metheglin: by adding herbs or spices, Cyser: by adding apples or apple juice, or Pyment: by adding grapes or grape juice.

Are any of you getting married anytime soon? If so, you may want to include this traditional wedding drink as your beverage of choice! Mead is the original wedding drink. It was given to newlyweds way back in ancient times to drink for an entire month to promote fertility and happiness throughout their marriage. This is also how the term “honeymoon” came about.

Now, after an explanation and some of my connection to mead, I’d like to share with you a little bit of background and history on National Mead Day. In 2002, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) observed the first Saturday in August as Mead Day! The tradition has been carried on over the years. This year, Mead Day will be observed today, on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

The AHA, started Mead Day to generate friendships of mead makers and to create and increase awareness about the oldest fermented beverage to others. It was a day which mead lovers would gather friends and family and create a batch of mead together. Others celebrate it by having competitions, sharing or comparing recipes, dressing up to enjoy the delicious beverage sometimes known as “honey wine” or just meeting up to discuss the craft of mead making. Mark your calendars for August 5th this year. Go outside, reconnect yourself back to nature, and have a drink or two of mead!

As craft beers are popping up, meads are now becoming more popular. Laws in PA have been changing and you may be seeing more of mead in beer distributors, wine & spirit stores, as well as bars and restaurants. If you’ve tried a mead before, and haven’t liked it, don’t turn it down the next time you see it somewhere. This delicious beverage can taste differently each time you try it. Remember, bees pollinate many types of flowers, therefore, the honey they make does not always have the same flavor. A few honey varieties for example could be: Wildflower, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Buckwheat, and there are many more. When these different types of honeys are used, it also can change the taste of the type of mead you are drinking!

Are you a mead lover? If so, what are some of your favorite meads to drink? I’d love to hear from you!  Raise your glass, and “Cheers” to Mead Day!!!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is such a delicious snack! It goes well with crackers, vegetables, or tortilla chips. It is also pretty simple to make and there are so many varieties of flavors you can add when making your hummus. One of my favorite varieties of hummus is roasted red pepper! Here is a recipe that I have used.


  • 1 (15 oz) Can of Chickpeas

  • ½ cup Diced Roasted Red Peppers

  • 1 Clove of Garlic

  • 1 TBSP of Fresh Lemon Juice

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil

  • ½ Tsp of Salt

  • ½ Tsp of Cumin

  • (Optional) Tahini


  1. First, drain and rinse the chickpeas.

  2. Next, add the chickpeas and all of the other ingredients except the olive oil into the food processor.

  3. Blend all of the ingredients in the food processor. As it is pulsing and blending, drizzle the olive oil slowly into the top of the food processor.

  4. Pulse and blend until the ingredients have turned into a smooth mixture.

  5. Place in the refrigerator to keep cool.

  6. Bring out your crackers or veggies and enjoy snacking away!

A Sweet Treat-5 Ingredient Fudge

I made this quick and easy fudge for Christmas. I changed a few things this year, but previously have made this fudge the basic way. It hardly takes any time and I did receive a few compliments on it! This would be a great addition to your New Year’s Eve Party if you are looking for a sweet, fast, and easy recipe!

Peanut Butter Fudge

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes


  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • ½ cup milk

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

(The recipe that I made was Maple Peanut Butter Fudge)

I used homemade Madagascar Vanilla in place of vanilla and used ½ cup creamy peanut butter with ½ cup of Paul Family Farm’s Maple Peanut Butter. I also lined an 8×8 baking dish in foil before pouring in the mixture.


  1. Combine the sugar and the milk in a large saucepan over medium high heat.

  2. Stir it just until the sugar is incorporated into the milk, then leave it alone.

  3. When the mixture comes to a boil (as soon as you start seeing consistent bubbles), start a timer for about 2 and a half minutes. Don’t stir! You don’t want to disrupt the sugar crystals.

  4. Remove the pot from the heat, add the salt, vanilla and peanut butter.

  5. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon just until the peanut butter is melted and mixed throughout. (About a minute or two.)

  6. Pour the fudge mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Put the pan on a cooling rack to set and cool completely. It usually takes a couple of hours.


Tea Challenge

(For All Tea Lovers)-Sicilian Tea Company-21 Day Tea Ritual Challenge


Hello Tea Lovers! Although my daily morning routine starts out with a cup of joe, I do enjoy a cup of tea throughout the day!  I came across the 21 Day Tea Ritual Challenge from Sicilian Tea Company and I love the concept!  It is supposed to begin in October.  I’m going to try really hard to complete the daily challenge.  If you want to learn more about it, here is the link:

I love how the challenge wants to give an opportunity to make space in your life for you!  I know over the years, I feel as if I get so caught up in the world around me, that I have been losing pieces of myself.  The continuous battle to please everyone else and be who everyone else expects you to be can be exhausting and can take a toll on your life.

This challenge will provide you a with a daily workbook to track and journal your progress throughout the challenge.  It also is going to offer recipes and brewing tips. (Make sure you sign up for the email to receive everything for the challenge.)  The one major goal in this challenge that I want to accomplish is that for 21 days, I want to be able to unplug from life for 10-15 minutes. (No computer; emails; cell phone, TV, or multitasking-just sit and drink a cup of tea.)  This is more difficult for me than it sounds. At the end of the day is when I’m going to aim to give up the 10-15 minutes.  I’m hoping it will lead into a more peaceful, good night’s rest.

Let me know how you feel about the 21 Day Tea Challenge and if you are interested in joining as well! Everyone needs to take a little time for themselves and relax. We all deserve 10-15 minutes a day to enjoy a little bit of peace!

tea-and-happy-things   keep-calm-drink-tea tea-time-for-me

Here are a few of my favorite tea products from MacKenzie-Childs.


Courtly Check Enamel Tea Kettle-2 Quart-$105.00


              Courtly Check Enamel Mug-$40.00


              Courtly Check Travel Mug-$25.00




In honor of “National Coffee Day,”  I wanted to share this little story.  I was blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity for many years to be a part of my Grandpap’s daily morning routine.  These were some of the best mornings of my life!  My Grandpap worked up until the age of 92.  He was passionate and loved the family business that he continued to grow from his father.  I would go to his house to pick him up and he always offered me a piece of chocolate of my choice from his assortment of hershey miniatures.  Once he was ready to start his day, we would have daily conversations while at his house and continue talking as I would drive him to his destinations for the day.  No matter whether the topics were good or bad, I always felt that life was going to be ok.  I would drive him to World Importing (Our deli), and he would walk around the store and check on everything to make sure it was in order.  While he gathered paperwork and completed his daily checklist routine, I would check his lottery tickets to see if he had won, and before we left, I poured us both a cup of coffee, and he made sure to give me a cookie every morning before we left to proceed to Romeo & Sons.  Those mornings have given me the best memories.  Words can’t describe how much I miss and cherish that morning routine!  What I would give to have another day to see his smile, embrace him in that hug, and have just one more cup of coffee with him… 


So Long Summer…End of Summer Tea

Coffee is a must to start my day, but I love a nice glass of iced tea throughout the day!  Today, I decided to make Hibiscus Watermelon Tea with Mint, Lavender, Pineapple Sage, Lemon Balm, and Honey.  I used some of my favorite herbs that I grew this summer to add to the flavor of this delicious summertime tea.  Here is my recipe…

Hibiscus Watermelon Tea with Herbs

  • 12-14 cups of water (depending on how strong you want your tea)
  • 10 Republic of Tea Hibiscus Watermelon tea bags
  • Handful of seasonal herbs:  (1 tsp) Lavender, Mint, Pineapple Sage, Lemon Balm
  • 3 tbsp of honey (I used Wildflower Honey)
  1. Pour your cups of water into a pot.
  2. Boil the water.
  3. Add your 10 tea bags.
  4. Steep for 7 minutes.
  5. Remove your tea bags.
  6. Add your herbs and honey.  Stir.
  7. Ready to drink!

*I let my tea cool for a few minutes before adding ice and pouring it into my container.


watermelon tea