January 31, 2014


Estelle's Kitchen

This recipe will make your house smell absolutely scrumptious! With a perfectly sweet taste and a delightfully crunchy topping, these light muffins are Blue Ribbon winners indeed!

If you only make one muffin in your life, this should be the one!!!!


½ cup brown sugar
6 T. flour
¼ cup butter
1 t. cinnamon

Mix together in a small bowl and set aside.

1 ½ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup water
2 t. apple cider vinegar
2 ½ cups flour
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
2 cups apples, peeled and diced


Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter and flour or line a 15 cup muffin tin with paper cups.

Beat the 1 1/2 cups brown sugar oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl.
Combine the water and vinegar.
Sift together flour, soda and salt and blend into the oil mixture alternately with the water. Add the diced apples and gently blend just until combined.
Spoon into muffin pan and sprinkle with topping.
Bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown and top springs back when lightly touched.



January 30, 2014


There’s a holiday feeling about being snowed in…an
“I’ll do whatever I like feeling.”

I’ll think of something really great.

But first there is the morning routine of coffee,
listening to the morning news,
a bit of stretching exercises and breakfast….
I know I’ll think of something grand for the day.

I start cleaning out the fridge.

I need to take out the garbage, but the snow is so deep…
perhaps it can wait until tomorrow.

It is a perfect day to make corn chowder and some bran muffins

It would be a good idea to put on some music and dance.
I always loved to dance and that usually makes me happy.
It’s good to do things that you still CAN do and do something you always loved.

 I love snow days…..
I love watching how peaceful the world seems at that very moment.

 I talked a bit to my sister.
 I know that by now, she likes her house. She likes her clutter.
That little house is simply stuffed with books, plants and family pictures…
a lifetime of stuff.
 She likes it and will most likely not change a thing for as long as she lives.

You learn that it is necessary to have a passion for something.
 You must find something to fill your mind and make you happy.

Today, I’m the youngest I will ever be, and
 I had better make the most of it.







January 29, 2014


Gridlock in Atlanta
From the Divine Miss M: "Do you believe this? At 12:54 PM, I received an email from the school that they are closing at 1:00 PM. I am on my way to school to pick up Luke and I have been at a stand still for 15 minutes. I am only 1/2 mile from the house!" Atlanta!
SNOW! Mississippi
SNOW! Alabama
SLEET!...In Pensacola
SNOW! Houston
At 3:00 PM, she was 4 miles from the school stuck in traffic going nowhere.
 Bus service was suspended due to the snow and ice. 3 1/2 hours in the car!
After 5 1/2 hours she finally reached the school safely, teary and upset.
This is normally a twenty minute drive.
Several comments on facebook from other young mothers stated
they had to abandon their cars and walk home in the snow storm.
Yes, the Divine Miss M, along with others, ended up spending the night at school!
The South was just not built for winter!
It seems that much of the country received a winter storm on this day, the 28th of January!
So, why not think hot soup!
Soup will always do!
Our most favorite café in Pensacola was Norma's on the Run!
Miss Norma had three successful locations for almost 20 years. 
Her Champagne Chicken Salad was simply the best you will ever taste!

And oh honey...
the Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce was always on our most requested list!

Many times, we stopped in to have lunch on one of our shopping excursions!
This Cream of Spinach soup is one of Miss Norma's recipes.
When I learned it included Stouffer's Spinach Souffle in the ingredients,
 I knew this was going to be incredible!

Norma's is now closed. Miss Norma decided  to move on with other things in her life. What a successful run she had and we were so fortunate to be a part of it! The good news is, she shared her prize winning recipes so we can continue some good cookin'....tea room worthy!


I love this stuff!

Cream of Spinach Soup
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onions
½ stick butter
½ cup flour
1 gallon water
½ cup chicken base
½ gallon milk
½ quart heavy cream
2 packages frozen spinach soufflé, thawed
2 bay leaves
½ t. pepper
½ t. nutmeg
1 cup warm heavy cream

 In a large stockpot, saute’ the celery and onions in the butter over medium-high heat until tender. Add the flour. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the water and chicken base and mix well. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the milk, heavy cream and spinach soufflé and mix well. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Do not boil.

Stir in the bay leaves, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for 35-40 minutes. Whisk in the warm heavy cream. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

January 28, 2014


Roast Beef Hash
This is straight up comfort food in one dish!
Anytime we had left over Sunday pot roast,
Mother would turn this into the most aromatic and rich tasting hash!
This is a rustic and very man-lovin' dish!  

This is so very easy to throw together....roast beef, potatoes, onions and carrots....
all simmering in that rich beef broth......oh heavens to Betsy!

“Winter is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality,
the genial fire of charity in the heart!”
~Washington Irving

Mother's Roast Beef Hash
Left over Roast Beef, about 2-3 cups
3 medium potatoes, unpeeled and cut into large chunks
5-6 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, cut into chunks
1/2 cup water

Simply simmer on the stove, covered until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper! Simmer for about 1 hour. Serve with fresh hot bread. Men sometimes like this served over rice! Not me....just served in a beautiful soup bowl.....exactly like Mother did!

January 27, 2014


Me: “What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?”

Sister: “Well, I actually scheduled my cataract surgery!”

Me: “Cataract surgery? Where is your sense of romance?
 Good lord! 
You need a man! 
Someone a tad bit older with A LOT of money!” 

“Breathless, we flung us on the windy hill, laughed in the sun and kissed in the grass.”
~Rupert Brooke

Someone to toast with Champagne?

Someone to share breakfast in bed with .......
feed each other heart shaped pancakes and strawberry butter....
isn't that romantic?

Someone to go dancing with?

Perhaps someone who gives you a stand of pearls.....
or telephones you and says......
I just called to say, "I love you....."

“He gave her a look,
you could pour on a waffle.”
~Ring Landner

Sister: “No, no, no, no!!!! The last thing I need is some man, probably in his 80’s and dependent on little blue pills, that I have to take care of!”

Me: "Didn't you watch Sex in The City?"

Sister: "Who didn’t? I had my time of being adventurous when I lived in New Orleans, remember? We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, drinking wine and being crazy in lust! That was a long time ago…..I think it was probably enough for me!”

Me: “Oh, well now just because we are decades older, doesn’t mean we are six feet under…not yet, anyway. Don’t you want to see if it’s possible that your “Mr. Big” is out there somewhere? Carrie Bradshaw never gave up on love. In the very end, Mr. Big fell head over heels in love……I will never get over the scene in the closet and those marvelous blue shoes he held onto for her…..sigh…..

Sister:  inaudible

Me: “Are you laughing or wheezing?”

Sister: “OK, here’s the deal.  Did you see the episode where Samantha was going to date an elderly man until she saw his naked, wrinkly butt walking into the bathroom?"

Me: inaudible

Sister: “Are you laughing or wheezing?”

January 26, 2014


 It's a mild winter's day in Texas!
Hope you are all having a beautiful start to your Sunday!
I have been blessed with new blogging friends the past few days and
that has created a very happy state of mind!
Thank you for visiting Estelle's and
I look forward to having new blogs to visit!

Sunday evening means looking forward with anticipation to another episode of Downton Abbey! Is Edith going to be unlucky in love forever? Will Mary be able to soften her heart and show love and affection to Baby George? And....I just know that Anna will finally tell her Mr. Bates about her awful assault. I do believe my favorite couple will always be Mrs. Hughes and Carson....isn't she such a wise woman?

Now I am most certain you are going to enjoy a hot cup of delicious winter tea
while watching Downton?
Doesn't a Pineapple Carrot Cupcake sound scrumptious to serve with tea?

Florida's Escambia Bay State Fair 1st place cupcakes!

Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1½ cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups grated carrots
1(8¾-ounce) can crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add sugar, oil and eggs. Mix well. Stir in carrots and pineapple until well blended. Bake 18 to 22 minutes.

The Frosting
½ cup butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted

Blend butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth.


January 24, 2014


Seems quiet in the house this morning.
Papa woke me up quite early.....I think it must have been before 6 AM,
 as this is when I normally wake up my people for breakfast.
My tummy was not yet growling, when I heard the shower running.
 It must mean this is golf day.
Mom was having her coffee and I overheard her talking to the girl in Atlanta.
 I was totally uninterested in their conversation.....until I overheard two words.....


It was time to position myself in the basket on the table!

I patiently waited.
She tells me how pretty I look in the sunrays.
She speaks to me in that cute little baby voice, telling me to look for birds.
I give the pretense that I am more interested in spotting a bird,
 rather than those delicious looking pancakes....waiting for the perfect moment....

Mission accomplished........a  touch of maple syrup on my paw.......

Oh, the deliciousness of it all

Where did she go?
Perhaps one more paw dip before she sees me......


Drama is very important in life:
You have to come on with a bang.
You never want to go out with a whimper.
Everything can have drama if it's done right.
Even a pancake.

SOUR CREAM PANCAKES~ Courtesy of Ree Drummond
1 cup sour cream
7 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/ 2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup

 Warm up your griddle, iron skillet or frying pan at a medium heat.  Get it nice and hot but not smoking.

In a bowl combine sour cream with sifted dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, & salt).

In separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla together

Pour egg mixture into sour cream/flour mixture. Stir gently until all ingredients are mixed well.

Melt about a tablespoon of butter onto griddle. Using a ladle pour about 1/4 cup of pancake batter onto the pan, making about a 4 inch in diameter pancake

Cook each side of the pancake for about 1 to 2 minutes, flipping when the edges start to brown and cake begins to bubble.

Remove from heat and stack high, top with a pad of butter and drizzle with lots of maple syrup!


January 23, 2014


It's funny how the word "cozy" is associated with the Winter season.
I heard this term used quite often when living in Maine.
One Friday evening in late January, we decided to try a new restaurant located in Portland's West End named Caiola's! The children had given us a gift certificate for our Anniversary, which we had not yet used and after three months of deep snow, we were going a bit stir crazy. Remember, Mainers do not let snow and ice keep them indoors. Quite the opposite, the restaurants and pubs can be quite "cozy" during winter months. Like many of the Old Port and Portland dining establishments, Caiola's is rather small with a private bar seating only eight. There may be a total of twelve tables in the entire dining space. So, we decided to have a glass of wine or two before dinner and sat next to a couple who lived in Falmouth that just happened to be celebrating their anniversary. We struck up a conversation, when the owner kept bringing them these beautiful Hors d'oeuvres to sample. As it turned out, their son was a chef in training and was preparing all of that scrumptious food for them. They kindly offered us to share in their taste testing! We had a marvelous discussion on life in Maine when they learned we were transplanted to Maine after living years in Texas. I remember she asked us how we were surviving the winters in Maine? We replied that we enjoyed the snow, but it sure did last a long, long time. We were not yet used to winter lasting well into the month of May. Winters can be rather isolating up there in New England. She replied, "Yes, but I have always found winter to be very "cozy" in the house.
 Which leads me to a decorating day in my attempt to make our home "winter cozy!"
Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed and Something Blue
What speaks more of winter than beautiful deer in the snow covered woodlands?
This was a Christmas gift from the Divine Miss M...she knows me all to well!
I remembered I had this beautiful teal blue throw,
which was the perfect warm accent to this new pillow.
The Windsor chair is a priceless antique which belonged to my paternal Grandfather.

A winter vignette created with my mothers cherry serving tray,
my grandmother's pine bough tea cup and saucer,
her antique linen tea towel and yet another beautiful gift from Miss M....
the partridge in a pear tree (actually a little salt and pepper shaker set).
 The motif of birds goes beautifully with winter I believe.
Mae had discovered the pinecones!

Hot Cranberry Tea, chenille throws, buttery Madeleine's and catalogs galore!

Don't you stay at home of evenings ?
Don't you love a cushioned seat in a corner,
by the fireside, with your slippers on your feet?
Oliver Wendell Holmes


Mae! This was not intended to be a "Diva Shot!"

However, this post was all about "cozy" now wasn't it?  And we know the definitions of cozy indicate small, comfortable, and warm spaces. A friendly and pleasant atmosphere. And the suggestion of showing a closeness between two hearts.....and that we are my darling Mae.....we share a real closeness!