Holidays

Easter Brunch & Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Easter Brunch & Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake At Home With The O'Neils

This Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake is top 3 of my favorite desserts that my Mom used to make.  It is a bit tedious and requires precision but the outcome is amazing.  Now that there are little ones in our family, my Aunt and Uncle have moved Easter Lunch back a few hours to Easter Brunch.

It was the perfect opportunity to break out the recipe book and surprise the family with this delicious treat.  

My Dad actually requested this since my Mom no longer bakes and he had a craving.  Since Chuck isn’t a fan of anything that includes blueberries, I was more than happy to comply to get my fix as well.

I did not plan for this to be a blog post, so there are no step by step pictures.  I had shared this image on my Instagram and had a request for the recipe.

Here is the recipe!

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients

¾ C Oleo

1 ½ C. Sugar

3 Eggs

1 ½ tsp. Vanilla

3 C. Flour

1 ½ tsp B. Powder

1 ½ tsp B. Soda

¼ tsp Salt

1 ½ C. Sour Cream

1 C. Frozen Blueberries

Filling:

½ C. Brown Sugar

1 ½ tsp. Cinnamon

½ C. Nuts (Optional)

Glaze:

Confectioners Sugar

3 – 4 Tsp. Milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, eggs & vanilla in bowl.  Mix well and beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Next add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt to wet mixture and mix with beater.
  4. Fold in in sour cream and blueberries to the mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, create the Filling by mixing brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.
  6. In greased pan, spread 1/3 (about 2 Cups) batter and sprinkle with 1/3 of filling (About 6 Tbsp.).
  7. Repeat step 4, two more times.
  8. Bake 350 degrees 50 – 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake (3)
  9. Once the Coffee Cake is cooled, mix confectioner’s sugar and milk, until desired Glaze consistency.  This should be thick enough that it slowly drips off a spoon.
  10. Add Glaze and serve.

Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake (1)

To jazz it up, after I made the Glaze, I divided it into smaller bowls and added food coloring to bring in some Easter Colors.  I used pink and yellow but you can use any color combination you want.

Glazing Tip:

  1. Take a spoon with Glaze color 1, and drip the Glaze from left to right on the Coffee Cake. Give it a few minutes to harden.
  2. Take another spoon with glaze color 2, and repeat step one.
  3. Next rotate the cake 180 degrees and repeat steps 1 and 2.

By using this method it evens out the glaze. Typically in the beginning there is a blob of Glaze and then it thins out.  By rotating the Coffee Cake it makes it more consistent.

Enjoy!

Feel free to write a comment or send a picture (tag me on Instagram @AtHomeWithTheOneils) and let me know how it comes out! 

Summer 2015 – Best Summer Ever {Photo Album}

O'Neil Summer 2015 photo recap

Last night as we returned from a 50th anniversary family cookout, Chuck and I collapsed on the couch from exhaustion and he said to me, “I had an amazing weekend with you.”  This has become an unspoken tradition we have created this summer.  That sentence has been repeated at the end of every weekend and definitely more often this summer than past summers.

The only regret is not updating this blog as often as I had hoped. I even thought to capture the moments on Instagram instead.  But you know what?  I was so in the moment living life and making memories that I didn’t do that either. It isn’t an entirely bad thing.

This has been one of the best summers in a very long time!

Mostly every weekend was surrounded by friends and family at some cookout or gathering.

So I am sharing a summer fun picture recap and I want to thank Lauren at Working Mom Magic blog for creating the hashtag and goal of #OperationSummerFun. You can read about it here and her summer recap is here.  We even made 2 cameos in the second post!

This summer, I adopted this operation to its fullest capacity.  

As Labor Day Weekend comes to a close, and fall begins to set in, I can honestly say I did everything in my power to make this the best summer it could be.

Here is what we have been up to:

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#OperationSummerFun in numbers

  • 25 lbs of Potato Salad
  • At least 6 cookouts (I lost count after that)
  • 4 days by the pool
  • 3 summer music concerts
  • 2 cookouts with requests of Broccoli Salad
  • 2 trips to Foxwoods Casino
  • Dining out (more times than I can count)
  • Unlimited glasses of Homemade Iced Tea
  • Countless laughs, smiles and entertainment

What is your favorite memories from this summer?  I want to know!  

New Year’s Engagement Story

Growing up, and even when we began dating, I (Jeannine) hated New Year’s Eve.  As a teenager, I would always spend it at home, munching on the candy from my Christmas stocking and vowing the New Year would be different – and it never was.

When Chuck and I started dating in 2002, New Year’s Eve was still a sore spot for me.  I was underage (19) and Chuck was 24 and in a band, he always had a show that I couldn’t attend.  It took a couple years before we could officially celebrate together at midnight, in public.  Even then it wasn’t my cup of tea.  It was just another day, and often it was a depressing one, that brought back bad memories.

In 2011, that mindset changed dramatically, thanks to my Handsome Husband.  

At this point in time we had been back together dating for 4 years, and living together 16 months.

A little background about Chuck.  He hates public displays of affection (PDA).  I always imagined our engagement story would be an intimate one.  A birthday present (since my birthday was so close to the holidays) or just the two of us opening our Christmas presents together.  So New Year’s Eve 2010 (celebrating 2011), when we were set to attend a large party at his family-run, private club, I figured once again the New Year would come (and go) without a ring.  It was probably for the best as my gel manicure had decided to peel that day anyway.

As we set out to go to the party Chuck made me wait in the car as he ran upstairs to grab his iPod in our apartment.  He was really getting the ring.  My grandmother gave me a ring when I was 12 and I always imagined that would be my engagement ring.  After we lived together for some time, the ring made its way to our computer desk. Chuck felt he needed to get me out of the apartment and then swipe the ring so I wouldn’t notice it was missing.

We arrived at the party and there are a ton of people.  We ate, mingled with family and friends, danced to music provided by his cousin Todd, the DJ.  As the ball dropped, we kissed and then we turned to hug and kiss our friends and family, wishing them a Happy New Year.

I wasn’t paying attention to where Chuck was until the music stopped. I looked up and Chuck was standing at the front of the room with the microphone in his hand. 

His cousin Todd looked puzzled.  At this point I was standing at the back of the room, with a family member, who in their slurred speak told me, “If he doesn’t propose to you soon, I will.”  I had to quiet them down as the room became quiet.

Chuck started his speech with “Some of you hoped, but many of you never thought this would happen, it has been 8 years…”  My brain frantically went in two directions 1.) “OMG he is proposing!!” 2.) “Oh goodness, he is really drunk.  This sounds like a proposal, but this might be a drunken rant and it is going to be a major let down”.  I tried to keep my composure thinking what else could possibly be 8 years as he continued a romantic speech, that I fail to remember. Then he said “Jeannine, please come up here.”  I was frozen, I couldn’t move.

Literally, the people around me melted away and I was in this white fog.  I was in complete shock. 

His Aunt came over and took my arm and pulled me to the front of the room.  He put the microphone down, got on one knee and opened an empty ring box.  (The ring had actually fallen out and we found it on the floor after).  There were no tears, just utter shock. I had settled on the idea he would never propose, the ring would sit on the desk forever and we would be domestic partners. I managed to squeak out a ‘Yes’.  Then family, friends and complete strangers hugged and kissed us. As his Aunt hugged me she asked to see the ring and that is when we realized it was on the floor.

Original Ring

Unfortunately my parents and his brother weren’t there because Chuck kept it a secret from everyone for the element of surprise.  He didn’t even ask my Father for my hand in marriage. Chuck knows I inherited my horrible secret-keeping skills from my parents.

A little while later brother and girlfriend came flying through the door. I was lifted off my feet and swirled me around.  The rest of the night is a blur but I remember lots of hugs, kissed and people asking if we had set a date – within hours of being proposed too.  By the end of the night we had settled on Spring/Summer 2012.

Throughout the night as people asked to see the ring I would show them my fist.  This was because the ring was too big and I had to grip it to keep it straight and because I was forced to quickly peel off the left over gel manicures for decent presentation.  I am sure the clean-up crew wondered where the red sparkle paint came from.

It truly was a magical night and completely changed my feelings towards New Years Eve.  I love recollecting this story because he managed to take my breathe away and turn years of hatred into one of the best memories of my life.

The best part is that our engagement date is Jan. 1, 2011 or 1.1.11.  Prior to being engaged I would always tell him to make a wish at 11:11.  

Little did I know my dreams would come true with those same 4 digits.

Our Engagement Photo 1.1.11

Happy New Year From Our Home To Yours! 

 

Our First Dance Wedding Song:

6 Ways to Prepare For Next Holiday Season

Over the years I have learned a thing or two about holiday shopping.  I hinted to it in my last post The O’Neil Home – Holiday Tour.  Did you pick up on it?  The lesson is:

The best time to get holidays deals is after the holidays.

You are probably saying, “How am I going to pull gift-giving off, if the holiday has already passed?

Retailers are known to slash their prices after the holidays, to clear inventory for year-end.  This means there are ways you can take advantage of these sales, to better position yourself for next year’s holiday.

Here are 6 things you can be buying now, to save yourself the trouble (and money) for next year.

6 Ways to Prepare For Next Holiday Season

The next tip is:

Pack these purchased items away with your holiday decorations.  

This way you will find them when you began decorating after Thanksgiving.  The best part is, most of the time you forget about these purchases, until you are reintroduced when you began decorating.  I have purchased wrapping paper in bulk, saving over 60% off.  That same wrapping paper has gotten me through numerous holidays.  Not to mention stocking up on Crate and Barrel ornaments for our future tree, the year before we moved in together.  Our tree is almost 75% of the initial price it would have cost us, to decorate with those ornaments purchased a few months before the holiday.

Enjoy the holiday, and then hop on those sales on Dec. 26th!  There are some savings to be had!

See you on the other side in 2015!  Happy New Year!

The O’Neil Home – Holiday Tour

Welcome_ONeil HomeDecorating our home is one of the things I look forward to each year during the holiday season.  This explains the 7 holiday totes I have accumulated through the years.  I do not decorate our one bedroom apartment with all the decorations.  However, it doesn’t mean I haven’t tried.  I scale back because I’m tired of lugging the totes from storage (my Parent’s house), up the spiraling staircase to the second floor.

When I attempted this massive decorating feat during our first Christmas living together, it looked like holiday decorations threw up over our apartment.  I have scaled back drastically – to 4 totes. And about those other totes?  Let’s just say they are in the reserves, and are ready to go when we expand our living quarters.

You are probably wondering, how does one accumulate so many decorations?  Well, they slowly build over time.  Many of them have distinct stories in which they came into our care, or have a special meaning to us.  Then, there is the other decorations that were a great end-of-the-year holiday sale.  HINT: When I knew we would be living together, I bought a majority of our ornaments post-holiday sale from Crate and Barrel and saved a ton!

Even though I haven’t put all of the 7 totes to good use, I want to welcome you into our home and give you a holiday home tour of our cozy space.  I hope you don’t mind, but I am sharing a few memories and stories with you as well.

Disclaimer: This is a Jeannine-written post.  Chuck loves spending the holidays with our family and decorations are barely on his radar.  Decorating our apartment is left to me, which is probably for the better. 

At Home With The O'Neils - heart ornament

Heart ornament – This is definitely an ornament that is close to my heart (pun intended).  Whenever I put it on the tree, I make sure it’s placed in a spot that I can see at all times.  When my cousin married her husband, she moved to Italy, which is where he was stationed in the Air Force.  On her first Christmas overseas, she sent me this Artisan, hand-painted ornament.  What is so special about this particular ornament is that it’s painted from the inside out.  As you can see, the design is so intricate with tiny details.  I love having this homemade ornament on my tree that has traveled across the world.

At Home With The O'Neils - angel ornment

Angel Ornament – Every Sunday growing up we would have 4 o’clock tea at my Grandparents’ house.  My cousin Nancy and her sister Rhonda would come over.  Dinner was served promptly at 6. Following dinner, we would talk, do some sort of activity and do word puzzles at the end of the night.  It was during one of those weekly gatherings I made this ornament and still remember assembling my angel from the do-it-yourself kit.

At Home With The O'Neils - Chuck Ornament

Chuck’s Baby Ornament – Growing up I hated the ornaments my Parents’ accumulated through the years and wanted a festive, themed holiday tree (think Martha Stewart in training).  Often I would hide my ornaments or “forget” to hang them.  When we moved, I didn’t bring any of my childhood ornaments.  However, when my Mother-In-Law gave us sweet decorations like this, I couldn’t resist putting them on our tree.

At Home With The O'Neils - Bear Topper

Bear Topper – I have an obsession with bears.  Black bears, teddy bears, it doesn’t matter.  There is just something so sweet about them.  My mother got me hooked on a Boyd’s Bear fix.  This little guy came with his own mini tree and ornaments.  The tree didn’t make it out of the bins, but he found his way to the top of our tree.  Isn’t he just the cutest?!

AT Home With The O'Neils - Black BearsBlack Bears – Yes, the obsession carries over to these guys. I can’t remember if I bought them or put them on the Christmas present wishlist. They clearly had too much fun with the eggnog and I crack up every time I walk by them. .

AT Home With The O'Neils - Deer

Reindeer – The bear love has carried over to woodland creatures.  These guys are so elegant and add grace to our living room decor.  Living in New England, you will see a deer prance around every now and then.  They are just majestic animals and it is such a treat to see.  These decorations were a Christmas present that became lost (hard to believe with all my decorations) and didn’t make it out into the open until two years later.  I make sure they are stowed in the proper tote to entertain us each year.

Snowman Ornament

Mam’s Snowman – This was my paternal grandmother’s (Mam) decoration.  After she passed, we were clearing out her house and I took this for my home.  Her birthday was Dec. 1st and one year she found herself in the hospital.  Someone bought this for her to cheer her up and I bring him out every year in homage to her.

AT Home With The O'Neils - Elves

Mam’s Ugly Elves – I don’t know why I have these little guys.  They don’t match my decor.  However, they remind me of the happier times at my grandmother’s house.  So I take them out every year and try to find the perfect spot to display them.

AT Home With The O'Neils - Snowman Snowglobe

Snowman Snow Globe –  I am lucky enough to have my birthday at the end of November.  Two years ago, Chuck gave me a day full of shopping.  It started with breakfast at our favorite place, then onto shopping.  While we were walking back to our car, it started to snow.  It was so magical.  I love when it snows on my birthday.  We were shopping at Kohls when I saw this, and I had to have it to commemorate the perfect birthday.

At Home With The O'Neils - White Christmas Snow Globe

White Christmas Snow Globe – There once was a time when I collected Snow Globes.  Then the wrong bin was placed in the outside storage and the ever-changing New England weather caused them to shatter.  I lost all of my Snow Globes except for this one.  I think that this one was an Avon special my mother had bought for both of my grandmothers.  The music box no longer works and it has a more vintage feel to it.  However, it still holds special memories of my grandparents around the holidays.

That is it! Thanks for stopping by and taking our tour.  We wish you a very happy holiday season.  Hopefully you can sit back, relax and enjoy this fabulous, family-filled holiday!

At Home With The O'Neils Christmas Tree

Happy Holiday From The O'Neils

Gift Guide For The Man In Your Life

In my previous post, “A Wife’s Dream Holiday Gift Guide or A Husband’s Shopping Cheat Sheet,” I highlighted all the items on my wish list this holiday season. Now I am sharing potential items you would find on Chuck’s list. We actually had an out-of-town guest staying with us this weekend, who picked his brain on the topic. Her office is doing a Secret Santa and the person she is “gifting” has similar interests to Chuck. He is a fun-loving, musician with a deep passion for sports. She asked him what he would like out of this holiday shopping tradition and he shared some tips.  If the man in your life is in tune with music and loves sports, here are some suggestions below. If you are not a New England sports fan, simply replace with your team of preference.

Sports

NFL New England Patriots Men’s Heisman Track Jacket

MLB Keyscaper Wireless USB Keyboard

 

 

MLB Bloopers: Deluxe Doubleheader

 

NBA Boston Celtics Two Piece 15-Ounce Glass Tankard Set – Primary Logo

Music

House of Marley EM-JA006-MI Get Together Portable Bluetooth Audio System

Yamaha DD65 Electronic Drum Pad Premium Package

Clockwork Angels Tour [Blu-ray]

 

Clothing

GreatShield COZY Series Universal Touch Screen Texting Gloves

New Balance Men’s ML501 High Roller Pack Running Shoe

Miscellanous

NeatDesk Desktop Scanner and Digital Filing System

Granted this last product is more for my benefit. He loves to hold on to paper and give to me to file. I feel this desktop scanner and filing scanner will make our lives much easier and less cluttered. Hopefully the days of sports rosters floating around our desk will be long gone with this neat addition!

Happy Shopping!

A Holiday Gift Guide For The Man In Your Life

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