December

December

June 29, 2013

SNICKERDOODLES....FOR A SUMMER COOL DOWN

The Heat Is On..........and On..........and On.......

 
 
Ah, yes, I remember it well!
Enjoying the cool bay breezes.....tooling about the bay in style and
 nothing to do but relax and have total summer fun!
Well, there's always next year, right?
 
 
When I was around thirteen and fourteen years old, my best friend Beth and I would ride bikes over to one of her friends house and sit under a big gorgeous tree with a cold glass of iced tea, frozen snickerdoodles and pour over the newest Seventeen Magazine. We talked about boys, fashion, school, planning our weddings and the Beatles! Oh my gosh what fun that was! That iced tea was heavenly on those hot, humid summer days in Mississippi. I don't remember what her friends name was, but her mother always kept home baked snickerdoodles in the freezer for us. Let me tell you.....that was the best idea I ever heard of......
 
 
 

 
SUMMER SNICKERDOODLES
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.

Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but DO NOT OVERBAKE. Remove immediately from baking sheets. If you want to try them frozen, place in airtight storage bags and place in the freezer. When you feel like a little sweet treat, have a really cold snickerdoodle!




!

June 28, 2013

SUMMER'S RUSTIC FRUIT TART

I am a girl of many moods! Aren't we all?
Do you ever wish you could change your décor to match your mood?
How about extending Southern Hospitality with a rustic French County flair?
 
 
Mother had a dear friend who lived about five minutes away from us who lived in an exquisite log cabin style home, which was set on about ten acres of wooded property. Of course, when you mention "log cabin" a little house comes to mind that would be something you would normally find on a lake. Oh no, not this house. Miss Becky was a socialite in Jackson and her house was large and stunningly decorated. I would be invited for play dates with their son, Will and oh, the fun we had. I remember her daughter's bedroom had a huge fireplace that seemed like a room straight from Gone With The Wind. Their kitchen was so elegant and we would be right under her apron strings watching her bake some divine dessert. Her husband was involved with the Jackson Symphony and they often played this magnificent grand piano situated near large picture windows in the living room.
 
 
Do you ever feel like you could handle living in a
ranch style home on hundreds of acres?
I would love mixing rustic with a touch of elegance!
 
 
I think it's a good thing to stretch our imaginations and try a new look on for size. A place where you can enter the front door, throw yourself down on a large shabby chic sofa and talk for hours with a bottle of wine....no need to worry about keeping the carpet pristine. It would be rather fun to just tour about to flea markets and estate sales and find little treasures to place about. I think I  am enjoying this mood!
 

RUSTIC FRUIT TART
1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
4 cups thinly sliced peeled fresh pears
1/4 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

 

On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry into a 14-in. circle.Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the pears, cherries and vanilla. Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and ginger; sprinkle over pear mixture and stir gently to combine. Spoon over pastry to within 2 in. of edges; sprinkle with walnuts. Fold edges of pastry over filling, leaving center uncovered.    Beat egg white and water; brush over folded pastry. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Using parchment paper, slide tart onto a wire rack to cool.

June 27, 2013

CHOCOLATE CHIP GOOEY BUTTER BARS

 
 
It's Where I Want To Be
 

Mr. Jay sent us all a picture yesterday of Pensacola Beach. There he was sitting under a beautiful beach umbrella, sipping a cold cocktail and enjoying the sounds of the ocean. Even though it was a work-related visit, we all were envious. A flurry of text messages were quickly sent between the family....yep, that's all it took, one cell phone picture of our family vacation spot which holds so many memories for us all. Next year for certain.......sigh.......



I fell in love with the artwork above.
I have listed the artist website in case you were also captivated by these beautiful portraits!

Well, if you are not worried about bathing suit season, then you may want to try this gooey butter recipe. Good? Of course.......I think we all turned to a bit of "emotional eating"....longing for our beach vacation just out of reach.....a bite of sweetness made it all better!


CHOCOLATE CHIP GOOEY BUTTER BARS
1 (18 1/4 ounce) box white cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
 
1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13" x 9" x 2"baking dish. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.

Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Add in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well.
Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on top of filling. Bake for 30 to 40  minutes, being careful not to overbake. These are called "gooey" for a reason as the center needs to be a tad underdone. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares.
 

June 26, 2013

FRESH CORN AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH CILANTRO VINAIGRETTE...NEW HOME IDEAS

 
We are doing our very best to keep our cool......summer in Texas ya' know! Next week will be "move in" day for the new homeowners, so we are gathering inspiration for them to begin decorating their new home! They are both drawn to cool blue beach colors, so perhaps a few visual designs will guide them toward a few ideas!
 
 
Small spaces can be transformed into happy places...
just good organization is needed!
This soft sky blue looks beautiful with the white cabinets!
 
 
I love this family room. The entire wall of windows and French doors allow the light to shine through, yet the fresh and airy semi-sheer panels soften the area and create a soft feeling. This also brings drama to the area and allows the French doors to welcome you outdoors.


This picture provides wonderful inspiration. A made to order full mantle brings drama to the fireplace and brings interest to the large wall area. Bookcases on either side allow for additional storage and allow a create a beautiful area to display favorite family photos and collectibles!

Whenever we moved into a new home, I always gathered inspirational photos to help me decide how to decorate....especially with paint colors and how I could transform rooms to reflect our personality. I anticipate they will have the time of their lives making their first new home, the place they want to come home to!



FRESH CORN AND AVOCADO SALAD WITH
CILANTRO VINAIGRETTE
5 ears corn, husk removed, brush with olive oil and grilled, remove corn with sharp knife
2 avocados, diced and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning
2 cups tomatoes, red and yellow cherry variety equivalent
1 small red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup feta, crumbled
1 1/2 cups English cucumbers, skin on and chopped small dice
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash fresh ground pepper 

Mix corn, avocado, tomatoes, onion, feta, and cucumber.
Add to a large bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
Add olive oil, sherry vinegar, garlic powder, cilantro, salt, and ground pepper together in a small glass jar with a lid. Shake really well. Taste and adjust seasoning and ratios of oil and vinegar as you desire.
When ready to serve salad, add the dressing and gently toss.

June 25, 2013

FRESH VEGETABLE BURRITOS FOR THE NEW HOUSEWARMING!


 

How is your summer going? Have you planned a fun-filled getaway yet? Do you have a festive July 4th planned? Or are you just chillin' at home this summer? That triple digit Texas heat is coming our way for the weekend and of course, we are gearing up to assist one of the boys move into their first new home. Do you recall how exciting you were when you purchased your first home and they handed you the keys? What a feeling of accomplishment and pride of ownership!



This home has wonderful features. It was a rare find to have such an amazingly wooded lot with it's own private lake in the backyard! I fell in love with the double bow windows featured in the front of the house! Stunning and you don't find these too often anymore!  Jenn is already planning a floral design for the front flowerbeds.
 
 
This is a view from the side yard. 

 
That's me snapping a shot of this adorable vintage light fixture. We agreed to exchange fixtures...this one is coming to my house and we are giving them a larger, more formal and updated chandelier from our home!
 

View of the lake from their deck


 
Another side view as the lake winds throughout the neighborhood. It was really lovely and in the Autumn, this is going to be absolutely gorgeous!
 

I LOVE this kitchen.
First of all, I have always been in love with white cabinets.


The corner sink has stunning views from the double windows
overlooking their expansive backyard and lake area!


This is the kitchen nook. The storage cabinets are to die for and oh, how they reminded me of some of the homes in our neighborhood in Jackson. This is a rare find! They have French doors that open to their deck which will just be a warm, sunny and peaceful spot to linger over morning coffee!


Congratulations! We are so happy, happy, happy for this beautiful couple!
Are we having a housewarming party?
You bet and I already have a delicious summer menu planned!
 
 
 
Cheesy Vegetable Burritos
2 T salad oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large green pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 large tomatoes, peeled and cut into thick wedges
2-1/4-oz. can sliced, ripe olives, drained
1/2 t ground cumin
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced thin
4 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2” thick slices
7-oz can diced green chilies
1 t chili powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 c jack cheese, shredded
8-12 warm flour tortillas

Condiments
Fresh Guacamole
Sour cream
Thinly sliced green onions
Roasted sunflower seeds
Fresh Salsa
Fresh Cilantro
Heat oil in wide frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring until soft. Stir in mushrooms, green peppers, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, chilies, olives, chili powder, salt, cumin and oregano. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

Stir half of each cheese into vegetables.

Turn into a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with rest of cheese.

Broil 6" from heat until cheese is melted. Spoon some of the vegetables down center of each tortilla and sprinkle with taco sauce! Garnish with all the fresh condiments listed above!
 

June 24, 2013

CREAMY CHERRY DELIGHT

Caught in a pinch?
 

Have you ever found yourself caught in a pinch for something to take to a neighbor's impromptu barbecue? Well, with the host and hostess providing the entrée and sides, it's always a beautiful gesture to take along a dessert to share with the guests! Everyone adores this little summer cherry delight. It is a snap to assemble, makes a beautiful presentation and both adults and children can enjoy dipping a little scoop onto a vanilla wafer, graham cracker square of chocolate wafer cookie. I have also served this for the holidays with ginger snaps.....just as Mother did! One of those little treasures of a southern recipe!




CREAMY CHERRY DELIGHT
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
1 can (21 oz.) Cherry pie Filling
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
Vanilla wafers, graham crackers and chocolate wafer cookies

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then add vanilla. Spread mixture evenly in a 9-inch quiche pan.

Sprinkle with crushed cookies. Then spread on a layer of fruit filling. Garnish with cashews and coconut.

June 21, 2013

SLOW COOKER MAC AND CHEESE....A COUNTRY HOME TOUR


I thought we could enjoy discussing two topics this morning before we are out and about for a busy weekend. A country house and Slow Cookers! I love both! When I came across this little country home, I stopped in my tracks. Is this just not the warmest, sweetest home ever? I just wanted to imagine being invited in for a little tour, a glass of tea and an evening of a delightful history lesson of the house. It reminded me of visiting Grandmother in the summer....
 
 




Now, subject number two....
"Did we really need another Crock Pot?",  he asked.


I must confess, I love Crock Pots! When I came across this little beauty, I could not resist! I have wanted this one for a long time and could never find it, so when I ran across it last weekend, I convinced myself it was a necessity!  I change my slow cookers along with the seasons....one of my little quirks I suppose! But you know, trying Slow Cooker recipes is such an enjoyable thing to do! Especially in hot summer months. They allow you to make mouth watering meals without taking up a lot of your time. So create a little magic for your family and take out your favorite slow cooker.....!



I do not know anyone who does not do "the happy dance" when it comes to a good Macaroni and Cheese recipe! I have made many versions over the years, but honey child....this one is REALLY GOOD! I just tweaked the ingredients until I came up with a creamy, cheesy mixture. Now just know, you could invent your own recipe with these basics.....incorporate different cheeses, or add sour cream to name a few. Darling commented several times throughout dinner......"Hey Dahlin', this is goooooooood!" Success!!

 



ESTELLE'S SLOW COOKER MAC AND CHEESE
16 ounces of dried macaroni
12 ounces of evaporated milk
1 large egg
10  ounces of Velveeta Cheese, cubed
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
4 T. butter
1/2 t. dried mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/4 t. smoked paprika

Boil macaroni for abut 7 minutes in salted water. Drain. Transfer to the slow cooker which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Combine the evaporated milk, and egg in a mixing bowl and pour over the macaroni. Cover with remaining ingredients and fold till combined. Set the cooker to LOW and cook for 2-3 hours. Stir a few times while cooking to combine the cheeses.

June 20, 2013

HIS BEST STEAK MARINADE



Do you plan your weekends? Do you set aside time for just you and the love of your life? Dining out is terrific, sometimes, but nothing is more enjoyable than going out on the patio or deck on a Summer's evening and grilling out a good steak. Have you ever been outside and your neighbor is the one doing the grilling, while the fragrant aroma wafts across the fence? Makes me hungry just imagining this. Growing up, Daddy loved to reserve Saturday night for our "grill night!" I think he mostly enjoyed the family time, a good scotch and easy conversation....a time to catch up with what everyone had been doing throughout the week. It is a memory I cherish! I know we have continued that tradition and over the years, it has become a really great, "date night!"


A GOOD STEAK MARINADE
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 t. ground pepper
1 t. salt
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons dry ground mustard
1/3 cup lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Place 4 medium Rib Eye steaks in a zip lock gallon bag and pour marinade over the steaks. Let the steaks marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours, even better for about eight hours. When ready to grill, let the steaks sit at room temperature for about one hour. Remove the steaks from the marinade and grill to your preference!  This is a favorite Saturday night dinner, which we serve with baked Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes, a crispy Italian Salad and hot French bread. Light the candles, pour a glass of wine, and create some good conversation.....what a fabulous date night!


 

June 19, 2013

SUMMER LEMON MONKEY BREAD

 
"One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by. "
~Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle
 
 
 
A beautiful recipe to share with friends is this Summer Lemon Monkey Bread. We have all prepared the regular cinnamon sugar version, but I tell you, this is so summery and lemony and loved by all who have tried this. I called Miss Judy the other day, and said, "I have the perfect recipe for you to take to the office and share with your coworkers!" She adores anything lemon and could not wait to try it! I can just see their faces light up when she walks in on a workday morning with these warm lemony rolls to start the morning!
 
 
 
 



SUMMER LEMON MONKEY BREAD
12 Rhodes dinner rolls, thawed but still cold
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup brown sugar
1 4- ounce box lemon pudding mix, instant
3/4 cup  butter, melted

LEMON GLAZE
1  cup powdered sugar
3 T. lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a tube pan with cooking spray. You could also use a 9" x 13" inch baking dish, if you prefer. Cut rolls in half and place in a large plastic storage bag. Stir together brown sugar, lemon peel and pudding mix. Place rolls, maybe a dozen at a time inside the plastic bag and pour the sugar, lemon peel and pudding mix over the rolls, close the bag tightly and shake gently until each roll has been coated. Place the coated rolls in the tube pan or your baking dish and continue until all your rolls are coated. Drizzle the melted butter over all. Bake until golden about 25-30 minutes. The aroma is just about heaven!

Cool for about 5-10 minutes, remove from pan and mix your lemon glaze. Pour the glaze over the warm lemon rolls. Now you are ready to pucker up! Y'all enjoy!

 
 
 

June 18, 2013

THE READING CORNER......ZESTY TILAPIA TACOS....UNDER THE BOARDWALK



Going to the Shore this summer? If you live anywhere near the ocean, then it is likely you have a weekend excursion planned or perhaps the family vacation which will last a week or two. Time for fun, good food, and just relaxation. Every summer should include good book reads...something frivolous and perhaps, a bit romantic! Oh yes....that's what I love....not too deep and one that you can later discuss over the cocktail hour with just the girlies!  The title of this book immediately caught my attention.....sounded perfect!


This is a  story about heartbreak, blame, family, desire, love, and the difficulties of returning home. Sounds like a good Lifetime movie, don't you think? I have not yet read the book so this is simply a suggestion of a summer read for vacation and especially if you are spending a day lying on the beach in paradise!
Joelle Gordon is leaving Chicago and her cheating husband to head for her hometown of Landon, Minnesota. With her three beautiful daughters in tow, Joelle is bombarded with an onslaught of memories that Landon evokes. Landon -- home to the Shore Leave Cafe, the restaurant Joelle's family owns -- has some surprises in store for Joelle. Finding herself confronted with the reality of single motherhood, a mysterious but handsome young staffer at the Shore Leave Cafe, her upset daughters, and the prospect of returning to her husband for the well-being of her kids, Joelle must make decisions she never thought she'd face.

A review.......
"I cannot say enough about the quality of the writing as I felt as if I was catapulted into Landon, feeling, smelling and languishing at the surrounding Flickertail Lake, the café and the front porch where so many of the conversations occurred between the women of this family. The writing is flawless and I could vividly picture every character with a role of significance either to Joelle or Bly."



ZESTY TILAPIA TACOS
 
Marinade
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
2 teaspoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such as
Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks
 
Dressing
1 8 OUNCE CONTAINER OF SOUR CREAM
 
 







 
1/2 cup adobo sauce from chipotle peppers
2 tABLESPOONS fresh lime juice
2 TEASPOONS lime zest
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon seafood seasoning, such
as Old Bay
salt and pepper to taste
 Toppings
1 (10 ounce) package tortillas
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small head cabbage, cored and
shredded
2 limes, cut in wedges


To make the marinade, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning, black pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl until blended. Place the tilapia in a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over the fish. Cover, and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours.

To make the dressing, combine the sour cream and adobo sauce in a bowl. Stir in the lime juice, lime zest, cumin, chili powder, seafood seasoning. Add salt, and pepper in desired amounts. Cover, and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate. Set grate 4 inches from the heat. Remove fish from marinade, drain off any excess and discard marinade. Grill fish pieces until easily flaked with a fork, turning once, about 9 minutes.
Assemble tacos by placing fish pieces in the center of tortillas with desired amounts of tomatoes, cilantro, and cabbage; drizzle with dressing. To serve, roll up tortillas around fillings, and garnish with lime wedges

June 17, 2013

WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY SQUARES...A DREAM VACATION

I need a vacation....
 
 
We celebrated Father's Day with all of the children, minus our Atlanta family. The grand dogs also came, which actually, stresses  Mae out and I confess, me too! Preparing for a weekend of visitors takes ALOT of preparation.....shopping, cleaning, cooking....all the "Cinderella chores", I always say. Was it all worth it.....I think so, or at least, I hope so. It is so important to honor Dads.....I know ours is probably the best there could ever be.....I could brag about him forever! But, with all of that being said, I am dreaming of perhaps a week away, in a quiet spot by the lake, doing nothing at all, except reading, drinking, eating and lost in thought! How about you? Going somewhere exciting this summer?

 


 
 

 

 White Chocolate Raspberry Squares


1 1/4 cup crushed pretzels 
1 chopped toasted pecans
1/4 cup sugar                 
1/2 cup butter, melted                    
1 6- ounce package white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped 
1 8- ounce package cream cheese, softened                    
2 4-serving size packages white chocolate instant pudding and
 pie filling mix                                
 2 cups milk                    
2 tablespoons Chambord                     
1/2 8 -ounce carton frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
 2 cups fresh raspberries                    
White chocolate shavings                    
Fresh raspberries                   
 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
 
In a medium bowl stir together pretzels, pecans, and sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press pretzel mixture firmly and evenly over bottom of prepared dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until crust is firm and lightly browned. Cool completely in dish on a wire rack. In a small saucepan heat and stir white chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in melted white chocolate until combined. Add pudding mix, milk, and Chambord, if desired; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping until combined. Gently fold in 2 cups raspberries. Spoon raspberry mixture evenly over crust; smooth top. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.To serve, cut into squares. Garnish with white chocolate shavings and additional raspberries.