Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Has Come and Gone

But I felt I needed to share my Christmas Dinner Table. I was rather proud of it.

With all the craziness that takes place during Christmas, shopping for that special gift, preparing the Christmas dinner menu, wrapping gifts until you think you can't wrap another single gift but what I love the most is setting my dining room table for the guests who will be joining us. Most often it is family and sometimes a few guests but I always want it to be special. I want everyone present to know that I cared enough to set a beautiful table and serve them a fabulous dinner.

When I think about truly relaxing during the hectic holidays there is nothing I enjoy more than to put together a flower arrangement. I guess it is the artistic side of me and the love of fresh flowers but it always places me in a different frame of mind.
By candle light.
I also used a chartreuse colored candle which were very unique.

This year I used a Jacquard tablecloth that I found on sale in a William Sonoma over the summer. These tablecloths are most often very expensive but this one I picked up for only about $40.00. The colors were fabulous for Christmas especially with the added runner. I had agonized over using white napkins but after placing the Christmas runner on top of the cloth I realized that it was key to pulling everything together. I had been trying to look through my napkin stash for some green ones. I think I have just about every shade of green known to man but none of them worked. I almost decided to use a plaid cloth instead when suddenly it hit me. Placing the runner was key to my choice of napkins.

My Christmas china is the Spode Christmas Tree and I placed the dinner plates on a clear green charger.

Using my hotel silver, Waterford wine glasses and this green water glass that I found years ago. I love using those water glasses, they have a nice feel in your hand.
The brass Christmas Tree napkin rings picked up a similar color in the tablecloth.
Christmas has come and gone and it was a lovely celebration. Hope each of you had a Merry Christmas as well.

I am sharing this post at Susan's blogging party, Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps On The Porch. Click HERE to see other beautiful table setting ideas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reprise~South Of The Border Squash

Here in the South we almost always have plenty of squash this time of year and many people like to have a Squash Casserole on their holiday table. This recipe I assure you is most unusual to the typical Southern Squash Casserole dish. I have indeed posted this recipe before but since it's the holidays I thought it should be posted again.

This recipe is probably my most requested dish to prepare. My family expects it on all holiday dinner tables and I like it so much that I start craving it so I MUST make it. It is very different from any squash casserole you have eaten or seen and even those folks who say they don't care for yellow squash, wellllllllllll they usually like this recipe. Men in particular like this dish. I think probably because of the green chilies which gives it a most unusual dimension but it is not at all hot to the taste so women like it as well. I have extremely picky eaters in my family so I think that says it all.

South of the Border Squash Casserole
 Serves 6

1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2-3 pounds yellow squash, sliced
2  tablespoons butter
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 egg
1 cup cottage cheese, small curd
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch pan or 2-quart casserole dish. In a skillet, sauté’ onion and squash in butter until tender. Stir in chilies, flour, salt and pepper. Pour into casserole. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese on top. Stir together the egg, cottage cheese, and parsley. Spread this mixture over the Monterey Jack cheese.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

My Notes: The cottage cheese mixture is a little difficult to spread but be patient, it will spread over the entire pan. Depending on the oven it sometimes needs to be cooked a little longer. A nice light browning on the top.

I use a 12-inch saute pan for the squash and with summer's bounty of yellow squash why not try a new and different squash casserole.
 It goes together very quickly and can be put together the day before to this point and ready to pop in the oven when needed. I always use my parsley from my herb garden and it gives a nice green color to the dish and also a special freshness.
Try this one, I am quite certain you will come to love it as well. A different take on a ho hum Squash casserole.

I hope each of you have a truly Blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

YaYa Dinner Party

Last Thursday night I hosted my YaYa dinner party group. We began our dinner party group about five years ago, just the female friends because when we have lunch together we never have enough time just talking. The dinner group party provides  us a venue to chat without worrying about what meeting we had to get to or bridge group we had to get to and it provided a relaxed atmosphere to talk and to just enjoy each others company without husbands.
For this dinner party I chose to do a Greek themed menu.

Antipasto Platter with
 Rolled Grape Leaves, Orange infused Olives, Sun Dried-Tomato Hummus, and Feta drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper
Greek Salad
Ina Garten's Pastitsio
Greek Vegetables
A medley of Potatoes, Zucchini, and Mushrooms tossed with Oregano
 Baklava and Greek Wedding Cookies for dessert
Since it was so close to Halloween I had to have something pertaining to Halloween. This isn't Greek, of course, but I had black salt which I rimmed my little pumpkin glasses with and placed in the pumpkin dispenser, a mighty fine Margarita.

Our menu was posted on this chalk stand, a cute little stand that I could not pass up.

Ina Garten is one of my favorite cookbook authors and I have found that one can never go wrong with one of her recipes. The Pastitsio was excellent and the beauty of this dish was that it could be made in advance so I was more relaxed and able to enjoy my guests.
My tablecloth was one I had picked up on sale from a William Sonoma during the summer while in Atlanta. It is a botanical Jacquard tablecloth, grey with khaki colors and I thought it perfect to be used for a Fall dinner party. I also used grey napkins with my antique brass acorn napkin rings.
The wine I served was a red blend, a California wine and the label was Ghostrider. I thought that appropriate for a party just a couple of days before Halloween.
The Pastitsio called for wine also and I used this same wine in the dish. I am a firm believer in cooking with only a wine you will drink and this wine was a perfect paring with the dish.

For my centerpiece I placed pumpkins, gourds and squash in my antique dough bowl with a few berries finessed in the bowl. This is often my Fall centerpiece of choice and you can see over it.
Just above each plate I placed three French chocolate truffles in a small cello bag and tied with an orange and black ribbon. A Halloween treat as a parting gift for each one of my guests.
I think a good time was had by all. I enjoyed preparing the dinner, always love setting a pretty table and it was great fun and fellowship.
I will share this post at Susan's blogging party Tablescape Thursday. Click HERE for other beautiful table settings shared.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ghosts, Goblins and ready for Halloween

I don't do a lot of decorating for Halloween but I have my few favorite pieces and I will share them with you. Approaching my house, the front porch and front door ready for Halloween.
A sweet little witch that says, "Welcome my Pretty's." Above her head a Fall pumpkin that my daughter painted "Welcome" on it so it will stay up until after Thanksgiving. In my black iron pots planted with boxwood I have black and orange lights to set the mood. My talented daughter made my Halloween wreath hanging on the front door.
Just inside the front door in my foyer I have this ghoulish looking pumpkin, a collectors item that I have had for years. He is decoupage and houses my candy I give out to trick 'o treater's


 Atop my bar are these very scary ghoulish cats. I recently had a dinner party that I served a witches brew from my pumpkin beverage container and the pumpkin glasses were rimmed with black salt setting the mood for a Halloween dinner party. I will also use this dispenser and glasses at Thanksgiving.
And, of course, since I think back door guests are " BEST" they too need a proper greeting. What better greeting than this.
Happy Halloween to each of you and I hope you have a wicked evening.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Mantle

I don't do a lot of decorating for Halloween anymore but will share more of my Halloween pieces that I am sentimental about next week. Most of my changes are more for Fall and today I am sharing my "Fall Mantle".

Over the summer I found these gorgeous pheasants that I could not resist purchasing. They are made of tin with a whitewash and then some rust added giving them an antique quality.
The wreath I have had for years that was spray painted orange, they are actually the foliage of corn husk and it's appearance definitely speaks FALL.
They definitely have an antique look about them and the first time I spied them I knew I HAD to have them.
I thought they were a handsome pair.
I originally had used some tinted clear glass pumpkins on my mantle but they just didn't seem to work so well with my pheasants so I decided to use these pumpkins instead. I think they worked so much better. A more neutral and natural mantle with the wide burlap ribbon woven through.

And another great "find" but a turkey sitting on my hearth.
Also made of tin with the rust on it and made by the same company.
I was pleased with the way the "Fall mantle" looked in our living room and it will remain there until the day after Thanksgiving. Enjoy your day everyone and thank you so much for visiting my blog. I love to read your comments.
I am sharing this post at "HOME AND GARDEN THURSDAY" and "FOODIE FRIDAY".