Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pastel Paradise

You may remember that last week I had planned to do a real tablescape, but plans were laid aside when the wedding dress came in. Well this week, we had real people for dinner so I did manage to set the table. Those are the same little bunnies in the tea for two post last week, but they've been joined by everything pastel. The place mats are casual pale blue bunny mats that I found at Big Lots. The salad bowls are just green and yellow melamine bowls from Target.I love these napkin rings. I bought them at a local craft show. I go every year specifically to look for their great themed napkin rings. The flatware was a recent unexpected surprise. I found a complete set of Rogers "First Love" silver plate in a silver chest in my dad's house. I know my mom never used it. She wasn't the tablescaping type! I won't be using it everyday, but I am going to make sure it sees some action!The bunny salt shaker and carrot pepper shaker were a gift from my daughter. My family knows that Easter is my favorite holiday! So, this is my first real tablescape, and I'm not sure if it's a good thing. Beloved likes eating on a tray in front of the tv...poor him! Our host Susan has lots more guests and is waiting for you at http://betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mini Metaphorphosis

Susan at Between Naps on the Porch is hosting Met Monday. This is my first and just a little one. This is the chest in my entry hall and the first thing you see upon entering the front door. Today I finally had a little time to spruce it up for Easter! The top picture is the way it usually looks.

I added a couple of my favorite bunnies and an Arthur Court egg. I, of course, left the cross because that is the reason for the holiday. The Arthur Court egg was given to me by a friend the first year we lived in this house. It is part of a series and has the year etched on it.

It seems the one metamorphosis I cannot manage is to turn this picture! Oh well, I am learning slowly but surely and appreciate your tolerance. Now visit our hostess Susan at http://www.betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/ Thanks Susan!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hooked on Motown and American Idol

Julia at hookedonhouses.net/ is hosting Hooked on Friday. I love that Julia gives us inside looks at homes from our favorite movies and television shows! I'm HOOKED on American Idol. Maybe Julia can "get inside" that mansion where the top ten are staying! Although I love Lil, I think this may be a year for the guys---so much talent! Now, I'm going to check out what everyone else is hooked on!

Cucumber Sandwiches

Our friend Gollum is hosting Foodie Friday and burning pizza today (her words, not mine!). But Gollum is to be forgiven--she's in creative mode. If you read my post yesterday you know what mode I'm in---bridal!! Spring makes me think of graduation luncheons, bridesmaids' luncheons and teas. This sandwich has long been a staple on all of those menus for me. I love cucumbers--have almost never had one I didn't like. Of course, I prefer the long skinny kind from the farmers' market, but I'll eat the 99 cent grocery store variety in a pinch! This sandwich is always a hit. It's a little different from the open-faced tea sandwich, a little more substantial. Even men seem to love this. One of Beloved's hunting buddies regularly requests
this for fishing trips! I hope you'll try it and click on the Foodie Friday button for more fun!

Cucumber Sandwich Spread

1 large cucumber, peeled and grated

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon grated onion

4 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

Mix vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and onion together. Soak cucumber pulp in vinegar mixture for fifteen minutes and drain well. Mix softened cream cheese and cucumber. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring, Bunnies, and Wedding Gowns

Today was to be my first time to post for Susan's Between Naps on the Porch Tablescape Thursday. I had a plan and good intentions but then IT came. I knew it was coming this week. The bridal shop had called and told us to expect it. What I didn't know was how I would feel just looking at even the box that held it. My daughter's wedding dress arrived. Suddenly this was no longer just lists, emails, phone calls, and more lists....this was a wedding, my one and only daughter's wedding. So I know you will forgive me. We did enjoy the tea and that is the first fresh mint from my garden. But somehow the "tablescaping" got moved to the back burner. I can't think of a better picture to remember the day. Bunnies, fresh flowers, fresh mint--all symbols of renewal and hope and fitting for the day! I know you'll enjoy checking out all the posts at Susan's http://www.betweennapsontheporch.blogspot.com/

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Chicken Salad Story

Today our friend Gollum is hosting a Train wreck and Bloopers Foodie Friday. I've had a few train wrecks and bloopers in the kitchen over the years. Mine are usually of the garden variety--burned bread seems to be my personal signature. Fortunately, none of my mistakes have thus far achieved legendary status. That is not the case with the "Chicken Salad Story". In the small Delta town where I grew up ladies used to spend a lot of time playing bridge. These were typically all-morning affairs followed by an elegant lunch. It seems the Tuesday Morning Bridge Club was composed of nine members--two tables of bridge and a hostess who cooked and served lunch at her appointed turn. On this particular Tuesday the hostess had readied her plates with a tomato cup to be filled with chicken salad. She announced to "the girls" that lunch would soon be served and returned to the kitchen to finish up. Much to her horror she found her cat eating out of the chicken salad bowl. What to do? Well of course, she did what any good Southern hostess does and made the best out of a bad situation. She shooed the cat out, removed the obviously disturbed portion and stuffed those tomatoes! Lunch was served! While the ladies were being seated she went to the kitchen to check on the rolls. Peering out her window, she saw an even more horrifying sight. Her cat was stretched out and dead as a doornail. Just as she shrieked "Girls, don't eat that chicken" (and I'm told the forks were mid-air), the phone rang. It was her dear neighbor calling to apologize for running over the cat. With that the hostess thanked the caller, smiled sweetly, and gave the confused ladies the go-ahead to eat. Although it took a few weeks and probably a few cocktails for the full story to come out, the story is now legendary in my old hometown. The now-famous chicken salad recipe follows and can be served with or without the assistance of a cat.

Famous Chicken Salad
4 cups cooked, chopped chicken breasts
2 cups chopped celery
1-2 tablespoons minced onion
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
White pepper to taste.
Combine all ingredients. Chill and remove cat from kitchen. Now click on the Foodie Friday button for more train wrecks, bloopers, and recipes!

Monday, March 16, 2009

And the Winner is ....

The 2009 HGTV Dream Home winner has been chosen and evidently it's not me. Technically, it isn't I. I'm pretty sure it's not you either. Nope, the winner this year of the beautiful 3700 square foot farmhouse style home in Sonoma, California is Cheryl Smith from Lakeland, Florida. Cheryl and her husband Joe, a retired couple, were the randomly chosen winners from among 39 million entries!!! Can you believe 39 million? Online entries could be made only once a day and those entries accounted for the total 43 to 1. Unlike like last year's recipient (who acted strangely unemotional and detached) Cheryl and Joe were thrilled with the house and the new Acadia that goes with it. Now in case you are feeling sorry for yourself, consider this. Although most dream home winners choose to sell the house, the 2005 winner Don Cruz decided to live in the Tyler, Texas home with his family. With the $2900 a month upkeep, the $7000 a year insurance, and the $672,000 taxes on income received The Cruz family is facing bankruptcy! Surprise! But, take heart. HGV does offer to buy the house back and pay the taxes for you from the proceeds. Me, I'm still jealous. Cheryl and Joe walked outside in shorts and bare feet to see the Acadia. I'd settle for weather warm enough for that!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Strangers unaware.....

You may remember that I posted about helping a friend pack and move. What I didn't tell you is that this move has a double-edged sadness. Not only is she leaving the home she loves, but the sad truth is that she has to. A recent widow, she simply cannot afford to stay. She is losing her home. But now the good news...Late yesterday as we were working feverishly to get ready for a garage sale a woman appeared asking to come in and shop a whole day early! How rude... the nerve--, but we let her in and she shopped. Today when we awoke it was bitterly cold and raining, weather perfect to match our moods. But next the miracle. The same lady reappeared and this time she came bearing a thermos of coffee, half and half, bananas, doughnuts. bagels, cream cheese, paper plates, and cups! It was as if she had sensed the sadness in our souls. She refused to give us her name and address so we could write her a thank you note. I know her name however......Angel. Thank you, whoever you are. Now this was truly one of those random act of kindness I wrote about earlier.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A St. Patrick's Day Toast

Our dear busy friend Gollum is hosting Foodie Friday and an early St. Patrick's Day celebration. This week I have been busy myself helping a friend pack, move, and sell the contents of her home. It's been a week filled with aching muscles, long days, much laughter, and a few tears. We remembered our children growing up together...cheerleading camps, family vacations, tailgating at football games. Each item we picked up had a history and a memory attached to it. Funny, when we were young, we thought we would raise our kids and then all grow old together on beaches and golf courses in Florida. But life has a way of happening when you're not looking. So, my dear friend is moving and I will miss her. I am reminded to cherish the friendship of the women in my life. I am teaching my daughter to nurture and treasure those friendships in her life as well. So this is a recipe from that friend and a toast to friendship!

Linda's Irish Cream Liqueur
1 and 3/4 cups Irish whiskey
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Combine all ingredients and mix in blender. Stir or shake before serving and serve in coffee or over ice. This will keep refrigerated for up to one month. It makes a great hostess or Christmas gift in a decorative bottle and makes about five cups! Click on the Foodie Friday button for more of the celebration. Cheers!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Happy 50th Birthday Barbie

If you are reading this, chances are good that at some time in your life you have played with or bought a Barbie doll. Millions of us have dressed and fantasized with these little beauties for the last fifty years. Here are a few interesting facts to help you celebrate her big day:

  • Barbie, introduced in 1959, was the dream doll conceived by Ruth Handler, wife of the cofounder of Mattel.

  • Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.

  • She is named after Ruth Handler's daughter.

  • Barbie has four sisters: Skipper, Stacie, Kelly, and Krissy.

  • Ken was introduced in 1961 and is named after the Handler's son.

  • Barbie and Ken broke up on February 14, 2001 after forty years. (I never did like him anyway)

  • Andy Warhol was commissioned in 1986 to do a portrait of Barbie.

  • Barbie is from the fictional town of Willow, Wisconsin. (That explains the accent)

  • Teacher Barbie, introduced in 1989, was met with controversy because she wasn't wearing any panties (an oversight, I'm sure)

  • Francie, introduced in 1967, was the first African American Barbie.

  • A Barbie sporting a nose ring and ankle tattoo was introduced in 1999. She was not a hit. (duh)

  • And finally, if you owned one of the original $3.00 1959 Barbies in mint condition you would have a doll worth over $27,000.00!!!

I just couldn't let this icon who has meant so much to so many of us go by without recognition!! Happy Birthday and happy memories!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Pictureless Makeover

Anybody who looked at Friday's post by now believes me when I claim to be "technically challenged". I pointed, and clicked, and dragged, and begged and prayed. Oh well, a goal to work towards. I am not, however, organizationally challenged. So for my first Met Monday hosted by Susan I am going to ask you to use your imagination. Just try to picture a basket brimming with scraps of paper and worn-out index cards, a cookbook with magazine and newspaper clippings stuffed between the pages, A drawer with notebook paper, post-it notes, and even napkins used as note paper. Wait, maybe you don't have to imagine this; maybe you can just look around your kitchen at your own recipe collection...did I say "collection"? That is a term I used loosely when applied to my own recipes. But I have FINALLY found the best way to keep my recipes both organized and handy. Some of you may have this already on your computer, but we have already established that that is not me! First I went through my recipes and REALLY culled them. Some sounded good at one time and not so much now. Those I threw away. Then I began to put them into categories--just in stacks. I bought a three-inch, three- ring binder. some dividers WITH POCKETS, a glue stick, and some notebook paper. I labeled the dividers with the typical categories Appetizers, Beverages, Cakes and Cookies, etc. I included a section for menus, both ones I've used for entertaining and ones I'd like to try. I also added a section for table setting and centerpieces. After that it was simple. The recipes that I have actually made are pasted onto a sheet of paper and the paper put into the proper category. I jot notes on the side with changes I've made or presentation ideas. Next I put recipes that I have found and would like to try into the appropriate category pocket. So simple and it so works!! I cannot tell you how much time this has saved me. When I need a new appetizer or an idea for dinner I just go to the appropriate category in the notebook. I very seldom lose a recipe now. My next goal is to implement this same idea for my gardening--keeping notes of what worked, what didn't, how many flats are needed for this bed, etc. Hope this helps! Now you can click on the link and check out the others at Susan's at Between Naps on the Porch. Those over there will be the ones with pictures....LOL! Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Four Good Reasons to Celebrate

Memphis TN has gotten a lot of bad press lately. Seems it's always showing up on a list of the top twenty worst something or others. But no more! It's time to celebrate! Last night two young women from Memphis made it into the final top thirteen in the American Idol competition!

Alexis Grace, above, was chosen in round one. Alexis is just twenty one years old and has a voice that sounds a lot older and more experienced. She wowed everybody! She is a mom and has since gotten rid of the purple hair. Lil Rounds, on the left, knocked the socks off the judges with a song by Mary J. Blige. Even the curmudgeonly Simon was impressed. Lil is also a mother---of three!! Finally, another Midsoutherner, Jasmine Murray on the top right was chosen in last night's wild card competition. Jasmine is from Mississsippi and just SIXTEEN years old! I am so proud of and for these talented young women. This one of the only shows Beloved and I can agree on and I can't wait to see how it all turns out! Last, but not least, I am celebrating my Let's Be Friends" Award from LauraLu at hiddenpromises.blogspot.com/. She is so gracious and I appreciate it so much. I am passing it along to the first people who commented on my blog, because their comments meant so much to me and gave me the encouragement I needed.

  1. Sheila at http://notesongs.blogspot.com/

  2. Linda at http://Ninasnest.blogspot.com/

  3. Rose at http://santamakersjourney.blogspot.com/

  4. Judy at http://dishingondecor.blogspot.com/

  5. Butterball at http://abutterworld.blogspot.com/

  6. Denise at koffordsincolorado.blosgspot.com/

  7. Lynne at http://lynnesgiftsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/

  8. Carol at meadowstreetdays.blogspot.com/

My instructions were this: Please give more attention to these writers. When you receive your award pass it on to eight or more people who must choose eight or more. Include this cleverly written text and a link to their blogs. Then let them know they've been selected.

And one last thing I'm celebrating....I posted some pictures!!! Yes, the layout is crazy. You have no idea how long it took for me to figure this out. So, crazy layout or not, I'm celebrating!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Meet the Fockers Recipes

Thanks so much to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday and especially for making this a guilt-free, pressure-free event for those of us who are technically challenged. I hope one day to be able to include photo in my posts, but this will have to do for now. Last week I posted the menu for our dinner to meet the in laws -to-be. This week I am including a couple of recipes from that menu.

Chili Sugar Spiced Pecans

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup warm water

1 cup pecan halves

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine 1/4 cup sugar and warm water and stir until sugar dissolves. Add pecans and soak 10 minutes. Drain and discard sugar mixture. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, chili powder, and red pepper. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Place pecans on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Watch closely and stir at least twice. Now hide these until you ready to make the salad. They have a way of disappearing before their intende use. I serve them in a salad of mixed baby greens, sliced strawberries, orange slices, and blue cheese, but they are good addition to almost any salad-and pretty good to munch on too!

Pork Chop Marinade

1/4 cup hot water

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and marinate meat several hours or overnight--the longer, the better. This is great for thick, center-cut pork chops and shish kabob. It also makes a wonderful basting sauce. I contributed this recipe many years ago to Vintage Vicksburg, a Junior Auxiliary cookbook which I also co-edited.

Now click on Foodie Friday and see what everyone else is cooking. I can't wait!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sweet Tea

One thing I do know is tea. Like most Southerners, I consider myself a tea aficionado. Coffee is not the first thing I think of when I wake up. It tends to make me a little crazy. No, the first thing I reach for is my kettle. I wish I'd put in one of those handy dandy instant hot water features in my sink. Still, there is something soothing about hearing a kettle on the stove. My favorite morning tea is just plain old Lipton or even the Kroger, or Walmart brand. Sometimes I drink Earl Grey. My favorite "four o'clock watching Oprah" tea is Tazo Sweet Wild Orange. I'm having trouble finding that one in my local stores. I also like Bigelow Lemon Lift. But for the morning I don't need adventure--just tea. Now sweet ice tea is a whole other story. Sometimes I drink it unsweetened, but mostly I think "why bother?". If the sugar (or even diet sweetener) is not put in the tea while it's hot, it's just not the same. Most dedicated tea drinkers I know have specific pots and pitchers used only for making tea. After making tea for a while, no measuring is needed. You just boil water up to this line in the pot and add water up to that line in the pitcher--simple. Sometimes I add fresh mint from my back yard. Beloved doesn't like it--says the tea tastes like toothpaste. It's taken me years to master drive-thru tea. I'm not much a fast food fan, so all I usually order is sweet tea. McDonalds, for example, has made vast improvements lately. Backyard Burger has the best in my opinion and don't even consider it at Taco Bell. Denise from the KoffordsinColorado blog is a native Californian living in Colorado. She was wondering about (and it sounded almost like a yearning) a recipe for sweet tea. So, not really having one, I measured as I made it last time. Here is the way we make it at our house.

Sweet Tea

4 regular size tea bags

9 cups water, divided

1/2-1 cup sugar or 2/3- 1 cup Splenda

Boil 4 cups of water with 4 teabags for one minute. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add your sugar or artificial sweetener while the tea is still hot. Add 5 cups cold water. You can add the sugar or sweetener later, but I won't vouch for the results. It just won't be the same. The tea in its pitcher is best left unrefrigerated. Sometimes it gets a little cloudy in the refrigerator. Serve with anything or nothing at all and enjoy!