Merry Christmas from Slice of Pie!

A few photos from our annual open house ... Bayou Style!

2010 Moore Christmas Open House



Crawfish Pie

Great Boars Beef

Coke & Cherry Glazed Ham with Creole Cherry Mustard

Mixed Green Salad with Blueberry Hill Vinaigrette

Cajun Antipasto with Quail Eggs

Cajun Crab Salad & Vegetables

Genoa Cornucopias

Pickled Okra Bites


Chocolate Mint Candy

Big Mama’s Fruit Cake

Persimmon Bread with Orange Cream

Sweet Potato Pie

Hurricanes & Chicory Coffee Punch

Shawnee Hills Wines

Big Boy Drinks

Holiday Decor Party! Front Porch Buddies

I'm linking to the Share the Decor Party, so make sure you click thru the icon on the left to visit the other posts ... and special thanks to our hostess. This is her first Linky party, so leave her a note to thank her! We sure love our parties.
Here's a quick view of what our friends and family see when they come to our front porch right now! I have a faux wreath on each shutter ... and a real one centered on the dining room windows ... that I bought from a Boy Scout ... Not just any Boy Scout ... my young friend, John, who works hard for his community.

My snow buddies, Billy and Bobby, have a little special meaning that I'll post about in January!  Right now their job is to say "Welcome" in snowman language!  Right after I set this up, we got a bit of snow in the Midwest!

 If you ever think that all our decorating and tablescaping efforts are unimportant ... think again!  Miss Phoebe is pictured here, spontaneously hosting a Christmas Tea Party with Pablo and Uniqua ... you might know the BackYardigan characters!  I'm sure there is a Splenda packet someplace on the scene ... because she won't take a sip of tea without it! ... even pretend tea.

Nativity Party

The best post or gift I can give my blogging friends for this Nativity Party is to share the chapter from my cookbook, Santa Suppers Revisited, that details a beautiful Nativity themed dinner party!   If you click thru to my website ... and click "Nativity" on the navigation bar ... you'll be lead to a page that lets you download the chapter.  The party chapter includes all the details you need to celebrate the Nativity through the creation of a beautiful dinner party for family and friends.  I hope you enjoy this chapter from my book!
Click here to start your journey to a special dinner party!

I've linked to the Nativity Party, so make sure you click thru the icon on the left to visit all the other party entries ... and special thanks to our hostess!  

Merry Christmas!

Blown Hot Water Heater Christmas!

At our house ... plumbing jobs always happen at the wrong time.   Last week when I was trying to decorate ... the hot water tank started leaking and flooded one of the bathrooms ... as usual!  So, I had an excuse to kind of redecorate ...  The bath is decorated in hunter green ... hunter wallpaper and hunt scene prints on the wall ... so it looks like Christmas most of the time!  Found great towels at Macy's ... that fit the theme ... then found a towel rack and two hunt horns at GW ... when I was supposed to be dropping stuff off and not buying more stuff!  I'm linking to Coastal Charm's Open House ... so make sure you click thru to see all the other posts!  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cloche times Three!

I've put a few of my miniatures under small cloche jars ... sitting on small mirrors.  The Santa is joined by little pigs ... they love Christmas, too!  The snowman is visiting some turtles ... and the wing wings are all together!  I dressed up the jars with some scrapbook embellishments by Martha Stewart!  Quick and cute!

I've linked to the cloche party ... so click thru to visit the other posts!
Merry Christmas!

Old World Speakers!

Just a quick post to prove that even giant screen televisions can be decorated for Christmas!  Ours is flanked by two stereo speakers on each side ... yes we still have quadriphonic sound ... It is hard to leave the 1960s when the music is so good!!  Anyway, enjoy the cute little trees and friends that I perched atop each speaker!  You may see the other speakers in a future post!  Who knows?!!
I'm linking with Tabletop Tuesdays ... so make sure you click thru the icon on he left to visit the party!
Happy Holidays!

My Wonderful Life ... Cookies!

I'm posting 3 cookie recipes ... the shortbread is especially good for folks who enjoy drinking hot tea;  the banana cookie is a wonderful cake-like keeper that gets better as the days go by ... good for packed lunches and would be good to ship.  It combines 3 favorite flavors ... chocolate, banana and peanut butter!  The last cookie is my testament to the perfection of a recipe posted on  You've probably seen the cookie in the Christmas magazines this season... Turtle Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie.  I almost never like cookies made from any kind of mix ... but this little chocolate delight is incredible.  I've had to hide them from my husband ...

I'm linking to the Tuesday party at Red Couch  ... so make sure you click through the icon on the left to visit all the other posts.   Special thanks to our hostess.  I'll be posting lots of things this month and leaving several posts up at a time ... so come back and see me! 

Almond Basil Shortbread

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 Tablespoons, chopped
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a food processer, whip all the ingredients together until the dough forms a ball. Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Banana Peanut Butter Choco Cookies

1 banana, peeled and mashed
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup raisins
12 ounce bag chocolate chips

In a food processer, whip the banana, peanut butter, sugars and eggs. Add the dry ingredients
and blend well. Stir in the raisins and chocolate chips. Drop on ungreased sheets and bake at 350 degrees
for 10 minutes. The cookies remain puffy and are soft and moist.

Chocolate Caramel Kiss Cookie

**This recipe is from the Martha White website and you’ve probably seen it in this season’s magazines.

They are wonderful!

In a microwave, melt half a stick of butter with 5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. When melted
Stir in 1 can of sweetened condensed milk … until smooth. Add packages of Martha White
Chocolate Chip Muffin mix and stir well. Roll into 48 balls and dip one side in chopped nuts.
Bake at 350 degrees – nut side up – for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place a caramel filled
Chocolate kiss on top of each cookie. When they soften, tap the kiss so the caramel ooze
out. How easy can this be?? So easy and so good.


Deck the Halls Party -- A Sneak Peek at the Trees!

Here's a little look at the Christmas Trees at our house!  We always decorate for the dogs and wildlife in the Dining Room.  In addition to my Spode Woodland china ... and my Johnson Brothers Brookshire . .. I have 6 other sets of wildlife dinnerware!   Big hunting and fishing stories have been told at my dinner table for decades ... so it is only fitting that the room should shout "Mother Nature"!   You'll notice a "Pigeon Forge" sign ... one of our favorite vacation spots in Tennessee.  It is just far enough away to really get away ... but not so far that we can't visit a couple times a year!  Love you folks in the Great Smokey Mountains!

We always have a grape tree ... because we have a cute little room decorated in things grapey and winey!  In the middle picture on the left of this collage, you'll notice two clear ornaments filled with dried flowers.  My mother and daddy are both gone now ... and the lady who owns the mortunary our family uses makes these ornaments.  She visits the graves, dries some of the flowers left on the new grave and then fills the small ornaments.   She actually uses tweezers to get the petals inside without crushing them.  At first, I thought this was kind of a morbid thing to do ... but I have to tell you that the ornaments really do have meaning for me.  The mortunary has a special service right before Christmas each year ... and presents the ornaments to the families who have lost loved ones in the previous year.  It is not uncommon for her to make in excess of 100 ornaments.  My Southern Baptist Deacon Daddy might not like hanging on the wine room tree!  Oh, well.

Our sunroom turns red and white during Christmas.  I've collected a few  blown glass ornaments made by a friend of ours ... and lots of peppermint looking things to add.   It is actually easy to adjust this theme a little each year.   Black and white penguins ... the year Miss Phoebe was in love with "wing wings" ... a little green added last year for a "peppermint-spearmint" theme ... and this year, you'll see a little blue added for a new "snowman" theme!  Watch for future posts!

I've linked with Between Naps on the Porch for the Deck the Halls Party!  Make sure you click through the icon on the left to visit all the other posts.  As always, thanks to our hostess, Susan!

Merry Christmas!

Teal Poinsettias for Christmas Tablescape!

I love Teal Blue ... I used to be silly about only using silk flowers that were the colors of the real plant ... but who cares?  I have tons of sets of glasses, and my favorites are the teal blue Indiana Glass Parklane that you see on this tablescape ... and many of my tablescapes!  So, why not mix these shiny poinsettias with a few faux peacock feathers and have this great theme??!!  The dinnerware is also a favorite ... Mikassa English Countryside.

I've linked to the Poinsettia Party ... so make sure you click through the icon on the left and visit all the other posts!  Special thanks to our hostess.  Happy Holidays!

Poinsettia Party Tablescape!

Poinsettia Tablescape!

I'm linking with the Poinsettia Party ... and I placed a click thru icon on the left so you can visit the party site and see all the other neat posts!  Special thanks to our hostess ... and keep checking daily because this party goes on for a few days, so new posts will be added.

I'll set lots of tables during the month of December as we celebrate the season in many ways!  This dinner ware came from TJMaxx and the glassware is part of my collection ... the milk glass wines came from Good Will!  We set this table on the front porch, so we'd have good light for a recent photo shoot ... and we could easily have eaten outside on that November day.  It was about 65 degrees in Southern Illinois!  Temps have changed, now!  I'm posting almost daily in December ... so keep coming back for more!

Enjoy the party and have a great holiday season!

Tablescape Thursday - Autumn Leaves, One More Time!

It seemed a little appropriate to have coffee outside the day we raked leaves ... I'd like to say for the last time this season ... but that isn't true.  I'm getting ready to rake again ... and in February, the Oak tree will finally drop all its leaves ... so we'll rake again!

I wanted to share photographs of part of my Syracuse china in the Woodbine pattern ... Woodbine is a kind of Honeysuckle ... but it doesn't really look much like ours in Southern Illinois!

On Sunday, December 5th ... I'll start posting Christmas pictures ... so check back to see tablescapes and decorations. 

I'm linking with Tablescape Thursday ... so click through the icon on the left to visit Susan's party!   As always, special thanks to our hostess!

Centerpiece Wednesday!

When the food looks like this, who needs a centerpiece?  I'm posting a few photographs from a little reception we hosted at a local museum a couple weeks ago.   We had a loaned exhibit from the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, so we needed to have a reception.   I had the event catered, but designed a menu of foods that Lincoln loved ... and served in his White House!   We don't burn candles in the museum, so I wanted a little glitz ... so we filled glass vases with ornaments ... but stuck to autumn colors ... then continued the ornaments in a floral ring around the punch bowl.   The menu included smoked beef tenderloin on biscuits ... favorites of Abe's ... gingerbread, lemon cake ... and chicken liver pate.  All these things are documented favorites of Abe Lincoln ... and all were served at White House receptions during his presidency.

Tabletop Tuesday - Snowmen Already?

No!  We haven't had snow yet in Southern Illinois ... but it wouldn't be uncommon if we had!   I thought this was worth sharing with all the tabletop girls!   It is really from a photo shoot we did a month ago for our magazine.   If you haven't subscribed to the Carbondale Convention & Tourism Bureau's Food, Fun & Folks Magazine ... you must!  It is free and all you have to do is email Devon at and give her your name and mailing address.   No strings attached ... just a little magazine filled with neat stories and recipes.

I'd love for you to have it!

I've linked to Tabletop Tuesday ... so make sure you click thru the icon on the left to visit the party!  Special thanks to our hostess.

Warm Wines for the Season!

You can find hundreds of mulled wine recipes on the internet, and you probably already have a favorite.  I've included one of mine in this post.  There are some important tipes to making good warm wine drinks --  don't let the wine boil;  the crock pot is a good way to keep it simmering, but not boiling.  In fact, you can turn the pot off after the wine comes to temperature and it will stay warm for a couple more hours in the pot.   I think that garnishes are everything so make sure you add a few berries to each mug/cup or drop in a piece of orange peel and a cinnamon stick stirer is a must!  I sweeten my drinks with honey or  Agave syrup because I think that makes a smoother taste than sugar.  I frequently add a vanilla bean to the mix or add a little vanilla extract as I'm ready to serve the drink. Some drinks are enhanced by a pat of butter floating on each top.

Cozy Blueberry Cocktail

Simmer a bottle of blueberry wine, 1 cup of fruit flavored brandy, a handful of freshor dried  blueberries, a sliced lemon (with the peel), 3 Tablespoons honey and a couple cinnamon sticks.

I've linked to the Holiday Treat Party, so click thru the icon on the left to see the rest of the posts. Thanks to our hostess!

Butterball Turkey Fryer

If any of you is pondering the purchase of the new Butterball Turkey Fryer ... go for it!  I've been frying turkeys for years ... in a gas fryer ... then in a big electric fryer ... and  I bought this smaller fryer this fall for a couple of reasons.  It requires less oil and it was small enough to use in the house.  (My other electric fryer could be used inside ... but was too big for my comfort level.)

The other thing I liked about this fryer was that the basket holds the turkey in a more secure way ... and it looks good.  The way the larger fryer works is that the turkey kinds of swims around in the oil and his legs and wings would go all over the place!

So, here's the finished product!  When I drained the oil, it looked like less than 1/4 a cup was absorbed into the bird.  Frying doesn't mean you have to have some spicy flavor ... I injected mine with butter and apple cider and seasoned the outside with salt, pepper and sage.   You don't have to inject them ... they are tender and juicy without injections.

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm taking just a few minutes to post a quick look at Thanksgiving at our house!  Hope you enjoy.  I'm linking to Tablescape Thursday ... and offer special thanks to Susan for hosting!  Make sure you click through her favicon to see all the other neat posts! 

Just our little family of five ... set in blue  since Miss Phoebe's favorite color is still blue!  There is just enough teal in the Johnson Bros Turkey pattern to use this glassware!
The composed centerpiece in the next collage will probably
be moved to the dessert buffet table ... because we'll load the dinner
table with food!   The turkey has to be center stage!

 Tomorrow's temperature will determine whether soup begins the menu!.  If it does, we'll use our covered turkey soup bowls!  Notice the cute napkin rings that my daughter painted about 30 years ago!
I've made about every turkey favor you can think of, but this year I wanted to create something new!  That Cricut machine is wonderful ... the box is actually a large Hershey's Kiss in a box ... can't go wrong with chocolate!
 Here's a view of some of the other dining room decor.  The turkey platter was my mother-in-law's and is probably from the 1940s.  We use our Johnson Bros platter ... but love looking at this old one!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Connect with Thanksgiving Memories

Today, I'm sharing a story from "Autumn Affairs", the cookbook I published this year.  Special thanks to our party hostess ... make sure you click thru her icon on the left to visit all the other posts. 
Happy Thanksgiving!


Family - Traditions!

For fifty-three years, my father sat at the end of my Thanksgiving Dinner table. As a child, I remember him praising Mother’s cooking and telling stories of the few Thanksgivings he remembered in his own childhood. His mother had died when he was a young teenager and life changed drastically after that. He would tell the story of spending Thanksgiving away from home during World War II and would then drift into all the war stories about how he carried a small camp stove and coffee pot to Okinawa, so he could have good coffee … if he could find coffee to brew!

When I married, Thanksgiving Dinner moved with me to my home and Daddy always shared the head of the table with Joe … Joe at one end and Daddy at the other. It is often said that young women “marry their fathers” and I am no exception! When it comes to family and tradition, my husband is exactly like my father. There is nothing more important.

The year Daddy died and would have been absent from my Thanksgiving for the first time in my life, I decided that I couldn’t bear the traditions. My menu changed. I announced that I was going to fry the turkey and make all kinds of Cajun side dishes. The stuffing was going to be dirty rice and the pumpkin pie was going to be pumpkin praline cheesecake. Nobody complained and my perfect son-in-law slid quietly into Daddy’s long-time place at the table so I didn’t have to look at an empty chair.

I survived Thanksgiving 2008, but the next year, I returned to the old menu and proclaimed that we would never bend tradition again on Thanksgiving! After all, it is the tradition that makes Thanksgiving such a special day.

The food traditions we share at our Thanksgiving table are a combination of all the good things I remember and all the good things Joe remembers about childhood! The menu is consistent, year after year, but I always try to add something different. Sometimes it’s been a new salad or side dish, other times it has been a new dessert. Some years, I look specifically at the history of Thanksgiving and add foods that the Pilgrims may have eaten … or I look at our ethnic heritage and prepare something very German or very Scottish or very Irish!

Because Joe spent almost four decades working with university students and always brought them home for holiday meals, I have 24 place settings of my Johnson Brothers His Majesty turkey china! You can imagine, however, how much I love getting all of it out and setting tables! That has long been the traditional tablescape at our house! I unearth all the boxes of ceramic turkeys, painted by Nicole’s little hands thirty years ago … and Joe’s childhood collection of ceramic Pilgrims and Indians and his treasured tiny canoe, complete with even tinier ores! I compose the centerpiece with flowers, candles and all the treasured collectibles.

I miss the old timers that used to sit at my table, but I bring my memories to life by using Aunt Evelyn’s relish dish, Mother’s favorite salad bowl and Daddy’s beloved coffee mug, brought back from WWII. In all the years that he sat at my gloriously beautiful tablescapes with sparkling crystal and china, I always put that old white coffee mug at his place setting. It was the only one he would use!  I think I'll drink out of it this year!

A Purple Thanksgiving

I set a very traditional Thanksgiving table ... complete with my Johnson Brothers Turkeys .. but for the first cooking column I wrote for the Southern Illinoisan Newspaper a few years ago, I set this pretty purple Thanksgiving Table.   I did it to show people a way to use different colors ... purple, pink and teal blue ... for the holiday!

The china is Churchill Briar Rose ... the glassware is Shannon crystal and a Libby purple stem ... the cocktail cup on the left is a piece from my collection of Depression Glass Cape Cod. 

 I have a collection of ceramic pumpkins in a variety of colors ... and enjoy using them throughout the Autumn months.  The composed centerpiece also includes garden statuary of pilgrims.
I've linked to Tablescape Thursday ... so make sure you click through Susan's icon on the left and visit all the other participants!  Enjoy!

Farmers' Market One More Time!

It is about time for our last Farmers' Market weekend of the season, and I enjoy loading up on lots of winter vegetables to get me through the next few months until it re-opens in April!  I'll fill my extra refrigerator with turnips, squash, a couple pumpkins and sweet potatoes.  Those things make me feel like I have plenty of locally grown produce, when nothing is actually growing!

This Farmers' Market tablescape was actually a part of a workshop I taught a year ago.  I've posted some of the pictures before, but thought you might enjoy seeing them again ... and I have a few new blog friends that might not have seen them at all! 

Remember to link back to Between Naps on the Porch to visit Tablescape Thursday posts!  Just click through Susan's button on the left.  As always, special thanks to our hostess.

One of my favorite parts of the tablescape is the flatware ... multi colors that really help highlight the many colors on the table.  What fun!!
The centerpiece is composed with faux vegetables, although I typically use real vegetables.  The basket is about 50 years old and was used by an old neighbor of ours when he worked in his garden.  His kids threw it in the trash when they cleaned out his house ... and I grabbed it!  It needed to come to my house to be treasured.
The individual casseroles and the small vegetable shaped salad plates are perfect for this theme.  Hope you enjoy!

Polka Dot Halloween Party!

I host a luncheon or supper party for girlfriends to celebrate Halloween every year!  This year it is a lasagna dinner ... and the theme is all about polka dots!  Hope you enjoy.  I'm linking to Tablescape Thursday ... and as always want to thank Susan for hosting!  After you peruse my posts ... make sure you click through the favicon on the left to visit all the other great posts!

I always focus on the "witch" in us ... and this year ... I found these adorable shoe-shaped plates ... so had to have those to use as bread and butter plates!  Polka dots were already on my mind ... and things kind of fell into place!
I found the salad plates at Cracker Barrel ... and already had the flatware (Cambridge) ... bought the napkin rings at a little local shop and the small casseroles came from TJM.  Yes, I bought lots of stuff for this party ... but I splurge on Halloween!
 The centerpiece in the following collage is just a collection of cute things I already had!
 I can't decide if I like the purple ... in Halloween ...
... or the polka dots in Halloween ... the best!

I jazzed up the mantel in the dining room with these cute little tricksters!  The dogs set off the purple witch ... she screeches ... and then they bark at her!
I've linked you to all my Halloween posts ... keep scrolling down if you want to see them!

February's Family Sunday Dinner

Christmas 2020

Mary Queen of Scots Dinner Menu Booklet

Grandma Debbie's Christmas 2018

Grandma's Blue & Green Pupkins!

Autumn at Grandma Debbie's