September

September

August 30, 2013

GOOD-BYE SUMMER......


When the month of March rolls around, I often hear, "I cannot wait until summer!" Flip-flops, light and airy skirts with little sleeveless tops, ponytails and our Jackie-O's! We use the time to sometimes skip over those rainy spring days  and long for the sunshine on our shoulders! 






Did you make it a great summer? Did you visit someplace new or spend a fabulous vacation with family? Did you walk along the beach and spend a lazy day reading with an ice cold drink by your side? 


Did you sail the ocean blue? How about dining out on  date night with the love of your life over some fabulous fresh seafood......


There she is....
Our First Lady during her Camelot days doing what she loved....
life was all too short


After the last summer barbecue has been enjoyed and the Labor Day sparklers fizzle, we say Adios Summer 2013....Autumn is soon to be relished. Life is sometimes all too short...spend it loving, learning and enjoying the small things....kiss the kitties and hug the dogs! Serve up those delicious ruby red summer strawberries with some creamy rich vanilla ice cream! 

Say "I Love You!"



So Long Summer......

THE READING CORNER.....A SUSPENSFUL PAGE TURNER

The Divine Miss M recommended this book to me.....
she read it in one day....
"I just could not put this book down...
I kept wanting to read on and on to see what happened next!"
A novel with characters that will touch your heart......
 
THE KITCHEN HOUSE
 A NOVEL BY
KATHLEEN GRISSOM
 



A sometimes forgotten old favorite.....Tapioca Pudding

 
 
 
CLASSIC TAPIOCA PUDDING WITH NUTMEG
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Nutmeg
 


Stir together the milk, tapioca, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 5 minutes longer.

Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Stir the egg mixture back into the tapioca until well mixed. Bring the pudding to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer until the pudding becomes thick enough to evenly coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Divide the pudding into individual ramekins and serve warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Talk about a warm hug!

August 29, 2013

BERRY JELLO PIE......A SUMMER SPECIAL


Summer lingers on........


 Me: "When are you hanging your new Autumn wreath on your door?"

Miss M: "Well, I will probably wait until the first day of September, even though I am so ready to do it now!"

Me: "Oh me too! I am salivating over all the new fall decor......but, we still have triple digits here! I have been swimming everyday to enjoy the pool, before cooler temperatures set in. However, I forget I am no longer in Maine....we won't get those cooler temps until .......November.........gotta love Texas!"

So why not cool off in a delicious way with this Berry Jello Pie!
 


BERRY JELLO PIE
1 deep dish pie shell, baked
1 cup raspberry juice
1 package (3- ounces) jello wild raspberry gelatin
10 ounces raspberries
10 ounces blackberries
2 cups whipped cream, garnish
1/8 cup coconut, toasted, garnish
8 fresh raspberries, garnish
8 fresh blackberries, garnish
1 fresh mint sprig, garnish

Heat the raspberry juice to boiling and pour over gelatin, stirring until all dissolved.
Next add in the frozen raspberries and blackberries.

Place the gelatin and fruit in the refrigerator until partially set, then pour the mixture into the baked pie crust and refrigerate until fully set.
When ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream, toasted coconut, raspberries, blackberries and mint.


August 28, 2013

CAROLINA SHRIMP AND GRUYERE' GRITS.....SAYING GOOD-BYE TO SUMMER IN HILTON HEAD







Another wonderful week of sun and sand. Walks on the beach at sunrise and sunset. Meeting new friends and playing with starfish.
See ya' next year Hilton Head!


GRUYERE' GRITS
1 quart milk
1/2 cup butter
1 cup coarsely ground grits (Not instant)
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/3 cup butter
5 ounces of grated  Gruyere' cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring the milk, with 1 t. of salt added,  to a boil and add 1/2 cup of butter. Add the gits and stir constantly for about 5 minutes or until grits are thick. Add the pepper. Beat well with a hand mixer. Add 1/3 cup of butter and Gruyere' cheese and Parmesan cheese. Continue to blend well. Pour equal servings in about 4 bowls and top with the cooked shrimp We always sprinkle Tabasco sauce on our Shrimp and Grits! Good times!


    THE SHRIMP
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 teaspoons lemon juice     
2 tablespoons chopped parsley     
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 large clove garlic, minced
 
Fry the bacon in a medium skillet. Remove and add the shrimp, scallions and garlic. Saute for about three minutes until shrimp are no longer pink. Sprinkle with lemon juice and fresh parsley.

August 27, 2013

SWEET POTATO CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS.....A COMPLIMENT TO AUTUMN

Are you ready for brisk walks with your furry friends
in the cool, invigorating air?
I believe, most of us are ready to welcome the
Autumn season as our thoughts turn to
 sprucing up our homes and filling
our kitchens with the scents of
cloves, cinnamon and allspice.
 
 
 
There is no denying Autumn is my favorite season of the year. I may be a few steps ahead of myself, but I have been pouring over decorating books and cookbooks to set aside recipes I would like to try and DIY projects to attempt. I ran across a recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins that sounded scrumptious. Normally, the day before Thanksgiving, I prepare Pumpkin bread, so decided hmmmm, maybe I will switch up the menu a little bit and see how this myffin recipe turns out! So off the kitchen I went!
 
 
 
As I began the baking process, I went into the pantry to retrieve a can of Pumpkin, when to my horror, discovered I did not have any cans of Pumpkin!! It was at the Divine Miss M's house, when I was helping her organize her pantry, that I found about six cans of Pumpkin!! What's a girl to do?
So this recipe I am sharing today happened quite by accident, as you will note. I substituted a can of sweet potato casserole (Old Glory) for the pumpkin and oh-my-word! We have a winner!!!
 
 
 
Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Muffins
 
 


 CREAM CHEESE FILLING
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
 




THE MUFFINS
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1  1 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
 1 can Sweet Potato Casserole (15-16 ounces)
-or use Pumpkin Puree'
1 cup vegetable oil
1 /4 cup cinnamon applesauce


Combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the muffin batter.



For the muffins, preheat your oven to 350˚ F and spray your muffin pans.
 
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt and baking soda then whisk to blend.
 

In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium-low speed combine the eggs, sugar, sweet potato puree, applesauce  and oil until blended. Turn the mixer to low and add in the dry ingredients, mix just until incorporated.

Fill each muffin pan with a good 3-5  tablespoons Put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well, then top each with the remaining batter, covering the cream cheese completely.
Bake for 20-25 minute. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. So screamin' good I tell you, that you could open your own bakery!
 
Shhh.....here's your secret ingredient

August 26, 2013

VANILLA TEXAS SHEET CAKE WITH CREAMY CHOCOLATE ICING...WEEKEND CHORES

One enjoyable thing about blogging is recording
 family celebrations and news from the homestead. 
 
The post can be something so simple as to how other bloggers spend their time
to include baking, gardening, traveling. shopping, decorating, visiting estate sales or just conversations held with friends and families. I find this so interesting...learning and sharing day to day living! So, with that being said....this was our weekend in Texas!
 
 
Enjoying the patio with cooler temperatures being noticed....
no longer triple digits! Fall is on the way and so is football season!
 
 
New ferns planted around the pool!
 
 
I fell in love with this Texas clay pot. A new place of honor by our front door with a gorgeous Plumbago giving you a " HOWDY......Welcome to Texas!"
 
 
 
I just happenned by when Mr. Bumblebee was busy at work....
a bit hard to see, but he is right there at the crimson flower!
 
 
A backdoor welcome!
 
 
Our favorite spot to relax!
 
 
New seat cushions in muted fall colors replaced the summer blues.
 
 
And of course, what could be more perfect than baking a
Texas Sheet Cake for dessert!
 
 
VANILLA TEXAS SHEET CAKE WITH CREAMY CHOCOLATE ICING
 
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. almond extract
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter and water to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, salt, and baking soda until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 9" X 13"  baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F.  for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 20 minutes.


 


CREAMY CHOCOLATE ICING
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
4 T. butter
2 T. light Karo syrup
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 t. vanilla

In a large saucepan, whisk the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in the milk, butter and Karo syrup. Heat on medium-high heat and bring to a boil, continuing to stir. Remove from heat and beat in the confectioners sugar and vanilla with a hand mixture. Pour icing over the still warm cake.

 

August 23, 2013

AN AUTUMN CANDLE.....PLAYING DRESS UP

 
Decorating your home for Autumn does not necessarily require incredible talents.....
perhaps just a warm spirit!
 

Beginning the foundation for the Fall season,
I decided to play around with a few old favorites!
Two wooden candlesticks, an old pumpkin spiced pillar candle,
a few old brooches, cocoa satin ribbon and a sprig of autumn berries!
Let's see what we can create!


I stacked the wooden candleholders to make one dramatic holder,
rather than two shorter ones!



Then placed the pumpkin- colored pillar on top! Nice and secure!
Love the height!


Now, to wrap it ribbon!
Hmmm.....Mae must have seen something she liked.....
somehow kitties and ribbon just go together!



The Love Knot!


Pinning the brooch!


 
Wrapping a tiny wreath of Autumn Berries
 

 
No biting!




I like it, I love it! Ready for the fireplace mantle!

August 22, 2013

PEACH DUMPLINGS...OH HONEY....OH BABY!

My mother used to make the best apple dumplings! I mean, the best! So, when looking at these beautiful summer peaches that were on the kitchen counter, I somehow thought perhaps they would be a good substitute for the apples in her recipe! I also had just purchased some fresh living basil! Oh honey......oh honey.....do not pass up this recipe.....simply divine!


 


PEACH DUMPLINGS

The Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
2 t. vanilla extract, to be added after syrup has boiled and cooled
A few sprigs of FRESH basil (yep, Basil)
 
 
 
The Pastry
2 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 tsp. butter, cubed and very cold
½ cup buttermilk
 


Peach Filling
4 medium peaches, peeled and cut in wedges
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg


 
Egg Wash
(Gives the dumplings a beautiful, golden brown color)
1 beaten egg



 

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg,  ginger  and fresh basil. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vanilla. Set syrup aside.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl.
 Add the butter to the flour mixture, quickly blend with a fork to make sure each cube is covered in flour mixture and until dough resembles a cornmeal consistency.
 
Add buttermilk until just combined. If there is flour at the bottom of the bowl, add a small amount of milk.
 
On a floured cutting board, roll dough into a rectangle, 1/4″ thick. Cut into squares. The size of the squares depends on your desired serving size. This recipe will make four dumplings.
 
Sprinkle the sugar and spice mixture over the peaches and gently coat the peaches. Top each dough square with about 5 medium sliced wedges per square.
 Brush egg wash on the corners of pastry dough. Fold each corner to middle, overlapping.  Egg wash the entire outside of dumpling. Sprinkle with sugar.
 
Place dumplings in a 9” x 13” baking dish.  Pour the sugar syrup over the dumplings and
bake 375 degrees F. for 35 to 45 minutes. Oh baby, baby!!

August 21, 2013

BISCUITS AND BERRIES





And he did.......
a summer's end trip to Hilton Head was just what the doctor ordered.....
we only have one rule....no watches!
 Relax, breathe softly, nap in a hammock.....eat deliciously......



 
WHIPPING CREAM BISCUITS
1 cup butter or margarine
4 cups self-rising flour
 2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

 

Cut 1 cup butter into flour with a pastry blender or fork until crumbly. Add whipping cream, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 3 or 4 times. Roll or pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 13 to 15 minutes. Brush warm biscuits with 1/2 cup melted butter.

STRAWBERRIES
3 pints of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar

Remove the stems from the strawberries. Slice into thin slices. Put into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar.  Set aside at room temperature to macerate.
After the strawberries have been sitting for 20 minutes, take a fork and mash them gently.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble your dessert.

August 20, 2013

STYLING YOUR NEST

 

Do you love collecting “things?” Do you use your collections to create a feeling of welcome, comfort and beauty in your home? There are endless possibilities in life……each season brings with it a burst of hope and renewal.

 

Estelle's Mosaic

Summer is still lingering, so as I begin to look through closets to bring out my best of Autumn d├ęcor, I still love the vibrant colors of summer….turquoise, sunflower yellows, lime greens and kiss me pinks!

 


Don’t be afraid to show off what you love in your favorite nooks and crannies. Relative to your collections, this is one time, more looks good! Quilts, vintage china, silver, baskets, paperweights…..
 
 
 
Brighten you world with pretties.......
 


 
 
Today, realize the beautiful potential in what you
already have!