The weather is beautiful here and I couldn’t resist setting up a Valentine-y brunch on the porch.
The weather is beautiful here and I couldn’t resist setting up a Valentine-y brunch on the porch.
It’s always fun to set a table for Carnival. Lots of beads, a couple of masks, napkins folded as fleur de lis, all set the china and crystal aglow.
Come have a seat at the table and see what fun we can have . . .
I have always enjoyed entertaining. It is a great way to get together with friends and family and show them how much you care with a beautiful table setting and wonderful food. However, occasionally, when you entertain, a dish gets broken or a water ring or heat ring is left on your beautiful wood dining table. Don’t fret. Dishes are created to be used and breakage is just a part of life and . . . you can’t take it with you anyway. The table is another matter. With the right supplies, you can fix that table right up.
I did that just recently with my dining table. After a dinner party, I noticed some heat marks and a few water rings. No problem, just got out my supplies and added a little elbow grease and took those marks right out of the wood. Here is how I did it.
I started with the Restore-A Finish product. You apply it with a cloth in the direction of the wood grain. For stubborn heat or water marks, you can use a fine grain steel wool (0000). Read More→
This past Sunday, my husband and I attended a lovely brunch at New Orleans’ Second Line Stages, which is a movie production studio owned by Susan Brennan. The luncheon was a fundraiser for Young Life, which is wonderful Christian organization for young people.
The theme for the brunch was a second line. (See this past post for a description (and video) of a second line.) It was held in a sound stage at the studio.
You can see that this is a very large area and it was certainly a fun place for the brunch. Read More→
People who know me, know I’m not fond of meetings. In light of that, it is funny how often I find myself attending meetings. However, if you must you must and, when you must, you may as well make it as pleasant as possible, right? On a recent evening, a meeting was held in my home. We extended out the dining table to make a long “conference” table and then added some food and flowers in order to create a friendly, relaxed environment. Here is how it turned out.
Since we are taking a timeout for the Superbowl, I thought I’d take a look back at a Carnival table from the past. Even if you aren’t in New Orleans, you can create Carnival wherever you are!
More decorations to come! Thanks Susan for hosting:
Today’s Lagniappe: Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice
Something warm and yummy to start the celebration.
In a slow cooker, combine the onion, garlic and sausage. Stir in the beans and water and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat until the beans are tender, about 7 1/2 hours (on high it takes between 3 1/2 to 4 hours). Remove 1/4 cup of beans from slow cooker. Mash until smooth, then sir them stir back into slow cooker. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes on low or 15 minutes on high. Remove the beans from the cooker to a serving bowl. Serve over cooked rice and enjoy!
I’m back! Have missed everyone soooo much. Been busy then sick then busy again. Busy is very good – except when it means I neglect all my wonderful blog friends.
Next Monday is the sweetheart day of Valentine’s. Mr. Southern Gentleman and I will be celebrating this weekend. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate – a ton of snow in Arkansas today. It was pretty but I’m just not really cut out for dealing with all this snow!
Anyway, here is a Valentine Tablescape for you for Tablescape Thursday. Follow the link at the end of the post and see all the wonderful tables with Susan and friends.
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Check out all the fabulous tablescapes today at
Today’s Lagniappe: Savory Coeur a la Creme
A fabulous recipe by Ina Garten that is perfect for Valentine’s Day!
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until it is firm like whipped cream. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick.
Line a 6-inch coeur a la creme mold or 6-inch sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth, allowing the excess to drape over the sides. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Fold the excess cheesecloth over the top of the cream. Place the mold on a plate or suspend the sieve over a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, unmold the creme upside down onto a plate and pour the chutney over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. Serve chilled with crackers.
It started snowing here this morning and is still steadily snowing at mid-day here in my neck of the woods in Arkansas. Got some pics to share with you as well as a recipe!
I love asparagus. Of course, we usually cut off the top part and throw the woody part away. I’ve always seen cooking channel people do this and then say to save the woody part for another use. Well, while I’ve always thought I should do that, I never had – until today. I actually just served the tips last night for supper (roasted with lemon, garlic and olive oil) and saved the rest to make some soup. Turned out to be a great lunch for a snowy day!
Set on the coffee table in front of the fire and I even had a little mini-tablescape!
I’ve also been feeding the birds. Watching them is not only entertaining for me, it also keeps Calli-cat occupied. I’ve got covered bird feeders in the front. My bird feeder in the back is unprotected, so it is covered with snow. I made a makeshift bird feeder on the back porch and then scattered a little seed on the porch. The birds have really enjoyed it.
I have had cardinals, bluejays, wrens, chickadees, tufted titmouse, robins and red finches, mourning doves, a couple of woodpeckers and, of course, squirrels. What fun it has been to watch them. I’ve been trying to get pictures. Of course, the beautiful red cardinal is just as pretty as a picture but always seems to fly off just as I get the camera focused on him!
As I am typing this, a big Bluejay is feeding as a robin waits on this fence for his turn. Don’t you just love snow days!
Today’s Lagniappe: Asparagus Soup
This recipe makes 8 – 10 servings. I quartered the recipe (I didn’t even need half) and it turned out great! I also skipped the step for the tips of the asparagus since we had them the night before This is based on Emeril Lagasse’s recipe. YUM!
* 3 pounds fresh asparagus, rinsed
* 8 cups chicken stock
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 cup chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, garnish
Trim the attractive top tips from the asparagus, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Cut the woody stem ends from each spear and reserve. Cut the remaining tender stalks into 1/2-inch pieces.
In a medium pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the tough woody stems, lower the heat and simmer to infuse with asparagus flavor, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and discard, reserving the stock.
Add the decorative tips to the stock and blanch until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Remove with a strainer and refresh in an ice water bath. Drain on paper towels and reserve for the garnish. Reserve the stock.
In a medium stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When foamy, add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chopped asparagus stalks, salt, and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the reserved broth and simmer until the asparagus are very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
With a hand-immersion blender or in batches in a food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. If serving right away, return to medium heat and add the cream and reserved asparagus tips. Cook, stirring, until the soup is warmed through, about 3 minutes.
Alternatively, if serving the soup later, do not add the cream and let cool at room temperature (or in an ice water bath). Cover and refrigerate. Before serving, add the cream and asparagus tips, and warm the soup gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
We are in the deep freeze here in Arkansas. My feet are freezing even as I type this! Time to warm up with some memories of a much warmer time. I remember taking the photos for this “tablescape” with my friend, Ann Messick. It was a nice hot day and I really wanted to jump in that cool, clear water. Hope this post warms you up wherever you are!
Into the deep end:
Sorry, no dip here:
A view from above:
Something refreshing, is it the lemonade or the water?:
Maybe it is the cookies on the pretty yellow plate, topped with a clear yellow/green plate:
Let’s dive in!
Thanks for joining us for today’s episode of Tablescape Thursday, hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.
Today’s Lagniappe: Great Hot Chocolate
If you are still cold, this will warm you up!
8 teaspoons sugar (or Splenda, if you prefer)
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, combine the first three ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Ladle into mugs and add as many marshmallows as you like.
Special Note: Pray for Teagan
Life just really gets crazy sometimes! We have just been crazy busy lately, which is a good thing for our business. Looks like soon, we’ll be finished with some major projects and, maybe, I can get back to regular posting again. I’m sorry I’ve been kind of a “no show” lately.
In the meantime, I’m sharing a quiet little setting from last Fall that reminds me of some not quite as crazy days!
Enjoy and be sure to go check out all the wonderful tablesettings at Between Naps on the Porch with Susan!
Today’s Lagniappe: Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apple Cherry Stuffing
A yummy one from Betty Crocker and something to add to Crockpot Wednesday with Dining With Debbie.
1 package (6 ounces) herb stuffing mix
2 medium celery stalks, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium tart cooking apple, peeled and chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup Progresso® chicken broth (from 32-ounce carton)
6 pork boneless loin chops, about 1/2 inch thick
1. Spray inside of 4- to 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
2. Mix all ingredients except pork. Place half of the stuffing mixture in slow cooker; top with pork. Spoon remaining stuffing mixture over pork.
3. Cover and cook on low heat setting 6 to 8 hours or until pork is tender.
October 12th was my 13th wedding anniversary. I remember so well picking out my wedding china. My wonderful groom went with me and we picked it out together. We wanted something that was classic and would stand the test of time. We decided on Lenox Citation Gold. The crystal we chose accented it beautifully (in my opinion) and we also chose an Onieda pattern as well. I set the table on the porch with the wedding china. I didn’t have red as one of my colors, but I thought this accented the china beautifully.
Join Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for some lovely tablescapes.
Today’s Lagniappe: Emeril’s Homemade Worcestershire Sauce
We made this for our wonderful chef at the Crescent Hotel to serve with the beef tenderloin, which was one of the choices at our rehearsal dinner. It was delicious! The other choice was Trout Meuniere.
Combine the oil, onions and jalapenos in a large stockpot over a high heat. Cook, stirring, until slightly soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, anchovy fillets, cloves, salt, lemons, corn syrup, cane syrup, vinegar, water and horseradish and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture barely coats a wooden spoon, about 6 hours. Strain into a clean container.
Worcestershire Sauce may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or processed as directed below and kept for up to 1 year.
Sterilize 3 pint-sized jars and their metal lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon the hot mixture into the jars, filling to within 1/2-inch of the rim. With a clean, damp towel, wipe the rims and fit with a hot lid. Tightly screw on the metal ring. Place, without touching, on a rack in a large, deep canning kettle or stockpot of rapidly boiling water; water should cover the cans by 1 inch. Boil and process for 15 minutes. Using tongs, remove the jars, place on a towel and let cool completely before storing. Test the seals and tighten the rings as needed. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks before using. After opening, store jars in the refrigerator.
Yield: 3 pints
Oh, how I love these cool fall evenings! The sun is slanting at a different angle and there is just a hint of coolness in the air!
How about a little bite to eat on the porch for
Oh, how I love these cool fall evenings!
Sorry to be so lax about posting lately. Life has been very busy, but in a good way. That means lots of work for us which is a very good thing. I have missed being a part of this wonderful blogging community this week!
Today’s Lagniappe: Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Salad
The pears at the grocery store are perfect right now! You can use the vinaigrette here or check out this past post for some other vinaigrette ideas. I used the classic vinaigrette with a touch of honey. Delish!
* 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1 medium shallot, minced
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens
* 2 large ripe pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
* 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
* 1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss greens in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Divide greens among 6 plates. Top with pear slices, dividing equally. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Drizzle lightly with remaining dressing and serve.
Well it is a FALL PARTY DAY! Today we are joining:
So much fun today!!! Here we go – click on the 1st picture to start the show!
First off a Fall Tablescape
Hmmm, got to find a great fall recipe to serve on the fall table.
Now on to some decorations. I have a fireplace, but alas, no mantle. Luckily, Miss Nester was nice enough to include those of us without mantles in her party. I just decorated a little bit everywhere!
Happy Fall, Y’all!
Today’s Lagniappe: Christi’s Favorite Banana Nut Bread
Heat it up and slather with butter or cream cheese and enjoy on a cool autumn morning with a steaming cup of coffee!
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
3 mashed bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Cream sugar and butter, add eggs, beat well. Sift in flour, soda, cinnamon and cloves, beat well. Mix in bananas and nuts. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 1 hour at 325 degrees.
Wow, I had big plans this week, but it is still SO HOT!!!! Heat index of 110 today! So, no cooking again tonight. We have actually done some grilling this past week, but absolutely no turning on the oven.
Remember last week’s takeout? Well, after working all day, I’m thinking of doing a repeat with different takeout. Tonight we are going really easy with pizza in the living room, on the coffee table with, horror or horrors, paper plates. I rarely ever use paper plates but they really actually have some pretty nice ones these days.
The roses were on sale at the grocery store for $4.99. They aren’t opening up real well, but hey, they were only $4.99 and I think they add a nice touch to the table.
The placemats are too big to fit horizontally, so, I just turned them the other way.
That is what we are doing around our home. What are you doing to stay cool?
Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
This one is from Mama. She says it is delicious and very easy. It is supposed to feed 4. She said if you are really hungry, it won’t go that far!
* 8 ounces Dried Fettuccine
* 2 tablespoons Butter
* 1 cups Whipping Cream
* 1/2 teaspoons Salt
* 1/8 teaspoons Black Pepper
* 1/2 cups Parmesan Cheese
* 12 ounces Shrimp, cooked
* 1 teaspoons Dried Basil
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter. Add cream, salt, pepper, shrimp, and basil. Bring to boiling: reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3-5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Drain pasta. Add pasta to hot sauce. Toss to combine. Transfer to warm serving dish. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese.
Yikes! As I write this it is 98 with a heat index of 105! That is actually not as hot as it was supposed to be today. Of course, the day is not over.
When it is this hot, turning on the oven is just not something I want to do. Actually, cooking with any kind of heat is to be avoided if you ask me. I really would prefer not to do laundry or start the dishwasher either. So, I guess, it is really just an excuse to be lazy! LOL!
Okay, so maybe we’ll order take-out but I can still serve it on pretty dishes, can’t I?
My Mikasa Studio Nova Garden Bloom plates on a clear placemat that is rimmed in gold, with my gold flatware and, of course, a wine glass.
That is a nice place to serve some take-out!
I still have some pink flowers leftover from last week so I just dressed up the table a bit by adding them along.
One of the things I like about the placemats is that I don’t have to launder them! I can just wipe them down and they are ready to go again.
A great way to beat the heat – don’t cook and eat inside!
What is your favorite way to beat the heat?
Today’s Lagniappe: Italian Spinach and Mushroom Salad
1. Combine all ingredients except Dressing in large salad bowl. Drizzle with Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing; toss gently. Serve, if desired, with additional Dressing.
TIP: Make it a main dish salad…just Flash Marinate! Brush meat or poultry repeatedly during grilling or broiling with Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing for that marinated taste; then slice and add to salad.
Go check out some wonderful, inspirational table ideas at