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Mardi Gras Sunday Dinner!


When I was a young mom, I would tell people ..."What I do ... I do for Nicole."   Now, I am happy to tell you ... "What I do ... I do for Phoebe."  This granddaughter of mine has a little bit of interest in cooking ... and a little more interest in tablescaping!  If you follow me, you know that I have promised her a Sunday Dinner a month, complete with a holiday theme.  We don't care if we can't celebrate a holiday on the actual appropriate date.  This family is so busy, it is difficult to do that.  We celebrate when we can, but we always celebrate!  For me, getting my family around the table for my food is a celebration that I love.


Our centerpiece was all about the table runners and colorful miniature masks!  I added lots of beads and a few larger masks.

 



Pioneer Woman's Celia pattern dinnerware is filled with Mardi Gras colors, so they worked perfectly.  


I would never pay the price for beaded place mats.  However, I found a deep, deep discounted set at Kohl's a couple years ago. They were the perfect foundation for this place setting!  I've had this multi-colored flatware for so long, I don't remember where they came from or who made them!  It doesn't really matter, 
but the colors added a lot to this casual setting!


Purple napkins, purple faux gemstone napkin rings ... cute tiny masks and my favorite vintage Bull's Eye goblets ... round out the colorful setting!


Cajun or Creole food is a part of our standard menu in our households, so thinking of something extra special for this Sunday Dinner took creativity.  We have a new Amish market that has an incredible array of luncheon meats, so mini Muffaletta Sandwiches was an easy decision!  Phoebe, Nicole and I visited the market the weekend of our event and I loaded my cart with a variety of meats and cheeses.  I happy to find a big jar of Muffaletta olive relish on their shelves, too!  I sprinkled the tops of my little French rolls not with sesame seeds (as is the usual), but with a garlic butter sprinkle, and that made the sandwiches even better. Sharp cheddar, German balogna, Genoa salami and honey glazed ham filled the rolls.


I made an easy egg salad to serve with crackers.  In keeping with the theme, a little Muffaletta olive relish mixed with the chopped eggs and mayo created an egg salad with a spicy bite!

Our Cajun shrimp was actually quickly stir fried!  I tossed the shrimp in a Cajun spice mix and a little olive oil, and then added chopped asparagus to the fry pan.  A quick toss and a little sauce made with 2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 2 Tablespoons of Sriracha, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a cup of seafood stock.  I used the stock as the liquid for a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce and stirred in half a stick of butter to finish it.  I served it over brown rice, which created a nutty flavored background for the spice.  

Do you see a King Cake in my collage?  Nope!  Miss Phoebe asked for Cherry Pie, so that is what we had.

I'll share this post with a couple blog parties listed in my side bar.  Make sure you click through to see the other posts!








Valentine's Sunday Dinner

In 2019, I have planned to have a monthly Sunday Dinner for my family and will celebrate whatever holiday falls in that month!  Miss Phoebe and I agreed that we might make up some holidays!  This family is so busy, we don't always get to celebrate holidays on the actual date, so this is a fantastic alternative!  In February, we celebrated Valentine's Day two times.  The first time on February 14th at my daughter's house ... and the second time a few days later!


The tablescape was important and it was designed around these collectible Royal Dalton 7 inch plates.  These are beautiful used with any delicate rose china pattern, but Sunday dinners have to be casual, so I used my everyday Temptations!  Red was the theme!

 With the Christmas Tree in the background, this quick composed centerpiece (actually on the end of the table) also includes some of the plates and red lanterns repurposed from Christmas!


The tablescape was simple!  Centerpiece on the end, so we could put lots of food in the center and serve family style!  The red placemats and napkins are from Pier 1 ... winter season!

 The cute heart bread and butte plates are Williams Sonoma "Letters" and are probably intended for appetizers!



Our menu was simple ... Balsamic pork roast, loaded mashed potatoes, fried corn and this easy salad.  We all love marinated artichoke hearts, so when a jar is about half empty, I add a nice flavored vinegar (fig on this day) to it and turn it into a nice salad dressing.  Butter lettuce, baby spinach and cauliflower ... with the artichoke hearts ... made us happy on this day!


My mother always baked a cherry pie for Valentine's Day and I have carried on that tradition!  My cousin recently told me that her mother baked the cherry pie for Washington's birthday!  As long as you get cherry pie!  Skinnie Minnie Phoebe didn't want pie with her meal, but the leftovers went to her house.  Later that day, her mom discovered that she had stood at the kitchen counter and had eaten the last two pieces right out of the pie plate!  

Happy Valentine's Day ... I'll post on a few blog parties, so make sure you click through!






Valentines in my Living Room!

We actually 'live' in our living room! There is nothing formal or extravagant about it, unlike some of the first homes we lived in!  At first I thought I couldn't survive without a formal living room but after 35 years in this house ... I'm fine with it!

I have a few spots in my home that I always decorate for holidays!  There are times that the holidays run together, because I love all these little vignettes!  I'm posting a couple pictures from the top of a cabinet in the living room!



Here's that favorite spot with a fusion of Christmas and Valentine's Day!  I love my natural trees!  Had to leave at least one of them out, especially since it is wrapped in red burlap!




Here are the elements of the vignette!  I found that "love you" sign not long after Joe died.  Sometimes it kills me to look at it, but I have it displayed all the time.

The next picture has nothing to do with this little tablescape!  My favorite Valentine basket went with me to visit the local adult daycare center.  I visit almost every week and read a story and pass out some treats!  One of the ladies pays special attention to my baskets, so I take a different one each week!

A Tribute to Mary Queen of Scots


My daughter and I have always had a strong interest in Scottish history.  More so, after her discovery that we descend in a round about way from the line of Stuarts.  We couldn't wait for the new movie about Queen Mary to make it to our little town.  I decorated the dining room for a Scottish Christmas, in plans for a special dinner featuring the foods from the time of King Henry VIII and the cousins, Mary and Elizabeth I.


Just above this post, you will find a link to the menu booklet I created for this meal.  The purpose was to attempt to inspire Miss Phoebe to become a little bit interested in incorporating history with food and tablescaping!  I am the tablescaper; my daughter is the food historian; Phoebe has become interested in cooking and setting pretty tables.  If we can create more interest in history (which she currently says is boring), we will have succeeded!


We do ... what we do ... for this pretty young lady.  

The movie finally arrived in January!  The Christmas decorations were all about the plaid tartans! Douglass is our clan, but I was happy to add any tartan pattern I could find!



Here are a couple views of the composed centerpiece ... set on the end of the table!  I frequently use books in stacking centerpiece compositions!  This time I added some vintage books.



The place settings were perfect for this theme.
Johnson Bros. Brookshire China on a plaid charger!  



The menu was taken from a variety of cookbooks featuring recipes from the era of Henry VIII and Tudor times.  I also used several websites featuring  favorite foods of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots and King James II.

The most important part of the menu is always to initiate conversation! I certainly did that!



At first, Phoebe said she couldn't eat mustard sauce on an egg!  She gobbled it up and asked for another one!  


Phoebe loves noodles, so I knew that adding noodles to a thick vegetable soup ... would make her taste it!  She loved it.


While history tells us that Kim James II loved lots of vegetables in his salads ... as many as 35 different things ... I kept our salad simple!  Marinated artichoke hearts over spinach leaves and parmesan cheese! ... also favorites of Phoebe's!


I love the presentation of a whole game hen!  Game was standard fare on the Tudor menu. This got a "I can't possibly eat this whole thing," from Phoebe.  She was, of course, correct!  None of the 3 of us could eat the whole thing.



Our sweetmeat tray was lots of fun and entirely too SWEET!  I purchased all of it ... marzipan fruits, chocolates, tiny lemon cakes and miniature pecan pies!  We enjoyed our hot tea and needed it to wash down the sugar!

Son-in-law had gone to Minnesota ice fishing, so we three girls had a perfect excuse to have our special meal!  

We had short history lesson ... and a long meal!  The perfect way to spend a Saturday night in January!

I'll share this with a couple blog parties, so make sure you click through to see the other posts!


Thanksgiving 2018



I love Thanksgiving.  I love all the traditional foods and decorations. I don't wait until Thanksgiving, however, to express my thanks!  I am grateful on a daily basis for all that I have in my life. Joe and I had a dear friend years ago who was being taken by cancer. He told us that he would not pray for himself. I understood, but I don't agree! I say prayers of thanksgiving and I also ask that I may continue to to do the things I do ... to share my skills and talents ... to create fun and excitement .. with all - and for all - who care to be a part of my life.


This year we decided to buy a pasture raised turkey from a local farmer. I name everything (yes, even things I'm going to eat), so I named this guy Bob.  Turns out that Bobbette was a very tasty lady!  If you've never cooked a fresh turkey, they will only take about 2/3s the amount of time frozen/thawed birds will take.  They are not injected with anything, so they don't create that horrible 'turkey coma' that we laugh about! I stuffed Bobbette with apples, a lemon and lots of rosemary. I rubbed her skin with olive oil, and a pulverized powder I made with pink peppercorns, dried garlic, dried sage and more rosemary.


I added the colors of purple and yellow to our tablescape this year! I do something a little different every year and decided a pop of yellow would be nice!  Some of our side dishes are very traditional. Others have a new spin! I always try to fix a couple things that I know Miss Phoebe will enjoy eating!  She's almost 12, but still likes and dislikes certain foods! Something she ate a month ago might not be touched now!  Kids!


I found these cute place mats at Pier 1 this fall and knew I wanted them on my Thanksgiving table. I added a little burlap ribbon to the composed centerpiece and put 'burlap' paper in the background of the menu card.





Our place setting is simple  Johnson Brothers Royal Majesty with Cambridge turkey flatware. The glasses are Mikasa and Fostoria from the 1970s.  Miniature salt and peppers came from Cracker Barrel this season!




 The centerpiece is in the center at all, but set up on the end of the table, so there is room for all the food!  We always serve Thanksgiving dinner family style!

My pilgrims are Villeroy and Boch and have been in my collection for years.  The turkey and the big ceramic pumpkin are Hobby Lobby treasures, but also at least fifteen years old!


Happy Thanksgiving!
I'll be sharing my post with a couple parties, so make sure you click through to see the other posts!






Niki's 44th Birthday!



I still enjoy having a special birthday meal for my only ... Niki turned 44 this year and we finally had her little celebration at the end of October.  She was traveling on her actual birthday, so we had to wait a couple weeks!

A menu card remains one of my favorite ways to make a meal special, so here is the one for her brunch!


She has an attachment to owls ... and who isn't attached to Pioneer Woman these days?  Our table is a mixed up vignette of lots of colors!


PW table runner, napkins and place mats ... Dazzling Dahlia and Fiona patterns.


The centerpiece, set on the end of the table, so we could fill the table with food ... is a simple globe filled with flowers that match the linens ... a couple candles in bright orange glasses ... galvanized lanterns and the yellow owl!


The square dinner plate is Pfaltzgraff, but the owl is a cheap Walmart plate from this new season!  If you follow my blog, you've seen the Labrador flatware before.  It is one of my favorite Cambridge patterns.  We love our Labs!







The owl salt and pepper shakers are from Cracker Barrel and the napkins rings are vintage!  I'm vintage, too ... and I've had these for years!


Here's the birthday girl!  Can't believe that she is 44.  Seems like she should still be toddling around in pigtails!


I'll be sharing this post with a couple blog parties, so make sure you click through to see the other posts.










Mary Queen of Scots Dinner Menu Booklet

Grandma Debbie's Christmas 2018

Grandma's Blue & Green Pupkins!

Autumn at Grandma Debbie's