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Grandma Debbie's Christmas 2018

Mary Queen of Scots Dinner Menu Booklet

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.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Yesterday, we spent a nice morning at a local orchard where beautiful sunflowers have been harvested for the last couple weeks!  Sunflowers are so cheerful, real ones and silk ones ... always make me smile!  Today's tablescape is dedicated to making sunshine on a day when it is cold and raining!

These bright colors sure are a welcomed sight on a rainy morning!  Good coffee, juice and a little sparkling wine make a perfect brunch when the food savory and sweet and delicious!  This dinnerware is Norfolk and was probably a Dollar Tree find at one point, although I picked mine up on Ebay!

These fantastic rustic wooden pieces came from my favorite collectible shop and the sage green color is a perfect color for alots of themes!  I still enjoy using battery powered candles, even though the baby I was protecting when I first switched from real flames to batteries ... is all grown up!

I love this place setting.  The sunflower place mats are from Kohl's this season, but I've had the napkin rings for years!  The flatware is Towle "everyday" sunflowers ... and the orange stemmed glass is vintage 1970s Noritake Provincial!  If it is vintage, so am I!

I'll be sharing with a few blog parties listed on my sidebar, so make sure you click through to see some other entries!  Keep your sun shining!

Chicken Southwestern Style!

Our favorite German meat market sells 'bundles' each month and September's bundle included ten pounds of chicken legs and thighs.  That might seem like a lot of chicken for an empty nester, but I packaged mine in small portions and will enjoy it for a few weeks!  I usually cook two sections, then I have one left for something else!  This time, I made chicken quesadillas the second day and you can see that post right here!

If you think this plate is a little heavy on corn ... on the cob, cornbread and coating on the chicken ... well, too bad!  We like corn.  The recipe for the chicken couldn't be easier.  For 2 legs and 2 thighs, here's what you need to combine:

1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
a couple dashes of salt

Soak the chicken pieces in milk for thirty minutes.  Then dry the chicken and dip it in cooled melted butter (about half a stick).  Then dredge the chicken pieces in the corn meal mixture.  Bake the chicken at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Test it to make sure the juices run clear and bake a little longer, if they don't.  When you want chicken to absorb the flavors of the seasoning, the best pieces to use are the leg and thigh.  The meat is filled with juice and the flavors will really come through!

I stick my ears of corn right in the oven while the chicken is roasting.  You can wrap them in foil, or simply leave the shucks on them.  The corn will be done when the chicken is done.  Small sweet potatoes can also be baked right on the oven rack.  Make it easy!

Butter, a little salt and lots of fresh cilantro make the corn and sweet potato better!  Use your favorite cornbread recipe ... maybe one that includes cheddar cheese and green chili peppers!

This is a beautiful and delicious meal.  It can't be much easier when you put everything in the oven at the same time!

I'll be sharing this recipe with a few blog parties, so make sure you click through to see the other posts!  Enjoy!

Next Day Chicken Quesadillas

The day after I made delicious Chicken Southwestern Style, I used the left over chicken to make quesadillas!  I simply shredded the chicken, added cilantro, scallions, tomatoes and sweet red peppers. I topped it all with shredded cheddar cheese and had a delicious meal

Served with additional fresh vegetables, sour cream, avocado salsa and cilantro!  It was supper ... then a packed lunch the next day, too!

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

Grandma's Blue & Green Pupkins!

Autumn at Grandma Debbie's