Haven't posted any tablescapes for several months! Been busy setting up a new not-for-profit agency and making some changes in life ... but I'm back at it and wanted to participate in Tablescape Thursday so I've posted several of my favorite collages of past designs! I'll be back with some new things soon ... I'm back writing my newspaper cooking column ... will be teaching cooking classes to over 1,000 students of all ages in six counties ... published another cookbook while I've been "away" and I'm having a blast! I've managed to incorporate all my passions into a business and it is wonderful!
Last summer, I made 35 rag wreaths. I sold some of them in my antique mall booth; sold some to friends ... and gave some to friends. By the time I hit number 25, I realized that I had only made one for myself! So, I decided what I wanted to do in the dining room for Christmas decorations and set out to include rags! I deliberately used a color theme and my white owl ornaments, so I could leave the decorations up a couple months after Christmas. Yes, I admit that I love putting Christmas decorations up ... and dislike taking them down!
So, I made a rag wreath ... rag candle rings ... and a rag garland for the mantel!
I know you think this is a fancy cocktail, but it is poor old simple apple juice with some spinach juice added in! I'm new to juicing, so you might see entirely too many juice posts for the next few weeks! My juicer arrived today ... so ... in went 4 apples and a big handful of spinach leaves! That made two cups and I added two more cups of plain old carbonated lemon infused tap water ... that I make with my Sodastream. I get so tired of eating my daily fresh fruit ... and drink the carbonated water instead of soda, which I almost cannot stand! This was a really refreshing afternoon treat on a very cold winter day in the Illinois Delta!
If you haven't been hungry for fresh spinach, you will be after you look at this post! My friends at the Mulberry Hill Farm just a couple minutes south of Carbondale, Illinois ... grow lots of good things. This winter, they've been selling spinach at our indoor farmers' market ... and it is so good. You don't know what to do with fresh spinach? Take a look at these ...
Here is quick braised spinach with the very traditional liver and onions ...
with mashed potatoes and onion gravy, of course! Braise the spinach by melting a little butter, bacon grease or olive oil in a skillet and adding the fresh spinach leaves to the skillet ... keep the heat on high and toss the spinach around until it gets a little "scar" on it. Drizzle it with your favorite vinegar ... I used Balsamic for this one ... and continue to toss the spinach until it reaches the color and texture you desire. I don't let mine break down completely. A little crispiness is good!
In the picture above, we have steamed spinach with roasted chicken breasts that have been glazed with peach salsa ... To steam the spinach, heat 1/2 cup of water or juice ... I used peach juice here ... put about three cups of spinach leaves in the pan and put the lid on. Let it steam with the simmering liquid for about 3 minutes, then start peeking to see if has absorbed the liquid.
The last picture is a fresh spinach simple salad, served with bbq pork and Swiss cheese potatoes! I enjoy tossing coarsely chopped spinach leaves with a little minced onion, apple cider vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil! How simple is that?
Wow! I've been away for the last six months ... away from blogging, that is! I've been busy setting up new not-for-profit business ... Moore Tourism Development, Inc. and I've been devoting all my time to that ... and family! I'll tell you more about that in another post ... but for now, look at this!
I hosted the Carbondale Federated Women's Club meeting last night and I prepared fondue for 18 people! Don't you love this approach? We just put all the dippers down the middle of the table like a runner .. and each person had their own pot of cheesy yumminess! Five of our hospitality and tourism university students helped .. for a donation to their student association ... and that made it even more fun!
The dippers included chunks of all kinds of bread, cubes of grilled chicken breasts, grilled sausages, roasted tiny red potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots! The recipe for the 8 quarts of fondue is on my recipe page.