Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Happy 43 Years to Us!

 
Anniversary Vignette with our wedding cake topper, hand painted plate and the hankie I carried for "something old". 
 
 
 
Here's a better view of our wedding plate.
 
 
 
 
It all started in 1963 in the hallway of St. Francis de Sales High School,  in Columbus, Ohio.  Two 14-year-olds met, then danced their first dance to The Beach Boy's song "In My Room" at a dance in the gym.  He was the captain of the football team and I was his cheerleader.  I liked to be in school plays and he drove me to practice.  On June 27, 1970, those two kids were married.

 
Yes, we've changed over the years and so have our likes and dislikes .  Our LOVE for each other, however, has never waivered. 
 
We've been through deaths of our grandparents, our dads, aunts,  uncles and two miscarriages.
We've shared the joy of births of our four children and our six grandchildren.
 
He likes hunting, fishing, college football, NFL football, Duck Dynasty, the History and Military channels, and action-packed thrillers.
I like Downton Abbey, HGTV, the Food Network, cooking, baking, sewing, swimming and yoga.
 
How can two very different individuals make it work? 
It's through our never-ending love  and commitment for each other and memories of a lifetime that we cherish of our family and friends.
 
There are years that we were so busy, that we barely remember them.  Thank heavens for photos to remind us what those years were!
 
I believe God put him on earth to love me, to take care of our family and to be a good, supportive   loyal friend to me and to others.    He's the one we always count on and he has done the best job ever.
 
I will be forever grateful for my happy life.  He is my strength and my hero.  Although he has been battling prostate cancer for going on eight years, he has never stopped in trying his best to fight it.  That's how my guy is. 


 
Happy 43 years to my love!


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Monday, June 24, 2013

Oreo Pie

 
For my tea in the garden, I've made some oreo pie.  Would you care to share a slice and have a cup of tea?
 

 
My Mom gifted me with this darling teapot when we visited in Ohio.   My Mom is the Queen of Thrift Shopping and found this little gem on one of her outings.  Isn't it sweet?  I call it the Cottage Girl Teapot.
 

 
This pie is so easy and perfect for a Summer treat!  Here's how it's made:
 

 
1 package of vanilla instant pudding (I used sugar-free)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) tub of frozen whipped topping, thawed
about 10 Oreos, crushed
1 Oreo cookie crust, store-bought or homemade
 
Mix the instant pudding with the milk with a whisk, until well blended.  Add the whipped topping and  blend well.  Fold in the crushed Oreos.  Pour into the cookie crust, cover and freeze for at least 6 hours.
 
When ready to serve, sit out at room temperature about 10-15 minutes for easier slicing.  Enjoy!
 



 

 
I'll leave you with a view of my newest fairy garden that I've planted with my cottage teapot, some herbs and mini plants. 
 
 
 Thank you for your visit!  xo

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Strawberry Whipped Sensation Pie


 
 
For my table today, I'm using my favorite dishes by Mikasa, which is Berry Delight.  I've made a table runner from homespun and had enough leftover for napkins or extra placemats.  Canning jars are my choice for drink ware for this homey table.  An old cookie jar is holding some faux daisies. 


 
Here's a close-up of the pattern, which has all my favorite colors.
 
 


You can zig-zag, or just straight stitch near  the edge of the fabric and just pull the thread for a rustic finish.  Homespun is great because there  is no right or wrong side. 
 

 
I sandwiched some lace in between the runner and the ruffle for some extra charm. 
 
 
 
When I first made this recipe from Kraft.com, found here, I made it as they did, in a 9 x 5" pan with the Oreo crumbs on top.   It was so good, but somewhat messy, when inverting and cutting it.   After thinking about it, I realized it would be easier if done in pie form with an Oreo cookie crust or a chocolate one.  Here's my revised recipe, which is my new favorite dessert  for Summer.  I hope you try this refreshing pie!

 
2 cups  fresh strawberries, plus some extra for garnishing
1 can  (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup  lemon juice
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
1 Oreo or chocolate cookie crust



MASH 2 cups berries in large bowl. Add milk, juice and 2 cups COOL WHIP; mix well. Pour into prepared pie crust. 
         

FROST with additional COOL WHIP.  Cover and freeze for 6 hours. 

If desired, garnish with additional strawberries before serving.


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Monday, June 17, 2013

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

 
My tea in the garden today includes some blueberry muffins and blueberry herbal tea.  In the background, I have some morning glories and moonflowers in the galvanized tub.  Hopefully they'll make their way up the trellis and make some show stopping color before too long!
 
 
 
This is my very favorite plate, which is Mikasa's Berry Delight.    I love the berry motif.  Isn't it perfect for my blueberry muffins? 
 
 
 
This recipe comes from Nick Malgieri's cookbook, How to Bake.  I've included the crumble topping that was a variation in the cookbook for,  who doesn't love a topping?  The topping recipe was cut in half and still made plenty of delicious crumbles.  Although the recipe states that it makes 12 muffins, I actually got 18 muffins from the recipe, which is more than enough to share.  I hope you enjoy these tender, wonderful muffins!

1/2 c.  unsalted butter, softened (I used salted butter and left out the additional salt)
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk or milk
2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 c .blueberries

On slow speed, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix until blended. Sift dry ingredients and add alternating with milk.

Mash 1/2 c. blueberries and stir in by hand. Fold in the  rest of the blueberries.  Fill muffin cups high and sprinkle with sugar (leave off the sugar if adding the crumble topping).  Bake at 375 F, 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pan.  Remove from pan carefully.

Crumble Topping (this is the halved version, which makes plenty!)

1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar (I used brown)
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. + 2 T. flour

Stir together the flour, sugar and cinnamon.  Add the melted butter and stir.  Set aside for a few minutes.  Crumble on top of the unbaked muffins and bake as directed. 

Tip:  Freeze extra muffins in freezer-proof bags or containers.  When ready to serve, let thaw and reheat in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes.


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gentleman's Casserole for Father's Day

 
For Father's Day, I made a super- easy,  no-sew table runner out of some leftover chalk cloth.  It fits perfectly on my kitchen island.  I scalloped the edges by using a glass, marking the design and cutting it out.  Snack plates (Trade Days) are used, with the rooster mugs (Ross) and striped napkins bought years ago, on clearance,  at Sur la Table.  The heart basket was made back in 1985, when I lived in Michigan,  before moving to Texas. 
 

Of course my hubby is a Dad worth crowing about!  This runner would be great for a buffet in labeling food, cheese, and special messages for  family and friends.  The fabric can be ordered at www.fabric.com .  I marked one short side and long side, folded it in half, marked the opposite sides, and cut it out.  Make sure you rub the chalk cloth all over with chalk to season it, wipe it off and then it's ready for writing.


 
This recipe is aptly named and perfect for Father's Day, although, I must say,  women like it, too!! It's really a misnomer because it's actually NOT a casserole at all.  The recipe comes from my Southern Living Cooking for Christmas 2012. The cheese sauce is truly delicious!  You can bake the pastry shells the day before and then just reheat on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 minutes.  You could instead, hard cook the eggs, chop them up and add them to the sauce, which would be really easy.  Here's how it's made:

For 2 servings:  (You can easily double this recipe)

1 package of frozen puff pastry shells
1 T. butter
1/3 cup chopped cooked ham
1 T. chopped green onions
4 eggs

Cheddar Cheese Sauce (recipe follows)

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (see NOTE)
Dash of paprika
Chopped green onion, for garnish

Bake 4 of the pastry shells and reserve the remainder for another use.

Melt butter in a nonstick skillet. Add ham and green onions. Sauté 2 minutes or until green onions are tender. Add eggs and cook gently, without stirring for 1-2 minutes or until they begin to set on the bottom. Draw cooked edges away from sides of pan to form large pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1-2 minutes, or until eggs are thickened and are moist. Gently stir in cheddar cheese sauce.

Spoon egg mixture into prepared pastry shells. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Garnish with green onions.

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

3/4 cup milk
1 T. butter
1T. flour
1/2 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese (see NOTE)
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Microwave milk for 1 minute in a 2-cup microwave- safe glass measuring cup.

Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in warm milk, whisking constantly for 3-5 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat, whisk in cheese, salt and pepper.

NOTE:  Gruyere cheese can be substituted. 

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Lemon Curd Tarts



I've been wanting to make my own lemon curd and found this easy,  microwave recipe at King Arthur.  It took about 4 1/2 minutes in my microwave, but all microwaves vary.  I hope you give it a try.  I filled mini phyllo shells with the lemon curd and topped them with a squirt of whipped cream, a berry and a mint leaf.  It makes for a pretty presentation.  You could also mix some lemon curd with some whipped cream or Cool Whip and fill the shells for a creamy variation. 

Easy Microwave Lemon Curd

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 large, juicy lemons)
  • 1 cup sugar (I grated the rind from 2 of the lemons and combined with the sugar in a food processor, for an intense lemon flavor)
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs

  DIRECTIONS                                

1) Combine all of the ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl. To avoid bubble-overs, the contents should fill no more than 1/4 of the bowl; an 8-cup measure works well here.
2) Microwave the ingredients in 1-minute increments, removing from the oven and stirring to combine after each minute.
3) When curd starts to thicken; coats the back of a spoon; and starts to mound a bit as you stir, it's done. This will take anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the strength/power of your microwave.
4) Stir the curd one more time, spoon it into a storage container, and refrigerate until firm.
5) Keep curd refrigerated for up to 3 weeks; freeze for longer storage.
Makes about 2 cups.



I'm having blackberry and sage infused water today in the garden, which was inspired by my candle, which is scented with the same things.  To make the water, crush some blackberries, add water and some fresh sage leaves, and infuse overnight.  It makes a beautiful pink color and is very refreshing for summer!


I added some pretty pink trim to my canning jar.  My lady vase is filled with some pink flowers, sage leaves and a couple of fern sprigs.
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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Lemon and Rosemary Grilled Chicken


 
 
Sometimes the best meals are the easiest ones to prepare. Mealtime doesn' t have to be stressful or time consuming and this is one of those recipes.  Isn't it great when we get inspired by other bloggers and their wonderful recipes?  Recently, Mary, from Inside a British Mums's Kitchen made a  Quick Grilled Chicken and I decided to use some different herbs and put my own twist on it. Sometimes rosemary can be overpowering, but it wasn't at all in this.   Also, boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be dry, but my hubby exclaimed, " these are so good and so moist". I love when that happens!   Here's my spin on Mary's dish:

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied while still partially frozen
Olive oil
I lemon, zested and cut in half
1 sprig of rosemary, removed from stem and finely chopped
A sprinkle of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Drizzle the chicken breasts with some olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, rosemary, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper.

Place chicken and the lemon halves on hot grill and cook about 4-6 minutes, flip and cook for an additional 4 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.

Remove to a platter and tent with foil for about 5 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over and serve.

I served this with roasted red fingerling potatoes, which I also did on the grill , adding olive oil, garlic powder, chopped rosemary and salt and pepper.

I would encourage you to use the herbs that you grow and enjoy!  Lime would be delicious with this, too. 


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Monday, June 3, 2013

Crepes with Nutella and Strawberries

 
I've set my grandkids table outdoors for crepes and tea today. Won't you join me?   I'm using the table topper that I made from a vintage tablecloth.
 
 
My strawberry pitcher is filled with  wispy Blackfoot Daisies, which grow beautifully in Texas. Don't they resemble the flower on the pitcher? 
 
 
I'm using my favorite strawberry plates, from Pier 1, the black gingham napkins that I made and the Cambridge flatware that is tied with polka dot ribbon that ties into the polka dot that I used on the topper.
 

 
OH. MY. GOODNESS. If you want to enjoy a wonderful treat for breakfast, dessert or tea time, I hope you try these. I took a photo of this recipe when I was getting my haircut (aren't smart phones wonderful??) and now I can't remember which magazine it came from. The crepe batter is different than ones I have preciously done, as it has half cornstarch and half flour. They turn out beautifully and so easy to work with. If you've never made crepes, or even if you have, I hope you can make these soon and we can pretend that we're in a cafĂ© in Paris!  Here's the recipe:

2 eggs
1 cup skim milk ( I used 2%)
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. flour
1 T. oil
2 T. sugar
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. Salt
a pinch of allspice

Nutella
Sliced strawberries
Powdered sugar and cocoa powder, for garnish

Whisk the first 10 ingredients  together in a medium size bowl. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Stir.

Heat an 8" (I used a 10" because that's what I have) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. I rubbed a little butter on the skillet even though it didn't say to.

With a ladle or 1/4 cup measure, add 2 T. batter to skillet. Tilt and rotate pan to coat. Cook 30 seconds or until crepe is browned on bottom and edges are dry. Lift with a silicone spatula and flip over. Cook 5 seconds, then transfer to a sheet of wax paper. Repeat with remaining batter, stacking crepes with wax paper in between.

Spread the crepes with Nutella and scatter sliced strawberries on top. Fold, then dust with powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

Makes around 13-16 crepes

 
I leave you with one of my favorite wind chimes, which I bought at our local Trade Days for  under $10.  Isn't this teapot the cutest?  It has strawberries hanging from the bottom, along with some other fun things. On the lid of the teapot is a red jingle bell. 
 
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