Summer

Summer

February 28, 2014

THE READING CORNER....SERVING A PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN



Victoria chose the 5 foods she would want to eat for the rest of her life~
Doughnuts, assorted, with an emphasis on maple
Roasted chicken
Cheesecake
Butternut squash soup
Grapes

 
 


This is the first novel from Vanessa Diffenbaugh.
 

With great care, Vanessa  researched the scientific definitions of many plants and herbs, and she learned how various flora came to hold social significance.
She explains:
"Lining up dictionaries on my dining room table... I scanned the meanings, selecting the definition that best fit the science of each flower.......
 
 
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: Honeysuckle for Devotion, Asters for Patience, and Red Roses for Love.

 
 The Language of Flowers is an elegantly written novel.
 It beautifully weaves past and present,
creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to
overcome her own troubled past.
 

For Victoria Jones, the language of flowers has been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude.

 
After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.
 
Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what's been missing in her life, and when she's forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it's worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
 

I thought lovely handmade Vintage bookmarks
would be a beautiful gift to present your guests at Bookclub.

The Lavender is a gift for Sweet Melissa.

 
 
PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN
5 1/2 pound roasting chicken
1/2 bunch each fresh oregano, thyme, and parsley
1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, halved
1/2 head garlic
1 medium white onion, halved, plus 1 onion
6 strips smoked bacon
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup dry sherry



Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Rinse the chicken with cool water, inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels. Divide the herbs, keeping 1/2 of them whole. Finely chop the other half. In a small bowl, mash  the softened butter with the chopped herbs, until combined. Rub the herbed butter under the skin, as well as all over the outside of the chicken. Season the bird all over with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the orange, garlic, 1 onion, and the remaining herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help hold its shape. Place the chicken, breast-side up, in a roasting pan. Put the remaining onion into the pan, which will help color and flavor the sauce. Lay the strips of bacon across the breast of the chicken and roast  for 25 minutes.

Remove the bacon and baste the chicken with the drippings and cook for another 25 minutes to brown the skin. The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh . Remove the chicken to a platter and let stand for 10 minutes, so the juices settle back into the meat before carving.

Meanwhile, remove the softened onion from the roasting pan. Tilt the pan so the drippings collect in 1 corner, skimming off as much fat as possible, and leaving the drippings. Place the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium heat and take a wooden spoon to scrape up the flavor from the bottom of the pan. Stir the flour into the drippings to make a roux-like paste. Pour in the chicken broth in stages; continue to stir to dissolve the flour evenly to prevent lumps. Stir in the sherry and season with salt and pepper.

 

February 27, 2014

EVERYDAY ELEGANCE

 
Welcome to the Atlanta house!
 


 We took a few days off and headed off to Atlanta to visit the Divine Miss M, Jay and our little Luke the Duke! You learn to pack a whole lotta' fun into a few days to make the most of your limited time and make lasting memories. As always, we had a fabulous time, cooked together and ate too much! The weather was actually very kind to us, so we made excellent use of the deck during sunset!

 


This is their view from their beautiful deck. How lovely with temps in the 50's and sunset!


 Looks like the darling is enjoying this evening with his highball and seeing the family



A talk between father and daughter

I thought I would share a few of the beautiful touches Miss M
 puts into her home d├ęcor to make it
"everyday elegant!"



 
Aren't these beautiful? Their kitchen is very Tuscan accented with many warm colors.
Featuring very high ceilings, it calls for large arrangements for a dramatic look!
 

She had just added these new hurricanes over the kitchen mantle!
They are actually larger than the picture shows!

 
Oh, how I love her Rooster! He is massive and stunningly beautiful!
 
 
Now I ask you, how lovely is this view?
The windows in this home could not be more beautiful and
allow sunlight to highlight the formal living room with the softest of light.
 
 
Our favorite spot for morning coffee and to begin the cocktail hour.
Picture compliments of Luke!
Hi M!
 
 
A perfect formal living room for a Georgia home!
 

Here are new pieces she added to the family room mantle!
 Of course the massive vase is from Pottery Barn!
Gorgeous!


 This is a room to fall in love with!


These are a few of her pieces in the office.
I fell in love with this clock some time ago....
 

The chandelier she chose for the office is a Tracy Porter.
Jay totally remodeled this room and created the coffered ceiling himself!


Two things that make a difference in decorating....lighting and a great floral arrangement!
A peak into the powder room!


 This is Mother's secretary. This is the one piece I wanted to inherit from Mother and Daddy. But I knew, their Atlanta home was the more perfect spot for this heirloom. I was right, It could not look lovelier after being refurbished and it's the sort of piece that belongs in a beautiful southern home!
Mother would have been so pleased to pass this along to her beautiful granddaughter!



The foyer chandelier!


I have no idea the foyer ceiling height, but it is way, way up there!
Talk about drama!!


This is the formal dining room chandelier.
They bought this when living in Keller, Texas and transported it to Atlanta.
It is so very beautiful! My favorite piece of all!



Jay chose and painted the medallion!



This is the view from Luke's playroom!
There are so many reasons to love this house and these are just a few of them!
 

 
Family!
It's all about creating what you love!
 

February 26, 2014

HER SIDE OF THE VANITY


 
Your vanity should be a beautiful space,
a place that reflects your own personal style,
filled with lovely feminine items. 
There are so many ways in which to make it look 
gorgeous, glamorous, romantic and elegant! 

 

 

A lovely way to display pretty perfumes is to arrange them on a vanity tray
 or pile your baubles in beautiful vintage bowls.  
Turn your vanity into a dream by adding some 
crystal, glitter and a touch of gold!
I love saving perfume and bubble bath bottles,
then refilling them with water in various shades of spa blues.



Winter months can be quite harsh and drying on our skins.
Isn’t it wonderful to have a variety of fragrances and lotions
to make us feel soft and pampered!

 
Fragrant Body Scrubs, Body Souffle’s and Creams!
The More the Merrier!  

I am drawn to shades of deep pinks and reds!



If you do not have this product…..get one! LOVE!!!
I just sent one to the Divine Miss M for Valentines Day!


I am a Revlon girl…..always put your lips on…
it will make you feel better, I promise!
 
My newest shade.....520
"Wine With Everything"
 
 
 
Thank you Revlon,  for naming a lipstick after me!




Find a beautiful decanter in which to display your favorite fragrant soaps~
A mix of fragrant soaps evoke a peaceful aura in your powder room.
Lavender, Lilac, Freesia, Lemon Verbena and Lime Bergamot



 

February 20, 2014

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

Make A Wish
 


 
Celebrate
And
Eat Cake 
 
 
 
This is one of my favorite birthday cake recipes. If you know of a chocolate lover in your family, then this is going to be a fabulous cake to make for those special occasions! This recipe first appeared in Family Circle magazine in 1975. I have been making it ever since then. It is rich, moist and keeps beautifully. It's probably one of my most requested recipes!   




Chocolate Fudge Cake
3 squares unsweetened chocolate
2-1/4 cup flour
2 t. Baking soda
½ t. salt
1/2 cup butter
2-1/4 firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1-1/2 t. Vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water

 
 Melt chocolate in small bowl over hot, not boiling water- cool.
 Grease and flour two 9” round cake pans; tap excess flour
Sift flour, baking soda, and salt onto wax paper.

 Beat butter until soft in large bowl. Add brown sugar and eggs; beat with mixer at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla and cooled chocolate.

Stir in dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition until batter is smooth. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour at once in prepared pans.

 Bake in moderate oven (350* F) for 35 minutes or until centers spring back when lightly pressed with fingertip.

Cool layers in pans 10 minutes, use knife to loosen then take out of pan to cool on rack.

Make frosting (below).  Put one cake layer on a serving plate, spread with 1/4 frosting.  Add second layer of cake and spread remaining on top and sides.

 

 

Chocolate Fudge Frosting
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 package (1 lb.) confectioner’s’ sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
2 t. Vanilla

 Combine chocolate and butter in small heavy saucepan.  Place over low heat, just until melted.  Remove from heat.

 Combine sugar, milk, and vanilla in medium size bowl.  Stir until smooth; add chocolate mixture. Beat with a hand mixer until thick. Refrigerate until ready to frost your cake.
 

Dedicated
To
The One I Love
 
 
 
 

February 19, 2014

WEEKNIGHT CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP...PERFECT FOR A DAY AT THE RANCH

 
I need to see green.
I want to walk barefoot in soft fields.
I want to see the sunset at the ranch.
I want to smell the aroma of fresh cut grass.
 
I want to see the horses run.
 
 
 
 Elizabeth grows the most beautiful Joseph's Coat roses.
She chose that beautiful tin roof when she built the ranch house.
 How perfect is that?
To hear rain on a tin roof...what a marvelous sound!  
 

Every ranch needs a dinner bell
 

Catherine and Nick on their horses...they were a birthday gift......that would be a dream come true

 

Grapevine wreaths are hung along the split rail fence....just look at those gorgeous trees

 
Looks like a postcard doesn't it?
When you arrive at the house, all the horses come galloping up to greet you,
perhaps begging for a carrot from your pocket
 
 
This is a Texas ranch dear friends...such beauty
Soon, this field will be alive with Indian Paintbrush, Blue Bonnets and wildflowers
 

Two of Elizabeth's rescue dogs.....can you tell how happy they are to be official ranch dogs?

 
I love the smell of horses
I love to kiss their faces
Really I do
 

Now this is a delicious Mexican style tortilla soup to make for a busy weeknight!
I would rather spend all day outside on days like this, than in the kitchen.
 How about you?



WEEKNIGHT CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP
4 cups chicken broth
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 cup frozen  corn kernels
1/2 rotisserie chicken meat, chopped
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 t. chili powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 t.  onion powder
salt to taste
pepper to taste

In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with sour cream, crushed tortilla chips and Monterey Jack cheese and fresh avocado!.