July 23, 2015

July 22, 2015


What's in your beach bag?

The hustle and bustle is in full swing....
planning and packing and dreamin' the week away.
This is what dreams are made of...
blue skies and sandy toes!
I promised you the recipe for my
signature drink this year....


You will need...
A bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita 
One container of Talenti Roman Raspberry Gelato
One bottle or can of Ginger Ale
Fresh Limes
Sea Salt

Rim your cocktail glass with water and dip in sea salt.
Blend two scoops of raspberry gelato, 
and mix with Skinnygirl Margarita
with a touch of ginger ale and garnish with fresh lime! 

Take a sip and say "Ahhhhhhhh...."

Very Cool!

July 21, 2015


Hello Loves...how is your month of July going?
Today is our first day this summer to reach TRIPLE DIGITS here in Texas...
not too bad for summer in Texas!!!

Are you a quilt lover?
I am....have been ever since I was little bitty.
I know I inherited this from my grandmother's and my parents...
they LOVED quilts!
I treasure the ones I have collected over the years,
which reminds me that I need to be on the lookout
for a new quilt rack to display more of them in 
one of our guest bedrooms! 

I don't know if you ever shop the Better Homes and Gardens collection
at Wal-Mart (yes....I said Wal-Mart)
but they have some lovely home goods!
This gorgeous medallion quilt being one of them!

I must have stood there in the isle for five minutes looking
at this quilt and touching the fabric before
I could no longer resist....
into the buggy it went...
Unbelievable for a full/queen sized beautifully made quilt
at a mere

I showcased it in the formal dining room..
a light and bright reflection of summer!
We will have a few months to enjoy this
before it's time to bring Autumn into the home!

We finished up shopping for our vacation this past weekend!
I decided to change things up a bit
and purchased a new boxed Pinot I found at Total Wines!
So convenient to share with my girls during
 cocktail hours and easier to transport than bottles!

My new used copy of  the LINCOLN coffee table book arrived.
I could pour over this for hours....
in case you have not seen it yet,
HBO documentaries features the author of this book,
Peter Kunhardt  in
which chronicles his family in collecting
many, many original photos and treasures
from President Lincoln's presidency!
I focus much of my reading on certain presidential families....
The Lincolns, The Roosevelts, The Kennedy's and The Bush's!
(photo bomb..courtesy of Mae Mo')

Since the dogs days of summer are here,
we eat light,,,,,
a cold salad and iced tea are featured on the lunch menu! 

Have you tried Sargento's Balanced Breaks?
I add a little package of these to our salads with a balsamic vinaigrette
and it adds such a wonderful taste..
white cheddar cheese bites, sea salted roasted almonds and dried cranberries!

What's his sweet treat you ask?
His favorite Neopolitan ice cream
a lemon Milano.....
By the way....
we have been going through Blue Bell withdrawl!
We have full confidence they will be back in all their glory!

The darling found my little monogrammed travel set...
I LOVE this set....
have had it for years...many years!
I ordered this from the Lillian Vernon catalog probably 40 years ago...
Do y'all remember that catalog?
That was an oldie but goodie......

Miss Debbie, our new Cat Nanny came to visit this morning....
It was progress....Mae came as far as the bedroom door
and observed the conversation for about five minutes
before darting under the bed....
I won't worry about her too much as she will
be safe and sound in her own home with her belongings and
her babies.....
oh yes....the Cat Nanny was telling me that she was 
babysitting a pig for the very first time...
A P-I-G...I tell you!
In the house.....they keep a pig in the house...
her name is Penelope and she is litter boxed trained...
I don't think so scooter......can you imagine living with pig?
A horse maybe....but not a pig......

July 20, 2015




This is what they love to do....
troll the waters of the gulf in summer!
Add some ice cold beer and fishing poles
they are good to go! 

After spending a full day on the island, we are all starving for some delicious appetizers! We each take a different meal and prepare special recipes for the family! I have chosen HOT and SPICY for
my night for appetizers! This is going to SO GOOD.........

Shrimp-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

~Tina Garcia-Ortiz, Tampa, Florida

4 large poblano peppers
2 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 pound chopped cooked peeled shrimp
1-3/4 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1-1/2 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

The Topping
1 cup panko  bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and discard seeds. Place peppers, cut side down, in an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Brush with 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with pepper and salt. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté onion and celery in remaining butter until tender. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Add the shrimp, cheese blend, rice, lemon juice and seasonings; heat through. Spoon into pepper halves.

Place in an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over peppers. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until topping is golden brown. 

July 19, 2015


Cool summertime treats are on the menu

After those hot beach days, who does not love coming back to good food on the grill and 
topping the night off
with something cold, creamy and delicious!

These award winning lime bars
will become one of your family favorites!


1/2 cup cold butter or margarine
1 pouch oatmeal cookie mix

3 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup Key lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime peel
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup reserved cookie crust crumbs
3/4 cup coconut
¾ cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13" x 9" baking dish with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, cut butter into cookie mixture using pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup mixture for topping. Press remaining mixture in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.

 Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in condensed milk, key lime juice, lime peel, and flour. Pour filling mixture over crust.

In medium bowl, mix reserved cookie crumbs, coconut and macadamia nuts. Sprinkle evenly over top of filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until light golden brown and mixture is set. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. 

July 18, 2015


Here we are y'all...
finding ourselves in the middle of July, 2015!
Now you know what that means?
Is it too early to think holiday baking?

Please check out my Christmas In July post and......
This may just put you in the mood for holiday recipes...
I know, I know...a tad bit early
but I like to have some recipes in mind when
the fall and autumn months appear!
This Fig Cake is a winner!
I wish you could smell my kitchen right now...
warm cinnamon and spice...
the darling's favorite! 

Fig Preserves Cake
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 extra- large eggs
2 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 jar (10- ounces) good fig preserves
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a bundt pan with cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl combine oil and sugar, beat at medium speed until well blended.
Add the 3 eggs to the oil and sugar mixture and beat for about 2 minutes.

In a separate large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking soda.

Slowly add to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl with mixer on low speed. After all the dry ingredients are mixed in, fold in the fig preserves, and pecans.

Pour into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 30 minutes and then invert on a serving platter.

Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar

Heat evaporated milk over low heat, add the cinnamon and vanilla. 
Blend well and remove from heat.
Add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, blending well. 
Add more powdered sugar until you have the desired consistency.

Drizzle over warm cake.

Christmas in July....

July 16, 2015


the whimsical creation of 
Patience Brewster’s 
Sugarplum Fairy

"Crimson mingles with gold and russets;
fallen leaves crackle and sweet spices perfume the air;
our memories beckon us home......"

I believe that my memories of Mother's holiday dinners are so much more intense than those of toys and games I received, but that seems true of most people. The exact taste of Daddy's Fruitcake cookies, the sound of beef roasting in its pan, and the smell of evergreen mixed with the scent of cinnamon, cloves and lemon in hot cider, were like the aroma of holy incense burning during the Christmas Eve church service....... so unforgettable. 

It's my favorite time of July...
Yes, it's looking forward to Christmas and anticipating
grand celebrations with the company of family.
Certainly your thoughts are jumping forward to December
as to how you want to adorn your home for the holidays.
Let's put that magical Christmas Whimsy in every corner! 

We all love creating a warm and welcoming home that will
heighten the holiday mood and create happy memories for
those we love that will last them for years to come.

Estelle's hopes to provide you with ideas
that will help you decorate with
things you love and bake seasonal delights
that will soon become your family favorites! 

Of all the ornaments and details that bring charm
grace to our holiday home, it's the Christmas tree
that is most enchanting and captivates the young and 

Red ribbons...some plain, some in festive tartan plaids
twist around the tabletop tree for a holiday garland..
your vintage Victorian Carolers grace the sideboard....

There is always the allure of candles....
they play a very special role at Christmastime,
both for the symbolism of light banishing the dark days of winter
for holiday romance.
What will your imagination hold this year?
Perhaps a dramatic centerpiece of all white candles
in varying heights grouped on your
grandmother's silver serving tray.....
softened with holly boughs and pinecones.

In our home, there is Christmas in every nook and cranny.
Inside, it's amazing how windows, framed mirrors
the fireplace mantel and doorways are outlined in the spirit of the season!
Little ones are too excited to sleep with the anticipation
of Santa arriving on Christmas Eve.

I think it's great to be low-key some years...
I love relying on natural greenery
and using garlands on porch railings,
the holiday wreath on the front door and
evergreens hung on the lanterns.

Don't you adore Christmas Whimsy!!
Little ones love the magic of it all....

So many of our memories are tied to food......
the warm smells filling our homes.
Turkey roasting, nutmeg and ginger as the apple and pumpkin pies bake,
freshly brewed coffee that accompanies dessert....

I love taking a blank space on the wall
and creating something unexpected
which will bring smiles all around.
Perhaps a wall basket filled with candy canes, unlit candles
vintage holiday tins and faux greenery.

For the holiday guests....
fold new fluffy white bath towels at the foot of the bed
which have been tied with red-checked ribbon.
Bring a poinsettia or miniature pine tree into the bedroom,
fill a bedside basket with peppermints and little chocolates...

Holiday movies.....
the old classics....
playing without sound on the TV....
softly play Christmas music while the scenes roll across the screen...
Imagine Miracle of 34th Street
The Bishop's Wife......
with Judy Garland singing
"I'll Be Home for Christmas......."

The four-legged babies...
have lots of brightly colored holiday tissue paper on hand
loosely wrap their treats....
they love to tear into what goodies lie within...
no ribbons please......

The Powder Room....
these rooms deserve a holiday lift always!
I love candles and greenery in
fragrances of pine, eucalyptus and Freesia!
It's also the perfect nook and cranny for
an added touch of Christmas Whimsy!

The fireplace mantel can be the perfect place
to display your heirloom Nativity set or Christmas Village.
Many of us enjoy our seasonal collections of 
Santas,  Snowmen, Snowglobes and Angels.
What's is your theme for this year going to be?
Traditional, Victorian, Holiday Whimsy or perhaps
a Coastal or New Orleans display...?

Traditions......these can be part of the foundation of your family.
Perhaps it's hanging the stockings
or teaching your children about the Nativity...
children love playing with the little figurines of
the Wise Men, the donkey and the camel.....
Do you make it a family affair when decorating the tree....
baking Christmas cookies and serving hot cocoa...

Our holiday traditions are held dear
we hope that we provided a deep sense of the true
meaning of Christmas and the joyfulness of the holidays! 

"Santa is just as real as we imagine him to be...
in our home....he is very, very real indeed!"

What did I fall in love with this year?

Patience Brewster is an award-winning illustrator, known for such children’s books as
 The Merbaby and Too Many Puppies. 

Patience creates all her lovelies in her studio in the
 Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.  
She sketches the whimsical characters that are later brought to life as 

The Nicholas Santa Candelabra
could be yours..enter for a chance to win!