September 30, 2013


 Estelle's is decidedly southern.
I hope you enjoy gracious entertaining styles and
our families treasured recipes!
There are some things that you can count on. There are certain things that are seasonal and that bring you warm memories of childhood. Mother's apple pecan cake was her speciality every fall. It was something we looked forward to. I bake it only during the fall months, just as she did. I like that....the tradition, the memory of it all.

1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. salt
1 t. soda
1/2 t. baking powder
3 cups chopped apples
1 cup pecans, chopped

Mix together oil, sugar and eggs. Sift the flour, and rest of the dry ingredients. Add to the first mixture. Fold in the apples and pecans. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. in a sprayed 9" x 13" baking dish. I served this with a warm Dulce de Leche sauce from the Stonewall kitchen. You can serve it plain, or with any dessert sauce, whipped cream or ice cream. It's also amazing for breakfast!


September 28, 2013



I’m going to make everything around me beautiful…that will be my life."
~Elsie de WolfeA romantic will perceive a richness of detail A romantic will perceive a richness of detail A romantic will perceive a richness of detail

I like to decorate my rooms with a softness….a calmness…….a place to comfort you…and yes, there will always be pink. Always…..

Remember affection. Touch….what does it mean to be a hopeful romantic?

A romantic will perceive a richness of detail

Being romantic involves your outlook on life….you fall in love with someone because of their soul, their intellect….their heart

Romantic people love to give love. They want to make sure their significant other feels special and appreciated. Yes, there can be grand gestures, but perhaps it’s the small ones that we remember….such as being the first one up to make the coffee or preparing a special breakfast.

 Being romantic means being sensitive….being aware of your spirituality and being able to express those feelings. Think of it as saturating your life with great beauty…not only with the love of your life, but with yourself. A romantic will perceive a richness of detail A romantic will perceive a richness of detail A romantic will perceive a richness of detail
Just add Champagne and this will be a wonderful way to
celebrate a romantic breakfast

2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

 Place one 12-cup muffin pan and one 6-cup muffin pan in oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl to blend. Heat milk in heavy small saucepan over medium heat until very warm, about 125°F. Whisk eggs in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk warm milk into eggs. Gradually stir flour mixture into milk mixture just to blend (batter may still be slightly lumpy).

Remove hot muffin pans from oven. Spray pans with nonstick spray. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each of 16 muffin cups. Top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese. Bake until puffed and deep brown, about 40 minutes. Remove popovers from pan.

1/2 pound butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
10 ounces of fresh strawberries, crushed

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or a bowl using a mixer. Blend until smooth and creamy. Best served at room temperature, but store covered in refrigerator.








September 27, 2013


Everyone likes to have great appetizers on hand for our football weekends. The Atlanta family are number one fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so I am sending this recipe their way to entertain company for the weekend.   A scoop of this dip on a crispy tortilla chip is addictively cheesy, spicy, and gooey. Start by making a batch of refried beans with canned beans, then mix in lots of sharp cheddar, pickled jalapeños, and hot sauce. Pour it into a baking dish, top with more shredded cheese, and warm it in the oven  until bubbly. 

This dip is perfect for tailgating and feeding friends at your place watching the game, but it also makes a delicious breakfast when stuffed in a tortilla with scrambled eggs and slices of avocado.

2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans (do not drain)
Water, as needed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
5 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 t. salt, plus more as needed
1/2 t. ground cumin
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pickled jalapenos
2 T. Mexican-style hot sauce
Tortilla chips
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place a strainer over a large bowl and drain the beans. Measure 1 1/4 cups of the bean liquid; set the liquid and beans aside. (If you don’t have enough bean liquid, add water as needed.) Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, measured salt, and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, stir to combine, and mash with the back of a spoon or a potato masher until coarsely mashed.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the bean starches coat the bottom of the pan and turn golden brown, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the reserved bean liquid and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan, until combined and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the cheese, the jalapeños, and the hot sauce and stir until combined and the cheese has melted. Taste and season with salt as needed.
Transfer to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and sprinkle the remaining cup of cheese over the top in an even layer. Bake  until the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

September 26, 2013


There is an inseparable association between eating and hospitality.....the eternal connection between food and fellowship. It need not be expensive to create a beautiful dining table when entertaining those that are special to you. Perhaps just dried florals and a few autumn gourds can make an elegant statement. 

When I was a student at Ole Miss, we gave faculty dinners and were expected to plan the menu, do the grocery shopping with an established budget, prepare and serve the dinner to the honored guests, in addition to creating our own table arrangements. Our task was to create a tablescape with whatever we could gather outside on campus and this counted toward our grade. It appears southerners will go to great links to  make visitors feel at home among them. I doubt they even teach classes on this anymore.....but how fortunate I was to have been a part of that time. 

Everyone loves fish cooked this way.
 A fabulous recipe from
 "Of Magnolia and Mesquite"

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 T. creole mustard
Juice of one fresh lemon
1 T. Tabasco
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. garlic powder
3/4 t. curry powder
8 Tilapia fillets
Ritz Crackers

Mix the first 7 ingredients well and spread over each fish fillet. Sprinkle with crushed Ritz crackers and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 20-30 minutes, uncovered. 

September 25, 2013


Wrap Yourself in Warm Comfort

Bring natural elements into your home which will showcase
the abundance of Autumn

Turn something simple and organic into a romantic style

Delight in Elegance

Savor the flavors of the season

Slowcooker Blueberry Peach Crisp 
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
2 pints blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided use
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans PLUS
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans, divided

In a 4-quart electric slow cooker, combine berries with their juices, sliced peaches and granulated sugar; mix thoroughly. Cover and cook on high heat setting for 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine flour, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, baking powder and butter. Pulse until mixture looks crumbly. Add cream, zest and 1/4 cup pecans. Pulse until dough forms a ball.

Stir fruit in the slow cooker. Divide dough into walnut-size pieces, roll each into a ball and flatten with you fingers into 2-inch mounds. Place pieces of dough on top of the fruit.

Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 2 tablespoons chopped pecans on top.

Cover and cook on high heat setting for 1 to 1 1/4 hours longer, until dough is cooked through. Turn off the cooker, remove cover and let the dessert cool in the pot for at least 10 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve hot, at room temperature or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

September 24, 2013


Some days are just meant to be doing other things besides cooking! 
This is a FANTASTIC slow cooker recipe to serve for dinner 
after you have been "playing all day!" 

1 bag frozen Tortellini pasta
1 bag of fresh organic spinach
2 cans of Italian diced Tomatoes, undrained
4 cans of chicken broth
1 (8 -ounce) package of cream cheese

Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook for 5-6 hours! 

September 23, 2013


It was a birthday affair....

Our youngest son, Robbie, was being honored this weekend with a family dinner! Texas had finally received "Fall-like" weather and we took full advantage by having a fabulous grill fest by the pool! It actually turned into a family affair when Greg and Jenn helped prepare our dinner with this drool worthy Mac N Cheese recipe....served in tiny Prosciutto cups no o' man....y'all have got to make these! 


8 ounces elbow macaroni
6 very thin slices prosciutto (about 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 ounces)
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for salting the pasta cooking water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Bring a large saucepan (about 4 quarts) of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. When the pasta is al dente, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain.

Meanwhile, cut the prosciutto in half crosswise.
Place 1 slice in each well of a 12-well muffin pan, pressing the prosciutto evenly into the bottom and up the sides of each tin, and set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

While the pasta is draining, rinse the saucepan and wipe it dry. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat until foaming. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the flour has darkened slightly in color, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the milk very slowly, whisking it into the flour-butter mixture. Continue cooking, whisking constantly to smooth out any lumps, until the mixture simmers and thickens, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the reserved pasta water, cheeses, mustard, measured salt, and pepper and whisk until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the drained pasta and stir to combine.

Divide the pasta mixture among the wells of the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the toasted panko. Cook until the edges of the mac ’n’ cheese cups are bubbling slightly and the tops are light golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.


Bo had taken a few dips in the pool in hot pursuit of retrieving one of his favorite balls....still damp, but obviously drawn to that wonderful aroma......must have been his dinner time too!

Steaks on the grill....marinated veggie kabobs, and fresh grilled corn......

Dessert? Cheesecake of course! 

Always my baby you'll be!

September 22, 2013


Let's begin with the mantle

Autumn is a seasonal spring...when every leaf is a flower~

A small framed print of Autumn

A change of candle colors, adding stemmed autumn berries and
 toile pumpkins

A bronze Tuscan lighted urn makes the perfect backdrop for
 Mr. Pilgrim Pumpkin

A garland of Happy Halloween adds that touch of whimsy


Nighttime look

A seasonal entryway table....lights, camera.....let the festivities begin!

September 20, 2013


Welcome into your home, those that enrich your life the most

It's southern charm.....learning to be a lady at the table. We love to adorn our dining spaces with beautiful things that add grace to our luncheon plate. We love to sip slowly and quietly from delicate china cups. We learn we can be versatile in dining alone. We love the loveliness of it all....just for sheer pleasure of it. 

2 apples, washed, and chopped, do no peel
2 cups grapes
1 cup fresh strawberies, quartered
1 cup fresh pineapple
14 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup light mayo
 3 T. honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 t. lemon zest
1/2 t. cinnamon
Prepare the fruit in a small mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, mayo, honey, lemon juice and zest. Blend gently. When ready to serve, blend the fruit with the yogurt mixture and serve, sprinkled with cinnamon.

September 19, 2013


Can you think of a more delicious way to start a
 crisp Autumn morning than with homemade 
Cinnamon Apple Blintzes? 

It's almost time to pull on a sweater and head outdoors on a leaf-collecting expedition. Press the most beautiful leaves between the pages of a book and in a few days, when they have flattened and dried just a bit, slip them between the panes of glass-backed frames. Sheets of paper, carefully torn on the edges can make a simple mat!

Plan a trip to the apple orchard for a Fall outing....swirling leaves and the sweet smell of apples make it the ideal picnic spot. How about making a Baked Apple and Carrot Casserole for a family dinner? 

I think this must be the REAL Honey Boo-Boo!

An Autumn picnic means the tablecloth may flutter in the breeze. Keep it in place by tying jute around an apple stem, then lay it across the table, so that the tied apple dangles off the table a bit. Secure a second apple at the other end.....easy peasy! 

A "Gourmet: tasting salad that's so easy to prepare!

Crunchy Autumn Pecan Salad
12 ounce package of shredded broccoli slaw mix
1 1/2 cup of seedless red grapes, halved
1 1/2 cup of apples, cored and chopped
1.2 cup of citrus salad dressing
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine the broccoli slaw, grapes and apples in a serving bowl. Pour dressing on top and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with the pecans! 

September 18, 2013


Stylish Entertaining

I was always fascinated by the lovely suppers and cooking styles representative of the Jackson Junior League. There were a few traditional recipes that were as beautiful to serve, as they were scrumptious. This Cornish hen recipe was on of the most flavorful and gorgeous dinners that I remember. It may sound a bit difficult to prepare, but in fact, it was rather easy and enjoyable to assemble! Each cook has their own signature dishes and I will just bet, this may become one of yours when you are entertaining someone special or celebrating a festive occasion! 

2 Cornish hens
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 slices bacon
½ cup Cognac
½ cup whipping cream
1 T. butter
2 scallions, minced
1 cup white and red seedless grapes, parboiled in water for 3 minutes
½ cup port wine
Cayenne Pepper
Lemon Juice
Fresh Parsley

Sprinkle Cornish hens with salt and pepper. Cover each breast with half a slice of bacon and roast @ 350 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes. Baste the hens every so often. Remove, cut in half and cover with foil to keep warm. To the pan juices, add Cognac and reduce by half. Then add whipping cream and cook until creamy.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the scallions for 2 minutes. Add grapes and port. Flame this mixture….stir until the flames die completely. Strain the cream sauce into the pan with grapes and season with salt, cayenne pepper, parsley and lemon juice. Serve each hen on sourdough bread slice, which has been previously buttered and lightly toasted.