Beef Stroganoff and all the fixings!

WELCOME to my first blog on “Unforgettable Recipes for festivities, grand and small.”  In these recipes that I share, I hope the imaginative and inspired, acclimation of my cherished traditions inspire your cooking creations. Some of these recipes, I have acquired since my husband and I got married, whereas the others are from my southern heritage, grandmother, mother and sister.  All the beloved foods that graced our table at our home as I grew up in our family of 9.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! 🙂


This first  recipe blog is actually ‘ part two’ of a blog I wrote ‘just for the guys,’  called “Men, surprise the one you love one with a romantic dinner for two.” This blog is located under the ‘Acts of Kindness’ category and ‘Hey guys, the way to a woman’s heart is…’ category.  But it is for all to enjoy! It’s an entire dinner for two, with all the fixings … ENJOY!


THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNERAdorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

” Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you.” ~ Tommy Smothers

“One of the nicest things in life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” ~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright

“When baking, follow the directions. When cooking, go by your own taste!

This is a special recipe blog page for all the “guys” who are looking for the Beef Stroganoff and all the fixings recipe.  Here is all you will need and the directions to make your romantic meal for that special lady of yours! Have a great time!


YOUR APPETIZER. (Shrimp Cocktail with fresh sliced lemon.)

You can either buy the cooked, (large prawn) shrimp at the market or buy uncooked shrimp and boil it yourself. (Purchase the amount of shrimp you think you would need for two.)  To cook your shrimp, bring the water to a boil  in a 7-8 quart pot. (You may add some seasoning to your water if you like…again, we don’t use a lot of salt but feel free to salt and pepper the water or add your favorite seafood seasonings. (Old Bay, Italian seasonings, garlic, etc.)  Add your shrimp, allow the water to return to the boiling stage. When  the water is back to a full boil, your shrimp are usually done, but  make sure your shrimp are a bright pink color to know they are fully cooked.   Remove from water and allow  the shrimp to cool. You can place them in a bowl of crushed ice or put them in the refrigerator to get cold, after they have cooled off a bit, right before it is time to serve them, fill a pretty glass bowl with the cocktail sauce and place the shrimp around the edges with the fresh lemon slices to create a scrumptious presentation.

For your sauce, You will need, 3/4 to 1 cup of ketchup, a teaspoon of “Extra hot” horseradish sauce, (add more to taste,)  1/ 2 tsp. of Tabasco, 1/2 to 1 clove of  minced garlic, ( equaling about a 1/2 of a teaspoon,) salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of lemon. I recommend a chilled glass or two of Sparkling cider to go along with your appetizer. (While making this recipe, as well as the ones below, keep tasting it to lesson or add to the amounts of seasoning I am sharing….) Everyone’s taste buds are different. My husband and I are connoisseurs  of hot , spicy foods!



FOR YOUR FIRST COURSE, Caesar Salad with warm sourdough baguette and butter.

You will need fresh and cleaned romaine lettuce,  Parmesan cheese, Ken’s steakhouse creamy Caesar dressing and Texas Toast butter and garlic or ‘Caesar’ croutons, fresh ground pepper, a baguette of  baked Sourdough bread and butter.

***I always use fresh peppercorns that I grind atop our cuisine as to regular pepper, but it’s up to you.

Break  your lettuce up into bite size pieces and place in a pretty salad bowl. Season with a little pepper on top as well as a small amount of cheese and put in the refrigerator until ready to toss.  When it is time to serve your salad, pour the amount of dressing you prefer on top of the salad, add more ground pepper, Parmesan cheese, (  I use plenteous amounts,) and your croutons… toss it all together and serve on chilled plates. While you are you are working on your final touches with your salads, place the baguette in a preheated, 375 degree oven and allow to heat up for 8 minutes. Slice and serve warm with butter, along with your ambrosial salad.


Don’t forget to open the wine and let it breathe…this a good time to serve the wine. I recommend Toasted Head Merlot…Delicious! (If you are a white wine drinker, the Toasted Head Chardonnay is superb as well!)


FOR YOUR MAIN COURSE, BEEF STROGANOFF, you will need 1 pound of sirloin steak, butter, 1 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, 2 cloves of garlic, (chopped finely, equaling about 1/2  to 3/4 of a teaspoon, ) 1/4 cup finely chopped sweet red onion, 1 cup of sour cream, (I use more to taste,) one box fresh  sliced mushrooms,Tabasco to taste, Merlot wine, salt and pepper to taste, one package egg noodles.

In a good size sauce pan, place one to two TBSP of butter and allow it to melt on medium low. When butter is melted, place your mushrooms in the pan and saute. When they are almost done, add the chopped garlic and onions in pan and saute over low heat, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are completely done.  (Do not allow the heat to be to high, perhaps setting it on low, (everyone’s stove top is different,) as you do not want the butter, garlic or onion to burn. (Just be lightly sauteed.) 

Slice your sirloin steak into long, bite-size pieces. In a large pan, melt 1 to 2 TBSP of butter and place your meat in the pan to cook. I put the heat up to about medium to start the steak and turn it down after it gets a little brown on both sides…then turn to low and allow for it to simmer. Test your meat after about 20 minutes to see if it is  tender enough for you. If you have a lot of liquid in the pan, you can pour some out but otherwise, leave some  in the pan.  Add the cream of mushroom soup, slowly stirring, mixing it with the the steak and it’s juices.. Allow it to come to a simmer…add your ground pepper and Tabasco to taste, and your mushroom, onions and garlic. Stir together. Add about 1/4 cup of your Merlot wine, (or to taste,) and continue stirring.   Now add the sour cream and stir, blending all your flavors together and  be sure to keep your stove on low heat. You can always add more sour cream. wine, seasonings, it is up to you…The cream of Mushroom soup has a lot of sodium in it, so be careful with your added salt!  Be the “taste-tester’ and when you think it all tastes just right, turn off your burner and cover with lid. You can heat this up , stirring frequently right before you serve your Stroganoff.

While you are making your sauce, prepare  the egg noodles according to package, drain in colander  and then run under hot water so your pasta will not stick together. When pasta is drained again, it is ready to serve.  Only use the amount of noodles you want, (put the rest in a container in the refrigerator and use with your favorite pasta sauce at a later time. ) My husband and I prefer more sauce than noodles so we use less noodles as to more…It is entirely up to you….Also, you can stir the noodles into the Stroganoff or serve it hot over the warmed noodles.  The Toasted Head wine(s) go very well with this dish, enjoy another glass with your hot meal, if you like.

FOR YOUR FINALE, hot fudge sauce over ice cream, you will need, 1 pint of Haagan-Dazs Vanilla Swiss almond ice cream, 10-15 squares of Unwrapped Dove Dark chocolates, butter and either homemade whipped cream or your favorite ready-made in a can. (They both taste delicious to me! ) 🙂

In a small pan, over the lowest heat possible, melt your chocolates, (after taking the red wrappers off of course! ) 🙂 as the chocolate melts, add 1 to 2 TBSP of butter and stir until it too melts into the sauce, making it creamy and thick. Serve it hot over the ice- cream and top with whipped cream.

For fresh whipped cream, buy heavy whipping cream  in the deli section at your grocer, and pour the cream into a glass bowl. (I usually buy the smallest container of it as it whips up an abundance of beautiful, lush, white peaks of cream…) Use your electric hand beaters to whip up the cream until it is stiff, yet still creamy….add 1 TBSP. of sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract. Stir and serve.

My husband and I only drink decaf coffee in the evening so we usually buy a Hazelnut decaf and serve it with White Chocolate Caramel Latte creamer , made by Coffee mate in the bottle. Other nice coffees are Pete’s coffee beans , (If you have a coffee grinder,) of course Starbucks and Folgers coffee is always great!

ENJOY YOUR EVENING! Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any photo or graphic, it will display where the picture originated from.

LINKS: to come! 🙂





Happy Mothers Day! A day to honor their love, friendhips and for just being our MOM.

First off, I want to honor my beautiful and charming, lovely mom on this special day…I love her smiling face as she and my dad are holding their very first baby. She looks so  peaceful and full of joy with the flower in her hair, especially after all that hard labor, delivering her firstborn into this world.  (My dad is making sure my sister had ears.) 🙂 (just joshing.) 🙂


I can only imagine all my mom’s ‘beaus’ that sat with her on this porch swing...on those romantic, sultry, summer Carolina evenings! 🙂  aba

Here are a few more photos that “captured my mom’s beauty, “inside and out.”

My mom and best friend for all the years of her life at my graduation from Mission Viejo High school. I will always remember my mom and I sitting together in her beautiful Laguna Niguel home, the day she and my sister blessed me with a delightful and winning bridesmaid luncheon.  (You would never guess she was just diagnosed with cancer, she was so beautiful.) My mother, (slender mom, after having several children) taking a quite moment of repose at the beach. (Little did she know that right around the corner, 4 more babies were coming! 🙂 ) Forever her beauty will be etched in my mind, the evening she was all dressed up to go out with my father who was formally attired in his  handsome Uniform and lastly, my mom with all of her friends, sunbathing! She is the one on the left hand side, sitting up.



Before writing this blog, I want to say “Thank you,” to my mom for being my best friend, confidant, the awesome, “fearless duo”  that we were and for all the love, encouragement and acceptance she gave me up until the day she went to heaven in 1992.

THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER: Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone


“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom, of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~ Honore de Balzac

“There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it.” ~ Chinese Proverb

“The phrase”working mother’ is redundant.” ~ Jane Sellman

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” ~ Tenneva Jordan

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed but the mother, never. A mother is something entirely new.” ~ Rajneesh




You know, we all started off as babies...Even our moms and dads. We all have a mom…Not every mother- daughter or mother-son relationship is ‘ideal,’ but there will never be another person in this world who can say what your mom can say…”I carried you for nine months in  my stomach and brought you into this world.” (She may have reminded you of those very long agonizing, excruciating hours of labor when she was not happy with you.) 🙂

Mothers day is the one day set aside to annually honor your mom. This blog is about a variety of ways to bless her, honor her and say “thank you for being my mom.”

You may have someone in your life, (like we do,) who is our ‘adoptive mom.’ Neither my husband or I have any parents living and this lady has been like a second mom to both of us, plus I can think of several other women throughout my life who were a gift and like a mom to me as well. This day can be for them too…just to say “Thank you” to them with a card, phone call or flowers!


Here is a full day of some thoughtful things to do for your mom to extol and acknowledge her. If you have a brother or sister, they too can share in some of these ideas. Perhaps each of you spending time with her at different hours and events of the day, would be the ideal gift and would give you or some of your siblings, who are mom’s themselves,  time to spend with their own families as well.

Plan out a special day ‘just for her.’   A homemade breakfast with an inviting ambiance, served with fresh flowers, a candle, decor that she loves, beautiful china and her favorite CD playing in the background.


Pour her a hot bath with her favorite bubble bath and don’t forget the warm bath towels, candles and a luxurious bar of  soap.


Take her out for a picnic lunch. Place in the basket, her favorite wine, fruits and cheeses and home made cookies. If it is a stormy  day in May, have the picnic on a quilt in the living room, or on the lovely, screened in back porch.


Shower her with gifts…I would always give my mom  gifts that blessed the side of her that would say; “Hey I am not just a mom, I am a woman too.” The part of her, in her younger days, that enjoyed  getting all dressed up and going to parties with her girlfriends. Remind her of the days where she was wined and dined by handsome young men or the afternoon at the beach where she felt so sexy in her one piece bathing suit, stealing the eyes of  the young men passing by. Don’t always go for the practical gifts, go for the elegant  and  ‘nostalgic’ gifts as well. 🙂


Some gift ideas to shower your mom with are classy soaps, a  stunning bathrobe, new bright and pampering linens for her bed in her favorite colors, vintage lace, monogrammed  napkins or pillow cases and perhaps a bottle of her cherished perfume. A luxurious lotion and powder set to make her feel and smell beautiful, a majestic, fancy scarf, a charm bracelet with each one of her children’s initials on a handpicked trinket, a royal and rich Toile wine  bottle cover or an exquisite, decorative candle with a fresh spring scent. All these things will make her feel beautiful on the inside and out.



Everyone’s moms are entirely diverse. Maybe go back in time and do a little research on her life before she was married with kids and bless her with something to bring back some of those special memories. But, always celebrate her being ‘a mom’ as well, cause you know she wouldn’t trade you for anything in the world, not even her most blissful moment when she was single. 🙂

Perhaps she would adore a scrapbook made by you…start with photos of you as a baby, toddler, kindergartner and then your elementary through High school years.  If you are married with children of your own, give her a lovely frame with pictures of your family in it.


Some personal items for the home, (yet still pampering to her soul,) would be lovely. Perhaps  some throw pillows to match her bed, a stylish vase, a chintz tea cup and saucer, a tapestry foot stool or a few of her favorite Classic movies.



As the late  afternoon arrives, serve her a  delightful snack… perhaps some fresh fruits atop a glass of sparkling wine, champagne or lemonade in her pretty crystal, gourmet cheese and crackers on her ‘good china or hot tea and  hazelnut scones.


When dinner is served, surprise her with one of her favorite dinners, candles, fresh flowers, pretty silverware, linen napkins and an extra special dessert. If being a chef is not your specialty, take her to her favorite eatery in the enchanted heart of the city for a nice dinner. If all the family can be there, make the meal a quiescent extended feast, all of you partaking in delicious cuisine and wondrous reminiscing of family and friends.



Lastly, as her special day is ending, give her a big hug and a kiss. Tell her “Thank you” and “I love you mom.” It will be the best gift of her day!  She will be exuberant with joy! Sentiments are a GIFT like no other. When my mom was dying with cancer, on her last mothers day I wrote her a poem… It was called “An Extraordinary mother.” I typed it on my computer and  printed it out and  bought a classy , feminine bone white china frame for it. As she read it, she cried and absolutely loved it. After she was gone and my sister and I were at the house one day, going through her belongings to see what kind of ‘girl things’ we wanted to keep of hers, my father came to me and asked me if he could keep the poem I wrote for her. He told me then that it really meant a  lot to him. Show your heart, let her know that you love her and what she means to you…

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ‘MOMS” out there…May your day be blessed to OVERFLOWING! (And to all of “YOU MOMS TO BE” AS WELL! 🙂 )


 Additional Links:
Victoria Magazine
Country Living magazine

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

LINKS: To learn more about the newly added ‘links’ in Living Winsomely, please read the blog, “WE NOW HAVE LINKS,” in the category section. 🙂



The Manly Bedroom

“This is a mans world…but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl.” ~ James Browndesk101


When a man shows off his personal taste in the design and decor of his bedroom, it opens up a new part of his soul’s expression of who he is inside. In my opinion, there is nothing more handsome and regal than the Ralph Lauren bedroom collection with its royal decor, linens and baronial furniture.

THE DISTINGUISHED QUOTE CORNER:Adorable Baby Boy in Suit on Cellphone

“Great men have great discipline.” ~ Habeeb Akande

“It’s not the men in your life that matters, it’s the LIFE in your men.” ~ Mae West

“Nothing is more appealing than a handsome man who is also uncertain of himself.” ~ Laurell K. Hamilton

“You can stop a raging forest  fire, a herd of stampeding buffalo or even a runaway freight train, but you can’t stop a good man.” ~ John Paul Warren

“The strength of a man isn’t seen in the powers of his arms. It’s seen in the love with which he embraces you.” ~ Steve Maraboli


Create your bedroom to be a place where happy memories will amble and tarry. Remember that  the complimentary accessorizes are the very things that make a room captivating and galvanic. Men observe their bedrooms dissimilar  than a woman does. No two men are the same either in their style of decor as they are eminently diverse  in how they express themselves through decor. To some men, it is exceedingly  important to have ‘just the right look and decor,’ in the master bedroom where as others, just want a comfortable mattress, a widescreen TV, a bedside table to keep there favorite books upon as well as their remote control. They will however choose a color palette that befits them. (Most men I know don’t have bright yellow or  a rosy pink as their primary color. ) 🙂  Many men prefer the style and decorating of the master bedroom to be done by their mate. (Usually because he wants to bless her to be free to decorate it her own way, knowing how blissful that makes her feel, or because  they actually already have a second bedroom…their man-cave! 🙂 My husband has a study that is 100 percent HIS. It is understood in our home that I can put a small nautical  tree up  at Christmas time, (that is his decorative theme along with a myriad of  photographs of Grantham, our Briard dog, a few of me,) 🙂 and a masculine throw on his wing back chair, but other than that, no womanly touches are allowed. (He will not say no to a decorative cup of coffee or a floral plate with hot banana bread on it though!) 🙂  He says it fits his counter top decor. 🙂  Some men have a game room where they enjoy having their buddies over  to watch an adventure -action movie,  share a few beers, play pool and grab a few hours of “man-cave” time, (bringing back childhood memories as pearlescent  as light, just as if it were yesterday when they were so slaphappy and debonair.)


When my husband and I got married, I will never forget the day we moved all of our belongings in to our new haven together.  As I struggled and bumbled with a picture he simply adored, to go atop of our mantle and fireplace, (my father just happening to be there listening,) smiled and said, “Susan, marriage is all about compromise and your husband absolutely loves that picture.” Did I really have to give in? It didn’t fit my decor at all… I wanted a picture of a cottage by the ocean or a  framed tapestry picture. But, let me tell you, the joy  that I received in my heart, as  I saw his eyes light up at his photo on the wall, was incomparable to the picture I wanted to hang there. Compromise! 🙂 (OK, dad, you were right!)

I grew up with five brothers. When we all lived under one roof in our Brobdingnagian, suburban home, they all shared what  is called a Bonus room…(kind of like an extra large dorm room for guys…) it was all their own. When  I walked into that room, I could tell where each one of my brothers slept and which area of the room they  dauntlessly decorated  for themselves.  Before I  knew it, and to quick for me, they all grew up, left that Bonus room and  four of them, some sooner than later, got married. When I visit their homes now as a grown woman, I have to say, I genuinely love each of their homes… They all moved on to launch their own lively  traditions but have truly preserved and cherished some of the old. Each of their master bedrooms are very nicely done and even though filled with their mates touches, reflect their interests and personalities to a ‘T.’

Each brother unquestionably has a style that is all  their own.

One loves simple, clear lines, not a lot of clutter and his decor of choice?  Nautical.

Bed with blue blanket in bedroomD-18D-66


My little brother and his spouse share the same, veracious, good taste and have decorated their home in such a manner that it looks like a photo right out of a Ralph Lauren Magazine. It is by far, my very favorite home in the world…Three stories, exquisite hardwood floors and decorative items displayed from all the enchanting places they have traveled, world wide. They truly believe that in all their travels the world has become a classroom to them and their home shows an abundance of careful thought, planning, diversity and beauty. (Especially their bedroom.) (They have a fireplace to die for!) 🙂

Z-213Z-3015cosy chair pmZ-4083

My oldest brother loves the way in which we grew up with very “Early American” decor. When  my mom passed away and my father remarried, he inherited some beautiful pieces from our childhood home. See if you can guess the way he expresses himself through the decor and accessories he has chosen?



My brother that is ‘in the middle of the birth order,’ who also got married, loves antiques and is quite an admirer of early American decor as well.    He was an awesome  and sensational surfer in his younger days and am sure, takes out a few memorabilia every once in awhile to ponder those happy, carefree years  and his love for the ocean.



My last brother, the one who never married and that we lost suddenly a few years ago, had what I call an “Enchanting master bedroom.” It was magical…it gave you the feeling upon entering its doors of being at Disneyland and just like his little sister, 🙂 he changed the decor of his room with  each of the  four wondrous seasons. His charming style was  quite ecliptic, sundry and animated. His decor as a man, very alluring. He had no fear in expressing himself and he always knew exactly what he wanted in his home. He lived in Corona Del Mar with a view of Balboa Island and the  Pacific ocean from his living room. The magic of life by the ocean carried over into his entire home. I miss him and that house immensely.  (The ‘guest’ room he always gave to us while we visited  from Arizona and Virginia, was his favorite room, the master bedroom.)D-8D-6.




As much as  I adore the romantic bedroom, I would enjoy each of these bedrooms as they are done so nicely, with great taste and all reflect the brother I grew up with and the men that they are now. They are all warm, cozy and inviting. (The bedrooms, not the brothers.) (Just kidding!! 🙂 They are all exceedingly wonderful men and brothers.

For those of you men who are lovers of a very masculine, classy, refined bedroom, here are some decorative ideas for you. A coffee table book on classic cars, antique woods and a sage green, striking throw, a years subscription to  Ralph Lauren magazines to display, a four poster, antique bed with rich browns, greens, blues, reds and burgundy and the classic and famous painting , “The Hunt.”  (My husband has always loved that masterpiece.) Lastly Ralph Lauren puts out a stellar catalog with an array of items to order from his august store. His collection is so regal, warm and classy. I’d trade my Romantic bedroom for his style any day. 🙂 Well maybe…there would have to be fresh flowers, our wedding photos and some chintz china in there! 🙂 (Also a candle, teddy bear and garlands around the hutch…) 🙂








These manly bedrooms are more on the decorous,  dressy side… but very cozy, magnetic and all designed in superb taste!


Remember, all of us have within us a signature style that originated from our roots, adventures, travels in life, our hobbies, passions and life experiences. Everyone is different and unique.  Some men love formal, others classy and refined, nautical or lay back.  Fill  your room with what YOU love, and what you and your spouse love. (By the way, compromising with your mate is not a honeymoon phase…it lasts until your rocking on your porch in your golden years together and even longer yet ) 🙂  Make sure you decorate your room with your favorite style and colors, along with all the things you love. You can never go wrong!

I secretly want to order this decorative dog for my husband’s study. He’ s a big Tom Selleck fan and I think they look a lot a like… (The dog and Tom 🙂 Somehow, I think it would end up in our romantic bedroom 🙂

Tom Sellecks twin


Credits for Photographs – In placing your computer mouse over any photo or graphic, it will display where the picture originated from.

LINKS: To understand our newly added links to the Living Winsomely site, please read the blog “WE NOW HAVE LINKS” category. 🙂

Additional Links:
Victoria Magazine
Country Living magazine