Saturday, October 30, 2010

I am so happy to be joing Chari at Happy to Design for Sunday Favorites! I posted this last October. I hope you enjoy it and have a safe and happy Halloween!

What goes together better than “trick” and “treat”? Tablescape Thursday and Foodie Friday of course! Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and Michael at Designs by Gollum are our gracious hostesses once again. Their buttons are on my sidebar for easy transportation. Thank you ladies for our weekly feast for the eyes and palate!


There is nothing better for a crisp October night than sharing a casual meal with good friends. Tonight we are having green salad, chili, and Mexican cornbread muffins. It’s all casual from the menu to the fun and easy table setting.


No sissy sized bowls for Beloved. He likes a big bowl of chili and these large hand painted bowls from Corsica will do the trick. The soup tureen was found at a garage sale by Lauralu at Hidden Promise. She did not want it and sold it to me-- garage sale prices without the early Saturday morning shopping! The “napkins” are cotton tea towels from Dollar Tree.


Mexican cornbread muffins “shrouded” in a cute wire basket. Stemmed black cauldrons for witches’ brew.CIMG0498

Cupcakes make an easy and fun dessert. Mary at One Perfect Bite recently posted a recipe for these delicious pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream frosting here. I think they might be one of our new favorites. And now, I am going to share with you what Oprah calls an “Aha! moment”. See those cute spider webs on the cupcakes?


This is how that spider web starts out—three circles made with black Wilton Sparkle Gel. Next, start at the center and drag a toothpick through to the last circle—instant spider web! Top with the plastic critter of your choice!


I am also joining Rhoda at Southern Hospitality for her Recipe Party. Here’s how I make Mexican Cornbread Muffins:

Mix one and 1/2 cups self rising corn meal, one medium onion,chopped; one half green pepper, chopped; one jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped; one (15 1/4 can whole kernel corn, drained; one teaspoon sugar; 3/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese; two eggs, and one cup of buttermilk. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about twenty minutes.

Thank you Susan, Michael, and Rhoda! Bone Appetit!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkins and Surprises!

Our friend Laurie @ Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Lauries is hosting My Favorite Things and I’ve got LOTS of favorite things going on here!


This pumpkin is going to the Grove tomorrow with a bouquet of fall flowers to tailgate at the Ole Miss Auburn game. As I’ve told you before—the Rebels DO know how to tailgate in high style! But this is just fun and not nearly “Halloweeny” enough :) On to Pumpkin # 2!


You’ve heard of roach motels? It seems we’re having a bit of a rodent problem here.. :)


Cinderella’s coachmen run amuck!


And what is this? The “baby left this for his girlfriend in the kitchen tonight. A bucket of spiders? A vat of witch’s brew?


Oh wait…there is something in the bottom…..a spider ring in a velvet lined box? Is this a joke?


And there he was….her boyfriend….my baby…. down on one knee with the real thing in his hand. She said YES!


Happy Halloween from a very tired, very emotional mother of the groom-to-be! This has been one of my FAVORITE days :) You can join Laurie and the party here! I am also joining The Tablscaper for Seasonal Sundays. You can find this fun party here. Thanks for sharing this with me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bundle of Joy Buffet

Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for a surprise baby. NO, the baby is not a surprise, but the sex of the bundle of joy will be unknown until the doctor announces it in the delivery room. What fun and excitement! The way we all used to do it!


The color scheme for the shower was completely pastel—pink, blue, yellow, green, and lavender. Cupcakes, mini cheesecakes in pastel liners, pacifier candy favors, and candy-coated almonds lined the sideboard.


I made pastel marshmallow fondant flowers to top the cupcakes and put them together them in every combination I could think of. I didn’t want to influence the outcome :). You can find details on the fondant here and the recipe here.


The favors are made with Lifesavers, icing for glue, pastel jelly beans for the nipple, and LOTS of pastel curling ribbon. They are completely edible!


The centerpiece was a mixture of fresh yellow and green flowers in this adorable bassinet I found online. I truly had hoped to take pictures of the entire table, but this baby shower almost got away from me! I thought it was more important to answer the door rather than keep clicking away!


You can’t have a proper southern tea or shower without homemade pimiento cheese tea sandwiches! I used my acorn and maple leaf cookie cutters.


For me, deciding on a beverage is always hard for afternoon events. I am not a real fan of most punches. However, this Apple Julep was a hit! It’s not too sweet and made a beautiful presentation with apple and lemon slices floating in it. Christy Jordan, who writes A Southern Plate blog, was recently featured in Southern Living and included this recipe. I’ve been reading Christy’s blog for a couple of years and she is as entertaining as she is informative.

Apple Julep

1 quart apple juice

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

Mix all well and serve chilled or over ice. Makes about six cups and doubles or triples easily.

I am linking to Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and to Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday. Click on their buttons on the sidebar for immediate inspiration. I’ll let you know what the “surprise” is in about three weeks! :) Thanks for stopping by—leave me a note!!~~Susan

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quothe the Raven “Nevermore”


Once upon a midnight dreary…. A lifelong admirer of the works of Edgar Allen Poe, I knew that I had to make this raven tree the moment I saw it. I made it last year for the breakfast room, but I decided to put it in the foyer this year.


I used one of those leftover reception urns, floral foam, Spanish moss, a branch from the yard, black spray paint, and Dollar Tree crows and a spider.


And the raven never flitting, still is sitting,


still is sitting…..


Perfect for Halloween and perfect for joining Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesdays! Click here to join her!

Boo! And thanks for visiting!~~Susan

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mantel Metamorphosis

I am definitely not a person who believes in waiting for the “perfect” time to entertain. I find that most people are willing to overlook imperfection when it is accompanied by sincere hospitality. But as our good friend Laurie @Bargain Hunting and Chatting says, “howevah” :)….. sometimes I need an event to nudge me. A recent baby shower was my impetus.


This is a rather blurry picture of my mantel as it was about three weeks ago. I’ve been dabbling with the mantel for months now. I just never was satisfied. Something just wasn’t right.


And then it hit me. It was the picture over the mantel that was all wrong. I love and cherish this picture taken at Seaside, but that little guy on the end is 6’ 1” now! Our daughter’s wedding portrait is newly hung and firstborn has changed too! Time to update!


Although I love the library paneling in our family room, it does tend to make it a little dark. I thought a round mirror might help offset the squares of the paneling and bounce a little more light around. Hmmmm… that old brass fan shows up too. Isn’t that the way it always is? You start out rearranging the top of the mantel and you end up at Home Depot buying a fan? :)


Next I rattled around in the closet and found this urn leftover from last year’s wedding reception. I am the proud owner of several of these….I thought I was just renting them. :) They needed to be put to use so out came the black spray paint to the rescue.


Then I remembered my stash of pheasant feathers from one of Beloved’s hunting trips and thought they might work. This was a completely no-cost arrangement if you don’t count the cost of the florist for the reception or a trip to Wyoming to hunt pheasants :)


I think I like it! The colors in the feathers play off the colors in the mirror (from Hobby Lobby 1/2 off, of course).


I changed the candles to black and added a couple of baby pumpkins. I think this will work…at least until time to decorate for Christmas!

razor pig pig

Also, we just returned from a road trip! We made the long trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the Ole Miss/Arkansas game. And while they beat us and we were evacuated from the stadium twice due to lightening, we had a wonderful time! As I said earlier, conditions need not be perfect for your guests to enjoy themselves! The Razorbacks were gracious hosts!

Thanks for visiting! Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch has inspiring makeovers at Metamorphosis Monday!~~Susan

Monday, October 18, 2010

After the Storm….I Meant Shower

Whewwww….. That’s me breathing a huge sigh of relief. I gave a baby shower Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed every minute, but the last leftover has been shipped out or zip locked, the last dish is in the dishwasher, and the house is quiet again. Beloved and the dogs can come home :) There is contentment in a finished project and the glow of candlelight.


The house is “company” clean and decorated for autumn. I hope you don’t get tired of this particular spot in my house. It’s my favorite place to herald the current holiday or season.


Rose hips and this yellow flower just look like fall to me. I am not sure what the yellow flower is. Does anyone know?


The copper flower bowl was a gift to me from the expectant mother’s mother! It is handmade of hammered copper. I have seen an aging one in a local gift shop. This one will develop a lovely blue-green patina –or I can always polish it. The candle was a gift also. I helped out a friend of mine who is a REAL candlemaker! She run her own successful business. This is one of my favorite scents for the kitchen—sugar cookie.


I love this pumpkin plate made by Kaldun and Bogle. This company is run by the maternal grandsons of Krist Kaldun and John Bogle. They pay particular attention to sculpture and detail. Their pieces remind me of Fitz and Floyd at more affordable prices. I put this pumpkin out at the first hint of fall and take it down the day after Thanksgiving.


Several of you have asked about this oil painting in the breakfast room. I bought this and the companion roosters when a design shop was going out of business. The artist’s name is covered by the frame. When I redid my kitchen the black in the frame was the “leaping off” inspiration for the black and khaki color scheme.

I’m joining Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday. I’ll be in class tonight until 9:30, but I’ll be visiting you tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!~~Susan

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breakfast On the Go—Apple Pie Oatmeal

I love breakfast. Of course, my favorite way to eat it is out or prepared by someone else. But since, no one is calling me to the breakfast table, I recently found a recipe that has a two-step process that is almost as good as hearing “breakfast is ready”!


This recipe provides an easy way to get a jump on five servings of fruits and veggies a day..


Apples and dried cranberries simmered in spices….you can almost smell it, can’t you ? :)

Apple Pie Oatmeal


Brulee’d Crust

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins

1 Granny Smith apple, cut in to medium size pieces

Combine water, sugar, cinnnamon, salt, and cranberries in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved, about one minute. Add the apples and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft but not mushy and the mixture has thickened some ---about 15 minutes. Set aside.

***** At this point I let the fruit cool and then put it in the refrigerator.

To assemble: Heat the fruit ( I did it in the microwave). Make some oatmeal. Instant works just fine---remember, you are about to “gild the lily”. Layer oatmeal and fruit mixture in an ovenproof bowl or ramekin. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on top. Broil until golden brown and bubbly or pull out the torch!


Easy, healthy, mobile---and not bad on vanilla ice cream :)


Here’s a peek at one of the things keeping me busy this week…homemade mints. I am having a baby shower on Sunday and I’ll be sharing all next week!

I am linking to Foodie Friday @ Designs by Gollum. Click on the FF button on the sidebar for a quick trip to food heaven! Thanks for stopping by---don’t forget to say hello!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Shrimp Portofino My Way

mac grill

Years ago I had a wonderful pasta dish at Romano’s Macaroni Grill. Its ingredients were all favorites of mine. And while the dish has changed names several times over the years, it’s still on the menu. Since they are not in the habit of sharing recipes, I set about to create my own version. What follows is not so much a “recipe” as a “suggestion”. The picture above is from the restaurant’s website.


This meal was a spur of the moment dinner for a young friend who needed a little pampering. You can see the table here. One of the nice things about this meal is that I usually have all the ingredients on hand.


Saute’ thawed frozen spinach, pine nuts, and minced garlic in butter. Add a little white wine if you like. I threw in some thawed precooked and peeled shrimp at the last minute. Serve tossed with angel hair pasta and freshly grated parmesan cheese! Delicious!


Dessert was leftover cupcakes from a friend’s birthday. The birthday girl’s request was cupcakes as close to wedding cake as I could make them. White cake, white icing, and pearlized sugar pearls sent to me by Bridget at Bake at 350. If you love to bake and have not visited Bridget, you are in for a real treat. Beware—You may be there for hours :)

Join our good friend Michael Lee West at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday by clicking the button on the sidebar. Thanks for stopping by~~Susan

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When a Dish Is More Than A Dish

Last week was one of the busiest I remember since the days of wedding planning. But that was not the original plan. Beloved was out of town and I had a total “me” week planned….sushi and ice cream on alternate days for dinner, lots of blogging, lots of reading, lots of blissful nothing. That was not to be. Unplanned events popped up all week.


One of my daughter’s very best friends called me and said she needed a little of my time. I could sense this young working mother of two toddlers needed more than a visit and a latte at Starbucks. So, I put the butter pecan back in the freezer and set the table….for two.


I think all mothers instinctively know when someone they care very much about needs pampering, a hug, or even the wisdom of experience. I knew this busy mother who often lives in a world of chicken nuggets on the run would appreciate a pretty table set just for her. I’ve known her since she was twelve and she likes dishes too :)


Nothing was fancy…no fine china; no good silver.


So I lit the candles for the special occasion of two women caring for and supporting one another. We held hands and said grace together as we have many many times before….. and we talked.

Sometimes a tablescape is more than dishes….

Thanks for visiting. I hope you’ll click the TT button on the sidebar to visit Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch. I’ll be back tomorrow with the dinner recipe—Shrimp Portofino. See you then!