F is for Fettuccini Alfredo!

F is for Fettuccine Alfredo - Fettuccine tossed with butter, heavy cream, and grated cheese.

History: In 1908, Alfredo di Lelio, a small restaurateur and chef, living above his small Rome restaurant with his pregnant wife, created Fettuccine Alfredo to tempt the palate of his pregnant wife who had lost her appetite and was becoming weaker. Alfredo decided that he would invent a dish that his wife could not resist. His wife loved it and legend says she cleaned her plate and a short time later, Alfredo II was born to the music of customers downstairs in the restaurant, all crying for his new irresistible dish.

His restaurant, II Vero Alfredo, and the dish bearing his name became world famous in 1927 when Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, American movie stars on their honeymoon, ate at his restaurant and were impressed with the dish. They presented him with a gold fork and spoon in honor of his creation. From then on, he was famous for preparing it in the dining room of his restaurant before his guests, mixing it with a gold-plated spoon and fork.

I borrowed this story from an online culinary dictionary!  I've read other versions of the story ... one of which revealed that green peas were added to give Alfredo's wife even more strength.   However ... and whatever ... it is yummy stuff!
I'm visiting with Alphabet Thursday, so make sure you  click through to visit all the other posts!  Thanks Jenny ... for being such a wonderful hostess and tempting our brains each week!

Happy Birthday Pink Saturday!

I'm celebrating Happy 3rd Birthday with Pink Saturday!  Make sure you click through to visit all the other party posts.

I'm having a strawberry party!  This big covered strawberry bowl was made by California's Belmar Pottery ... 1950s-1960s.  I have several of them and use them as covered soup bowls ... or salad bowls.  Isn't it cool?

For this place setting ... for a salad luncheon ... I used a pink Depression Glass 10 inch platter that has handles as the base;  a 1950s milk glass salad plate with a lace edge;  then the strawberry shaped bowl.  The glass ... Fostoria Mignon and Milk Glass Della Robbia ( I think) ... and green faux pearl handles on the flatware.  A great big pink silk mum makes a great napkin ring ... and a small Depression Glass relish tray serves well as a bread and butter plate ... but I'm actually serving dipping oils with focaccia, so the depth of the 3-part relish tray is perfect.  I pick up those little relish dishes at flea markets for a couple dollars ... so I have several.  I love using dishes for purposes other than what they are originally for!

This centerpiecee is actually from Hobby Lobby ... came all in one piece!  The floral ring was already glued to the hurricane. The candle is also from HL ... matched perfectly.  The tablecloth is from 2 seasons ago ... Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Sunday Favorites - Farmers' Market Table

Here's a Sunday Favorites post from a couple years ago! Make sure you click through to Happy to Design so you can visit all the other posts!   Special thanks to our hostess!

Original Post: 9-30-09

Here's one of the tables I set for my tablescaping and party planning workshop that I taught at a recent women's conference! I though it would be great for TT. As always, special thanks to Susan at Between Naps ... for hosting our event! Click through to jump to all the other links to see the great tables!

Pink Saturday Baby Shower!

I host a charity baby shower every year to benefit an adoption agency we appreciate ... and Miss Phoebe was just a toddler when we had this polka dot party!   Can't believe how much she's grown!

Pink polka dot clothing!  Pink polka dot watering cans filled with tulips, mums and ivy!   Polka dot dishes!  Who wouldn't have fun at a party like this?  We all did ... and the gifts
for the adoptive babies were really nice! 

Here's a kiss for all of our Pink Saturday  blogging friends!   Make sure you click through to see all the other posts!

Mama's Potato Salad!

Memorial Day is Just around the Corner!

Memorial Day Weekend is the time that we begin entertaining outside!  All the patriotic stuff comes out of storage and a red, white and blue summer begins!   This year, I'll be unveiling my newest cookbook in early June and it will  be all about having simple, enjoyable summers
... filled with friends, family and good food!

My mother made the best potato salad in the world!  Fortunately, my daughter and I have mastered her approach to this yummy batch of potatoes slathered in a perfect sweet and savory dressing!  Every family has their own recipe, but here's ours!

Boil 2 pounds of red skinned potatoes; cool them; peel them and slice them in thick pieces.    Boil 3 eggs;  cool them;  peel them and slice.  Slice a 1/2 cup of celery and another 1/2 cup of sweet onions.  Combine all these ingredients with
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise (we use Miracle Whip)
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 2 Tablespoons juice from sweet pickles
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill weed, chopped
The dressing ingredients are easily adjusted, if you like your potato salad a little more - or less moist.

Peachy Brunch Salad

I'm participating in Let's Do Brunch! so make sure you click through to visit all the other posts!  The recipes are really wonderful.  Special thanks to our hostess!

This is one of the salads that I'm featuring in my new summertime cookbook.  It will be available soon, but I'm going to share this very easy recipe!

Peach & Tomato Salad

This composed salad couldn’t be much easier to make! In Southern Illinois, peaches come into season at the same time that there is a huge abundance of fresh tomatoes! Combining the two in a colorful salad just seems natural. The dressing is simple, too! Mix ¼ cup of white balsamic vinegar with ¼ cup of grapeseed oil and blend well. Add a sprinkle of sugar, a dash of salt and a grind of peppercorns!

Compose the salad of wedges of tomatoes and peaches with tender buds of your favorite lettuce variety. You can also just place them on a bed of lettuce … or use no lettuce at all! Add a few wedges of a nutty flavored medium texture cheese like Gruyere and drizzle lightly with the dressing. Beautiful, flavorful and easy!

Tablescape Thursday - Italian Family Dinner

I'm participating in Tablescape Thursday, so make sure you click through to visit the other posts.  Special thanks to Susan for hosting one of our favorite parties!

This tablescape was done for one of the first newspaper  cooking columns  I wrote!  I love it so much, I recently decided I needed to set it again.  First, though,  I'm going to share the photos with you!

I love using these big pasta bowls ... from Italy.  Placing boxes of tubes of tomato paste and anchovy paste ... with dry pasta and big bulbs of garlic ... makes a cute tablescape!

E is for Etouffe

etouffee (ay-too-fay) - The term literally means, "smothered." It is a cooking method of cooking something smothered in a blanket of chopped vegetables over a low flame in a tightly covered pan. Crawfish and shrimp etoufees are delicious New Orleans specialties.

My batch of Duck Etouffee is actually made with the carcass of a duck.  There's always plenty of meat left on the bones for one more recipe!  Isn't it pretty served in my Johnson Brothers Brookshire china?

I'm linking to Alphabet Thursday! 
Make sure you drop by Jenny's place to visit all the other posts! 
Isn't this fun?

Tablescape Thursday - Pink Pumpkins

Original Post from 10/28/09:

I'm posting pictures of my weekend blast! I tablescaped for the cure ... at an American Cancer Society event. I won the red ribbon and my friends in the Women's Club won the blue ribbon! What a fantastic job they did with their 50's theme ... look at the details. The centerpiece had to have a shoe in it ... and the pink shoe telephone was a big hit! One of the girls made the napkins, scanned the fabric and reporoduced it on pink ties for the men to wear .. and on the place cards. Enjoy!

Today, I'm participating in Sunday Favorites so don't forget to  click through to see the other posts!  Special thanks to our hostess for taking he time to let us play together!

I chose to post this little project ... a tablescape I created for a fundraiser ... because I want to always remind all my blogging friends to remember to do their self-exams ... and get all your annual check-ups with your doctors.  Early detection saves lives.

D is for Dandelion Greens!

It's Alphabet Thursday time and I want to introduce any newcomers to Dandelion Greens!  Make sure you click through to see all the other posts, too!

Maybe you dislike dandelions.  Most people do.  They clutter your lawn with unwanted splotches of bright yellow!  I love them.  Why?  I'm not too particular about what grows in my lawn and I love to watch children blow the seeds all over!

Dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, which means "tooth of the lion", referring to the sharp tooth-like leaves.  In other folk cultures, the term piss-a-bed is commonly used ... to represent the diuretic effect the roots have!  The plants have been around forever, and have been used in folk medicines just as long ... mainly to treat urinary tract infections.

Dandelions ... the roots, flowers and the greens ... have been used in many culinary ways.   Dandelion coffee, tea, wine ... are all wonderful!  At our house, we throw an occasional handful of greens in fresh salads or with wilted salads.  The sharp peppery taste is a complement to other greens.  They are great to toss into those late  spring soups ... or under fried or poached eggs for springtime brunch.   A handful wilted with a little balsamic vinegar are perfect atop a bleu cheese burger or a provel burger like this one!   The sharp distinct taste of the greens is great with the mild provel cheese.

Helpful hints ...
  • don't pick dandelion greens from a lawn that has been chemically treated ... not a good idea
  • Clean them well ... could still have a little bird doo doo on them!
  • The smaller they are the more tender they are
  • If they are large, stew them in a simmering water, then drain them well ... finish them by sauteing in olive oil with chopped onion, minced garlic ... and dry red pepper.


Celebrity Chef Party!

I'm participating in the Celebrity Chef party at Happier than a Pig in Mud!  Make sure you click through to see all the other posts.

I like Paula Deen ... love the boys ... love the fact hat she includes her family in her television shows ... like her most because she cooks like normal people cook.  When her show  first came on the air, my (retired) husband was glued to it!  We love Savannah, so all her references to the area helped us relive some wonderful vacations!  I'd come home from work and Big Daddy would tell me all about he show  and share the recipes he thought I'd like.  It was probably three months before I ever got to see one of the shows myself! 

Because we love pickled okra, Big Daddy insisted that I make these for a dinner party appetizer.  They couldn't be simpler ... and we make them frequently ... because even people who don't like okra, like these! 
Some of our restaurant management students made hundreds of these for a wine tasting event.  600 people gobbled them up!

Paula's Pickled Okra Appetizers

Trim the crusts from white sandwich bread slices.  Use a small cutting board or the back of a skillet and press the air out of each piece of bread.  Spread cream cheese on the bread and roll up a spear of pickled okra in each piece.  Cut on the diagonal to reveal the inside of the okra ... sprinkle with parsley.

I use onion/chive sour cream ... spreadable ... and I sprinkle cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper on them.  These are fabulous! 
Thanks Paula Deen!

Thanks, Lynn (and Earl) for hosting this great party! 
Love those TV chefs!

Pink Saturday Tea Cookies!

Here's a little cookies and tea tablescape that I used recently for my newspaper cooking column.  I'd used my British Castles china for a dinner party ... so I thought I'd use it one more time before I put it away!   I'm linking to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound, so make sure you click through to visit the other posts!

If you'd like the recipes, here's a link to my cooking column Made at Home Tea Cookies in the Southern Illinoisan  Newspaper!  Make sure you go to my home page to see some of my other posts!  I have lots of PINK roses!  Happy Pink Saturday!

Roses and Pansies!

I'm participating in the garden party at The Little Round Table!  Make sure you click through to visit the other posts.  I have an eclectic rose bed that runs along one side of my front yard ... along the picket fence.  I have a couple old climbing roses ... one 'witchy rose' ... and I've been planting Knock Out roses in the past couple of years.   We've had tree damage in the last two years, changing the amount of sun in various places in the yard, so I've had better luck with my roses.  When you live in a house for four decades, the size of the trees eventually changes garden spaces!  Oh, yes ... I have blackberries in the rose bed.  They are perfectly friendly ... and produce well!

Mr. Lincoln is deep, bright red!

This one is a Knock Out ... and the color is 'Lipstick' ... looks just like the shade my mother wore!

One of my old climbing roses ... Miss Phoebe picked all the yellow roses the other day ... so none to show!
Cotton Candy pink ... in another Knock Out!

Blush Pink ... in another Knock Out!

I love the iron trellises!

The blackberries are just beginning to bloom.

Love pansies ... don't have great success with them ... because it gets hot early in Southern Illinois summers!

This Mock Orange is 50 years old ... I have to keep it cut back or it would take over the whole yard!

I clip my Clematis ... and use them in arrangements.  This year they are blooming a little  early ... so they'll look great with the Mock Orange ... and will smell so good!

Now, let me introduce you to 'witchy rose'.  This rose bush is 25 years old ... and in all those years it has only bloomed on significant occasions.   It is a Queen Victoria rose ... and is a climbing rose.  All it ever really did was climb.  Nothing my gardener and I did would make it bloom ... except when my favorite aunt died ... when my brother died ... when my daughter got married ... when my mother died ... when baby Phoebe arrived ... and when my father died.  In 2009, I got mad at it and tried to chop it down and cover it with our new front porch.  Guess what?  It still found its way through the narrow slats between the wooden planks of the porch.  This is a 2010 bloom.  It stretched three branches up through the porch floor and made one rose.  I've decided she's stronger than I am ... so I'll just let her do her thing!
... whatever and whenever!

C is for Coconut Cake!

C is for coconut ... and coconut cake is Big Daddy's favorite!   My husband has two favorite cakes and this is the number one!   I make it a couple times a year to celebrate our anniversary and during the Christmas holidays ... from fresh coconut, using the milk and grating the coconut!  It actually requires 2 coconuts to get enough fresh coconut to put between the 4 layers and all over the cake!

It is one of those cakes that gets better if it sits a couple days ... but it seldom does at our house!  I'm linking with Alphabet Thursday, so make sure you click through to see all the other posts!

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