Thursday, December 29, 2016

Practice Rounds at Innisbrook 12/28/16

We drove into Palm Harbor on Wednesday for AA's practice rounds - getting ready for the U.S. Kids Golf Regional called the Copperhead Classic. This is the first time she will play 18 holes - she's growing up!! All local tournaments are still 9 hole tournaments, but for 10 year old girls and 9 year old boys, they move up to 18 holes. Most organizations have kids under age 12 play 9 holes. AA will play 18 holes at Pinehurst (World's) this year too. This trip, I was able to get several happy photos!


We stayed at the Innisbrook Resort as I found a good deal on Booking dot com. We still don't have a place to stay yet and the tournament is two weeks away!! At the Belfast building, and I suspect most of the others, the suites are very dated, a bit tired and forlorn looking. But comfortable; no complaints.
Our view from the backyard is of the Island Course:
Our 2nd day (29th) we had some morning time, so explored Tarpon Springs. Very nice "Greek" town, playing up the sponge trade, lots of touristy shops and actually very good Greek restaurants.
Walking the town, hawkers on every corner trying to get us to take their particular boat ride.
Several museums with a nod to the sponge industry:
Eating lunch at Hellas, AA had the original Greek salad, Ford had the gyro and I tried something different - Pastitiso. All good!
Back to the course for round 2.
Heading to Hole #1:
They ended up playing with a man from London, Shawn, but lives in New York. The tees times were pushed back due to the heavy fog this morning. The Canadian Junior Golf Association was hosting a tournament so had to wait until they finished.
We also went to Fred Howard Park, perfect weather, great beaches. You can pay to park on the little island, or park on the mainland and bike or walk out to the island. Plenty to do with trails and kayak areas.
All fun! We will be back in two weeks!

Jesse Cruce - Live with J.J. Grey and Mofro

Jesse playing the blues - December 28, 2016. A fund raising concert for St. Augustine Music studio. Sold out at PV Music Hall.

Sweet Potato Recipes - Christmas Dinner

I made two recipes for Christmas, one very sweet with streusel topping and one savory. Pam Davis shared her family recipe but called for only three cups of mashed sweet potato, I found this first one, very similar to use.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Author: Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch. Serves: 12

5 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed (6 medium sweet potatoes)
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup milk and 2 eggs

For the Streusel Topping:
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup chopped pecans
    4 tablespoons butter, softened
    ½ cup mini marshmallows, optional (did not use)

Preheat oven to 350º F. Scrub sweet potatoes and boil or bake in the oven until tender.
Cool, peel and mash the sweet potatoes. Stir in granulated sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and eggs, mix well. Pour mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish or individual dishes for serving.

For the topping: Mix brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter together and spread evenly over sweet potato mixture. Cook for 30 minutes until topping has browned. If using mini marshmallows, add them the final 10 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and serve.

Make-Ahead Tips: Prepare sweet potato mixture and spread into casserole dish. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Prepare streusel topping and store in a zip top bag in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, remove all from the refrigerator. Spread streusel on top of casserole and bake as directed.
Freezer Friendly Tips: Prepare sweet potato mixture and spread into casserole dish. Cool completely, wrap tightly and store in the freezer up to 3 months.
When ready to bake, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Make streusel topping mixture and place on top of casserole and bake as directed.

Sour Cream Balsamic Sweet Potatoes
Serves 6 From the Kitchn

3 to 4 pounds sweet potatoes (4 to 5 medium potatoes), baked and peeled
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Mash the still-warm sweet potatoes until smooth in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar, sour cream, vinegar, and salt. Stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  • Make ahead: The sweet potatoes can be baked up to 5 days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Peel and mash the potatoes, then reheat over medium-low heat on the stove top when ready to finish and serve.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas and Family Photos

Going to try to show what a wonderful Christmas we had. Thanks to thoughtful gifts and a great family dinner. AA woke up to Santa delivering her new WiiU LEGO Star Wars game, a new 24inch bike and new WiiU remote controllers.

We received several gifts in the mail, from Ben and son Travis - Hickory Log variety box, a blue glass serving try from Melissa, LOTS of gifts from my Mom (Consumer Report magazine, L.L.Bean evergreen centerpiece, lots of skorts and Barnes and Noble gift card for AA). Terri brought us gifts back in September visit and this gift from Bill and Joan:
Great photos of Chloe having Christmas fun!
Christmas Eve afternoon at Chris and Heather's home:
Great-Aunt M with Autumn:
Some of our gifts, plus Leaa gave us a diffuser with lavender oil and AA received Gyffindor socks. Justin and Kilee gave us a wood planter, a jack knife (Tennessee) to his Dad and AA got a t-shirt - Salt Life.
AA received a special card from Chris Clarke and MONEY$$ for an appreciation of her hard work! What a surprise!
The water infuser - I added lemons and keep in the refrig; great gift!
Chris and Heather send AA a book and we got this very good copy of a camera lens, it's a coffee thermos!
And a photo of Ginger when she actually stayed still for a second! She's 5.5 months old!

Christmas Dinner at Cathy and Werner's Home

We had a wonderful time at Cathy and Werner's home, saw much of the family, including Carl and Marsha, Ian, Angie and Charles, Patty and Paul, plus our grown kids. I made an apple pie and two sweet potato casseroles to try (first time!).

Trying to take a group photo but didn't realize selfie stick wasn't working!
Lots of tries!
This was the best photo, so cropped it too.
Dylan, Mila and Avery "watered" the trees with ice cubes:
Werner, Ford and son Justin:
Sisters: Nicole, Leaa and recent 30 year old - Christa:
Cousin love: Mila (as a police officer - hand cuffs too!) and Dylan:
Lots of gift exchanging: Werner gave Ford and the other men a whittling book and wood; Cathy gave me a "word" scarf; very nice! They gave AA two tops from Justice. Plus a planter, incense, soap from JK and Kilee; Nicole gave is chalkboard stemless wine glasses and a water infuser, AA received a Harry Potter snuggle blanket. Leaa gave us an air mist-diffuser with lavender oil; AA received Gryffindor socks. Ian/Angie gave AA a pair of golf pierced earrings (to save for a later year); Marsha gave us a bottle of wine. We gave out homemade peanut brittle, homemade grapefruitcello and the grown kids got a bottle of vodka, made locally at the St. Augustine distillery, plus other little gifts and money. Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Eve and More

Leading up to Christmas week. AA was off school the entire week before Christmas! Who would plan that? She had her weekly horse riding lesson on Stetson:

Making sugar cookies for Santa:
A warm week!
Christmas Eve dinner with Carolyn:
Centerpiece from my Mom:
Getting some gift bags ready:
The "tree":
A Lenox ornament from Kelly Powell (River House):
Icing the cookies:
Yep! Champagne and cranberry juice cocktails!
Waiting for Santa!