More Southern Porch Stuff

Submitted by Christi

I’ll have to admit, when ever it is even the least little bit warm enough, I’m ready to move it outside. I love having morning coffee on the porch, lunch on the porch, dinners on the porch. I’ll even try to arrange to have meetings on the porch. Anything to be out enjoying the sunshine! Of course, eventually, it will be a little too warm to be out on the porch until late, late in the evening. That is okay – I’m there, watching the lightning bugs and listening to the cicadas!

This evening, it is just another supper on the porch. I’ll try to keep this fresh, but sometimes, I just enjoy the regular evening on the porch without anything fancy. But . . . not this evening. This evening, I broke out the china!

China on floral placemats

Green glasses, edged in gold (to match to gold edged plates).

I thought the napkin folds looked kind of like bunnies!

A little light for ambiance when the sun goes down.

Fun for another evening on the porch!

What is going happening on your porch? Check out some great tablescapes at:

Tablescape Thursday with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe:  Pickled Asparagus
It is asparagus season! Make a batch of these to serve on an antipasto platter or with a Bloody Mary.

* 1 onion, thinly sliced
* 4 lbs fresh asparagus
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into thin strips
* 5 cups white wine vinegar
* 2 cups water (distilled is best)
* 4 tablespoons sugar
* 4 tablespoons pickling spices
* 2 teaspoons pickling salt or kosher salt

1. Place several slices of onion in the bottom of two 1-quart jars.
2. Trim the asparagus to fit in the jars; pack them in with the cut-end facing down.
3. Place the pepper strips in between asparagus.
4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan, and boil over moderate heat for 10 minutes.
5. Pour into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space.
6. Seal the jars according to the manufacturer’s directions; process for 20 minutes in boiling water bath.

Southern April Fools

Submitted by Christi

Before we get to the fun tablescape let me announce the winner of the National Association of Junior Auxiliary’s Silver Spoons, Blueberry Afternoons Cookbook give away!

And, the winner is . . . Victoria! Congrats Victoria and thank you to everyone who left comments to win.

Don’t forget, you can still get this fabulous cookbook from the NAJA website.

Now, on to the fun table:

This is probably one of the most fun tables I have done. The placemats don’t match. Some places have china, some, everyday dishes. None of the glasses match and there are a few other things that are kind of strange!

Colorful but crazy!

Colorful but crazy!

A centerpiece with Easter eggs, Christmas ornaments and . . . apples!

A centerpiece with Easter eggs, Christmas ornaments and . . . apples!

Hey! Who left the apple core in the centerpiece?

Hey! Who left the apple core in the centerpiece?

One candle has a Christmas candle ring and the other a spring candle ring.

One candle has a Christmas candle ring and the other a spring candle ring.

Let’s take a closer look at those place settings.

Christmas plate with a visiting bird. Is that any way to place the flatware?

Christmas plate with a visiting bird. Is that any way to place the flatware?

Ah, it looks like Spring, except for that turkey!

Ah, it looks like Spring, except for that turkey!

Pretty pink florals and stips with a pretty pink . . . pig?

Pretty pink florals and stipes with a pretty pink . . . pig?

Fall and Mozart - now that makes sense. Way more than where the knife, fork and spoon are placed.

Fall and Mozart - now that makes sense. Way more than where the knife, fork and spoon are placed.

Beautiful china with an elephant crawling on top.

Beautiful china with an elephant crawling on top.

Can't find my knife! Oh, there it is at the bottom of the plate. I need it to fight off that turtle.

Can't find my knife! Oh, there it is at the bottom of the plate. I need it to fight off that turtle.

April Fool!

April Fool!

That was fun. Now, I can concentrate on Easter. If you would like to see last years Easter Champagne Brunch table, click HERE. To see lots of creative and beautiful tablescapes check out

with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe:  Hot Cross Buns
Something yummy to have on Good Friday morning. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the crucifixion. Take some to your friends and neighbors as a special blessing to them. I’ve found a shortcut method to making them that I hope you will like.

Makes 1 dozen

* 1  loaf frozen bread dough (1 lb.)
* 1/2  cup  golden raisins
* 2  tablespoons  brandy
* 1/4  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
* 1  large egg
* 3/4  cup  powdered sugar
* 1  tablespoon  milk

Preparation

Thaw frozen bread dough following package directions. Place in a large bowl, cover, and let stand until pliable and no longer cold, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, soak raisins in brandy for 30 to 40 minutes. Add raisin mixture and nutmeg to dough. In bowl or on a board, knead raisins into dough. With floured hands, divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into round rolls. Place about 2 inches apart on a buttered baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 20 minutes. In a bowl, beat egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush buns with egg mixture (discard remainder). Bake rolls in a 350º oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let stand 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk. With a spoon, drizzle icing over buns in the shape of a large X.

Southern Luncheon

Submitted by Christi

My dear friend, Christy Case Keirn is the president of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries.

Christy Case Keirn

Christy Case Keirn

The NAJA has a publication that is published twice a year called The Crownlet.

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In this publication is information about the NAJA Cookbook – Silver Spoons, Blueberry Afternoons.

“A collection of recipes from junior Auxiliary Chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Alabama and Florida. This cookbook is filled with NAJA history and stories of the work Junior Auxiliary Chapters are doing for children in their communities.”

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As you can see, the ad for this cookbook features a tablescape! I was so honored when Christy called and asked for pictures of tablescapes for the NAJA publication. Christy has also offered to allow one of the cookbooks to be given away on A Southern Life!! So, you know the way this goes – leave a comment here. You can leave one comment a day between now and next Wednesday, March 31st at 3:00 p.m. central time.

Even if you are the lucky winner, I’m sure you will want to go to the NAJA website and purchase more to give away to friends! The proceeds from the sales of the cookbook go to further the NAJA mission which is:

“To encourage members to render charitable services which are beneficial to the general public, with particular emphasis on children; to cooperate with other Charitable 501 (c)(3) organizations.”

What a wonderful organization. Okay, so which tablescape pic did Christy choose?

This one!

This one!

So, here is the entire tablescape presentation that includes this picture from June 3rd, 2009.

Blue Fitzgerald china by Spode

Blue Fitzhugh china by Spode

Simple and pretty

Simple and pretty

The colors go well with my planter in the background.

The colors go well with my planter in the background.

White petunias in the tureen.

White petunias in the tureen.

Of course, my birds are always invited.

Of course, my birds are always invited.

Nice crystal glasses.

Nice crystal glasses.

And pretty coffee cups.

And pretty coffee cups.

Cream or sugar?

Cream or sugar?

Very nice.

Very nice.

Checkout Between Naps on the Porch to see a lot of great tablescapes by a lot of lovely and talented people.

tabelscape

Today’s Lagniappe: Buttery Herb Cheese Muffins
This recipe is from the ad in The Crownlet.

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (6 ounce) package garlic and herbe spreadable cheese, softened

Mix the flour, butter, cheese and sour cream in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into lightly greased miniature muffin cups, filling to the tops. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until light brown. Makes 2 1/2 Dozen.

Southern Valentine

Submitted by Christi

We have a winner of the Fabulous DonnaDots! The winner is . . . . Sarah at Hyacinths for the Soul! Congrats Sarah! Send me your mailing address and the pattern you would like and I’ll get it to Donna! Hope you all enjoyed Donna’s Fabulous DonnaDots!

The first piece of jewelry my husband ever gave me was a tiny little gold key charm on a chain. He said it was the key to his heart (is that sweet or what?). This year for Valentine’s Day, I set a table with that key in mind.

Valentine Key

Valentine Key

A cozy table in front of the fireplace.

A cozy table in front of the fireplace.

A little candlelight.

A little candlelight.

Our wedding china with cut out hearts.

Our wedding china with cut out hearts.

Romantic layers.

Romantic layers.

Ready to dine with the love of my heart!

Ready to dine with the love of my heart!

Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Check out all the fabulous tablescapes today at

with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe:  Savory Coeur a la Creme
A fabulous recipe by Ina Garten that is perfect for Valentine’s Day!

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bottle chutney (recommended: Cross and Blackwell Major Grey’s)
  • Crackers, for serving

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.

Southern Dots

Submitted by Christi

It’s Tablescape Thursday and we have a GIVE-AWAY! Oh, happy day!

donnaMy very good friend Donna Butler Douglas is one of the most talented people I have ever known. She is a very talented musician and composer and is just one of the most fun people you could ever know. Donna has started a new business called Donnadots. Even the name is fun. And, you know what you can use these dots in soooo many ways. Check out the tablescape that Donna put together using the Donnadots.

Even better, Donna has agreed to GIVE AWAY a set of Donnadots to one of the wonderful readers of A Southern Life! So, how can you win?

  • Leave a comment on this post for 1 chance.
  • Go to http://www.donnadots.com and choose your favorite Donnadot and then come back and leave a comment telling me what you chose for a second chance.
  • Write about this give-away on your blog and then leave another comment telling me you have done that for a third chance to win. (If you don’t have a blog, email your friends with a link to A Southern Life and then let me know that you did that).

Next Thursday, the winner will be announced here at A Southern Life! It is that easy. I hope you enjoy Donnadots and whether you win or not, go get some and “Dot Your Day!”

Okay, check out what Donna did with some of the place card dots.

Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Hey, there are even dots on the plates.

Hey, there are even dots on the plates.

What a lovely napkin fold for a Donnadot.

What a lovely napkin fold for a Donnadot.

Love the silver heart holding the Donnadot.

Love the silver heart holding the Donnadot.

The come in different colors!

The come in different colors!

Fabulous!

Fabulous!

Here are a couple of other ways to use Donnadots:

donna-dot-kitchen

donna-dot-package

Aren’t they fun? Good luck to everyone! Don’t forget to leave your comments to win your own set of  48 Donnadots!

with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe:  Donna’s Red Velvet Cake
This is Donna’s own recipe for Red Velvet Cake – one of her family’s favorites and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

½    c. shortening1½  c. Sugar

2     Eggs

Cream together.
2     oz. (2 bottles) Red Food Coloring2     tsp. Cocoa Make paste with food coloring and cocoa.  Add to creamed mixture.
2 ½ c. Cake Flour1    ts. Salt

1    c. Buttermilk

1    ts. Vanilla

Sift flour and salt together.  Add to mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Add vanilla.
1½ ts. Soda1    T. Vinegar Add soda to vinegar and blend into batter.  DO NOT beat it in.  Bake in 3  8-inch round cake pans at 350º for 30 minutes.
FROSTING:1    16 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese (soft)

1    sticks Oleo (soft)

1    boxes Powdered Sugar

½   c. Pecans (chopped) (optional)

Cream the cream cheese and oleo until soft and creamy.  Add powdered sugar.  Add nuts last. Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.  Sometimes I double the frosting recipe.

Southern Memory

Submitted by Christi

Meetings, meetings, meetings! This week has been full of meetings and still more to get ready for! So, I’m taking a trip down memory lane to a warmer, slower time. A time when it was hot and sultry instead of cold and frosty (actually, it has started to warm up here and was even in the 50’s today). A time when the full moon was lighting the sky and the magnolias were in bloom. Forget thinking about meetings, I’m going back . . .

back to last summer:

Magnolia leaves under clear plates with gold edging.

Magnolia leaves under clear plates with gold edging.

Magnolia leaves under clear plates with gold edging.

Magnolia leaves under clear plates with gold edging.

A magnolia leaf is tucked in the gold napkin rings.

A magnolia leaf is tucked in the gold napkin rings.

Here is a closer look at those leathery magnolia leaves under glass.

Here is a closer look at those leathery magnolia leaves under glass.

As usual, my birds got in on the picture.

As usual, my birds got in on the picture.

We got the gold stemmed crystal in New Orleans on our honeymoon.

We got the gold stemmed crystal in New Orleans on our honeymoon.

I think the magnolia in the crystal bowl in the center is stunning.

I think the magnolia in the crystal bowl in the center is stunning.

This one that is not quite open is laying along side.

This one that is not quite open is laying along side.

While I was taking the pics, this dove came and visited.

While I was taking the pics, this dove came and visited.

As the sun went down, the candles were lit.

As the sun went down, the candles were lit.

A romantic, sultry, Southern summer evening.

A romantic, sultry, Southern summer evening.

The sun is sinking over the horizon.

The sun is sinking over the horizon.

The candles flicker gently.

The candles flicker gently.

And, we wait for the moon to rise.

And, we wait for the moon to rise.

Okay, back to work!

Check out a lot of great tablescapes at

with Between Naps on the Porch

with Between Naps on the Porch

Today’s Lagniappe: Magnolia Milk Punch
Perfect for a Sunday brunch.

Ingredient
1/4 cup Bourbon Whiskey
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Vanilla Ice Cream
4 parts Nutmeg

Directions
Combine ice cream, bourbon and vanilla in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into two glasses and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.

Southern Lakeside Picnic

Submitted by Christi

The weather has been beautiful the last couple of days. After so much rain, we had to take advantage of it. I live within minutes of 2 beautiful lakes and 3 wonderful rivers. Today, we ventured out to Norfork lake for a picnic of corn chowder and smoked turkey sandwiches. The rain is coming back in tonight and there was just a bit of nip in the 65 degree air. We wanted to go out on Cranfield point but, it was closed, so we found a table under a pavilion nearby and set up for a lovely lakeside picnic.

A beautiful fall day.

A beautiful fall day.

Set up for a lovely lunch.

Set up for a lovely lunch.

A bit of Americana with the picnic basket and the red, white and blue settings.

A bit of Americana with the picnic basket and the red, white and blue settings.

Ready for some hot corn chowder and a nice sandwich.

Ready for some hot corn chowder and a nice sandwich.

Some fall leaves in a little red, white and blue basket.

Some fall leaves in a little red, white and blue basket.

A beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors by the lake.

A beautiful day to enjoy the outdoors by the lake.

No forks needed here. Just a spoon and an appetite.

No forks needed here. Just a spoon and an appetite.

So nice.

So nice.

How blessed am I to live surrounded by so much beauty. It was easy to get away for a nice lunch. The day was gorgeous and so was the scenery.

Wish you could all have been there. We could have had a party! Thanks for stopping by. Join Susan for Tablescape Thursday to see a lot of great tablescapes! Looks like Miss Susan may have something spooky going on this week!


Today’s Lagniappe: Corn Chowder
The perfect soup for a fall picnic. Just make it, pour into a thermos and you are ready to go! This recipe is from Tyler Florence.

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups canned vegetable stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 ears corn
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture).

Cut the corn kernels off the cob and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and give it another little drink of olive oil. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Southern Chili Night

Submitted by Christi

It’s Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!
tabelscape

It has been cool and rainy and dreary here this week. Days like this make me want to stay in and cook and just be all warm and cozy. That is where this tablescape came from. I fixed a pot of chili and set the coffee table in the living room. We will just stay in and have our chili and watch a little tv and read and be comfortable.

Just the two of us.

Just the two of us.

A little fall decor

A little fall decor

Pretty bowls with saucers

Pretty bowls with saucers

A plate underneath for extra crackers

A plate underneath for extra crackers

Warm and cozy

Warm and cozy

Chili night

Chili night

What a lovely way to spend the evening!

Today’s Lagniappe: Norvelle’s Jail House Chili
I’ve posted this before, but it is worth posting again. Norvelle was my husband’s mother’s housekeeper who was like a second mom to him. She made this wonderful chili. This recipe is originally from A Cooks Tour of Shreveport from the Junior League of Shreveport, Louisiana, 1964. Norvelle’s version is quite a bit spicier than the original. The recipe here has the measurements that she used. She made her changes in pencil in the cookbook. Read more about Norvelle here.

3 lb. diced lean beef or hamburger
1/4 cup liquid shortening (I use a couple of tablespoons – Christi)
1 quart water
8 tablespoons chili powder
5 teaspoons salt
8 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons marjoram
1 teaspoon red pepper (can use 1/2)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons paprika

To thicken:
3 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons corn meal
1 cup water

Heat oil in a large pot, add meat and sear over high heat, stir constantly until meat is gray but not brown. Add water and cover, cooking over low fire for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients, except thickening, and cook at a bubbling simmer for 30 minutes. Mix together thickening ingredients and add to chili. Cook about 5 more minutes and stir to prevent sticking. More water may be added for desired consistency. If meat is very fat, skim off fat before adding thickening. This is rather hot chili. For milder flavor, cut the chili powder and red pepper in half but add more paprika for color.


Southern Fishing Trip Brunch

Submitted by Christi

It’s Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!

tabelscape

As I told you earlier this week, my friend Linda made us a fabulous brunch at Rusticities. This fun store is owned by the same guy who owns The Cottage.  Rusticities is really a fun store. Even the name is fun! Other than the minnow jar, the items used in this tablescape are from Rusticities and, of course, are for sale!

This brunch is what Linda would make her husband after he had been out fishing in the morning. With two lakes and three rivers in the county, you know, there is a lot of fishing going on! We used her antique minnow jar for our centerpiece and off we go:

There is a little kitchen room at Rusticities where we set this up.

There is a little kitchen room at Rusticities where we set this up.

We used the yellow and blue fiestaware plates.

We used the yellow and blue fiestaware plates.

How about these woodsy napkins and blueberry napkin rings on top of the rustic checked placemat.

How about these woodsy napkins and blueberry napkin rings on top of the rustic plaid placemat.

This is that fabulous antique minnow jar with an antique lure. Did you know people collect lures?

This is that fabulous antique minnow jar with an antique lure. Did you know people collect lures?

The flowers came from Linda's home and we draped across this fun fishing themed ring.

The flowers came from Linda's home and we draped across this fun fishing themed ring.

Here is the yellow fiestaware plate.

Here is the yellow fiesta ware plate. See the fish dish that is holding the salsa?

An upturned milk bucket next to a piece of stained glass. Add a lamp a sign and the little duck and it is a fun, rustic, fishing trip theme!

An upturned milk bucket next to a piece of stained glass. Add a lamp a sign and the little duck and it is a fun, rustic, fishing trip theme!

Don't forget this guy.

Don't forget this guy.

The platter with the eggs is even fish shaped. Kind of hard to tell with all the yummy egg casserole on top!

The platter with the eggs is even fish shaped. Kind of hard to tell with all the yummy egg casserole on top!

Another shot of that minnow jar.

Another shot of that minnow jar.

Yum!

Yum!

Linda's yummy buttermilk bicuits. She cut them in the shape of hearts and the state of Arkansas!

Linda's yummy buttermilk bicuits. She cut them in the shape of hearts and the state of Arkansas!

A reel and lure are added for some more rustic fun.

A reel and lure are added for some more rustic fun.

Live bait was not on the menu, but, the sign is a cute addition.

Live bait was not on the menu, but, the sign is a cute addition.

Okay, the pictures are done so we can dig in! Linda made a delicious egg casserole, buttermilk biscuits and strawberry freezer jam. She brought the honey, some diced up fruit, juice and butter for those biscuits and it was out of this world!

Today’s Lagniappe:  Linda’s Spicy Egg Casserole
I got this email from Linda along with the recipe (by the way, check out Rusticities ad at the end of this post).:

Christi, Darlin’ you know I love to serve this with fresh fruit and buttermilk biscuits.Plus a nice fresh bowl of salsa.

Thank you for coming to Rusticities. I thought this was a perfect table. Oh sweetie, I love our time at the lake kind of breakfast. Therefore the biscuits of Hearts and the State of Arkansas.

Fish would also be great if that were his or her favorite. Sometimes, the best kind of days come from starting them with thoughtfulness and just a little planning. Would life not be better for all of us if this were done every now and then. Love you dearie.

Come see us at “The Cottage” and “Rusticities” we’ll help you come up with a great tablescape – we promise ya’ hear.

Linda

SPICY EGG CASSEROLE

(Must be prepared 1 day in advance)

6 eggs
1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage, cooked,crumbled and drained
1/2 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 (3 ounce) pkg. cream cheese
2 (6 ounce) cans sliced mushrooms, drained
1 (8 ounce) carton small curd cottage cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces mild Cheddar cheese, grated

In a large bowl, beat eggs well with a wire whisk. Add flour, baking powder and milk.

Cut cream cheese into small cubes. Add cream cheese and cottage cheese to egg mixture.

Add the grated Monterrey Jack and Cheddar cheeses (I have also used just Mexican 4 cheese blend), along with the cooked sausage, salt, chopped green onions and mushrooms.

I  add some drops of “Tennessee Sunshine” a hot sauce that does not linger forever.  However it is a matter of taste.

Butter a 9 x 13 casserole and pour mixture into dish, dot with butter and top with a sprinkling of paprika. Cover and refrigerate over-night.

Next day, bring to room temperature and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

rusticities

Southern Rose

Submitted by Christi

It’s Tablescape Thursday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.
Click on the pic to see more tablescapes.
tabelscape1

Today, I’m posting pics of a table that I set last year in the early spring. This was before I was blogging. It is funny that I already set my table and took pics.

The light blue color around the rim reminds me of the robin's eggs.

The light blue color around the rim reminds me of the robin's eggs. The white rose in the center has a blue tint as well.

The centerpiece is a pitcher with forsythia that was just starting to bloom.

The centerpiece is a pitcher with forsythia that was just starting to bloom.

If I had known then that I was going to be writing a blog, I would have taken more pictures! This was one of my favorites though and I wanted to share it.

Today’s Lagniappe: Panzanella Salad
Bread in salad? Yum!

* 6 cups day old Italian bread, torn into bite-size pieces
* 1/3 cup olive oil
* salt and pepper to taste
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
* 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
* 3/4 cup sliced red onion
* 10 basil leaves, shredded
* 1/2 cup pitted and halved green olives
* 1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into bite-size pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, toss bread with 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Lay bread on a baking sheet, and toast in the preheated oven until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes; allow to cool slightly.
3. While the bread is in the oven, whisk together 1/4 cup of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Gently toss together the bread, tomatoes, onion, basil, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Toss with the vinaigrette and let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Southern Lunch on the Porch

Submitted by Christi

It’s Tablescape Thursday again with Miss Susan at Between Naps on the Porch. A lot of times, my life calls for meetings. When possible, I like to meet at my home where we can have privacy and meet in a relaxing atmosphere. It is amazing to me how much work you can get done when you are meeting in a friendly atmosphere away from distractions. This tablescape is for a business lunch on the porch.

Blue Fitzgerald china by Spode

Blue Fitzgerald china by Spode

Simple and pretty

Simple and pretty

The colors go well with my planter in the background.

The colors go well with my planter in the background.

White petunias in the tureen.

White petunias in the tureen.

Of course, my birds are always invited.

Of course, my birds are always invited.

Nice crystal glasses.

Nice crystal glasses.

And pretty coffee cups.

And pretty coffee cups.

Cream or sugar?

Cream or sugar?

Very nice.

Very nice.

Checkout Between Naps on the Porch to see a lot of great tablescapes by a lot of lovely and talented people.
tabelscape

Today’s Lagniappe:  South of the Border Chicken Casserole Add a salad and you’ve got a meal.

  • 1 whole chicken, cooked and deboned, about 3 cups diced cooked chicken
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces each) cream of chicken soup
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chile peppers
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups nacho cheese chips, crushed (Doritos)

Mix chicken, soups, sour cream and green chiles together; set aside. Put cooked rice into bottom of a greased baking dish. Pour chicken and soup mixture over rice. top with shredded cheese. Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes, or until it is hot and has started bubbling. Add crushed tortilla chips to top and bake 5 minutes longer. Be careful not to burn chips.