For the past six years, our favorite place to go while in St. Pete is Bandit Coffee on Central Ave. (I think I discovered it a year after it opened). For the last few months, Amanda and I have made it a Sunday morning tradition to go get coffee and breakfast, often getting the newest pastry offerings. This is one of the most welcoming and unpretentious coffee shops in St. Pete. Prior to the pandemic, it wasn’t unusual for Amanda to head up to work for a while, and even now, it’s not unusual for us to make a run over the Skyway after work for a coffee fix. (Yes, it’s 20 minutes from home, but it’s worth it.). Their interior has been closed since March of 2020 but has managed to survive, thrive AND expand it’s food offerings for drive up only. Earlier in the year, the Tampa Bay Times wrote an article on how they stayed open through the pandemic when many places closed. If you’d like to read about it, go HERE. Sara never fails to ask how we are doing when we see her, and I can’t wait for the time when they are ready to reopen their interior. If you are in St. Pete, please stop in for a coffee and a pastry made by their amazing pastry chef. Today I had their parfait bowl because I’m still not back to eating bread, but oh, my goodness, there is some sort of glaze or syrup on this that is just delicious. Just look at the strawberries, blueberries, bananas and this luscious granola, all on top of some silky smooth Greek yogurt. Follow them on Instagram Bandit St. Pete for photos that will make you want to get up on a weekend, or any day, and grab a coffee and a pastry. PS. We adore the shortbreads 🙂
Well, the best intentions of mice and men…. is that how the saying goes? The plan was to make my Aunt Eva’s Heavenly Hash Candy since the weather has finally decided to cooperate. And… well, see for yourself. I had a bare-bones recipe from my great-great aunt, but there wasn’t much direction about cooling time. I have made this before, and they turned out great, but this batch…not so much. It started out promising.
See, chocolate chips, condensed milk, marshmallows, and pecans…what could go wrong?
….but in the end, it was a puddle of mess. You should be able to see the marshmallows, not a puddle.
One thing that was left out of the instructions was to let the chocolate mixture cool before adding the marshmallows, which I did not do and they instantly melted. Almost immediately I knew what I had done wrong–added the marshmallows to hot, melted chocolate. They sure look awful, but they taste just fine. I’ll try again this weekend and see if they turn out.
Tis the season! It’s that time of year when both Blogmas and Vlogmas start popping up in feeds all over the internet. It’s been years since I’ve participated and frankly, the thought of 25 days of holiday blogging is daunting. One, because I’m not one to overdo Christmas anything and two, well, it’s a lot of content and since I have posted exactly once this year, the odds are NOT in my favor.
So, why may you asked, changed my mind? Well, I’m not sure exactly. A combo of a lot of things I suppose. Life is too short to say ‘what if’ and “I should have.” I loved blogging. I really did. I’m trying to find my way back, so this is an attempt to do so. Not sure if I will succeed, but I won’t know until I give it a good try. So I do have a couple of things planned. I have a couple of candy recipes that were my favorites as a child and as soon as this humidity calms itself, I’ll make it. By the way, Florida is fighting December tooth and nail. It’s 80 something today with horrible humidity. We are anticipating a cold front tonight, so let’s see if that makes it feel more like Christmas.
I need to haul out the tree and the Christmas pillows, and as soon as Amanda gets home we are going to hit up TJ Maxx from my decor. In the meantime, I’m binge-watching Hallmark Christmas movies, and if you want to watch too, I’ve added the schedule. My family laughs, but I love them. This is the schedule for Saturday and Sundays, but I think they’re pretty much running 24/7. I’m going to go and enjoy the last few hours of my Thanksgiving break by reading and maybe knitting. (while watching Hallmark movies, of course!)
Tomorrow, stay tuned for Aunt Eva’s Heavenly Hash recipe. (Cross your fingers the humidity drops!)
It has been a running joke in my house that when my husband doesn’t know what to get me for Christmas, he defaults to a kitchen gadget…usually one that he wants me to use to cook him something specific. Case in point, the Anova Sous Vide machine. (This is not sponsored, btw, however, if they want to reach out, I probably wouldn’t say no) . Anyway, he had been talking about this sous vide thing for a while, and knowing what was coming, I specifically told him to not buy me any kitchen gadget that he really wanted for himself. He didn’t listen. What shows up under the tree three years ago…yep that sous vide machine. I got pissed, he got mad, and he had to do some super last minute Christmas shopping that included a trip to the Apple store and the jewelry store. (We had opened these presents early as Amanda had to work over Christmas and we were headed to Atlanta.) Anyway, after that apology, we began to use it and it really does make a great steak. What we have been doing is using ziplock bags, the water displacement method and a stock pot. Last week, after our latest sous vide, he began to ‘wonder how a blow torch would work on the steaks.” I knew what was coming, but didn’t say anything because I really didn’t want to think about what might be showing up on my doorstep.
Two days later (thanks Amazon Prime) a stack of packages show up. Want to guess what was in those packages? A FoodSaver vacuum sealer, a specialized container for the water, a rack for the bags of meat, and…a flamethrower. Overboard much? I told him that I would pick up the steaks, but he was on his own. After thirty minute, reading the instructions three times, and watching two YouTube videos, we finally figured out the vacuum sealer, popped the meat in the bags and then in the water, and we were off to the races. Once they were done, Joel took great pleasure in playing with fire. Dinner was delicious. The steaks were perfect and tender, Joel did a great job with the flamethrower, and the baked potatoes were a great side. So ladies, and gentlemen, if you want your significant other to cook dinner, just buy a a flame thrower.
Several months ago, my friend Chip at Oceans and Lands Custom Travel Planners let me know that he was headed to my neck of the woods to explore the Village of the Arts in the middle of Bradenton. Since it had been years since I’ve explored that area and a west vancouver realtor recommend us this was an area with great value, my husband and I decided to join him and Chris for the afternoon. The VOTA website describes the area like this: “The Village is an eclectic mix of early 20th century residential bungalows, Florida Cracker homes, and later additions. The neighborhood features a legal commercial overlay, which enables a rare live/work/play mix. Village boundaries stretch from 9th Ave West to 17th Ave West between 9th St West and 14th St West. Over 275 individual properties are within the Village. McKechnie Field, voted Florida’s best minor league ballpark is a block away, and downtown Bradenton and the Riverwalk, are within easy walking distance?.”
As the VOTA covers a large area, take a tip from my husband and snap a photo on your phone for easier reference. Thank goodness we did, because you can get turned around if you are too busy chatting with your friend. (cough…me….cough).
First things first, we were there for lunch and Chip had done some research and wanted to eat at Ortygia, a Sicilian restaurant owned by Chef Gaetano.
We were a little on the late side for lunch, it was nearly two, so we were a little concerned when no one was inside. Chef Gaetano popped his head of of the kitchen and welcomed us with open arms. Everything looked so good that we had a hard time deciding, so the chef sat down at our table (he also personally took our order and served us) and suggested options to each of us. He was so fun to talk to and we all said that we would go back. From what I have heard, his tiny restaurant can be difficult to get into on the weekends, especially during snowbird season.
Don’t let the tiny yellow house deceive you. Chef Gaetano served up some of the best Sicilian food that I have ever had. He even managed to please my super picky husband, who lived in Sicily and is very particular about food that claims to be true Italian.
Everything was so delicious that Scout, a guide dog puppy in training, wanted to see what Chris was eating. If you have a puppy I recommend getting the best bedding for outdoor dog house there is.
As we were leaving, we ‘lost’ Chip. We wandered on down the street before we realized that he wasn’t with it. Turns out, he snuck in the kitchen to talk to the chef who was prepping for dinner.
If I remember correctly, this was a lamb dish. It smelled heavenly. (We also had dessert, but we all forgot to take a photo.)
Afterwards, in an effort to walk off lunch, we took a stroll through the village to check out the sites. As you can see, there are lots of colorful galleries and yard art. Sadly, lots of the galleries had closed for the day, but we all agreed that we would like to come back when it was cooler and participate in one of the many Art Walks that they stage. I think we managed to wear Chris and Scout out. I would highly recommend having lunch or dinner at Ortygia, it is worth the drive. Check out the Village of the Arts website for a calendar of upcoming events.
Lately, my weekends seem to be as busy as my regular work week. One would think that once you have an empty nest, things seem to slow down. Mine actually went in reverse! After my daughter went to college, I started really working with my photography and have a part time business. This has kept my Saturdays busy for many weekends and this weekend was no exception. So, without further ado, here are my Ten Things that I did this weekend.
- Photosession with this sweet girl. Tucker is going in for training at Southeastern Guide Dogs next month and her raiser wanted a photo session.
- Met up with a few Area Coordinators for SEGD that were in town for their annual conference. I’m friends with a lot of them on Facebook but don’t get to see them in real like that often.2.
- Picked up Chinese food for dinner. It was after seven when I finally finished up with the session and coordinators, and I wasn’t in the mood to cook.
- Watched Insurgent (again). It’s mindless.
5. Went Purple Martin bird watching and bought some housing for purple martins. Beautiful birds they are, for sure.
6. Photoshoot with Carol’s sweet babies, Curry and Zoe, plus Cashew, who was sponsored by Publix.
7. Edited a newborn/family session that I had two weeks ago. (I really need to get that one finished up, but school stuff has been busy) This photo is from that same afternoon but at a birthday party. This little guy is three.
8.Contemplated working on lesson plans, and then decided that they could wait and I cleaned up a little instead. I used a great new cleaner I ordered from https://www.odorklenz.com/.
9. Church (Joel teaches Sunday School.) This is Lucy, a guide dog in training from Southeastern Guide Dogs. She is staying with us until Thursday.
10. Went to the movies to see The Martian. We went to the see it at the IMAX, in 3D and in the D-Box Theater where the seats move with the action of the movie. That was my first time in that type of theater and I thought for sure that it would make me motion sick, but it didn’t! The movie was really good and I found it a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday.
11. Picked up dinner at Locale Market to take home. Sauasage lasagna, foccacia bread and mac and cheese. So yummy.
12. Worked on the day’s events in my traveler’s notebook. I’m trying to get on top of journaling.
Hope you had a great weekend and for more Ten On Tuesdays, hop on over HERE.
Welcome back to the new and improved Confessions of a Misplaced Southern Belle. A while back, this website was hacked and the only way for me to be able to blog was to move everything to Kiki Mac Online. All of the past 14 years of content is there. Some photos might not be, but the content is there. Now, I have the original site back up and running and am thrilled to say that I am returning to blogging. I can think of no better way to return to this blog than with a a trip home to Louisiana and a road trip to New Orleans and south Louisiana. I flew home on Tuesday (dodging Tropical Storm Bill no less) and today, Mom, Amy, and I headed south. We are staying at the lovely French Market Inn on Decatur.
Ready for our trip!
Mom in the courtyard
We didn’t get until until nearly 5:00, so we spent a little bit of time walking around the immediate area.
Of course, when you visit New Orleans, you have to talk about the food. Tonight we stopped at Cafe Maspero. The food was great, the service was friendly and super fast.
I had a Voodoo Magic with amaretto and Kahlua.
After dinner, we walked the Riverwalk then came back to the hotel. The courtyard is lovely and we spent a good half hour just sitting and enjoying the breeze. Tomorrow we are headed to the Hop on, Hop Off Bus Tour . If you are on Instagram, you can follow me at www.instagram.com/christyclark where I will be posting throughout the day.