Friday’s Foto Felicity


Infusing Your Water (and Lemonade)

First, let me share with you one of the pure delights of summertime liquid consumption: lemonade infused with fresh orange slices. Oh girls…if you’ve never tried this, you must! Fair warning: you may very well never go back to plain old lemonade again :-). Just make your batch of lemonade however you normally do, and before you cover the pitcher, throw in 3 or 4 thick orange slices and let them swim around and work their magic for several hours before you serve it. Oh taste of heavenly deliciousness!!!

Now onto a healthier and more necessary beverage: water!

How many of you drink as much water as you should (5-8 glasses per day)? I know unless I’m exercising/working/playing hard, I don’t! I do enjoy water, and always drink it with my meals, but because it’s relatively uninteresting, I never crave it. – Enter: brilliant idea from Martha Stewart – “Infused Water”. I can’t tell you how much more enjoyable and refreshing and craveable this makes consuming your required amount each day!

It’s also very high style if you’re hosting a meal or party. Decide which essence ingredients you’d like, put a few pieces in a glass pitcher, and fill with water. You can let it sit overnight in the fridge if you want it nice and strong by morning. – I love to keep my little pitcher out on the counter (iced) with a glass nearby, and I know that by the end of the day, my pitcher needs to be empty (which translates to 5-8 glasses consumed). You could do this at your work too – just keep it on your desk and know that by quitting time, you must be able to see the dry bottom of the barrel! Here are some of my favorite infusions:

Pineapple: just keep the core after you’ve cut one up, and soak the whole core in your pitcher–  You can also wash the rind really well, and soak a few pieces of that.
Lemon slices and mint

Lime slices and lemon balm
Cucumbers: yes, I know it sounds strange, but try it!
Berries: sliced to release the flavor
Oranges slices
Lemon slices
and berries mixed
Mint leaves

 Do you have a favorite infusion  to share?


My Summer in a Nutshell Part 2

As promised, here is Part 2 of my ultra-condensed summer in pictures!

So far I have:

Eaten Truffle Fries at 10:30 at night in bed on vacation with my love. That man is a BAAAAAAD influence on me... (they were delicious by the way!).


Picked lots of raspberries from our bushes!


Hosted quite a few Saturday brunches for friends and family. Hopefully several more to come!


Made some new items for Kristin's Vintage Garden including this cute set of hootie owl cards - have you checked it out recently? You should!


Seen the last Harry Potter movie (sniff, sniff) with my sister, love, and three other friends. I'm still mad that they didn't end it with "All was well." Do they have therapy for that? Went through 3 1/2 tissues.


Enjoyed a lovely cookout at my newly married sister's new house. What a nice evening it was!

Aaaannnnd that’s a wrap! If you missed Part 1, you can click HERE to catch up. What are you looking forward to the rest of this summer?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

This recipe is originally from Lauren – whom I love – with a few Kristinifications (as usual). My husband and I have decided that we must have a batch of these delicious muffins (equally as good for breakfast, a snack, or dessert) in the house at all times – or we tend to get a tad grumpy. They freeze wonderfully and you’d never in a million years guess that they were full of good ingredients and low in fat! 3 large overripe (with almost black peels) bananas
1/2 (scant) cup sucanot
2 egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (scant) good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/4 cup grained-sweetened chocolate chips
1/4 cup (or less) all natural peanut butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In a large mixing bow, mash the mananas with a fork. Stir in the sucanot, egg white, and applesauce.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Batter will be lumpy.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full and top with a small dollop of peanut butter if desired (maybe 1/2 a t). Swirl peanut butter with a knife to form a pretty pattern on the surface. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (note that the chips and peanut butter may give you a false reading-you can also go by a touch spring test).Cool on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days, in the fridge for about a week, or freeze for a month (if they last that long!).

 If you’re new on the Veranda, after my recipes get posted here on Vignettes, they are all then filed away over at my cooking page called Victuals where you can easily find all of my past recipes. It’s kind of like a convenient online cookbook! I generally post recipes there that use light, whole ingredients, are simple to make, and of course, delicious for the healthy foodie in you.

This week I’m linking to:

Tasty Tuesdays
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Cast Party


Company is Coming: Stocking Your Guest Bathroom

We’ve had a lot of overnight guests this summer (have you?) and there are a few things that I like to include in my guest bathroom to make their stay easy and convenient. If you don’t have a bathroom to dedicate completely to guests, you could at least store family toothbrushes, hair care products, etc. out of sight when you are hosting company to make your bathroom a little more guest-user-friendly. That way they won’t feel so much like they are encroaching on your personal space, and will have the space to set their toiletry bag, makeup, etc. So allow me to submit the following suggestions:

  • Travel Sized Toiletries (we save ours from when we stay at hotels and don’t use what they provide)
  • Bubble Bath (in case they want a nice soak in the tub)
  • Room Spray (that doesn’t make any noise when sprayed)
  • A jar of Cotton Balls/Q-tips


  • A Cup or Holder for Toothbrushes
  • Make sure a Spare Roll of Toilet Paper is easy to find (we’ve all been in that embarrassing situation!)
  • Plastic or Paper Cups to rinse with



  • Hand Soap That Isn’t Too Feminine – we have to fight this urge girls, but truly – a guy doesn’t want to come out of your bathroom smelling like lilacs. I try to keep mine neutral, herbal, or fresh
  • Feminine Products
  • A few extras that travelers may easily forget – a Spare Toothbrush or two, Toothpaste, Razor, etc.
  • A soft Nightlight – so they can find their way to the bathroom in the dark if necessary

What do you stock in your guest bathroom?

My Summer in a Nutshell Pt. 1

It seems I haven’t written many “personal happenings” posts lately…I waffle back and forth between not wanting my blog to become a copy of my day planner, thinking that nobody would want to know what I’ve been up to anyway, and wanting to have a personal space for people to get to know me and a little glimpse into my everyday life.- So today I’m having Part 1 of a very condensed picture version of what I’ve been up to this summer so far. I hope you enjoy!

Nighttime swimming date under the moon. So peaceful! One of the delights of summer.
Visitors from China! Our Aunt, Uncle, and cousins were in for a week! They loved the pooches 🙂
Saturday night Celtic Concert at a local winery with our friends Stephen and JP who came to visit from NC. Wonderful evening in the great outdoors!
Celebrating my middle sister’s birthday with a pampering girl’s day out and family dinner.
More company! This time a visit from my oldest friend (we’ve known each other since we were born, and her name is also Kristen!) and her husband and little girl. So wonderful to see them all!
Eatin’ LOTS of wonderful summer food!


Stay tuned for Part 2 sometime next week! What have you been up to this summer?