Southern Open House

Submitted by Christi

Come on in, take a tour of the house with it’s fall decorations and have a bite to eat. It’s time for Hooked on House Tours with Hooked on Houses and Foodie Friday with Designs by Gollum.

What is that eerie thing glowing through the window?

What is that eerie thing glowing through the window?

This is a little more welcoming.

This is a little more welcoming.

Good thing that scarecrow is there to keep the crows out of the house plants.

Good thing that scarecrow is there to keep the crows out of the house plants.

Our friends Eve and Nancy at The House of Realty provided us with this big pumpkin with the pretty decorations. They gave these to their customers and vendors. We did their real estate website so we were the lucky recipients of this pretty pumpkin.

Our friends Eve and Nancy at The House of Realty provided us with this big pumpkin with the pretty decorations. They gave these to their customers and vendors. We did their real estate website so we were the lucky recipients of this pretty pumpkin.

You've seen the top of the TV cabinet before, decorated for fall.

You've seen the top of the TV cabinet before, decorated for fall.

And also the coffee table.

And also the coffee table.

Even the table on the back porch.

Even the table on the back porch.

I love decorating for fall. After a long hot summer, it is nice to welcome some cooler temperatures and warm things up on the inside with beautiful fall colors, just as the colors are changing outside as well.

Now, for some refreshments:

Today’s Lagniappe:  Pumpkin Dip
Serve this in a small hollowed out pumpkin with spiced wafers, apple slices or gingersnaps – yummy and pretty.

4 c. powdered sugar
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese
1 can (30 oz.) pumpkin pie filling
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger

Combine sugar and softened cream cheese until well blended. Beat in remaining ingredients. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.


Southern Spring Fluff

Submitted by Christi

easter-place-card-l

I started out yesterday to fluff the house for Spring. I got as far as a Spring tablecloth on the dining table and a couple of decorations featuring Easter eggs until I was compelled by forces unknown (or maybe the beautiful blue sky and the 70 something degree temps) to get outside and get my seedlings in pots.

As I sat in the sun getting my hands dirty, I was thinking how good those home-grown tomatoes are going to be and how I love the smell of basil. I was remembering harvesting okra with my grandmother. Okra is not the most fun thing to harvest but I love to eat it. Growing things give me a sense of well-being that just feels good.

I’ll get back to the fluffing as I have time and post some pics. Today’s lagniappe is from the book I am currently reading called The Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank set in South Carolina. Thanks to Mari at http://beachwalkermari.blogspot.com for the recommendation. They talk a lot about food in this book. The scene where the main character, Anna, has Sunday dinner with her neighbors is mouth-watering – fried chicken and biscuits, red rice and snap beans – Yum!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Anna’s “Gourmet” Pasta
Quoting straight from the book:

First, you fry four pieces of bacon until it’s really crispy and then drain it. In some of the same grease – not too much or your heart will explode – you cook a chopped onion and dissolve a chicken cube. Then, you throw in a can of tomatoes and crumble the bacon back in. Cook and drain the pasta, throw it in the sauce, stir around some Parmesan cheese, and baby child, it’s Yum Yum Time.

Add frozen garlic bread, salad in a bag, and I’m feeling like the fastest cook in the East, or something.

Photo from Southern Living

Southern Ramblings

Submitted by Christi

hummingbird

1 day until Spring!

Okay, now that St. Patrick’s Day is over, I’m ready to decorate for Spring. I’m going to try to get to that this weekend. Today, I have meetings and tomorrow I have meetings and then am leading a seminar. The seminar is over at 4 p.m. so I’l be ready to start the weekend after that and . . . the next day is the first day of Spring!

March 21 is also my husband’s birthday. How great is that to be born on the first day of Spring? Anyway, back to decorating, I’ve got to get out in the garage and look for what I’ve got and decide what I might want to do different. I love the switch from winter to Spring. It feels like the house is taking off an over-heavy coat and jumping to shorts and flip flops.

I put my seedlings outside yesterday (in the shade) to start hardening them off. I had planned to move them inside last night but, forgot. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought about going out and moving them back in but it is really hard to get me out of bed once I’m asleep. Oh well, I think it only got down to around 50 last night so all is well. Can’t wait to get them in the ground.

Today’s Lagniappe: Hummingbird Cake
The ultimate Southern cake

* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 eggs, beaten
* 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, well drained
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 2 cups chopped firm ripe banana
* Cream Cheese Frosting:
* 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 cup butter, room temperature
* 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°. Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together into mixing bowl several times. Add eggs and salad oil to the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are moistened. Stir in vanilla, pineapple and 1 cup pecans. Stir in the bananas. Spoon the batter into 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes,or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine cream cheese and butter; cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar, beating with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Frost the tops of all 3 layers, stack and then frost sides. Sprinkle top evenly with the 1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans.

Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton

Southern Style

Submitted by Christi

spring

11 days to Spring!
On one of the boards I frequent, someone asked the question. What low-cost decorating solutions are you using during the recession? My first response was recycle!

My sofa needs re-upholstering. I had a beautiful king-size matelasse bedspread that I was not using. Voila. I used the spread as a sofa cover, changed the pillows and I love it.

As I have written previoulsy, I love to decorate with houseplants. I’m always cutting from one to start another. I even have a lovely houseplant that I started from an avocado seed. My grandmother was always rooting plants and she had several in her home. Of course, she was also a very talented seamstress and also made beautiful crochet afghans. I don’t do well with crochet and my sewing skill leave much to be desired. I can sew in a straight line if it doesn’t have to be too straight.

Tough economic times are challenging. However, it is possible to live graciously with less. Good manners are always in style and a kind word is free. What are you doing to make your world beautiful today?

Today’s Lagniappe: Shrimp Butter
Serve this to guests with crackers – yum!

* 3/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 2 (4 ounce) cans shrimp, drained
* 1 tablespoon chopped onion
* 3 tablespoons lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise

DIRECTIONS

1. Place the butter and cream cheese into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Add the shrimp, onion, lemon juice, garlic salt and mayonnaise; beat until fluffy. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Allow the butter to come to room temperature before serving.