Phoebe's Valentine Dinner Party!

You may have read my post a couple weeks ago ... about Phoebe wanting a party! We were shopping and she found something she thought would be good to decorate for our party. I told her I didn't think I'd have a party for Valentine's Day because we were going to a fancy dinner dance. She almost cried right in the middle of the fabric store, so I quickly decided that we would have our regularly scheduled party! I'm amazed at what she remembers, but I guess I'd better realize that she does, indeed, remember family events at my house.  Here's our party.

I decorated the mantel in the dining room last week. You can see it right here! I saved the table decorating for Phoebe and her mama to do right before our dinner. 

I could have chosen from lots of china, but I wanted to use these everyday Temptations dishes because Phoebe got them for me for Mother's Day! They are a pretty red color, with big daisy style flowers on them. So, I put Cricut to work and cut lots of hearts and daisy style flowers to use in creating a simple centerpiece. Silk flowers tucked down in clear barrel mugs with mercury glass votive candles fit the bill!

Notice the cute little heart topped box at each place setting. I made them ... and filled them with our favorite new treat: Pretzel turtle candies. If you haven't made them, you need to. All you do is place a Rolo candy on top of a square pretzel and bake them for 5 minutes at 250 degrees. Take them out of the oven, and press a pecan half on top of each candy. They are a delicious two bites of salty caramel chocolatey goodness!

They are so easy to make and I haven't found anybody who doesn't love them!   Back to the centerpiece. In the collage below, you can see all the elements I had ready for Phoebe's little hands to put together on the table!  Flowers, hearts and more hearts!  I almost never throw a piece of scrapbooking paper away, so all those little extra pieces turned into pretty little hearts. A few replicas of vintage Valentines add a comfortable appeal. We wanted casual and comfortable for this family dinner party.

Our meal began with something that was pretty cute. I found this heart shaped cheese molded in red wax. It is white cheddar with strawberries in it. When Phoebe saw it, she couldn't wait to get it opened!

Then we had a wonderful layered salad ... You know the one: loaded with cauliflower, peas, boiled eggs, radishes, tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. I always make my dressing using the bacon grease from frying the bacon for the topping! Add sharp cheddar cheese and you have a delicious combination of flavors. The cute heart shaped bowl is one of the new Temptations creations from QVC.

The rest of our menu included creamed corn ... cream cheese style; salt and pepper shrimp ... because Phoebe loves shrimp; and Coc au Vin over buttered noodles ... which I make a little differently than the typical recipe. I'll put that in a future post.

It was so cold outside, but so cozy in the dining room in front of the fireplace ... that we decided to put the food on the table and serve family style! 

Somebody was waiting patiently under the table for any little dropped morsel! Jimmy Mutt was so excited all day long. He was looking for Phoebe beginning at 8:00 in the morning. I never know how he knows that she is coming over ... but he does. He waited all day long for her to finally arrive! Then, when they left after dinner, he parked right in front of the door and pouted because they had gone!

We ended our meal with coffee and this beautiful trifle. We love this combination: angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries (sliced) ... with cheesecake flavored pudding poured over it all. I added more fresh strawberries, then topped it all with Cool Whip ... Too easy! I use Cool Whip instead of whipped cream, especially when I know there will be some left. It holds up well!

Turkey Enchilada Soup on a Cold Day

It is very cold outside in Southern Illinois and that mean's it is time for soup. It may be TIME for soup, but I don't have time to make soup today, so I settled for this simple recipe. My husband had favorite recipes he called "cup - a - cup - a"! What that generally meant was that we just added a cup of this ... and a cup of that. This is definitely one of those recipes! The best news ... It takes about 20 minutes to make and it tastes like it has simmered all day.

You begin by combining 1 quart of chicken stock (I prefer homemade, but the kind in a box is second best) with a can of Rotel tomatoes with chili peppers, a can of corn and a can of cannellini beans (or regular red kidney beans). Bring all that to a slow boil and drop in about 2 cups of cooked chicken or turkey (You can also use left over pork for this). Season with salt, pepper, a little minced garlic and chopped cilantro. If you want more spice, add chipotle pepper. Reduce to a simmer.

After this simmers about ten minutes, make a thickener by adding 1/4 cup flour to about 1/2 a cup of the broth. Whisk that together until it is smooth and add it back to the soup pot. Add the can of green enchilada sauce and simmer a few more minutes.  Last step is to add a cup of shredded cheese ... I used chipotle cheddar this time!  You can also add one or two cups of half and half at this point, if you'd like a creamier version.

Here's the soup topped with corn chips and more shredded cheese!  Notice those delicious looking biscuits beside the soup? Those start with Angel Biscuit dough.

Angel Biscuits

5 c. self-rising flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 pkg. yeast
1 tsp. soda
1 c. Wesson oil
2 c. buttermilk

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of warm water. I do that in the bottom of my mixing bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups buttermilk and 5 cups of flour. I use the kneading bar on my mixer and just let it work for about 5 minutes. Put this in the refrigerator sealed in a bag and use it as you want to.  It will keep for two weeks and you can bake one biscuit at a time, if you'd like! Otherwise, it makes about 48 biscuits. Bake these at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Remember, the yeast makes it grow in the refrigerator ... so leave room in your container or bag for expansion!

Don't limit the use to biscuits, though. You can make doughnuts with it ... just fry them in oil and dredge them in cinnamon and sugar; turn it into pizza crust by pressing firmly in a pan using your fingers dipped in olive oil .. top it and bake it; use it for monkey bread ... savory or sweet; make herbed biscuits with it; turn larger portions into miniature loaves of bread; or roll it out and turn it into cinnamon rolls. Oh, and you can use it to top homemade chicken pie ... or drop portions into bubbling broth for delicious dumplings. ... and ... if you love fruit drop dumplings, it is perfect for that. Just drop small portions into lightly boiling fruit juice.

This time, I mixed shredded chipotle cheese and chopped cilantro with enough dough to make six little biscuits. I added a pat of butter on top of each biscuit and sprinkled with Mexican oregano before baking. Doesn't get much easier.

I'll be sharing this with a few food blog parties and hope you'll click through to look at some of the other posts! Make sure you check out my home page to see all my other recent posts ... and try to stay warm with a good bowl of soup!

The Dedicated House for Make It Pretty Monday 
Full Plate Thursday-Miz Helen's Country Cottage 

Remembering with a Mini Scrapbook

I'm all ready to create memories this weekend! Miss Phoebe really wanted a Valentine party dinner at my house, even though we are going to a Valentine Dinner Dance. So, we'll party and we'll remember it all by finishing this adorable mini scrapbook that I made.

I have trouble putting all the Christmas trees away, so I'm keeping this cute one out and decorating it for the other happy holidays! A few Cricut cut valentines and a pretty flower are all it needed. I left the red/white lights on it from Christmas. Might have to change those to green in a few weeks! ... That's Daniel Boone in the background ... think a scallywag has his son, Israel!

It makes a cute coffee table vignette ... just sitting there looking so cute!

The tree's decorations are pretty simple.  Just cut several hearts from metallic red paper ... and made another flower for a topper.

I like dimension and depth on my scrapbook covers. This one has a flower with petals shaped like valentines ... and I usually use a little needle and thread to make the bows ... I used three different ribbons for this one and embellished it with a faux rhinestone red heart!

I made the pages for this 6x6 inch book by gluing two pieces of scrapbook paper together, so there is no plain backside showing. By doing that, I can create big pockets that I simply fold around the edges of the paper before I glue the backside to it.  Easy ... and big enough to slip a picture in or a program booklet ...

Here are pages with small pockets ... and 
tags embellished with ribbon and rhinestones!

Here are a couple more examples of pockets. The one on top is a 6x6 inch piece of paper, with one corner folded down and glued ... then I folded the other two edges around the edges of the main page piece of paper ... glued the backside piece of paper in place ... then punched all of it to stabilize the pocket even more. It covers about half the page.

The pocket in the bottom photo is done the same way ... but the pocket was cut from a scrap of a 12x12 inch piece of paper that I had. I don't trash very much scrapbook paper! I think these pockets look better when they are bound in ... and that certainly makes them stronger. This pocket size lets us stick all kinds of big things in it ... like a dinner menu card, movie ticket stubs, program booklets, big pictures ... or laminated newspaper clippings ... all without gluing them down.  (I was at an event not long ago and heard an elderly man talking about how his mother had made a scrapbook of all his sports activities from his childhood ... and how she had glued down his baseball cards ... that would be very valuable now!)  Sometimes we just shouldn't glue it down!

I'll be sharing this post with a few parties and I sure hope you'll click through to see the other posts.  I'll be back in a few days with more Valentine posts, too ... so make sure you check in again!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentines on the Fireplace Mantel!

I hadn't planned on doing anything this year for Valentine's Day! We are taking Miss Phoebe to a Valentine Dinner Dance and I didn't think I needed to have a family dinner. Wow, was I ever wrong. When we were shopping the other day, she found something she thought I should have to decorate the table for my Valentine party! When I told her I thought we would just go to the dinner dance, she almost cried in the middle of the craft store! So, you guessed it! I'm having a Valentine dinner! Here's the fireplace mantel ... all ready to set the pace in the dining room.  I'll get the rest of the room done later, but wanted to get this much done, so I could join in the Valentine Link Up at Laurie's

I covered the mantel with this pretty deep rose lace fabric, from my stash! It is dotted with silver and it really sparkles in the dim light! The metallic streamer is from the dollar store!

We made these cute valentine squares and clipped them to the lace. The papers are Martha Stewart. Cricut has been busy at my house this winter! We added rhinestone hearts and ribbon streamers. Remember to watch the real fireplace flames, when you decorate this way.

While the elements are the same, each square is different ... and really cute!

 The big "Love You" card is a 12 inch scrapbook page. I added the words and attached it to a 12 inch chip board sheet, so it would stand up. The flameless candles add a little more glimmer!

I'll share this post with a few parties, but first with the
Valentine Link Up at Laurie's

Be sure you click through to see the other decor! Cannot wait!

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