Welcome & Stay a Little Longer!

Welcome to Slice of Pie! I'm glad you dropped by to visit. You'll find a variety of life styling ideas on my blog ... and lots of grand daughter pictures, too! Miss Phoebe is my best helper and we do lots of special things together. Make sure you take a look down my sidebar! Under the "You're Invited" icon you'll find picture links to dinner parties I've hosted. Under the "Good Food" icon, you'll find picture links to food posts I've done. I usually post a sidebar picture link to magazine articles I've written. You'll find something you like! Hope you enjoy and stay around for awhile!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hints of Autumn in August!

I'm not crazy about the month of August, but the hints of Autumn in August make me happy!  Autumn is my favorite season.

So, a little switch of the decor is always a good thing!

I watched a real rabbit in the back yard yesterday evening. Even though Jimmy Mutt was running all over the yard, the rabbit didn't move from it's spot!  It was happy in a spot of wild strawberry plants that I have let cover a spot ... and it wasn't moving!  Jimmy never even noticed!

I love rag rugs and have purchased several over the years ... that have been the works of artisan weavers!  Recently, I've found some colorful ones in places like "5 Below" ... a store that is like a dollar store, but items cost $5 or less!  The rug I have over the back of my sofa cost $5!  For the fun of it, I added a small rag rug to the top of the coffee table ... where Miss Phoebe does a lot of art work!  

All the trendy galvanized metal takes me back to my childhood!  In fact, I still have a galvanized 'wash tub' that belonged to my husband's grandmother!  It must be 75 years old! We used it for every picnic party we ever had ... to ice down watermelons! Sometimes the watermelon was spiked with vodka!

I added fall pine cones, acorns and leaves to this cute galvanized cart! My big pig sits around all the time! I recently purchased this little silver pig and you'll see him later on a tablescape I have planned!

"Grow Love" and "Plant Hope" ... painted on the sides of small flower pots that ride in the cart!  "Integrity" is a word that means so much! Think about that!

I'll share this post with some of the parties listed on my side bar, so make sure you click through to see the other posts!


Bleu Cheese and Figs!

This cheese ball is so easy!  You simply blend equal parts of cream cheese with bleu cheese ... roll it in pecans and top it with fig preserves.

That simple.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

5 Spice Chicken Beer Can Style

If you don't cook whole chickens beer can style, you are missing something easy and delicious!  No, you don't have to use beer!  While I started out propping my chicken on a beer can twenty-five years ago, I progressed to affording a stainless steel beer can rack/pan to use on my grill. You can find those online in a variety of designs and prices. I even have a ceramic one to use in the oven.

I've been wanting to make 5 Spice Chicken, so I decided to just add it to my beer can approach! I really enjoy the combined flavors of fennel, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ginger. As I was looking around the wine racks for something to pour in the insertion can, I found something I bought at Christmastime and never used!  Spiced Cherry wine from Germany ... that is normally mulled and served warm. I happily drank some of it on ice and used some of it for the chicken. Fusion ... German and Asian!  The spices were compatibly the same!

I knew I would have a nice iceberg lettuce salad with my dinner, so I added something creamy to balance the kick of spice on the chicken! I love the oven under my outdoor grill. It is perfect for any side dish and keeps me from heating up the kitchen! I made the hash brown potato casserole that we all love!

I called beer can chicken easy. It is! You simply add about 1 1/2 cups of liquid in the can with your favorite herbs ...  and set the chicken's bottom right down over it. Cook it over indirect heat on the grill - medium high - for about 1 1/2 hours. Use your meat thermometer to make certain your chicken reaches 165 degrees internally.  During the last thirty minutes of cooking, I usually brush my bird with a little olive oil and seasoning.  This time, the seasoning was 5 Spice. Your dried seasoning spice with make a dark crust and the skin will be delicious.  You don't have to do a think to this chicken while it cooks, but it is important to pay attention for a splatter of grease that causes a flame up. INDIRECT HEAT is the key.  Beer can chickens are always moist, juicy ... delicious!

I will probably share this post with a couple parties listed in my side bar. Take a look for more wonderful posts!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Favorite Red - White - Blue

I've set hundreds of patriotic tablescapes! Each one has something included that was on one from the past ... but each one has something new, too! I cannot resist red, white and blue decor.

Let's just start by telling that the navy blue star basket is one of a set of nesting baskets. I've had it twenty years! While the little flags are inexpensive (but made in the USA), they are treasures because I've brought them home from Lincoln Dinners, Sister Cities events and Veteran's activities! The single new thing on this table is the tobacco box perched on top of my tiered tray. It is only new to me ... bought it last weekend at a junk store! Oh, no ... I fibbed! There is another new thing on the table. You'll meet it later!

Tablescapers know that designs usually begin with one or two favorite things! For this table, the plan evolved from two vintage doilies that I have had for ages ... and the new to me vintage tobacco box! All those things were added together with my galvanized tiered tray, pigs (of course) and some other cute things.

After the tray was completed, I had to add a few more things to the middle of the table. Galvanized charger plates on end, a reproduction White House Cookbook and a tray of pint jar vases, complete with metal flower frog lids.

 This place setting is patriotic eclectic!  The cobalt blue dinner plates are Arcoroc. The rest ... we'll just call the 'eclectic combination'!!!

I fall in love with all my stuff and that is why I have so much that I cannot part with. Someday I will have a gigantic auction, but I'm not ready yet! This is the new thing on the table ... the little tray of 3 pint jars! Of course, I've fallen in love with it, too!

My most favorite things on the table ... the red Union Leader tobacco box. My husband would have loved it! ... AND ... the Blue Willow 6 inch platters. These are Buffalo China and were probably intended for use in a restaurant for a 'side of bacon' with a breakfast meal!

I'll be sharing this post with a couple parties listed in my sidebar. Make sure you click through to see all the fun!

Garden Quiche

There's no garden at my house, but I sure enjoy garden-fresh produce. I had some tiny heirloom tomatoes and pencil thin asparagus hanging around, so I decided to use it to make a quiche that I could enjoy for more than one meal! I used the easy Bisquick recipe and baked it for a late Saturday breakfast. Quiche is good for any meal. Add a salad and you have a perfect brunch, lunch or dinner!

The Basic Bisquick Quiche Recipe

2 cups milk, half and half or evaporated milk
1 cup Bisquick or any other baking mix
4 eggs
dash of salt and pepper

Whisk all the above ingredients until smooth.

Add any kind of shredded cheese you like, but make sure you add at least a cup.

Add about 2 cups of other cooked ingredients and bake at 350 degrees 
for 45 to 55 minutes.

For this quiche, I fried a half pound of breakfast sausage with 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1/4 cup chopped sweet green pepper.  I let this cool a big then added it to the milk/egg ingredients.  When I poured the mixture in my greased baking dish, I dotted the top with some of my small tomatoes and asparagus. Tomatoes and asparagus did not need to be pre-cooked.  I used a combination of cheddar and jack cheese.

I stored what was left in my new Tupperware containers ... in the freezer.  I can take this to work for an easy lunch.  

I'll share this post with a couple blog parties listed in my sidebar, so make sure you check out the other posts!  Have some fun and if you need Tupperware, you can buy it from my Phd daughter! She is having a blast selling Tupperware this summer and Miss Phoebe is learning all kinds of grown up things about doing business!  Visit Food, Fun & Tupperware by Niki

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Country Style Ribs!

We love country style ribs because they are mostly meat and not much bone! Truth is, they are a little more like small pork steaks, cut thick!  I brined these little ribs in a combination of 2 cups white wine, 2 cups of cold water, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a clove of garlic, cut in a couple chunks. I left them in the fridge overnight and cooked them for Sunday lunch.

There is no magic timing to cooking country ribs. If they are super thick, they will take longer. These took about an hour over medium heat on the grill.  I turned them two times and after they reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees, I moved them to the corner of the grill, away from direct heat and let them cook for 15 minutes more. I brush on my favorite BBQ sauce in the last 30 minutes of cooking ... over the heat, then off the heat.

While the ribs were cooking, these delicious potatoes were steaming away in a foil pack on the grill.  I peel and slice a baking potato for each person. Spray the foil with PAM and layer the potatoes on the foil.  Salt and pepper them ... add chives, rosemary, chopped onion ... or whatever you like.  Close the foil packet tightly and place it over a low flame on the grill.  I make a pack per person! These packets take 45 minutes. They look like fried potatoes, but no oil is used.

One of our favorite summer salads is this easy cucumber salad. Sometimes I add sliced peppers, onions and tomatoes. This time, I sliced a nice yellow sweet pepper and added some tiny picked red peppers that I bought from the olive bar at a favorite grocery store.  The dressing is super simple!  Mix equal parts of vinegar, water, oil and sugar ... and whatever herbs you like.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Big Lot Plates & Flowers

I think you are going to see these melamine dinner plates from Big Lots ... in several posts this summer. They seem to look great with lots of tablescape themes and I keep them out all the time so they are handy to grab when I'm playing on the back deck.  This morning of scaping began with this set of cute place mats!  You're going to see them again on a different day!

Flowers, flowers, flowers!  I always hang a wreath in my cherry tree that is right beside the back deck!  This summer, I'm using a lighted wreath that includes red geraniums, but I add lots of other flowers to it as the season progresses!  These napkin rings came from Pier 1 ... years ago!  I've had them several seasons. The napkins came from Pier 1 a couple Easter seasons ago!  Don't you love the stitching on the hems?

Other than roses, I don't grow flowers to cut.  In fact, if I keep flowers in pots going all summer, it is just good luck and mild temperatures!  To have been raised by an expert gardener, you'd think I could grow flowers. Not true, but I love clipping grape leaves, pinching a few petunias and adding a little other trailing greenery ... and filling tiny vintage vases!

My tablescape is a hodgepodge! Old and new ... and if you follow me you know I like to include pigs in table settings.  I have enough of these cuties to put at each place setting, filled with homemade salad dressing!  The flatware is 20 years old and glassware is 30 plus years old! I have trouble parting with stuff!

I'll probably share this with a few parties on my sidebar, so make sure you click through to see the other posts!
Hope you have a great summer!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Annual Pork Burger Post!

My annual pork burger post is usually about how ground pork is cheaper than ground beef ... and how I love to buy 5 pounds, make and freeze patties.  Well this year is a little different!  My Phd. daughter has started selling Tupperware! She need something new in her life and wants Phoebe to learn about running a business and earning money.  Sometimes it is hard for children to learn those lessons without a real experience!  This is working perfectly for them.

Of course, I've bought things I don't need ... but I decided I would really use this burger press and storage containers.  I LOVE THIS SET!  I've pattied thousands of burgers in my cooking life, but these perfect patties cooked faster and shrunk less than any I've ever made.  Something about the pressing and the size.  The storage stack is fantastic, too ... and the frozen burger pops right out and will thaw in 30 minutes.  Dr. Tupperware Lady is on to something!  People love their products because they last forever!  I'm not having trouble spending money!

Grilled Polenta

I recently had some polenta left from another meal, so I stored it in the fridge a couple days and grilled it for supper.  I had added smoked gouda walnut spread to the polenta before I stored it and that made it extra good.  Fresh basil and thyme made it even better!

Shrimp Seared in Sage & Brown Butter

I'm trying to spend a little more time at the stove or BBQ grill lately.  It is just not easy to cook only enough for one person, so I have to work at preparing small portions!  I need to eat my own cooking, and I love cooking for crowds, but when it is just for me ... the quicker I get done, the better.  Believe it or not, this shrimp dinner is a 30-minute meal!

After peeling, deveining and washing the shrimp, I pat it dry with paper towel. While doing that, I've set a small pan of water to boil for my polenta (3 parts water to 1 part polenta). Once the water is boiling, gently pour in the polenta; turn the heat down and let the polenta simmer until it is done. Stir it occasionally.

I make the rest of this meal in one skillet, starting  by quickly 'scalding' the fresh green beans in just a tiny bit of butter.  I season my beans with salt and pepper. Before the beans were ready, I tossed in a small sweet red pepper, sliced. When my vegetables were crisp, but done ... I removed them and added a Tablespoon of butter to the skillet, letting it melt slowly. I added my shrimp and fresh sage leaves (chopped). I generously dropped fresh lemon zest over the shrimp. Once the shrimp started turning translucent, I turned the heat up high and quickly browned the butter and the shrimp! I immediately served the shrimp over the polenta. If you don't quickly removed your browned butter sauce from the skillet, it will become blackened butter sauce! The last step is a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice!  Delicious!

I always have left over polenta and it is good in many ways.  I added a couple spoonsful of smoked gouda walnut spread to the left over polenta and stored it in the fridge.  Look at left over Grilled Polenta to see how I used it!

Monday, June 19, 2017

BBQ Chicken Legs!

Who doesn't love BBQ chicken?  Oh, I'm sure there are lots of folks who don't ... but I can honestly tell you that I don't know one!  As an empty nest grandma, I cook for just one, so for a normal meal, I sure don't need to cook a whole chicken. Legs are my favorite pieces ... so it is a batch of legs that I will cook!

Several years ago, I bought a couple drumstick racks for the grill.  They really make the job super easier. All you have to do is set the legs over medium heat, close the lid on your grill and let the legs cook for about 45 minutes.  After they are done, I take them off the rack, dip them in my favorite BBQ sauce and place the legs directly on the grill, so the sauce gets thick and blackens a little.
Why is this easy? Because all you have to do is turn the rack one time so the legs cook evenly on all sides. Other than that, you can go about the business of mowing grass, cleaning the kitchen or just sitting in the lounge chair, relaxing!

I served my drumsticks with a baked potato and an easy iceberg lettuce salad, topped with marinated olives, pepperoni and chunks of asiago cheese.  I'll be sharing this post with a few parties shown in my sidebar, so make sure you click through to see the other posts!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


When I've had a busy day at work, I don't come home and cook for myself.  I cooked dinner for 35 years, but now that I set just one place at the table, I don't see a real reason to do it.  When I do, it better happen in less than 10 minutes, or I go right to the freezer for one of those little boxes!

I am a fan of pasta with no sauce ... I like it sauteed in a little butter or infused olive or avocado oil!  It just takes a tiny amount to give it a delightful flavor.  So ... in 7 minutes tonight, I made one of my favorites ... Spinach with Angel Hair Pasta!

All you have to do is saute a couple cups of fresh spinach in a pat of butter ... while the pasta is cooking.  I want a fresh flavor, so I only add lemon juice and a few pieces of lemon peel.  Then I toss it all together after the pasta is drained and sprinkle on a few bleu cheese crumbles.  It takes longer to clean up the dishes than it does to cook the meal!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


It was time to do some serious back yard work and put up a new flag ... so I can properly dispose of the old flag at a Flag Day ceremony next week!  Of course, a new flag was something to celebrate, so I had to set a cute snack table.

I saved a few fruit boxes last summer, just to use for serving quick snacks. If you remember the days when real little woven baskets were used ... you must be at least as old as I am!  I still have some of those from a agriculture basket factory that was located near our home.

Our fried donuts always come right from a can of biscuit dough ... or from Angel Biscuit dough, if I have it in the fridge!

I'm afraid the Pioneer Woman got me again ... with the red checked dishes. I'm giving lots of stuff to charity this summer, so I am justifying a few PW purchases!  My galvanized tin pig likes sitting on the table with some worn garden ornaments!

I might share with some of the parties on my sidebar, so take a look at the other posts!  Have a great week!

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