July 31, 2012

Mae's Day

Oh Baby...It's Hot Outside!

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

It also makes me lazy

It's late afternoon and that means.....the bunnies may be around

Do you see what I see?

The tail begins to twitch

Such a little cutie

Mae's View

Enough of that

So much better on top of the table....a better view and I can stretch out....
so hard being on patrol

July 30, 2012

Best Cheeseburger Pie

Estelle's served an old favorite Sunday evening. It was a hot and busy weekend in Texas, so we enjoyed a cold glass of iced tea and an easy homestyle dinner, as we relaxed and prepared for the week ahead. Now, I know that you have also made some form of a Cheeseburger pie for your family. There are several variations of this recipe and the great thing about it is, you can mix up just about anything you have on hand. Men love this dish!

We serve our Cheeseburger Pie with a side vegetable and
fresh summer tomatoes. Easy breezy, nice and easy!

1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup Bisquick Mix
3 eggs
2 tomatoes
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4 slices American Cheese
1 lb. ground chuck
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 ounce can tomato sauce
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 T. Heinz 57 Sauce
2. t. Worcestershire Sauce
1 T. Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown ground chuck. Add onions and saute until golden. Drain. Add the seasonings and mix until well combined. Add tomato sauce, Heinz 57 sauce and Worcestershire Sauce and mix well. Spoon this mixture into a greased pie dish.  In a separate bowl, mix the Bisiquick, eggs and milk. Sprinkle in the shredded cheddar cheese. Pour over the ground beef mixture and top with slices of american cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.

July 29, 2012

Greeting Cards....The Second Time Around

I realize that technology is replacing sending a greeting card to those you love and are thinking about. A Happy Birthday wish, a Get Well Soon, A Sympathy Prayer or Just Stopping By To Say Hello, can now be sent via email, facebook or some other form of social media. Call me old-fashioned, but nothing can replace sending a beautiful greeting card through the USPS and telling those you love that you are keeping them in your thoughts.

There is something sad about tossing out old greeting cards. I am afraid I could be considered somewhat of a hoarder when it comes to saving birthday cards, anniversary cards and Christmas cards. I tie them in pretty bows and tuck them into drawers for safe keeping. But eventually, someday, someone will come along and toss them out once I am no longer here. So, I thought of taking these lovely memories and reinvent their purpose. I took old scrapbooking paper, ribbon and cards and just had some fun creating pretty bookmarks or I have tucked them into gifts with a personal note on the back. It would be a fun project to do with children and grandchildren. Wonder where your creativity will take you?

July 28, 2012

Out To Dinner...Summer Dining in Maine

These pictures speak for themselves. When it's summertime in Maine, everyone soaks up the sun and warmth for these few months before we were hurried back inside for those long winter naps.
Oh, the beauty was everywhere!

The Lobster Shack

The Landing

Wicked Good Ice Cream

Ken's...Their First Lobster Roll

Diamond Cove

Red Eats...BEST Lobster Roll and Fresh Lemonade

Five Guys Burgers in Portland

Portland Lobster Company

J's Oyster House

DiMillo's on the Deck

Old Port Pub

July 27, 2012

Country Apple Coffee Cake

Who doesn't love a warm coffee cake served straight out of the oven, especially on a Sunday Morning? Since we entertain a large family group most weekends here in Texas, I always try to have a homemade treat for them and this one is easy to prepare and smells heavenly. There is no need for an alarm clock when they smell the aroma of apples and cinnamon in the is ready and so is the coffee cake....rise and shine!

This coffee cake is really yummy. You know, some people prefer a savory breakfast, rather than something sweet in the morning. However, Estelle's normally offers both when having company for breakfast. This recipe made the list for our holiday breakfast for sure. Simply because it made a beautiful presentation, it tastes wonderful and was quick and easy to prepare! The bourbon was very subtle but seemed to enhance the apple flavor and the coarsely chopped pecans added the perfect crunch!

3 T. butter, softened
2 peeled, chopped apples
1 10- ounce can of Grand's homestyle biscuits
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 t. bourbon
1 egg
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 t. vanilla
1 to 2 t. milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease the bottom and sides of a round cake pan or baking dish. Spread one cup of the apples in the prepared pan. Separate biscuit dough into 10 biscuits and cut each biscuit into four pieces. Arrange the pieces point side up over the apples. Top with the remaining apples. Pour the bourbon over the apples, then sprinkle with cinnamon.

 In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar, egg and vanilla . Blend together for 2-3 minutes until sugar in partially dissolved. Pour over the biscuit pieces. Sprinkle the pecans and brown sugar over all, then place pats of butter on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes until deep golden brown.

 Blend the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm coffee cake.

July 26, 2012

Touches of Sweetness on Summer Fruits

"Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air
and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?" 
~ Bev Adams, Mountain Gardening

Estelle's is always taking care of something new and scrumptious to serve for family and friends. If you are planning a get-together this summer, be sure to try these two, easy to prepare creamy dips for all of those beautiful summer fruits you are purchasing at your local Farmer's Market! Everyone adores selecting a strawberry, banana slice or grape and then dipping it into this bowl of yumminess! This makes for a fun and festive gathering and proves to be a great alternative when you want to serve a lighter treat after those summer cook-outs!

Chocolate Love Fruit Dip
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup marshmallow topping
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 cup whipped topping
Summer Fruits..... strawberries,cantaloupe, pineapple, nectarines, grapes, bananas and kiwi

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the cocoa powder; mix well. Add the vanilla extract, marshmallow topping, cinnamon, orange juice, and zest; mix well. Fold in the whipped topping. Ready, set, Dip!

Creamy Vanilla Fruit Dip
1 (6 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream
1 (8 ounce) containers Cool Whip

Blend all ingredients together. Serve in beautiful serving bowl surrounded by fresh fruits, pound cake bites and marshmallows! 

July 25, 2012

Real Men Eat Jello

I must confess... I almost cannot get these words out....they come slowly and heavy-hearted from my mouth and hearing this with my own ears makes me feel.........well.......that I have failed as a Southern homemaker and devoted mother. From Darling, all the way down to our youngest, Rob, none of them will eat, or even taste, a jello salad! Yes, I know.....but it's true! Sigh.................

How did this happen? My mother-in-law, Miss Barbara Rose, made a traditional holiday salad, which she served at Thanksgiving and Christmas, without fail. I have the recipe, which I shall share during the upcoming holidays.

Miss Barbara Rose

 It was one of her signature dishes that I looked forward to and always thought it was one of the best tasting recipes she ever made. Lo and behold, when we had a house-full of children and grandchildren last weekend, they all began talking about that very salad and how much they "disliked" it! WHAT? That's almost sacrilegious to me....they are southern boys and you simply cannot be raised in the south and dislike a congealed jello salad. You will find some form of these recipes at every funeral, cotillion, church social or dinner table from Mississippi to Tennessee.

Well, all is not lost. The Divine Miss M and I will carry on the tradition and keep making and serving these cool delights, not only at the holiday meal, but all four seasons. This strawberry salad is simply divine and comes from Miss Margaret who was a dear friend of Mothers. Miss Margaret lived in Columbus, Mississippi and lived to be 92 years old. This salad can be served for a salad or dessert and it's like tasting a fresh, cool strawberry in every bite! Ya'll enjoy and remember, there's always room for jello!

2 3-ounce packages of strawberry jello
1 cup boiling water
2 packages of frozen strawberries, thawed
1 20- ounce can of crushed pineapple, do no drain
3 mashed bananas
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups sour cream

Combine jello and water and stir until dissolved. Add the strawberries, pineapple, bananas and pecans. Pour half of the mixture into a 9 " x 9" dish and chill until firm. Spread the sour cream over the firm mixture. Pour the remaining jello mixture over the congealed salad. Refrigerate at least four hours. Estelle's served this jello delight with a touch of whipped cream! Heaven.....I'm in heaven.......

July 24, 2012

Summer Glitz and Glam....Just Add Water!

What's Your Summer Style?

The beach is our summer place for rest and relaxation. It is our home away from home for a solid week. We find a quiet spot to listen to the ocean sounds, with a good summer read and observe the children playing along the shoreline. We have plenty of cold drinks in the cooler and fresh gulf seafood ready to grill in the evening. We all agree that much of the fun in preparing for our summer vacation is deciding on what to wear...the colors, the accessories and if we choose to be casual, fun and flirty or have an elegant fine dining experience in town. These are a few of my chosen summer items I will be packing for this summer's cool down!

Raspberry and Paisley

The Little Black One-Piece and Ocean Blue Animal Print

Teal Ocean Dreams  with a Lacey Cover-up

Could not resist these for evening glam!

Strappy Silver..Perfect with sundresses

Ballets that make a statement!

Whatever your style is,  just have fun...stay cool and breezy.....don't forget your sunhat, your Jackie O's and a beautiful shade of lipstick!
It makes life a little more joyful in the sun!

July 23, 2012

Lemon Berry Muffins

Summer days have been so full of fun!
Estelle's is cookin' it up!
Join us in the dining room for these yummy, fragrant, triple berry lemon muffins!

An excellent use of those fresh summer berries!

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries,blueberries and raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine flour and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.
Stir together sour cream and next 4 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold all the berries into batter. Spoon batter into lightly greased 12-cup muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over batter. Bake at 400° for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 1 minute; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool 10 minutes

Estelle's served these warm from the oven with Lemon Curd!
Everyone loved them! These also make a great afternoon
treat with a cup of coffee or tea!

July 19, 2012

Do I Hear Jingle Bells?

Saying goodbye to Whimsey...the last picture I took of my favorite Kennebunkport store!

Oh....My.....Goodness!! This weekend is the Christmas in July extravaganza!! All year long, Miss Judy and I wait for these two days of glorious holiday shopping! I do mean glorious! The phone lines are burning with our calls back and forth as we have those visions of a snowy evening, illuminated with twinkling lights and Santa holding a little candle in the window! We jot down item numbers and narrow down our wish list to a few must have decorations to add to our ever growing collection of Santa's, Snowmen and Angels! This is serious shopping loveys! While Darling is playing golf, Estelle will dreaming of a white Christmas.........STOP!!!! What was I thinking? We're not in New England anymore Dorothy......we went over the rainbow and landed in Texas! There's no place like home........

When cold winter days do roll around, Estelle's is sure to have a hot pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove! Let the holiday shopping begin!! Joy to the World, Ya'll!

 The Soup
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 bay leaf
4 fresh thyme sprigs
3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
5 parsley stems, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 black peppercorns
Kosher salt
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 medium onion, diced
Olive oil
6 links organic chicken-apple sausage
1 egg
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 handful fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 pounds frozen cheese tortellini, store bought
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the soup
Set a large stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil, half the garlic, carrot, onion, celery, bay leaf, and thyme and gently saute until fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in chicken broth, add parsley stems, black peppercorns and salt, to taste. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer while you work on meatballs and tortellini.

For the meatballs
Caramelize the diced onion in a saute pan with a little olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage, egg, onion, thyme, parsley, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they all come together. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil until just smoking. Use a small ice cream scoop to drop meatballs onto skillet. Cook, turning, until golden brown.

Drop tortellini straight from freezer into soup. Cook until they float. Once meatballs are browned, add to pot of chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Give soup a final seasoning and serve in shallow bowls with a small shower of Parmesan, olive oil, and parsley.

July 18, 2012

Birthday Boy...The Livin' Is Easy

The birthdays are over! Yeah!! Three birthdays in July require alot of planning for family celebrations! It is such a beautiful thing to finally be back home and have the opportunity to entertain the boys and their families which we were only able to do about once a year while living in Maine. The trips were amazing, however they only lasted a week. We now are able to have most every weekend getting together for dinner, movies and cookouts.

Darling wanted to grill steaks out for his birthday celebration and rather than birthday cake, he requested his favorite strawberry pie. This pie brings us back to the days of having lunch at Shoney's Big Boy in Jackson. They were famous for this pie and if you have never tried making one, it is easy breezy and is the ultimate taste of summer!

As we took our evening swim, he said, "Hey! I want you to take my picture because all my coworkers in Maine keep asking me about the Texas heat and kidding me that I left Maine for these long triple digit summer days down here! I am gonna show them how much we are loving being back in yes, hot, hot summer days!" It's summertime and the livin' is easy!

Keep in mind, we are southerners and although those cold snowy days in Maine were beautiful, snowblowing proved to be hardwork! We have stated and laughed many times recently...."We are on the THIS IS IT TOUR and we are stayin' put!

Fresh Summer Strawberry Pie
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch
6 tablespoon strawberry Jell-O
 fresh whole cleaned strawberries to fill a baked 9-inch deep-dish piecrust.

Blend sugar, cornstarch and water together and cook to almost pudding stage. Add Strawberry Jell-O. Place drained whole fresh strawberries into baked deep-dish 9-inch pie shell. Pour cooked mixture over berries. Chill 2 hours at least. Top with fresh whipped cream!

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays Precious Man o' Mine!
"Ya' know I love ya' more than my luggage" quote Clairee Belcher!