June 7, 2017

Gumbo Love Review and a Recipe From the Book!

I am excited to share a new cookbook and recipe with you today!

Recently, the publicity manager for Gumbo Love offered to send me a copy for review.   When I read through the description, I just knew this cookbook would be a great fit for my blog and couldn't wait to get started.  I mean, what are the odds that I wouldn't love a cookbook that incorporates Caribbean, Cajun, Cuban, Mexican, Old Florida, and Creole influences?  Mix in the fact that the author, Lucy Buffett (Lulu), is Jimmy Buffett's sister and I was prepared to be entertained!

Although I received a copy of the cookbook for review, all opinions expressed are my own.

Gumbo Love Review and Recipe from the Book!

About the book:

A delicious love letter to the Gulf Coast's vibrant food culture, by Jimmy Buffett's sister and owner of two beloved destination restaurants in Alabama and Florida. 
Incorporating Caribbean, Cajun, Cuban, Mexican, Old Florida, and Creole influences, Lucy proves through her collection of recipes that the Gulf Coast has its own distinct flavors and traditions that make it a destination year after year. Surviving hurricanes, the Gulf Coast—beyond just New Orleans—has a vibrant food and culture that's gone largely unnoticed. Lucy wants to change that by sharing her food and stories with GUMBO LOVE readers.

Like her brother, Jimmy, Lucy celebrates freedom, relaxation, and seaside decadence in her own art--cooking, and has now written the cookbook her fans have been asking her for; one that offers the recipes she's famous for, along with Gulf Coast classics and stories of growing up in Mobile, Alabama, working in New Orleans, and her philosophy of relaxation, gratitude, and enjoyment.

Lucy combines over one hundred new recipes with old favorites. Her fans will find recipes for their social occasions including gumbos, main dishes, deep fried favorites (with her easy frying tutorial), salads, seasonings, libations, and desserts. They will also learn how Lucy navigates the kitchen, her business, and her family and readers will come away with the basic ingredients of an inspiring life philosophy. 

In Gumbo Love, she combines over one hundred new recipes with old favorites, including gumbos, main dishes, deep fried favorites, salads, seasonings, libations, and desserts. Featuring classic family recipes, Lucy also explains in heartfelt, humorous stories about learning what it takes to make gumbo (especially amid many challenging life lessons), and how that helped her become an independent and empowered woman. 

Gumbo Love by Lucy Buffett
Image credit: Angie Mosier

If you are like me, you sometimes just read a cookbook for the recipes and skip through most of the text.  Luckily, I didn't do that in this case or I would have really missed out!

What fun it was to learn about Lucy Buffett's family memories and traditions along with her inspiration for the name, "Gumbo Love"!  I especially loved Lucy's list of life lessons and the stories behind them!  Her philosophy on life as well as cooking is so refreshing... and just what you would expect from a member of the Buffett family!

"Jimmy captures in his music the same attitude I celebrate in my food..."  
                                                                  - Lucy Buffett

Lucy Buffett
Image credit: Chandler Williams of Modus Photography

Last night I tried one of her recipes from the book and I would love to share it with you!

Classic Southern Pound Cake with Strawberries


Excerpted from the book GUMBO LOVE by Lucy Buffett. Copyright © 2017 by Lucy Buffett. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Life & Style. All rights reserved. http://lucybuffett.com/


GROWING UP SOUTHERN, pound cake was part of my sweet-tasting experience, as there was always some kind of pound cake sitting on my grandmother’s counter. The traditional story about pound cake is that the ingredients consist of “a pounda” butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. This is my rendition of the classic dessert, and there are really no words to describe the sweet vanilla aroma and rich buttery taste of love infused in every bite.

1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract (or use almond or any other flavored extract)
Fresh whipped cream (recipe follows), for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan (a tube pan is preferred, but if you use a Bundt pan instead, you’ll need to make sure to leave 1 inch of space at the top of the pan, so you may end up with a small amount of leftover batter).

2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the sliced strawberries. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve the cake.

3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add the remaining 3 cups sugar, ½ cup at a time, and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk, starting and finishing with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack to cool completely. Serve each piece with a spoonful of the chilled strawberries and a dollop of fresh whipped cream.


1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or
flavored liqueur
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Place a medium metal bowl in the freezer to chill.
2. When ready to prepare the whipped cream, place the cream and vanilla in the chilled bowl. With an electric mixer, whip the cream on medium speed, gradually adding the sugar. The cream will begin to thicken.
3. Whip the cream until it begins to form stiff peaks. Be careful not to overwhip or the cream will separate.

Pound Cake and Strawberries - Gumbo Love Review and Recipe

I guess it made sense for me to try one of her dessert recipes first since Lucy, being the "rule breaker" that she is, begins her cookbook with desserts!  As she says, "Life is short - eat dessert first."

I loved the way this pound cake turned out.  Not only is it pretty and great for entertaining but it's the perfect amount of sweetness - and so moist!  Even with my tendency to overcook things, I didn't mess it up!  Adding the strawberries and fresh whipped cream took it to another level of deliciousness!  I can't wait to make this one for guests!

In addition to all the delectable dessert recipes, I have already bookmarked several pages of fun drink concoctions, (margaritas anyone?!!), amazing salsas and other enticing entrees that will be sure to pull me out of my recipe rut!  I have a feeling I will be referring to this book a great deal!

Please note that this post contains an affiliate link which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link (at no additional cost to you).

Since I just know you will want to check out more of Lucy's recipes and read all about her adventures, click over to Gumbo Love to order your copy today!  Keep me posted on which recipes are your favorites!

Thanks for stopping by...
Enjoy your day!
I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

Gumbo Love Review - with a recipe from the book!

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June 1, 2017

Take Me Away Link Party - June 2017

Happy June everyone!  It's time for another Take Me Away Travel Link Party!  We can't wait to see where you've been!

Let's get started with the June party!

  • Please link up to 3 travel posts you have written (new or old - as long as you haven't shared them at the Take Me Away Party before.)
  • Please include a link back to my blog.
  • Please don't link ads or giveaways (affiliate links are fine, though!)
  • By joining the party, you give me permission to feature your photo/post on any of my social media networks and this blog.
  • Please Pin from the original source of the photo.
  • Please visit and comment on as many links as you can...after all, it's a party!

Once again, we are off!  Take Me Away!

May 31, 2017

Take Me Away Recap - May 2017

What the heck happened to May?  Seriously, was that not the fastest month ever?  My kids only have a few weeks left of school now, (In New Jersey we go through mid-June) but I know many of you are already in summer mode.

If you have already done some traveling, we would love for you to share your trip reports at this Friday's Take Me Away Party!

In the meantime, let's take a look at the trips linked up to the May party!

Carole from the blog, From My Carolina Home took us on a beach vacation to beautiful Myrtle Beach!

Myrtle Beach has something for everyone.  There are tons of activities but the area is so spread out that you can get away from it all if you need to!  

During her time in Myrtle Beach, Carole also had the chance to escape to the gorgeous Brookgreen Gardens.

It looked like the perfect time to visit with everything in full bloom.  I loved the statues in the gardens as well!

Let's travel up north with Katie from The Preppy Empty Nester to the Town of Mashpee on Cape Cod.

Such a charming coastal town with plenty of great shopping!  You will love all the cute store items she chose to share with us...and her fun sense of humor is sure to give you a few giggles!

We are keeping it coastal with Our French Oasis to a place that many believe to be the oyster capital of France!

Susan teaches us everything we would ever want to know about oysters as we follow along her oyster tasting journey.  I think I might be curious enough to give them a try myself!

Tanya from The Other Side of the Road took us away on a Weekend in Wales...

What a delightful trip through the countryside with her adorable family!  Her kids are so lucky to grow up in a family that appreciates travel so much!

Pam from Everyday Living always manages to share some unique places, like the town of Visby, Sweden...

Join her in a tour through this beautiful Scandinavian village with stone walls, grand cathedrals and cobblestone streets!

Back to the U.S. with Designs by Pinky and her tour of the magnificent Longwood Gardens...

Spring looks like perfect time to visit these grounds with all the trees and flowers in full bloom!

Pinky also took us back during the fall to get a whole different perspective...

I don't think you could go wrong no matter what time of year you visited this lovely place!

Thank you to everyone who stops by each month!  Whether you are here to link up your own posts or to read others, we always enjoy having you!

Please remember to stop by 
on the First Friday of each month
for the Take Me Away Link Party!
(The party officially opens Thursday at 7:00 p.m. EST 
so get your travel posts ready!)

Looking forward to seeing you then!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

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May 25, 2017

Bar Cart Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Alnwick Hall Mansion in May Designer Showhouse presented by the Women's Association of Morristown Medical Center. The mansion is open for tours until the end of May.  Rather than spoil it for those of you who still want to attend the event, I decided to just show you a few highlights for now.  Don't worry, once May is over, I will be back with more photos.

In the meantime, I have chosen a theme for my highlights - Bar Carts/Tables.

After all, today is National Wine Day!

Enjoy the inspiration:

I loved this classic glass and gold cart...
Cabri Inc Bar Cart - Bar Cart Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse
From the kitchen designed by Cabri Inc.

And this console table with a simple tray to contain the liquor...
Elizabeth Guest Interiors LLC - Bar Cart Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse
 Elizabeth Guest Interiors, LLC

Another console with a sophisticated mirrored tray...
Console Table Ethan Allen - Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse
Ethan Allen

An industrial wood and metal bar cart with great martini glasses...
Curren Design Assoc Inc - Bar Cart Inspiration from Designer Showhouse
Curren Design Associates, Inc.

And a luxurious display of champagne and chocolate strawberries offered in the bridal suite...
Diane Durocher Interiors - Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse
Diane Durocher Interiors

This colorful one was probably my favorite!  Lemons always make such a great accessory!
Kristin Ashley Interiors - Bar Cart Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse
Kristin Ashley Interiors

Sure, all the bar carts and tables were styled so beautifully but this fun appliance had to be the most practical!...
Wine Station - Creative Ideas and Inspiration from a Designer Showhouse

Who wouldn't love one of those in their home?!!

I hope you enjoyed the bar cart portion of the Mansion in May tour!
More to come soon!

Are you celebrating National Wine Day?


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May 16, 2017

Island Living - Beautiful Homes of Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard

What kind of blogger goes to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts and forgets to look up the 2015 HGTV Dream Home?  Umm...that would be me!  I know they don't give tours any more but you would think I would have remembered to swing by one of my favorite HGTV Dream Homes of all time!

I guess I got a little distracted...

White Classic Home in Edgartown, MA - Martha's Vineyard
This is just one of the many houses I fell in love with in Edgartown.

Classic New England Home - Martha's Vineyard
Soooo New England coastal style...what's not to love?

Classic White House in Martha's Vineyard, MA
Isn't this just perfection with the vines on the white picket fence?  I could see myself sipping a glass of wine in one of those Adirondack chairs back there!

Waterfront Home - Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
Or, how fabulous to live right down by the water.  They probably have the most incredible view!

New England Home in Martha's Vineyard
What a dream to be able to live in one of these quintessential New England coastal homes.

Classic Garage - Homes of Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard
I think I would even be happy to live in this garage!

White House with White Fence
I couldn't decide if the white ones were my favorites...

Beautiful archway and fence in Martha's Vineyard
With all their beautiful fences and archways... 

Yellow Cottage Home in Martha's Vineyard, MA
Or, if I would go for a vibrant yellow with flowering window boxes!

Street in Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, MA
 As if I even have a choice!  One can dream though...

Martha's Vineyard Home
Either way, I fell in love with each and every home in this charming coastal town!

We had the best time on our girl's weekend!  I already told you about the Kentucky Derby Party at our hotel and I will be back to share more of this beautiful place with you!

Have you ever been to the lovely island
of Martha's Vineyard?

I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

DIY By Design - Swing into Spring
Essence of Home - Share Your Style
A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday
Seeking Lavender Lane - Creative Circle
Marilyn's Treats - Thursday Favorite Things

Craftberry Bush - Inspiration Gallery
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
The Everyday Home - Share it One More Time
The SITS Girls - Saturday Sharefest
Finding Silver Pennies Sundays Link Party
Love of Home - Sundays at Home Link Party
Life and Linda - Dishing it and Digging It
Marilyn's Treats - Over the Moon Party
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
Cedar Hill - The Scoop
Domestically Speaking - Inspire Me Monday
The Dedicated House - Make It Pretty Monday
Sweet Parish Place - Totally Terrific Tuesday
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
My Life Abundant - Wonderful Wednesday
Talk of the Town Link Party
Imparting Grace - Grace at Home
April Harris - Heart and Soul Link Party
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Creatively Living - Monday Funday
Two Chicks and a Mom - Funtastic Friday

May 11, 2017

My New Favorite Place to Watch the Kentucky Derby

In the past, we have attended Derby parties in the neighborhood or watched the race from local restaurants...but usually we just watch at home with the kids.  Basically, the four of us pick a few horses and cheer them on while our dog, Rosie jumps up and down, trying to get in on the action...yeah, exciting stuff.

This year, Derby Day fell on the same weekend as my girl's getaway.  It was exciting to make a bigger deal out of the event - especially since our hotel was hosting a Kentucky Derby Party!
Derby Outfits at the Harbor View Hotel

This girl's getaway was spent on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.  I will write a full trip report as soon as I consolidate all of our photos but for now, I will fill you in on the Derby festivities!...

Apparently, this was only the 2nd annual Kentucky Derby Party held at the beautiful Harbor View Hotel where we were staying.  We bought our tickets in advance so we had some time to plan our outfits and hats.

Earlier in the day, we stumbled upon a new liquor store, Rosewater Wine and Spirits in Edgartown.  They were offering a Julep tasting, so needless to say, we had to give them a try...
Mint Julep Tasting
None of us are huge bourbon fans but the tasting was fun and the store owners were just darling!  They also had two sweet black labs in the store so my dog loving friend and I were all over them.

Anyway, the party at the hotel began at 5:00 and took place at the Lighthouse Grill...
Lighthouse Grill

I was having too much fun to take a lot of pictures of the restaurant, but I took this photo the next day to show the bar area.  Such a pretty room!

Lighthouse Grill Bar
They had a buffet of appetizers set up along with servers offering cute Derby inspired sandwiches and other treats.

Kentucky Derby Banner
The room was filled with colorful rose themed tables and other Derby decorations.

Derby Party
As you can see, I opted for wine over a mint julep but there were plenty of them going around!

Derby Party Decor

Kentucky Derby Stats
We had the chance to bet on some horses by donating to the Vineyard Montessori School fundraiser.  Each $10 donation allowed us to choose a square.

Sea Bags (made from recycled sails)

And my friend came in second and won some wine and this pretty bag from Sea Bags!  These bags are made from recycled sails and ironically, we were admiring them in their Oak Bluffs store just the day before!

Derby Party Table
Here we are enjoying the party.  I know I don't normally post many people-photos on my blog but I don't think my friends will mind.  (At least I hope not...)

I happened to text this photo to my husband and this is the response I received back from him...

Silly Text from my husband

I know some of you have commented how you like his sense of humor so I thought you might enjoy that!  True, I did look like I was wearing the table cloth - kind of.  What can I say...I love navy and white!  

Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Yes, I had to put that disclaimer in there because I would love to share my outfit details with you!  I am wearing my new favorite dress with Jack Rogers gold wedge sandals.  The white hat was from Macy's and I just threw a bow on from Michael's.  Next year I might go for something like this dress and I will definitely get more creative with my hat...for example...

Kentucky Derby Hats

We had the opportunity to try on some beautiful hats displayed by the lovely ladies of Dreamboat Hats of Edgartown.  I think next year I will choose my outfit and then go to them to buy a matching hat!

My friend wanted us to pose for this picture with our hats after seeing a similar photo online...
Kentucky Derby Hats
Cute idea, but by the time we had take the photo, it was after dinner and a couple of us were already in some casual attire.  And for some reason, my friend on the right looked extra short!  I think she was leaning over laughing during the photo!

Speaking of laughing...
Sombrero for Cinco de Mayo
Before we left for our trip, I joked with my friend that I was going to combine Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby for my hat!  Don't worry, the sombrero stayed home...

Derby party swag
We made some great memories and came home with some fun giveaways from Vineyard Vines!  And as you can see, Vineyard Selfies was also at the event with a photo booth.  

And did I mention that my friend WON the prize for the best Derby ensemble?!!  She won a Vineyard Vines gift card AND a one night's stay at the Harbor View Hotel!  It had to be fate because one of our dear friends who was supposed to join us came down with pneumonia and couldn't make it.  Looks like we know where we are going next year! Time to plan another Derby outfit!  

Cheers - Kentucky Derby Party Girl's Weekend
See you next year, Harbor View!

Did you watch the Kentucky Derby this year?

I would love for you follow along so you don't miss a post!

My New Favorite Place to Watch the Kentucky Derby

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