March

March

March 1, 2017

DEB'S BLUEBERRY MINI -CAKES




Let's begin March with a classic Blueberry Mini-Cake!


One of my favorite bloggers is Deb, from Just Cats. I have always referred to Deb as “an angel on earth”, as she opens her heart and arms to many poor animals that need love and a warm spot to curl up from the cold. She cares for cats while their owners are away from home. She shares the antics of her beloved Annie and Audrey.

She takes amazing photos of birds and wildlife that she shares on her lovely blog. I always leave her blog with a giggle and a smile! When Mae was experiencing her initial seizure episode Deb is the person I reached out to. We do share a big love for our cats! She is indeed a blessing in life! Now it turns out Deb is also an amazing baker! I discovered her blueberry cake yesterday and it is SO delicious, I decided to feature her recipe on Estelle’s today! Y’all mark this one down….it’s a keeper!!!
Be sure to pay Miss Deb a visit and experience her kindness and hospitality!





Deb's Blueberry Mini-Cakes

February 28, 2017

CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO....IT'S FAT TUESDAY Y'ALL!



Our family has a long, long history with
New Orleans!
My daddy did his residency at Charity Hospital
in New Orleans and my parents lived here
during the 1940's. 
Thus began their love affair with this
beautiful city and it's people.
We were raised spending many weekends and holidays
in the Big Easy, so it stood to reason
that when my sister graduated from LSU,
she relocated to New Orleans to begin
her career as a medical journalist.

Fat Tuesday was originally known as Shrove Tuesday
and in French it is called Mardi Gras. 
Fat Tuesday is the traditional name for the day before Ash Wednesday 
the first day of Lent in the Western Christian churches,
 including the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches.

Today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday! 

Here’s what’s on the menu at Estelle’s today! 


CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1 medium yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1 medium white onion, medium dice
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
4 cups water
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut okra
8 ounces andouille sausage, cut on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 roasted rotisserie chicken, deboned and shredded
Freshly ground black pepper
2 green onions, trimmed and sliced, for garnishing
Cornbread, for serving


Heat the oil in a large, shallow, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until this mixture (called a roux) is smooth and turns a medium gold in color, about 5 to 7 minutes
Raise the heat to medium and stir in the bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano. Season with a big pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers have softened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the water, okra, and sausage and raise the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stir in the shredded chicken, and season with black pepper. Warm the chicken thoroughly, about 2 minutes.



Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the green onions, and serve with cornbread.


Just in case you didn't know.......




February 26, 2017

OUTDOOR LIVING



Hello Loves!
How was your weekend?
We had gorgeous weather once again
so everyone felt like spending a few days outdoors.
Over in Atlanta, Jay, Luke and Harry played a game of Horse!




Next up, a neighborhood game of football transpired......


Kids, dogs and a football.....
sort of reminds me of a certain family in Hyannis Port....


We have planned new projects to update the homestead for Spring....


I have always thought the outdoor lantern entry lights were too small
for the size of house, so this was the time to select new, larger lights!


The old ones had also faded due to sun exposure!


It's SO nice to have a son who helps his Dad with these projects!
They make a great team....and......
I am so pleased. I love the new look!


This just may have been the PERFECT shrimp boil!
Lots of Slap Ya' Mama and
Louisiana Shrimp boil seasoning!


Crab legs gulf shrimp, potatoes, corn, onion, garlic, lemon....
oh my goodness...this was just perfection!


I made some fresh Remoulade, a Tomato-Cucumber Salad
and a hot crusty loaf of french bread!
We seem to eat like kings on the weekends they visit!


Bo and I found a warm sunny spot and took a tiny power nap
while everyone else was at Home Depot!


The perfect setting for the cocktail hour.......


I had to laugh......
the Atlanta Cocktail hour is never a lonely one!



Mae Mae is happy once again to be Queen of her Castle!
She STILL does not like the BoBo!
However....he is growing up and always glad to be
at the grandparents house....and....WE are glad to have him for few days!
Now..please do tell me what fun YOU had this weekend!

February 24, 2017

SPINACH AND RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS



This is Italian night at Estelle's!
Many ask for my recipe on
this pasta dish
so, I am adding my revision to this recipe
in case you love spinach and seasonings! 


If I am in a bit of a rush, these are the ingredients I use.
However, fresh is always best....
fresh ricotta, fresh Parmesan cheese, fresh basil and fresh spinach! 


SPINACH STUFFED SHELLS
ESTELLE'S FILLING
2 lbs spinach, wilted and patted very dry
22 oz ricotta
1 cup mozzarella
3/4 cup Parmesan
1 egg
Salt
Pepper
several teaspoons nutmeg
several teaspoons Italian seasoning


THE BASIC RECIPE

Topping
26 oz tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella
24 jumbo pasta shells
1 15-oz. container ricotta
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach,
 thawed and squeezed dry (I use fresh)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 26-oz. jar spaghetti sauce



Preheat oven to 375ºF. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook pasta shells according to package label directions; drain and set aside to cool. 

While pasta cooks, in a large bowl, stir together ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan, spinach, egg, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and nutmeg.

Spread 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce over bottom of baking dish. Stuff shells with cheese-and-spinach mixture and place in dish. Spoon remaining sauce over shells and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 10 minutes longer, until bubbly and cheese begins to brown.


February 21, 2017

SHIFT YOUR OUTLOOK



It's a good sunny day in the Great State of Texas!
Our high today is going to be 74 degrees....
How great is that during the month of February!


Mae Mo' heard a dove cooing outside.
How I love that sound in the early morning......


How wonderful it is when your thoughts turn to Spring....
I discovered the Hyacinth coming up which will
always and forever remind me of Mother's Hyacinth's
she planted in Jackson.
I believe this is a sign from Mother in heaven...
she is always with me....every single day.


It's nice to linger over breakfast a bit
and just be still and quiet....
thankful for one more day.


Our girl......
enjoying some fresh air with the window open
listening to the morning birds chatter.


I plan on using my new Pressure Cooker
this week.
It's been years since I had a pressure cooker....
my first one was from Sears's and we
received it as wedding gift...
I guess that was over 45 years ago.
They are now like a mini computer
so there is nothing like a Sunday Pot Roast 
prepared Pressure Cooker Style!


I also treated myself to some new bakeware from Rachel Ray...
I love her products!



The spring magazines are full of
pastels and ideas for vacations, decorating
and warm weather foods!
Doesn't this just lift your spirits
to dream about the colors of springtime?


Who is planning their Easter dinner?
I make an Easter Basket every year....
I think I need some retail therapy to gather all the goodies...
now where did I put the recipe for the
Best Carrot Cakes ever?


Be still my heart....
Luke loved his Valentine buddy....
there will not be many more years when
a "baby" will be wanted....so I treasure this time in his life.


Miss M sent me this picture of her shopping trip to Costco....
She asked, "Does this look terrible?"
No my darlng....we are kindred spirits!
Laugh and the world laughs with you!

February 20, 2017

DESIGNING AND DECORATING


This was BIG NEWS!
Jenn, our beautiful daughter-in-law
is a very talented Graphic Designer!
She was awarded tickets to the 
Doak Walker Awards Banquet on Saturday night
which was held at The Anatole in Dallas!
On Saturday, D'Onta Foreman, in his junior year at the University of Texas,
 was presented with the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in college football.
This is a HUGE event for college football
 and our own Jennyfer was the designer
of the show and banquet!
Now...how special is that?


The Divine Miss M is dreaming of new
Family Room furniture!
I think Piper will always consider herself
a lady of privilege by
curling up on the furniture with the best
throw underneath her...don't most pets do this very thing?


There is a new wine bar in the kitchen nook
which will soon have custom designed shelves
above and just waiting for new accessories.


This is a look we were both playing around with
while trying to gather ideas on the accessories.
I know she will pull together a beautiful design.


Piper is enjoying afternoons watching the golfers
drive by, while catching a few sun rays.....


Hey y'all...it's Girl Scout Cookie time....
did y'all get yours yet?
This year it's 5 boxes for $20.00!!


And, its time for our thoughts to turn toward
spring planting!


We purchased new bulbs and pots at Costco!


Just when I think I will never buy another throw or pillow....
along comes something I fall in love with!


This is Mae Mobley....just BEING Mae Mobley...
most beautiful girl in the world....
What's going on at your home today?

February 19, 2017

INA'S POPOVERS FOR SUNDAY BRUNCH


THIS was my Christmas gift from the darling!
It was PERFECT!
He has talked about POPOVERS for as long as I can remember
from a favorite childhood sleepover at his friend, Jay Fontaine's house.
They were about fourteen years old and a group of his
friends were treated to a morning breakfast of POPOVERS
that Jay's mother had prepared and they must have
made quite the impression on him....he has remembered that
breakfast for this long!
So when I received this popover pan....I was so excited
to finally learn the art of the POPOVER!


When in doubt, I turn to my kitchen superhero,
Ina Garten!
The three important steps Ina tells us is 
MAKE SURE YOUR PAN IS HEATED FOR TWO MINUTES.
Have ingredients at ROOM TEMPERATURE.
Fill each tin 2/3 FULL.


OH MY GOODNESS....
Heavenly.......


Now....this was a very big success......
Aren't they just beautiful???


I cannot believe I have waited this long to try my hand
at baking POPOVERS!


Serve with ice cold butter and then slowly
pour on that golden Texas honey......

BAREFOOT CONTESSA POPOVERS

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted,
 plus softened butter for greasing pans
1 ½ cups flour
¾ t. salt
3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups milk, room temperature

 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Generously grease aluminum popover pans or Pyrex custard cups with softened butter. You'll need enough pans to make 12 popovers. Place the pans in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.



Now.....get in my belly.......